Author Archive for Chantal Hochstrasser

Senior secondary TL, passionate about reading, ICT and innovative practice...and learning.

INF537 – Case study reflection

So apparently, case studies are not my thing. Being a researcher practitioner (Montiel-Overall, 2009) is hard and identifying our level of collaboration was hugely challenging.

  • I love reading the research of others and then trying to overlay that research with my current situation.
  • I love keeping up with current research and am destroyed by the fact that much of my topic has been researched for decades, and yet here we are in 2016, identifying exactly the same issues as those of 20, 30 or more years ago. (Think Loertscher, Herring, Boyd, Hay, Montiel-Overall and more).
  • And I know that if I do not do my job well, demonstrating the fabulous role that great 21st century libraries and academic trained TLs can have in a school, it can all disappear when I leave; particularly, if I am not replaced by another TL. The road ahead seems long, but I have always relished a challenge.

Cathy Inoz’s (2008) image above epitomises the role of the TL, by identifying our circles of influence. It would be

  1. exciting to create such an image for each school, adjusting the depth of each circle according to the individual schools’ situation;
  2. and soul destroying to see the same issues – lack of principal support; timetabling; lack of understanding of the TL role, etc appear time after time.

My findings for my school were based more in research and a 2013/2014 review, than from the survey and questions applied in my methodology. This researcher practitioner discovered the challenge of surveying busy, time-poor teachers, about a role they have never received any formal education in. My role descriptions were not easily interpreted by non-TLs. The questions were time-consuming and the few respondents found the rubric challenging.

The good news though, is that I believe that the research has provided me with a VERY clear direction for our library and we are very excited to implement the recommendations.

  • We love that they are grounded in research and proven to be successful. As a team, we are discussing which aspects of the research we would like to work on, how we will prioritise our efforts, and how we will promote what we are doing with our broader community.

Our recommendations include:



  • We love this great table for providing us with shared reading material to discuss and share with our leadership.
    Creighton’s Barriers to Collaboration table (2010, p.56)

    Creighton’s Barriers to Collaboration table (2010, p.56)

    And we are passionate about Core Education’s Ten Trends for 2016.

    Core Education’s Top Trends 2016

  • As a professional courtesy, I am unable to share my case study with the wider community, but my main takeaways include:
  • csu-inf537trends This document started with the top ten trends and we added the implications and opportunities for our school.
  • As a result of my work in KNDI, we are contracting NoTosh to work with re-envisioning our library, our team culture and our spaces in 2017.
  • My team and I have a much clearer direction on, not only how to drive change, but also how to market it.
  • Most importantly, when setting the scene (Looking back) in the case study, we were excited to see how much we have already accomplished in just one year. We had not measured distance travelled, and this proved most valuable in raising our sights and preventing us from focusing on how much we still have to do.

INF537 has opened my eyes to Big Data, Starting small, global education leadership and digital scholarship. We have covered so much, and yet there is so much more to learn. I believe that the networks and connections that we have fostered through social media, will allow us to continue to grow and learn together. A fitting end to a subject that has introduced us to such terminology as Peeragogy and Cosmogogy (Lindsay, 2016).


Core Education. (2016). Core Education’s Ten Trends 2016. Retrieved from

Creighton, P. M. (2010). Perceptions of web 2.0 tools as catalysts for teacher and librarian collaboration: A case study (Order No. 3422658). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (757903517). Retrieved from

Frieze, C. & Quesenbery, J. (2016). Change culture, not curriculum, to get more women into computer science. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from

Inoz, C. (2008). The TL’s area of Influence. Retrieved from 

Lindsay, J. (2016). INF537 Digital Futures colloquium. Leader/Peer colloquium. Charles Sturt University.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2009). Teachers’ perceptions of teacher and librarian collaboration: Instrumentation development and validation. Library & Information Science Research. Vol 31. Issue 3. September 2009, pp. 182-191. Retrieved from


INF537 – Libraries as the Tardis – Assignment #2

Can a secondary school library be ‘the Tardis’ to building digital scholarship in secondary schools?


Followers of Dr Who would be aware of the catch cry whenever a newcomer enters the Tardis, that ‘it is bigger on the inside’. What these newcomers fail to understand is that the Tardis is not a physical space, that is bigger inside than it appears to be outside, but rather it is a doorway to other worlds. It is this concept that is the consideration for the role of libraries in our digital age.


There are many who question the role of formal education in the preparation of students for the 21st century (Robinson, 2016; Fullan, 2004; Fisch, 2014). The exponential growth of technology in the world of work and play (Fisch, 2014) is placing considerable demand on the role of schools in addressing concerns such as digital citizenship, copyright, and digital scholarship. With the plethora of digital technologies and tools increasing on a daily basis, rather than focus on a single trend, this discussion is focussed on how libraries can build a reputation for providing the foundation to support emerging trends and technologies for teaching and learning. Digital disruption is already here, and it is no longer necessary to strive to predict where it is going next; simply looking at the immediate past and the present is sufficient to determine what needs to be done now (Messaris & Humphreys, 2006, p.98).


