Teacher Education Dialogue Conference 2012

I was a Keynote speaker at the Teacher Education Dialogue Conference last Friday, the 3rd of August. It was a privilege to have been asked to share the past five years of my life that have seen me develop into what I like to term as a Networked Teacher, with an audience of academics who teach pre-service teachers and teachers from local schools in the area. For many of these academics, I’m sure it was the first time they had seen how teachers today are using the tools of the web and social media to construct knowledge and share learning to develop our profession in a networked age. I received quite a bit of positive feedback from conference participants, many of whom said they were inspired to start using social media to share and further their learning. A very positive outcome.

The slides from my presentation can be accessed on my wiki housing my presentations. Without me talking, it’s a little difficult to understand some of the intent behind the slides, but you’ll get the gist. There was much to take from the sessions I attended over the two days of the conference. A common thread was the need for a shared professional language of our profession that would help us all engage in meaningful professional dialogue both within our schools and across school systems. Tina Doe led some interesting sessions where she discussed the Dimensions of Learning Framework (see video below) and I could see how a model like this adopted across a school could go a long way towards establishing a common language and direction for a school community.

Another interesting session called “Pedagogy: Fact or Fiction” will be the springboard for a post of its own I’m thinking. Lots of impassioned dialogue was shared in that session!

Dr. Rick van der Zwan, a Behavioural Scientist, delivered a witty keynote that dispelled some myths that have currency in schools today. To find out what they were, take a look at my Storify (link is below) that contains my twitter stream from the two days.

I’d like to thank the conference organisers for asking me to present, and Deborah Hoiles, who did a marvelous job working behind the scenes to ensure everything flowed smoothly for presenters and attendees.

[View the story “Teacher Education Dialogue Conference 2012” on Storify]

School’s out Friday

I saw this video last night at the evening session of the Teacher Dialogue Conference being held at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour. It’s reflective of the kind of environment I’ve been immersed in over the last two days, where academics and teachers have been engaged in discourse over what’s important in both pre-service teacher education and the way we teach students in schools today. This morning I delivered a Keynote presentation about what it means to be a Networked Teacher. I’ll make a valiant attempt to write a more detailed reflection of my thoughts about the experience over the weekend.

Right now, it’s time for sleep. I’ll be enjoying the sunny weather here in Coffs Harbour in the morning, then will head back to Melbourne in the afternoon. I’m hoping for mild weather back home – been a bit spoilt here in that regard these last few days!

Enjoy the weekend ahead. I hope it’s kind to you. 🙂

Planes, Trains and Conferences Part II – SLAQ 2012 and SLAV Global eLiteracy

Well, a plane did get me to sunny Cairns, and there was a conference there, but no sign of any trains! Like I said in my ISTE post, it sounded like a good name for a blog post!

If you’re going to present at a conference in Australia in July, there’s no nicer place than Cairns to do so. The weather is just wonderful there at this time of year. A stark contrast to the southern states. It wasn’t just the weather that made this conference such a wonderful experience; there were a wonderful group of women behind the scenes organising the SLAQ 2012 Biennial Conference who made me feel very welcome and really looked after me up there. I’d like to thank all of you for such care and consideration.

My presentation was well received and you can view it on the wikispace I maintain. Essentially, my message was that as Teacher-Librarians we need to recognise the opportunities that exist now to cement our positions in schools. We can do this well if we respond positively to change and skill ourselves to a level that will enable us to support the Australian Curriculum. I outlined the steps the library team have taken at Toorak College to try and ensure that our students will leave our school with a skill set that prepares them for the knowledge economy they are entering.

I shared the work our library staff have done on an Information Fluency Program to support the development of skills. We’re not suggesting this scope and sequence document is perfect, but we do think it provides a framework for moving closer to providing opportunities within curriculum to address the General Capabilities and give our students (and teachers) the chance to develop their skills. We consulted with our Principal, Mrs. Helen Carmody, who agreed to share this work under a Creative Commons attribution, share alike, non-commercial licence. This has been done in the spirit of sharing, acknowledging that our profession should be supportive of one another and embrace some of the ideals expressed in Australian Curriculum documentation. This program can be accessed by clicking here. Please be mindful of the terms of the licence should you choose to use it within your school setting.

Mandy Lupton, from Queensland University of Technology, presented a really interesting session about Inquiry Learning and the role of the Teacher-Librarian in helping to facilitate this in their schools. Mandy has just launched a blog called ‘Inquiry Learning and Information Literacy‘ to share her research and learning with others. I recommend you take a look and start to find ways you can apply this thinking to curriculum in your schools.

It was a great conference. I met many committed Teacher-Librarians open to ideas and I hope to forge many ongoing connections from this experience in Cairns.

My message was very similar at the School Library of Victoria Conference held at the MCG last Friday. (The presentation is embedded here.) Again, the audience was receptive, or seemed to be at least. You never really know when you’re presenting, unless people tell you otherwise. I can only base things on the feedback I received, and that was positive. The Bright Ideas Blog compiled a Storify of tweets from the day that includes many links to presentations and resources shared on the day. Judy O’Connell, from Charles Sturt University, keynoted the day with a presentation entitled ‘Leading the Learning Revolution‘ looking at what’s on the scene and what we need to be looking out for in the digital landscape. Judy also launched the Oztl.net site at the conference. The site has been established to provide tools, resources and connections for information professionals in Australian schools and beyond. One to keep your eye on.

There was a sharing session at the conference where people led participants to an understanding of tools they might not otherwise had a chance to experience. Although it was hectic, it was rewarding for participants. I led the groups interested in Storify, and others discussed wikis, twitter, screencasting, facebook, eBook authoring, and quite a few others. After lunch, John Pearce discussed iPad apps, Di Ruffles outlined Libguides, Cam Hocking talked about the value of Personal Learning Networks and David Feighan talked about strategies for placing your library in a positive position in your school. All great presentations that advanced the knowledge base of participants.

There’s no rest for the wicked. Later this week I’m off to Coffs Harbour to deliver a Keynote address at the Teacher Education Dialogue Conference being held at Southern Cross University.  A different kind of audience for me this time. Should be very interesting. I’ll keep you posted.