Tag Archives: networks

Learnist – a bit like Pinterest and a little bit like Scoop.it

learnist

I might be late to the party, but I’ve just discovered Learnist. It looks a lot like Pinterest so I was excited from the start. It combines a few bests, including images, easy collaboration and sharing and educational content. And, as always, what I really like about it is finding people who take the time to curate quality resources. The excitement is in the lucky dip aspect; I like to search specific things but the unexpected joy of discovering something you didn’t set out to find is what makes this addictive for me.

featuredauthorslearnist

Once you start browsing the categories, you’ll realise how open-ended these are. It’s interesting to see what interests people. I’d like to experiment with Learnist as ‘wider reading’ for students. Wouldn’t it be nice to give them time to browse within a general theme or topic to find something that catches their interest instead of prescribing their focus?

attitudelearnist

Learnist is very user-friendly. As with many social networks, it allows you to browse, rate and comment, as well as find out a little about people and follow them or their boards. Learnist has enough statistics at a glance to give you an idea of whether the board has attracted many viewers or commenters. You can add a suggested site to a board or a tag – very similar to Pinterest and Scoop.it. It’s also easy to share a link with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn or email the link. It would be valuable to create a shared Learnist board with your faculty, or even create a cross-faculty board, or better still, one for the learning literacies we should be embedding across the curriculum, for example, digital citizenship or critical literacies.

Basically, Learnist allows people to learn with and from each other. That’s the way I like to learn. And the mix of text, image, video and audio is a great way to engage learners.

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Filed under Curation, Uncategorized

How social networks empower teachers – slideshow presentation

I’ve created this slideshow to accompany a presentation I’m giving to staff on curriculum day about how social networks empower teachers. It’s a little text-heavy but I’m using the slides to structure my talk and hoping that the slideshow will be a resource for interested staff to refer to after the talk. I’ve probably spent much too long on the preamble, the ‘what’s it all about’ but the mindshift preceding any technical instruction is very important. It’s a good idea to view the full version of the slideshow because the embedded version has cut off the far right side.

I have a lot to learn about public speaking and so I am a little nervous about the presentation itself. It’s going to be a challenge providing enough information about what to do with Twitter, Diigo, Vodpod and Scoop.it and how to do it, as well as leaving enough time for some hands on play. Hopefully it will all come together and I’m prepared to skip great chunks of the presentation after I get a feeling for the mood of the group attending. I’m still new to the school and I’m thinking that I should not focus entirely on cramming content but take the opportunity to get to know the teachers attending my session.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Filed under Social learning, Social media

Trends, transformations, and change in libraries – David Lee King and Hamish Curry at the City Library

Thanks to my colleague Denise at my new school third term ended nicely with an excuse to revisit the City Library and come together with a largish group of people for an injection of ideas mixed with wine and a very impressive spread. This is what we attended –

David Lee King – Digital Branch & Services Manager at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
Freak Out, Geek Out, or Seek Out: Trends, Transformations, and Change in Libraries

Hamish Curry – Education and Onsite Learning Manager at the State Library of Victoria
Putting IT back in Reality

When: 2.00pm to 5.00pm on 23 September 2011.

Where: The Majorca Room, City Library, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria 3000

Between them David Lee King and Hamish Curry gave us enough food for thought to last for a long time but for some reason two things pushed their way into my mind and disabled all the rest – risk and fun. This is something which has been on my mind for a while. Thinking about the library as a space, a service, a hub, a resource, and everything else that it encompasses, I agree with Hamish that people coming into libraries should be surprised. And once they get over the shock of finding the unexpected in a library, they will look around and discover things they never noticed before. Smart thinking, Hamish. By the end of the day, when Denise and I took our conversation into The Journal Cafe, we were scheming like school girls, imagining a night-time event in a large, mysterious library to rival the night game conducted in the New York Public Library earlier this year, imagining our library elevator door decked out like Dr Who’s time-travelling police box, and an installation taking shape from the Lego blocks we planned to drop on the reference shelves at the disposal of creative students.

For those who would rather know about what David and Hamish actually talked about yesterday, here are some links.

