Rethinking Education

You will remember that video  that had us all agog back in 2007.  The Machine is Us?ing Us was a revelation for many.

Back in 2007 The Digital Ethnography working group at Kansas State University, led by Dr Michael Wesch in Cultural Anthropology, produced the video  in response to studies  on the impacts of digital technology on human interaction.

At the time the idea that online environments would be all pervasive was still novel, and pre-dated the rather solid expansion of environments like twitter and Facebook.  Now fast-forward a few years, and the newest video Rethinking Education from Michael Wesch presents ideas and discussion points about in relation to the future of higher education – and schools too!

Fired up by BlueFire Reader

I have so many e-options to help me  do what I like doing a lot – reading for leisure and information. I wish I had more time – you know how it is – so flexibility is pretty important to me. So let me tell you about BlueFire Reader and where it might fit into my readers toolkit!

My Kindle provides me with books for pure pleasure, as well professional reads – which is great, because I love being able to take notes, and be able to search through the book for key topics. Better still, these books synch right across to my iPad, so no excuse – I have the book when I need it.

Now I’ve also decided to subscribe to some of my favourite magazines with Zino. Costs less than a paper subscription – plus I can read the same issue on my iPad or on my computer.  Even better – no magazine back copies strewn around the house.

Today I found out about BlueFire Reader for reading encrypted Adobe ePub DRMs.

I also use Adobe Digital Editions flash-based eBook reader for eBooks from my Uni library – a great way to keep up-to-date with various academic publications as it’s free, flexible, and so easy to use!  eBorrowing and eReturns!  Amazing.

Now here’s another great tool called BlueFire Reader that I have to explore!

We built Bluefire Reader because we value the unique curatorial voice of each bookseller and we wanted to provide book lovers with the freedom to buy books where they choose. Bluefire Reader supports Adobe eBook DRM because it’s become an industry standard across a wide variety of booksellers and public libraries. Adobe DRM allows you to transfer books that you’ve purchased from many different locations between your reading devices and personal computers.

If you have spent years buying PDFs and ePubs, this is the App for you!

Download this app to your iThing and then authorize using your Adobe username and password. The Bluefire App allows you to take notes. Just highlight the section that you want to bookmark and the note section will show up. For a new app, the reader seems pretty sophisticated.It also retains the epub page numbering, which is a boon.

To get your ENCRYPTED epubs on to your iThing, open ITunes and click on the App tab. Scroll to the bottom until you see something like this:App document section

Highlight Bluefire App.

Open your “My Documents” folder or “Documents” (on MAC). There is folder called “My Digital Editions” (created by your Adobe Digital Editions tool).

Digital Editions folder

Open this folder and then drag the books you want from Digital Editions folder onto the App section.
Transfer ebooks

Readers can use the Get Books feature of Bluefire Reader to browse and search for books from a wide variety of online sources as well.

Full post and information at  Dear Author: a blog by Readers for Readers.

Digital literacy across the curriculum

Digital Literacy across the Curriculum (pdf), from FutureLab, UK, is a 63-page handbook aimed at educational practitioners and school leaders in both primary and secondary schools who are interested in creative and critical uses of technology in the classroom. The handbook is supported by case studies (pdf) of digital literacy in practice and video case studies.

The handbook aims to introduce educational practitioners to the concepts and contexts of digital literacy and to support them in developing their own practice aimed at fostering the components of digital literacy in classroom subject teaching and in real school settings.

Developing digital literacy is important  because it supports young people to be confident and competent in their use of technology in a way that will enable them to develop their subject knowledge by encouraging their curiosity, supporting their creativity, giving them a critical framing for their emerging understandings and allowing them to make discerning use of the increasing number of digital resources available to them. p.10

Developing digital literacy in the classroom can allow students to apply their existing knowledge of creating with digital technology to learning in school and in the process be supported to think more critically and creatively about what it is they are doing. p.24

Fostering creativity in the classroom involves applying elements of creativity to subject knowledge. This can be done in all subjects across the school curriculum. p.25

This is an outstanding document that can be used as an information primer for helping schools develop a whole-school approach – particularly relevant in the current 1:1 laptop scenario in Australia.

Opera mini worth singing about

Wow! I have to say, the claims about Opera Mini – are – pretty genuine! At last, I can browse/jump around websites as fast on my iPhone as I do on my main computer. Plus it has lots of extra features and nice navigation options!  Should be very cool on the iPad.

I have added Opera to my bottom navigation bar – bye bye Safari!

If you haven’t already downloaded the App – race on over to the App store and grab your new browser experience.

Horizon Report K-12 – future think!

What a buzz!  I helped with the Horizon Report K-12, which has been officially released.

This volume, the 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative expression within the environment of pre-college education.

Make sure you read it and circulate it to the leadership team in your school or institution.

Thanks to  Larry Johnson and Alan Levine of  NMC  for inviting me to join the 2010 K-12 Horizon Project Advisory Board as an Australian school representative.

The future of digital diversity

Think digital – it’s  a ‘doing’ technology.  Trends from PewInternet Research Centre indicate that teens are digital denizens.

While the research is not Australia, it points the way to the behaviours or our own teens, and signals a need for some major shifts in thinking about learning and teaching contexts.   The interactivity of the web allows students to move very quickly from one application to another – remixing, remaking and montaging ‘content’.  Learning is promoted most effectively when students are making, creating, building, simulating, hypothesizing – all desirable higher-order thinking activities.

So, give these figures some thought!

Did you know what’s happening to the Internet?

This is another official update to the original “Shift Happens” video. This completely new September 2009 version includes facts and statistics focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist.

Thanks to Wes Fryer for the tip-off in his post Can you Imagine So Much Global Sharing?  My answer is – I never could, even though I’m an avid reader of SciFi. Dreaming and doing are quite different things!

Also in the same post – a peek at the state of the Internet. 

2010 is one amazing year!

more about “JESS3 / The State of The Internet“, posted with vodpod

Flat Classroom Project: Fresh start in a new world

The brilliant work by Julie Lindsay (Beijing, China) and Vicki Davis (Westwood Schools, Georgia, USA) continues in The Flat Classroom Project 2010-1 which is now is well under way for 2010.

The Flat Classroom™ Project is a global collaborative project that joins together middle and senior high school students. This project is part of the emerging tend in internationally-aware schools to embrace a holistic and constructivist educational approach to work collaboratively with others around the world.

One of the main goals of the project is to ‘flatten’ or lower the classroom walls so that instead of each class working isolated and alone, 2 or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web 2.0 tools such as Wikispaces and Ning.

The Project uses Web 2.0 tools to make communication and interaction between students and teachers from all participating classrooms easier. The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on ‘The World is Flat‘ by Thomas Friedman.

I was honoured to be invited to present the Keynote, ‘Pandora’s Box: Fresh Start in a New World’ for FCP10-1. This time there are  over 200 students from 10 classrooms across 6 different countries.

Here are some guiding questions to get them thinking about how to respond and start a discussion or foster an existing discussion:

  1. Is global collaboration using emerging technologies a pandora’s box? Why?
  2. How can we best prepare the ’17 year old Internet/connected world’ to mature and grow into ‘adulthood’?
  3. How has the flat world impacted on you as a teenager? as a teacher?
  4. What place do immersive worlds and virtual realities have in education?