Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator program

Last year a colleague recommended that I apply for the MIEE program. I was in the middle of planning to head overseas on long service leave, writing lessons for my VCE History Revolutions class (a new course last year) and setting up instructions for managing the library in my absence, so I held off until this year.

MIEE cert

The application process requires a number of steps, the most daunting of which is a two minute film explaining why you should be considered and what you will do differently if selected. Two minutes is not very long and the hardest part was knowing what to leave out. It was tricky choosing an appropriate “vehicle” to deliver the message, but my approach was to tell a story and weave in my experiences with products such as OneNote, Office Mix for PowerPoint, Forms, Outlook and Teams.

Along with the required number of accrued points within the Microsoft Educator Community, a Sway introducing myself, and my participation in online discussions such as Tweetmeets, I managed to be selected. As one of just under 90 Australians on the list I feel honoured, and humbled.

MIEE letter

Approaching the events that 2017-2018 will hold is causing and much anticipation. I am especially interested in the professional learning which I may be able to access, and developing my skills to perform at a higher level in my school and beyond. The passion of those who are involved, or have gone before me is contagious!

Appraising calibre, authenticating content: (not AC/DC but AC/AC!)

We are living in an era where information is readily available, easily created, generally unedited or moderated, and widely shared. It is vital that readers have the capacity to appraise the calibre of content they encounter. Yet, it would appear that even students entering renowned universities cannot apply even the most basic of filters to images or documents presented to them (Weinberg, 2016).

Some simple starting points:

valenza-based-checklist
Based on Some Rules of Thumb – a guide to assessing online news and adapted to suit all types of information (Valenza, 2016).

Without applying a filter, or lens to what we read we run the risk of spreading misinformation, thereby perpetuating deliberately created and often specifically targeted fabrications which may be destabilising to governments or undermining to individuals. Far from choosing to be part of such a process, many are inadvertently passed on because people aren’t taking the time to evaluate sources (Tiffany, 2016).

Teacher-librarians such as Valenza promote their role as critical in educating more news literate and savvy information consumers. Tiffany states that this is more effective the earlier that students encounter such educators (Tiffany, 2016).

Coupled with the relatively recent rise in the spreading of “untruthiness”, is the concept held by many that free press equates to neutral information (Valenza, 2016). History teachers are adept at demonstrating that the underlying perspective of the creator, or interpretation of the historian affects the way in which the information s viewed. Much harder to teach, however, is the effect our own attitudes and biases affect the way in which we read and often lead us to ignore viewpoints that differ from our own (Valenza, 2016).

Teaching younger students about appraising calibre and authenticating content is made a little easier by using a resource such as the TED talk on “How to choose your own news” (Brown, 2014) – an engaging animation.

There is no doubt that there has been an exponential increase in the publication of extreme, untrue and misleading “fake news” since the rise of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, partly due to the fact that the number of clicks may equate to real income for the posters (Garun, 2016). This poses a real issue for the founders of such sites, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who has expressed concern at the site being forced into becoming arbiters of truth (Liptak, 2016). The sites on which such “untruthiness” is spread have become known for fostering click bait (Zimdars, 2016).

There have also been allegations that social platforms influenced election results in several countries in 2016 (Garun, 2016). This of itself may not be all bad – but it does indicate the serious need for teaching readers how to negotiate the publications of our time by understanding the underlying purpose of the publications to which they are exposed, and to question the authenticity of what they read, in much the same way that commercial transactions advise that the buyer must be aware. It is critical that leading universities such as Stanford do not continue to find that their students are vulnerable to fake news (Weinberg, 2016).

It is crucial that Australian students are able to learn within their own context about the ways this can be an issue locally, as well as seeing information relating to the United States in particular.  We need to be developing Australian resources to support teaching the necessary skills.

