Who we are; what we do

What types of media, access, and support do cutting-edge media centers and school libraries offer students? How are teacher librarians and library media specialists leading the charge to help students master 21st century literacies?

Issue 22 Volume 4 of ASCD Express “The Transformational Media Centre” looks at ways teacher librarians and library media specialists can collaborate with teachers and other staff to enhance student learning.

A good read overall – and I’m excited to say also includes a piece by me -  Content Used to be King – as the New Voices feature.

Digital kids – learning their own way

Michael Furdyk hit the mark, during the last morning keynote presentation at the ACEL/ASCD conference.

Here we had (at last!) a clear articulation of the new expectations that are driving the learning characteristics of our students: multiprocessing; multimedia literacy; discovery-based learning; bias towards action; staying connected; zero tolerance for delays; consumer/creator blurring; social networking.

Michael was supported by his own school to take time off during his school schedule to work on his own company! Would you do this?

The opportunity for creativity and innovation was central to Michael’s life, starting right there at school. We need to allow students to grab opportunities, connect them with organisations in all fields that will support their keen need to explore and learn – it’s about a positive supportive learning community!

Michael’s company was instrumental in creating ‘social networking for social good’ at Taking iTGlobal- Inspire, Involve, Inform, providing a window into another world. Using the familiarity of social networking, this site helps students develop an awareness and understanding of global issues and ‘take action’ through projects and collaboration. Explore this – it’s brilliant!

Photo: Window into another world

New imagery for schools and schooling

I am fortunate to be attending the ACEL/ASCD conference in Sydney where I have the good fortune to be able to hear in person from some of the key thinkers in education from around the world.

I wish I had the time to share the inspiration – but I am busy helping with podcasting and interviews (follow up chats) for ACEL.

It would be hard to pin down my favourite presentation or workshop. How can we make choices when we are hearing from so many.

A highlight of day two was a very reflective talk from Peter Senge. He used narrative as a way to help us reflect on the changing shape. You know, it’s not about education any more – its about changing society, and changing the way we support our young people to grow in knowledge, competence, understanding and responsibility for a safe and viable future world.

John Connell followed with an excellent keynote presentation, which also captured the pervasive media world of our students, and the imperative that we allow creativity to drive change and development. Drop over to John’s highlights of the conference, to see how vital the discussion at this conference really has been.

The final sessions of the day were a particularly fine opportunity to hear Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan debate the future directions in effective school development – where we maximize the capacity of teachers and leaders to create relevant and authentic learning for each of our students.

A comment at the end from Andy reminded me of one thing that was of interest to me at this conference. Andy reminded us that we don’t know just how the technological and social networking dimensions of our student’s online immersive lives will influence the shape of the education delivery in the coming years.

Lets not lose sight of this, inbetween the new school structures that we are building. It seems that with the exception of Greg Whitby, John Connell and Westley Field, we have inadequate coverage of Web 2.0 as platform, of social networking, of creativity in the real world of our students.

I hope that those in senior educational roles do not lose sight of this while they are discussing assessment, ‘effect size’ measures, curriculum mapping management styles, leading learning etc.

Overall a great conference – yet a starting point only for re-shaping schooling for 21st century learning.

Lets not forget that that some of the social networking tools that are driving our student’s experiences were developed by young people – out of school, and as an aside to the learning that education seems to be involved with. Lets meet online in these spaces for the next ACEL conference :-)

Photo: Valley between buildings.