Following the leader!

This evening I am beavering away finishing off a paper for the ASCILITE 2014 conference in Otago, and as part of the process went hunting for some old information.  It was the search terms of “parramatta” and “judy o’connell” that brought up a blog post from Pearson’s Always Learning News Room.

Who can believe it? The second time this year I have seen my name on the same “screen” as Sir Ken Robinson :-)  I have seen, been in the same room with, and worked with all these gentlemen at one time or another, though I doubt that they all knew or noticed. Play hangman with me if you like, and see if you can work out who, what, when?

Never mind – just read Follow the Leader and be introduced to 1.Sir Ken Robinson 2.Alan November 3.Stephen Heppell   4.Judy O’Connell  5. Greg Whitby

Pity that the facts are a bit wrong about my role at CSU, and I certainly do way more than teacher librarianship – but I don’t mind – I’m just a digital navvy at heart. I earn the least amount of money too (of course).

 

New Badge for CSU and NoTosh

Just when you think academic life is getting boring, along comes another opportunity to play nicely with friends!  In this case, my most excellent colleague Ewan McIntosh is in the middle of working with a good bunch of lucky students who are busy in our new subject Designing Spaces for Learning, which is part of our  in our fab new degree in 2014 Master of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation).

This needs more than just a tick for a subject completed!  This is why! This is what has happened!

We’ve got a badge!  But we need to tell the story of the context and why we have the badge first!

F3939 Badges_DesignSpaces_Exp_NotoshEwan masterminded the writing of the subject to fit the profile of our degree, and the students are encountering  challenges almost on a daily basis. Together we have been pushing the boundaries in traditional academic processes, and assessments. The most recently completed task (no marks, just challenges – that’s different!) has been a creative coffee morning experience.

In fact students were challenged to undertake a coffee morning, afternoon, evening beer, meeting the criteria of the task.

This assessment is undertaken in three parts:

  1. The creation and undertaking of a Creative Coffee Morning in your community.
  2. The online publication of photos, video, a Twitter hashtag archive, Storify and/or blog post which shows the activity that occurred during your Creative Coffee Morning.
  3. After completing your own task, you must provide kind, specific and useful feedback on at least three of your subject.

The upshot has been a wide range of activities, in a variety of settings.  But I’m sharing here the Storify #INF536 Creative Coffee Morning: A meeting of creatives to discuss creativity, design, design thinking and the design of learning spaces, of an event that took place in Melbourne, because I was very lucky to be able to attend!

You get the drift?

This degree and this subject is not your regular experience, even though it does get structured around the traditional framework of an online degree. It’s new, and because it’s new, we wanted to see what else we could do.  Some of our students are also just doing this subject, as ‘single subject study’ and others are here for the long haul of getting a fab new degree.  So why not do more??

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has seen the potential for digital badges and are running an innovation project involving a number of faculty pilots in 2014. The benefit of digital badges for the Earner is that they can profile themselves online through displaying their badges and highlighting their most recent and relevant continuing education and professional development achievements. So in our case, the Faculty of Education,  has partnered with the global leader and CEO of NoTosh, Ewan McIntosh (expert and international keynote speaker on innovation, design thinking and creativity) to offer a digital badge in Designing Spaces for Learning. This badge recognises the successful demonstration of an earner’s ability to design spaces for learning through engaging in theory and collaborative practice, and fits beautifully into the participatory intentions of the  Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation).

I hope that this will be the first of many digital badges that will be offered, but for now  we can learn from our experience of designing and issuing a badge, and improve on this for our next offering.

Experimentation with digital badges is gaining momentum across Australian universities with various trials and projects being announced including Curtin University’s Curtin Badges and Deakin University’s Deakin Digital.

I’m excited to be involved in actualising digital badging at CSU with NoTosh!

We’ve been connected online since a TeachMeet in Glasgow on the 20th of September 2006 (Judy beaming in via Skype at 2am).  By the way, did you know that TeachMeets were conceived in the summer of 2006 in Edinburgh, Scotland, under the name “ScotEduBlogs Meetup. The new name TeachMeet was created by Ewan McIntosh and agreed upon by the attendees of the first event. The 2nd Edition was held in Glasgow on the 20th of September 2006.

