EdTechCrew podcast says ‘Farewell’

edtechcrew

Since their first podcast as the EdTechCrew seven years ago, Tony Richards (@itmadesimple) and Darrel Branson (@ictguy) have opened the eyes of educators to the possibilities of ICT integration into the classroom.  I say ‘educators’ and not ‘Victorian educators’ because over the course of the 250 episodes of EdTechCrew, Tony and Darrel have woven together a worldwide network of listeners, collaborators and conversations from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada as well as Australia-wide and places in between.

Having mentioned them in a recent post on recommended Australian education podcasts, it is now disappointing to report that EdTechCrew Podcast 250 was the farewell presentation from this great team.  Darrel and Tony have a chemistry that many would envy in their ability to share news, ideas and discussions in such an easy going manner.  Their individual expertise has not been worn as a badge of honour but has been used to build a community of learners who are now better able to bring about the transition to technology integration in the classroom.

Over the past seven years we’ve listened to the rain on the roof of Darrel’s Mildura shed-studio, felt the summer heat and listened to the crickets while hearing of his growing family and his changes of career along the way.  Tony has also shared the growth of his family, moved house and been stuck with dodgy internet.  He now resides in beautiful Ocean Grove but clocks up numerous air-miles consulting around the country, most recently with the support of his number on trialer, Patrick.  In the meantime the weekly podcasts have rarely skipped a beat.

Straddling both the primary and secondary sectors, with no discrimination between Government, Catholic or Independent schools, Tony and Darrel have been an example of what can be achieved through an open approach to education.  Distance was no barrier as they used the technology available to create a podcast from their locations at opposite ends of the state.

School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) members are familiar with Tony through his involvement in the Web Elements Engaged Project and presentations at numerous conferences.  The EdTechCrew Diigo Group, through which the community have shared recommended resources will remain active.

Thank you Tony (@itmadesimple) and Darrel (@ictguy) and good luck with the activities that are now demanding your closer attention.  You’ve left a rich resource of 250 podcasts.  I encourage every educator to take time and listen, you’ll learn to much.

SLAV and ALIA collaborate on Bendigo conference

The newly refurbished Bendigo Branch Library of the Goldfields Library Services was recently the venue for a joint conference of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV).  See Rhonda’s Flickr album for further images.

Held on 1 May, the conference entitled Together we are stronger in building communities, was an opportunity for regional library professionals to participate in professional learning within their own community with presenters and topics largely related to the local region.

Use of the #slavconf Twitter hashtag which has become familiar to SLAV professional learning events, was embraced by delegates who used it to share ideas and resources with the broader community of followers. Some of the significant tweets from the conference provided a shapshot into the day.

The opening of the conference

Collaboration and resource sharing including the changing nature of libraries

Tania Berry’s presentation on Makerspaces

Digital Citizenship from the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation

The day was evidence of successful collaboration between school and public library sectors and augers well for future partnerships to benefit regional members in particular.

Presenters notes will be available online when the new SLAV website is launched at the next professional learning event, a SLAV/State Library of Victoria seminar, on 16 May.

 

PLN Plus – be the change you want to see

Kelly Gardiner, Online Learning Manager at the State Library of Victoria, is a well-known voice in the VicPLN community, particularly in relation to professional learning for educators and librarians. This post introduces the guiding questions that underpin the new PLN+ course, beginning on the 11th March.

We’ve been wondering: what’s the next logical step for people who’ve done the VicPLN course?

Last year, we found out. With support from AITSL, we carried out some research into impacts of the VicPLN courses. Many of you participated in that. The thing is that a startling number of people report that the course changes their practice. And once that’s happened, what do they do?

They – you  – start to enact whatever changes seem most needed in your immediate world or beyond. It might be changes to the way you do your work, the way you collaborate with colleagues, the interactions with students, simple process or system fixes, big initiatives.

It’s about leading change.

Now, we’re not all Joan of Arc.

But it seemed clear to us that after the initial PLN courses, people then need the skills, tools and resources to enable them to enact the kinds of change they want to see – in their workplace, in their classroom or library, in the wider school community, in professional networks, in disciplines, or the broader systems and structures.

How do you become an advocate for literacy or simply for more resources? How do you collaborate to create new professional networks or share ideas or raise funds? How do you involve the wider community in learning? How do you create programs that pass on what you’ve learned to students?

How do you define what you want to do, attract support, design and manage projects?

How do you keep on learning, when you have so much to do already?

And what does that mean about our VicPLN network – what do you need from it now?

We can’t promise to answer all of those huge questions in a few weeks. But let’s make a start, shall we?

If you’d like to take part in the course (and maybe change the world just a bit) you can find out more here or email learning@slv.vic.gov.au  to book a place.

PLN Plus March 2014

In March the State Library of Victoria will begin a new kind of PLN program, PLN Plus.

PLN Plus is designed for teacher librarians and educators who want to find out how to effect change in their schools and learning communities. The program will run for four weeks and will involve a group project where participants work with like minded people on a passion project – what is the one thing you would change if you could? It could be a practical endeavour like getting your school blogging, or look beyond to setting up TeachMeet-style programs and community building.

Each week participants will be introduced to relevant new tools and online environments and also have the opportunity to engage with inspiring educators and librarians who have made change happen in their schools and broader communities. We will also discuss theories and research that inform the concept of networked learning and key trends in education looking to the future.

