Knowledge Networks: establishing and setting purposes.

A ‘Knowledge Network’ can be defined as  “Resources and learning experiences shared among a network of non-profit organizations and colleagues who aim for continuous learning and building of expertise to improve outcomes and increase impact.”(scanpo, 2011)

Knowledge networks should be formed around a specific issue or general set of values. The form of a network should follow it’s function.The network needs to be facilitated by an identifiable co-coordinator. It is built  on relationships and interactions between members. New tools should be used to allow for innovative, collaborative and creative behaviours.

The purpose of the knowledge network needs to be made explicit , objective and justified. The purpose can be long-term, instrumental in achieving goals and /or fluid. When working well it can be part of the connective tissue of a society that allows for organisational innovation and change. Knowledge networks are able to manage knowledge, amplify knowledge, assist with advocacy, build communities, and make resources mobile. Through knowledge networks we want to motivate people who used to be the audience to now start participating.

Resources

Hearn, S., & Mendizabal, E. (2011). Not everything that connects is a network. ODI Background note

scanpo. (2011, July). Knowledge network guidelines. Retrieved May 2015, from scanpo:together for good sc association for non profit organisations: http://www.scanpo.org/building-the-knowledge-network/knowledge-network-guidelines/

Shirky, C. (2010). Means. In Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age. (pp. 31-64) New York: Penguin Press.

‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’: an important video to view

Watching the TED talk ‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’by Eli Pariser reinforced for me the important role of the teacher-librarian in schools and also network and social media literacy (Rheingold,2010).   As a connected educator I need to be aware of where I sit in the internet, how my choices (of what I am clicking) effect the information I am viewing.  I have noticed regularly on Facebook and Twitter the number of suggested or similar posts come up.

you and internet Capture

(Pariser,2013)

The information conveyed by Pariser reinforces too all the warnings we give to students about overusing Google. if they keep on clicking on “junk food ” sites they are going to get more “junk food” sites next search.  Students’s ‘crap detection’ radars are going to have to work double time.

In the last twelve months in my role of as a teacher-librarian I have been using Peartrees to curate sites for topics that are taught.  We then catalogue these collections in our Library catalogue. There has been mostly positive responses to us doing this. A few teachers have complained that the students should find the sites themselves. It is my view that if the student bothers to find the Library’s curated collection and use the sites, its a good thing. The sites can act as a beginning point and may be a lot better than those that are being blocked by their own “filter bubble”. Hopefully my curated collections meet the Pariser’s recommendations for internet sites.

filter bubble important Capture

(Pariser, 2013)

pearltree collection Capture

Pearltree curated collections

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention and 21st-century social media literacies. Educase review, 14-24.

6 New Tools

I have chosen 6 new tools to try out,  start using and get involved in over the next month ( and beyond).

I don’t follow or comment on many blogs or wikis. I am going to choose ones that are relevant to my work in school libraries.

The first is the TL virtual cafe       http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/

I am keen to learn more about Makerspaces so I am going to follow some blogs on this topic

http://jchild.edublogs.org/

I will seek out more blogs about Makerspaces. I think here might be a good starting point http://renovatedlearning.com/makerspace-resources/

Content curation is a skill I want to develop. I have a login to Scoopit, but don’t use it. I want to use Pinterest more. I would like to share want I curate through my Twitter account.

To help organise my reading I am going to start using a reader program – Google reader or Diigo.

LinkedIn is something I hear other educators praise . I am thinking it may be worth more investigation.

Network Literacy; McClure and Rheingold

McClure( 1994) and Rheingold (2012) both refer to ‘Network Literacy’ in their comments about the development and implications of the internet.  It is great to remember that these comment where made nearly twenty years apart from each other.

McClure was observing the start of a more networked society. His comments are quite simple in comparison to Rheingold’s who has had the opportunity to see the range of the internet grow. McClure focused on a person’s ability to retrieve, manipulate and use the information that they access from the internet.

Rheingold has too mentioned the importance of network literacies, and in particular social media literacies such as attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness and critical assumption (2010). In the videos about network literacy he focuses on the observations of social networks and social capital.  Rheingold and other academics have observed and created formulas that explain how the social value of networks has increased due to the way people can access and interact. This is due to the new tool, apps and infrastructure that have allowed people to form groups.  There has been a cultural and economic shift.

Social capital or as Rheingold describes it; is the ability for people and/ or groups of people to get things done without money or the involvement of an institution. The power of many versions of social media to help people to organise political groups and movements, to draw likeminded scientists together to solve medical research problems, students to form study groups which are accessible 24 hours a day. The possibilities are endless and exponential,  like Reed’s Law describes.

Reflections on “Defining the connected educator”

Reflections on Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Pg 13.

