Free to mix – guiding the way

My recent visit to New Zealand has left me breathless with some of the yummy opportunities available for students across the country. One of these, the Mix and Mash competition is all about creative use of media. “Are you a crafty storyteller? An app developer? A visualisation ninja? Then this is the kiwi event for you”.

Wow!  Check out the 2010 winners if you want to get an idea of what they have been up to including posters, cartoons, alternate music, poems, and many more supreme mashups.

For the rest of us, as we stand by and watch, why not go and grab a copy of Free to Mix: An educator’s guide to reusing digital content. Use the word document to create your own school version, or just share the PDF. 

This initiative is another from the wonderful National Library Services to Schools, which is unique to New Zealand.

Uplifting school libraries


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by visualpanic

This week I picked up an interesting post from Doug Johnson ~ Not your mother’s school library. If your mother’s school library captured your passion, then it served a great purpose for the times  – but that’s a whole different story. My interest was piqued because of the (expensive) Workshops for School Library Teachers  being offered by Simmon’s graduate school. That title stumped me a little as it seems particularly out-of-date (school library teacher?), but the professional development courses seem to be quite current.  Interestingly, they are exactly the sort of courses that we offer free or at low cost via our professional associations here in Australia.We also learn a lot from our personal learning networks, with twitter and local lists always busy sharing the sort of information we need to keep our libraries current and vibrant places of 21st century literacy and learning.

Perhaps we are lucky! The Australian library scene is a vibrant one, as evidenced by the report tabled in the Federal Parliament that highlights the importance of teacher librarians and school libraries in education. The purpose of the Inquiry that led to the release of the report  was to look into and report on the role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools.  So we are being noticed.

I like to think that we are also working hard to promote quality education for those who aspire to be a teacher librarian, as well as those who want to undertake further postgraduate study. It’s great to know that our CSU Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) aims to remain current.  We introduce teachers to the world of teacher librarianship, and we use the most current technologies as part of the course. Think blogs, wikis and social bookmarking, and you’re at the starting line. I’m pleased with the extension opportunities that we offer as well, and next session I am keen to get stuck into some new subjects.

For those ‘in the know’ I’ll be teaching ETL501 Information Environment which is supported by the work of international leader James Herring who keenly promotes improved web use as an element of 21st century information literacy.

I’m also looking forward to INF443 Creating and Preserving Digital Content, and INF206 Social Networking for Information Professionals.

Throughout our courses at School Library courses at CSU  we explore foundational and ground-breaking issues and technologies for school libraries and teacher librarians. I will be using Facebook, blogs, wikis, Diigo, Flickr, Slideshare, Zipcasts etc – in fact, a swag of online tools that helps makes learning relevant and vibrant for those in the courses – allowing them to learn about them and then integrate them into their own school and personal learning needs.

Our students have to be involved in their own architecture of participation if they are to help their schools and school libraries embrace the challenges  to create a renewal of pedagogy and technology work practices.

So I think that we are certainly addressing the passion that our our mother’s school library inspired, and the focus and vibrant 21st century literacy and learning that our grand-children’s school library will need!

Don’t believe me? Here’s what a few students said at the end of my first session of teaching at CSU.

Thank you for a most stimulating, informative and challenging course. I have already adopted some new ways of thinking and learning into my classroom practice and I know that there is a long list that I look forward to reflecting upon and enacting as time allows.

What a pleasure it was to do this subject with you at the helm. What it has taught me is invaluable.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful resources and support throughout the course. You’ve taken me from someone who really had no idea what she was doing to someone who has some idea with a thirst for more. It’s very transformational, challenging and definitely lifelong learning.

Too easy – with EasyBib


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Reeding Lessons
Here’s another tool that I have decided to make my own. After the post  by Stacey on Using EasyBib  I’ve given their EasyBib App a go. When it comes to collecting and storing information about resources I think this App has got to be considered cool!

With this App you can create accurate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations in seconds by scanning a book bar code or by typing the name of a book. Once done, you can email your citations. You could also export your citations to EasyBib.com’s popular bibliography management service.

It’s also interesting to read that OCLC and ImagineEasy Solutions, LLC are collaboratingto create a customizable library version of the EasyBib.com service. The EasyBib Library Edition service has been rolled out with select OCLC member libraries. This is one to watch for schools too.  The Library Edition will offer a variety of features designed to extend library reach and usage, such as:

  • Library-branded interface
  • Links to library home page and catalog
  • Search box for easy discovery of additional resources at your library and beyond
  • Integration with virtual reference services
  • IP redirects to your library’s customized version
  • Deep links into a library’s OPAC
  • Integration with the OpenURL Gateway.

But in the meantime, I think my EasyBib app is a great way for me to keep a record of resources or create a reading list!

Have you tried the EasyBib App on your mobile device?

New Horizon Report – 2011 K-12 edition out now!

