eT@lking – Creative Commons and its impact for education

Last Wednesday night I presented a session about Creative Commons for eT@lking in elluminate. These sessions are very ably moderated by Anne Mirtschin and Carole McCulloch, and feature some fine speakers who are interested in sharing their knowledge and moving people forward with their own learning. (Sounding a bit like Julia Gillard there, aren’t I!).

I uploaded some slides to support the presentation, and I’ve added them to Slideshare so that they can be of use to other teachers and students. They contain the six different Creative Commons licences, and some screenshots of sites that are useful for learning more about copyright and where you source CC licenced material. It’s not earth shattering stuff, but it may prove useful if you are starting the discussion with people in your school.

The session was well attended and there was some interesting discussion in the chat. Anne Mirtschin has included many of the links mentioned and questions posed in a post she wrote about the event.

You can listen to the recording of the session here.

Thanks Anne for inviting me to present, and thank you Carole for moderating this week’s session.

Students 2.0 – the first session

Tonight I jumped a hurdle. A few of them really. I was moderator of an elluminate room running the introductory session of Students 2.0. Anne Mirtschin, wonderful woman that she is, had provided me with quite a bit of training over the past week and it was thanks to her that I felt reasonably comfortable about running the session.Thanks also need to go to Adrian Camm who helped out with this session in a moderator capacity to ensure it didn’t fall over!

I fully expected there to be no-one with me in the room. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Seventeen people attended, all of them teachers from Australia and the United States. Some, like Monika Hardy from Colorado, got up at 3.15 in the morning to attend. One of the students from my school was trying to get in but had problems with elluminate on her computer. This is going to be the biggest challenge facing this initiative; establishing the student base that will make the whole thing viable. Hopefully the teachers who were there will be able to generate interest amongst their student body and we may see them getting on board in weeks to come.

I put together a short presentation as an introduction; you can find it embedded on a Wiki I’ve created to support the sessions I’m going to be running in the coming weeks. Here’s a rundown of what’s on offer;

RSS – finding what you’re interested in and bringing information to you. May 5th 7.30pm AEST
Blogs – Learn how to set one up and write a post that gets you noticed. May 12th 7.30pm AEST
Google Docs – storing and sharing your information in the cloud. May 19th 7.30pm AEST
Ning and other social network environments – how to work and learn with others. May 26th 7.30pm AEST
Wikis – for storing, sharing and showing what you can do. June 3rd 7.30pm AEST
Twitter – not just small talk. Using Twitter for learning purposes. June 10th 7.30pm AEST
Social bookmarking -organising your learning. June 17th 7.30pm AEST

This is all a bit of an experiment at the moment. It may work, it may not. Hopefully it will prove to be valuable for students; we’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out. The session was recorded, but my limited understanding of elluminate means that I’m not sure how to find the recording and get it linked into the Students 2.0 site! Hopefully, Steve Hargadon can help out with that for me.

I hope students will find the space and see the possibilities of directing their own learning with the support of teacher mentors. Time will tell.

We need some support!

 Anne Mirtschin, a teacher at Hawkesdale P12 College, in country western Victoria, Australia, has just posted about another Australian Blog closure. It seems that an early childhood centre blog has been asked to close due to photographic content being in the public domain. This comes a week or so after Al Upton’s mini-legends were shut down in Adelaide. Anne makes some very apt comments re our responsibities as educators to have our students learn to become effective digital citizens;

“will we continue to ’see the world through the eyes of predators and other minority unsavoury characters’ and force our students to learn independently the traps that may be out there waiting for them, or will we stand up and fight for our children and students, and teach them how to live in a rich and rewarding global world giving, them the knowlegde and ‘know-how’  for avoiding, protecting from and dealing with such ill-characters, should the need arise. Many of our students are already using these web2.0 tools at home and we must prepare and instruct them for this world that they live in and for future digital citizenship that they will all experience in the future.”

I agree with your sentiments entirely Anne. I teach in the secondary sector and there is no doubt that our students are actively engaged and already have an online presence. Isn’t it better that we guide our students and help them learn to navigate this digital climate in a safe and responsible manner? I can, however, understand concerns parents and teaching bodies have about the use of student images and full names online, particularly in the pre-teen years.

This is why I think it would be great to be supported by our State Governments and teaching associations. Perhaps it is now obvious that the need has arisen for policy statements that schools could have access to to support them in their endeavours to create these type of rich learning experiences for our students. I think that’s what’s needed – support from higher bodies that would then give schools and individual teachers the confidence to move forward with teaching strategies reflective of our 21st century world.

What’s really interesting is how international schools address blogging. I’ve been in talks with a teacher from Shanghai – at their school no parent permission forms for blogging exist. According to the teacher I’ve been talking to, the parents see the value of blogging from how their children interact with their blogs and they enjoy being able to have access and insight into what their children are doing. This was a recent discussion point on SOS podcast with Jeff Utecht who works at the Shanghai school I’ve referred to. Hopefully here in Australia we will start to hear more of the success stories with no more closures.