Want to join us in 2015 for this subject, or in the whole program – you’ll find that enrollments are open for March. Come join us :-)

 

 

 

 

Standing on stilts – and a new degree!

Sometimes we are too immersed in what is around us, and find it hard to look out beyond the crowd to a place that brings not only excitement, but also the the kind of stimulation that any creative mind seeks. That’s what education aims to be about of course, but we can’t always succeed.  In that sense I am really lucky to be working in an environment that does support standing on stilts – if you are willing to take up the balancing-act challenge!

So on that front I have been lucky to have the support of my Faculty to stand on stilts – big time!.  We’ve now officially launched the website about our newest degree offering, the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). In this degree will be undertaking to meet the challenges of learning in a connected world, and helping our post-graduate students (who will already be outstanding teaching practitioners)  develop the capacity to be responsive to the challenges that this connected world brings.

In examining the concepts and practices for a digital age, we will of course engage with as many of the recent developments which are influencing learning and teaching in an increasingly digitally-connected world. By examining key features and influences of global connectedness, information organization, communication and participatory cultures of learning, I hope that our students will be provided with the opportunity to reflect on their professional practice in a networked learning community, and engage in dialogue to develop an authentic understanding of concepts and practices for learning and teaching in digital environments.

We will be reviewing and reconstructing understanding. We will be standing on stilts and looking for the contexts for innovation and change in day-to-day professional practice. Overall we will be encouraging professional learning through authentic tasks and activities through collaboration with peers; by immersing ourselves in readings that are thought-provoking; by adopting a stance of inquiry, reflection and analysis, and by engaging with new knowledge in the context of the daily transactions of learning and teaching.

The new degree follows a flexible structure, allowing students to craft a program of study that meets their own (and often diverse) professional needs.  The range of subjects on offer are varied, following the foundation subject “Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age“.  I will be teaching this subject myself to kick-start the degree program, because I want to!  I believe that this new degree program is going to be demanding, exciting, challenging, invigorating, and  will allow us to build professional connections between us and a real excitement for future possibilities.

OK, you say – get off your stilts now!  Stop dreaming!

The fact is that I am totally committed.  As a Courses Director, I am not expected to teach.  But in fact, I will be teaching the foundation subject because I want very much  to engage with our first cohort of students to get a measure of what is possible, and to ensure that our degree program can respond together to the challenges that new knowledge networks bring us.  You, the first cohort, will indeed lay the foundations of the purposes and future learning opportunities for anyone entering the program.  Let’s do it!  Come and join me in the challenge.

I will be holding the first round of online information Webinars about this degree program next week. If you are in the least bit curious, do sign up and join me for a chat. You’ll find the link to sign up for the webinar at the degree program website.

If you haven’t quite caught up with the rapid changes in our connected world – consider this.  Yesterday saw the world scrambling to update their iPhones to the new iOS7 operating system.  I was like a kid in a candy store as I played with my device for hours. I exchanged views and opinions with my global online colleagues via Twitter and Facebook. It was a ball!

I also work online all the time – and talk, plan, dream, sigh in these virtually connected environments. What will it be like when iRobot comes into our working environments?

iRobot was founded in 1990 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists with the vision of making practical robots a reality.  Since then they have produced robots that vacuum and wash floors, clean gutters and pools and patrol war zones.  At InfoComm which was held in Orlando, Florida last month iRobot announced they were partnering with Cisco (videoconference and telepresence solutions company) to bring an enterprise grade iRobot Ava 500 video collaboration robot to market.  iRobot blended their self navigating robot with Cisco’s high definition TelePresence technology (EX60) and wireless access points to allow offsite workers to participate in meetings where movement and the ability to change locations quickly was simple.

Ava 500 gives new meaning to the term mobile videoconferencing.  It’s no longer a case of mobile describing where you can take your equipment but where your equipment can take you!!

AVA 500 telepresence robot in action

Navigation is controlled with an advanced suite of sensors consisting of laser, sonar, 2D and 3D imaging, cliff sensors and contact bumpers.  Ava can move in any direction just like a human and safely transport herself to a meeting (having already mapped out the floor plan of the building).  She can adjust her height to accomodate who she’s meeting with (seated or standing) and can moderate her speed and alter her path if she senses humans in the environment (to get to the meeting on time).  She automatically returns to her charging station after the meeting is over.

