An international school library perspective

Balinese dancerThis week I am delighted to be immersed in international perspectives on school libraries and teacher librarianship as I participate in the 42nd annual conference of the International Association of School Librarianship. IASL conferences provide a gathering point for leaders and practitioners in the field of school libraries, and has allowed me to meet some amazing and inspirational people over the years. This year, the IASL conference “Enhancing Students’ Life Skills through the School Library”  is hosted in Bali, Indonesia by the Indonesia Association of School Library Workers, an independent organization facilitating school library workers to improve competencies and develop school librarianship in Indonesia.

After preparing the conference paper “Building a Vibrant Future for School Librarians through Online Conversations for Professional Development” I was fortunate to be able to present a lively presentation and discussion session (translated into Indonesian) about digital environments and the work of the School of Information Studies to support online conversations as part of the personal learning networks in this context.

Our everyday tools for success

REDToday I was genuinely honoured to head up a keynote session for the Rural and Distance Education Symposium NSW, being held in Sydney for two days. Over 100 fantastic teachers gather to share, learn, and re-energize so they can continue to meet the exceptional needs of students who are isolated by geography, health, disability, or other social reasons.

More than any single group I know, these teachers can really benefit from building a strong global PLN to help support their professional needs to grow in digital learning strategies in challenging circumstances.  Let me tell you, these teachers are a complete inspiration. You can visit the website for Rural and Distance Education, as there are some very useful resources availbale there. http://rde.nsw.edu.au/ 

It’s particularly worth checking the ICT tab – there is some gold buried there, particularly if you are passionate about accessibility.

My focus was the teachers themselves. I was on a crusade!

The digital revolution has created a world of global connectedness, information organisation, communication and participatory cultures of learning, giving teachers the opportunity to hone their professional practice through their networked learning community. What do you do to make it so?

Check out the supporting slide-set for Our Everyday Tools for Success.

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~

ABC Splash working the waves

ABC Splash is a new education website for Australia, packed with 100s of videos, audio clips and games. Everything is totally free to watch and play at home and in school. in a nutshell ABC Splash has teamed up with Education Services Australia to link hundreds of new learning resources directly to the Australian Curriculum. Look out for cutting-edge games, virtual worlds and immersive digital experiences.

The site features information for Early Primary, Upper Primary, Secondary, Parents and Teachers. It’s new and it’s bound to be fabulous, so bookmark it today and start using the services in your classroom, or to support your school community.

It’s also cool to see friends included on the site – we’re making our own ‘celebrity splash’. :-)

Dean Groom and Grand Theft Childhood.
Darcy Moore and From Primary to High School.
Judy O’Connell and Rules of Engagement in the Digital Age
Jenny Luca and Personal Learning Networks

Thanks to Annabel Astbury (Head of Digital Education, ABC Innovation) for the opportunity!

From Annabel : Welcome to ABC Splash!

Social media [at your library] starts with you

Thank you to Karen Bonanno for the opportunity to speak with teacher librarians about social media, social networking and school libraries,  as part of the School Library Management Professional Learning Webinar Series.

If you are interested in quality professional development delivered online and would like to receive email notices for future webinars and other professional learning events I recommend that you  sign up now.

Talking with the Ed Tech Crew


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by hebedesign

These guys are amazing!

Ed Tech Crew 166 – Searching the Web with Judy O’Connell

It was such a blast to chat with Tony Richards and Darrel Branson.  These guys have been filling the ears of anyone interested in technology in education with wonderful podcasts from people around the world. I was lucky to be in podcast 166!

I’m in Sydney, and on one cold evening in July,  Tony (Melbourne) and Darrel (in the cold shed in the back yard in Ballarat) had a lively chat with me.

If you haven’t been following the Ed Tech Crew, then do add them to your must do list.

Slipping into change

Here we are in 2011, and as usual a new year brings with it surprises and the opportunities for change. I have been very busy one way or another preparing for some personal change as I get myself ready for  full-time work as Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University.

You know it’s really happening when you receive a proof of your business card – which will be ready for me to collect when I travel down to Wagga Wagga in February (though I will be based in Sydney most of the time).

I am a little nervous, but also excited about this change. I know I will really enjoy the opportunity to spend more time engaging at a professional level with people involved in the information profession in education, school, community and service sectors.

I have some outstanding colleagues in the field, both within Charles Sturt University, and at other universities here in Australia and worldwide.  I can’t wait to interact with them, and learn from their wisdom and experience.

I want to mention four of them (there ARE many others!), as they have been involved in key stages  towards this new venture of mine.

Michael Stephens at Tame the Web has been an inspiration  for many years (he also wrote the Forward for Connect, Communicate, Collaborate), and an awesome role model for a new lecturer in this discipline :-)  Thanks Michael!

Some time along the way, I met James Herring from Dunbar Scotland who  now teaches  at  CSU. He got me involved in some adjunct work in Teacher Librarianship.

I have also been encouraged by Lyn Hay, especially in exploration of teaching to library students in virtual worlds and uses of social networking for learning.

Of course, Kathryn Greenhill never stops inspiring me!  No sooner had I started blogging, than she was there to encourage. Her work continues to drive the future directions of information knowledge work, and since she is also now working as an Associate Lecturer in Information Studies  at  Curtin University there’ll be virtually nothing to stop us!  (well, she is in Western Australia, and I’m in Sydney)

So there it is!  New directions, and new challenges for 2011.  I have travelled such a journey in my own career – from typing catalogue cards in the Rare Book Library at the University of Sydney (my first ever library job- see the gorgeous Book of Hours that came into the collection when I was there )  – to teaching and learning with new and evolving information professionals.

From a world of books to a world transmedia and transliteracy  – who could ask for more?

I’ll be teaching the following subjects:  Services to Children and Young Adults;  Digital Citizenship in Schools;  and  Teacher Librarianship.

I’m also going to be  involved in a number of workshops, conference presentations, and more.  It is a great opportunity to be able to share ideas, knowledge, experience, and be involved in planning and development of knowledge services and information curation in real and virtual/online environments.  It’s just awesome to have these bookings in my professional calendar already!

What can I say??  It’s astounding how much change has taken place – and I love every minute of it!!

What matters more than your talents?

Inspiration and passion – that’s what we want to ignite in our students, isn’t it? I am not sure how often we succeed, especially when we are locked into rigid curriculum ‘must do’ topics by state syllabus directives.

But at the end of the day, talent must be nurtured and passion must be ignited and recognised for it’s true worth.

Thanks to an alert from one of my inspirational friends on Facebook – Buffy Gunter Hamilton of the inspirational The Unquiet Librarian – I was able to listen to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezoz,  address new Princeton graduates.

He makes the case that our character is reflected not in the gifts we’re endowed with at birth, but by the choices we make over the course of a lifetime. As founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos defined online shopping and rewrote the rules of commerce, ushering in a new era in business. This is testament to his belief that talent and passionate choices go hand in hand!

Now I’m never going to ‘invent’ anything!  But Jeff ‘s address has inspired me to revisit my talents and look for new inspiration in my own professional goals, and to try and bring a little more inspiration into my daily teaching interactions with my students!