The 2011 K12 Edition of the NMC Horizon Report, a research effort led and published by the New Media Consortium, is finished and is available now at http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf

Three international organizations — the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) — collaborate on identifying technology experts and other aspects of the research, and this year, for the first time, each organization is planning a significant event related to the new report for each of their audiences.
CoSN started the rolling release yesterday with a private webinar for their audience of school CIOs around the world. The NMC follows with a major event at their annual Summer Conference, held this year in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 17th. ISTE rounds out the release effort with a major session at their annual conference in Philadelphia on June 27.
The report has been released under a Creative Commons license to encourage broad distribution.

Emerging devices, tools, media, and virtual environments offer opportunities for creating new types of learning communities for students and teachers. Dede (2005) described the interrelated matrix of the learning styles of neo-millenials as being marked by active learning (real and simulated), co-designed and personalized to individual needs and preferences, based on diverse, tacit, situated experiences, all centred on fluency in multiple media, chosen for the types of communication, activities, experiences, and expressions it they empower.

The Horizon Report K-12 edition, issued annually since 2009, has identified and described emerging technologies that are having a significant impact on K-12 education, re-iterating the diversity of influences in the learning spaces of our schools. For school librarians the report directs attention simultaneously to both information use and learning and highlights the fact that 21st century technologies are unlikely to be empowering unless they are in the hands of an informed learner.

Key Trends in 2011:

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

  • Cloud computing
  • Mobiles
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
  • Game-based learning
  • Open content
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
  • Learning Analytics
  • Personal Learning Environments
Watch for more information at the Horizon K-12 wiki at http://k12.wiki.nmc.org which will have have a tweak or two before June 17th.
Once again, it was an honour and a real buzz to be part of the Advisory Board in 2011. My personal thanks go to Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at NMC for being the driving force behind this work.
Dede, C. (2005). Planning for Neomillenial Learning Styles: Implications for investments in technology and faculty. In D. G. Oblinger & J.L. Obliger (eds.), Educating the Net Generation. www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen

Greasemonkey and Flickr for the adventurous

Some of my students are busy creating slideshare presentations, that we will be able to mill around, listen to their thoughts, and discuss ideas via Slideshare zipcast. The exciting thing about this is also the opportunity to help them develop new ways of managing online tools -AND images for work like this.

A tweet this morning from friend Darcy Moore asking  Dean Groom  (yes, he’s a friend too!) about image attribution in his recent blog post reminded me that I should crosspost  my tip to my students  about  my favourite image attribution tool right here too!

Here it is:

I promised a while back that I would share some more interesting ways to manage your image work online. Tips and tricks abound, but this one from Alan Levine is the niftiest around, so I’ve decided to share it first.


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Sebastián-Dario

So what am I talking about? Well of course, as you prepare your presentation (or indeed work on other image-related tasks in your professional work) one of the things you are doing is noting where the image comes from and providing a hyperlinked attribution. If, like me, you are backed into a corner for time, then you will most certainly end up at Flickr. (Even if not in a rush I still prefer to use FlickrCC, and think laterally in my search terms! I also love the new things it throws up for me.)

There are a few reasons for this:
1. You can store your own images at Flickr and build your own collections
2. You can ‘favourite’ other peoples CC.  images (something I regularly do as I collect images for my various bits of work)
3. Now you can also install a nice GreaseMonkey script to make the image attribute even easier.

Here’s what it’s about – read on, only if you are keen for an adventure!

Alan Levine has written a Flickr Attribution Helper – a browser script that embeds easy to copy attribution text to creative commons licensed flickr images. Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox browser. Once Greasemonkey is installed, you have the ability to add all sorts of magical things to the functionality of your browser.

To be honest, the only one I have ever added is Alan’s Flickr Attribtion Helper – but its insanely useful! See the image above – that red tee-shirt and the attribution were simply copied from the HTML box and pasted here in the blog! Done in one go!

Stephen Ridgeway, from New South Wales Australia, created a video that explains how to use the Flickr CC Attribution helper (thank goodness – a blog post by itself would never do it!). Download and install the Flickr Attribution helper (after you have installed Greasmonkey). Then watch the magic happen every time you go to a Flickr image!

What about cybersecurity?

April 4, 2011, the EastWest Institute hosted the International Youth and Technology Forum in partnership with Columbia University, where the event was held. It brought together everyone from cybersecurity experts and activists to government representatives and Girl Scouts to lay the groundwork for a new alliance aimed to protect – and empower – kids and teenagers in our digital world. Dominique Napolitano, a fifteen year-old Long Island Girl Scout who has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, describing the new risks kids face online from “sexting” to cyber bullying, took part in the  International Youth and Technology Forum .

In her own words

We need to empower youth to take this problem into our own hands and find solutions that will work for us”. This is of course why we have to be actively involved in Digital Citizenship initiatives in our schools and community organisations. People of all ages have to become better “digital citizens,” capable of applying real-world knowledge, ethics and personal responsibility to cyberspace.

