Learning in a changing world series is out!

It’s been rather slow in the making, but finally the new series commissioned by ALIA and ASLA is available to order from the ACER shop online.

The Learning in a Changing World series addresses how the process of learning is evolving – including the array of resources available in the digital age, changing curriculum, and the different teaching strategies needed in order to use new media and technologies.

The Learning in a Changing World series presents the core areas for teacher librarians and school leaders to consider for 21st century learning: the digital world, virtual worlds, curriculum integration, resourcing, and the physical environment. All are essential elements to enable and empower our students to be lifelong learners and active participants in our society.

I was lucky to work on the first two books in the series with my good friend Dean Groom.  Books like the two we worked on can never stay completely current – but then they are not ‘how to’ guides so much as ‘why you should’  and ‘why you can’ guides. There is enough thought provoking information for readers to leverage and  help innovation and change in their own schools.

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate

Our students are involved in an ‘architecture of participation’ – creating, adapting and sharing content. While for them this learning is a comfortable multimodal conversation, for us this change is revolutionary. Schools and school libraries have many challenges to address to create a renewal of pedagogy and technology work practices. As we begin to understand the importance of these seismic shifts, we come to the realisation that we are being challenged to un-learn and re-learn in order to grant students access to 21st century learning.

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate is written to provide the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to get you started.

Many thanks go to  Michael Stephens for generously  contributing the Forward to this work.

Virtual Worlds

Each year there are more and more avatars in rich virtual environments. These immersive worlds – where the world within the screen becomes both the object and the site of interaction – are on the increase, matching the promise of technology with the creative minds of our students. Educators, keen to incorporate the evolving literacy and information needs of 21st century learners, will want to understand the opportunities provided by MUVEs, MMORPGs and 3D immersive worlds, so as to be able to create more interactive library, educational and cultural projects. The challenge is to accept that these interactive environments are here to stay and that schools can, and should, embrace learning in virtual worlds.

Virtual worlds will provide the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to get you started.

Many thanks to Peggy Sheehy for generously contributing the Forward to this work.

Join us in the Second Classroom: Educators Learning in Virtual Worlds and share your virtual learning journey!

Others in the series

Other volumes in the series include Curriculum Integration , Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation, and Designing the Learning Environment.

Enjoy!

Bump your next PD!

Have your ever been to a conference and ‘bumped’?  I have – and it was so much fun to quickly share information. Funnily enough this App does not seem to have taken off with educators as you might expect – didn’t bump at ISTE2010 at all! Perhaps I was in the wrong room. But ACEC2010 earlier in the year in Melbourne was very bumpy!

Bump 2.0 is now out for the iPhone, with Twitter and LinkedIn integration. Powerful!

Bump 2.0 has had a major redesign for its iPhone app, changing the look and adding some very important new features, including Twitter and LinkedIn integration, as well as unlimited photo and contact sharing.

Other major new features include a chat function that lets connected users chat after a Bump, as well as calendar feature where you can compare calendars, invite each other, and automatically save to each calendar. Adding one of these new features would be news – putting them all together basically redefines the app.

I’d like to see this being used more amongst people in the education industry.

via The Next Web Apps

Don’t turn a digital blind eye…

Denver Convention Centre

So here we are  -  back at school again!  After the amazing ISTE2010 conference in Denver Colorado, I can honestly say that I came away packed with inspiration, and refreshed by the multiplicity of exciting approaches being tested and proved for their value in schools around the world.

There were many highlights, but above all, the message came across loud and clear from top to bottom  that we need to be proactive and adventurous in digital environments. Don’t guess  -  collaborate and learn from others! Build academic rigor through excellence in digital innovation.

I was so impressed with the schools that have a solid track record of integration of handheld devices such as the iTouch. They have shown us that it IS possible to have secure networks AND robust learning taking place that transforms opportunities for students. Even more exciting was hearing from those that are also exploring the added advantages that an iPad can bring to flexible learning. Of course, educators also reveled in the opportunity to explore and share Apps for the iPad. ISTE2010 was groundbreaking for me  – seeing so many iPads in one place was amazing!  Oh yes, the TL Learning Tools Smackdown was a real winner!

It was exciting to hear and see Howard Rheingold in person, in his Crapdetection 101 session. He has so much to offer us in understanding issues around good critical thinking in our digital environments. Take the time to watch his presentation, and then visit ISTEs critical thinking compendium.

So back to school for me  and the challenges of digital learning.

Thanks to our Powerful Learning Project initiative, our Digital Citizenship program delivered through a private Ning is once again alive and active with a plethora of curious, clever, colourful and amazing expressions of learning by our Year 7 boys. I know @snbeach will be pleased!

