Why I FLIP instead of SCOOP

It’s summer here in Sydney, and anyone with any sense is flipping in the water or scooping sand at the beach. I’m not so lucky, being wired to the world via my workdesk. But like many of us I am not alone, and for that reason curating content to revisit, and share along the way is part of what I do.

In the social media sense, content curation is  the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content with your network that you’ve cherry picked for them .

It comes down to organizing your sources, knowing which of them are trust worthy, and seeing patterns.

So for educators it comes down to  keeping up the pace in adopting these strategies and using tools to publish curated content in the sense of ‘reporting’ what’s happening. So I see myself doing these things:

  • first level curation : curating my own content for myself (my own ‘go-to’ repository with tools like Diigo, Delicious, Evernote, Flipboard, Facebook, Flickr, RSS readers etc, and sharing this because my online tools are socially connected
  • second level curation: curating content for others via targetted tweets or Google+ circles, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, wikis, livebinders,  etc. (Does Paper.li fit in here seeing as it is automated?), so sharing at this level is a direct extension of the first level of personal curation.

Now I can see a reason for educators to move into  third level curation as a form of info-media publishing.  Think of this as dynamic content curation that’s about helping keep up with the news.   The flow of information through social media is changing:

While we’re dismantling traditional structures of distribution, we’re also building new forms of information dissemination. Content is no longer being hocked, but links are. People throughout the network are using the attention they receive to traffic in pointers to other content, serving as content mediators. Numerous people have become experts as information networkers.

Now I can use all my social networking resources and return information back to my social community at the third level of curation.

Social content curation is about collecting, organising and sharing information – in a new package. I’m no archivist. But I am a digital curator of information for myself, and perhaps for others. Back in 2011 I said that  I was interested to see how (what I call) the third level curation evolves. I like the idea of socially connected ways of publishing ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s newsworthy’ as an ‘aside’ to my ‘go-to’ information repository such as my social bookmarks.

I wrote about Scoop-it, and for quite a time I used Scoop-it quite successfully – for my own purposes and to follow other ‘scoops’.

In 2014 I have largely abandoned Scoop-it – and that is BECAUSE of the way it shares information!  I am totally and completely fed up with finding an interesting recommend in my  FB page  or in my Twitter feed (as and example), from a trusted Scoop-it curator. I completely detest that I HAVE To go to the Scoop first, and THEN to the actual recommended read.  This annoys me so much, that I have abandoned using the tool myself so as not to annoy my curation followers in the same manner! If you use Scoop-it and I see your recommend in my media stream – I’m most likely going to ignore it!

Now I am using Flipboard, because it does the same job, in a much nicer format, PLUS  it doesn’t force a user back to the whole board.  Millions of people use Flipboard to read and collect the news they care about, curating their favorite stories into their own magazines on any topic imaginable. Thousands are using it to create fantastic education resources.

This is magic!  If someone is keen to join or follow a Flipboard, then that’s great.  But in the meantime, we have a perfect tool at our disposal to create a collection for targetted needs.  I’m still experimenting – but I think it’s a great tool.

Endgame. Won.

Thanks to Sue Waters for The flip-a-holic’s ultimate guide to subscribing, curating and sharing using Flipboard. http://theedublogger.com/2013/06/12/flipboard/

Find Judy O’Connell at Flipboard https://flipboard.com/profile/heyjudeonline

Reference: Boyd, D. (2010). Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media. Educause Review, 45(5), 26-28.
Image: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by David

Creative computing – give Scratch a go!

Creative Computing is a six-week online workshop for educators who want to learn more about using Scratch and supporting computational thinking in the classroom and other learning environments.

The workshop, which is free, begins on Monday, June 3 and ends on Friday, July 12. Check out the FAQ for more information about this learning experience.

Creative Computing is facilitated by members of the ScratchEd Team at Harvard University, and has been made possible with funding from the CS4HS program at Google.

The video makes it sound exciting and very worthwhile. Give it a go!

Image: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by jenny downing

Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age!



Great title don’t you think?  This very title is the name of a new subject – foundation subject no less – that is in the pipeline for 2014 for the new degree that I have been immersed in developing.  As mentioned in my post a while back, I have had my head down and tail up for the last six weeks working live a navvy on scoping this new and exciting degree for next year.

Still a big secret in terms of the whole course program and content of course, because the final approval isn’t through yet.  We still have the last hurdle to face, but fingers crossed, we’ll make the grade. As it happens, the framework, subjects, electives etc are pretty much sorted, as is the focus of each subject.