Firstly, a Twitter steam (mine are missing – don’t know how to search a hashtag which includes my own tweets) –

Here is Hamish’s multi-dimensional slideshow – he just kept coming out with more and more ideas and things to blow up anything old and tired as far as libraries and librarians go:

Putting IT back in reality

I couldn’t find David’s slideshow but here is his Slideshare page with previous presentations.
Actually, I have been mulling over more than fun and risk in libraries, in fact, David’s examples of the potential of libraries’ digital presence resounded in me, and I agree that we should be providing services within the types of online spaces and networks our customers usually frequent.
Altogether, a great afternoon and excellent finish to the term. Thanks!

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Filed under Events, Uncategorized

Power of the network

The last couple of days have been very interesting. I’d like to share what I have learned since I shared on this blog a discussion about favouring an external blog to an internal one.

Above all, I learned that I could depend on the people in my network. Who are these people? Some of them I’ve met face to face; some I’ve come to know through my involvement in online networks; a few I’ve only just met in the course of this blog issue.

Amazingly,  over 200 people read my last blog post. Much as I’d like to convince you otherwise, I don’t normally record such a readership. How did I receive such a response?

After writing out my response to the Computer Systems Manager, then posting this with my response to him, I sent a link to the post out on Twitter, asking for people to enter into the discussion. I wanted to generate discussion, and to collect people’s views and perspectives. Discussion is a healthy and powerful thing. It’s a good idea to find out what others think even if they don’t agree with you, and in some cases, particularly when they don’t agree with you, since it pushes your thinking.

Apart from clarifying my own thinking with regard to the value of Web 2.0 technologies and their role in learning and teaching, in writing out this issue I gained valuable insights from others using the Web 2.0 platforms. Herein lies the power of these technologies – not in the technology itself, but in the powerful connections with people, people with unique backgrounds, experiences, qualifications, talents, and ideas.

The people who commented my post were educators or involved in education in some way. They responded quickly, and they came from around Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth) and overseas (Hong Kong and USA).  Click on their names next to the comments and read their profiles and their blogs to make their acquaintance.

My online networks are full of professionals whose reading and links, ideas and talents, I follow. If I need an idea, advice, professional reading, teaching material, and more, I go to this network. And I try to be helpful in return. Anyone who has experienced the collective wisdom of online networks will tell you the same. It is not about the technology.

Our students will go into the world needing support and continued learning. If we help them understand and navigate appropriate networks, we will be laying the foundations for support systems. We should allow them to learn within supervised online environments, teaching them how to write and interact appropriately and in a safe way, to share ideas and solve problems with relevant groups of people, etc.

As educators, our view of what is essential for student learning needs to change. Our students’ world will be fast-paced and changeable, requiring adaptability and resourcefulness. Our students will need to know how to find what they need, and who to trust. They will hopefully be able to discern who to follow and how to behave.

Change is never easy. One of my mentors, and co-founder (with Will Richardson) of the Powerful Learning Practice model, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, has just written a blog post about change, which she prefaces with the following quotations:

 “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.”  James Gordon, M.D.

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.” King Whitney Jr.

Sheryl uses the metaphor of her recent house renovation to deconstruct the journey towards building change, towards the creation of something new. She documents this process insightfully, and I recommend you read the entire post.   I thought I’d pull out some of the phrases that resonated with me in Sheryl’s post.  She talked about the challenge of

keeping the momentum and the dream of the transformation alive

She also said:

There are times I wanted to throw in the towel and thought as outdated as the home was at least there was peace and comfort.

 things will look worse before they get better

Fear is a big part of it too

Trust is another issue. Do the experts I have hired to make these changes a reality have the know how and wisdom to make it all happen

I’d like to end my post with another one of Sheryl’s quotes:

 For change to take hold and redefine people and the places they live and grow there needs to be a time of inquiry, reflection, and visioning.

I’m grateful that I have people with whom to share my inquiry, reflection and visioning.

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Filed under 21st century learning, blogging, debate, learning, network literacy, networking, teachers, teaching, technology, Web 2.0, writing

I don’t like New Year resolutions

butterfly

As the title says, I don’t like New Year resolutions. I don’t like any resolutions. I’m not in the habit of making promises either. I don’t make promises because I’m not sure I’m going to keep them. What I prefer to do is say nothing, resolve secretly – allowing room for backing off – and only say yes when I’ve already succeeded. I don’t like to raise hopes, I don’t like to disappoint.  Not even myself.