As a teacher-librarian and History teacher I am up for the challenge – are you? Join the conversation at #truthinessEDU

References

Brown, D. (Writer), & Harris-Norico, A. (Director). (2014). How to Choose Your News [Motion Picture]. TedED. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-to-choose-your-news-damon-brown

Garun, N. (2016, November 14). How social platforms influenced the 2016 election. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/14/13626694/election-2016-trending-social-media-facebook-twitter-influence

Liptak, A. (2016, November 13). Mark Zuckerberg warns about Facebook ‘becoming arbiters of truth’. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/13/13613566/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-misinformation-hoax-media

Tiffany, K. (2016, November 16). In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/16/13637294/school-libraries-information-literacy-fake-news-election-2016

Valenza, J. (2016, 26 November). Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from School Library Journal: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2016/11/26/truth-truthiness-triangulation-and-the-librarian-way-a-news-literacy-toolkit-for-a-post-truth-world/

Weinberg, S. (2016, November 26). Stanford Study Finds Most Students Vulnerable To Fake News. (K. McEvers, Interviewer) Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2016/11/22/503052574/stanford-study-finds-most-students-vulnerable-to-fake-news

Zimdars, M. (. (2016, November 15 ?). False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from http://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2016/11/Resource-False-Misleading-Clickbait-y-and-Satirical-%E2%80%9CNews%E2%80%9D-Sources-1.pdf

 

Colloquium 5

Professional Learning and Leadership

The fifth and final visitor led presentation came from Cathie Howe (https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathiehowe) who spoke to us about her work as Professional Learning and Leadership Coordinator, NSW DEC, & Manager Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre http://www.macict.edu.au/ .

MacICT

As we have come to expect from a Colloquium, we learned of another example of knowledge networking and digital innovation which is impacting on the skills of teachers throughout New South Wales. Cathie’s work is centred on meeting the needs of C21t learners by improving teaching and learning in the connected age. She shared this image to summarise this philosophy:

C21st learner

As with all of the colloquiums we have experienced, this presentation also revisited concepts from the first subject in our course (INF 530) such as future work skills which is the motivation behind MacICT.

Pic link to 530

(Institute for the Future, 2011)

Cathie’s presentation was delivered with enthusiasm and she was happy to digress in order to answer our questions. The fact that the colloquium continued beyond the allocated time slot was testimony that she had engaged our class with her material.

Despite Internet connectivity issues making themselves known in every session in a range of ways which were annoying rather than terminal, these sessions were a demonstration of the potential for anywhere, anytime learning which was different to the methodology of a flipped classroom or Khan Academy. The latter examples are more akin to sage on the stage teaching while our colloquiums have seen one or more presenters engage with people in real-time and through oral and text connectivity.

Plenty of food for thought in terms of applications to “classroom” teaching where the room has no walls!

Thanks are due to all the presenters for the semester. Thanks too to Julie for finding such a range of fascinating presenters to further our educational program.

References

Howe, C. [Host] (2015, September 24). Colloquium 5.

Institute for the Future. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from Institute for the Future: http://www.iftf.org/futureworkskills/

Macquarie University; Department of Education, New South Wales. (n.d.). MacICT. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from MacICT Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre: http://www.macict.edu.au/

 

 

 

What LMS should offer

What should an LMS offer?

By deciding to invest in a Learning Management System (LMS) educational institutions are expecting to see an impact on teaching and learning; they require that it generates a reasonable return for the money spent; that it is easy to use; and that it will provide data that leads to improved learning outcomes (Leaman, 2015, p. 1). Stipulations need to allocate uniform consideration to five necessary aspects: “interoperability, personalisation, analytics, collaboration and accessibility” (Straumsheim, 2015).

Often the reality of the system implemented falls short of the expectations and inherent limitations are often hidden. (Leaman, 2015, p. 2). This occurs because LMS are often set up to treat learning as a series of isolated incidents rather than a continuous process which builds on skills incrementally as the course progresses, and the nature of the learning delivery may be generic rather than personalised  (Leaman, 2015, p. 3).  Instructors may not use many functions of the system, and students do not engage as anticipated which compounds the issues as tangible learning is difficult to ascertain (Leaman, 2015, p. 4).