Digital scholarship needs to become embedded in teaching and learning for life, in ways that are often, according to Lee (2015) not apparent in Australian secondary schools. Assessment tasks are still set, with the primary viewer a single teacher, and feedback is rarely beneficial to ongoing learning, other than improving a final draft. Our students rarely connect with each other, let alone the world when they produce assessment pieces, and the ability of secondary schools to change is impaired compared to primary or tertiary institutions (Lee, 2015).


As discussed in the colloquium presented by Jo Quinlan, Yvonne Barrett and Chantal Hochstrasser, based on the work by Katz (2010); this perspective of digital scholarship encompasses three vast, interrelated areas of scholar, scholarship and institution.


Each of these areas has a considerable role to play in the context of interdisciplinary knowledge and research, a term commonly used to refer to the students’ ability to demonstrate understanding through the integration of knowledge and modes of learning from two or more disciplines to ” create products, raise questions, solve problems, and offer explanations of the world around them in ways that would not have been possible through single disciplinary means.” (Boix-Mansilla & Gardner, 1996).


For the purposes of this discussion, the terms digital scholarship and interdisciplinary knowledge and research will be applied to the secondary school context, with a focus on the apparent chasm that exists between the future direction indicated by research and the way in which secondary institutions actually operate. This position is based on the observations of the author, and the research of Boix-Mansilla (2007), Gardner (1983), Jacobs (1989), Paiget (1972), Dewey (1916) and the gap hypothesis suggested by Haddow & Klobas (2004).

This essay will focus on the role of the institution, specifically the library, in the development of digital scholarship. Consequently, it is the view of the author that the term digital scholar needs to include teachers, as well as students; digital scholarship needs to include all aspects of eLearning and digital citizenship, embedded within the curriculum; and the institution needs to consider the role of the physical and virtual spaces offered by secondary schools, to support scholars and scholarship.

Hammond and McCallum’s paper (2009) on the role of teacher education courses that model an interdisciplinary approach provide a starting point for the role of the learning of the scholar in bridging the gap between research and application in the field. In a secondary school setting, where the common model is for faculties to operate in isolation, often teaching units with little variation from previous years; the ability of a new or newly qualified teacher to have the level of autonomy to teach this way, is highly unlikely. In order to facilitate such change, a school wide pedagogical and cultural change is necessary, and while the research on the need for a multidisciplinary, participatory approach exceeds 50 years, the reality is that this approach is not the norm (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.770) in Australian secondary schools, particularly independent schools.


The influx of digital technologies into daily life has led to schools striving to close down access to participatory technology and/or embed Information Communication Technology skills (ICTs) into the curriculum, either through isolated classes or by incorporating digital requirements into faculty assessment tasks (Lee, 2016). This results in schools needing to consider (amongst others):

  • The skill set of teachers and how to support those who are not familiar with the emerging technologies;
  • The relevance of the technologies to the required tasks, as shown through TPACK or SAMR;
  • Who decides on the new pedagogy and how is it implemented?
  • What professional development is offered to ensure that all staff are on board and supported in the development of the curriculum;
  • Who is involved in the development of the new curriculum and its’ delivery?
  • How do we overcome the fear of openness and issues of privacy, particularly with regards to providing students and their work the opportunity to collaborate and share online? If we close access in schools, how do students learn digital citizenship skills outside the school network?
  • What facilities are required to support the emerging technologies and new ways of approaching teaching and learning?


It is this final question that provides one opportunity for school libraries to build a place for themselves and redefine their role within schools, in much the same that way that universities have; by including the customer as collaborator (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). The Emory Centre for Digital Scholarship is one of many universities (including University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, University of Melbourne, Brown University), providing physical and virtual spaces, and access to new technologies and to experts in the library; to support the development of research questions, analyse data, publish findings, and digital mapping to transform courses and projects (Emery University, 2016).


UQ, QUT and James Cook University have all made use of the Pedagogy-Space-Technology Framework (Radcliffe, Wilson, Powell & Tibbetts, 2009) to help drive a change in the teaching and learning culture, pedagogy and use of digital technology, by redesigning the physical and virtual spaces in their libraries; using design-thinking, consideration of space as the third teacher (Darragh, 2006), and educating staff in the new ways that the spaces can be used. UQ made the booking of these new spaces dependent on teaching staff attending a number of professional observation lessons and training first (Radcliffe et al, 2009, pp.45-52). This move toward fourth generation libraries, designed upon pedagogical principles, (Radcliffe et all, 2009, p.34) is one way that libraries can demonstrate and pave the way for changes to digital scholarship and scholars.


Davidsen & Goldberg (2009) suggest that, despite digital already having happened, our institutions of learning have moved far more slowly than the inventive, collaborative and participatory modes offered by the internet, social media and mobile technologies. A brief survey, completed by the author, of the digital tools used by the school versus those used by students highlighted that while the school uses email, a digital newsletter and a Facebook page to communicate information, the students are using Snapchat and Instagram and consider the former to be ‘old’ technology and for the middle-aged.


