The digital divide

This morning when I was researching Pokemon Go, it was amazing to see that there have been approximately 47,000,000 news articles written about the online phenomenon in the last eleven days, since its limited release (initially in the United States, New Zealand and Australia on July 6 and from July 14 in the United Kingdom and Germany. Probably more countries have been added while I write this). What was even more incredible is that about 500,000 articles were added in the twenty minutes between the time I first searched for Pokemon Go and getting around to beginning this post.

Initially, the term ‘digital divide‘ was used to describe those who had access to ICT and those who did not. However, in the last few days I’m hearing much more about the people who are connected with ICT, mainly for work purposes, and their stunned reaction to the millions of people who are seemingly addicted to hunting and catching all those cute little Pokemons. Stories abound from people hiring Uber drivers to chauffeur them around to Pokemon hotspots, to paying someone else to chase Pokemons for them. I’m thinking that there’s a new digital divide happening before our eyes and morphing every day; those who play Pokemon Go and those who don’t. People who understand the phenomenon are cashing in on the sensation, driving foot traffic to retail stores, using it as a real estate selling point and theme parks holding events specifically for the initiated.

But what does this all mean for my interest groups, schools and libraries? It seems like a number of libraries have been quick to react, which is not surprising, knowing how connected libraries are to technology and user experiences these days. The State Library of New South Wales has a one-stop page for everything you need to know about the game, while the Boroondara Libraries in Melbourne have information on the whereabouts of some of the elusive little creatures. The School Library Journal has a great page with everything an information professional needs to know.

However, I’m still not sure how schools will react to this sensation, apart from banning adult gamers from accessing school grounds during school hours. I would love to hear in the comments how anyone plans to use the game in schools and how they might sell it to those in power who don’t play. Will the digital divide in your school disadvantage your students? This conversation between Joachim Cohen and Jared Wilkins gives an example as to how Pokemon Go, or the concepts behind it, might be used in schools.

The Library of Alexandria at your fingertips

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.

 

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.

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.

More ASLA13 reflections

Further to my ASLA13 post from Monday, I have some more session reflections to share. Another new friend, Michelle Jensen, who is SLANSW President, recorded conference minute videos for some of the sessions I also attended.

Check out the SLANSW YouTube channel here. Such an innovative idea to immediately record and share session reflections to keep ideas fresh. You can follow SLANSW on Twitter too.

ASLA reflection

It’s been over a month since the excellent ASLA13 conference concluded. I’m sorry to say that ill health, family commitments and preparation for the 2013 Readers’ Cup has prevented me from posting earlier.

It was a wonderful conference held in an excellent venue (Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart) and the opportunity to meet many colleagues face to face for the first time was exciting.

Brilliant presentations from people like Professor Barry McGaw, Dr Mandy Lupton, Dr Hilary Hughes, Dr Jill Abell, Erica McWilliam, Anne Whisken, Jane Viner, Pru Mitchell and Anne Girolami, Kate Reid and Hamish Curry were humorous, thought provoking and informative. (Great to note how many teacher librarians have completed higher degrees.)

A brilliant conference dinner with the aptly named guest speaker David Brill held at Peppermint Bay was another highlight.

Another wonderful thing was to have time to chat, whether it was over breakfast, dinner, coffee, lunch or morning or afternoon tea (all excellent quality) – just not having to rush off to our real lives made forging connections much easier.

One of my new friends, Joachim Cohen who is a teacher librarian who works for SLANSW compiled ab excellent Storify as well as ‘conference minutes’ – a one minute youTube video of his takeaways from each session. Such a brilliant idea and rather than me recreating the wheel, Joachim has permitted me to embed the relevant reviews of each session that I attended.

My session presentation can be accessed here.

Congratulations to Karen Bonanno and all the ASLA13 crew on an amazing conference. I hope we Melburnians can give conference attendees in 2015 as warm a welcome as the Tasmanians did this year.

2013 Readers’ Cup report

On Friday 1 November, 11 very excited teams descended on Quantum Victoria for the 2013 Readers’ Cup. Teams representing:

  • Balwyn High School
  • Dandenong High School
  • Kew High School
  • Mentone Girls’ Grammar
  • Mill Park Secondary College

attended.

The day began with questions and answers on:

  • Diary of a wimpy kid and
  • Percy Jackson and the lightning thief.
At the end the first two rounds, 9 of the 11 teams competing had perfect scores. Impressive knowledge of the books!
Then the creative round was held. This is where each team devised a creative interpretation of one (or all) of the books. Everyone present was blown away by the quality of the presentations, which included:
  • stop motion animation
  • video presentations
  • news reports
  • mashups
  • dramatic interpretations
  • a prezi
  • and ‘Fakebook’ account.
Rounds three and four saw questions on:
  • Skulduggery Pleasant
  • Stormbreaker
At the end of the formal rounds, two teams were tied on a perfect score of 24 points.
The Potatoes and NA (both Balwyn High) then entered a sudden death tie break. After six further questions, The Potatoes were the only team with a perfect score and were awarded the 2013 Readers’ Cup.
Finals scores were:
  • The Potatoes (Balwyn HS) – 24
  • Booktique (Kew HS) – 21.5
  • The Purple Bluebirds (Mentone GG) – 22
  • Imagitivity (Mentone GG) – 23
  • NA (Balwyn HS) – 24
  • Rudite Eucalyptus (Dandenong HS) – 23.5
  • Purple People Readers (Dandenong HS) – 23
  • Mill Park Secondary College – 23
  • The Sparkles (Mentone GG) – 20
  • Bookaholics (Kew HS) – 22
  • Drama Llamas (Moneton GG) – 23
It was obviously a very tight competition this year where all teams really knew their books and put an amazing effort into their respective creative pieces.
Huge thanks to Quantum Victoria, Penguin Books and Allen and Unwin for venue and prizes. Also to Reina Phung for support, Kim Yeomans for technical support, Jan Connor, judge and question writer and judges Maria Cerra, Michael Jongen (SCIS) and Tye Cattanach (Penguin Books).  Thank you to the teachers and teacher librarians from the respective schools for entering their students in the Readers’ Cup, for encouraging them during the year and for bringing them along on the day. Thank you to all of the students for an outstanding effort. Your knowledge of the books, your skill in bringing the books to life and your good natured competition and support of other students was lovely to see.
The Readers’ Cup is not funded at all – we simply give our time to encourage students to read and to love books.

ASLA13:

The title of the session I am presenting at ASLA 13 today is:

Digital literacies: why they are vital for everyone and how teacher librarians can lead schools
in developing digital literacies for the entire school community.

Here’s the abstract of the session:

To be effective participants in today’s global society, we need a positive digital presence and to be digitally literate. Tips on how you can lead members of your school community to become effective and discerning global citizens, including having positive digital footprints and the benefits of working collaboratively online.

And here’s the presentation. It was too large for Slideshare, so hopefully Google Docs has kept all of the links and notes. Hope you find it useful.

Wheelers eBooks @Kewhslibrary

So we’ve finally managed to get our eBooks up and running at Kew High School. Thanks to our ICT guys and the Wheelers’ crew, our students can log in using their school credentials. We’re only starting small at the moment, with a big push beginning in term 1.

I’ve made this video, along with our AV Coordinator Huu Tran, to show students how they can download eBooks from our collection using their mobile device.