Being web savvy includes Twitter

These days the need for educators to be web savvy is a given.  What’s not so much understood is that being web savvy includes being social media literate!

The digital transformation has produced some extraordinary online tools for flexible education, which enhance students’ learning and promise innovative pedagogy for teachers. However, they can also be daunting and challenging for educators. It is clear that teachers cannot ignore these tools, which go far beyond just Facebook and Twitter. Educators are now dealing with Generation Z – students born after 1995 who have hardly known a world without social media and have always lived a life measured in bits and bytes.

Be web savvy to keep up with Generation Z became a case in point.  Recently I was asked to write this small piece for Times Educational Supplement @TES on this very topic. Nice!  I admit that what I submitted is not exactly as it turned up on screen (the print version looks grand), but that is the way of journalism racing to meet deadlines.

If it wasn’t for Twitter and the wonderful help of @TESAustralia I would still be cringing at the formatting errors – because traditional email was not resulting in a ‘fix’!! It’s true – I’m web savvy, but I had to be social media savvy to be connected with the right person to fix this tiny problem.

Being web savvy has many dimensions – and social media savvy is but one of them. My example is a silly little one of course, but it was important to me! Luckily there are many powerful examples of teachers who understand the full concepts and connections inherent in being web savvy, and I knew that when I included a few key friends and colleagues in my article. Thank you to @kathleen_morris, @BiancaH80, @dbatty1, for being my exemplary representative Australians, including Ivanhoe Grammar’s iCyberSafe.com.

Disclaimer:  I didn’t pick the title of the article!  You have to love a subbie’s take on what teachers might want ;-)

Image: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Neal Fowler

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.

Don’t like the new Google Reader?



To be honest, I’ve always hated Google Reader, so the current round of complaints since the update have had no impact on my RSS reading habits.  One quick look tells me that the interface is more palatable, having adopted the new Google look common to it’s other product upgrades. However, my RSS reads also tell me that many are unhappy, and that one of the key issues is the social interface.

Google Reader’s  redesign  removes social features to other websites. The Google Reader team has prepared for the release to be unpopular with some users in the userbase saying in a preemptive post “we recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you” adding that they extended the amount of exportable data.  “Starting today we’ll be turning off friending, following, shared items and comments in favor of similar Google+ functionality” and iterated “we hope you’ll like the new Reader (and Google+) as much as we do, but we understand that some of you may not. Retiring Reader’s sharing features wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas, and build an even better experience across all of Google”.

Google Reader is certainly changing. In truth I am not at all ‘qualified’ to comment on the current iteration of Reader. Why?

I’m been a long time fan and user of Feedly. If you’ve been around in any of my presentations, you’ll know that I like Feedly so much that I recommend it all the time.


cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery

If you currently manage all your feeds in Google Reader, Feedly is a nice way to transition to a different style of feed reader. Feedly syncs with your Google Reader account, but uses a more magazine-style interface. The minimalist interface thankfully doesn’t put as much emphasis on whitespace as the new Google Reader, either. The service offers support for a plethora of social media services, but doesn’t include any built-in substitute for Google Reader’s social features.

Just in time for the launch of the new Google Reader, Feedly also just launched version 7 of its web service

As an added bonus, there are also  various mobile and tablet apps for Feedly which work nicely now. However, when it comes to my iPhone I also have a friendly relationship with FeedlerPro!

Top image: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by stylianosm

Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media

We are seeing faster and faster changes in the technological
landscape. In fact, in the past few years cloud computing has gone from an abstract idea to state-of-the art storage that we cannot do without.

Within this shifting environment we find libraries in a wide range of organisations (academic, public, corporate, special, schools)  re-visiting, re-imagining and re-branding their spaces, functions and service design.

In the full panalopy of library services, one aspect that occupied a busy group of people last Monday was social media in all its many dimensions. Don’t just think of Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Engaging in a conversation around social media opportunities is much more than than just choosing tools and  developing a social media strategy.

At the heart of the conversation was the issue of purpose, and the factors to consider in developing a social media strategy. As Bradley and McDonald write in the Harvard Business Review blog:-

What is a good purpose for social media? Would you recognize one if you saw it? And if you could identify a good purpose, would you be able to mobilize a community around it and derive business value from it?

Success in social media needs a compelling purpose. Such a purpose addresses a widely recognized need or opportunity and is specific and meaningful enough to motivate people to participate. Every notable social media success has a clearly defined purpose.

However, as librarians, we should have an interest that transcends that business approach. We are curators of knowledge and culture and embed products, tools, objects and strategies  to add value to the trans-literate environments of our communities.

At the day-long seminar Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media,  co-ordinated by ARK Group Australia,  I explored  these issues with the attendees, ranging from the obvious, to the ambiguities of workplace structures, digital preservation issues, content curation options, community, collaboration, personal social networking vs corporate social strategy, e-services, and more. My colleague Lisa Nash from the Learning Exchange, Catholic Education, Parramatta Diocese also explored eBooks and eServices.

