Kids and innovation! Step aside…

While adults continue to debate technology, innovation and the future of learning in our schools, there are kids who are just getting on with it. Step aside and help. You will build the future faster that way!

Joining Pandora – Australia’s web archive

The National Library of Australia aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to ensure that Australians have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future.

The National Library is an amazing organisation. The theme promoted on the homepage says it all: Thinkers Wanted  - Take a fresh look at the National Library. Remarkable.

You should stop by and discover Australia’s Collections: Trove; Picture Australia, Pandora, Music Australia, Australia Dancing and Australian Newspapers.

The one that I am excited about today is PANDORA – Australia’s Web Archive.

PANDORA was set up by the Library in 1996 to enable the archiving and provision of long-term access to online Australian publications. Since then they have been identifying and archiving online publications that meet their collecting scope and priorities.

Imagine my excitement to receive a request to include this blog in the  PANDORA Archive. I have now granted permission under the Copyright Act 1968, to copy Heyjude into the Archive and to provide online public access to them via the Internet. This means that the Library has permission to retain the published blog in the Archive and to provide public access  in perpetuity. How cool is that?

Access is then facilitated in two ways:  via the Library’s online catalogue and via subject and title lists maintained on the PANDORA home page .

I am delighted to be added to the collection! I know others have been granted this privilege long before me, but I’m amazed non-the-less.

Now my digital musings are no longer floating free on the internet, and I have one of the best back-up systems in the world.

Image: Laptop Floating on a Digital Sea from Bigstock

Personal digital preservation is important

This last week has been an interesting one, particularly as my students in Creating and Preserving Digital Content began to share their personal experiences with digital content both in the workplace and in their own lives.  I relate to their experiences in so many ways, and I am learning from them – as I always do when I work with students (kids or adults).

At the end of the day, there are so many issues to consider – and yet in school education circles they are not usually mentioned let alone planned for. The reality is, there are different stakeholders in digital preservation – librarians, archivists, museum curators, IT professionals, scientists – all of whom have different reasons for needing to keep things.

Are we throwing away the right things?  Are we preserving the right things?  Are we actually preserving successfully? I still have a small collection of floppy disks, with some material on them that I think I should retrieve – but I no longer have a device that can retrieve the information. My personal bits and pieces are possibly not too important, but your bits and pieces might be vital to your family.   This is such a simple example of obscalesence that is the premsie for Avoiding a Digital Dark Age – which we just might inadvertantly get sucked into if we do not take some firm steps now.

Rob Blackhurst asked Will history end up in the trash ?

It’s a sobering thought that the Domesday book, written in 1086 on pages of stretched sheepskin, has lasted more than 900 years. That latter-day Domesday project is a metaphor for the carelessness with which we’re treating the digital information created during the past 20 years. The first telegram ever sent has been preserved in a frame; the first e-mail, sent in the 1960s using a mainframe computer the size of a room, has been lost. Will future generations look back at this period as a “digital dark age” – a modern equivalent of the early Middle Ages, which left barely a trace on the written historical record?

So perhaps you are like me – and have to reconsider how you manage your digital memories? The Confessions of an Imperfect Digital Archivist got me thinking, though I have to say I haven’t begun any action yet!

Preserving your digital memories is possibily one of the most important things to do.

This Library of Congress site about Personal Archiving provides a good starting point in your personal re-organisation, or you can Download the Personal Archiving Brochure.  The content covers photographs, mail, audio, video, personal records and website.

To be honest, I am now quite glad that most of my personal history is not digital! Our photo albums, letters, home movies and paper documents are a vital link to the past.  Personal information we create today has the same value.  The only difference is that much of it is now digital. As new technology emerges and current technology becomes obsolete, we need to actively manage our digital possessions to help protect them and keep them available for years to come.

This video offers simple and practical strategies for personal digital preservation.

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Ian Muttoo

Do you have the keys to tomorrow?

