Leading the Learning Revolution

Last Friday I ventured down south to Melbourne to join a vibrant and amazing conference on Global e-Literacy: Learning the Re-invention of Learning put on by SLAV – The School Library Association of Victoria.

Great venue, great people, great program! These great Victorian innovators gave me a wonderful welcome, and allowed me the honour of kickstarting the day with a presentation on Leading the Learning Revolution.

The MCG Members Dining Room was a great place for a smaller sized group of a 100-200. No footballers or cricket players, but the size of the venue, and reminder of the many victories and losses at that ground was just the right kind of razzle for discussing the conference topic of Global e-literacy: leading the reinvention of learning.

The day included  my globe-trotting friend Jenny Luca discussing multimodal literacies, and drawing on her vast experience of working with students and leading a school in integration of technologies. The round-table workshops were a fantastic idea – moving from one curation tool to another. I had great fun showcasing Diigo with my cheeky friend and podcast hero Tony Richards from the EdTech Crew.

Short sharp presentations on LibGuides (Di Ruffles, Melbourne High School). Apps Swap Meet (John Pearce), Curation Tools (Cameron Hocking) and Library Design (David Feighan) topped off the day. We had a wrap from Cecilie Murray, who kept us on our toes with challenges to take away for tomorrow and the future.

Fab day!  Loved catching up with old friends, and making a few new ones.

The great unwashed ~ and information


In using the phrase ‘the great unwashed’  I’m not referring to the young Steve Jobs, infrequent bathing discussed in the New York Times, or even the rather disparaging term coined by the Victorian novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton ~ who ultimately led to that phrase “it was a dark and stormy night’ being immortalized by none other than Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy. (You should check out more about comic book legends and the back story to that doggy author)

But for me ‘the great unwashed’ and the proverbial ‘dark and stormy night’ may well be referring to the rubbish tip that is the internet. Wander in there too long, and you will indeed have a dirty mind and body :-)

Seriously though, this is exactly why teachers need to take such a considered approach as to how to integrate technology tools and digital resources into their learning and teaching environments. It’s also why such initiatives as Wikipedia  have served to teach us how to share and participate in the curation of information. Wikipedia has come of age just when we need it to.

That makes perfect sense. Through user-generated efforts, Wikipedia is comprehensive, current, and far and away the most trustworthy Web resource of its kind. It is not the bottom layer of authority, nor the top, but in fact the highest layer without formal vetting. In this unique role, it therefore serves as an ideal bridge between the validated and unvalidated Web.

Teachers have also been using tools like Diigo and Evernote to show students how to ‘annotate’ the web and share information. While this works well on the smaller scale, it does not match the venture that Wikipedia represents.

Shared on Twitter, Hypothes.is may well be the next phase in making sense of the great unwashed information environment that is the internet. Of course, like any venture it might fail – but I think Hypothes.is is one to watch for now. Imagine…

If wherever we encountered new information, sentence by sentence, frame by frame, we could easily know the best thinking on it.

If we had confidence that this represented the combined wisdom of the most informed people–not as anointed by editors, but as weighed over time by our peers, objectively, statistically and transparently.

If this created a powerful incentive for people to ensure that their works met a higher standard, and made it perceptibly harder to spread information that didn’t meet that standard.

Peanuts image: source Gary Ware
Texture image: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by SnaPsi Сталкер

Social Bookmarking not so Delicious anymore



I remember the scramble to work out what to do when the rumours flew around about the demise of Delicious as a social bookmarking tool. Now the new Delicious has launched and the fallout for me is huge – I have to get re-organised all over again!

I read Delicious Relaunches. So, What Now for Educational Social Bookmarking? (Or, Rather: So What?) and jumped right on over to take a look at what happened.

Even before it was clear what the future of Delicious would be, people were turning elsewhere for alternatives, moving their data to sites Diigo, for example, or to Pinboard.

That was me – I managed to get paranoid about my bookmarks. Actually, I started actively bookmarking in Diigo, which I synchronised with Delicious, which I synchronised with Pinboard. So here we are now – we’re starting all over again as my sync-chain is broken.

I like Diigo for it’s group functions, and maybe this is what the new stacks at Delicious are all about – information curation for groups with  visual tweeks. But stacks are not collaborative ventures as represented by groups in Diigo. So I will keep using Diigo for the group collaboration (I like the weekly digest, and the ease of sharing on the fly), as well as for the personal bookmarking across my many devices.   .

Richard Byrne takes a look at Stacks and explains that Delicious Stacks could be a good visual way for students to explore a set of links that you have shared with them about a topic or you or your students could create multimedia playlists about a topic to share with each other.  If you are new to social bookmarking, this is certainly something you might be interested in.

As I jumped back to  Delicious I discovered just how many people forgot to or chose not to accept the changes to the new service. Suddenly I am only following 20 people and I can’t now see who follows me incase I want to reciprocate!!

I follow 101 on Diigo, including some that I consider critical, such as Howard Rheingold and his crap-detection. Now so many of the links I had in papers and presentations that pointed to Delicious users and resources have essentially died.

In the new Delicious:

  • I detest not being able to change the number of items I view on a page.
  • the new browser tagging toolbar does not ‘call up’ your existing tags.
  • there are no longer RSS feeds
  • no tag cloud and other features are missing

The best social bookmarking site is officially dead!

The new Delicious has a nicer interface, and is clearly going to go in new directions and respond to new needs.  However,  right now it has things I don’t need and things that are missing, so  it’s not my tool of choice  as it does not work as efficiently as the old Delicious.  But I have my account, so I will continue to ‘watch this space’ – at least I don’t have to start from the beginning.  (Perhaps this is just what some people wanted to do to de-clutter?)

Meanwhile, Diigo and Pinboard will continue to draw my attention – and it’s time for me to re-organise how I curate bookmarks. New delicious is a bitter disappointment.

Image: cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bjornmeansbear

A guide for newbie social educators

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Joyce Valenza over at Neverendingsearch about a useful guide for teachers.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher, is a wonderful little e-guidebook offering a basic introduction to most things social media and discussion about how they may be effectively integrated into instruction.  Among the many tools covered are Twitter, Diigo, Prezi, Evernote, Wallwisher, Skype.

Better still, Michael Zimmer at Edutechintegration is working on a 2nd edition with more tools. Free to download and share!