Unit 7

Here are the links to my reflections using Xtranormal and a Screenr videocast of the Xtranormal tool.

Link to Stikz movie for Unit 7.
 
 
Link to screencast for Unit 7
 
 
I had a really frustrating time trying to get the screencast completed.  With all the computer changes at school something about the tools I was using locked my computer everytime I accessed the internet and would not let me unlock or sign in again.  So I was very unpopular with the IT technicians.  The problem is still not rectified so I have had to use my old home desktop which has no microphone.  So no sound on the screencast.
 
I have really enjoyed the course.  It has taken me far outside my comfort zone and made me question a lot of my normal practices in school.  It was not as hard as I imagined it would be and I have enjoyed the learning journey.  Now I want to make sure that I keep up the enthusiasm and the experimentation and resolve to be a lot more active in my participation in the learning network.
 
Thank you for all your help and advice.  It has been really worthwhile.
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Unit 6

Unit 6 Learning here and now

Technology and it’s influence on me

Technology is giving me access to a wealth of links and contacts which I can explore daily. Everytime I sit down at my computer I am able to keep in contact with colleagues around the world, check-up on ideas that other professionals talk about, engage with visual media for professional learning or just peek at what others are doing in their libraries to keep them up to date and meaningful to their clients. I can sign-up to online learning programmes both professionally and for personal interest. If I encounter a problem or need when I am teaching I can quickly ask for help with a tweet.

It is allowing me to open up my world, so that physical isolation really no longer matters. I can go anywhere virtually and contact people worldwide, rather than relying on physical interaction with others in the library world. I think this is particularly important in states such as Western Australia, where we often miss out on PD opportunities. Experts from other countries who get to Australia to give PD, usually visit a few spots in the eastern states and miss WA completely. So technology is helping to overcome this sense of isolation.

I am using technology for just about all aspects of my professional practice, – from the day-to-day running of a school library, working with students, collaborating with other professionals, through to professional online learning – so it has had a huge impact.

Technology and learning

The whole concept of ‘lifelong learners’ centres on ensuring that students have the opportunity to learn and practice the skills necessary for them to learn independently in their rapidly changing world. To do this they have to navigate safely in the digital world and schools have a responsibility to allow them to practice this. Sites such as Edmodo and Moodle can certainly allow teachers to model technology effectively. However we also need to find out what students already know about their digital footprints and how to behave responsibly when online, as soon as they enter High School and then plan to build on that knowledge systematically and in context. I think this is a pivotal role for the school library – so that; for example cybersafety is not tackled with just one video viewing during an assembly. It needs to planned, implemented and timetabled alongside student research inquiries.

How technology can be used to support my chosen 5 characteristics of an effective learner

1. Ability to Question: Using effective questioning techniques to direct the research process, including posing the ‘big question’ to engage learners.

Technology: Google Knowledge graph and Instagrok to expand topics and stimulate further questions, mind mapping tools eg Buzan’s mindmapping, Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, Evernote/Onenote to record questions, take notes and collate information

2. Ability to organise the learning process in order to achieve the learning goals.

Technology: Organisational tools such as Evernote and Diigo for collecting and organising information, Online research process tools eg Ergo to help students direct their research process, graphic organisers including timelines for the research process.

3. A sense of engagement with the learning: desire to achieve an outcome that is set in the real-world and has meaning for the learner.

Technology: Internet sites eg blogs, Tweets, Facebook, Edmodo, Utube, Skype to provide a real world authentic audience which can also promote interaction/collaboration with other learners, Cybersafety sites to ensure learners are aware of safeguarding their digital persona.

4. Flexibility: ability to change and adapt processes as the learner increases understanding of the task.

Technology: All of the above technologies can be adapted by the learner as the learning needs evolve. Interactive and collaborative technologies may well play a major role in increasing understandings for the learner as they interact with viewpoints and information from other learners around the world.

5. Ability to select, locate, evaluate and transform information to achieve new understandings. Technology provides us with access to ever increasing amounts of information. An effective learner needs the skills to find and use quality information that enhances their research.
Technology: Search engines, search directories, virtual libraries,online databases, evaluation tools such as USC Berkeley online tutorial on scholarly sites.

