March 2015 archive

Assessment 3 – Blog Post 2

Digital Information Ecology

In the video The global one room schoolhouse, John Seely Brown said that in the past we got answers from books but now we can get answers from networks. This is not an earth shattering statement to me because I have witnessed and been part of this shift towards a new digital information ecology over the past 18 years in schools. In 2013 I heard Tony Richards speak at a conference and he asked us to look at our learning nodes growing up and today. See the image below. This exercise made me realise that students today are learning a great deal outside of school and usually with technology. School libraries are well placed to provide a bridge between old and new approaches to learning.

Photograph by Karen Malbon

Learning nodes. Photograph by Karen Malbon

School libraries have always provided students with opportunities to explore their own interests, learn and play with books, board games, puzzles and craft. New tools in the network age now enable students to play and tinker with computers, mobile technologies, social media and online communication.

In an address at Innovation and Technology in Education, John Seely Brown said “play is a place of permission and a space of invention, where we can try things out and have permission to fail.” I believe this place should also extend to teachers. Over the years I have come across teachers and teacher librarians who felt left behind, anxious and unsure about technological advances. If willing, schools and the school library can provide the two elements that are essential to a new culture of learning as described by Thomas and Brown (2011) “The first is a massive information network that provides almost unlimited access and resources to learn about anything. The second is a bounded and structured environment that allows for unlimited agency to build and experiment with things within those boundaries”

In the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition one of the key trends over the next two years was rethinking the role of teachers.
Teachers are increasingly expected to be adept at a variety of technology-based and other approached to content delivery, learner support, and assessment; to collaborate with other teachers both inside and outside their schools; to routinely use digital strategies in their work with students; to act as guides and mentors to promote student-centred learning; and to organise their own work and comply with administrative documentation and reporting requirements.
Teachers no longer hold all of the power for student learning. Students can obtain information from a variety of sources, using a variety of devices. “The role of teacher becomes less a conduit and director, and more a facilitator and guide, enabling the initiative to be taken, productively, by the student” (Haste, 2009, p. 216) John Seely Brown takes this a step further saying that not only can teachers be mentors but students can too. Reverse mentoring could see a student acting as a mentor to their teacher, parent or grandparent for example. Some may find reverse mentoring unsettling but I think it would help to foster valuable relationships with students.

The school library has an important leadership role to play in supporting the learning of teachers and students as they explore different forms of technology and the constantly changing tools available in our digital information ecology.



Brown, J. S. [DMLResearchHub]. (2012). The global one room schoolhouse [Video file]. Retrived from

C-Span. (2013). Innovation and technology in education, panel 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Haste, H. (2009). What is ‘competence’ and how should education incorporate new technology’s tools to generate ‘competent civic agents’. The Curriculum Journal, 20(3), 207-223. doi: 10.1080/09585170903195845

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-life learning. In A new culture of change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace.

Digital Literacy

My mother is tech-savvy

My mother is tech-savvy. Photograph by Karen Malbon

I remember reading the Prensky (2001) article many years ago and wondering where I fit in. I wasn’t a digital native, born eight years earlier but didn’t feel like a digital immigrant. I am Generation X and part of the MTV generation. I have always immersed myself in technology and am not fearful of it. I have also observed students who were considered digital natives struggle with the use of technology or simply preferred other pursuits. In my opinion, the digital native and digital immigrant terminology is a broad generalisation.

