Critical Reflection

Becoming that point of centrality….

The future of digital culture depends on how we use it (Rhiengold, 2014) and the future of my career as a teacher librarian (and educator) depends on my capacity to evolve in this ever changing climate of information, innovation and knowledge creation.

Rheingold’s concept of “centrality” and the potential for myself as a teacher-librarian to be a person of centrality in my school’s learning community and networks of knowledge really makes sense to me. I see it as an achievable goal. The time spent this semester participating in this subject: Concepts and Practises for a Digital Age has resulted in a more expanded and detailed understanding of what we are all currently experiencing in what has been described as a technological revolution or the Fourth Revolution – where we are changing our self-understanding (Floridi, 2012).I thought this view was a little too philosophical). ‘Networked Society’ –is what I prefer because it is a simple label recognising the networks that are being made as well as the social aspects of how people interact in digital spaces. Rheingold’s (2014) concept ‘Networked Awareness’’ works with a ‘Networked Society’ because it recognises the potential in being aware on the connections we are making and the ongoing, wonderful potential for creativity, knowledge sharing and innovation.

Through the professional reading that was provided in the modules and in my extended reading, mainly for the assessment tasks; I have increased my knowledge about the ideas and theories shared by  leaders in creativity, technological development, innovators in digital culture, educators ( including some ‘celebrity ‘ like TED talking educators –Sir Robinson) and  an international range of professionals that  have so eloquently explained how networks of knowledge are being developed in this Web 3.0 phase of the World Wide Web.

I have been able to synthesise in my Digital essay about Makerspaces – environments that facilitate innovation in Secondary schools, my knowledge about how; Robinsons (2011) theories about facilitating creativity will engage students in learning, collaboration, connecting and dialogue are powerful in learning in a digital age (Siemens, 2005), and learning through tinkering, making and engineering in Makerspaces could be our big  change to reignite curiosity in young people (Libow Martinez & Stager, 2013).

It is with this new knowledge on board that I have started to change my reaction to the digital culture surrounding me. My perspective is evolving. I have increased my Personal Learning Network significantly using more social media and digital curation tools. My use of Twitter has increased the most. I have found Twitter most beneficial in making connections with other like-minded and some far superior educational professionals. I am then continuing on by sharing new ideas with my learning community in my workplace. Through sharing I am connecting and through connecting I hope to become an innovator.


Floridi, L. (2012). The fourth revolution. The Philosopher’s Magazine, 96-101.

Libow Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Rheingold, H. (2014, Februrary). Network Awareness . Retrieved April 2014, from Vimeo:

Robinson, S. K. (2011). Out of Our Minds Learning to be Creative. United Kingdom: Capstone Publishing Ltd.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism:A learning theory for a digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 3-10.

Blog Task 4

In my first blog entry of this subject (and course) I identified the next step in my career and learning journey was to “ lead a community of learners into the digital world, enjoying opportunities to collaborate, create, find, organise and produce informative texts using new media and particularly (social media)”. I feel that I have begun to do this. I had heard of and done some reading in many of the concepts covered in this subject but the breadth of new technologies, writers, speakers and resources  I have been exposed to through the different modules has really been an eye opener.

There has been a few themes that have I consistently focused on because they really interest me; creativity, innovation, learning futures, collaboration and connectivity. These are obviously major themes in this subject and hence I have enjoyed all the modules.

My workplace is becoming more multi-modal. We are trying to mesh together the digital and physical learning spaces. We will be there I believe in about 5 years like described in Microsoft’s Future Vision – Live, Work Play. Currently we are designing new Year 7 buildings. It is exciting to start with a blank canvas. Our Principal is leading us in the process of including spaces where students can work collaboratively sharing their learning’s publically in the physical and digital environments. I feel that I have been able to make valuable contributions to these conversations because of the new knowledge and ideas I am currently being exposed to through my study.

In a recent book I read Change Your Mind -52 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Self there was a section on controlling technology. Rod Judkins (Chapter 14, 2013) commented that “to live creatively, you have to be at the forefront of new developments, not lagging behind” and to “embrace technology because it brings new ideas”.  I think being creative is fun, beautiful and clever. I am learning more about technology and am using it more; I don’t expect to always be in control of it though. I look forward to continuing this journey with a creative flair.

