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.

RSS – Bringing information to you

This is the presentation I prepared for the second session of the Students 2.0 Learning Web 2.0 series. Not a huge number of people were in the room, but hopefully there will be teachers and students out there who will find this presentation useful in their classrooms. This is the first time I’ve uploaded a presentation to Slideshare. Usually I create presentations using SlideRocket, but Elluminate likes the PowerPoint format so that is what I used this time. Doing it this way means I can upload them to Slideshare and can regularly check in to see if they have been viewed or if anyone has left a comment.

I’ve uploaded this presentation to the Learning U wiki I’ve created to support this series. On the RSS page there are other great presentations from Slideshare and YouTube to help people gain an understanding of what RSS is and what kinds of options are out there for receiving RSS feeds.

Hopefully people will find this a useful resource. It took a fair bit of time to put together, so I hope it sees sunlight somewhere!

Slideshare for education

This is ‘The Story of H’, by Lubomir Panayotov, and it recently won Best Storytelling in the Slideshare, ‘Tell a story in 30 slides or less’ contest. It tells the story of the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria that effects over 50% of the population. It’s a very informative presentation and would be useful in science or health classes.

Teachers should be aware of the fantastic content available on Slideshare. You can search for a topic to see if somebody has already uploaded something that may be useful for the classes you teach. It’s another example of a useful resource that can help us to not have to reinvent the wheel all the time. We all know how time poor teachers are, so check out Slideshare before you dedicate yourself to hours of slide creation. Do give correct attribution to the source however; it’s only right!

The idea of telling a story in 30 slides or less would be a great exercise for English classes. So much of our literacy these days is dependent on our interpretation of visual images in our world. The kids we teach should be conscious of how you can use visuals to great effect.

Here’s the winner of the aforementioned Slideshare competition, ‘Drunkenomics – The Story of Bar Stool Economics‘.

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The future of innovation

paradigm_shifts_-Don_Tapscott_presentation

Don Tapscott, author of Grown up Digital and Wikinomics, has just uploaded to Slideshare a presentation he has called, Grown Up Digital: The Net Generation and the Future of Innovation. In it was the above slide. The words on that slide have ecapsulated for me the difficulties we have convincing others of the need to change our approach to education. It is a paradigm shift we are experiencing. We are expecting others to come along for the ride with us and get frustrated when the rate of adoption is slow. We are dealing with disruptive technologies that require teachers to rethink the way they have always done things. It is uncomfortable and people who feel uncomfortable often resist change.

Much to think about in those words. Thanks to Elaine Talbert for alerting me to the presentation via Twitter. See the full presentation from Don below. Visiting the Slideshare site will enable you to view the notes for each slide.  

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Learning U or Participatory Learning – what’s in a name? Plenty!

Serendipity.

I love the sound of the word and how its definition applies so frequently to dicoveries and interactions on the web.

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines it as;

the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

It happened to me tonight. Today I proposed a new elective subject for next year’s Yr 9 students, Learning U (the name it has at the moment – thanks to Chris Prout for suggesting it).  Here’s what it’s about;

Learning U has as its focus what interests you. What are you passionate about? What would you like to explore in depth? How far can you take your own learning and what would you learn if you were given the opportunity to drive it in the direction you wanted to take? 

Students will determine the nature of the investigation they undertake based on their own personal interests. They will use a range of networking tools eg: blogs, wikis, ning networks, to engage in connective reading and writing opportunities. They will be taught how to manage these sites and how to read and write in a hypertext environment. They will learn how to behave safely and ethically in digital spaces and will work towards the creation of a positive digital footprint that they can use to promote themselves. 

Language skills, technology integration and subject knowledge of the student’s own choosing will be at the forefront of their experience. Students will be attempting to attract an audience to their writing and creative efforts and engage people in what they are doing. 

Self motivation is key, as is a willingness to write in a public space and adopt new ways of doing things.

It was accepted by the powers that be to be an elective choice for next year’s curriculum offerings. I’m excited about that; it indicates an acceptance that the type of learning I think is valuable is being considered to have merit.

Tonight, Susan Carter Morgan sent out a tweet about an interesting slideshow available on slideshare. It led me to the work of Bill Farren, a teacher I first encountered last year when I joined up with Project Global Cooling. Bill is a passionate educator with a wonderful site called Education for Well- being. His recent slideshow was about Participatory Learning.

Watching it reinforced my thinking. Participatory learning is what the elective subject I’m proposing is all about. It’s something I feel our students need exposure to; the notion that they can self direct their learning and learn from participatory culture, the people out there who want to share knowledge and help advance the learning of others.