Predictions about how technology will change the way we learn in the future.

I think that more and more learning is going to take place online. We are already seeing a move to flipped classrooms locally, so that students come to interact with their educator having already explored their topic online in their own time. This move should save time on basic understandings and allow the educator to respond to questions and help direct student learning more effectively.

There will be greater online interaction, especially more immediacy eg when students get feedback from educators as they mark assessments virtually or when students answer an online quiz about learning that is immediately available to teachers and students. I think that the move to webinars will increase where students have less contact time with educators because of time or distance factors. This should positively impact isolated students in country areas.

In Western Australia technology in schools is gradually being upgraded to allow BYOD allowing much easier access to work and learn online ( when it is all working properly!). So things like QR codes in the library will be much more useful if students can access them with mobile devices.

I also work in a children’s hospital and the new technologies are greatly enhancing the learning process with sick and disabled students. The new programs on mobile devices help students with sight or hearing or movement disabilities with their learning processes. Sick children especially need to be engaged and interested if they are to make the additional effort to keep up with their education. Colourful, fun applications really promote this engagement.

They are also now able to communicate more easily with their classes around the state, using web conferencing, emails etc. This greater ease of communication is also benefiting the teaching staff who can communicate with student’s schools and other specialists much more simply and immediately.

These recent changes are just the beginning for technology in children’s hospitals. I think that long term sick students will be able to see and talk to their home schools and even take part in lessons with their classmates regularly, submit assignments and get feedback from their home school teacher. More and more apps will be developed for different disablities to enable students to continue with their education. This use of technology will go a long way towards preventing the sense of isolation and loneliness that can affect sick children who have long stays in hospital.

Assignment 3 Reflections on online professional communities.

Assignment 3 Reflections on online professional communities.
My twitter handle is DaiseeRun.

Online professional communities are now an essential networking tool. They help break down the isolation that many T/L’s who work on their own in a school, experience. They can be a source of inspiration, quick help when needed, learning opportunities and a sounding board for testing your own educational ideas. They help me communicate with library professionals from all over the world, so I feel like I can keep up-to-date with new developments in libraries and try and make sure that my school library is current and fresh for my clients. With all the current cuts in education I think that school libraries and their staff are in danger of becoming extinct. If you are up with the latest thinking and educational practices and implementing them in your library, there is much more likelihood that the school library will be seen as central to the school learning environment.

I have seen Twitter used at conferences to good effect and have had a number of Twitter accounts. I do not find that I have the time to tweet, so I would say so far that it is very peripheral to my educational practice and library work. I know lots of teachers and library staff who find it incredibly useful and I know that I should make a bigger effort to use it. It is like so many things, you know it is good and that you should be doing it, but you need that push to use it consistently. Then I am sure that I would become a convert!

I have not used Facebook before and have resisted getting an account up until this course. I have too many issues with privacy concerns. I have threatened to join up before – just so I can get an idea of what my children are doing! My family use it all the time in preference to old fashioned things like emails. Although I have heard from one of my daughters (in passing) that she is bored with it and trying not to use it so much. So I don’t know what she has moved onto.

I think both tools could be used effectively in schools although not this one as both are blocked! We are having enough trouble converting to the new SO4 (bring your own device) and have lost so many applications – like our library system and class booking system – on most of our computers, that I would not consider trying to use any new tools at present. i cannot view any videos on my computer either, so all the VIC PLN videos do not run. Eventually the Department of Education technicians doing the conversion will sort it all out and then we can have another look at tools. Students will be able to use their own devices when it has all finished so will have these tools anyway.

If Twitter can be used, you could get responses and communication happening online during presentations and even during class if it is an interactive online session. I like the idea of limited characters to ensure considered responses and have asked students to produce Twitter responses to books in literature classes. They were limited to pen and paper though!

