Let me introduce you

                             to the Learning Management System (LMS) under scrutiny for my case study report.

SIMON (SIMON Solutions, 2009) has been used at the school being studied for about 5 years. It is a relatively local product being created 200 kilometres away from this school by practising teachers. As will be demonstrated later in this blog post, this is a significant advantage compared to other products, most of which cost more money to implement. The school concerned had previously used a Moodle LMS developed to suit its purposes by an ex-student studying information technology at a university in Adelaide. SIMON was seen to offer more features and was inexpensive to introduce. As with any change in technology platforms, the early adopters suffered the greatest impact of this decision.

Who is SIMON

SIMON offers most of the functionality of other LMSs within a customizable framework.



This is the “home” screen – called “Work desk home”, which is customised for each school with name and logo (covered in this image to protect the privacy of the school concerned).

work desk incognito

All other functions link to the work desk in one or more ways. Subject teachers rely on the Assessment and Homework sections:

Assessment view

Teachers can add documents and create folders and students can download tasks and upload their completed work for the teacher to assess:

Topic manager

Ultimately the results and comments from the Assessment module populate the reports – no further writing or reporting package expense is required. This is a great time-saving aspect of the LMS for teachers and of financial benefit to the school.

Teachers can also conduct Forums with their learning areas. Teachers “icons” have a mortarboard to identify their status and both teacher and student icons represent the user’s gender.

Forums incognito

SIMON incorporates the school’s booking system

resource bookings

Like many features, this allows for reports of usage to be generated, although many of these are only accessible to the administrator for security reasons.

Bookings incognitoTwo features, which are heavily used at other schools but not at the school being studied are the Behavioural Tracking (due to a sense that the systems in place prior to SIMON’s introduction were more personalised) and the commendations (something that is acknowledged as good but not yet set up for general use).

Behaviour tracking

Commendations are shown in green while Behaviour Tracking is in red.





Other areas are available for population at the school’s discretion. The Library is represented in three different locations – two directly linked to the work desk home. This is on the left-hand side of the home screen.

Library links











The Knowledge Banks, which cover a range of topics, also has two collections put together by the Library staff (see top left-hand folder in the image below)

Knowledge banks

Inside the Alexandra Library public folder, the Library staff can add items as requested:

Knowledge Bank Alexandra Library

The Junior Campus (Handbury) Library knowledge bank contains less information:

Knowledge Bank Handbury Library






For the school at the centre of the case study the best aspect of using SIMON is that the teachers who have developed the system continue to work on meeting the needs of schools. To facilitate this they run regular user meetings where information is exchanged, and schools have the potential to request additions or alterations. These slides are from a recent meeting:


The need for readily available assistance has been noted and will be built into the next upgrade (due early this term). The underlying principle is to improve feedback to all stakeholders: parents, teachers and students:

Communication cycle

The Learning aspect of Learning Management Systems is considered crucial to SIMON’s success and the teaching background of those behind the product is evident:


Being able to talk to one of the developers, Kevin Brodie, was advantageous in terms of my analysis and in creating the surveys to evaluate teacher and student use of the product. It was also helpful to talk about the vision for the future and to be able to see what the next update will bring to the table.

Looking back over my subject material I found this blog post from last semester: . Getting to know updated systems in technology-rich environments does affect our acceptance of the technology itself!


Brodie, K. (2015, September 9). (M. Simkin, Interviewer)

PowerPoint created by SIMON developers for the May User Group Meeting and from which screen shots of relevant slides have been used with permission of Kevin Brody

SIMON Solutions. (2009). Retrieved from SIMON:

Evaluative report

Evaluative statement (a):

From the commencement of Knowledge Networking for Educators, there was an expectation of relevant learning, encountering new skills and continuing involvement in a networked community of practice. The learning modules delivered valuable and relevant material, providing challenging and practical experiences for exploration, as well as demonstration. This is best exemplified by referring to Assignment One, which required the development of a digital artefact (a new skill) (Simkin, Digital Artefact and References, 2015). The end product was a short film, but the processes of topic and platform selection (Simkin, Survey Results, 2015), and subsequent artefact creation, were where the challenging practical experience was most evident (Simkin, Artefact Design, 2015). Given the assessment mark allocation gave more credit to the exegesis, the time taken to develop the artefact was excessive, but incredibly fulfilling, despite the compromises that had to be made (Simkin, Exegesis, 2015). Significant learning resulted from mistakes, investigating exciting platforms, conquering fears (for example, peers found hearing their own voice confronting), and technical frustration. Conquering the digital product was a wonderful achievement, celebrated on Twitter by most of the cohort through sharing links. Assessing the work of colleagues for this task also provided a significant, networked learning opportunity (Simkin, Collegial Artefact Critiques, 2015). A valuable addition to this process would have arisen from sharing the exegeses, which described the context, intention and restraints behind the artefact, enabling a deeper level of analysis.

