Learning 2.008 – I’m so excited (to quote the Pointer Sisters!)

Wow.

 I. am. actually. going. to. this. conference.   

Can you even begin to imagine how excited I am about this? It is such a great opportunity to connect with people I have worked with and talked to in my online network of connected friends who teach me so much. It’s an opportunity to meet with many who I haven’t yet had opportunity to connect with. Just being at a conference with so many like minds is going to be so exciting and such a learning experience.

I can’t wait to hear the thoughts of people like David Warlick, David Jakes, Ewan McIntosh, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Marco Torres. People who will be presenting include Clay Burell, Kim Cofino  and Jeff Utecht – more minds I want to tap into!! I’m particularly looking forward to finally meeting Clay who has had such an impact on my life this year. I’m also looking forward to meeting Simon Power, an Australian teaching in Shanghai.

I’m actually catching up with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in Melbourne next week. I’ve been working with Sheryl to get an Australian arm of the global cohort for Powerful Learning Practice formed. The cohort’s pretty much come together now. It’s really exciting and we should be kicking this off on September the 8th. I see this as a way to move my school forward. It’s been wonderful getting to know Sheryl online and I’m looking forward to our face to face meeting next week.   

Would I have thought this is where I’d be when I started blogging in January? No way. Just goes to show you what can be achieved with determination and persistance (and a very supportive school behind you who appreciate what you are doing – I am so very grateful). To retweet @thebuddha;

 All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. 

Mary Manning- a beacon in the Teacher-Librarianship world

I’ve just returned from a dinner meeting of our local SLAV (School Library Association of Victoria) group. Mary Manning was our guest speaker. She was talking about library spaces and design and was making reference to Susan La Marca’s book ‘Rethink’. But she was doing so much more than just that and I don’t know if she knew it.

Mary is an engaging and ‘real’ person.  She’s the kind of person you feel comfortable around, and that’s a compliment. Mary speaks from the heart and makes you feel comfortable about the direction Teacher-Librarianship is headed in. At least, I felt comfortable about it, I can’t speak for all. She provides the wake up call we all need. The understanding that we have to be proactive and move with where education is heading and our libraries have to reflect this in all ways. Our spaces need to be comfortable and inviting; let’s face it, with so many online resources who needs to visit the library for research purposes? I love the Chip and Dan Heath term, ‘sticky’. We have to make our libraries sticky so that people want to be engaged with the learning we can help to provide. We are trying to do this with connective activities that make our kids feel positive about the library environment. Comfy couches, knitting, quizzes, Book Club. We’ve even got our interactive whiteboard hooked up to TV reception so that the Olympic games can be viewed by our students over the coming two weeks. I have a wonderful staff who work hard to enable so many of these activities to happen. (I even have a wonderful Mum, experienced knitter Barbara, who has been coming in over the last couple of weeks to help our girls learn the finer points about knitting!)  

Much of Mary’s talk tonight was laced with the need to respond to technology and how it can help to transform learning. SLAV have been running the 23 things program with Library staff around Victoria and are going a long way towards helping make the shift happen in our schools.  I had an engaging conversation after the event with teachers about Powerful Learning Practice, the initiative developed by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson that I am helping with here in Australia. We are setting up a global cohort and Australian Schools will be involved. These teachers could understand the capacity building model this program offers. It’s like the extension of the 23 things program; it offers teachers the opportunity to become immersed into learning communities, enabling connections and transformative learning opportunities for students. They were excited by it and so am I. I feel a bit like an evangelist right now – I’m so excited by the possibilities and want everyone else to catch the fever! I realise it’s going to take time, but with people like Mary speaking to Teacher-Librarian groups in Victoria, we’re headed in the right direction.

Passing the time with Sheryl, Chris, Wes, Kevin and Dean.

I’m frightened I’m going to sound like a braggart in this post but I’m pretty darn chuffed about being a guest panelist for Sheryl Nussbaum Beach’s workshop in West New York State on Wednesday night last week (my time 11.00pm to be exact!). Been so busy haven’t had a chance to write about it. Sheryl asked me to join a panel to discuss inquiry and project based learning utilising Web 2.0. The intention was to highlight that Web 2.0 tools are not to be taught in isolation. They need to be integrated into meaningful authentic learning tasks where they can take students to new places with their learning.

When Sheryl sent me the link to the wiki I was amazed to see who else was on the panel. Chris Lehmann, Wes Fryer, Kevin Honeycutt and Australia’s own Dean Groom (an expert in Project based learning using Web 2.0 as the driving force behind creation of tasks). Such illustrious company for little old me to be involved with. The session was for educators from West New York (State) near Buffalo. It was held using elluminate. I could see the names of the participants but couldn’t see or hear them. They could see who was speaking as we enabled our webcams to be accessed. It was a fantastic opportunity to share my experiences with people in the United States and let them know what a transformative experience it has been for me writing this blog. I was able to share with them how making connections has enabled my students to have experiences wider than the classroom walls we habitate.

You could hear the passion for the idea of Learning 2.0 from Chris, Wes, Kevin and Dean. I think it was obvious that all of us were student focused in our belief that it is transformative adopting new technologies to transform learning experiences for the students we have dealings with. I hope the participants got a sense of this and that they reach out like we have done to make connections for their students. Sheryl recorded the session so when I find out where the link is to that I’ll post it.

I’ve been involved in helping to establish the Australian arm of a global cohort for Sheryl and Will Richardson’s Powerful Learning Practice. I see it as a means of increasing the capacity of our teachers to move with change and see the potential of Learning 2.0/Web 2.0 for their classroom practice. We’re still seeking a couple of schools so if you’re an Australian educator and want some detail contact me through this blog and I’ll pass on some info.  

Thanks Sheryl for the invite. It made my week.