It’s been a mammoth undertaking in some ways, and not so much in others. Conceptually it’s easy to pinpoint what is needed to fill the gaps in postgraduate learning opportunities to meet our professional learning needs within our networked learning environments. While there are of course many opportunities for professional development in these areas, there is also a need for academic credentialed programs that leverage deep thinking and research, and provide teachers with evidence of their passion, commitment and reasons for choosing them for innovative and/or promotions positions!

The new Australian national curriculum demands a deep understanding of connected learning, particularly if we consider the digitally connected environments that our students are working in.

So the motivation was strong to develop a degree that captured the power of networked learning, knowledge and information environments, learning spaces design, gaming, e-literature and more, in a powerful combination drawing on the disciplines of education, information technology, and information science. We took it on board to examine the key features and influences of global connectedness, information organisation, communication and participatory cultures of learning, aiming to provide the opportunity to reflect on professional practice in just such a networked learning community, and engage in peer dialogue to develop an authentic understanding of concepts and practices for learning and teaching in a digital environments.

So overall, the intention is to allow questioning, review and reconstruction of understanding, with the new subjects framing the challenges of learning in digital environments and setting the context for innovation and change in professional practice.

Everything will be thought-provoking, and will build on the knowledge that teachers bring to the course, rather than being driven by fixed content. By pushing the boundaries, knowledge networking and digital innovation will be the inspiration for this post-graduate program.

So roll on 21 May…..and if all goes well,  I will share all the details of the new degree.  If we hit any hiccups – well, what can I say?  Back to the drawing boards!

Image: cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by jah~

Learning in Networks of Knowledge

For me, knowledge networks is what it’s all about!  I was honoured to speak with the staff of the State Library of NSW about the issues and drivers that we consider as we work with students in our tertiary learning environments. Learning in Networks of Knowledge was just the beginning of a bigger conversation.

Thank you to the wonderful innovation team [see my last post] for this opportunity.

gr8 lol ~ Great Libraries of Learning

Support for school libraries in Far North Queensland is gr8!  The team at the Far North Queensland FNQ Learning Development Centre – ICT, have put together a fabulous brochure promoting change and essential development to ensure quality school libraries.  They have allowed me to embed the document here, so that you can download a copy for your own school district.  

There is also a gr8 lol::Great Libraries for Learning wiki to support the document – making it easy to cross-reference within your own online sites.

It’s pretty nice to be quoted in this brochure :-)

A Decade of Databases: Where to from here?

On Friday the 7th August I was proud to participate in the annual UQL Cyberschool Seminar in Brisbane, Queensland: A Decade of Databases: Where to from here?   How lovely to escape cold weather, and to meet new faces in the Teacher Librarian profession. It was the 10th anniversay of the Cyberschool – a service to all schools in Queensland, and to other States in Australia, providing a wealth of information resources and online databases.

The Program of the day included Tanya Ziebell, UQ Library, Patricia Carmichael, a fabulously energetic TL from Concordia Lutheran College, Dan Walker, an inspirational Principal from Brisbane State High School, Dr Mandy Lupton, Lecturer in Teacher-Librarianship, QUT, Lea Giles-Peters, OLD State Librarian, Keith Webster, Director of Learning Services, Professor Phil Long, Centre for Educational Innovation, and of course – myself!

What a fabulous group of people to listen to before my turn came. It was great to have Phil Long talk in detail about the Horizon Project and together with Keith Webster, engage the audience with some interactive online trials using iTouch units on loan from Apple. Keith showed us his masterful way of presenting using CoolIris – loads of fun!

Here are the slides for my presentation. As always, the story is in the telling!  I hope I encouraged some people to think ‘out of the box’, be connected, be comfortable with social networking, and hopefully find ways suitable to their own context to transform school library learning services.

Will Richardson Talks With Howard Rheingold

Is social media a new thing? No, not really – just an evolving use of media, an ecosystem of tools and a rich variety of opportunities. Now we are seeing great ways for students to collaborate. Listen to these two important innovators, and enjoy the conversation.

more about “Will Richardson Talks With Howard Rhe…“, posted with vodpod

Powering Practice in 09

The end of the school year – yes! The end of planning changes – no! Last week an intrepid Powerful Learning Practice team at Joeys gathered to plan for their work in 09. Our day was about developing concrete steps forward, as well as sharing, dreaming, and wondering how to move forward.