During the course of the semester, this subject presented a range of concepts and required the exploration of a range of knowledge networking tools. Starting with the obligatory introduction (Simkin, Knowledge Networking for Educators, 2015), and progressing to the final module (Simkin, The Future, 2015), the Digitalli blog posts of 2015 document a growth in knowledge mastery, leading to increased wisdom, thereby setting the scene for ongoing growth as a connected educator as defined by Gregor Kennedy (Kennedy, 2014).

The course began by investigating information in the digital age, evaluating the different sources of knowledge, identifying innovative platforms, and challenging participants to re-define terminology and apply it to contemporary learning scenarios (Coutas, 2010). Early in the subject, students encountered a range of digital tools, some new to them, and others well used (Simkin, Digital tools, 2015). This suite of new media tools, covered all aspects of knowledge management from content creation, to content curation, and included collaborative work, and connecting with and developing social networks leading to communities of practice (Simkin, Curation, 2015).

Building on knowledge networking to strengthen school-based classroom engagement and learning was a highly valuable aspect of the course, even for those with prior active involvement in a range of digital platforms (Simkin, 1.1 Connected students, 2015). It enabled both consolidation and revisitation of virtual learning spaces, revived forgotten skills while mastering new ones, and increased overall personal understanding of the philosophies of information management (Simkin, K. C in a C. A, 2015). The crucial need to consider pedagogy, andragogy and learning design when designing tasks was incredibly beneficial. The latter was aptly defined by Tolisano, in scaffolding what learning occurs when a class is involved in an activity such as Skype (Tolisano, 2103).

While the verdict on skills and knowledge gained from this course is overwhelmingly positive, there are some aspects which cannot be evaluated with such a high level of affirmation.  The documenting of networked learning experiences through blogging enables reflection, and ideally, feedback.  The processes required by the learning modules and assessment tasks for INF532, in combination with a very small cohort, meant that the capacity to engage in dialogue through blogging (and the discussion forum) was limited. There was a strong connection between the assessment tasks and blogging, but limited direction to blog within the learning modules. Unlike INF530 and INF536, for example, there was no requirement that peers comment on each other’s blog posts, an attribute that was missed. The digital artefacts were peer assessed, but some people were fairly slow to complete this or did not advise their peers where to find their evaluation (Simkin, Collegial Artefact Critiques, 2015). This was an innovative digital process which did not meet its potential standard for peer learning or the networking expectations held by most participants.

Using a blog to reflect on learning enabled powerful personal reflection, meaningful consideration, and publication of ideas. Sharing links through Twitter resulted in some feedback from followers, but no comments on the posts themselves (Simkin, Tweeting, 2015). This scarcity of feedback was disappointing.

Another aspect of knowledge networking that has been the basis of subjects within this Master of Education course has been the use of the discussion forums. This year information was distributed through the new Interact2 interface, based on the Blackboard learning management system (Simkin, New LMS, 2015). This added a new format for students and staff to conquer. Students found the new discussion format less user-friendly, and feedback was inconsistent. Fewer comments were posted on the forum, and retracing items proved tricky. The email alert within the system did not work as well as last year’s.

Despite these issues, overall the value of this subject is acknowledged. Throughout the semester topics ranged from the playful to the very serious and academic (Simkin, Play & Learning, 2015). Participants developed physical classroom and library spaces, and digital venues such as YouTube channels ( ). Concepts such as the flipped classroom, blended classrooms and flexible learning, which are sometimes just contemporary buzz-words, were productively investigated and compared with personal practice, leading to improvement in learning design (Simkin, Types of Learning, 2015).

Reflective statement (b):

In retracing the course of Knowledge Networks for Educators, there are several components from the learning modules that really resonated. The contents of the first module raised some key issues relevant to personal concern and frustration in attempting to teach twenty-first century skills in a school that remains largely “analogue” in focus despite being well-equipped technologically (Simkin, 1.2 New Culture, 2015).   From dialogue with other students of this course, this is, sadly, too common.

Contemplating the development of digital lives, personally, professionally and for the students encountered in participants’ work, it is hard to imagine that a sound philosophy of communities of practice is not a basic guiding principle in this day and age. Yet for many teachers and administrators, the main focus with technology in classrooms is fear of cyber bullying, rather than the crucial need to model the use of technology and development of C21st skills which include protective behaviours (Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S), 2014). The dichotomy between issues of authenticity and authority in the digital age compared to the past is extreme when considering Floridi’s comment: that humanity has experienced information ages since writing began (Floridi, 2009, p. 153). Modern students need to become the Gutenberg or Turing of these times, by seeking wide-ranging input to create new information (Floridi, 2009, p. 154). Teachers should celebrate the fact that information is socially situated, and socially constructed, and, therefore, instruction needs to be designed to empower people, as opposed to overwhelming them (Lindsey, 2014). Infowhelm is a serious issue with many different names (Bawden & Robinson, 2009). Students should be guided to locate and evaluate information, rather than be restricted to the text-book or teacher notes that many educators insist on mandating as the sole source of information (Simkin, 1.1 Connected students, 2015).