The blogosphere has been changing its timbre for the Christmas and New Year period. Serious educational posts have given way to reflective, stocktaking and thanksgiving ones; posts summing up 2008 and looking ahead to 2009.

I started thinking… if I were to consider new year resolutions, what would they be?

There’s no reason for my resolutions to be any different to anyone else’s – after all, we have the same needs and aspirations. If I ever did make resolutions – and I’m not saying I will – they might be the following:

1.  Act my age – Since I’m turning 50 this year I’m thinking more about mortality. Not meaning to sound morbid, but we don’t live forever. Time is becoming precious and it would be reckless of me not to notice my downhill inclination. I need to make a conscious decision to stay healthy. Even as I say this I know that exercise will not be on my agenda, but a little self control wouldn’t go astray in looking after my body; it doesn’t seem as invincible as it used to be.

2.  Community – I’ve always been an introverted person, happy with my own company and a few close others. Maybe it takes me that long to charge, to figure out who I am and what I want from life. Now is the time to connect, appreciate what others have to offer, give something back.

3.  Creativity – I’m ready to be more creative, to realise how creativity is a life-force I can’t live without (without sounding too dramatic). Creativity can be expressed in many different ways, all of them worthwhile.

4.  Letting go of old fears – There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. One by one I hope to let go of fears that paralyse. The fear of making mistakes, of looking stupid, of being different, of being rejected, of not being good enough, of the unknown. What a waste of time.

5.  Time is precious – that means learning to say no, not wasting time moping, being lazy, procrasting, following an unthinking routine. It means appreciating what is good, people who matter, enriching experiences. Not taking things for granted, saying thankyou, saying sorry, organising people events.

Only a little more than half a year ago did I start this blog, then gradually make  connections with people around the world online through blog reading and commenting, through Twitter and PLNs. Thankyou to everyone for enriching my life, for conversations, advice and help, humour, and making me realise that we have so much in common wherever we are. I wish everyone and their families a blessed new year, and look forward to our conversations in 2009.

Think about what you wish for – you might get it.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also – Luke 12:34.

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Filed under Musing

Blogs are NOT airy-fairy, soul-searching, self-indulgent

You know how you can’t let some things go?

Well, the back of my mind is often processing ways to demonstrate to people the value of reading and writing blogs. Recently I read an educator’s comments about introducing teachers to Web 2.0 practices, where he says he wouldn’t start with blogging, but provide teachers with examples of great blogs to read. Often people considering blogging will say that they don’t know what to blog about. It’s a bit like a student getting an open essay topic; it’s difficult because it’s undefined. That’s why reading blogs of people who share your interests is a good starting point for new bloggers or even sceptics. What I’m actually saying is – you don’t know what you’re missing – there are people out there who are really worth knowing, in all parts of the world and in many spheres of life and occupation.

John Connell linked to a series of blog networking interviews by Lilia Efimova in his post about passionate bloggers. People whose blogs centred around knowledge management topics were interviewed by Lilia about how they used blogs for networking. What’s particularly interesting is the variety of backgrounds represented. Lilia’s interviews covered the following:

  • professional background of a participant and characteristics of her network in KM field prior to blogging
  • changes in the network or networking practices because of blogging
  • uses of weblogs for developing, maintaining and activating relations as a starting point for articulating stages of the process at more granular level
  • place of the weblog in the ecosystem of networking tools (mainly focusing on what weblogs are good for and when they do not work).
  • important networking-related issues that haven’t been discussed

Here are some examples:

Brett Miller, a system engineer, says

 “I know more people in different areas of KM when I knew before.” Blogging helped him to reach people he wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.

Dave Snowden is a founder and a Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge, a consulting company focusing on complexity, sense-making and narratives. He was formerly a director of IBM Institute of Knowledge Management and founder of the Cynefin Centre for organisational complexity. He has about 50 science bloggers in his RSS reader.

“They scan journals for me, so I don’t have myself … I’ve learnt to trust them over the years … it’s much better than summarisation surface”.

Euan Semple is an independent advisor for social computing for business (www.euansemple.com). He started blogging with his personal weblog The Obvious. He says:

“Previously I was subject to geographical constraints or social constraints or organisational constraints as of who I was likely to meet and suddenly with online networks I’ve been able to connect to […] the whole bunch of interesting and interested people whom I suddenly had an access to in a way in a normal life I would never ever had that chance. I could then establish relationships and (and again something I get very hot about) is that these are not pretend or unreal or virtual relationship, the real relationship, where you build up trust and affect and those powerful things that make people work together. Online.”