You could use Facebook as a library to promote yourself online and keep patrons up-to-date with library happenings but that is not an option here. If you gradually build-up your likes and friend other inspirational educationalists I can see that Facebook would be a valuable professional learning tool. The VicPLN group is a great start.

Unit 4 Assessing the value of tools

Livebinders looks like a really useful free tool to aid student research. It promotes itself as:

Livebinders – your 3-ring binder for the web

  • Collect your resources
  • Organize them neatly and easily
  • Make an impression

 Livebinders requires you to provide your name, email address and select a password when you first sign-up for the free service.  The main issue I see with the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the site is that Livebinders can change it’s terms of service – including shutting down – without providing notice to you.  If I spent a great deal of time putting together educational resources I would be devastated if I lost all the content as the service closed.

“We reserve the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue all or any aspect of the Services from time-to- time, with or without notice to you, and we are not liable to you or any third party should we exercise such right”

Livebinders claims no ownership to anything you post on the site, so the content remains owned by you which is a positive.

The onus is firmly on you as the content uploader, to make sure that you do not infringe any copyright issues.

Livebinders do not monitor the content uploaded, so it is possible that inaccurate and offensive material could be available to your students when they access Livebinders.

LiveBinders shall have no obligation to monitor any Content posted or uploaded to the Services.

You further understand and acknowledge that you may be exposed to Content that is inaccurate, misleading, offensive, indecent, or objectionable

 Livebinders also includes links to third parties and these are not edited or censored. So again students may find inappropriate content on the site.

Use in Professional Learning and within your organisation

Well even just from a quick look at the website I can see livebinders that would be of great interest to me readily available;  such as the Free Technology for Teachers livebinder. This livebinder seems to be updated regularly, whenever the poster finds a new tool to add in with lots of varied formats and content. The author of the livebinder and his contact details also appear on the home page so you can contact him if you want to. Technology is catalogued so you can find information about things that interest you quickly so for example I was talking about QR codes with someone yesterday and here is a livebinder ready to look at with QR code information all in one spot. So you don’t have to search through a number of websites when you are starting out to find information, someone has already collated information for you! What a time saver for any teacher.

It would be very useful for cataloguing and storing resources as you find them. You can download the Livebinder It and add it directly to your toolbar.  Then you can add links directly to websites as you find them. Pathfinders would be very accessible using this format and I think that you could link to pathfinders you make from your school library website.

As for educational applications – my school is promoting student journals in a number of subject areas. Students could use the site to compile an e-journal for each research task/learning area and include reflections and their work such as notes and links to resources they are using or have found. This could also be accessed by teachers and parents and used as an assessment tool.

The fact that it could all be compiled on one site is also useful. Students will only have to access the site with all the binders available to use at any time. They won’t have to worry about leaving their work at school, they can access it anywhere.

It is a great organizational tool and could be used by students learning to effectively organize their work. Students need help with organizational skills particularly in lower school and this tool would help them learn how to capture and catalogue resources into e-files.

Livebinders can definitely be use at the Enhancement level of the SAMR model of assessment. It may well be able to be used as a collaborative tool like wikispaces, with a number of students contributing to Livebinders across locations bringing understandings and information together to transform a learning experience.

I want to try to compile a Research Skills livebinder and test out whether or not it can be accessed directly from our virtual school library.  If it works well it should be a lot simpler to access than the folders we currently use.

 

Unit 5 Refine the Web

I enjoyed expoloring this unit, so relevant to my work in school.

Reflections

Students are studying Communism and particularly Russian Communism this term. Besides Google I looked at:

InstaGrok was visually very appealling and I think would be great to use with students.  It’s an interactive map and you can click on the different areas toget lots more options like key facts, websites, videos, images, quizzes and glossary.  It is great for expanding a topic, especially when students first set out on their research journey.  It will appeal to them far more than Bing which is the default search engine at my school.  Students change Bing to Google straight away!
Compared to InstaGrok everything else seemed to just have lots of definitions for the search term ‘Communism’ and some of these were links that lead to paying sites, which is not helpful in an educational setting.  I prefer to get images up within the initial search page and Google does this automatically.  I did not get the Knowledge Graph on Google with this search. I have enjoyed exploring the Knowledge Graph and I think that it will be very useful for students starting their research in the same visual way that InstaGrok expands search queries
Evaluation skills

