ABC Splash: Analytics and Action!

The first guest speaker in our colloquia series: Annabel  Astbury from ABC Splash described this resource and the decision making behind it in a way that motivated me to revisit  the site many times this week.

The discussion with Annabel carried many common threads of discussion with recent ideas and analytics I have heard shared at EDUTech, School Library PD’s and not forgetting the previous subjects in our course. These ideas ranged from

  • The need for students to be content providers and makers,
  • Relinquishing control sometimes to our collections,
  • Personalisation of learning,
  • Global education strategies including video conferencing,
  • Listening to student voice for content decisions,
  • Increase in use of mobile devices

The diminishing requests for technical help are interesting. I wonder if we as an audience are becoming more used to navigating websites or if we get help in other ways like asking another knowledgeable person ( maybe even Youtube).

I was particularly impressed by the partnerships ABC Splash had with such a high calibre and varied other organisations. Open source and sharing of information is growing – we will all only benefit for sure.

Recipe for creativity– explore Southbank with kids!!

My usual Saturday routine this time of year is to leave the house at 7.45am to take my three daughters to Hockey – the four of us play and it keeps us busy whilst my husband works.  Yesterday Hockey was called off at the last moment due to water logged fields.  What to do as we were all ready and keyed up for the day? We could have stayed home and worked on University and school assignments, but I decided that a free day deserved an outing and it would do us good.

It was a split decision that resulted in a fantastic day of

-new creative experiences

– a flip of perspectives

– time to absorb new information and ideas

– conversations with familiar and new people

– observations of new resources and environments

-interactions with technology

-and FUN!!

What did we do-

– firstly discovered a new way of getting into town, parking at a different train station (in preparation for my trip to EDUtech in a couple of weeks). Daughter (12y) used a new app on my phone to navigate.

– checked out the newly renovated Museum. It is always great to have conversations about the school work the girls have been doing, or our recent camping trips and how they relate to exhibitions in the Museum

-visited GOMA but didn’t get past the kid’s activities on the bottom level – “Jemima Wyman Pattern Bandits” . A Makerspace with a difference.  This space is a combination of an interactive exhibition and activity centre. Children and parents can sit and produce artworks together, take them home or display them.

I experienced a couple of light bulb moments in GOMA

• I struck up a conversation with another mother about why this sort of space is important. I mentioned that it reminded me of the “Makerspace” concept. I explained that I am a teacher-librarian who was considering including a space like this in the Library I manage. She said that her daughter’s friends visit their school library all the time because they like to read, her daughter doesn’t have great literacy skills, but loves art and creative activities. If a library had a space like this her daughter would visit the library more often and hopefully pick up a book more often – Wow! Isn’t this what we want??

•My eldest daughter (14y) whilst having a go at an art making activity says “It’s so enjoyable to do something creative and it’s not an assessment.” She uses lots of creative ideas in her school work, but I question does she have time to enjoy being creative. We need to provide more time and experiences for this creative work in schools. It may be some kids’ only opportunity.

-explored and observed the wonderful GOMA and State Library shops. These shops have different objects and publications that you don’t see in other retail places. They are a treasure trove of ideas, colours, designs, literacy resources and entertainment.

-took some pictures to share our experiences at GOMA and found some more online when we came home ( hope you enjoy them).

2014-05-17 13.19.352014-05-17 12.24.05pattern spacepattern wall

We have been to Southbank many times, but I think that my recent study in digital cultures, knowledge networks and creativity gave me a different perspective on the whole experience. It was an unexpected, spontaneous day that we all so enjoyed. We all came home feeling fresh and all inspired to recommence our learning projects. All my girls said how much they loved it and that it was fun – I feel really good about that.

Mobile Matters

PC to Mobile Age

 

This image in Module 3.1 is a comprehensive but simple representation of the shift in technology from PC use only to what has happened to the digital culture since mobile technologies have been introduced.