I love watching what happens in the first week!  Some boys are really excited (once again) to be working in an environment that to them ‘is like Facebook’ – which makes it cool! Others can’t help but use the Ning environment to ‘shout out’ about topics that are close to their hearts – who should win the next rugby game; should Ricky Ponting be dropped from the cricket team; and personal reflections on home and school. At the same time, boys are able to reflect on the topics being discussed in class, and sometimes amaze me with their  insights into their own digital world.

For example:

Cyberbullying is common  and mainly occurs because the person on the other side of the screen can’t see how hurt the victim is and they think it’s all a big joke to them. It is one of the largest forms of bullying because it doesn’t have any physical requirements, like conventional bullying does, but can be done by anyone. It is a major problem and is mainly based from social networking sites, not from SMS’ and phone calls because they are too intimate in communication.

One of the most annoying things about cyberbullying is anonymity and not knowing who is bullying you. It also is only effective in large groups so you feel excluded and like everyone is against you, unlike when you know you have friends to support you and back you up. If I experienced cyberbullying I would probably tell a teacher and document all the incidents so that the cyberbullies would get into trouble and hopefully learn a lesson.

Digital Citizenship cannot be ignored. Out of 160 + boys, only a few believe that they have had any help or guidance from parents or teachers in these digital environments.  So our digital initiative is being ‘rolled out’ via our English faculty – communicating in digital environments seems a very good reason to adopt this as our own (yes Darcy – I’m an English teacher too, so perhaps rank as a small part of your English Literati set perhaps in some small way?)

Other examples:

This is all well and good that the school’s IT group has put all this time and effort in to making this program but I have a an idea that this is just a trap for cyber bullyers. Because I’m gathering that school has no jurisdiction over our use of Facebook.

Ning is sooo cool, its just like a mini facebook, I can learn soo much from this!!

The important message  is that the world is changing really fast and in order to keep up with all the new and exciting things, we also need to no how to use these things in a responsible matter.

Cyberbullying = cowardice!

Very perceptive !

These environments are so important in both social and academic spheres.

Why do some educators continue to turn a digital blind eye?

Tag your world – share with Stickybits

What next you ask?  How about Stickybits!! With Stickybits we are now able to attach digital content to real life objects, and share this content with anyone else who accesses our Stickybits  barcodes.

The current phase of social media is all about location-based applications, such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite, to name a few. By downloading the Stickybits mobile application on an iPhone, users can scan the barcode and which provides the  videos, photos and text which have been added, which are referred to as “bits.”

Anyone that scans the barcode, can see the bits loaded from other users and also add their own content. Stickybits barcode locations can be identified on a map provided in the application and are tracked on the Stickybits website.

I think there are things we could do with this for professional or fun things, as well as develop ideas for school.

You can attach photos, videos, music, pdfs, and more to a barcode.

It is possible to print out your own barcodes, order some snazzy ones from Zazzle, or attach ‘bits’ to existing barcodes.

Here is where it could get interesting for schools – we already have barcodes on objects – now we could attach information goodies to items that are being used for reading, learning, playing, enjoying.  Would we?  This is definitely a whole new idea to explore.

Would you use Sticky Bits?  What would you attach to your barcode?

TechCrunch has a bit to say too:

Every place and object in the world has a secret past: who lived there, who passed by, who touched it. The secret lives of objects are filled with such details. If only you could make them talk. But what if you could give any physical object a story simply by sticking a barcode on it and appending a message to that barcode?

The barcode in a greeting card , for instance, could trigger a video message from the sender. One on a box of medical supplies could inventory what is inside. A business card with a code on it could link to a resume or LinkedIn profile. Museums and theme parks could use them for audio tours and maps. Local merchants could use the barcodes to track deliveries or place them in their storefront windows to distribute digital coupons and offers to passersby.

To get more ideas keep an eye on the StickiWiki, and please do let me know what you try.
Laura Gainor will be utilizing stickybits as a travel journal as she ventures to Disney World with her family from April 16 – 19, 2010 and also bring along stickybit stickers to attach to different real world objects

Laura Gainor used  stickybits as a travel journal for a Disney World trip with her family from April 16 – 19, 2010!

Climbing up the social ladder …

Two and a half years ago Social Technographics presented a visual analysis of social technology behaviour. Despite the rapid pace of technology adoption, the rungs on the ladder have shown steady growth, with some (like Joiners) growing faster than others (like Creators). In an update -  Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder – which includes not just Twitter users, but also people who update social network status to converse (since this activity in Facebook is actually more prevalent than tweeting).

Where do you fit on the ladder?

Social Techno Ladder Mark 2