And also:

[Blogging] is “a collective pointing that helps to find stuff, once you have an established group of bloggers you read and trust. And their ability to find a good stuff to point to it, increases your signal to noise ratio on the web … Blogs do that better than other tools because of the context – you have to say why that is important, why are you pointing to something”.

Luis Suarez works at IBM as social software evangelist. He is located in Spain, but travels frequently for his work. He says:

Weblogs allow you to get beyond what people publish and to get as sense of what a person is like – to build a profile of a person as a person, not a business entity. Not how long you have been married, but how people write articles. When you write a blogpost you are giving yourself out as a person. The line between life and work is going to disappear.

The question of blogs developing trust is an interesting one. Luis says that trust is developed through a ‘willingness to expose what you don’t know’, and ‘a willingness to learn not yet finished thinking’ or ‘taking a radical position that invites criticism’, ‘being brave and bold’. He added that ‘there is something special about somebody coming to your place to leave their words there’.

Talking about changes in professional network as a result of blogging, Monica Andre, who worked in a research lab in Lisbon focusing on information behaviour and information management, says:

“I didn’t realise that linking and giving credits to someone’s work would extend my professional network extended very quickly.” She then told a story of being contacted by a municipality government from Spain who wanted her to speak at an event. “I didn’t know I was followed by them. If [people] leave comments, you have a clue, a footprint. It turns out that guy who was reading my blog suggested the government that I would be a good person to talk as a keynote speaker”. When she received an email she thought it was a joke, but they called to confirm.

These are only a few examples of what people had to say about blogging in Lilia’s interviews, just to whet your appetite. You can read all interview summaries on Lilia Efimova’s blog Mathemagenic.

It’s difficult to ‘convert’ people to reading and writing blogs and to online networking in general for a variety of reasons I’ve spoken about many times in previous posts. It may be as difficult as religious or political conversion. To those of you reading this post, I’m preaching to the converted, I know. So please tell me, have you had successful experiences in converting those resistant to blogging that you would like to share?

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, internet, learning, teachers, teaching, technology, Web 2.0

Own the info, keep the info, hide the info

bottled-coins

 

I was reading Will Richardson’s article Get. Off. Paper. where he talks about people’s dependence on paper, and the reluctance to let go of owning information in hard copy. I’ve also just read what Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons, has to say about sharing photos of ourselves. It’s made me reflect on the nature of owning and sharing information, and how that has changed dramatically in the last few years.

When I was at school and university, information was power. If you wanted to be successful and get good marks, you needed information.

I remember how scarce information was. I had to work hard to get it, and I had to work hard to get it before others did, or get it from places others wouldn’t know about.

Sound strange? Think about it. An assignment is set, and the class goes to the library, but there are only a few books about the single subject that needs researching. Once I was jumped from behind by another student who clawed me until I dropped the book she wanted. Sound unbelievable? Believe it; it’s true. That experience shocked me and I’m not about to forget it. I’ve wondered since then, how important is this information, that someone would behave in such a manner? Admittedly, this is extreme behaviour, but think about this. In those days, my assignments were based on the location of content. If I owned that content, I would regurgitate it and present it attractively. Would I be in a hurry to share this information? Well, that would mean that someone else would have the same information as me. Why would I share it? Did we ever do anything with that information? Analyse it, evaluate it, modify it, create from it? No. That information was what my mark was based on.

Will Richardson talks about a paperless society. What I remember most about university, was the time I spent photocopying chapers in the library. Not complete chapters, of course, just the legal percentage of what was permissable. I focussed on collecting bags full of coins so that I would be able to photocopy pages from all the books I’d found that were even remotely relevant to my topics of study. I needed those copies, I felt empowered with all that paper, all that information that I may need during my research. When I was finished, I kept that paper. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. I might need it. I think I still have it.

It’s a relief but also kind of strange to be functioning now in the potentially almost paperless world. I turn to people for my links to information, and I share freely, as well as receive in abundance.  My networks are not mean. They are made of people who are smart, connected, varied, informed, interesting and willing to share ideas and knowledge. I’m happy that I’m still learning so that I can turn my back on the old ways.

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, internet, Web 2.0