It was no mistake that the five trends identified in the 2013 Horizon Report (Johnston,2013); education paradigms shifting towards online collaborative learning models, the effect of social media on our communication behaviors, openness of content and information sharing, mobile devices and the abundance of resources and relationships match up with what is described in the mobile age

Every facet of the mobile age is exciting and rich for learning.  Currently some teachers in my workplace are asking “Why are we limiting students’ use of their phones in school hours.?” – as they are one of the most powerful mobile technologies they own. Our students do have their own school laptop, but many of them do have a smart phone that can run numerous apps, take photos readily, read QR codes and bar codes etc. Mobile, rapid, embedded, high convenience –  all are adjectives that describe smart phones.  As a staff now we need to work out how to allow the integration of the mobile phone – will mean teachers relinquishing control of students access to information – maybe?

Johnson, L. A. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition. Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Reflective Blog Task 2: Connected Learning and Digital Literacy

As an educator my goal is to actively engage students (and teachers) in valuable learning at school and out in the wider world. There has been a consistent theme across the readings and information shared across module 1 and 2 of a focus on learning; not teaching, being able to critically interact with knowledge and communities.  Learning communities are at their best when connections and relationships are being created. We all need effective digital literacy skills to be effective participators in these communities.

Each of the five trends identified in the 2013 Horizon Report; education paradigms shifting towards online collaborative learning models, the effect of social media on our communication behaviours, openness of content and information sharing, mobile devices and the abundance of resources and relationships as challenges for us teachers support and emphasise the importance of connected learning and digital literacy.

The future work skills (2020) identified by The Institute for the Future also supports these trends. They saw global connectivity and new (social) media are drivers that are changing the skills we need to be productive contributors. The institute named skills for the future work force like social intelligence; new-media literacy, transdisciplinarity, cognitive load management and virtual collaboration, all closely align with the skills needed for connected learning and digital literacy.

The important point for educators like me to identify and describe for others is ‘what does an education and learning model look like that allows for the development of a connected network of life-long learners who are digitally literate?’

Downes (2012) describes a successful network of learners as one that can learn, adapt, and avoid stagnation or network ‘death’.  He explains that the network must contain four elements: autonomy, diversity, openness and connectivity (or interactivity).Downes based his work on Siemens (2004) theory of Connectivism which was an integration of the principles of (non- linear) chaos, networks, and the complexity of relationships between learners and knowledge. Although this Siemen’s theory of Connectivism is now ten years old it still rings true in this age of global connectedness.
Siemens (2013) has gone on to describe in a more recent interview, “Changing Schools, Changing Knowledge” that learners’ ability to understand relationships between aspects of knowledge not recalling facts is more important. Interacting and discourse are what help learning and connections happen. That our students’ need to practise being critical and creative to survive in today and tomorrow’s digital world.
The digital literacy concept links into this important aspect of critical literacy. Critical Literacy is part of digital literacy as the “ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesise digital resources, construct new knowledge , create media expressions, and communicate with others…in order to enable constructive social action and to reflect on the process.” (Martin 2006b as cited by Bawden, 2008)
As an educator I then need to break down the skills of digital literacy and plan for learning experiences and environments where students can develop the skills.
Downes (2012) stated that “The most important function of a person in a community is no longer conformity, but rather, creativity and expression.” Let us not forget though the importance of developed digital literacy skills for this person and the community they can participate and thrive in. I look forward to exploring this concept of creativity even further as I begin my scholarly review of Ken Robinson’s (2011) “Out of Our Minds – Learning to be creative”.

 

Attiributions:

Bawden, D. (2008). CHAPTER ONE: Origins and Concepts Of Digital Literacy. In Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies & Practices (pp. 17–32). Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Retrieved fromhttp://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=39774960&site=ehost-live

Davies, A. F. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Phoenix: University of Phoenix Research Institute.

Downes, S. (2012). Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. Creative Commons License.

Johnson, L. A. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition. Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Robinson, K. (2011). Out of Our Minds – Learning to be creative. 2nd ed. Capstone. UK.

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved March 31st, 2014, from elearnspace: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Siemens, G. (2013, September 26th). George Siemens: Changing Schools, Changing Knowledge. Retrieved March 31st, 2014, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR_ziHA_8LY&feature=youtu.be