Dean Groom came along for the day, and acted as facilitator extraordinaire – an outside voice always makes a difference. Best of all, Ross (Headmaster) came along for the beginning hour or two, and urged us to look for achievable gains..even if small to begin with. So, true to his intention, we have come up with some small but achievable actions to begin to turn the learning focus around.Our focus will be on Year 7 in terms of a whole school project, even though each of us will be doing things in our own classes, we figure that a full school focus will add that extra level change.

Learning Framework

First up – we will introduce all Year 7 to their new school and their new life at Joeys via a Ning. Each boy will join the Year 7 Ning, and use it to build up their profiles, network socially within the school, and achieve what is traditionally done in Year 7 in terms of ‘introducing myself’ into a new school environment.

Second – the reason for this first jump into a Ning, familiarisation, and establishing connections is to move to the next phase of the project – digital citizenship. Again, the Ning will model online behaviours, allow for indepth work in the area, and expand the boys understanding of digital citizenship with a broader range of tools, so that the learning landscape becomes embedded in their online world. Amongst the tools chosen for early use will be Glogster – so that students can fashion their classroom projects (some of which will still be relatively analogue depending on the class they are in) and enhance their wikispaces accordingly. Hey, this will be a new take on the inevitable poster/powerpoint activity! I am going to use the new eduGlogster to set up accounts for all the boys in Year 7, and Anthony will set up the Ning.

Finally – we will of course use a variety of tools as the project progresses. But the idea will be to embrace digital citizenship and online learning as a normal part of schooling. Cool.

We are not sure how it will evolve – it’s a work in progress. The main thing is that we are embedding online learning as mainstream for these boys – so regardless of whether they are at school for study or at home for homework, they can connect and continue their learning and thinking. I hope that my work with my Year 7 English class (which I also asked for, so I could ‘do’ rather than ‘mentor’ all the time) will help us to better understand the possibilities for us at our school at our point in the learning journey revolution.

I have to thank my PLP team for being so keen to do this, given the remarkable constraints that the workload in a 24/7 boarding school imposes. We don’t get much time at all to participate in the PLP online Ning, but we do chip away at it at school, taking ideas and enthusiasm from the PLP project run by Will Richardson and Sherly Nussbaum-Beach which is empowering our transformation. We’ve embedded an official time each fortnight within our teaching schedules so that we can be guaranteed to meet and evolve our own understanding as well as our student’s learning. We have online collaborative tools that enhance our connectivity – Google Chat and Google docs are our mainstay at the moment. We will probaby also use Microsoft Onenote within school too.

Will we go into virtual worlds together? I certainly hope so, as there is such a strong interest emerging in Australia now, and Jokaydia is getting to be such a central hub for developments in the school and tertiary sectors.

Roll on 2009!

Celebrating Blue Day with Al Upton

Celebrating Blue Day with Al Upton

Eemo Dean and Judy

Eemo Dean and Judy

‘Buy in’ is low!

We often talk about the challenge of developing our 21st century learning capacity amongst our teachers. But I, like so many, have to start at the beginning. Personally I love that challenge, because it makes me reflect deeply on my own core beliefs about learning and teaching as we find it today.

So here’s our latest challenge – introducing all of Year 7 to the Resources Centre (library).

Shudder – well at least that is what the older boys do when they remember their time in Year 7 undertaking their 7 week project. I have the blue printed book on my desk. I opened it once. I rejected it immediately. We now have the Science Research wiki instead!

So we are developing a new approach – the is of course delivered online, that builds in to the program key points of information fluency. Let me tell you, this is just the beginning!  This is very new for my teachers, and is being welcomed with open arms so far.  So that’s the trick isn’t it. Start small, turn around the tide.

This is what I wrote about it at school:

Staff in the Resources Centre are always keen to find ways to promote reading and literacy as well as thinking in all areas across the curriculum.
We believe that thinking should be treated as a fundamental literacy skill, whether the ‘language’ in question is Maths, Science, Art or English! There is no question that reading, writing, speaking, and listening are interconnected skills that develop synergistically and are key to teaching thinking. The more fluent students become as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners, the clearer, more coherent, and more flexible their thinking will become.
So we look constantly look for new opportunities – and a few have come our way this term.
We have launched a new Year 7 Science Research program in collaboration with teachers, to introduce students to what the Resources Centre can offer, coupled with research techniques, learning strategies, note-taking ideas, web evaluation, using a bibliography, and more. This new programme has been launched as a web-based wiki that provides the pathway for learning, without being didactic about the approach. Each class is different so though key areas are covered for all, the learning experience is modified to suit the needs of each student. You can find the Research Wiki at http://scienceresearch.wetpaint.com/

Photo: Solar System