Ava comes with a dedicated iPad which is used to schedule and control her attendance at meetings.  You can select Ava’s meeting destination by tapping a location on a map or choosing a room or employee name.  At the scheduled time Ava is activated to take you where you want to go.  You can elect to travel from the charging station to the selected location in either private mode (screen appears blank) or in public mode (screen shows video of you – see above).  If public mode is chosen you can see and be seen by others and can even stop to have a conversation with a colleague on the way.

Ava is targeted for availability in early 2014.  Thanks to the DIT blog at CSU for this eye-popping information.

Image: cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by John Flinchbaugh

Creating change, creating the future


What a great week for change and development it has been!  In a significant point in history I saw today that one of the world’s innovators, Douglas Englbart died, and there was plenty of commentary reflecting his myriad contributions circulating in the globe’s media.

The Computer History Museum explained:

Engelbart’s most important work began with his 1959 founding of the Augmentation Research Center, where he developed some of the key technologies used in computing today. Engelbart brought the various strands of his research together for his “mother of all demos” in San Francisco on December 8, 1968, an event that presaged many of the technologies and computer-usage paradigms we would use decades later. His system, called NLS, showed actual instances of, or precursors to, hypertext, shared screen collaboration, multiple windows, on-screen video teleconferencing, and the mouse as an input device.

It was interesting to read that Engelbart conceived the computer mouse so early in the evolution of computers that he and his colleagues didn’t profit much from it. The mouse patent had a 17-year life span, allowing the technology to pass into the public domain in 1987. That prevented Engelbart from collecting royalties on the mouse when it was in its widest use. At least a billion have been sold since the mid-1980s.

Meanwhile, as the last century continues to fade, CSU staff are busy this week nurturing the potential future innovators in information studies –  through the Melbourne study visit of libraries and information agencies, and the mid-year residential school for latest new students in the Bachelor of Information Studies.

Melbourne Study Tour

These two activities combined have seen a host of excited students – but the newest recruits were easily the most amazing bunch I’ve seen so far.

If they keep up the level of enthusiasm they have shown this week – watch out world!

I’ll be chatting to them about the social networking subject of course, and they are the first lucky bunch to be introduced to our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SISCSU and Twitter account https://twitter.com/SISCSU.

No fear –  the School of Information Studies staff are a talented bunch.  We even provide our own entertainment for students, lead by Damian Lodge – lecturer, ALIA Director, and classical guitar maker!

Image: 25 Years of Apple Mouse Evolution cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by osaMu

Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation

The time has come to finally put my pen down, metaphorically speaking, and take a moment to reflect – and I’m excited!

Early this year I put forward a proposal (which was accepted) to the Faculty of Education for a new degree – the result of extensive discussions, consultations, and research by my teaching partners, and in consultation with key advisers, around future directions in our academic programs.

Now in May I’ve completed in rapid fast time the extensive work required to develop the bones of a fantastic new degree.  We have it folks – a new internationally available Master of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) degree, commencing in 2014.

Why it matters?

Technology has significantly impacted the literature and information engagement options for learning. Students are no longer limited to learning materials available within the confines of their school, but are able to draw on almost boundless resources of multiple types and in multiple formats, on digital devices and online. They have become connected learners (Siemens, 2004) who can explore, share and create knowledge with peers in their own classroom and around the world.

Students need guidance from teachers with expertise in navigating diverse information pathways within these personal and creative learning environments, socially connected networks, and globally enriched contexts. The range of literature and information options from books to all manner of media objects, sources and devices means that students need to know how to juxtapose quality text, sound, media and social connections appropriately and in real time;  and how to filter, then mix and match what they see, hear and exchange in order to build personal knowledge and understanding of the curriculum.

We understand that educators are challenged by this 21st century participatory culture and information ecology.