So, over the next couple of weeks I will compose my digital essay about Makerspaces (a great finale for the subject) and then I look forward to next semester participating in the subject “Designing Spaces for Learning” whilst we construct our year 7 buildings and develop plans for our Library renovations.


Microsoft’s Future Vision -Live, work, play. (2013). Retrieved May 2014, from YouTube:

Judkins, R. (2013). Change your mind: 57 ways to unlock your creative self. London: Hardy Grant Books.

“The revolution in asking and answering questions” – Wow!

After seeing Judy’s note ‘don’t miss watching this video’ I thought ok this is going to be interesting. I was not disappointed by the TED talk “The revolution in asking and answering questions”. I was amazed how obvious some of the Daniel Russell’s observations and tips were but I hadn’t thought of approaching Google and its tools like that.  One needs to take into account that it is Russell’s job to investigate and analyze Google users’ habits and practices in an effort to improve the search experience, but it’s all so applicable to classroom use too.

I have accessed Project Gutenberg before for reading books but not to search its text. I have also discussed different genres of websites with students, looked at locations through Google Earth and through our discussions about digital media touched on the use of emoticons.

I hadn’t heard of the Control F technique, or used data sets like Russell illustrates Neither had I tried inserting a picture into the Google search bar.

A few key messages that I took away from this video are

•Teachers and students need to frame questions differently and we need to query reality.

•The importance of basic skills  like

“Learning how to ask the right question &

Know what tools exist to help answer questions.”

•Stay curious – all of us.

This is definitely being shared with my school’s teaching community.

Russell, D. (2014, April 29). The revolution in asking and answering questions. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from YouTube:

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.

Digital Essay Proposal

Digital Essay Topic Proposal

Topic: Makerspaces – environments that facilitate creativity in Secondary schools

Digital Tools and Spaces to be used:

I will create an additional page in my Thinkspace Blog. I am optimistic in my expectation that familiarity will lead to creativity and innovation with the construction of an interactive digital essay.

I plan to use a variety of tools including, YouTube, Flickr, podcasts, Vimeo, TED talks and constructed images.


A Makerspace (or hackerspace) “… is an environment where creative, legal, technical and other interested people join together to work on, think about and talk over a wide variety of subjects. “Some of these projects are really practical, others are more “because we can”. What is always the same is our goal to gather knowledge, work together and share our knowledge”, thus, founder of Hackerspace Frack, Jildou Gerritsma (as cited by Hackerspaces/ Flux, 2014)

A common problem in Secondary schools is disengaged students. Another challenge is being able to allow students to truly be creative and let their innovative thoughts shine- they often share these thoughts in out of school learning communities but not in the school space where teachers can observe. Makerspaces are designed to engage students’ curiosity, make them the centre of learning and provide time and space for collaborative creation and innovation.

This digital essay will allow myself as an educational professional and teacher-librarian, the opportunity to share knowledge and considered judgements about an innovative movement that encourages participatory and creative learning and can be integrated into my workspace.

In this digital essay I intend to describe:

1.       What is a Makerspace?

2.       The concepts and theories behind this movement of Makerspaces (And Hackerspaces -mentioning the influence)

3.       Examples of Hackerspaces and Makerspaces around the world and evaluate how well they are facilitating creativity.

4.       How Makerspaces can be incorporated into the Secondary Library environment and digital learning culture.

5.       The anticipated benefits/learning outcomes of Makerspaces.


Hackerspace/Open. (2014, March). Retrieved May 2014, from Hackerspce/Flux:

Blog Task 3

I continue to enjoy reading everyone’s blog posts via the Blog Roll.

I have left a comment on Trish Buckley’s post The desire to lurk versus the value of participating.

Trish, I want to change from a lurker to a leader.  Before beginning this course I had just dipped my toe into Social Media, I tended to have a look around, a good think, use a few ideas but wasn’t confident to share a lot or publish. I had only published what I had to for post graduate study purposes. What I found was that I didn’t feel connected to the communities I was observing.

I too have observed the sometimes negative on goings on OZTLnet. I have used that forum personally only to ask about a specific resource. The negative on goings I have observed have often occurred by misunderstandings and assumptions. I agree with you that we need to be very careful about what we do publish.

