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

Meet the future!

HadfieldHaving followed the tweets of Commander Chris Hadfield, remaining all the while in awe at the connections  between social media and reality (including the intersections with learning and teaching experiences),  I could only gasp at the implications of the video below that has gone viral.  Amazing.

The future is more than a Space Oddity!

The future is amazing and we need to remember that – always – in whatever field of education that we work.

Picture panic!

Back to blogging, and of course one of my ‘go to’ tools is my FlickrCC Attribution Helper.

Heart-stopping moment is over – my Greasemonkey script wasn’t working!!  Luckily all it was – I was due for an update. If you want to learn more about this really cool tool from my pal CogDog then read about GreaseMonkey and Flickr for the Adventurous.

Alan tells us more about his latest coding venture and fix (and the story behind it all) of the script Flickr CC Attribution Helper Fixed.

Check out Find Free Images Online for other image source and management ideas.

Trust me, things will never be the same!  Love your work Alan!

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~

Learning in Networks of Knowledge

For me, knowledge networks is what it’s all about!  I was honoured to speak with the staff of the State Library of NSW about the issues and drivers that we consider as we work with students in our tertiary learning environments. Learning in Networks of Knowledge was just the beginning of a bigger conversation.

Thank you to the wonderful innovation team [see my last post] for this opportunity.

23 Mobile Things everyone should know

Holiday time or not, the time is right for you all to go and investigate 23 Mobile Things – a wonderful professionally delivered opportunity to learn a few important life-skills for working and living in online environments!

The background

I’m sure most of you have heard about 23 Things for Professional Development - an open-source program for librarians. There are many variants of this course which was first developed in 2006 by Helene Blowers and the team at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County, and now the newish kid on the block is 23 Mobile Things, a course revolving around digital and mobile technologies.

Who created this course?

“The first version of 23 mobile things was developed in Danish by Jan Holmquist. This version of the course is an international collaboration, Jan Holmquist from Guldborgsund-bibliotekerne (Denmark) and Mylee Joseph and Kathryn Barwick from the State Library of New South Wales (Australia) are working together to build the English language version of the course. You’ll learn more about this excellent initiative and how you can learn more about the potential of mobile tools at 23mobilethings http://23mobilethings.net/wpress/

In Australia we have had a few derivatives of the original 23Things program, some of which charge hard cash to participate, which is not in the spirit at all of the 23Things model that was openly shared with the global community.

So it’s a real pleasure to see this latest initiative! The course is open to anyone with a tablet or smart phone. It is a self-paced learning course, with the 23 things providing a framework of resources to look at and information to consider. It can be done at anytime; there are no time-limit or deadlines for the course.

So it’s time for you to consider getting started – jump on into the self assessment survey, then head on over to investigate The Things.  Great for anyone working in libraries, and schools.  This new 23MobileThings is a fantastic initiative. Thank you.

23 Mobile Things …. the list.

  1. Twitter
  2. Taking a photo with a mobile device:  Instagram / Flickr app / Snapchat
  3. eMail on the move
  4. Maps and checking in
  5. Photos + Maps + Apps: Historypin / What was there / Sepia Town
  6. Video: YouTube and screencasts
  7. Communicate: Skype / Google Hangout
  8. Calendar
  9. QR codes
  10. Social reading: RSS / Flipboard / Feedly / Goodreads / Pocket
  11. Augmented reality: Layar
  12. Games: Angry Birds / Wordfeud
  13. Online identity: FaceBook and LinkedIn
  14. Curating: Pinterest / Scoop.it / Tumblr
  15. Adobe ID
  16. eBooks and eBook apps: Project Gutenberg / Kindle / Overdrive / Bluefire / Kobo, etc.
  17. Evernote and Zotero
  18. Productivity tools: Doodle / Remember the Milk / Hackpad / any.do /  30/30
  19. File sharing: Dropbox
  20. Music: last.fm / Spotify
  21. Voice interaction and recording
  22. eResources vendor apps
  23. Digital storytelling

Image: 23 cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by erix!

Wisdom in networks

Funny - A Hoot
Last year I spoke to my mobile phone. I wasn’t ringing anyone, but I asked my phone a question.  Guess what? No answer.  Last week I spoke to my phone, and it gave me some answers right there on my screen.  Better.

Soon there will be no need to read a answer, and in another few decades there may not even be a question.  Futurists tell us that we will be our technology, and information will be who we are or what it made us.   As we watch the fast-paced changes taking place in technology, the web of data and the social connections between us, the value of information as knowledge is what the game-change is all about, and as such remains the core business of info-nerds.

What is so frantically important is to unravel where we need to go in all this.  No amount of Advanced Searching with Google is going to resolve the major issues confronting us. Just watch people wherever you go – cafes, trains, sidewalks, bars – mobile in hand, people connect, people ask, people investigate, people forage for news and information.   So it’s  more than information discovery,  information filtering or information curation strategies that we need to be thinking/learning about. The “Fourth Revolution,” proposed by Floridi (2012)  describes the current information age, an era in which our understanding of both self and world is significantly altered by sudden changes in the information climate due to the advent of computing machinery from Alan Turing (1912-1954) onwards.

So you’re a teacher?  or an information professional of some kind? Either way, you have a significant role to play in how the future shapes up. As curators of knowledge and cultural history the burning question in the fourth revolution undoubtedly lies in our ongoing ability to manipulate and manage information flow.

In my April foolishness, my mind is totally absorbed by all this.  As I watch MOOCs emerge around the globe, as I note the various professional opportunities that associations and organizations provide, I’m delighted by the range of offerings, and the quality of some of them. But they are niche offerings.   A bit of this, a bit of that.  A full quality credentialed degree program still has HUGE relevance, because of the depth, breadth, width and brain-expanding opportunities that are possible.

But enough of that for now…more later.

What we need  is a MINDshifted degree! One that helps you learn how digital connections should change the way we think, the way we teach, the way we craft the future.  We need cross-disciplinary understanding of knowledge networking and digital innovation as a degree at the intersection of knowledge, information science and education.  This way we can ensure our graduates have the capacity to manage and manipulate information in a networked way for learning and teaching.

In the next couple of weeks our new initiative (been slogging on this) is being put forward as  formal application to the Faculty of Education. The aim is to have  an amazing new degree ready for you in 2014.

Watch these pages for more updates on the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). Trust me – You’ll want to know more about it!

Floridi, L. (2012). The fourth revolution. The Philosophers’ Magazine, (57), 96-101.

Image: Funny – A Hoot