Viewing LMS in terms of learning enhancement needs to be undertaken with the understanding that an ecosystem of effective learning cannot be provided solely by the LMS, and educational institutions need to use such systems within their limitations (Leaman, 2015, p. 6). New iterations of LMS must focus on creating an environment where the parts fit together similarly to a child’s building blocks (Straumsheim, 2015). Whatever the components: assessment modules, or analytics, or others, support must be aimed at competency-based education (Straumsheim, 2015). If there are weaknesses, educators need to augment them by incorporating other tools and build onto what their LMS can achieve rather than replacing it with a different system (Leaman, 2015, p. 6). It is relatively common for faculty personnel to approach their LMS with caution, in a manner similar to someone involved in a “love-hate relationship” (Straumsheim, 2015).

Schools and universities should be prepared to use systems that enable users to move freely between public and private (or open and closed) spaces, and acquiring evidence of collaborations from anywhere online should be made possible (Straumsheim, 2015). New versions of LMS should be centred on the requirements and preferences of the students, whose learning they are intended to support (Straumsheim, 2015).

References

Leaman, C. (2015, August 20). What If Your Learning Management System Isn’t Enough? Retrieved from eLearning Industry: http://elearningindustry.com/learning-management-system-isnt-enough

Straumsheim, C. (2015, May 11). Brick by Brick. Retrieved from Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/11/educause-releases-blueprint-next-generation-learning-management-systems

 

 

 

LMS & Learning

Joining the Traveller’s Journey

(Thanks, Simon Welsh!)

In recently considering digital scholarship, and also reflecting on Colloquium 1 (Welsh, 2015), the potential of Learning Management Systems in comparison to their usage has presented itself as an issue worthy of academic investigation. Until hearing Simon speak passionately about the things many LMSs already measure, and those that could potentially be calculated and then applied to improving learning outcomes for students, I had not considered the possibilities, and these became clear (Welsh, 2015).

For many educators, the LMS is something that has been introduced into their working lives without explanation as to why it is needed, or what it can do for learning.  For secondary teaching colleagues, it has presented a platform for storing work for students, somewhere to host school-wide timetables, and more recently enable roll marking and report writing. Comparing the university LMS to that used at my recent schools has demonstrated some gaps, but the access to analytics, as referred to by Simon (Welsh, 2015), is not obvious to a learner in the former or a teacher in the latter.

Given that students have no say in the specific LMS required by their institution, to what extent do educators have choice in either system or what that system enables them to present (Islam, 2014, p. 253)? Do educators have freedom to create meaningful learning for their students or do the templates offered by the LMS constrain them; or is it incumbent on educators to build on what their LMS enables and augment the weaknesses (Leaman, 2015)?

Rekhari takes these concepts further by declaring that there is a chasm between learning design, technology and the LMS due to a combination of ineffective use by educators and flaws in the design of the systems (Rekhari, 2015, p. 12). She further questions whether the reasons that benefits that LMS intend to deliver to educational design are not entering praxis are the fault of the developers making the software hard to use, or the educators not proactively applying constructivist philosophies to their learning design (Rekhari, 2015, p. 13). She goes on to question whether LMSs are the barriers to educational change (Rekhari, 2015, p. 13).

This publication has led to much questioning of my own practices as an educator using an LMS – and has led to the realisation that beyond managing storage and retrieval of coursework, the other possibilities have not been considered. In order to further my understanding of what our school LMS can do I have requested time with one of the developers. To develop my understanding of practical analyses that already exist I have turned to Twitter, where I have engaged in meaningful dialogue with several professors in the Computer Science and Information Technology Department at RMIT, and who have sent me a document in which they compare Blackboard to Facebook in terms of supporting a specific online course in programming (Maleko, Nandi, Hamilton, D’Souza, & Harland, 2013). Additional reading has also been ongoing.

I “attended” the first Colloquium with a degree of disinterest predetermined on the basis of its description, and, due to Simon’s future predictions, it has intrigued me and started me on a learning journey I would never have predicted. This has proved not only interesting but potentially very useful, and will form the basis of my Case Study for Assignment 3.  From passive user to captivated challenger, I am now wondering if a different approach on my behalf could enable my development of a learning ecology for enhancing digital scholarship (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009, p. 248).