Always at the heart is our  need to ensure that  social media empowers connections within and beyond the library. We are ‘letting go’ – in order to allow our customers, patrons, or corporate clients to shape these services with Apps,  eResources, recommendation services, or strategic information delivery systems. Not every library will benefit from the same social media tools. But every library can develop new options for marketing their services and change the way their clients or community interact with the library.

In fact, there was so much to consider in one day, that the day was really just the start of more planning when the librarians got ‘back to base’.  To facilitate this I put together a LibGuide as a digital handout. The advantage of this was that we could  add requested items immediately as the day progressed , and can continue to curate this resource for future workshops as well as for those who so willingly engaged with us on Monday.

You can visit this guide at Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media


Image 1  cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery
Image 2 cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery

New content and better access = content curation

It seems that the latest buzzword around the web is ‘content curation’. There are literally millions of posts about this already, and new tools and new marketing strategies are being deployed to meet this new demand.  Even the kids are curating, and in so doing are learning that Curation is the new search tool.

Take a look at Content Curation, Social Media and Beyond. This is a quick showcase of a Scoop.It tool ( a tool I also use) on the topic of this post – using this newish aggregation tool to gather and share information in a way that is not social bookmarking, but is in keeping with a new wave of content curation developments.

Content Curation: Definition and Generation, raises a few essential points:

Finding the best content. Content Curation works only if the person who publishes the curated content knows extraordinary well his industry target too.

Adding value. It is imperative to provide comments and perspectives that add value to the curated content.

Crediting. It is critical to properly credit, providing clear links to additional sources that underlie the final content.

So in a way, a content curator is continually asked to assume stewardship responsibility for digital content in ever increasing number, size, and diversity of type.

Just as I rely on information discovery to push my own thinking, I also rely on content curators to add value and credibility to the information that they share with me.

I can only manage my information and my knowledge work online by accepting that information seeking means being involved in personalized and collaborative information aggregation and knowledge sharing.

Content curation is part of an overall strategy to tame information chaos. For me, it’s all about knowing, learning, sharing and teaching, all in one!   In addition, by providing a social infrastructure which facilitates sharing, the human aspects of the scholarly knowledge cycle may be accelerated and time-to-discovery reduced.

In a socially connected world, it’s amazing what a difference a few months can make. Joyce Valenza‘s post A few good scoops for us shows the transformation taking place in the world of ScoopIt. Grab yourself the links…they will help your own learning journey.

When I started up Digital Citizenship in Schools and Social Networking for Information Professionals this whole curation buzz was just emerging – and that was just a few months ago!

Authority will become the next sought-after currency for the App-Generation.

So I believe that  libraries and educational organisations should consider being involved in spreading their message far and wide, sharing best practice in standards and development, and offering advice for others.  Socially powered content curation is probably here to stay.

Image: cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by César Poyatos

Learning without frontiers – social media and beyond

I am really enjoying participating in the ASLA National Conference in Sydney. We have had the most amazing presentations and workshops, which together show the way forward for teacher librarians keen to participate in 21st century learning and library services.

The keynote presentations will be available as a video as well as slideshare presentations, and I will post about these when they have been completed.

Today I started the day off for the crowd with some ideas and provocative thoughts to set the scene for the second full day at the conference. I really want school librarians to embrace social media, and become  builders of knowledge in new media environments by drawing on their passion and their love of culture and learning.

Ultimately we should be Learning without Frontiers!

It isn’t about learning how to use a particular digital tool.
It isn’t about social media.
It isn’t about new media, augmented reality, immersive story-telling.
It is about our ability to understand when and how we move across the everexpanding
meta-literacy environments.

Social content curation – a shift from the traditional

The notion of content curation is one that has traditionally been associated with libraries, archivies, galleries, or organisations working with objects or data in some way. For example, in the DCC Curation Lifecycle (UK) you will see a complex flow of the “appraise and select” activities which  requires data managers to “evaluate data and select for long-term curation and preservation”.

So ‘selection’ or ‘acquisition’ is then closely linked to a repository or institutional policy on collection development.

Now the extraordinary thing is that the term ‘curation’ has become one of the latest buzz-words in the social online sphere, which  has been transformed into an activity that is both about marketing and about organisation of the vast information flow that is delivered via social media.

Social networking has definitely provided us with main channels for information flow. But in Curation: Understanding the the social firehose we are introduced to the fact that mainstream news reporting not only contributes to or makes use of this social news firehose, but is now also getting involved in curation – because someone has to make sense of the flow of citizen reporting of events.

millions of tweets spewing out – different languages, mostly personal, some from people actually there, authorities, governments, media outlets, fake media outlets…you name it. And then someone has to make sense of it all – but if they do, the reward is possibly the most accurate, unbiased real-time account of an event you’re ever likely to get.

So in the social media sense, content curation is  the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content with your network that you’ve cherry picked for them .It comes down to organizing your sources, knowing which of them are trust worthy, and seeing patterns.