Moving from co-operation to collaboration

My online study over the last eight years has played a major role in being a collaborator. As a student learning together with other students I have learned to appreciate the value of collaboration and forming networks of knowledge.

I don’t think I have moved beyond co-operation to collaborating completely as I need to share more and engage in more online conversations outside of the online university spaces.  Trying to get students and other teachers in my school community to collaborate is still very much a work in progress.

For 21st century learners collaboration is expected now to move forward and become part of a learning or professional network. Their traditional learning experience can be expanded so much. The place of social media will be expanded and more complicated. I think 21st century learners will need to engage with these platforms.

Pg. 17

Multiliterate?

This reflection activity was definitely a bit of a wakeup call; I need to actively increase my ability to engage students in real-life and global situations and continue to promote reflection with collaborative tools.  I need to make my learning environments richer in technology. I intend to increase my use of Moodle in my teaching so this should help. I think I am a learner leader in my workplace and amongst colleagues, one of the main reasons though is because I age actively engaged in post-graduate learning. It was not surprising to me then that I got my highest score in the section about ‘engage in professional growth and modelling digital citizenship and responsibility. I didn’t score myself many 3’s ( and nothing above) so I clearly have some work to do.

Pg.21

The connected educator

My understanding of a connected educator is a professional who is a learner, leader and sharer in collaborative knowledge networks. They make purposeful decisions to engage with others online to learn more about educating people. They encourage others to do the same as well. A connected educator helps create powerful knowledge networks with other connected educators.

“A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator” includes many connections with knowledge networks. I think when we truly become connected educators; sharing becomes part of our nature and not an over-thought task. I still have to make a conscious effort to share – I do wonder often if I am sharing the right sort of material.

A new culture of learning

Thomas and Brown’s article Arc-of-Life Learning  describes a new culture of learning that has evolved with the development of technology .It involves a digitally networked infrastructure where learners interact, form connections and collaborate whilst accessing the huge information network on the internet whilst participating in a variety of structured social media formats or web 2.0 tools.

As an adult  learner who is participating in my second online University course in less than ten years I can say that I have experienced this learning culture. Some of it has been supported by online forums on the university sites and at other times on social media eg. Twitter. Working in an online world I have reached out through this media.  This seems a common element in the stories shared in this article.

As an educator though, I have seen the education system be slow to take advantage of these opportunities in the digital world. Students don’t always share openly, unless they have to for an assessment task. I think it takes some practice and students have to experience the positive feelings and success described for themselves.

I know that students interact in this culture of learning out of school for  personal interests eg. computer gaming and coding.We need to encourage them to create knowledge in this way for their school studies.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-Life learning. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

 

Creative Coffee Morning -Blog Task 4

Tweets blog task 4      facebook Capture

My Creative Coffee morning yesterday was a great opportunity to bring together a variety of people I know in different areas of my life who do think creatively; some didn’t realise just how much they do this. I had three teaching colleagues (each from a different subject area), a midwife (who works in health management), a director of a company who provides administration services for non-for –profit organisations and  a colleague’s sister (who I hadn’t met before) who manages a post office. This seemed to be a good mix of teachers and non-teachers, people that work in service industries and also people who make management decisions and those that don’t as much. As well as getting to know each other we had a lengthy and interesting conversation about creative cultures.

I had some noted some points to keep the discussion going:

▪Benefit s of a creative culture.

▪Features of creative workspaces.

▪Successful creative and innovative work spaces.

▪Do our environments allow for creativity?

▪How does learning happen in social interactions?

Throughout the meeting I introduced them to mind mapping and we shared our thoughts by creating mind maps as we talked. I did do this to collect their ideas but also just to do something creative together. This activity did attract a bit of attention in the café.

IMAG0567    IMAG0568

We ended up discussing

▪User-needed designing processes compared to just discussing types of buildings.

▪The effect of technology use on people’s creativity and learning – can be a positive and negative influence.

▪How policies and management can stifle intuition and creativity.

▪ The positive aspect of multidisciplinary teams; respect, support, trust, ability to take risks

▪What creative workspaces feel like and look like; colourful, welcoming, efficient, ’homely’, enjoyable, confidence biding, opinions are valued, sense of ownership.

▪What is creativity; not just artwork- it is problem solving, coming up with new ideas, adaptability.

The feedback received from the group following the coffee morning was very positive; great coffee and conversation, learning while socialising was enjoyable, enjoyed meeting new people and we knew more about creativity than we thought.

I have made a comment on these other Blog  #4 posts

Miriam’s

Patricia’s

Margaret’s

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.

References

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: http://vimeo.com/86182564

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.

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”.

 

Attiributions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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