Today I have had the most amazing day – really I have!  I am with school librarians in New Zealand, at the 2011  SLANZA Conference. This Monday morning saw me bright eyed,  ready,  and presenting their first Keynote – to set the foundations for three busy days. Though what I presented was a little different to the slideshare embedded below, the message is much the same…”at last we can make a difference”. You’ll see I broke my rule of having slides with minimal text – simply because with a diverse group of people, the presentation has to include take-away notes complete with reminders and references.

My thanks  to Oxford University Press for sponsoring my visit to the SLANZA conference in New Zealand.

After the morning Keynote  we had some really yummy information-rich workshops throughout the day. What has amazed me most has been the complete passion, camaraderie and willingness to do the seemingly impossible in the most remarkably diverse situations.   My New Zealand colleagues are an inspiration.

What outstanding work by the Committee in making this conference such a success already – and it is only the first day! Follow #slanza11 to pick put the vibe.

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

Purpose/ed: Unlocking education, unlocking minds

It’s worth stopping and thinking back to some of the most exciting times in your learning life – to feel once again that cognitive buzz that energized your spirit and made you want to know more.  I mean something deep, visceral, urgent, demanding – like a child building and rebuilding a set of blocks with persistent fascination.  What have these learning moments been for you?

I still feel the utter disappointment of having found only dried macaroni inside the rocking clown that I demolished. I have so many memories from when I was a kid that remain charged with positive frustration (learning) and wonderful, sizzling amazement.   How many of them can I attribute to a learning experience as a by-product of formal education?  How many can you? Honestly!  What about our learners in schools today?

Learning and knowing cannot be separated, and relies on transactions and interactions with information. However, different people, when presented with exactly the same information in exactly the same way, will learn different things. Most models of education and learning have almost no tolerance for this kind of thing. As a result, teaching tends to focus on eliminating the source of the problem: the student’s imagination!

The purpose of education is surely about cultivating the imagination, for without imagination there would be no knowledge, no development, no scientific discovery, nothing. Most of us at some stage in our lives have had the thrilling experience of seeing a new solution to a problem, not necessarily in lofty theories of the professional world, but perhaps in making something, or cooking, or gaming, or solving a social conundrum. You don’t have to be Einstein to experience that wonderful feeling of a strong sense of uniqueness through a new insight or idea – making a connection that you’ve never made before.

For me, this is the challenge and purpose of education – nurturing ‘eureka’ moments for every kid. Not only are Eureka moments extremely exciting, they also reinforce an inner conviction of being special, someone worth having around.

So when it comes to our digital environment, we must work with existing and emerging media tools to promote creative and reflective learning. The challenge is to go beyond the constraints of the classroom and to push the understanding of what is possible. You only have to look at projects like the Flat Classroom Project to appreciate the possibilities.

No-one likes to grow old – but hiding in the 20th century mindset won’t stop you aging!! In fact it will definitely give you digital dementia, and simultaneously disenfranchise your student’s right to learn at the same time.

It’s time to go beyond worksheets, pathfinders, and lock-step learning. We’ve been saying it for years now, but many schools still ‘throttle’ young minds with essays, exams, cross-form marking and more.  It’s not curriculum that’s the mind killer – it’s what teachers do, or are forced to do with it that’s the problem.

I wonder what you could do today to unlock learning and energize the minds of your students?  Eureka!

Horizon Project 2011 and K-12 edition

The Horizon Project 2011 has been launched, and each year it’s findings are received with interest and vigorous debate.

The internationally recognized series of Horizon Reports is part of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, a comprehensive research venture established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years on a variety of sectors around the globe. This volume, the 2011 Horizon Report, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. It is the eighth in the annual series of reports focused on emerging technology in the higher education environment. To create the report, the Horizon Project’s Advisory Board, an international body of experts in education, technology, business, and other fields, engaged in a discussion based on a set of research questions intended to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify a broad array of potential technologies for the report.

This report is essential reading each year, and available as a pdf download from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report.pdf or Download ePub version or View and comment on web version

Over the course of just a few weeks, the Advisory Board came to a consensus about the six topics that appear here in the 2011 Horizon Report. On the near-term horizon — that is, within the next 12 months — are mobile computing and open content. The second adoption horizon is set two to three years out, where we will begin to see widespread adoptions of two well-established technologies that have taken off by making use of the global cellular networks — electronic books and simple augmented reality.On the far-term horizon, set at four to five years away for widespread adoption, but clearly already in use in some quarters, are gesture-based computing and visual data analysis.

