Will Richardson Talks With Howard Rheingold

Is social media a new thing? No, not really – just an evolving use of media, an ecosystem of tools and a rich variety of opportunities. Now we are seeing great ways for students to collaborate. Listen to these two important innovators, and enjoy the conversation.

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MySpace – a quick reflection

MySpace, Facebook, Beebo – in fact all similar social networking sites are a ‘big’ topic of conversation amongst educators. The conversation more often than not revolves around filtering or blocking access to such sites at school. I am unhappy about being the ‘MySpace’ police – shouldn’t I and my fellow teachers be MySpace teachers instead? Here are a few words on the topic from Will Richardson.

The creative edge

Creativity and innovation go hand in hand with a Mac. At the recent forum in Sydney with Will Richardson, it was clear to see that all the innovators there were fused to a Mac for creating their message and actualizing their inspiration. In fact, it got so people actually apologized for having a PC :-)

Mac in front belongs to Chris Betcher (who’s taking the pic), next up, myself, Will Richardson and Westley Field, and in the background is Dean Groom.

Tells a story doesn’t it…bloggers, innovators, champions of change, creators of 21st century learning. Using a MAC of course!

Will Richardson talks!

Will began his by reflecting on citizen journalism – media, skype, ustreamTV, live tv shows from basements – by kids who are just entering high school. Will is going to take a group of keen teachers and teacher librarians on a wonderfully weaved journey through the read/write web. Retire, and make more by selling ads on your blog than you did in your day job!

Will reflects on the transformation taking place that is as radical a change as that which took place as a result of the invention of the printing press.

Will is providing all the links to his presentation via his wiki http://willrichardson.wikispaces.com/.

Copyright? this discussion is now global. what do we do when content is free, easily copyable, and easily distributable. It’s a different place for business too. http://www.surfthechannel.com/ Pick up any TV show! anything you like. These guys are in Sweden, they don’t run servers – they don’t believe they are doing anything wrong :-)

The story of Wikinomics is one that we all need to take note of. IBM has 24,000 blogs – they are sharing, collaborating, and being transparent about their jobs. Even governments are changing – there is a pressure for transparency,

But education, by and large, is not changing.

Parallel information universe

Quite a few things today reminded me of the parallel information universe that I live in. This morning a wonderful meeting with mothers at the school – to introduce myself, my new staff and our new vision for learning 21st century style. We talked a little about the MySpace/MSN world of our boys, and how best to deal with pull of technology – sometimes in the wrong direction.

A good question was about plagiarism – what can a mother do to help her son who is cutting and pasting information for an assignment, and playing with fonts, keywords and more to ‘hide’ this capture. My response is always the same – pick your opportunity! The key thing to remember in mentoring our children is to focus on knowledge creation, the discussion of ideas, the veracity of information, and the value of what is being read in helping to understand the topic under study. This means that a parent can ‘let go’ of the process so often promoted, which I suggest is wrong. I’m sure you have heard this said many times…..”put it into your own words” …..which of course is actually a highly complex action.

Much better to let that go. If a task/assessment has been set that really is about making a student learn some facts – then so be it. No different to giving dictation, or asking a student to copy notes from the board. The thing to do is to engage a student reflecting about the value of the material they are ‘copying’. Once a student begins to question, weigh up, challenge, consider and reconsider information and knowledge – then the matter of plagiarism is half way to being solved.

Some of the mums expressed a keen interest in learning more about the online world – safety, online tools, research and more. I have offered to run sessions, course or whatever parents would like to help them in their own understanding about the possibilities of 21st century learning online. By the way, through it all, I emphasized that literacy and reading (in all forms) must underpin the work of myself and the team in the Resource Centre at Joeys.

That was one parallel universe within my daily work at school!

The next parallel universe was revealed late in the afternoon in the foyer of a hotel in Brisbane. A group of us met with Will Richardson to begin to prepare for the Why 2 of Web 2.0 seminar tomorrow (join the ning to take part in the conversation).

Lots of fun discussion about places, people, and events related to leading in a Web 2.0 world. And there it was – the division. School libraries, or libraries in general and teachers and education in general. This is a particular pet hate of mine. We should all be on the same page – or at least on one of the pages in the same volume :-) It’s rather like my blogroll – many of the people in one group know nothing of the research, publication, blogs or other initiatives of people in the other group.

A good example? Well I suggest that in Australia schools we all need to know of the work of Will Richardson (education) and Ross Todd (library). Both are world leaders in education. I know that you can think of equally good examples!

In schools there can be no excuse for this. My role is to operate effectively and efficiently as a teacher, a leader of e-learning, Web 2.0 online learning, and teacher librarian. Stop and take a look at your professional practice – and add a bit of knowledge from your teacher or librarian friends – then branch out from your own zone of comfort into other sectors or disciplines. Go on. It’s very worthwhile.

What got me started on this idea of this parallel information universe was prompted by an excellent article with the same title by Mike Eisenberg, which has the by-line “What’s out there and what it means for libraries”.

In a way that’s part of my topic at the seminar tomorrow. But the article itself is an excellent look at Web 2.0 tools, providing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a host of tools. This article is a great discussion starter for you.

Journal articles like this remind me of the intensity of change needed – so that parents, teachers, and teacher librarians can actually understand the world of learning as it is becoming, and work together rather than in parallel in forming global blended learning environments.

This is much more than co-operative program planning and teaching by teacher librarians. This is much more than teachers asking the teacher librarians for help and guidance.

What it IS about is creating strong personal professional learning networks that draw information and expertise across sectors, disciplines, and fields of creativity – where Will and Ross know [of] each other, blend their knowledge and research, and can then inspire we teachers and teacher librarians to newer heights :-)

Time to think out of the square everyone, and stop living in parallel universes.

Photos: 3D cubist kites, 無敵大合照啊

Will Richardson and the Why 2 of Web 2.0

willrich.jpg

You’ll excuse me if I get excited by the news that Will Richardson is going to be here in Australia later this year to share his professional wisdom with us all.

Thanks to Sybasigns, who run some excellent professional learning seminars for us here insyba.jpg Australia, Will will be presenting two seminars: Brisbane 7th May and Sydney 9th May.

For more information and to register visit The Why 2 of Web 2.0: How it transforms everything!

Join their online seminar Ning The Why 2 of Web 2.0!

If you like, grab a copy of the 4 page flyer The Why 2 of Web 2.0 right here!

Oh, and I am thrilled to be sharing both events with Will, by participating in the seminar along with my friend and colleague Westley Field from MLC school in Sydney. I’m also really looking forward to meeting and listening to Christine MacKenzie from Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne.

If you’re a blogger – you’ve got to come along to a seminar! One spare bed at my place for a Sydney visitor :-)