Here’s the trick. While we may well be learning, engaging, and keeping up-to-date with online tools, and working with students to pursue good digital actions, do we remember to also cover off security? James Lyne, Director of Technology Safety at Sophos, warns that cyber criminals fueled by organized crime are “winning the battle for the internet,” deploying about 95,000 bits of malicious code to threaten consumers each day, making it urgent that we ensure best practices and update our awareness as best we can.

That’s of course where my knowledge falls a bit thin – and I have to rely on the services of companies to provide me with tools/software/networks for security. I have no ‘hacking’ knowlege. I can’t do anything illegal myself, and have no way of preventing hackers other than by deploying third-party solutions (and these will only work against very mild intrusions anyway!).

Perhaps governments and citizens need to pressure companies to better protect online privacy and safety?  Perhaps there is no solution?  What advice can we give to our students?  This is where I need help from someone more knowledgeable!

On May 31, 2011 in London, EWI’s first International Youth Congress on Digital Safety and Citizenship, which will include many forum participants, will precede EWI’s Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit (June 1-2)

This interview with  James Lyne from Sophos left me thinking I really need to learn more about this field!

via Educating and Protecting Young Digital Citizens

Schools taking responsibility for digital citizenship

One of the new courses in 2011 on which I am working at CSU at the moment is called Digital Citizenship in Schools. The opportunity to work with school educators on this topic is a complete bonus!   I feel this way because having recently left working in schools I am only too aware of how easy it is for schools to skirt the issues, or believe they are ‘doing something’ worthwhile – yet missing the point by miles!

It is important to open our eyes as wide as we can to the possibilities, and the far-reaching changes not only in technology tools ( such as computers, laptops, cameras, multi-purpose phones, ipads and portable devices, and ebook readers) but also in information access, and social communications that our digital world is inspiring.

The media constantly report stories about the shift in digital technology use among children and teenagers. These highlight the fact that ‘the shift’ is not just a topic for educators, but is a topic of interest, and perhaps concern, for all adults. Learning to play Angry Birds before you can tie your shoes is suddenly media news!  More importantly, though, is the need to grow in knowledge of the digital environment, and it’s influential role in learning and teaching.

So what are schools doing about it? Ask yourself.  Look around.  Look at your policies, community communications, and your teaching programs. Look at your teachers and figure out how many actually have a clue about any of this?

Fortunatley, there are some really strong role-models in the education community, who help lead the conversation, and now I have found something that I am VERY excited about!

iCyberSafe.com – Living in a Connected World


This outstanding website provides information, resources, videos, updates and more for the school community on all matters related to Digital Citizenship.  It’s so easy to build a resource like this for a school using WordPress – yet how many schools have done this?  I  could have built Joeys something like this in the wink of an eye – but of course, that’s just not the way it happens in schools. We had other initiatives underway!

But the question is  – what does it take to create a whole-school response to Digital Citizenship?  What it takes is a Principal with vision, and determination to break through traditional structures to get where we need to go.  This is why is was wonderful to read that Darcy Moore has such a Principal.

For the first time in 20 years I do not have English classes to teach. The principal has requested that I am ‘off the timetable’ and work with all students on digital citizenship and creating a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) or, if you prefer, Personal Learning Network (PLN). This is another small step towards creating an environment at our school where student learning is personalised with the internet in mind.

What Darcy describes as a ‘small step’ would seem to me to be a significant step, given the cost in time and staffing. I would like to find other schools that have taken bold steps to ‘go where no-one has gone before‘.  This is a new frontier  that must be explored, with conections made and tamed,  so that working with digital citizenship it is no longer seen as being groundbreaking.  How long will it take before digital citizenship just becomes citizenship?

final report from the Learning with New Media research group at Monash University’s Faculty of Education was recently released.  This report, called Teenagers, Legal Risks and Social Networking Sites provides an outstanding analysis of  some the issues involved.

The research findings of this project confirm that SNS usage is now playing an important role in the lives of Victorian middle school students, including in socialisation and identity formation. In fact, SNS use has become integrated into the everyday social lives of most Victorian middle school students.

The final words of the report urge:

There is a need for further research directed at understanding young people’s use of SNS and how they can better be empowered to be confident and safer digital citizens. There is also a significant need to further work to be done to assist teachers to be better equipped to understand their rights and responsibilities in the digital communication environment.

We have a  way to go!

Join us in the journey. Become proactive in your use of digital environments, and urge your school to explore and engage in these environments more (rather than shutting them down).

As a result of my work  with our Digital Citizenship course at uni we now have two ongoing resources that readers may like to tap into and help to build.

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DigitalCitizenshipInSchools

Find us at Diigo http://groups.diigo.com/group/digital-citizenship-in-schools