References

Greenhow, C., Robelia, B., & Hughes, J. E. (2009). Learning, teaching and scholarship in a digital age. Educational Researcher, 38(4), 246-259.

Islam, A. N. (2014). Sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with a learning management system in post-adoption stage: a critical incident technique approach. Computers in Human Behavior, pp. 249-261.

Leaman, C. (2015, August 20). What If Your Learning Management System Isn’t Enough? Retrieved from eLearning Industry: http://elearningindustry.com/learning-management-system-isnt-enough

Maleko, M., Nandi, D., Hamilton, M., D’Souza, D., & Harland, J. (2013). Facebook versus Blackboard for supporting the learning of programming in a fully online course: the changing face of computer education. Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, pp. 83-89.

Rekhari, S. (2015, August). The Chasm – learning design, technology, and the LMS. Training and Development, pp. 12-13. Retrieved from Australian Institute of Training and Development: www.aitd.com.au

Simkin, Margaret (2015, August 3): #2 http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/msimkin/2015/08/03/2/

Welsh, S. [Host] (2015, July 28). Learning Analytics: A Traveller’s Guide; Colloquium 2. Albury, Victoria, Australia.

 

 

 

 

PLE & PLN – it’s us!

Open and Social Learning according to Alec Couros:

An open course entitled Education, Curriculum, and Instruction: Open, Connected, Social using Free Ope Source Software through the University of Regina, was implemented in 2008. (Couros, 2010, p. 109). It was based on personal learning networks, and participants quickly realised the value of sustainable knowledge networks. This led to a context built around a series of events which quickly absorbed participants in an engaged community of participation (Couros, 2010, p. 110).

The theoretical foundations of the course were

The open movement (Couros, 2010, p. 111).

Complementary learning theories – social cognitive, social constructivism, andragogy, connectivism, and open teaching (Couros, 2010, pp. 112-115).

The primary learning environment was established collaboratively in the weeks preceding the course. The tools considered were:

Web CT (now Blackboard) – pros: familiar to students and the university had a strong infrastructure of support; cons: proprietary (modifications needed vendor support); directed learning favoured over constructivist; expensive licensing fees.

Moodle – pros: free; open source; modifiable, strong community support; touts a constructivist and social constructivist approach; available. Cons: needs PHP server infrastructure; requires technical expertise leading to hidden costs; software not as available as hoped; course-centric not student-centric; top-down instructivist approach.

Ning – pros: ease of use; freely available in 2008; familiar functionality similar to Facebook; community and individual privacy levels; user-centric spaces; content aggregation; communication tools. Cons: no wiki feature; awkward to add core content material.

Wikispaces – pros: senior, best-known and most stable of wiki providers; solid technical support; theme modification options; simple user interface – see http://eci831.ca/ (Couros, 2010, pp. 117 – 119).

The course required the establishment of a PLN, and it was mandatory that participants developed a personal blog/digital portfolio, participated in a collaborative wiki resource ( no longer active but was located at  http://t4tl.wikispaces.com; this is what happens when such a site is not paid for!) and completed a major digital project (sound like INF 530!) (Couros, 2010, pp. 119 -120).

The course was based on the following tools and interactions:

Synchronous activities: two events per week of between 1.5 and 2 hours in length; the first based on content knowledge (like our INF 537 colloquiums); the second on teaching skills (Couros, 2010, pp. 120-121).

Asynchronous activities: researching and blogging; shared bookmarking; artefact creation; participation in open professional development opportunities; creating content and uploading it to sites such as YouTube; microblogging; collaborative lesson design and contribution to the course wiki (Couros, 2010, pp. 121-122).

Knowledge networks and digital innovation’s forerunner?? Just like INF 530 and INF 536, students developed authentic, dynamic and fluid interactions both within the designated course spaces and in spaces they chose and shared themselves.

Defining Personal Learning Environments, and comparing them to Personal Learning Networks was an exercise undertaken by Couros through Twitter and recorded at http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/1156. Key agreement indicated that PLEs are the tools, artefacts, processes, and physical connections that allow learners to control and manage their learning (Couros, 2010, p. 125). PLNs explicitly include the human connections that result in the advancement and enabling of a PLE (Couros, 2010, p. 125).

