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.

Library 2.011 – Pottermore and school libraries: multiliteracies at work

I am very pleased and proud to present “Pottermore and school libraries: multiliteracies at work” at the Library 2.011 conference this time tomorrow (7pm AEST).

I’ll be looking at J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore website and how the multi- and transliteracies work hand-in-hand.

The link to my session is here. Kind thanks to Steve Hargadon and the volunteers organisers of this incredible online conference.

The recording link is here. I would have loved to have been able to embed my presentation here, but permission from Pottermore has not yet arrived (they were kind enough to give me permission for the images on my wiki). Rest assured, as soon as permission arrives (I’m sure they’re kind of busy at the moment), I’ll put the presentation up.

A big thanks to my moderator Mardi, for whom my presentation occurred in the middle of the night and to Steve Hargadon, a giant among educators.


1 November 2014 Please note that Wikispaces has changed their policy regarding charging non educational sites. As I couldn’t honestly describe the Pottermorewiki as truly educational, I had to let it go.

7 Sept 2011 The last few weeks I’ve been busy working my way through the wonderful material on the Beta release of J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore digital experience. I was one of a small(ish) number to gain early entry.

Pottermore is fun for all ages, but as a teacher librarian, I can really see the way it promotes transliteracy; multiple literacies such as reading, media, social media and gaming all in one.

While reading about the amazing Halo wiki in Jane McGonigal’s Reality is broken, I was inspired to start my own Pottermore wiki. I am currently waiting on permission to add screenshots as the site is not yet in its final state or open to everyone at the moment. However, I would love people to join me and help add material to the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone section (the only book that is ‘live’ on Pottermore at present) of the wiki. Any assistance on potions and wizard duels would also be great. Please request access to the Pottermorewiki if you’d like to join in.

Thanks to J.K Rowling and Emma Watson for a great role model

Thanks to J.K. Rowling’s creation and Emma Watson’s interpretation, the character of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series has made it not only okay but quite cool for young girls (and those not so young and boys too) to like and to be good at school.

Recently just before I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I asked my 8 year old niece what she would like me to bring back. Immediately she announced that a “Hermione wand” would be wonderful as Hermione is “good at school and spells and is a true friend.”

When I returned home with said wand, she was so delighted she disappeared into her room for a few minutes and returned with frizzy “Hermione hair” and a belt to hold her wand. Delighted cries of “expelliarmus”, “stupefy” and “pertrificus totalus” were heard around the house.

Hermione Granger's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" dress

Hermione Granger's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" dress

When I think of all of the undesirable influences on young people today, I am so pleased that my clever and talented niece and her friends have an excellent role model to look to when growing up.

When I was her age (and a bit older) it was seriously uncool to be good at school, let alone like school. Teachers and parents have half their battle won in terms of attendance and engagement if students enjoy school. Of course, we still need to challenge our students every day, but having positive children to work with makes learning so much fun and so much more fruitful for everyone involved. Thanks Jo and Emma.