All educators have a unique and critical role to play in assisting their students to develop skills that enable them to cope with the flood of information that is now accessible (Brown & Duguid, 2000, p. 14).  The rapidity of information sharing is well demonstrated by the mesmerising animated gif that introduces the Too Big To Know blog post (Simkin, Too Big To Know, 2015). Infoenthusiasts are excited by the amazing amount of knowledge that may result from this, however, students need to be educated to understand, select, and curate, then network and collaborate in order to problem solve within a learning community, something to which is so well suited to digital information sources and sharing (Floridi, 2009, p. 154).

Thomas and Brown define this as a new culture of learning, invisible, non-traditional in structure and operating within a defined environment (Thomas & Brown, 2011, pp. 17-18).  They acknowledge that playing in such a culture leads to the development of passions and ideas, which, in turn, encourages freedom to research (Thomas & Brown, 2011, pp. 17-18).  The necessity for managed freedom is supported in Douch’s recent blog post, where he postulates that the balustrade at the edge of The Pinnacle (in the Grampians) doesn’t restrict people; instead it is liberating them to go further (Douch, 2015)!

Learning within this new culture cultivates global, digital citizenship, generates feedback leading to improvement for students, and establishes the use of rich and highly textured examples of cross-referencing and communication to form a community of practice made up of the teachers and students within the group (Thomas & Brown, 2011, pp. 22-25). There is a serious problem if teachers are not also learners.

Ruminating on digital artefacts led to an investigation of the best-known creator of such learning objects: Salman Khan (Simkin, Khan Academy, 2015).  Interestingly, while Khan has designed artefacts to teach entire subjects, he does not advocate a world without teachers, rather, he proposes a change to teacher deployment. He proposes that teaching become a team sport where numerous students in a large space collaborate with a number of teachers (Khan, 2012, pp. 197-198). The fluencies of C21st learning are well suited to Khan’s model (Crockett, Jukes, & Churches, 2011).

A thought provoking concept is that of filter bubbles (Pariser, 2013). People must be educated in the manner that algorithms work, and what is typically collected and presented to each one of us separately. The speed at which information is being added to the web in combination with these mining algorithms is a critical C21st skill, that should be included in overall education programs (Simkin, Filter Bubbles, 2015). In fact, Australian teachers are mandated through learning standard 4.5 (Simkin, AITSL, 2015) to use ICT (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2014).

Actor Network Theorists postulate that competence is an effect is passed through organisations as a result of minute translations at mundane levels of everyday knowledge flow patterns (Fenwick, 2010, pp. 27-28). They also state that knowledge must be considered as a rhetoric of contentions (Fenwick, 2010, p. 35). The investigations and analyses of educational processes are more important than the logical meaning of concepts and processes typically applied to analyse education (Fenwick, 2010, p. 44). It is vital that educators think about the accessibility and equity of information (Simkin, ANT, 2015).

Stange’s strange video, filmed through Google Glass, utilises a method of recording that is disconcerting and distracting in the extreme (Stange, 2013). It detracts from the valid points Shirky presents on the premise that knowledge networking is based on having a common interest and working with like-minded people (Simkin, Shirky, 2015). Of necessity, the incorporation of finding like-minded people, connecting with them and following their interests, forms part of this process (Simkin, Shirky, 2015).

New vocabulary has been acquired: glocalisation (Simkin, Fis(c)hbowls etc.!, 2015); “filter bubbles” (Simkin, Filter Bubbles, 2015) and fliperentiated, in relation to excellent design for flipped classrooms(Hirsch, 2014). The latter was shared through the Diigo Knowledge Networks group – a wonderful source of co-created information for members.

In contemplating the growth accruing from the study of Knowledge Networks for Educators, the improvement in and consolidation of personal skills and development of a more focused information philosophy is measurable. It has brought all the learning in this course together to strengthen both educational practice and personal learning connections; a pleasing outcome for those involved.


Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2014). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership:

Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S). (2014). Retrieved March 4, 2015, from Microsoft Education:

Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The Dark Side of Information Overload, Anxiety and Other Paraxes and Pathologies. Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180-191.

Brown, J., & Duguid, P. (2000). Limits to Information. In J. Brown, & P. Duguid, Social Life of Information (pp. 11-33). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Coutas, P. (2010, October 8). New Sources of Information. Retrieved from Slideshare:

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is Not Enough, 21st-Century Fluencies for the Digital Age. Corwin.

Douch, A. (2015, May 28). Why Your School Needs Clearly Defined Social Media Policies. Retrieved from Douchy’s Blog onICT and Education:

Fenwick, T. &. (2010). Actor-network Theory in Education. . Knowledge, Innovation and Knowing in Practice , 24-39.

Floridi, L. (2009). The Information Society and Its Philosophy: An Introduction to the Special issue on “The Philosophy of Information, Its Nature, and Future Developments. The Information Society: An International Journal, 25, 153-158. doi:10.1080/01972240902848583

Hirsch, J. (2014, October 21). “Fliperentiated” Instruction: How to Create the Customizable Classroom. Retrieved from Edutopia:

Kennedy, G. (2014, January 30). Official Ascilite Video: 2013 Conference – Understanding our Present. Retrieved from You Tube:

Khan, S. (2012). The One World School House: Education Reimagined. London: Hodder and Staughton.