The Horizon Report K-12 Edition

If you work in  K-12 education, read this report. However, the The Horizon Report K-12 Edition will be available in May, which should be in time for you to write your visionary plans and  budget proposals ready for 2012.

Once again I’m excited to have been invited to join the Advisory Board for 2011. The Advisory Board uses their expertise to place the technologies we consider for the report on adoption timelines, and to rank their potential impacts on education. As a member of the Advisory Board, I’m included as part of an extraordinary group of multi-disciplinary thinkers from both within and outside education.  Participation on the Horizon.K12 Advisory Board is by invitation only, and completely voluntary. Leslie Conery (ISTE), Keith Krueger (CoSN), and Larry Johnson (NMC) will serve as the co-principal investigators for the work this year.

Track the progress of the report at the Horizon Report: K-12 Edition Wiki.

Thanks Larry and Alan :-)

Grand challenges or a common way of thinking?

In the old epoch...

Many schools (and organisations responsible for K-12 education) worry about moving to the cloud for their knowledge pathways and   learning interactions.  But while ‘we’ worry, have we stopped long enough and looked far enough into possibilities in order to gain a better perspective on the scope of the digital [r]evolution around us?

I see this worry as being associated with a number of things:

  • A learning agenda that is essentially about achieving a ‘competitive’ edge (exams, tests, scores)
  • A learning process that is tied to a fixed content/curriculum approach (state or district syllabus directives)
  • A learning belief system that claims constructivism while operating in an industrial model of schooling.
  • A learning approach that still has to learn about connectivism as the source of powerful learning practices.

In such a scenario school libraries wishing to be placed at the centre of innovation in 21st century learning environments are faced with a remarkable challenge. While it could be said that the whole school, or education itself, is facing a challenge, the strategic importance of school libraries in forging new places and new approaches to learning should never be underestimated.


Anytime anywhere

This is as true for the smallest central school in Australia as it is for large learning enterprises such as my own school.  I believe we still have a little time up our sleeves  simply because the majority of people – from the stake-holders to the senior administrators – do not yet understand the extraordinary opportunities before us.  But getting ourselves sorted is getting urgent.  And no, the solution isn’t just going to a laptop program. It’s much more than that.

I believe it is time to start digging deeply into the new learning culture that is emerging. I am not talking here about using Web 2.0 tools, or creating content, connections and conversations online, of playing with tech tools on laptops.  I know that we are all busy exploring these options, and many teachers are demonstrating that they CAN adopt cloud-based activities to

empower learning, and do know how to challenge their students to develop the best thinking skills possible.


Uncommonly flexible..

What I would like to see is a growing understanding of the shifting base-line of our
technology-enhanced learning environment. From there we can move to develop an adoption strategy for each school that will shape the nature of a learning commons – agile learning spaces in the real sense – i.e. a school and a school library that is both physical and virtual, and which is pervasive, real, and enmeshed in all aspects of student learning.  Some are on the way – but many are not!  Where do you fit on the spectrum?

It takes time for any enterprise or organisation to adjust to new technologies, and schools are no different in this regard, particularly when K-12 moves to the cloud.

It is easy to

point to the online professional learning networks that many educators participate in as being key to helping share ideas about how to best use these tools in their classroom.

The real-time web in the classroom is here to stay and are busy lowering the proverbial walls of the classroom, giving students access to information that far surpasses the print-bound copies of encyclopedias and periodicals that were once the standard for K-12 research projects. As technology-educator Steven Anderson argues, these technologies

really make the world smaller for our students and show them that they can find the answers they need if we equip them with the tools and resources do to so.

The next step is to create a vision, form and function for your school library that is free from edu-speak conventions (which can become quite stale) and is intuitively accessible to the wider school community. Re-engineer what your library has to offer in whatever ways are possible to you. It is easy to write about whole-scale change, but not so easy when you look at each school and each school library because of the underlying thought changes that have yet to happen.