The provision of zoned library spaces (Thornberg, 2013; Radcliffe et al, 2009) based on student learning requirements, an interdisciplinary approach and pedagogical principles can provide opportunities for teaching and learning experimentation, collaboration and cross participation in ways that collection centred spaces and insular classroom spaces cannot (Jacobs, 1989). The restrictions of 20th century library and learning spaces can result in teachers and students reverting to the Sage on the Stage model by default (Whitby, 2013); failing to tap into the more participatory opportunities of digital technologies, in a 21st century curriculum.


Emory University Digital Scholarship Centre invites students and staff to work with them, offering the provision of expertise, consultation, and technical assistance for those wishing to incorporate digital technology into teaching and learning, research, publishing and exhibiting scholarly work (Emory University, 2016). This example of staff collaborating to share and provide expertise can be duplicated in secondary schools through the development of digital scholarship teams, comprising of eLearning and Library staff, as well as Heads of Curriculum and members of the school leadership team. O’Connell & Groom (2012, p. 28) draw attention to the need for students to learn to bring their social technologies into their learning; and for teachers to learn to work with these emerging tools to promote creative and reflective learning. More importantly, learning in context, over time, in our work setting, can produce the best results (Fullan, 2004, p. 193). If secondary school libraries can become hubs for this type of learning, by moving beyond the restraints of current classrooms, they could provide the opportunity to scaffold the digital scholarship of both teachers and students, through collaborative experimentation. One such example is the work of Buffy Hamilton, whose article on Art History and Art in inquiry (August 28, 2016) clarifies that teachers sponsoring SOAR inquiry topics do not need to be experts in the field, as lack of expertise can allow students to step into the role of expert and position teachers as co-learners.


In his work, Open, David Price (2013) refers to the messy, non-linear, chaotic phenomenon of learning and working openly, socially and digitally (p.5), as opposed to the linear structure of formal education and curriculum, that leads to a job.  Wesch (2009) refers to the disruptive digital environment impacting on not only teaching and learning, but also on how we view knowledge and literacy, as well as how we communicate socially, culturally, and historically. Digital technology is no longer a tool for learning, but rather a driver of creative, critical, media and information literacy; and school libraries are perfectly positioned to support and drive this ‘change on the edge of chaos’ (Fullan, 2004, p.186). We do not need to be at the forefront of the next technology or trend, all of the time; rather we can provide teachers and students opportunities to learn, by applying what they know, using technologies we may not be familiar with yet, and learning together.


If we walk through the door of digital scholarship, as one would the Tardis, we would find not a single room, where one can focus on a particular subject specific topic; but rather a plethora of worlds, each in a different time and space, that require us to identify and apply new and old knowledge, technology and understanding to the situation, at that point in time. This is the role of the 21st century secondary school library, in a world that values digital scholarship. We are no longer the sole doorway to knowledge and the holder of information; we are instead a Tardis…an opportunity for scholars to take today’s knowledge and digital technology and identify, create, repurpose and reinvent an infinite number of problems, solutions and opportunities, through a multi-disciplinary approach. The emerging trends will come and go. It is what we do with them, as they cross our path that is important.


There are those who would argue that experimenting with collaborative, participatory, multidisciplinary learning is just another fad or trend, which will fade in 7-10 years (Elder & Paul, 2007), and that the only genuine change to education would involve substantive, reflective thinking and genuine assessment (pp. 12-22).  Despite this, our students and the world at large eagerly adopt new technologies and academic research is moving comparatively quickly to identify the role of these trends in education. It is time for secondary schools to allow the research to guide and drive our digital scholarship path.


As Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Clinton said, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist; using technology that hasn’t yet been invented; in order to solve problems, we don’t even know are problems yet.” And if the illiterate of the 21st Century are those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn (Toffler, 1981), then we need to ensure that those who work in education institutions are not so fixed on the methods of the past that they become the illiterate of the future.





Boix-Mansilla, V. (1996). Interdisciplinary understanding: What counts as quality work. Interdisciplinary Studies project: Harvard University. Retrieved from

Casey, M.E. & Savastinuk, L.C. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Chad, K., & Miller, P. (2005). Do libraries matter. The rise of Library2(0). Retrieved from

Darragh, J. C. (2006). The Environment as the Third Teacher. Online Submission. Retrieved from

Davidson, C. N., & Goldberg, D. T. (2009). The future of learning institutions in a digital age. The MIT Press. Retrieved from

Elder, L. & Paul, R. (2007). A Critical thinker’s guide to educational fads. Foundation for Critical Thinking Press. Retrieved from

Emory University. (2016). Work with us. Retrieved from

Fisch, K. (2014). Did you know? Shift Happens. Retrieved from

Fullan, M. (2004). Leading in a culture of change: Personal action guide and workbook. Jossey-Bass: San Fransisco.

