Online resources

During this time, there are many lists being shared that can help you find quality resources to support online learning in your school.  We look for institutions that we know produce reliable and authentic information, and are collating a page of links to resources, guides and useful information HERE for ease of access. We will continue to update this page as we find new resources to share.

 

Citizen Science – involving students in real world activities

Involving students in active projects during the closing weeks of the school year is not only a productive use of the closing weeks, it’s also an opportunity to introduce students to Citizen Science and kindle a fire of enthusiasm they can follow up further over the summer holidays.  Citizen science  enables members of the public to participate in scientific research in collaboration with scientists and scientific organisations.  It’s open to individuals or groups and is easily accessible online.

In August, Kristin Fontichiaro of Michigan University, USA, introduced the concept to SLAV conference delegates in the course of exploring data literacy and the ways in which data permeates every aspect of our lives.  A partner in the 2 year project, Creating Data Literate Students,  Kristin introduced real world projects that could be brought into the classroom.

Potential Citizen Science projects (scientific and historical) are:

The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.  Involving hundreds of thousands of volunteer researchers worldwide, topics range from environmental projects, wildlife observation, climate, history and biology, just to name a few.

Weddell Seal Count (on Zooniverse) involves counting the number of Weddell seals in the Ross Sea area of Antarctica to establish if they are being threatened by fishing practices in the region.

SeaBirdWatch (on Zooniverse) aims to address the worldwide decline of seabirds.  Action is dependent on the gathering of huge about of data relating to birds, their location, flying patterns etc.  Identify and count birds from your computer at home.

BushBlitz Australia’s largest nature discovery project – a unique multi-million dollar partnership between the Australian Government through Parks Australia and the Australian Biological Resources StudyBHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia to document plants and animals across Australia.  It’s in our backyard!

Measuring the ANZACs (on Zooniverse) is a New Zealand project transcribing the personnel files of individuals who served in World War I and the South African Wars.

Operation War Diary is another wartime historical project, this time of the British Army on the Western Front during World War I and involving analysis of 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries.

Atlas of Living Australia is a collaborative, national project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it freely available and usable online.  Students can both contribute and  use data on the site to learn about the distribution of Australian flora and fauna.

Citizen science is becoming so popular and participation so easy, new projects are launching regularly.  For example the news article ‘Urgent rescue mission’ to save Australia’s frogs using smartphone app.  That app is FrogID, the tool being distributed to the public by the the Australian Museum to collect frog calls from across Australia.

As you consider embarking on a Citizen Science project for the classroom, some tips for consideration from Kristin and her colleagues.

  • How much training of volunteers is offered?
  • Has this project worked with high school students before?
  • Are there videos, online tutorials, and other teaching resources available?
  • What is the role of the lead scientists? Do they have an outreach or instructional team member who is available for questions or assistance?
  • Can you discern political or social perspectives, and are you comfortable discussing these?
  • Is there an obvious educational goal, or are objectives primarily related to “doing science” or service learning work?
  • How social is the team with its citizen scientists? Do they use Twitter, email newsletters, tagging within online platforms etc to communicate?
  • Are their communications and platforms compatible with your school’s policies?
    (Smith, Abilock, and Williams (in press))
As authentic assessment, rather than it being a simple observe and count exercise, Kristin and her team recommend:
  • Process journals/blogs
  • Reflective work
  • Oral presentation

This post has barely touched on the possibilities for involvement in Citizen Science, readers are welcome to share their experiences via Comments.  SLAV members check Kristin’s presentation on the SLAV member portal.

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Header adapted from image http://www.greeniacs.com/GreeniacsArticles/Education/Citizen-Science.html

Weaving the Future – Inquiry based learning & DigiTech curriculum


On Friday, 17 March, School Library Association of Victoria conference Weaving the Future: Inquiry Learning within a Digital Curriculum will feature, Dr Mandy Lupton from QUT and Paula Christophersen formerly of VCAA.  Focus of the day will be the Digital Curriculum and the role of School Libraries can take in its implementation and execution.

Dr Mandy Lupton is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at QUT and well known to library and literacy professionals through her blog Inquiry Learning and Information Literacy.   Mandy teaches units in the Master of Education (teacher-librarianship) and has undertaken a number of research projects into inquiry learning and information literacy.  She will present a number of tools for the design of inquiry learning curriculum including questioning frameworks, process models and Mandy’s GeSTE windows model for information literacy. Delegates will have the opportunity for hands-on application and evaluation of these planning resources.  This is an opportunity to work closely with a renowned Australian information literacy specialist.

Ms Paula Christophersen (formerly of VCAA) is a familiar presenter at SLAV conferences having introduced ICT in the curriculum and general capabilities.  As a major architect of the new Victorian Digitech curriculum, Paula is the ideal person to present Ways of thinking in Digital Technologies.  Through this Paula will explore the essential features of the Victorian Digital Technologies curriculum, paying particular attention to the different ways of thinking in the curriculum, namely computational, design and systems thinking. Exploration involves teasing out the breadth and depth of content associated with this curriculum, and how meaningful connections can be made with other learning areas.  As schools seek methods of integrating the new digital curriculum into both primary and secondary schools, this session gives library staff background and understanding to support digital learning through the STEM curriculum, makerspaces, coding clubs etc.

SLAV is pleased to be starting the year with professional learning support for Victorian teacher librarians, teachers and library staff generally.   Don’t miss out.  Register here.