Couros makes the following recommendations for those wishing to use PLNs for teaching and learning:

  • Immersion by participants
  • Social media literacy
  • Active contributions strengthen your PLN
  • Know your “followers” or “friends”
  • PLNs are central to learning for sustained and long-term growth in both facilitators and students(Couros, 2010, pp. 125 -126).

The participatory learning communities developed by courses such as the one Couros describes continue to exist because they are not based around courses per se, but around communal learning (Couros, 2010, p. 127). Those of us taking the Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation course can already attest to that in terms of the subjects we have already finished because for many of us the content continues to be shared and discussed. If Couros is correct, this course will never have to end – now there’s a challenge to my PLN!

Reference

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. In Veletsianos, G. (Ed.), Emerging technologies in distance education (109–128). Athabasca University: AU Press.

ICT Horizons

The NMC Horizon Report 2015 K-12 and links to Wang and Weller readings:

The current edition of the Horizon report can be found here and a commentary on what it means for education can be found at the Mind Shift blog. It is always thought provoking to investigate this report and much of the content resonates with the subjects I have taken as part of my course.

This diagram gives a brief overview of this year’s findings:

Challenges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The report this year sees integrating technology onto teacher education as solvable and cites the Finnish example of using Edukata (a participatory design model):

The more difficult, or wicked, challenge is scaling the models of teaching innovations(Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015, p. 1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2

Learning Analytics: A Traveller’s Guide

Anyone participating in the learning journey that is INF537 would have been intrigued by the title of Colloquium #2 (Welsh, 2015). The content, while very different in delivery from Colloquium #1 (Astbury, 2015), was equally thought provoking. Despite the title, data was not the only aspect covered, and the final comments indicated the incredible potential of learning analytics.

Simon’s opening comments related to his chosen title, as he pointed out that a traveller digs deeper than a tourist. He then commented that the interpretation and mining of data is an aspect of teaching and learning that is still sorting itself out.

For those who share an antipathy to using test scores to predict educational outcomes, Simon’s comments opened a door to improved educational futures. He explained that academic analytics are those used by institutions to aid with student management while learning analytics are interrogated to support learning and teaching for improved outcomes.

Investigating these concepts further indicates that data mining does not occur in a vacuum; it links to power and relationships; the capturing and sharing of data is in itself a development of knowledge capital (Weller, 2011, p. 43). Another aspect of such data is how it is managed and preserved (Weller, 2011, p. 43). Those generating the most data in a digital world are already privileged, and the rapidly expanding body of work is increasing the division between the haves and have-nots.

Simon referred to the example of the ATAR system and its use by schools to target areas that teachers need to improve, compared to its use by the MySchool website, where visitors choose a very different interpretation. This illustrated the importance of context and intent in such data collection and its subsequent use (Welsh, 2015).

There are three aspects of simplistic data use that cause concern:

  1. What does it mean for a student to be monitored in this way – is it profiling or determinism, as Hyacinth posted in the accompanying chat?
  2. The ethics of such use – who actually owns the data?
  3. The fact that teachers are being asked to interpret such data without training in data literacy (Liz Eckert).

It is also important to know how reporting systems are being used and where the data is coming from in order to give appropriate advice based on the conclusions that are being drawn. Much of the data comes from the vendors of Learning Management Systems, who have set up metrics based on ease of use. Algorithms based on the number of clicks or the amount of time spent on any given task are not really a measure of learning and need to be carefully interpreted. There is a big difference between measuring quantities of clicks and measuring the quality of engagement (Welsh, 2015).

The example of using Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to capture and mine data was very interesting. VLEs are vendor focussed and often simplistic in terms of the data they gather. Once an institution has invested in providing a VLE it can be stuck with that specific product, as migrating to another platform is expensive and time consuming (a point noted and discussed by several classmates). Weller considers that introducing VLEs has led to the educational institution losing control of data to the manufacturer, and cites the example of Blackboard trying to patent many core e-learning concepts (Weller, Digital Resilience, 2011, pp. 170-171). Andrew questioned consideration of other products as a replacement, notably Moodle, which is open source.