Our response is our new degree for commencement in 2014 that will aim to:

  • provide a critical introduction to the concepts, principles and practices of information and knowledge networks, including systems of information discovery, organisation, dissemination and distribution in digital environments;
  • merge key elements from the two distinctive disciplines of education and information science  to leverage the affordances of digital environments for connected learning
  • use information and communication technologies to research, teach and collaborate;
  • provide detailed knowledge of, and participatory experiences in, the principles and practices of connected learning;
  • provide opportunities to explore a range of innovative learning  frameworks, including physical and virtual environments and resources;
  • develop digital scholarship facilitated by online, networked and open content,

But wait!  There is more, and in the next few months more and more information will become available about this new postgraduate option.

To learn a little more, and stay informed of new updates visit the the Facebook Page for our new degree. Here you’ll find basic subject details, essential announcements and updates about the development processes.

We are offering a global degree – for teachers anywhere in the world to engage with connected learning!

Take a peek at this short slideshare presentation with some content information.  If you like what you see, share in your workplace and with your friends.

Siemens, T N 2004, Connectivism: A learning theory for a digital age, Creative Commons, viewed 2 September 2012, http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Image: Sunday Abstract

It’s ALIA election time!

Not so long ago I was encouraged to send in a nomination for a position on the  Board of Directors in the 2013 round of elections for the Australian Library and Information Association.  OK – happy to be considered, and like a novice I thought that this would be then left up to the voters to make their decisions.

Not long after, I received an email from Hugh Rundle, asking  me to respond to questions (by way of lobbying). Thinking about the worst possible environments where lobbying takes place (think politics) I pretty much declined to respond to his request.  Sorry Hugh! I thought it would be the wrong thing to do.  So what to do when Sue Mckerracher, ALIA’s Executive Director asks me “have you been busy lobbying”.  Oh oh – wake up call – I slept in – I’m supposed to lobby?

Too late to respond to Hugh, but I will write a few ideas down quickly (no, this is still not official lobbying!) because I am allowing the message below to be cross-posted to the ALIA Sydney blog.

Why am I standing?

It’s probably  stating the obvious, but I believe in doing anything and everything that I am personally able to do to support the growth of the library and information professions – including all its subsets and developing fields.  You can’t get better evidence of this passion than my move to Charles Sturt University as lecturer, followed by my appointment in 2013 as Courses Director for all the degree programs at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the School of Information Studies.

That should be enough, but that’s not me! I can’t leave well enough alone – I’m even helping to establish a new degree that will continue to help shape the future directions of who we are and what we are about. No one asked me to do that – but the truth is I can’t resist a challenge. I will never leave a single stone unturned in my enthusiasm for change and development. To be honest, I figured that as a member of the Board (unlikely as that would be, but let’s just hold that thought for a minute) I could do more of the stone-turning, innovation-pushing, future-thinking activities that have really epitomized what I have been doing in the last few years, and of which this blog is in some ways a digital record.

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?

ALIA has two key things to do in this area – membership growth and professional development  – and both are intertwined with who we are and what we want to be in the future.  We can ‘grow’ our students and new graduates by continuing to support them in providing strong state networks and excellence in professional events and professional development opportunities. Of course we can also engage through social media channels, and even explore the emerging potential of running customized ALIA MOOCs (for free), engaging in Google Hangouts and sharing professional insights, establishing more partnership programs (at cost), and more. As part of the new PD initiatives, we need to build enticements to keep people involved.   We want  our profession to grown, and we want our potential members to have a good reason for ‘banding together’ within their national professional association. A concerted effort to grow our profession can only strengthen the possibilities. Let’s reach out to potential members and offer them a reason to believe passionately in the profession they have just entered, whether they are students or recent graduates.

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?

There are many advocacy issues at the local and national level.   Some of these result in campaigns, some in lobbying of state and federal governments, and some in picking up a community agenda an working at raising the profile of an essential or worthy cause.  How to choose?  Copyright; DRM; Open Access; funding support in education sectors; school libraries; special libraries; the  digital divide; accessibility and information access; and more. We need solid national statistics and profiles to build library  futures. Regional and rural issues are also close to my heart.  I’m from Albury, originally, and long before computers and online access arrived, the library was my home and my holiday space. Now I work with students in rural and outback Australia, both in our library programs, but also in school education.  I KNOW the challenges (do you have to climb up a ladder to get 3G?, or still share a phone/modem line?), and at the same time I believe that library and information services are at the heart of equity in providing solutions in those communities.