I visited Bill’s blog to discover he is doing something quite interesting. He’s quit his job for a year, and has launched into PLearn, a one year online course he is offering to 50 participants. Here’s how he introduced it in his post;

After 15 years of working in schools and observing and reflecting on the practice, I’d like to attempt something different. I’m curious to know if it’s possible to get fifty people (or possibly an institution or two) on this wired planet to step out of the mainstream of education, if only for one class, and participate in a course that operates under a very different educational paradigm than the one they’re used to. I’d like to know if learners are willing to put their own creative desires and curiosities ahead of doing what’s educationally “safe”. Is the dissonance between how people learn on their own today and how they are taught in schools jarring enough to make them want to try something new? Can the Internet’s currently evolved state and the culture of sharing, collaboration and participation that it has fueled, lead to a new educational paradigm where independent educational contractors (IECs), working in more decentralized environments, are able to offer a variety of courses serving the long tail of educational consumers in a way that more hierarchical institutions cannot?

In order to try to answer these questions, I’ve quit my job as a teacher for next year and built an online space–a class (ParticipatoryLearning.net)–based on the principles of participatory learning, among others.

Interesting to note the idea of an ‘independent educational contractor’. What this means is that Bill is charging for the course he is offering. I can see some merit in this. At the moment, many of us willingly share our knowledge and educate others for no financial return. While that’s all very admirable, there has to be some acknowledgement that the price we pay is time. Time invested in supporting the learning of others while we spend time away from other pursuits and even our families. There is no doubt we learn much in the process, but I can tell you,  my fitness level has suffered and I seem to be tired all the time!!

I can see that Bill is trying to find balance by quitting his job, continuing his learning journey, advancing the learning of others and trying to make a living in the process.  Maybe I’m wrong (and feel free to correct me if I am Bill). Regardless, it’s a very interesting concept and a site you should visit to see how it is coming together.

I’m remaining in my job, but trying to fulfill something akin to participatory learning culture through the introduction of this elective idea. I’m hoping the students who participate (if there are any takers!!) will discover some of the excitement that I know comes from finding like souls who are willing to share and assist you in your learning.     

So thank you serendipity, in the guise of Susan Carter Morgan. You led me to Bill, who got me thinking.

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Extinction timeline – is your career in danger?

Kathryn Greenhill was sending out tweets the other day from a conference she was attending in the Netherlands. Helene Blowers (who originated the 23 things idea for libraries) was presenting at the time and I was watching the ustream thanks to a tweet from Kathryn.  Helene referred to the extinction timeline from the Now and Next website and had it on the screen while she was presenting. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the slide and asked Katherine if she had a link. While I was waiting for a reply I searched for Now and Next and found the timeline.  I was able to send the link to Kathryn who then tweeted it out.  How’s that for communication across the globe!

The timeline itself is very interesting. In small print it does say ‘not to be taken too seriously’ but it does pose some scenarios that are plausible. Some are even likely to occur even earlier I suspect. Post offices and Size O are predicted to go in 2019, but Libraries are also touted as going in that year. Ten years from now! 

Hopefully Librarians are going to be proactive in re-envisaging their services to respond to our changing society. Both Helene and Kathryn have uploaded presentations to slideshare that address issues facing libraries and the type of thinking required to ensure survival of the buildings and the profession.

Helen’s presentation; Finding the Phoenix: Feathers, Flight and the Future of Libraries.

Kathryn’s presentation; What kind of better than free is your Library?

Great ideas Ladies. Thanks for extending the thinking.

Brain Rules – look at this and apply it to education

Vodpod videos no longer available. from jennylu.wordpress.co posted with vodpod

Garr Reynolds has posted this on Slideshare – it’s his response to the new book Brain Rules by John Medina. He considers it a must read and after watching this slide presentation I’ll be getting myself a copy asap. Watch it and apply what you learn to your classrooms. I’ve been doing brain gym exercises with my Yr 7 class over the last two days as a result of a session from one of our classroom assistants who also practices Kinesiology. The kids are looking at me a bit strangely, but anything that can assist them with learning and staying motivated in class is worth a go as far as I’m concerned.

Coincidently, I attended the Hawker Brownlow thinking conference in Melbourne last week and attended sessions run by Rich Allen. He’d agree with the ideas presented by  John Medina. He had us moving all day, switching tasks and used music to engage us in activities. It was very effective and made me rethink my approach to classroom teaching. In the days that followed I had my students moving around, high fiving one another and telling their classmates how great they were whenever we’d been sedentary for too long. It certainly added a new dynamic to the classroom and not a bad one at that.

I truly believe you’re on a continual learning journey as a teacher and you need to be open to new ideas. I’ve always felt that I am learning and growing as a teacher and never perfect my craft – there are always new ideas that can be applied -you need to be responsive and give things a go. Our kids deserve no less.

Check out this YouTube video with John Medina talking about the power of visual images in relation to learning. Makes sense – another lesson we need to apply to our classrooms. Take note.