An example Simon explored in some detail was the use of subject forums, such as those used within the Charles Sturt Blackboard internet, and, in the case of my workplace SIMON (School Information Management on the Net). If students have to participate in online forums within their VLEs then a tool to measure this must be able to “read” the type of material being entered. In this way, within an hour of the posted comment a scaffold into deeper learning could be generated, problems within comments across the group can be alerted to the educator, and extra reading could be suggested to those requiring additional explanation, or extension.

This type of monitoring could lead to an easy citation mechanism for resources utilised, which, as Greg commented, would be “referencing heaven”. It is in these potentially positive contributions to learning that most teachers can see the real value of data mining, rather than the click counting and number of visits which are so commonly applied. Resulting real time adaptation of learning programs to personalise student learning experience, development of meta-cognitive skills for learners, fast response to learning design and quick adaptation of technical equipment and systems would all be welcomed by educators (Welsh, 2015).

Weller warns of potential risk from using data to analyse and improve results by stating that it could lead to Google replacing human librarians, and user generated “playlists” of information may make teachers irrelevant (Weller, Digital Resilience, 2011, p. 171). This is a very broad allegation which has been somewhat allayed by Simon’s Colloquium session.

As Rochelle commented: the link between educational data mining, decision support systems and expert systems is inextricable; Deborah’s response that the skill lies in using the power for good sums up the feeling of most educators whose primary focus is the overall well-being of people in their classes.

While Simon’s presentation assuaged some fears, it raised other issues of potential concern for teachers and students. Needless to say, we are living in revolutionary times, and, while a revolution may be bloodless, it is rarely painless (Weller, Digital Resilience, 2011, p. 168). The critical thing for scholars and teachers is that they stay involved, because they need to be in a position to determine what goes, what stays and what comes; passitivity is not an option (Weller, Digital Resilience, 2011, p. 184).

References

Astbury, A. [Host]. (2015, July 21). ABC Splash Online Colloquium 1. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Weller, M. (2011). Digital Resilience. In M. Weller, The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice (pp. 168-184). London: Bloomsbury Collections. doi:10.5040/978184966275.ch-014

Weller, M. (2011). The Nature of Scholarship. In M. Weller, The Digital Scholar, How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice (pp. 41-51). London: Bllomsbury Collections. doi:10.5040/978184966275.ch-014

Welsh, S. [Host]. (2015, July 28). Learning Analytics: A Traveller’s Guide; Online Colloquium 2. Albury, Victoria, Australia.

Acknowledgements:

Fellow travellers’ comments from the Colloquium chat box are acknowledged in blue.

#1

Blog post 1

Learning Through Exploration and Play

The first colloquium in this subject was hosted by Annabel Astbury,  a past History teacher, educational leader for the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria, and currently working to deliver the curriculum through ABC Splash. The manner in which this session was delivered was slick and personable, with the chat comments being consistently monitored.  Responses to comments were addressed to the individual attendant who posted the comment or question. This is a skill that so many online presenters have not developed.

The Splash motto: “explore, play, learn” succinctly encapsulates the website’s offerings to education. Opportunities for classes and individuals to engage with the material are provided in the formats of film, games and text.  All resources address Australian Curriculum   standards, and many of the activities are aimed at students from Years 5 to 8.

Annabel outlined the various decisions that had been made in the design of the product, which was predicated on the premise that “the world did not need another product for lesson creation” (Astbury, 2015). The significance of this statement is felt in classrooms all over the world, where there are no systems in place for sorting through the increasing wealth of educational materials (Calhoun, 2015).

Teachers everywhere are overworked, and increasingly overwhelmed by a “dazzling forest of finely-tuned” products, and there is little time to assess their value, master and adopt them within teaching programs to achieve meaningful outcomes (Calhoun, 2015). A repository of products designed by and for Australians (with an online educational base of only 3.2 million users) is critically important to learning in the digital age (Astbury, 2015).