Gardner, H. (1989). The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach.New York: Basic Books.

Golding, C. (2009). Integrating the disciplines: Successful interdisciplinary subjects. Centre for the Study of Higher Education: University of Melbourne. Retrieved from

Haddow, G., & Klobas, J. E. (2005). Communication of research to practice in library and information science: Closing the gap. Library & Information Science Research26(1), 29-43. Retrieved from

Hamilton, B. (August 28, 2016). Soaring into Art history and Artists inquiry. [Blog]. Retrieved from

Hammond, C., & McCallum, F. (2009). Interdisciplinarity: bridging the University and field of practice divide. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 34(2). Retrieved from

Jacobs, H. H. (1989). Interdisciplinary curriculum: Design and implementation. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1250 N. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Retrieved from

Jones, C. (2009). “Interdisciplinary Approach – Advantages, Disadvantages, and the Future Benefits of Interdisciplinary Studies,” ESSAI: Vol. 7, Article 26. Retrieved from

Katz, R. (March/April 2010). Scholars, scholarship, and the scholarly enterprise in the digital age, Educause Review. Retrieved from


Lee, M. & Broadie, R. (2016). The Digital evolution of schooling: Understanding and shaping the digital transformation of schools. Retrieved from


Messaris, P., & Humphreys, L. (2006). Digital media: Transformations in human communication. Peter Lang. Retrieved from


O’Connell, J. & Groom, D. (2012). Virtual Worlds: Learning in a changing world. ACER Press: Victoria, Australia.

O’Connell, J. &Groom, D. (2012). Connect, communicate, collaborate: Learning in a changing world. ACER Press: Victoria, Australia.

Price, D. (2013). Open: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future. Crux Publishing: Great Britain.

Radcliffe, D., Wilson, H., Powell, D., & Tibbetts, B. (2009). Learning spaces in higher education: Positive outcomes by design. In Proceedings of the Next Generation Learning Spaces 2008 Colloquium, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Robinson, K. (2016). RSA Animate: Changing Education Paradigms.

Thornburg, D. (2013). From the campfire to the holodeck: Creating engaging and powerful 21st century learning environments. John Wiley & Sons.

Toffler, A., & Alvin, T. (1981). The third wave (pp. 32-33). New York: Bantam books.

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury Open Access.

Wesch, M. (2009). From knowledgable to knowledge-able: Learning in new media environments. Academic Commons7. Retrieved from

Whitby, T. (November 8, 2013). 20th vs 21st century teaching. [Blog]. Retrieved from


INF537 – Library Science vs school happenings

Pip Cleaves’ colloquium reminded me that to start small is valuable and worthwhile. Rebecca Vivian’s colloquium reinforced my view that we have a long way to go. Education is moving too slowly…and we are losing our kids to that which they are passionate about, and it is not school.

Selwyn quotes Diana Laurillard (2008, p.1), “education is on the brink of being transformed through learning technologies; however, it has been on that brink for some decades now” (p.66). This applies equally to education and to the role of libraries in schools and is reinforced by Wilson, Kennard, Willard and Boell’s (2010, p.16) paper on 50 years of LIS, that despite a steady academisation of LIS, the application in schools is in decline.

Conversations with my INF537 group, Jo Quinlan and Yvonne Barrett, highlight that we are all in different schools, in different places, of different sizes, and yet we are all experiencing  many of the same challenges. I have found it disheartening to be at a new school, several years later and still dealing with issues that were addressed at previous schools, years ago.

So, working on the principle of evolution rather than revolution, I have tweaked my case study to better understand how what we (TLs) do, is understood by our teachers. Many of our teachers have been very positive about the changes to the environment, the new databases and library management system and the more obvious, visual changes that are evident when you walk into the space. Unfortunately, we work with very few of the teachers, are often told about assessment tasks and asked to create Libguides at very short notice, and have negligible opportunity to collaborate with planning.

This task is an opportunity to understand why we find ourselves in this situation and figure out how to improve it. So many teachers are doing wonderful things, and we are eager to support them more effectively. Understanding where we are starting from and why we are here seems to be as good a place to start as any.

INF537 – Leading learning in a Web 2 world

seymour papert

The above quote, from Pip cleaves’ presentation resonates not just for teachers, but also for libraries.

This quote and her wish,  that she wants for her students exactly what she would like for her own children…the kind of digital education that is perfect for entering an ever-changing world, were my biggest takeaways from Pip Cleaves’ colloquium in Week 3.



They align so beautifully with my favourite quotes (both of which appear in my CV):

“The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those that cannot read or write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.  ~ Alvin Toffler, writer and futurist
“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist…. using technologies that haven’t yet been invented…in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet”.  ~ Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Clinton
and my favourite Shift Happens clip for demonstrating how much our world is changing.

My greatest fears are that we are not doing enough in education, that we are moving much too slowly; often overly concerned about the feelings of teachers who are struggling with technology, and not concerned enough about whether we are delivering a 21st century education to the next generation.

