Dr Seuss and Twitter

A fantastic explanation of the best way to use Twitter.  It also incorporates Digital Citizenship superbly.

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April 22, 2014 · 10:26 pm

21st Century Skills

NewSkillsKerbacher, M. (2014). The 9 skills students must master to succeed.
Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/04/the-9-skills-students-must-masterto.htmlutm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+educatorstechnology%2FpDkK+%28Educational+Technology+and+Mobile+Learning%29

 

A great visual showing what our students need for 21st century learning.  Many of these ‘skills’ are not actually new, with Teacher Librarians very aware of their importance for many years.  The hardest part still remains – how do we explicitly teach these skills without assuming our students already have them?

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Digital Learning Environment (DLE)

My personal DLE is expanding as I explore platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube as well as numerous Web 2.0 programs. I believe many students already use these platforms to keep in touch with their friends and follow various interests they may have.

Frustrations:  Schools block sites such as Facebook, Youtube etc. Students are often not permitted to use mobile phones during school hours and this is becomes so much harder to ‘police’. I have had personal experiences of students posting inappropriate comments and threats towards myself and other teachers. Some have even taken on fraudulent identities of teachers. Often these instances are hard to track and consequences are often blurred due to the nature of the offence and school executives not being clear on how to deal with the situation. The article (below), published recently in the Sydney Morning Herald could well set a precedent for these instances:

Whitbourn, M. (2014, March 5). Former student told to pay $105,000 for defamatory tweet. The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 4

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Despite all of this, I feel we are doing a disservice to our students by blocking social media sites. They will need to take responsibilty for their online behaviour in the future, so I believe schools have a responsibility to educate students in digital citizenship whilst at school. This needs to be done by all teachers, all KLAs and be repeated and supported regularly. There are so many great resources that we can’t easily share with our students whilst at school due to the blocks in place. In schools, the ‘horse has already bolted’ in terms of technology use. ‘Digital citizenship’ has unfortunately been an afterthought, arising from seemingly more pressing issues eg. Which type of device do we promote, BYOD? etc.

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Digital Inquiry

I really like the Stipling Model of Inquiry:

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Stripling (2010) emphasizes the fact that student use of digital formats is not enough in this Digital Learning Environment.  I witness students each day ‘fact gathering’ – ‘web using’ rather than ‘web learning’, cutting and pasting etc.  Students today are faced with an overwhelming amount of information and if they are not taught digital literacy along with digital inquiry skills they will struggle with the technology.  Students don’t tend to employ ‘corroboration’ (checking for accuracy of sources) as there is so much else to do – locate information, understand the information, check sources, summarise in their own words, deal with the increasing digital divide depending on their quality of access.  There is also much assumed knowledge around students mastering various digital formats and their knowledge (or lack of) of appropriate digital citizenship practises.  The concepts of deep reading for information and collaborative or shared learning need to be explicitly taught.

Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching Students to Think in the Digital Environment: Digital Literacy and Digital Inquiry. School Library Monthly26(8), 16-19.

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Digital Citizenship – Definition

DEFINITION: It seems like ‘Digital Citizenship’ is as hard to define as ‘Information Literacy’ and when discussed, people have very differing ideas about what it is.

http://www.jesslaccetti.co.uk
From the reading I have done so far and my personal experiences I would define it as ‘using technology, no matter what form in a responsible manner’.  This would incorporate behaviours that are considered legal, ethical, safe and courteous.  As Greenhow (2010) points out, responsible behaviours can differ between different cultures, countries and even individuals within the one society.

Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age.  Learning & Leading with Technology, 37 (6), 24-25.

MY STANCE/OUR SCHOOL: Working at a boys’ high school, it is interesting to see the boys’ behaviour when it comes to social media.  Our school blocks sites such as Facebook, Youtube etc. whilst on our premises.  I have also had personal experience of students posting inappropriate comments and threats towards teachers.  Some have even taken on fraudulent identities of teachers.  Often these instances are hard to track and consequences are often blurred due to the nature of the offence.  Cyberbullying is a relatively new area in schools and many school policies are still developing in this area.  Even when the police were informed they were quite powerless to do anything.  Contacting Facebook to have sites deactivated (never deleted) is also very difficult as it is all done online.