Lindsey, J. (2014). 1.1 Information environments. Retrieved March 4, 2015, from INF532 Knowledge Networking for Educators:

Pariser, E. (2013, March 22). Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”. Retrieved from YouTube:

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Tolisano, S. R. (2103, January 27). Learning in the Modern Classroom. Retrieved from Langwitches blog:




Below is the text for Assignment 1, which accompanies the Digital Artefact.

This exegesis evaluates the digital artefact: “Social media in your classroom”, a short animation, constructed using Sparkol VideoScribe software (  (Simkin, 2015).  This platform was chosen because it contains copyright free sketches and music, offers effective conversion of text and photograph to hand drawn images, and renders into upload-ready film. Scribing animation has been proven to attract and hold viewers’ attention, an important requirement for the artefact.  (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014). Content was developed using appropriate design principles, based on ADDIE (ADDIE Model, n.d.), selected for simplicity, and application to andragogy. A broad application of knowledge networking theory: physical connectivity, and developing collaborative communities of practice, democratising learning, was the intended message  (Price, 2015).

Design commenced with ADDIE’s analysis phase; this clarified instructional objectives, identified the learning environment and acknowledged the audience’s pre-existing knowledge and skills. Informed by the school’s technological vision, the artefact needed to stimulate technology inclusive pedagogy, for 2016.  Its purpose needed to be effective, accessible and developed at minimal cost. Modelling a product that could be re-used, or stimulate creation of new artefacts was important.


The form and function needed to engage teachers with the content of the artefact. The selection of VideoScribe over Powtoon, or Office Mix for PowerPoint was made because this style of video is persuasive, and well received (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014, p. 3).  A comparison with these other products made it a clear winner (Simkin, Artefact Design, 2015).


One of the advantages of scribing is the stimulation of viewer anticipation (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014, p. 17). By using drawings to convey meaning, questioning is encouraged, and an element of playfulness produces a positive emotional response (Barrett, 2013, pp. 53-56).

Content was structured to avoid the pathology of Information overload  (Bawden & Robinson, 2009, p. 182).  Being mindful that teachers’ primary focus is facilitation of the learning was critical for selecting the drawings and words included in the animation. The message that the connected world lies at the heart of the curriculum was crucial (Zuckerman, 2013, p. 266).

Technological challenges affected design. Overall length was reduced to enhance rendering to film and reduce upload speeds.  Some desired elements had to be removed, and the spoken narration abbreviated  (Simkin, Artefact Design, 2015). Human resources were stretched in terms of pre-existing skills, time and looming deadlines, which impacted quality of the finished product. Such factors will always affect teachers creating digital artefacts for their learning communities.

The context for any digital artefact is the most critical consideration. The region for which this artefact is intended suffers patchy Internet access, so brevity and file size were critical. The clientele comprises a school community seeking to implement higher order technology skills though incorporation into lesson design. The teachers are academically focussed and technologically competent. For the last eleven years, they have used tablet laptops, s their students from Years 9 upwards since 2012. Next year this will extend from Years 6 to 8 with iPads. Recent meaningful change in technological pedagogy in some classes, has sparked momentum on which to build.

Professional learning has offered limited opportunities for meaningful exploration of twenty-first century fluencies, or consideration of the importance of global digital citizenship, the background of core values and personal identity on which all other fluencies depend (Crockett, Jukes, & Churches, 2011, pp. 79 – 82). Some believe that teaching such skills is not the responsibility of subject teachers, however, the Australian Curriculum defines such skills as cross–curricular capabilities (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, n.d.). A professional learning day focussing on technology in the classroom is planned for the beginning of Term 3.

Artefact design commenced amidst discussion centred on the type of devices, which cannot create student centred learning environments themselves. The value of technology, with its ability to access, store, manipulate and analyse information, comes from creating a student-centred learning environment, and it is this that must be explored (Wong, Hanafi, & Sabudin, 2010, p. 389). Implemented well, social media ensures that students will spend less time gathering information, and more time reflecting on the objectives they have set, and the learning they have achieved  (Wong, Hanafi, & Sabudin, 2010, p. 389).

This artefact, therefore, is aimed at andragogy, which identifies different learning needs to pedagogy (Couros, 2010, p. 113). Motivation for developing new skills is enhanced by adults’ life experiences, so it is vital to consider these needs, and present content of relevance (Couros, 2010, p. 114).

The starting slide was chosen to cause a positive response; smiling before you start recording your voice-over makes you sound upbeat, seeing a smile engenders a degree of optimism (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014, p. 46).  With scribing, there is also the anticipation of what will appear next: why is this person smiling at me? The evaluation team has reported that this design element is successful.

Adult learners also draw constructive conclusions from mistakes (Couros, 2010, p. 114). A slight slip up in recording the voice-over remains, partly for this reason, but also because of the impending deadline. In the professional learning workshop this will provide a teachable moment. The effectiveness of this cannot yet be evaluated.