Downes (2012, p. 7) said
When faced with questions, students today find answers within seconds using Google or  other search engines. When they want to acquire a new skill, they watch a YouTube video to learn it. When requiring further consultation, they tap into an electronic forum or social network that provides them access to myriad others who share their interests.
My mother is 65 years old, has never worked with computers and she does all the above. Two years ago my mother got an iPad. My sisters and I have helped her along the way and she still refers to us as the “help desk” but now she is a confident user of a variety of apps, Facebook and YouTube. On Facebook she shares photos with her family and friends, swaps knitting and crochet patterns, gives advice and tells stories with caravan and travel groups from all over the world and watches videos on YouTube to learn new craft skills. My mother proudly tells me that she knows more than her friends do about Facebook.
I prefer Stoerger’s (2009) melting pot description than Prensky’s digital native and digital immigrant description.
The melting pot also symbolizes the bridge between the two cultures that the  digital native–digital  immigrant dichotomy creates. Through assimilation, individuals who lack the skills could be transformed into members of the tech–savvy culture and become incorporated into a
common “life.”
Stoerger’s description takes into account individual differences and the wide range of skills people of all ages possess or are prepared to develop. I plan on using the term tech-savvy from now on to describe my mother.


The following clip shows some seniors on their way to becoming tech-savvy.



australia13i8ia. (2014, January 16). Tech savvy seniors [Video file]. Retrieved from


Downes, J. M., & Bishop, P. (2012). Educators engage digital natives and learn from their experiences with technology. Middle School Journal, 43(5), 6-15.


Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5). Retrived from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf


Stoerger, S. (2009). The digital melting pot: Bridging the digital native-immigrant divide. First Monday, 14(7). Retrieved from


Linked Data

Everyday when I search Google I see the knowledge graph. I had never considered how it was put together until now. It is a good example of linked data. I can see how data has been drawn from various sources so that relationships an be explores. Being more aware of linked data, I spotted the following reference via an RSS feed. Ending the Invisible Library: linked data . The article discusses Google’s Knowledge Graph in relation to libraries. MARC records cannot be read in the current search engine environment so most library data is not available via search engines. Kevin Ford was the project coordinator in the Network development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress and he said “What we need to do is not just talk amongst ourselves better, but we need to start communicating or formatting our data in such a way that we can be visible and seen by…other large organizations, such as the Facebooks and the Yahoo!s and the Bings and the Googles” of the world. (Enis, 2015) The article argued that libraries should support linked data because it produces better results for users and improves library web visibility. I will be watching with keen interest how libraries and linked data develop.


Example of Google’s Knowledge Graph

Google Knowledge Panel

By Google (Google web search) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Enis, M. (2015). Ending the invisible library: linked data. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Assessment 1 – Blog Post 1

Current knowledge
I am comfortable working and living in a digital world. At home and at work I use a variety of digital tools and cannot imagine being without my computer, iPad, iPhone and digital SLR camera. I addition I have a Smart TV, Apple TV, Tivo, Kindle and a variety of software applications to support my hobbies, work and study. One part of the digital world that has never appealed to me is gaming. I can see the benefits gaming has to education and am open to learning more about it.

Photography is important to me and it is an area very susceptible to the digital dark age I enjoy the process of taking photographs, digitally processing them and digitally sharing them. I am paranoid about losing my digital files and have multiple back ups stored in different locations and still print many of my photographs as small prints or make photo books. I believe it is important to format shift. At the beginning of my career in the early 1990s, I worked as an audio-visual librarian and dealt with different video formats. Our library even had a videodisk collection, a technology that was quickly overtaken by DVDs. Bollacker (2010) did remind me to consider the issue of the loss of software to read files. It would be terrible to have all your files saved but have no means of making them into actual photographs or usable documents.

I tend to agree with Nichole Pinkard who said in the video Rethinking learning: the 21st century learner (MacArthur Foundation, 2010, December 1) “I think kids are born consuming media but I don’t think kids are born producing media”. She believes that children are not born digital natives but are influenced or inspired to produce digital media by a parent, friend or an opportunity presented to them. In my current work situation I think most students would be learning about digital media away from school. Opportunities at school are increasing but have been limited up until recently. I am still coming across teenagers in my library who are not comfortable dealing with technology and ask for guidance to print, photocopy and use software. I think it is naive to assume that all teenagers are experts in today’s digital environment.