In ETL523, I highlighted a desperate need for schools to do so much more to support teachers in developing and delivering a genuine 21st century education, by providing considerably more opportunities for teacher learning and reflection. All too often we are caught up on the hamster’s wheel of hurry and do NOW, with little or no time to learn, implement, reflect and adapt again.

Pip shared bite sized bits of information and learning units that clearly demonstrated students’ innovative learning journeys. Her presentation showed us that even small inroads with individual teachers and classes can have a wonderful influence on student learning, teacher growth and creative planning.

Consequently, my second big takeaway from Pip’s presentation is…don’t be afraid to start small. Start working with those who are the in the early majority (Conyers & Wilson, 2015) and be patient with the late majority and laggards. They will get on board when they are ready and when your cohort of committed sardines (Jukes, 2016) exceeds 15-20%.

We are living in a digital world and change is afoot, albeit slowly in education.


Conyers, M. & Wilson, D. (2015). Transform teaching with the diffusion of innovation. Retrieved from

Jukes, I. (2016). Committed sardines blog.

Scott, K. (July, 2014). Did you know? Shift Happens Remix 2014. Retrieved from 

ETL523 – Final Reflection

ETL523 has been a most challenging unit, in part because the demands of a new job have seriously eroded time available for study; but more because ETL523 has raised a multitude of questions about my own digital literacy and that of my colleagues. This is intriguing, as when the subject commenced, I was under the illusion that the study of Digital Citizenship was for the benefit of my students…that Digital citizenship and Digital literacy were skills that needed to be learned by our students, and that teachers and teacher-librarians innately had the required knowledge and understanding.

Assignment 1 drove my research to consider the Digital Literacy needs of my particular school, and the role of leadership in moving towards our goals. It soon became evident that it was the Digital Literacy needs of myself and my colleagues that needed to form the foundation of our research. After all, how do we teach our students about that which we have little knowledge or experience ourselves? How much experience do we each have with social media; or determining the value of a source; or managing our digital footprint; or building a digital portfolio? Collectively, our answer was…not much!

So my fellow ETL students and I struggled through our respective personal challenges, including distance, multiple time zones and all the other challenging aspects of digital collaborative group work, to develop a wiki about what we teachers needed to know about becoming digital citizens. My artefact addressed a personal and professional need to create an ePortfolio to identify strengths and weaknesses/gaps in my own digital skill set. This artefact is now being used by a small group of teachers and my teacher-librarians to demonstrate to others, the usefulness of developing an ePortfolio.

However the journey did not end there. Assignment 2 once again began with my attempting to identify how we could better support student Digital Citizenship through our library program, only to be blown away (a considerable way into the planning stage, and thus setting my study schedule way behind) by the realisation that once again, what we really needed was Teacher Professional Development, before we could develop a school wide culture of digital citizenship and digital literacy.

And while the task seems almost impossible, the many comments and blogs of my peers show they share the very same concerns, and it is reassuring to know that while we may be late majority uptakers of technology (Moore, 1962), compared to some schools; we are not alone on this journey.

The current expectations where I work are that all things IT skills, Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy can be taught by the teacher-librarians in one isolated lesson a week, between Years 5-9, after which such instruction is no longer needed. (Feel free to read a level of disbelief and even some sarcasm in the tone of that sentence!) Of course, this is an impossible task and the recommendations in Assignment 2 to:

  • provide ongoing professional learning in order to truly teach with ICT (Albion, P.R., Tondeur, J., Forkosh-Baruch, A. & Peeraer, J. 2015),
  • using highly effective principles of professional learning (DETV, 2005),
  • to incorporate the TPACK model (Baran & Uygun, 2016; Ng, Miao & Lee, 2009),
  • to support and grow our learning and curriculum design, have provided us with a set of steps in a positive direction.

The image below (Media Smarts, 2062) demonstrates the diversity and challenge of the task at hand, however the research and tools uncovered through this unit of study have provided a guiding light to keep us moving in a direction of improved and sustained growth and understanding.

Digital & Media Literacy chart

I am pleased to see the end of the workload that is ETL523, yet am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of this gargantuan learning experience. My most valuable lesson from ETL523 is that I need to hone the skill of writing proposals and recommendations.


Albion, P.R., Tondeur, J., Forkosh-Baruch, A. & Peeraer, J. (2015). Teachers’ professional  development for ICT integration: Towards a reciprocal relationship between research and practice. Educ Inf Technol. Springer Science+Business Media: New York. Retrieved from

Baran, E. & Uygun, E. (2016). Putting technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) in action: An integrated TPACK-design-based learning (DBL) approach. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology: 32(2) pp. 47-63. Middle East Technical University: Turkey. Retrieved on May 18 from

     Media Smarts. (2016). The Intersection of Digital and Media Literacy. Retrieved from

     Ng, W., Miao, F. and Lee, M. (2009). Capacity-building for ICT integration in education.  Digital review of Asia Pacific 2009-2010. Retrieved on May 28, 2016 from



ETL523 – Social media – more than trolling

It has come to my attention that simply following the social media interactions of those whose work I admire, and pinning, liking and occasionally responding, is not really adding sufficient value to my professional digital footprint.