Educators face constantly altering expectations, from authorities rewriting curriculum, to administrators changing expectations, and alterations to school policies that cover every aspect of their working life. Therefore it was important that the message imparted by the artefact introduced a new way of working that was easy to adopt, and which offered a way of fulfilling current programs as outlined by the school’s professional learning policy documents. The recently introduced foci on considerations for successful learning experiences within a positive education framework have been effectively woven through the artefact (Grift & Major, 2013).

The social media focus was chosen for its personal familiarity to many teachers; it offers a range of options and is something that can be supported by current “nodes” of networked educators within the college learning community. Richardson recommends that these impassioned teachers have the capacity to assist others to become part of knowledge networks, a powerful way to deal with the vast quantities of accessible information (Richardson, 2010, pp. 295-296). Trials have proven the artefact’s efficacy in arousing interest.

The development phase reflected the need to justify trying social media rather demonstrating how to use it. Such Instruction will follow the viewing of the artefact, and will be able to unfold as participants require. While blogging is the specific media covered within the artefact, it is presented as an option, thus allowing for the ensuing discussion to lead to other examples. The skills of sharing authentic publications, reflecting on progress, creating positive digital footprints and co-learning through collection, curation and evaluation of information are the skills that matter, and which have been clearly articulated throughout the artefact (Richardson, 2010, pp. 297-301).

Social media has the capacity to be applied to any content, as indicated in the artefact. The specific example of Gail Casey will be raised in the ensuing discussion. She promotes a social and participatory approach within her face-to-face Mathematics classes, and builds on her students’ life experiences  (Casey, 2013, pp. 60-63).  Her work supports the considerations for learning design raised by Grift and Major (Grift & Major, 2013), and the power and multimodality of social media strengthen interdisciplinary literacy (Casey, 2013, p. 60). Brevity constraints precluded the inclusion of such justification for using social media.

Contrary to popular perception, students struggle with interpreting, thinking with, or building multimedia communications and need guidance to develop a multimodal literacy. (Lemke, 2010, pp. 250-251).  Many myths abound in relation to older and younger users of technology; while younger people use social media in many forms, they do not realise the potential for learning and knowledge building that it offers (Higgins, ZhiMin, & Katsipataki, 2012, p. 20). Some wonderful images supporting this point had to be removed to allow successful rendering. The message that platforms are so varied and information access so big that no users can know them all could have been more effectively delivered (Weinberger, 2011).

Several invitees have been approached to review the artefact and give feedback as to its value; their comments support VideoScribe’s claim that scribing attracts and holds viewers’ attention (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014, p. 3). The artefact has been described as awesome, but assessing the delivery of the message has been difficult. The most evaluative comment identified the core message, and stated a need for more examples and information on how to get involved (Statt, 2015). This indicates that the intention of raising awareness and arousing interest in further involvement has been achieved for this viewer.

Rheingold identifies three aspects relevant to the power of knowledge networking through social media and thriving in an online environment. Firstly, attention, sometimes referred to as multi-tasking, or hyper-attention (attention splitting) (Rheingold, Netsmart: How To Thrive Online, 2012). This aspect of using digital devices is a concern for many teachers. Rheingold suggests that the solution lies in teachers’ design of learning experiences, which should include training as to when and how to apply the “high-beam light of focussed attention” (Rheingold, Netsmart: How To Thrive Online, 2012). In contrast, Andersson et al. report that students feel that laptops have substantially increased distractions and reduced face-to-face social interaction (Andersson, Hatakka, Gronlund, & Wiklund, 2014, pp. 43-44). The narration within the artefact successfully refers to the importance of social media for teaching students appropriate use and meaningful interaction as part of a range of strategies, thereby offering solutions for such concerns.

Secondly, becoming an active citizen in the online space, not a passive consumer, creates a literacy of participation (Rheingold, Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies, 2010).  Collaboration moves combined efforts from merely co-operating to really working with others; collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavour is referred to as communities of practice (Wenger, 2012, p. 1). It is the potency of this mix of ages, experiences and knowledge seeking that is so attractive within social media options. The artefact presents this concept through images of face-to-face talking, and circles around the globe, supported by the narrative discussing the links to the world beyond the classroom, irrespective of time and location. The link between these processes, and their current use by universities and workplaces, clearly reinforces the importance of such skills (Christozov, 2013, pp. 1-3).

Finally, Rheingold nominates critical consumption, an issue raised by many others  (Rheingold, Netsmart: How To Thrive Online, 2012). Knowing how to use social media to cultivate and utilise networks for learning must be modelled and encouraged by educators. This presents an exciting proposition, offering fulfilment of great hopes while simultaneously challenging many concepts of traditional schooling; the artefact presents this quite well. (Richardson & Mancabelli, Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, 2011, pp. 7-8).

Blogging, the example focussed on within the artefact, has developed into a serious means of communication, which for many readers supersedes traditional news media (De Saulles, 2012, p. 15). It offers authentic publication, and a means of quickening the dynamic exchange of ideas, taking teachers from isolated classrooms to virtual spaces where generation of ideas propels innovative ways of becoming involved (Davidson & Goldberg, 2010, p. 176). The potential of connecting with a world-wide network of professionals for support and learning is successfully conveyed by this digital artefact according to viewer feedback (Wheeler, 2015).