So for teachers and librarians it comes down to  keeping up the pace in adopting these strategies and using tools to publish curated content in the sense of ‘reporting’ what’s happening. So as a teacher and librarian I see myself doing these things:

  • curating my own content for myself (my own ‘go-to’ repository with tools like Diigo, Delicious, Evernote, Pinboard, Vodpod, Flickr, RSS readers etc.
  • sharing this first level curation because my online tools are socially connected
  • curating content for others via targetted tweets or Google+ circles, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, wikis, livebinders,  etc. (Does Paper.li fit in here seeing as it is automated?)
  • sharing this second level curation as a direct extension of the first level of personal curation.

Now I can see a reason for educators to move into  third level curation as a form of info-media publishing.  Think of this as dynamic content curation that’s about helping keep up with the news.   The flow of information through social media is changing:

While we’re dismantling traditional structures of distribution, we’re also building new forms of information dissemination. Content is no longer being hocked, but links are. People throughout the network are using the attention they receive to traffic in pointers to other content, serving as content mediators. Numerous people have become experts as information networkers.

Now I can use all my social networking resources and return information back to my social community at the third level of curation. I saw Howard Rheingold’s use of Scoop.it, for a number of topics, including Infotention – which got popular. I watched with interest as  Robin Good’s Real time News Curation grew and grew.

Social content curation is about collecting, organising and sharing information – in a new package. I’m no archivist. But I am a digital curator of information for myself, and perhaps for others. I’m interested to see how (what I call) the third level curation evolves. I like the idea of socially connected ways of publishing ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s newsworthy’ as an ‘aside’ to my ‘go-to’ information repository such as my social bookmarks.

Check out my test run in this new area with

My target audience are my past and present students in my subjects. I see my target audience being anyone interested in these areas?  Or perhaps this is a waste of my time?

I recommend watching this interview of Robin Good by Howard Rheingold , where they discuss Content Curation and the future of search.

Crystal ball gazing 2011 for Heyjude

This time of year there are so many articles and comments with predictions for the year, so I am not going to add to the collection – well not in general terms anyway :-)

If I could crystal ball gaze what 2011 will bring in my own professional work and learning experiences, I’d be happy. Really I would.

A few challenges that are staring me in the face will require my undivided attention, starting with this blog, my online tools, and my daily organisation of networked discussions.

What should my focus be, as I transition into the working world of a university academic?

Here is a bit of crystal-gazing:~

  • Be sure not to allow my head, thoughts, ideas ricochet endlessly like balls in a pinball machine.  Put time limits on myself, and set realistic goals!
  • Tidy up my online places, repositories, tools and then undertake a review of what I do and how I do it.
  • Work out what I want to share, and why?
  • Work out how I want to share!
  • Commit to solid professional reading, and participate in professional exchange.
  • Communicate with and work with people in my PLN to add value to my own work, and to stretch my own ideas beyond my current capabilities.
  • Share whatever knowledge and experience I can  through workshops, seminars, presentations, school-based work etc so that we continue to grow in our knowledge connections.
  • Push back into my professional community through collaborating, writing and presenting.

Sounds easy really!

Not so … it all takes time and grunt.

Currently my head really does feel like a pinball machine, with too many thoughts,worries, ideas, and work requirements competing for my attention. I’ve just completed some research assistant work for a colleague in the School of Educational Leadership at ACU, which I’m dovetailing with some course revision (before my official start at CSU) for one of the courses I will be teaching. I’m heading off for a day-long Committee meeting related to the  ASLA XXII Biennial Conference 2011.  I’m hoping to find time to get my head into Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011, with Stephen Downes and George Seimens.  I’m looking at my list of articles that I have promised to write. I’m totting up the upcoming presentations that I’ve also committed to for 2011.  I’m checking out the courses I’ll be teaching – all new to me, and nothing like my work in schools. I’m groaning … and wondering what to attack next, and how to improve things. Don’t get me wrong – it’s exciting but it’s also mind-bogglingly different.

I KNOW there are plenty of people who achieve more than I can ever hope to manage – so at least I want to figure out how to help learning within my PLN.

But at the end of the day I’m a  creature of habit, and it takes self-imposed changes to keep that focus. Like Jenny, I’ve done some blog renovation – though this year I did not change the banner.  When I started this blog back in 2006, it looked and felt different! I added some social buttons – to streamline the ‘look’ somewhat. Imagine that – we didn’t have all these tools back in 2006!

So what will I use this blog for in 2011?

  • I think that I will continue to do information dissemination – though not in the way I did back in 2006. I regularly share information via Twitter, Facebook,  Diigo, Delicious, with other tools sneaking in at times too – something that wasn’t possible back in 2006. What this means is that  my blog focus is adapting from the original 2006 focus.
  • In addition to writing about things that grab my interest, I think that I will also communicate with ‘new’ education and library professionals – some who may be taking my courses, or who may just needing a helping hand into the networked learning world.
  • Perhaps I will reflect on what I find in my new role, and the broader issues from a perspective beyond schools.
  • I’m not a clever reporter, so I think I will leave that to others.

Have I forgotten anything?

I’m looking for really new ways of looking at all this.  Like the tiny apartment that transforms into 24 rooms – I want to find out how to be more efficient with my work world in 2011.