For this I chose an article that came up on the Google search engine for ‘Russian communism’

Article chosen:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/46266/george-f-kennan/communism-in-russian-history

I wanted to test out the 21st Century Web Evaluation Wizard (as I like the 21st Century’s website and work) so I entered my web address into the tool.  The Wizard has a  series of criteria which you work your way through.  You need to search the site containing the article (‘Foreign Affairs’ journal site) and other sites such as Google and Wikipedia (eg to find author information) to find the answers to the ‘Look for’ questions.  Then you type the answers into the Wizard box.  When you have completed the criterion, the Wizard provides a summary of your answers which you can copy or print out.  The criteria are:

Author:

Publisher:

Objectivity:

Links from:

Date:

Accuracy:

Evidence:

Links To:

As you work your way through the criteria you receive prompts to questions which you need to consider when assessing that criteria.  For example under Author the prompts are:

What is the author’s expertise on the subject?

Look for…

  • How much experience does the author have in this area?
  • What is the author’s occupation?
  • What is the author’s background?
  • What is the author’s reputation among others in the field?

This was an easy to use tool and it made me really think about the answers to the questions and therefore the quality of the resource.  I quite enjoyed feeling a bit like a detective uncovering the background to the resource, using other sites, Google and exploring the Foreign Affairs site itself.  As it turns out it was a very authoritative author and article in a refereed journal. I found the background information interesting in it’s own right too!

I would intorduce students to this Wizard during research planning and supplement this with one of the Kathy Shrock worksheets to get the students used to the idea of checking these resources, which at the moment is just not happening at all in our school.

I also found that the USC Berkeley online tutorial on identifying scholarly content provided a very succinct overview which will be useful for my upper school students.

Tagging

I already use tagging on my Evernote records and find them a quick way to search for related records. 

Curation Tools

I use Pinterest all the time.  I love anything visual and this really helps me.  Professionally I find that I use it a lot when searching anything to do with libraries such as library design, library promotion, libray images, reading and visual merchandising, because very often someone else has already collected suitable images for me!  It gives me loads of ideas that I can repin and use for inspiration. I will explore the other curation tools over the next few weeks as I am playing catch-up with these units! 

Week 2 Bringing it all together!

Week 2 PLN
Here is my link to my first Evernote post:
https://www.evernote.com/shard/s28/sh/0720f12a-f49c-4430-835a-2d51cedb70de/3bc75fb41335d8763c279225a2657a85

Bringing it all together:

I am now using Evernote daily to take webclippings of webpages/articles that I find on the internet when I am doing any general search. It is so easy to be logged in and to just click on the webclipper, decide where you want the clip filed and send it into Evernote. I tend to collect larger articles and use Evernote rather than Diigo. I like going to the one place where everything of interest is held and filed. The stacks idea is great and I have reorganised my notes using them.

I check Google Reader, but don’t find that I have a lot of time to read all the posts. I think that I need to delete some of the feeds and just concentrate on the feeds that I find consistently useful. Now I tend to clip the posts to Evernote if they are of interest.

I am keen to share these techniques with students but don’t find that there is time to do this in our present timetable. When the year 7’s move up into High School in 2015 we have put in a submission to introduce some of these techniques when looking at organisational skills.

From watching students at work I think most could benefit from reflecting on their organisational practices and then looking at alternatives that they could use to better manage workflows. We have very bright students here, but there are many who are very disorganised and need explicit teaching on better ways to do things. I think that this is very important to establish when students first come into school. We need to make sure that they have a good grasp of basic organisational skills before they progress to more advanced research.

Students tend to organise themselves around their devices and I am gradually making the transition to using devices for my work flows. I still use a written notebook, which is so very handy wherever I am and cannot imagine that I will ever completely rely on a device for all my passwords and notes. I occasionally get locked out of my work computers (forgotten passwords) so I need that notebook to even get onto a computer!