Including research findings indicating a correlation between effective technology integration and improved learning outcomes has also resonated  (Picardo, 2015). The artefact’s content inclusion, quality of product and download speed have been successful, however, the educational impact is unknown. The real value will only be observable after the workshop if it results in implementation of social media within this targeted school community.




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Air, J., Oakland, E., & Walters, C. (2014). Video Scribing; How Whiteboard Animation Will Get You Heard. Sparkol Limited.

Andersson, A., Hatakka, M., Gronlund, A., & Wiklund, M. (2014). Reclaiming the Students – Coping With Social Media in 1:1 Schools. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(1), 37-52. doi:10.1080/17439884.2012.756518

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Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The Dark Side of Information Overload, Anxiety and Other Paraxes and Pathologies. Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180-191.

Casey, G. (2013, September). Interdisciplinary Literacy Through Social Media In the Mathematics Classroom: an Action Research Study. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(1), 60-67.

Christozov, D. (2013). Knowledge Diffusion via Social Netwroks: The C21st Challenge. International Journal of Digital Literacy and Digital Competence, 4(2, April-June), 1-12.

Couros, A. (2010). Developing Personal Networks for Open and Social Learning. In Emerging Technologies in Distance Education (109–128). Athabasca University: AU Press.  (pp. 109-128). Athabasca University: A U Press.

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is Not Enough, 21st-Century Fluencies for the Digital Age. Corwin.

Davidson, C. N., & Goldberg, D. T. (2010). The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. Cambridge: MIT Press.

De Saulles, M. (2012). New Models of Information Production. Information 2.0: New Models of Information Production, Distribution and Consumption., 13-35.

Grift, G., & Major, C. (2013). Teachers As Architects Of Learning: Twelve Considerations For Constructing A Successful Learning Experience. Moorabbin: Hawker Brownlow Education.

Higgins, S., ZhiMin, X., & Katsipataki, M. (2012). The Impact of Digital Technologies on Learning. Durham University. Durham: Education Endowment Foundation. Retrieved from Education Endowment Foundation:

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

Pearce, J., & Bass, G. (2008). Technology Toolkits: Introducing You to Web 2.0. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning.

Picardo, J. (2015, March 22). What Impact? 5 Ways to Put Research into Practice in the 1-to-1 Classroom. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from Educate 1 to 1:

Price, D. (2015, March 23). Six Powerful Motivations Driving Social learning by Teens. Retrieved March 30, 2015, from MindShift: Http://

Rheingold, H. (2010, October 7). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Educause:

Rheingold, H. (2012). Netsmart: How To Thrive Online. London: MIT Press.

Richardson, W. (2010). Navigating Social Networks as Learning Tools. In 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (pp. 285-304). Bloomington: Solution Tree.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.

Simkin, M. (2015, April 28). Artefact Design. Retrieved from Digitalli:

Simkin, M. (2015, April 27). Social Media in Your Classroom. Hamilton, Victoria, Australia. Retrieved from

Simkin, M. (2015, April 29). Survey Results. Retrieved from Digitalli:

Statt, T. (2015, May 1). History teacher. (M. Simkin, Interviewer)

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too Big To Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That The Facts Aren’t Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, And The Smartest Person In The Room Is The Room. New York: Basic Books.

Wenger, E. (2012). Communities of Practice a Brief Introduction. Retrieved from Wenger Traynor:

Wheeler, S. (2015, March 21). Making Connections. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from Learning with ‘e’s My Thoughts About Learning Technology and All Things Digital.:

Wong, S. L., Hanafi, A., & Sabudin, S. (2010). Exploring Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Pedagogical Role With Computers; a Case Study in Malaysia. Procedia: Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2, pp. 388-391.

Zuckerman, E. (2013). Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection. New York: W.W Norton & Company.


Learning Management and Knowledge Networking:

Coming to grips with a new learning management system, based on Blackboard, particularly after the long summer break, was a little confronting. Just when I thought I knew where to find what I needed, I found I had no idea.

Discussion forum
Discussion forum

The topics were all there, but the email notifications for responses did not seem to work all the time, and it became a case of checking in at log on and working out which thread had new messages.

Threads on Interact 2 were a little tricky
Threads on Interact 2 were a little tricky

Yes, there were fewer students in the cohort, but few participated in this type of networked learning in the manner peers had communicated in INF530 and INF536.

A sub-group of the subject became very active in their own PLN, using Twitter for regular question and answer sessions, and touching base with issues and concerns.

Tweeting Example


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.


The Future

Knowledge and Wisdom
Knowledge and Wisdom

 This course has continually reinforced our school motto!


Transforming knowledge to wisdom
Transforming knowledge to wisdom

It has challenged me to think about the difference between Knowledge and Wisdom and this slide from sums up the challenges inherent in this intellectual exercise.