Retrieved from of my learning

I am teacher librarian at the senior campus (VCE – years 11 and 12) of a multi-campus P-12 independent school. Our library staff are spread across campuses so we work independently and as a team.  My focus will be on the impact and use of digital and mobile technologies in a secondary school setting. I like experimenting with a variety of tools and working out which are most useful. I enjoy teaching others about technology and willingly share my learning at my workplace and on social media. I have promoted websites such as Europeana, Google Books and Trove to students and staff at my school.

Personal aims
I want my students to be critical and ethical 21st century learners with print and digital resources. I want to help teachers make decisions about tools, resources and strategies to utilise with their classes. My aim is to broaden my knowledge of the theory and examine the practical applications of a digital learning environment so that I can become a digital leader.

There will be challenges. How do I transfer this knowledge to my workplace. How do I encourage time poor teachers to embrace change and in turn get their students to embrace change. How do I influence my school to address the needs of 21st century learners?  How can I become an effective leader in digital media and literacy?


Bollacker, K. D. (2010). Avoiding a digital dark age. American Scientist, 98(3). doi: 10.1511/2010.83.106

MacArthur Foundation [macfound] (2010, December 1). Rethinking learning: the 21st century learner [Video file]. Retrieved from

Assessment Item 1 – OLJ Task

Social networking involves people sharing their interests, ideas and opinions in a common space. Before the internet, this common space may have been at a dinner party, a work function or a club, but today it happens online. Over the last decade these online social networking spaces have evolved to cater for different environments, age groups, professions and interests. People are able to connect with their family, friends and colleagues over vast distances at very little cost.

My introduction to social networking technologies was Facebook in 2007. I joined because my friends invited me. I have just looked back at my early posts and I mostly shared photos of celebrations and holidays. My use of Facebook increased when I got an iPhone and an iPad. I belong to special interest groups for the sports and hobbies I enjoy, use it to plan social events, share interesting articles, videos and images. While I follow some professional bodies on Facebook, mostly it is a personal place and a way to stay in touch with my friends and family. As a teacher librarian I am very aware of my professional role and I have strict privacy settings.
My interest in photography meant that I was drawn to Flickr in 2008. I fell out of love with it for a while but have returned to using it. The pictures I post and the groups I belong to on Flickr are of a personal nature. I do use Flickr for work and study to source creative commons images.
At first I was sceptical of Twitter so I didn’t start using it until 2012. Encouraged by people in my personal learning network, I decided to lurk for a little while by following people in the library field. It wasn’t long before I got the courage to post some tweets and take part in a Twitter chat. I have found Twitter to be a great source of professional learning. More recently I started to follow many of my personal interests on Twitter and this year I will be using it for study purposes. Towards the end of 2014 I started a Twitter account for my school library.
I also dabble in Instagram, Diigo, Pinterest and Goodreads.

By completing INF506, I expect to learn how social networking can be implemented in a library setting. As a teacher librarian I hope to explore the impact social networking has on young people and how school libraries can best utilise it. While I am comfortable using many social network tools for personal use, I would like to learn more about the policy decisions that need to be considered in a library setting.


This is one of my photographs that reminded me of the Twiitter logo.

Getting Started with my Masters

I graduated with my Bachelor of Education (Secondary) – Library and Information Studies degree in 1993. The world wide web was in its infancy as I embarked on my library career. Most of my early digital learning took place on the job by reading, attending conferences and experimenting with new tools and technologies. It was an exciting time to be involved in education and libraries. As part of my professional learning I did a number of online courses and found that they were suited to my learning style. I caught the travel bug in my twenties and took up photography as a hobby about ten years ago so these pursuits, along with my work have kept me busy and very happy. Last year I felt it was time for a new challenge, the time seemed right to return to study. The general Masters of Education courses offered by other universities didn’t appeal to me greatly, so I was excited when I started investigating the Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). Nervous but extremely excited about getting my Masters started.

Lake McKenzie

Ready to get my feet wet. Photograph by Karen Malbon