My use of Twitter for my PLN has exploded tenfold over the last two weeks. I chose to focus on one type of social media to begin with and went with Twitter because it is so widely used and we were using it already for our TweetMeets .I watched for a day or two, retweeted some great posts and then after participating in a Tweet Meet put my hand up and have since constructed a few tweets or made comments on sites. One of my Tweets got retweeted by SCIS – I was surprised how pleased I was. I am being followed by more people and am using it to connect with others. I have chosen to keep Twitter for mainly professional use.

Rheingold as included in our introduction to Module 3 says that the future of digital culture depends on how we use it. We are all digital citizens who do have a responsibility to contribute to knowledge networks in a fair and productive manner.

I have made small attempts at engaging students to use social media like tools at school. I have been surprised how hesitant older students are. They will share nearly everything out of school but once it is in the school environment they ask questions like “Do we have to? Is it being assessed? Who is seeing this information?”. Maybe they don’t think it’s cool. I am now going to take a refreshed and motivated new attempt as I am now understand the benefits even more through the modules we have been studying.

Rheingold, H. (2014, Februrary). Network Awareness . Retrieved April 2014, from Vimeo:

I also commented on Andrew Pinelli’s post Knowledge Networks.

I too found the Introduction to Module 3 engaging. I think coming off the end of all our research for the Scholarly Book review and some thinking time after Modules 1 &  2 we can all see where the concepts (including Rheingold’s ideas) fit in.

During the research for my review of Ken Robinson’s: Out of Our Minds” I came across an interesting Australian study Developing creativity: Aligning community, learning and teaching practices by Swirski, Wood and Solomindides (2008) which outlined the importance of communities where “knowledge creation” takes place. They defined creativity as “the capability to respond to change by analysing, applying and expanding knowledge.”( Swirski, 2008 p. 320) and  Knowledge creation” – the ability to select, apply and expand knowledge. They explained that in communities where collaboration is valued, there was an increase in the complexity and relevance of resources that assist in creative, innovative outcomes (and knowledge creation).

I think the publication of the findings and conclusions of knowledge creations in open ways on the net has a big impact on the perception that more knowledge and innovative thought are occurring. Also it is highly possible that the increasing complexity and diversity of the knowledge networks due to the interactive nature is having a positive effect on the quality of knowledge being created.

Swirski, T., Wood, L. & Solomonides,I (2008). Developing creativity:Aligning community, learning and teaching practise. Engagaing Communities. Proceedings of 31st HERSDSA Annual Conference, 318-328.

Rheingold’s concept of “centrality” and collaborative societies

As I watched the interview titled “Network Awareness” with Howard Rheingold in the introduction of Module 3, I began to eagerly anticipate what  is going to be included in the chapters of the module.

In my workplace, a group of forward thinking teachers are trying to get our learning community to use social media more and benefit from the joys of collaboration. A lot of concepts that Rheingold speaks about  have so much potential for our digital culture.

Rheingold commented that the future of digital culture depends on how we use it. I want my learning community to use the digital environment in a more authentic, innovative, creative and collaborative manner.

To help this happen I think that as the teacher-librarian and a member of the extended leadership team, I need to put my self out there as a point of “centrality” by sharing ideas that I gather from my  developing PLN and social media contacts.So to help facilitate this I need to connect well with different social networks, introduce different networks to others and help form bridges between networks.

Great to have goals!!


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”.



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 from

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:

Siemens, G. (2013, September 26th). George Siemens: Changing Schools, Changing Knowledge. Retrieved March 31st, 2014, from YouTube:

Finding Treasure in ‘Trove’

The most common reason I have use Trove for in my work is when I have an uncommon resource to catalogue that My aide can find on SCIS or any of our other references for cataloging.

The width of open content on this site is fantastic. Even though catalogue  records are protected under copyright, one can obtain an indication of an appropriate Dewey number, subjects and new subjects that are evolving. Trove is my first point of contact for adding metadata to our school library catalogue.

I haven’t used the other tools like the newspapers, but I now know about them and will share this information with others. There are also so many more opportunities to contribute. Talk about a collective knowledge network.