The past:

(an imperfect piece from a tertiary student, but it sums up the overall journey of my teaching career – which spans several decades)

My blog posts for INF532 sum up the position I now occupy in terms of my teaching and resource provision. Where to next?

The future of learning:

may look like that envisioned by 2Revolutions

or like this from AITSL:

Either way I feel that I am now able to participate in more meaningful ways than I knew existed at the beginning of this year.


Types of Learning

Personal development of instructional design for my students:

As our students are equipped with devices whole new ways of learning open up to us. Over the last few years I have exposed my students to PLN construction through offering lunchtime introductions to Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as using these tools, Facebook, and access to learning materials in online spaces.

In our region Internet provision is patchy and until recently I have used this as an excuse not to develop too much online material. Aaron Sams in:

Bergman, J. & Sams, A (2012) Flipped learning founders set the record straight in T.H.E. Journal. from: , offers a range of easy to provide solutions to the issue of Internet access: provide the content on a flash drive, CD or DVD for example.

For a number of years, I have experimented in a somewhat ad hoc manner with flipping my classroom using a class wiki and exporting lessons from my interactive whiteboard software and adding links to other materials. In the last two years, as senior students in my History Revolutions class have had access to devices I have given them blogging as a means of accessing and reflecting on material.

In the last 12 months, in addition to student technology, there have been a number of improvements to Microsoft Office products that have sped up the process of adoption. The most impact has been achieved with the collaborative OneNote app, which, as a Microsoft school, allows me to seamlessly add my students to a class notebook. In image 1 below you can see the different sections, and part of the name of my first student, with the rest of the class along the top in alphabetical order. The notebook offers me a space to create their “textbook” type materials, (teacher notebook) and each one of them gets their own “exercise book” for working in (you can see Harry’s tab), and we all get access to a collaborative space where I can set up work for them to do together.

In the collaborative space you can see who has added or altered which contribution by the colour-coding, and the student’s initials which automatically appear.

collaborative OneNote
The options within a collaborative OneNote notebook


Collaborative space
Collaborative space


Sharepoint home page for History Revolutions
Sharepoint home page for History Revolutions


Using Sharepoint I have been able to set up a Mosaic Live Tiles page (which still requires work) that is like a website but is only accessible within the school. This gives me the option of collecting any video clips I make and add to YouTube; any photographs that I have taken, and podcasts I create. This is a space that I am still conquering but which will allow seamless collection of data for student access.

Office Mix, an add-on for PowerPoint, which I investigated as an option for my artefact:,  will be very useful for converting my interactive whiteboard  flip-chart exports from previous years into film to support students through the subject timeline.

The learning from INF532 has pushed me to develop a greater range of supporting materials to assist my students to master their material. Referring to the table below I can now see a holistic and valid reason for using as many combinations of the different types of learning models in order to assist all learners and learning styles.

An approach to developing new learning
An approach to developing new learning

Adapted by June Wall from Michalowski, A. (2014). Planning for blended learning environments and measuring progress. Retrieved from:

As with all learning, the critical process is the designing the materials which will support students to develop their understanding. is a very useful resource which collates all the theories, concepts and learning domains into a series of hyperlinked definitions and gives a ready reference to understanding the processes involved. Adds some simple summaries which are of use as a quick reference.

Another easy to apply process is the ADDIE model (ADDIE Model, n.d.)

Instructional design supports the processes promoted to us at our school, such as Grift and Major’s Teachers as the Architects of Learning (Grift & Major, 2013).

The critical issue now is having the time to complete resource creation – a common complaint of teachers everywhere.


ADDIE Model. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2015, from Wikipedia:

Grift, G., & Major, C. (2013). Teachers As Architects Of Learning: Twelve Considerations For Constructing A Successful Learning Experience. Moorabbin: Hawker Brownlow Education.




Information curation is critical in collecting information and using it to create wisdom:

The following graphic provides one view of a framework of thinking about curation.

 The Ideal Curation Practice

Source: Beth Kanter

Building thought leadership through content curation by Corinne Weisgerber

is a Slideshare of 79 slides presenting the issues that are attached to curating content. Here is my selection of the slides for investigating her opinion:

Curating content
Curating content


Spermalogos learning a new word while learning about curation.
Spermalogos learning a new word while learning about curation.
Curators add perspective, driven by their purpose
Curators add perspective, driven by their purpose
Steps to successful curation
Steps to successful curation


How to decide where things go when curating
How to decide where things go when curating

And I learned another new word from slide 57: Sharing as a lagniappe – Lagniappe – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia lagniappe (/ˈlænjæp/ LAN-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.” Serendipitous learning – always a source of joy! 

You can see the full slideshare here:

Visser (2011) believes that being a curator is both being a strategist and a curator and then defines the roles of a curator. The curator (not the strategist) will have four main roles:

  1. Searching, filtering and selecting content to become a taste-maker for the target audience.
  2. Providing curatorial leadership to help other workers within an organization understand what makes valuable content for the brand — so they can be enlisted to create and maintain content based on these evolving criteria.
  3. Spotting trends, and feeding these to the strategists who will use them to help define future direction.
  4. Distributing — identifying channels and fine-tuning them.

