Month: August 2016

Connections for Learning

Last week I wrote the following in our subject forum when thinking about how I might incorporate some learning from experts via Skype:

Forum Post

I found Silvia Tolisano’s blog posts really inspiring. I think I could get easily carried away with the exciting event of a Skype expert visit without developing the learning design around it. Tolisano’s setting of context and the diversity of learning experiences she describes are rich and important. Her students learnt not only from the information their guest shared, but also how to pose questions, conduct themselves in different roles, converse politely with an adult expert, use social media conventions and to document and reflect on their learning. Her statement that “No lesson, no event and no learning should stand alone” is a great mantra that may be used to ensure learning is contextualised and meaningful.

Year 6 students at my school are preparing their final PYP exhibition and as a mentor, it has given me the chance to consider experts who might assist students in their preparation for their presentations. I am hoping to set up two interviews with people relevant to topic areas students are investigating. My challenge at the moment is making the connection happen with busy competing schedules. Fingers crossed it is something I can manage. Having not done this before it is an exciting prospect.

Following this post I have since conducted a Skype interview with one group of students with an athlete and Exercise Physiology university student relevant to their study of technology in sport. We prepared questions, considering ideas that might not be Googleable responses, so the students’ questions illicited answers about personal experience and educated opinion that they would not have found in traditional searches for information. We recorded the interview for students to use to inform their process as well as to potentially use sections for multimedia aspects of their exhibition presentation.

The second expert opportunity has even more exciting promise, with the expert offering to visit next week while in the local community and with the possibility of further interaction with the school to workshop innovative design for people with disability. This is an exciting prospect and I’d have to say these events are really energising for me as a teacher to see the potential for learning that such interactions with connections in the broader community might have for students.


Tolisano, S. 2011. Lang witches blog post: Framing a Skype learning experience. Retrieved from…/framing-a-skype-learning-experience

Network Literacy – Module 3.1


Image attribution: Gerd Altmann. Retrieved from Pixabay

How do McClure and Rheingold’s views on network literacy differ?

What do you see as having changed between these authors’ definitions of being ‘network literate’?

McClure’s 2004 network literacy focus was on information and being able to interpret and manage information in its connected digital context. In 2009, Rheingold emphasised the power of the human aspect of the networks, being able to connect with others to make an impact on the world through a global digital context.

The essential element of change that would seemingly impact the difference in these two researcher’s perspectives is the advancement of the internet from an entity based on a one-way flow of information, to a two-way interactive network providing scope within web 2.0 for users to interact with and impact the flow of information. Now, even more so than in 2009, the internet has evolved further to fully integrate an online life into our real world existence.

Although an integrated digital life has become the norm for many, others still engage in daily lives quite effectively without tapping in to the rich network of information and connection that is now at our fingertips and would argue that there is little reason for them to do things differently. However, there are very few jobs of the future that will exist without the necessity for people to be flexible, adaptive, connected, creative problem solvers and those reluctant to adapt may limit their options and find themselves without the skills to reinvent themselves amongst ongoing change. Educators who do not adapt their pedagogy to include some level of networking for learning, perhaps risk hindering their students’ preparation for continual societal change.

Lifelong learning is tiring! It is certainly not easy to try and remain vital in a world that won’t stop still; however, personal networks that support each individuals’ needs are likely to ease the burden, create social connection for learning together and provide networkers with time-saving resources and connections from whom answers and advice can readily be sought.


McClure, C. R. (1994). Network literacy: A role for libraries? Information Technology    and Libraries, 13(2), 115-125.

Rheingold, H. (2009).  Network literacy part one: The internet’s architecture of    freedom. Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2009). Network literacy part two: Sarnoff, Metcalfe, Reed’s    Laws. Retrieved from


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