A couple of years ago, I was rather pleased with myself and with the digital tattoo (since it is relatively permanent) that I had created. My digital accounts included:

  • Facebook (personal and professional accounts)
  • LinkdIn
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Diigo
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • a TL Ning
  • Libguides
  • a Blog
  • and in recent weeks I discovered several accounts that I had forgotten were created, because they were only used a handful of times – Scoopit, Tumblr, Wikispaces, to name just a few.

This got me thinking…my digital portfolio fell by the wayside as a result of a move from Education Queensland to private education, other than some simple updates in LinkdIn. As a ‘good’ digital citizen, it seems necessary to maintain a current and relevant digital portfolio in the Cloud. (Several burglaries have forced me to acknowledge the risk of having CVs etc on a device that can be stolen.)

When working with teachers and senior secondary students, how practical and useful would it be if we collaborated to:

  • build and update our digital portfolios annually together?
  • keep track of our digital accounts withinin our portfolios?
  • and create an ‘About Me’ cover page?

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 6.05.42 PMCouros, (2016, March 23).

How wonderfully applicable and real world for students to leave school, not only with these wonderful tools ready to be added to, but to have seen how their teachers have worked to keep their own digital portfolios up to date! From a leadership perspective, teachers and students would be able to learn from each other, as teachers have the opportunity to see what tools their students are using and consider adding these new tools to their portfolio, while demonstrating the development of a working portfolio.

And if teachers and students are working together to create and update their portfolios, build their brand and identify how they want to present themselves, they can have conversations about how digital citizenship is really global citizenship –

  • that our digital presence is simply another aspect of who we are and how we wish to be seen by others, not separate;
  • that our behaviour online and in person should uphold the same values and ethics irrespective of the environment that we find ourselves in;
  • and that we can change any negative impressions from our youth, by creating a multitude of positive footprints/tattoos that outweigh the one or two faux pas.

Richardson (2016, February 16) quotes Baumann’s statement that we belong to a community, but create a network, thus giving us a sense of control. He goes further:

But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face.” 

So perhaps as educators, this is our challenge… to demonstrate to our students and each other, that we can and deserve to use social media to unite with our tribe or tribes, to broaden our horizons and become the change that we wish to see in the world, by continually growing our global citizenship skills, in person and online.


Couros, G. (2016, March 31). Crucial digital citizenship conversations. Retrieved on March 31, 2016 from

Richardson, W. (2016, February 16). social media are a trap. Retrieved on April 2, 2016 from



#INF536 Critical Reflection – my takeaways

The journey that is INF536 has been exciting, challenging and eye-opening. This subject has been a lesson in identifying how much we don’t know about design, design-thinking and design-theory and how often they apply to physical and digital spaces, and to our core business, the curriculum.

The modules provided a fascinating insight into the role of design in so many things, leading me to consider where I was a designer (albeit a novice) and to identify design in all things.

I always believed that I was forward thinking, whilst not a pioneer, as they are the ones who get arrows in their behinds, at least an early adopter, until Module 3 made me understand how necessary it is to design schools for an entirely unknown future. 


What is education for?


Design-thinking is the phrase that I have been looking for, to identify what we need to be doing in every aspect of education, but the concept of being learner centred and user centred provided me with the missing ingredient. As a teacher and librarian, I have always been responsible for ‘designing’ the curriculum to suit my cohort; developing the assessment tasks; identifying the modes of presentation and designing the spaces that we would use to maximise my students potential. I have added colour, smells and music to change how my teaching spaces feel (Mozart effect, Ian Lillico and more), included the latest trends in terms of technology, furniture and groupings and researched and refurbished 4 library spaces; but never previously grasped how many tools are available to guide design thinking, in a multiplicity of ways, and at every stage of the process.

The concept of asking the ‘right’ questions and interpreting the answers, to design something that others also had ownership of, is inspiring. The fact that the ideas, observations and interpretations do not have to all come from me is freeing. The most immediate change is that I no longer want to go and brainstorm with just my team, but also with an eclectic, unexpected group from my community, for altogether different perspectives. The coffee meetup task totally cemented this idea, with 2 more coffee meetups in the pipeline.

The design thinking process has identified that I do incorporate most of the steps when designing curriculum, physical and digital spaces, but not consistently or thoroughly, and I have been guilty of thinking that the project was ‘finished’ after sharing what we had done, without collecting feedback or reviewing whether it could go through the prototype phase again. I believed that the fact that I was willing to change designs regularly was enough. Understanding thatthe design process is cyclic has clarified how I need to better address each stage multiple times to evolve, as opposed to ‘finish’ and then redesign.

