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The benefits of failure

For some reason, I only came across the 2008 Harvard Commencement Speech by J.K. Rowling a short time ago. While watching it yesterday (I had read the transcript earlier this year, but had not watched the video until yesterday) I found many ideas resonated with me and with my educational philosophy. Lately as a profession, we have been promoting the idea that failure is okay and even worthwhile. J.K. Rowling builds on this idea explaining that failure actually enabled her to write the Harry Potter stories and become the successful person she is today. If you haven’t seen the video, I encourage you to view it. It’s 20 minutes well spent.

Recently The Age published an article entitled Technology pushes teacher student relationships into new territory. It was an interesting read, but didn’t go far enough in my opinion. The quote from Andrew Douch saying

Everybody’s got access to the Library of Alexandria at their fingertips. We can take the conversation up a whole other level,” he said. “Students will be able to supply better and more recent answers than the teacher can, which is exciting and threatening maybe for some teachers.

is true. However, what was not mentioned in the article is the need for students (and teachers) to verify the validity of the information at their fingertips. This is what librarians did (and still do) when selecting books to be placed in the library collection. Librarians also do this when curating and developing Libguides, YouTube playlists or other resources that point to valid information online. This video from QUT Library helps show students how to validate what’s available online.

 

The Hollywood librarian

While doing some research, I came across the trailer for this film on YouTube.

Fortunately my local library has a copy. Should be interesting to see lots of examples as to how librarians are portrayed by Hollywood (not well, I am thinking.)

That was one of the points that leapt out at me when watching this video on libraries making scholarly books freely available to anyone.

The university where I am currently studying is a part of this wonderful project. What a great idea.

Exciting news

As from Monday, I’ll be a full-time student once more. I’m beginning with a Master of Education (Research) and then (hopefully) moving on to a Doctor of Philosophy. Even though I have completed a Master of Applied Science and a Master of Arts, as both degrees were via coursework, I need to complete the Master of Education before admission to the PhD.

I’ll be studying through QUT and I’ll be looking at libraries and literacy and I’m very excited.

Shy by Sian Prior

If you are a shy person or teach students who you think may be shy, then this memoir by Sian Prior is a great resource.

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Although a memoir, Prior has done a lot of research and aligns some of her more difficult life experiences with the research and advice from experts. It will give you a greater insight into why some experiences are more difficult and stressful for some students. If you are a shy person, then it will give you a better understanding of yourself.

Click on the book for how/where to purchase.

Landfill Harmonic

Sir Ken Robinson shared this video during his keynote at EduTECH 2014. I dare you not to be moved and amazed… Please consider sharing with your staff and students.

EduTECH 2014 part 2

Yesterday I posted about the EduTECH 2014 conference in general. Today I’d like to add a little more information about the content of the session that I participated in.

If you read yesterday’s post, then you’ll know that the title of the panel session was ‘Future possibilities of the cloud for schools’. (Interestingly, when I was talking to non teaching friends pre-conference, almost every one asked me what the cloud was.)

Our focus questions were:

  • How can we capitalise on the vast information available and networks online?
  • Selecting cloud-based resources such as videos, apps and portals
  • Reimaging school in a paradigm of online learning
  • How will the cloud continue to extend the roles of technology in education?

Paul Hamilton of Matthew Flinders Anglican College chaired the discussion. My points included:

  • Anytime you have connection to the internet, you have your documents. The latest, synced version. No need to wonder if you’re working or collaborating on the latest version.
  • The cloud is device agnostic
  • Perfect for devices like Chromebooks that don’t have storage.
  • Black Saturday photos, documents in cloud wouldn’t have been lost.
  • Perfect for collaborating across the room or across the world.
  • A great way for introverts to collaborate.
  • Social bookmarking. Curation.
  • The cloud caters for our online library system and ebooks that can be discovered and downloaded immediately at anytime.
  • Self organised learning system. 4-5 children per PC. Broadband + collaboration + encouragement.
  • Edna Sackson’s post Too many iPads. Is 1:1 ideal or should we ensure there’s someone online somewhere to collaborate with?
  • I select cloud resources by reading blogs and through Twitter feed, by trying them out personally, then professionally then sharing with colleagues.
  • Cloud resources I use include: Blogs, wikis for student resources, wikis for professional learning, google docs, google forms, history pin, YouTube channel and embeds, Flickr, padlet, Google+, twitter, diigo, scoopit, zite, Feedly, storify. Used to love Ning and posterous. Potentially publishing to iBooks and Kindle. Google docs for PBL class.
  • The internet of everything is enabled through the cloud.
  • Edna Sackson often uses Skype with other schools.
  • Jenny Luca’s post on the cloud for schools is a must read.
  • My role at Kew HS, leadership team meeting I presented to. (All cloud based technologies)
  • Cloud referred to in the Pew report
  • Cloud referred to in the 2014 Horizon report
  • Cloud referred to in the IFLA report
Thanks to Kim Yeomans for this photo.

Thanks to Kim Yeomans for this photo.

My take on EduTECH 2014

It was a career highlight and an absolute honour to be asked to participate in a panel at EduTECH 2014, held in Brisbane last week. The conference began with a keynote from Sugata Mitra, who is an interesting and thoughtful speaker and it was terrific to see him in person.

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Seeing my name on a massive board was too much!

I was asked to discuss the role of the cloud in schools with Paul Hamilton and Paul Kenna. The focus questions we were given were:

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A few days before the conference, I received an email revealing the location of the panel. I was expecting a small room, but certainly was shocked to read that we would be in the Great Hall. I consoled myself that as there were concurrent sessions on at the same time, there would only be a small audience. My anxiety flared again when I read that our panel would be offered to both the K-12 Ed Leaders and Library Managers streams (I had attended EduTECh in 2012 and the K-12 Ed Leaders was a huge stream. Apparently over 5000 people were attending EduTECH 2014 within the nine streams offered).

Our panel session took place after a session from the wonderful Jenny Luca (talk about a hard act to follow!). Fortunately, my nerves were not too bad as the lighting meant that those on the stage couldn’t really see the audience until nearly the end of the panel when the house lights were turned on to allow questions from the floor.

That’s when I realised the audience was fairly sizeable, but thankfully by then the panel was in its concluding stages. I had never spoken to so many people before, but I had never been so relaxed either. Being a part of a panel certainly took the pressure off, as the focus was not just on me and the session really was just a conversation, which was nice. It was also fun to be offered a job on stage from one of the other panel participants!

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Afterwards I received some nice comments online and in person, which was generous and reassuring.

Now that my formal commitments were over, I could relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. That enjoyment increased when I bumped into the one and only Sir Ken Robinson when I was returning to my hotel to rest. He was so sweet and inquired if I would be attending his session. If only he knew that I have such an educrush on him!

What a lucky girl to meet one of my heroes!

Sir Ken’s talk was passionate and engaging, he is such a brilliant storyteller weaving his stories into relevant points for us to ponder. It was amazing to see him in person as he had presented to EduTECH via satellite the previous two years.

I also enjoyed meeting up with ‘old’ friends (too many to mention in case I leave someone out) and meeting people like Sue Waters, Kim Tairi, Leigh Murphy and Matt Esterman for the first time.

Hearing the wonderful Joyce Valenza and the incredibly passionate Ian Jukes were also highlights. Ian Jukes was deliberately provocative and certainly had the Twitter stream going beserk.

One disappointment though was that Joyce Valenza, Ewan McIntosh and Gary Stager were all scheduled at the same time.

Sue Waters has kindly shared a Flipboard on EduTECH 2014 and Jenny Luca’s post is a great summary of the conference too.

Anyone considering attending in 2015, start planning now as EduTECH is one of those events that are not to be missed.

The sounds of silence

Apologies to my (few) readers for radio silence over the past few months. I’m recovering from surgery and some post operative complications at present.

However, I have been doing some reading and planning and hope to be able to share very this shortly.

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