Give it time – but put KNOWLEDGE at the centre of your thinking rather than ‘library’ and  ‘information services’.    Knowledge and knowledge creation – globally – is the ticket to the future!

Smithsonian Commons Project

It’s in the context of this thinking that I really enjoyed learning about the Smithsonian Commons project.  I haven’t had time until now to catch breath and absorb the implications of this important endeavour.

Michael Edson, Director of Web and Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy at Smithsonian Institution, talked about his project, explaining that foundational concept that everyone should have access to the raw materials of knowledge  creation – everyone, for any purpose.

The project is a significant one and speaks of an approach or philosophy that should be the motivation for our educational endeavours.  It demonstrates a new model of knowledge creation – one that is fast, transparent and open. The spirit and philosophy of this project is one in which they define success as a truly open sandbox that belongs to everybody.

The Smithsonian commons is a project that is just beginning and the goal is to stimulate innovation and creativity and learning through open access to s resources, expertise and communities. In the old epoch institutions like the Smithsonian and like universities were built on the model of enduring wisdom. “we didn’t have to change, we didn’t have to look outside ourselves to strenuously because wisdom endures, wisdom is slow”.  In this epoch I think we’ll be measuring our worth, this library will be measuring its worth, the Smithsonian will be measuring its worth in terms of how successful we make people outside our walls. It’s a very different way of thinking. It requires a great deal of institutional humility and generosity.  I’m inspired by the work of Kathy Sierra, social web thought leader who said “in the old days the pitch for business was follow me, I’m great. The big opportunity now is follow me or my product because I help make YOU great”.

Watch  TWIL #22: Michael Edson (Smithsonian Institution) from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

Be inspired by the idea, and visit the related websites:

Smithsonian Commons – A place to begin -  wiki

Smithsonian Commons Prototype  – wiki

Smithsonian Commons Prototype – Live

Excellence at ISTE 2010

Several intrepid educators have travelled across to Denver, Colorado  from various parts of Australia to attend one of the world’s leading conferences for learning and teaching with technology.

The conference  “Exploring Excellence” hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education is of a scale and variety that is never experienced here in Australia. Amazingly this conference gets underway a good day before the official launch.

Edubloggercon2010 was (as always) a totally crowd-sourced “unconference” event – built in the lead up to Saturday on a wiki, then finally voted upon and organized at the start of the day for the full day’s of busy activities. A list of of the shared link. My completely favourite fun session is always the Web 2.0 smack down of new media tools. Check them out and what others are saying.  We could really enjoy doing this for even longer than an hour – it’s just fabulous to get recommendations from practitioners. Overall,  it is amazing to see such grassroots activity resulting in such quality information.

Thanks to Scott Merrik for hosting a lovely evening at his brother’s home. So nice to spend time with Virtual Worlds educators, and to experience a little of Denver home life. I remember the first time I met Scott in ISTE island a few years back – and for his welcoming patience to a ‘newbie’ SecondLifer. 

The Opening Keynote on Sunday evening  by Jean-François Rischard of the World Bank  was a little disappointing – but the shared camaraderie of the crowd at the Bloggers Cafe certainly made up for this in spades. Nuts were shared, jokes were cracked, pictures were snapped, and Twitter humor abounded!

It’s my second trip to an ISTE international conference. It promises to be yet another inspirational conference.  I met one wonderful teacher – three years in the profession, three conferences at which she presented, and engaged in amazing innovation at her school. What an inspiration!

Technology innovation is everywhere! Already we have heard from schools that are integrating iTouch devices and now iPads into their overall curriculum delivery. This is very different to Australian schools who are stumped by network issues. Perhaps more of us should be at conferences like this to bump innovation along by disseminating crowd-sourced solutions to similar problems. This is where a personal learning network comes into it’s own. Someone can always help provide ideas and solutions.

I’m looking forward to learning more, interacting with old friends and new, and being excited about the future of learning. The program ‘at a glance’ gives a peep into the possibilities at ISTE2010.

If you dropped into my session on Monday, here is my presentation for review.