ABC Splash offers a curated and appropriate collection, and furthermore, links to Scootle, an online, Australian Curriculum specific store of material accessible to all practicing teachers, including casual relief teachers.  This would seem to be an enticing proposition enabling easy integration into classrooms across the nation while leading to the potential for a “flow experience” for students (Lemke, 2010, p. 247).

Appropriate innovative practise through the infusion of technology, and the resources this allows, should contribute to classrooms full of fully engaged students who are intrinsically motivated and “110% invested” in learning (Lemke, 2010, pp. 246 – 247). Incorporating technological solutions and permitting students to work differently on mastering learning relies on the critical adoption of skills for the current century. This requires deep thinking in relation to the implications of the new teaching and learning resources, in order to develop a more empowering model of authentic learning (November, 2010, p. 278).

Lemke believes that vesting students with power will increase efficacy in their learning skills, and, if the task is complex, result in more creativity and innovation, and lead to improved adaptive proficiency (Lemke, 2010, p. 247). Such outcomes will only occur if educators can move beyond seeing multimodal incorporation as more than something predominantly technical that simply requires the alignment of minds with machines (Selwyn, 2010, p. 67).

ABC Splash offers educators in Australia the ability to offer a range of learning materials that relate to the context in which Australian students live (Astbury, 2015). In an era where individuals have devices in their hands in most classrooms, the incorporation of such material can be woven seamlessly into lesson design, particularly in settings where students own the culture of learning, and collaborate with each other in creative and multimodal ways (November, 2010, p. 282).

The use of digital technology is pitted against long-standing traditions, and entrenched concerns, often at a micro level, of the everyday educational experiences, pre and post the digital age (Selwyn, 2014, p. 164). This is the dichotomy of the times in which we educate.

Providing teachers access to resources is of little value of they do not utilise them in some way. Constant reminders of what access has been provided, and what it will allow in classrooms is becoming a crucial aspect of the teacher-librarian’s  work.  “But, the way we are approaching the integration of technology into our school systems is raising red flags. If we don’t figure out exactly what these early warning signals mean and incorporate their lessons into our design and our educational philosophy, we risk generating backlash and squandering valuable momentum. We also risk producing a generation of graduates who are unprepared for the future ahead of us” (Calhoun, 2015). This is the critical aspect of the work that we do in our school library roles.

References

Astbury, A. [Host). (2015, July 21). ABC Splash Online Colloquium. Retrieved July 21, 2015

Calhoun, N. (2015, July 21). How Technology Is Crash Landing in Our Public Schools. Retrieved from Singularity Hub: http://singularityhub.com/2015/07/21/how-technology-is-crash-landing-in-our-public-schools/

Kay, K. (2015, July 21). Do You Have 21/21 Vision? Retrieved from Edutopia Blog: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/do-you-have-2121-vision-ken-kay

Lemke, C. (2010). Innovation Through Technology. In C21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (pp. 243-274). Bloomington: Solution Tree.

November, A. (2010). Technology Rich, Information Poor. In 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (pp. 275-283). Bloomington: Solution Tree.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning(26 (1)), 65 – 73. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00338.x.

Selwyn, N. (2014). Education and ‘the digital’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35:1, 155-164. doi:10.1080/01425692.2013.856668

 

 

Tweeting

Connected Education Through Twitter:

Twitter is a great space for developing and nurturing a PLN.

I have been a member since 2009

My Twitter avatar
My Twitter avatar

I have used Twitter to enhance my personal interests and my professional life with increasing degrees of success. It is quick and easy and seems to work when low Internet connectivity prevents other means of communication.

My Twitter account

My Twitter account

Since commencing the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation), I have increased all aspects of my Twitter membership as shown in the above image.

Tweeting a range of topics
Tweeting a range of topics. Twitter offers a range of topics from the amazing to the ridiculous. It enables serendipitous discovery of many gems of wisdom and leads to the development of knowledge.Tweeting connection April

 

 

Tweeting connection April

Connection with past and present study companions makes the learning journey more enjoyable and deepens understanding when links are shared.Tweeting connections

Tweeting connections May

 

Reading over the connections through Twitter this semester is another means of reflecting on the nature and depth of learning it has enabled.