School libraries: Designed for Learning

This video aims to contribute to the design and development of visually stunning, fit-for-purpose libraries with learning spaces that support 21st century learning in extended school settings. It shows the contribution an effective library can make to the educational, creative, emotional & reading development of children and young people, and the aspects of design that can enable this.

Where is the one place in the school, where people come together, to share and exchange and swap, but do so with an expectation of academic ambition? It’s the library!   Stephen Heppell

The school library is seen as the central space in the school for creativity, imagination and learning to be released.

Features Stephen Heppell with excellent contributions from schools around the UK.  A very comprehensive rationale and presentation funded by CILIP School Libraries Group and MLA (Museums Libraries and Archives Council).

Though this video/DVD is not new, it is very relevant as we visit and revisit our future directions.

Also at Designed for Learning: School Libraries

Mobiles changing social media?

Have you ever wondered about the relationship between mobile phones and social media? The mobile web is growing at an exponential rate, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. This graphic illustrates the rates at which people access the mobile, social web, as well as what they do once they are connected.

Book bonanza – buy online and save

Lot’s of people still buy books – interesting books! There are so many to choose from, but sometimes our local store/s may not have what we want – or we may just want to shop from home.

My friend Gary Molloy @chemedlinks is always on the lookout for an online bargain. Darcy Moore is also always on the lookout for an interesting read, and his latest purchase according to his FB status  is Tokyo Vice.  I should put those two into the same room!!

Perhaps Darcy  purchased this book for his Kindle.  That’s a whole different ball-game! But anyway – what if you do need to buy a book and want to same a few dollars too?

Gary pointed me to Booko ages ago for price comparisons  – and I have to vouch for the value of this service.

I rarely need to shop at Amazon any more.  Best service for me so far has been with the Book Depository.  Books arrive quickly, and are often cheaper than Amazon – postage is included in the cost! Gary tells me that the UK and US online stores are the same source, but often better pricing from the site.

You can even visit Book Depository Live – and watch the  stream of books being purchased from countries around the world.

Of course, I still love to shop in a good book-store – that will never change!  I also borrow books from my local library and my school library. But I also enjoy  being able to get the book I want, delivered to my door, is good value.

Check it out next time you’re shopping around for that special book. There are also other good sites, which I have lost track of.   If you have any more to recommend, please share the sites you know  in the comments.

The Digital and Literacy World of Young Children

A new report from the Pearson Foundation examines how digital media is affecting early literacy around the globe.

How is digital media changing the way young children learn? Could the way young children learn be evolving to meet a new, dynamic digital media format?

Authors Jay Blanchard, a professor at Arizona State University, and Terry Moore ask these and other questions in their new report: “The Digital World of Young Children: Emergent Literacy” (PDF), out this week from the Pearson Foundation.

The white paper was released at the annual Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) International Symposium.

Blanchard and Moore conclude “developmental milestones are changing as today’s children approach learning and literacy in new ways, not thought possible in the past. “

The paper is worth a read, especially for understanding our current context around the  emergent literacy needs of primary-aged students.

(via Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning)

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?

Google – very social searching

Last year, Google unveiled its Social Search and launched into Labs. The idea is that you would see blog posts and other content from your social network in your search results.

Now, the feature is being rolled out to everyone as a new beta feature of As part of the release, Google has also integrated social search into their Image search. You’ll see pictures from photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Picasa.

Holiday interludes – country escape

Supporting Cancer Research

Supporting Cancer Research

Just to realise that the term had finished, and the break from the busiest term of all had arrived was amazing. I am so far behind in my real and virtual worlds – it’s a joke!

However, a little time to to relax is not a bad thing – and for me that means an escape out of town if I can do it!

So my friend June and myself hit the road – headed off in the general direction of Mudgee, and really followed where the scenery took us. We wandered the roads – no map in hand – and discovered some wonderful delights.

We visited lots of places, but really laughed a lot when we finally arrived at Rylestone – because there we were, two girls on the road, greeted by a country town with NO mobile phone reception and the powerlines and trees all decked out in bras! That’s right…ladies attire in all shades of the spectrum.  This is a whole town’s statement of support for research into breast cancer – but what a statement!  Even the country roads between Rylestone and our next stop in the Capertee Valley had pink streamers hanging from the gum trees.

June waits for Yum-Cha

June waits for Yum-Cha

Rylestone was a very interesting stop..better than the wineries (which we also visited in the surrounding areas) because it’s just a bit alternative, modern, old and comfortable – all rolled into one. Yes, there was a hillbilly-like ‘guns and ammo’ shop, but there was also a marvelous art gallery, and the best yum-cha in the whole of NSW in the tiniest chinese artifact shop.

Interestingly, back at school and chatting over lunch, it turned out that I was lunching with a colleague who had grown up in Rylestone, and who knew the place that we were headed for for our overnight stay.

In fact the quick getaway lead to a little synergy for me – we ended up at the Glen Davis Hotel in the Capertee Valley.

Glen Davis hotel at dusk

Glen Davis hotel at dusk

This amazing little place in the middle of nowhere has a history associated somewhat with the school I work at.  St Joseph’s is a Marist College, and therefore part of a global Marist network. It turns out that our hotel was at one time a retreat for Marist brothers, and that just a few days earlier a couple of them visited for the first time, and were able to spot some of the Marists they knew in the photo pinned to the history board!

There is not much at Glen Davis these days – though in its heyday it was a very important place. The story that applies to many of the towns in the region. There is the hotel, it’s wonderful owners who are working to restore the art deco grandeur of the place, a camping ground up the hill, and a few local and holiday homes. No place to buy milk or bread if you run out!

The attraction is the surrounding countryside – abutting as it does to the natural beauty of the great dividing range. The Wollemi national park is also nearby, as are many other amazing attractions.   We saw kangaroos grazing on the grass in the hilly fields, and listened to the abundant Australian wildlife. We enjoyed the quiet and the beauty of the countryside and wondered what was going on in the world – no paper, no mobile phone, no wireless access. First thing we did when we got back into range was check our messages, and begin to remember the huge amount of work ahead of us this coming term.

Thanks to the Australian countryside on our backdoor (just a few hours drive away from home) for the serene country interlude in our busy online lives!

Road from Glen Davis

Road from Glen Davis

New Media for Professional Teaching Assocations

Yesterday was a great day for a group of educators gathered at our school, as a result of an initiative of the Professional Teachers Council, NSW.

I was given the opportunity to lead a day ” Web 2.0 Tools for Professional Teaching Associations” with members from different teaching associations, to consider how new media tools (Web 2.0) can  and should be used to transform professional practice and empower teaching associations to meet the challenges of learning and teaching in an online world.

This was a big ask – it’s amazing how far we have come in terms of possibilities. It’s even more startling to stop and consider the priorities that now face teachers and teaching associations in supporting student learning opportunities in the 21st century.

I prepared a comprehensive digital handout – designed for the participants to be able to use again and again as they have conversations within their own associations about current and future developments. Let’s face it – in one day you can only point to the potential, not make it happen!

I used all online tools for this full day – starting with a google forms survey before the day; google slide presentation to launch the day; and a google site as the digital handout (with all the videos, slideshares, documents and AZ Toolkit embedded to show how!)

Just to prove the point that Judy is not dreaming, we were lucky to have Ross Cartilage from Google come and talk about “The Cloud” – yes folks, it’s real and it’s beautiful!