But how about promotional advocacy?  I love how some libraries are becoming makerspaces, and other libraries are connecting to their communities in new and creative ways. What about advocating for funding for innovative ventures? Let’s take the idea of hacker spaces and create coding workshops in our libraries. ALIA advocacy can take us into new issues and new spaces as well as those we are traditionally known for.  At the end of the day, when it comes to advocacy and issues to lobby about, it’s the ‘voice’ and the volume of the voice that counts. Alyson wrote about this recently in Why should you join ALIA? – and it really does prove the point of being collaborative and collective in action as part of our planned advocacy. (You should vote for Alison!)

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations? (eg law librarians with ALLA, teacher librarians with ASLA).

Special libraries are places with a dedicated heart!  They have a very special story to share with the broader community, and it is this that we need to tap into and share within our profession and in our communities. We can serve our special libraries by understanding their needs better, and getting our hands dirty with some good old-fashioned marketing and promotion. If we can serve our special libraries better, then we can strengthen the profession as a whole. This will take some clear initiatives by ALIA to step out of the ‘them’ and ‘us’ zone. Possibly that problem lies in the label ‘special’ with connotations of ‘different’ and ‘less equal’. For me, what special libraries do is help add value through specialist knowledge to inform broader practice. While specialist associations have value, they can never replace the role of ALIA in the holistic marketing and promotion of our profession. Alternatively, by not embracing partnerships with specialisations (and their related associations) we actually narrow the true potential of the library and information profession to become more than the sum of it’s many parts. We MUST form strong partnerships and alliances with our specialist partners, to share information, to negotiate favorable partnership rates to key events and activities, and support these associations on the national front.

Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a board member?

I had no idea that I would be answering a question like this when I signed the nomination form. But the fact that the question is being asked is a true indicator that being a Board member is a serious personal professional commitment. There is no money that will exchange hands. I wouldn’t be able to strike a  bargain with the global timekeeper to even make this fit into my already busy schedule.

But you know what they say – “if you want a job done, ask a busy person”.

What I always want more than anything else is the opportunity to make a difference – however little – to achieve progress, innovation, and change.  I don’t need to share much about myself that isn’t revealed by the story of what has been happening since I started blogging at Heyjude.

I’ve nominated because I would love the chance to help  make a difference, and to put something back into the profession that I qualified in back in 1992.  I’m not an academic that works in a silo – rather I’m a people person grounded in the daily reality of the demands and dimensions of our information environments.  I belong to the era of collaboration, social networking, and sharing the information discovery.  I build knowledge with my peers. I work with kids and adults in schools. I work with teacher librarians building the best library experiences for their students. I work with public librarians building their social media skills. I share the joy of my students who secure the job of their dreams!  And most importantly, in my day job I build the profession by working with undergraduate and masters students coming into or refreshing their professional futures.

What do I want to accomplish?  Anything really – just throw me the challenge!

Image:  cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by H is for Home

A new role, a new field of dreams, curiosity and passion


As I settled down to write this quick post, I decided to go back and visit what I wrote about Slipping into Change back in early January 2011. Then I wrote about the new directions and new challenges of my professional move to work full-time work as Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University.

How lucky have I been to join such a wonderful group of people in the School of Information Studies, and to be involved with our ongoing work with students in all walks of life who are passionate about libraries and the information profession.

Now, at the start of my third year, I’m preparing myself for another set of challenges, that will be driven by dreams, curiosity and passion – otherwise there’s not point to it all!

Come February I’ll be stepping into the role of Course Director for the School of Information Studies.  This builds on my experience gleaned in the role of Course Director (Teacher Librarianship) in the latter half of 2012, and rather magically allows me to work in the whole field of dreams that spans libraries, information studies, archives, information management and teacher librarianship.

OK….. I know that there will be heaps of work.  Great days and bad days. Projects that succeed and projects that fail. But always, there will be dreams, curiosity and passion. This is a new role, and promises to be one that will be successful just because we have a wonderful team that works together to make our dreams a reality.

What a surprising opportunity!  I never expected this two years ago!

Come with me on my latest exploration of the possible and the dreams. This is your adventure as much as mine because it is through you, my professional network, that my curiosity and passion is ignited.

I heart my network. Thank you!

Image: Heart cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by seyed mostafa zamani