The IDEO toolkit, De Bont et al. (2013), Radcliffe et al. (2006) and Bennett (2003, 2006) have provided valuable ideas, examples and tools for use in my design processes. The readings and videos have connected library design with innovative ideas from every kind of space.

My immediate takeaways are:

Coffee meetups for co-designing, reviewing, insights and feedback

Incorporating gamer and/or makerspaces, even if it is only one afternoon a week

The importance of light, nature and acoustics

Thornburg’s Campfire’s to Holodecks to cater to all learning styles

Timely induction into new designs for students and staff

Use research and evidence to support risk

Share everything!



Bennett, S., Demas, S., Freeman, G.T., Frischer, B., Oliver, K. and Peterson, C. (2005). Library as Place:

Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources. Retrieved from

De Bont, C., den Ouden, E., Shcifferstein, R., Smulders, F. and van der Voort, M. (2013). Advanced Design

Methods for Successful Innovation. Design United. Netherlands. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/chochstrasser/Downloads/BontAdvanceddesignmethodsforsuccesfulinnovation2013.pdf

Oblinger, D. (2006). Chapter 1. Space as Change Agent. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from

Radcliffe, D., Wilson, H., Powell, D. and Tibbetts, B. (2009). Space – Learning Spaces in Higher

Education: Positive Outcomes by Design. Proceedings of the Next Generation Learning Spaces, 2008 Colloquium University of Queensland, Brisbane. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D. (2013). From the Campfire to the Holodeck: Creating Engaging and Powerful 21st Century Learning

Environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from


#INF536 Changing The Way Things Have Always Been

Because “Isolation is often the enemy of innovation” George Couros

The secondary library at the School In Question (SIQ) was refurbished in 2005, as part of the Building Education Revolution (BER). The library staff, teachers and students at the time were not consulted during the planning stage. The refurbishment occurred during the Christmas holidays and the changes presented in the new year as a fait accompli. No changes were made during the following 4 years.

 Following meetings discussing the roles of teacher librarians, the three TLs decided to make some relatively small, inexpensive changes, based on four observations.

  1. The library was underused and library borrowing, particularly fiction, was at an all-time low.
  2. When students did use the library, when assignments were due, the noise levels were quite high.
  3. The library did not have a 24/7 online presence.
  4. The library was essentially a joint-use library for academic research and reading for leisure, and needed to cater to both.

Each point was addressed as follows:

  1. Increasing reading for pleasure-

Informal surveys were conducted asking boys what they would like the library to stock to increase borrowing, resulting in a Visual Literature section being created containing graphic novels, manga and picture books, as well as a Biography collection. A magazine rack was purchased and new high interest magazines purchased.


Observations identified that there was insufficient comfortable seating for readers. New comfortable reading chairs were purchased and placed in close proximity to the magazine rack and Visual Literature collection, with a sign “Parking for book lovers only”.

Reading loungeparking

The TLs decided to actively market fiction, using constantly changing themed book displays, book talks, author visits and book trailers on a large TV screen.



  1. Noise levels-
    1. Students, particularly the seniors, valued the ability to collaborate and talk in the library, but also needed a space where they could work quietly and focus.
    2. The glassed in lab space was the easiest area to change to a quiet space, and the boys were reminded that it was now a quiet flow space, at the beginning of each break and signs were created.
    3. A dead space at the back of the library, previously unused because of lack of visibility, was designated a quiet space by adding chairs and dividers.
  2. Online presence-
    1. The TLs negotiated with the IT department to develop a library online presence, linked to every page on the school LMS.
    2. They ran information literacy classes across key learning areas (KLAs) and developed web pages, in collaboration with Heads of Department, to support the units of work.
    3. A Year 11 Information Processing Technologies class was invited to critique the web pages, surveying students and staff, as part of an assignment on webpage design.


The TLs were really pleased with the results of the changes made, particularly given the small costs involved, and have plans to build on them further.


Creative Coffee Meets x 2

Minder Chen, 2013

Setting up a Creative Coffee meet or two in a relatively short space time, leading up to the pointy end of term 3, was certainly challenging. Despite posting an invite on my personal Facebook page (hoping to entice an architect friend or two) and a Twitter post in #INF536, I was not able to get anyone to attend in time. And it was interesting to see that Brisbane does not have any Creative Coffee Meetups happening yet, and Teach Meets are few and far between, so it was time to get really creative.




Despite the fact that it was exam block, several Year 11s and 12s offered to attend a coffee meetup outside our Cafe Edmund before school, with  half a dozen Yr 10s. An email was sent out to members of our Tech department and to our maintenance guys, with one member from each area attending. I found out, quite serendipitously that our Head of Geography was meeting with the Head of eLearning and our IT manager later that morning to discuss options for designing the Geography rooms, so those three staff members were invited and attended for most of the meeting. A past student who tutors in the library in the afternoon, and is studying design this year at uni, also attended.