Financial literacy – ASIC’s MoneySmart

smartmoney

Purchasing a mobile phone is one of the first mature financial commitments a young person will make.  Before reaching that stage, however, most will have had experience with online shopping, including in-app purchases which are often impulse buys with minimal prior thought.  Financial literacy instruction that begins in primary school and gradually builds over time will equip students with the skills to confidently manage these transactions.

As one of the key initiatives of the National Financial Literacy Strategy. the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has developed the MoneySmart Teaching program, a comprehensive financial literacy resource for use by educators.

This is an impressive resource with units such Mobile Phone security designed for a 15 minutes time-slot making it ideal for teaching alongside other content or within a homeroom class.  On the other hand is the more comprehensive financial training course for VET students consisting of 5 online units.

MoneySmart has been developed for the Australian community. It’s valuable, not only to teens and young adults, but as a resource for Australians of all ages.  It’s worth checking out.

Primary sources and the ANZACS

WWI propoganda

The commemoration of the centenary of the Gallipoli Landing during World War I has stimulated an explosion in the digital content available online. Photos from family and institution collections contribute to a comprehensive overview of the period from the images on the battlefront through to the homeland and everyday life.

These images make possible a range of rich learning activities that can extend a student’s understanding of the experience of individuals and expose them to resources to explore further in their own time, for example:

  1. Use Ergo, State Library of Victoria – Australia and World War I to study topics such as enlistment, conscription, the homefront and propaganda supported by primary source artefacts including diaries.
  2. Document analysis worksheets designed and developed by the education staff of the [US] National Archives and Records Administration are an excellent resource for use with primary sources. These worksheets are not new and have been refined over time. They’re in a convenient .pdf format for use either online or as printed hardcopies. Worksheets are available for the analysis of a printed document, photograph, cartoon, poster, map, artefact, motion picture and sound recording. Highly recommended.
  3. It’s not news to any teacher to say that students love Google Images. A lesson in the Advanced Search function of Google Images is an opportunity to experiment with various search terms; with learning how to separate World War I from World War II images; how to isolate propaganda images; locate images relating to women; find images of a particular colour or from the region ‘Australia’ only. Use with Google Search Education lesson plans to enhance your own search skills and those of your students.
  4. The number of public institutions uploading resources to Flickr: The Commons has grown steadily over the years. As Creative Commons resources, students have a wealth of resources to work with. Once again, using a range of key terms such as ANZAC, Gallipoli, World War I, WWI, students can become familiar with this constantly developing database of original images.

This centenary year can be a launching point that introduces students to an authentic range of resources they can revisit time and time again……. now they know they exist.  Explore!

The Future of Privacy: your future

privacy

Living life in public is the new default many of us have been experimenting with in recent years. It’s amazing how readily we have adapted to sharing our daily activities, thoughts and knowledge via social media. The consequences of this voluntary act of sharing and its impact on our privacy, is causing us to adjust our norms and our preparedness to be less private than we may once have been. Yet as danah boyd illustrated through her research of teenagers in – It’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens, young people are surprisingly selective as to what they make public.

We are living in the age of big data where once inconsequential information such as our purchasing habits are now being collected as an invisible, routine process. Where is it all heading? The Pew Research Center has recently released the report – The Future of Privacy: digital life in 2025 in which experts conclude that the struggle with our personal data and public profiles will extend through the next decade as attitudes and legislation adjust to the new landscape.

Some expect that governments and corporations will continue to expand upon the already prevalent tracking of people’s personal lives and the data-basing and magnetisation of personal information. Others expect it may be possible that new approaches will emerge to enable individuals to better control their identities and exercise more choice about who knows what.

There is much food for thought in this report as it looks towards the next 10 years.  Read the report…

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epics18/4239334095

Hour of Code – skills and awareness

hour-of-codeThe Hour of Code is an international activity aimed at involving K-12 students in the understanding and creation of computer code.  Initiated by Hadi Partovi, the Hour of Code attracted approximately 20 million participants in 2013, the majority of whom were from the US.  This year the message has spread further with the goal to attract 100 million participants worldwide. With today’s students living and, potentially working, in a technology-saturated world, digital literacy is an essential skill. Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of non-profit organisation behind the Hour of Code – Code.org explains the need for students to have a better understanding of how technology works, saying:

The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket-science, anybody can learn the basics.

Students can register to participate in the Hour of Code between 8-12 December.  This is difficult timing for the Victorian students who finished school for the year last week, however, a bit of forward planning may be able to sort something out for next year.  Students aim to achieve the goal of participating in one hour of code development and the understanding of how code works.  Computers are not essential.  Computational thinking is the aim and educator Vicki Davis provides a range of options in her Edutopia post 15+ ways of teaching every student to code (even without a computer).

How to run an Hour of Code

Chris Betcher in writing for ABC Splash explains the importance of this initiative:

…this push towards helping our students learn the ideas of coding is not simply about getting them to write computer programs. It’s about helping them to learn to think clearly; identify and analyse problems; come up with creative, innovative solutions; and, ultimately, help make the world a better place. The thing about coding is that it’s far more about learning to think clearly and creatively than it is about doing nerdy computer stuff. Put simply, good coders are usually good thinkers.

Also check out The Hour of Code @ Splash and take your students to a new level of thinking.   This initiative also supports changes to the Australian Curriculum for Victorian schools to be introduced in 2015 whereby the Technologies program will include both Design and Technologies as well as Digital Technologies in place of the General Capability – ICT.