You can register to take part in this course, but numbers are limited. For more information visit the State Library of Victoria website, PLN Plus page.

Welcome 2014

Hopefully you’ve had a restful and rejuvenating holiday season and are ready for a new cohort of students in your classrooms and libraries.

Here at Bright Ideas we’re looking forward to introducing you to new topics and voices this year to help inspire you and your students as you engage with thinking and technology.

As always, we love to hear your feedback and ideas, so let us know if there’s an issue or subject you’d like us to look into or if you’d like to write something for us.

We’re looking at some fascinating projects in the next few weeks, including details of the upcoming PLN Plus program in March, so stay tuned and welcome back.

Image credit © Red Letter Press

Holidays on the horizon

With the holidays in our sights, we’re all looking forward to a little festive feasting and relaxation.

We’ve been a bit quiet here at Bright Ideas over the past few months (even though we didn’t have reports to write!) and we’ve used the time to do some planning . Hopefully our efforts will continue to inspire, challenge and support you, wherever you are, in the new year.

From all of us, we wish you all a safe, restful and enjoyable holiday season and we’ll see you back here in 2014.

Image credit: Period swim wear (c. 1945-50), Argus Newspaper Collection, State Library of Victoria

 

 

All About Change: Raising Modern Learners

Raising Modern Learners (RML) News is a new go-to place if you believe in real educational change and want to stay informed, be part of the conversation and help educate your school community about issues in contemporary education. Raising Modern Learners was created early this year by two giants in the field of educational technology, Will Richardson (US) and Bruce Dixon (Australia). They were concerned that current school reforms largely missed the point when it comes to the changes necessary to meet students’ needs for success in modern society. They wanted to find a way to inform and shift conversations away from how to tweak traditional curriculum and get people talking about new literacies, skills, and dispositions.

We’re dedicated to helping parents (and educators) stay abreast of these changes in timely, thought-provoking, concise, and interactive ways, and to help them find ways to advocate for more modern, student-centred change in their schools that reflects the needs of [our]time.

The latest article entitled If High School Wasn’t Compulsory, Who Would Go? examines disengagement issues in school and has some intelligent conversation already clocked up in the comments. News articles come out fortnightly and can be accessed via the website or you can download the free iTunes app for either iPhone or iPad.

Image Credit: (c. 1935), Elton Fox instructing a student at the Fox-Morgan School of Commercial and Fine Art [photograph], State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection.

Archiving digital resources for our cultural heritage

The British Library announced some time ago that they have expanded their legal deposit collection to include UK websites, ebooks, and posts from social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

Ever since the 17th Century, the British Library has been archiving every published book in the UK, with Australia, New Zealand, and the USA following suit. Legal deposit has been widely practised around the world with the intention of capturing social history and thus providing future generations with information about our past.

Previously, legal deposit was made up of published monographs – works that had been carefully drafted and edited but now, with the advent of micro blogging and Facebook, different kinds of publishing are being considered for collection. Although it can seem like a mish mash of spontaneous thoughts and ramblings sometimes, social media provides an important insight into our society. But does it represent how we really feel? Have we lost the art of reflection?

Nevertheless, our chatter can be a good thing because it documents everyday details often overlooked by historians. History books usually concentrate on the broad view, sometimes missing personal narratives. Now future generations will be able to access the minutiae of our lives down to the words we use.  They’ll be fascinated by what we had for breakfast, or feel appalled by the way some of us are in denial of global warming.

One way we can begin to imagine what it might be like for people to study our Facebook posts one day is to read the diary of May Stewart – a Melbourne teenager from 1906. May Stewart did a lot of mashing (flirting) and smooging (kissing), had tea at Coles (Coles supermarket apparently had a tea house back then), she went to the races and ‘had a splendid’ (had a wonderful time). This valuable diary describes how an average teenager from North Fitzroy spent her days, and the document now lives at the State Library of Victoria for everyone to enjoy.

As cultural institutions begin to collect social media, this new dimension of legal deposit will provide us with much to celebrate.

Scanner turns books into touch screen devices

As e-books, e-readers and tablets become more prevalent, it’s been fashionable to argue that technology will spell the end of the traditional printed book. Just as the printing press changed the way books were made, and digital distribution has lead to physical copies of music being less popular, it is easy to think that the printed book will slowly fade away. But a recent prototype by Fujitsu Laboratories suggests that maybe the printed page and technology can coexist.

The video below demonstrates an early prototype of a gesture driven book scanner. Images can be overlaid on the page with a projector and a camera tracks the user’s finger and hand gestures. Users can select text and images and other media can be laid over the page.

It’s an interesting demonstration of the possibilities that come from combining books with technology. Hopefully developments like this mean that readers will still be able to experience the lovely feeling that comes from opening up a book, whilst also being able to make use of the convenience of digital technologies.

Image credit: Screengrab from Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds, Diginfonews

Will 3D printing change the world?

PBS Off Book is a documentary series exploring the intersection of technology and art. A recent video touched on the implications of 3D printing technology.

It’s a brief yet thought-provoking piece about the use of 3D printing in medicine, education and design. It also looks at the potentially disruptive influence that 3D printing could have on traditional manufacturing, and explores issues of intellectual property and design.

You can watch the 3D printing video below and see all of the fabulous Off Book videos at the PBS YouTube channel.

 

Image credit: Screengrab taken from PBS Off Book, Will 3D printing change the world?