I posed the question to them all that if a stranger were to walk into any of our spaces, what would they think was being valued, to get the conversation started. The consensus was that the spaces demonstrated that the boys’ social interaction was not valued, nor their need to play, be physical or engage in idea sharing.


The boys were very engaged and eager to share ideas for areas that they believed we needed around the school. The Head of Geography raised the fact that our departments are all silos, with negligible interaction or sharing of innovative ideas, designs or thinking and especially minimal funding. The Head of eLearning was keen to arrange opportunities for staff to share their ideas about spaces and technology and the maintenance guy felt that we needed more social spaces for the boys to gather and physical spaces for them to interact with.

I tried tweeting ideas during the gathering, but the ideas were flowing so fast, that in the end, we shared pens and paper and everyone jotted down ideas as they flowed. Each of us contributed one thing that we would like to see in our school. The IT manager said one of the most interesting things…he wanted to remove the internet filter as it was too expensive, time-consuming and slowed everything down.



Because the requirement was to include others from outside the school community, I found a Jelly Meetup at The Edge at State Library of Queensland.


Despite only 4 people, myself included, responding to attend on the Friday afternoon, I found 11 guys already settled in working and talking, when I arrived. Being the only female was a little daunting at first, but once the conversation about the design of the new Apple phone and watch started, it was easy to discuss the design of spaces in schools. The guys (who came from a range of careers, including IT guys, computer programmers, university students, researcher and a sociologist) all agreed that they never experienced spaces at their schools, where their interests (gamer and maker spaces) or social needs were met, and were eager to contribute ideas and suggestions based on their experiences at school, uni and work.

When I fed back to the students the following week about the suggestions made by the Edge group, the boys were keen to visit some of the spaces suggested, to see them for themselves. They have also asked if we could have another creative coffee meetup next term, as several boys and staff members gathered around to hear what we were discussing, wanted to participate further.

I will definitely be taking the Creative Coffee Meet idea to my next school in 2015. This has been an amazing experience, which seriously took me out of my comfort zone.

#INF536 – Literature Critique Reflection

Well, it has been almost a week since I have been able to get back to INF536 for more than a cursory scan (why is it that every time I commence study, the balance of my world tips and suddenly instead of juggling full-time work, study and a bit of life, it becomes a circus tightrope act, whilst juggling, blindfolded, metres above the ground without a safety net?) My major stressor at present is to find a new home and move, in the next three weeks…or yes, and ensure that there is suitable accommodation for my 70 year old mom.

That aside, after reviewing my Task #4, I find myself in much the same state of mind as many of my peers and colleagues…not satisfied with my efforts, but accepting that a pass is sufficient. This is so totally at odds with 1. my Type A personality; 2. how totally enamoured I am with the whole concept of design thinking and the role of design in, well, EVERYTHING! and 3. my absolute NEED to constantly improve EVERYTHING. *sigh*

So here I am, stepping into the chasm that is 21 Century learning, putting my work out there knowing that I could have done so much better and yet, it was the best that I could do at the time. Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovations has resulted in my viewing learning through new lenses. I ‘knew’ that this generation use social media for an incredible amount of learning, and thought I was pretty social media savvy 🙂 but had never really considered using it for LEARNING or for the opportunities that we don’t allow our students to access, in schools. My seniors, past and present, have been astounded by the fact that so many of my peers share their work…

  • online,
  • before it is marked,
  • beyond the class group,
  • and (Heather Baillie, this one is for you! and all the rest, who have already made the leap) are willing to tweet the link and then watch as it is viewed by thousands around the world.

This truly is a remarkable course and an even more remarkable tribe of 21st Century learners, especially when you consider that most of us were born before the internet (that one always raises a gasp from students).

So, despite my anxiety (my relatively recent pacemaker is kicking in with each heart-stopping moment in #INF536), I have decided that I too need to take the kinds of risks that I would love to see my students take. I will post my Critique (even though it doesn’t really meet ‘critique’ criteria) and share it with my peers and whomever else chooses to read it.

Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovations is helping me take risks I never even considered taking before.

#INF536 is opening my eyes to a world I hadn’t really ‘seen’ before.

I have always loved the ‘creative types’. You know the ones… the genius in the Philipines who uses coke bottles, water and Clorox to bring light into shanty towns; the Dutch guy who loves rats and Africa so much, that entire communities are now living free of landmines and tuberculosis; the advertising campaigns that raise social awareness and more. I thought these people were just creative, but now I know that they are designers, thinking outside the box to problem-solve, in ingenious ways.

We are all designers, if we just open our minds and our hearts. THIS is the type of citizen that each and every one of us (and our students) has the potential to be, no matter the scale of the problem. To this amazing tribe of peers in #INF536, you inspire me!

I am so excited to be learning about design thinking, as I commence a new journey, at a new school, in a new role. The 21st Century is truly a remarkable time to be alive, if we could only see the opportunities it offers and grab them with both hands.


By Felipe Ascencio. 2012

By Felipe Ascencio. 2012


Skip to toolbar