Despite all of this, I feel we are doing a disservice to our boys by blocking social media sites.  They will need to take responsibilty for their online behaviours in the future, so I believe schools have a responsibility to educate them in digital citizenship whilst at school.

AN IDEAL DIGITAL CITIZEN:  Enlightened Digital Citizenship

I like Davis and Lindsay’s (2012) representation of a digital citizen.  It seems to encompass all facets of digital citizenship with clarity.

MY QUESTIONS:
How do we ensure that all students in schools become digital citizens?  Some teachers are not digitally in touch themselves, often it is not a priority within the school; parents, school leaders and students can have differing views on what is ethical, safe and responsible.

In terms of equitable access to technology, how can this be achieved when often access to education is not occurring equally within society, across the world?

Many courses that encompass technologies often do not explicitly teach the skills required to be digitally responsible.  It is too often assumed that students already have these skills and will have the maturity to display them in the school setting.

If schools develop programs and policies around digital citizenship for their students, what happens when the boundary between school and home becomes blurred?  Do schools have the right to enforce discipline if students do not act responsibly away from the school grounds?  Are parents on the same page as the school?

 

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March 15, 2014 · 3:48 am

Part B Critical Reflection

Leadership for Learning 

I believe that teacher and student learning are intertwined.  Teachers need to be continually learning so that a positive learning environment is created for students.  I am experiencing this as I participate in this course.  It is also important to be reflective.   If there is collaboration there will be gains in confidence, motivation and morale.  This leads to quality learning and successful leadership. (O’Donoghue & Clarke, 2010). 

The Teacher Librarian as leader would promote a collaborative learning environment that is not confined to the classroom.  Often the library is seen as separate to faculty departments. 

As a result, there is not a lot of collaboration occurring at my school at present.  Teachers tend to lecture students, the focus is on delivering content and everyone is ‘time-poor’.  The concept of learning as a process, must be a shared vision, from the top down (including the students) and be explicitly written into programs. 

The Inquiry Learning concept is an excellent example of instructional leadership for learning and the Teacher Librarian needs to be proactive to achieve success.  Inquiry Learning has not been a priority for our Curriculum Coordinator due the enormity of the task if introduced across the whole school.  Also, our school has been slow with integrating technology into its educational pedagogy. 

With the introduction of the Australian Curriculum, it is an opportune time to commence Inquiry Learning.  Next year, our Primary will be embarking on this type of learning.  A working party from the Secondary school will start work on how best to continue this type of learning into Year 7 and beyond.  I will definitely be a part of this group, as well the Primary initiative. 

Communication 

As a leader in a collaborative school environment, it is important to communicate collaboratively.  Being open to the ideas of others and knowing how best to deliver information is vital to maintaining positive relationships.  (Sampson, n.d.) refers to habits of a collaborative individual as ‘knowing when to talk interactively’.  At my school, emails are constant.  Relationships are breaking down as messages are misconstrued, ignored or trivialized.  Effective communication occurs when there is accurate information, complete understanding and people feel that they have had an opportunity to contribute to decisions and therefore want to be part of a process.  Communication can be informal or formal, but must be delivered appropriately, empathetically and be open to clarification if required. 

As Teacher Librarian, I see communication as not only informing people of what is happening, but also a way of promoting the library service as an integral part of the school community.  I currently deliver information in the following ways: e-newsletters to staff, emails, weekly newsletters to parents, annual Yearbook article, conduct professional learning groups, blogs, student notices and digital display messages. 

This unit highlights the importance of effective communication as a leader and emphasizes less effective styles of communication, many of which I have experienced. 

My personal conflict management style, according to the Thomas & Kilmann, 1974 questionnaire is ‘accommodating’ and needs more assertiveness.  In my defense I feel that a Teacher Librarian needs to be accommodating.  My ‘pet-hate’ is to hear about librarians that have a sense of ownership and control over their libraries and everyone must fit in or they’re not welcome.  I go out of my way to satisfy clients.  At times I do need to balance the ‘accommodating’ with other priorities and be more assertive if the requests are unreasonable.  My library vision states; “the library ….promotes a welcoming atmosphere which is student and staff focused….” 