Not everyone has the skills to be an effective curator for other people. Personal curation is quite different to curating for other people to retrieve. For personal access and use, any individual can collect and store according to their own processes. If others are to benefit, there need to be guidelines spelt out and common understandings agreed to by all involved parties; alternatively there needs to be a designated interpreter.

Visser, G. (2011, November 25). Gerrit Visser: Use smart knowledge networks to be a curator.

Good, R. (2014) Content curation tools: 21 criteria to select and evaluate your ideal one. Retrieved from

An amazing set of criteria backed up by a wonderful Pearltrees site using his own categories.

Valenza, J. (2012) Curation. School Library Monthly. XXIX(1) Retrieved from

Human filters make a difference. Librarians can be filters in the best sense of the word. Librarians can synchronize communities because they are skilled at taming the information flow for the purpose of aiding discovery and knowledge building. They have access to a range of appropriate tools  with which to find, collect and curate; many have of these tools have the additional power of being able to be used collaboratively. Teacher-Librarians are not one interest curators – hence their strength.

Curating for different categories of people requires a different style:

parents – 

teachers –

and students –

Link to our Library catalogue in our Learning Management System
Link to our Library catalogue in our Learning Management System











“While many curators effectively serve to vet signal from noise, curators may also, intentionally or unintentionally, function as gatekeepers. Does individual curation serve to narrow the lens? Can we learn to assess not only the credibility of information creators, but the credibility of information curators? The following issues deserve consideration:

  • Issue: How do we avoid the role of gatekeeper?
    Does individual curation serve to narrow the lens? Can we learn to assess not only the credibility of information creators, but the credibility of information curators?
  • Issue: How do we avoid the “filter bubble” (Pariser 2012)?
    Is only the curator’s (or the searcher’s) point of view represented?
  • Issue: How do we evaluate quality and relevance in emerging information landscapes and recognize exemplary curation practices?
    Do credibility scores (e.g., Scoop it) give data without identifying bias?
    Does a curation effort model passion about a topic, shared knowledge, and updates through knowledge-forming communities?
  • Issue: How do we protect and promote ideals of intellectual property?
    What are the legal concerns when posting/using work of others? What are the ethical, moral, and professional concerns? “

From <>


Disconcerting approach to collecting information to share - through Google glass!
A disconcerting approach to collecting information to share – through Google glass!

Retrieved from:

Clay Shirky – the distant man on the stage -makes some valid points based around the premise that knowledge networking is based on having a common interest and working with like-minded people. Of necessity, the incorporation of finding like minded people, connecting with them and following their interests, forms part of this process.

3.00 mins into the film Shirky states that when previously impossible problems become trivial, they become unimportant. Does teaching fit this description??

5 mins into the film he surmises that networking is the difference. 

27.21 into the film he also comments that anyone with a large collection of books can now start to build upon it. Shared investigation and work = power.

This was a most disconcerting method of sharing Shirky’s presentation and did little justice to his delivery. Actually sitting where this person was located in the audience would have been bad enough for attendees – for a virtual audience member is was incredibly irritating.

A good example of how not to create a digital artefact!


Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2010).Chapter 2:  Knowledge, innovation and knowing in practice pp. 24 – 39. Actor-network theory in education.  contribute the following ideas to the discussion based around their:




They contribute the following ideas to the discussion:

Perspectives of knowledge and knowledge production are seen as situated, embodied and distributed p.24.

ANT = a such a perspective challenges expertise to acknowledge its own mechanics. p.25.

It is dangerous to assume that competence resides in an individual p.26

Competence is an effect p.27 and is passed through organisations as a result of minute translations at mundane levels of everyday knowledge flow patterns p.28.

Activity is organised through the order or sequence which is applied to carrying out tasks p.28.

Unpacking is a means of making sense of the information that has been gathered p.30

Knowing is more a form of interacting and experimenting than a re-representation of information p. 31

Are we part of one world, or multiple worlds in which we dwell? p.32

Global redistribution is challenging the concepts and flows of information and adding new layers of control and definition of what constitutes knowledge. Multiple ontologies are not equally powerful and the impact of dominance of some over others needs to be monitored p.33

“Knowledge cannot be viewed as coherent, transcendent, generalizable and unproblematic; knowledge and the real merge together”

Knowledge can no longer be seen as a rhetoric of conclusions, but rather a rhetoric of contentions p.35.

Recognition of human and non-human linkages that are not stable, predictable or identifiable neutral or linear tunnels of knowledge flow but multiple interconnected forms requiring analysis and consideration p. 37.

Conflicted knowledge is often developed simultaneously, added to, modified and adjusted  by a variety of people 37.

Acknowledging ANT assists with avoiding exclusion and privilege in terms of knowledge p.37.

And going beyond the recommended chapter:

Logical meaning of concepts and processes applied to analyse education are less important than the investigations and analyses of educational processes that are carried out p.144.

Whichever way you look at it, it is important that these aspects of knowledge networking and learning are continually evaluated and assessed in order to ensure that knowledge development is sound and achieving the desired goals.