Strategic Planning

‘Instructional leaders exhibit a clear sense of direction for their schools and prioritize and focus attention on the things that really matter in terms of the work of students’(e-Lead, n.d.). They have the ability to predict what changes are required to improve services and anticipate and overcome obstacles as they arise. 

Teacher Librarians need to demonstrate that they are visionary, but often they are too busy dealing with the ‘here and now’ and find it hard to plan for the future.  It is in our best interest to be strategic, as it will ‘help maintain current levels of library service’ and ‘secure support from library stakeholders’.(Wong, 2012) Collecting evidence-based data can be difficult in the library situation, but is not impossible and is essential to support strategic planning.

The library also needs to be seen as integral to the whole school. Incorporating the library vision into the school’s policy on learning is crucial.  This way, the library vision is achieved as the whole school works together to make the vision a reality.

References

Instructional leadership [e Lead]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
            http://www.e-lead.org/resources/resources.asp?ResourceID=14E-lead 

O’Donoghue, T.A. & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading.  In
            T.A. O’Donoghue & S. Clarke. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in
            international contexts
(pp.87-99). Retrieved from EBook Library. 

Sampson, M. (n.d.). The Practice of Collaboration – Resource Center.  In Michael
             Sampson on Making Collaboration Work:  Culture, Governance,
             Adoption. 
Retrieved from  http://www.michaelsampson.net/practiceofcollaboration.html 

Thomas, K.W. & Kilmann, R.H. (1974). The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode
             Instrument. Retrieved from http://academic.engr.arizona.edu/vjohnson/ConflictManagementQuestionnaire/ConflictManagementQuestionnaire.asp 

Wong, T. (2012). Strategic long-range planning. (for school library media centers). Library Media Connection, 31(2), 22-24.

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September 30, 2013 · 9:03 am

ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority)

The Australian Curriculum has opened new possibilities with regard to technology and information and the role of the Teacher Librarian is more critical than it has been previously.  As schools implement the Australian Curriculum over the next few years, Teacher Librarians need to be proactive ‘leaders’ as they support school executives and teachers, not just with resources but with embedding inquiry skills across the whole curriculum.  Not only does inquiry appear in the various inquiry skills sequences presented within learning areas, but it is a major focus within the General Capabilities that apply to all subjects.

Teacher Librarians can promote the 7 General Capabilities:

LITERACY 
– reading literacy  – reading programs, new books, blogs, book clubs, author visits
– information literacy – Inquiry Learning
 – digital literacy – incorporating technology into Inquiry Learning, Web 2.0 etc.

NUMERACY

INFORMATION, TECHNOLOGY and INFORMATION (ICT)
 – using digital tools to not only access information, but to create, discuss, share 
    and collaborate.  This has transformed the way students connect, organise and share information.

CRITICAL and CREATIVE THINKING
– instead of ‘web-using’ we want students to become ‘web-learners’.  This 
  involves higher order thinking skills that require them to evaluate web sites, 
  analyse the information, make inferences, compare and contrast information
  from different sources and reflect on what they have learnt.

PERSONAL and SOCIAL CAPABILITY
  – working in teams, self-management, direct own learning, reflect on opinions,
      beliefs etc.  Working collaboratively.

ETHICAL UNDERSTANDING
– as students and teachers use evolving technology, we need to develop
  policies and clarify understandings around the correct use of this medium.
  Teacher Librarians have an overview of the curriculum as well as see
   students interacting with each other and technologies every day.  It is our
  responsibility to discuss issues around copyright, cyberbullying, plagiarism, 
  appropriate social networking, digital footprints, acceptable use etc.

INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING

‘The General Capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist
students to live and work successfully in the 21st century’. (Australian Curriculum, 2013)

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2013). General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.   Retrieved 27 September, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/Overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

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