Unit 7 : The Future of Learning

Here is my screencast of a tool I have learned during the PLN using Screenr:


Here is my digital story:


And one for the younger readers:


Some food for thought after our Unit 6 posting:


Thank you PLN team!  It was fun, hard work and I learned a lot!


Unit 6 – Changing practice in a digital environment

My own progression with technology. How has it changed the way I learn and shaped my professional practice?
I’m still very much a beginner in using digital technology for all my professional practice.  I find that some technologies are easier to use frequently – probably because I am used to them and have come to depend on them.  A bit like learning anything new – the more you understand it and find success with it the more likely you will use it!  I will use Evernote, Diigo, Blogs, Youtube and Facebook regularly.  Other tools I will use more regularly as I get familiar with them and find them useful.
I think these tools have allowed me to become more organised.  I know where to find information I am interested in.  Using too many tools could have the opposite effect – too many places to look to find information.

My feelings about the impact of technology on us as citizens

As a Teacher Librarian I see digital technology overtaking libraries.  Students want to look for most of their research information online instead of using hardcopy.  Ease and speed is most important.  They are not interested (or sometimes able) to plow their way through indexes and search for materials on the shelves.  Students still want to borrow books if they are avid readers, as books are still more appealing to many people than using their iphone, e-reader or ipad.  The older citizens seem to have taken to e-readers as they can pack a 100 books on to them and spend their holidays enjoying reading without the heavy lugging of books. We love being able to pay bills and buy things online and online business has created a whole new way of getting goods and services easily and rapidly from anywhere.  With access to  internet we have lost our privacy – anyone with an online profile can be tracked down.  The most important thing for us to learn is to make sure we behave ethically and responsibly online and ensure we take care to use security settings on sites we access.

My thoughts about the use of technology in learning and the role educators play in modelling the use of technology

One of the major concerns I have is the need to use technology to enhance and deepen the learning experience, not just because it is a cute fun tool.  We, as teachers need to lead the way in the using digital tools to add depth and understanding to the subjects we teach.  The right tools for the job.  There is no point in using every tool – fewer tools and the appropriate ones are more effective.  In many situations students will be ahead of teachers in using technology, but not maybe in using it for deeper learning – teachers hopefully have some advantages in having more depth of knowledge and life experience!

On the subject of students, I asked a year 10 student about his online social networking habits.  He said he wasn’t worried about protecting his privacy and didn’t differentiate between personal and educational use of his social network.  He used Facebook and mobile phone for this, not Twitter.  I think this attitude is quite common for adolescents.

How technology can be used to support your chosen 5 characteristics of an effective learner

Deeply investigative: using the right tools to look more deeply (and widely) at  subjects.  Information gathering software such as Evernote, Diigo and ScoopIt would be useful to control the mass of information.

Creative: using technologies to look at subjects in a new or different way.  Wordl, Paint and Movie and YouTube video making programs add another dimension to creativity.

Curious: use digital technology to widen curiosity and ask more questions in subject areas.  Evernote, Diigo, ScoopIt and Pinterest would be useful for gathering all information you are interested in in one place.

Persistent: learning to use appropriate tools well – making them work for you in the subject area.  Understanding the depth and breadth of a tool’s use and using it well.

Engaged: finding the right tools  to become involved and interested in the subject.  Not every tool will be useful or appeal to everyone – finding the right technology will make the difference.

Predictions about how technology will change the way we learn in the future

I think that technology will enable learning to be unlimited by time and space.  We will be able to listen to lectures, talk to teachers, find information, get feedback and confer with peers whenever we like.  Teachers will take on more of a mentor role to students and the classroom with rows of desks and chairs will become less common.  We will be learning outside business and school hours most of the time and at times we want to.

Unit 5 – Refine the Web

Doing general searches such as “Cleopatra history” produces huge numbers of hits, so needs to be much refined and made much more specific by asking for specific details or media types.  Using Google was good with the infographic as long as I just put in “Cleopatra” not “Cleopatra history”.  It still came up with a huge number of resources.  I liked the option to select the level of information.   In Duckduckgo it was reasonably easy to limit the hits,  once you went to a site they listed – eg. BBC, Wikipedia, History, Britannica etc.  Bing produced large amounts of information which needed to be sifted through, but it did keep your search history with was useful.  Some of the sites come with inappropriate advertising which I found a bit annoying.  Instagrok is a useful site for younger students as it has an educational orientation and some interesting and useful tools, and it only showed the information requested.

A trustworthy site on history is: http://www.besthistorysites.net/ which is an educational site and clearly displays its Privacy Policy and who is responsible for the site, including information about them and contact details.

Another site I picked as being reliable is http://www.history.com which specialises in history and media.  It has an Australian History option. It is a more commercial site with advertising but it offers a lot of information in many media forms and asks for users to let them know if anything they publish is incorrect:

Fact Check We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!

I have added tags for all my posts and a tag cloud which should make it easier to find the subjects I’ve covered.

Unit 4 – Teaching and Learning Tools

The service I looked at was Google Reader – as it about to close down!  I looked at the Privacy Policy and was surprised at how much information was taken about users : the sites they looked at and applications they used.  Also, names, birth dates, personal interests and preferences.  Ads could then be personalized for the user.  They basically said it was up to the user to use their Google dashboard to review and control settings if they have privacy concerns.

The Terms of Service and Privacy Policy were written in plain language and fairly easy to follow but are quite long and I certainly did not read everything when I signed up for Google Reader.  It is possible to take your information from Google using Data Liberation Front which allows you to “escape” from Google products.  It looks like it could take some time as each product needs to be done separately.  If Google Reader was going to continue, I would tell people wanting to know whether to sign up that it was a useful tool, but to look at the Service and Privacy agreements and make sure they were happy for their personal information to be used by Google for their marketing and product design.

Prezi has been used by students in their presentations for English at my school, but we have had to reconsider its use due to the restrictions and privacy regulations in the Prezi guidelines.  It is basically saying it should only be used freely by students who are over 18 years and no students under 13 should be registered for it.  As a tool, it is fun, but maybe a bit frantic with the constant zooming in and out!  I created a simple Prezi for year 8 Learning Support students about writing a story.  I think they got the point of the combination of writing, pictures, graphs and symbols.  The fact it was visual got the point across more effectively than if I had just talked or written it down for them.  In terms of SAMR, I think my Prezi was an augmentation, with perhaps some modification to learning about story writing.  To be taken further, to the redefinition level, the students would need to write and include their own tips for writing and critique each other’s work online.


Unit 3 – Twitter and Facebook

I have used Facebook a bit, but not Twitter.  I guess it’s like anything: you need to give it a go and see if you find it useful.  I see all these tools as useful if they assist you and you enjoy using them.  The good thing about them is that by using them you will always find someone out there who has some great advice for you or who can help you with a problem.  You in turn can pass on something worthwhile to others.

We don’t have Facebook or Twitter available to our students at school but we do have Edmodo.  I asked a senior student whether they thought we should have Facebook available and they thought Edmodo was  better for school because it was work focused and more controllable.  We had an incident last year of a student taking revenge against another one on Facebook – guess this happens everywhere – so maybe  the ethical behaviour on Facebook is what we need to work on from the time children start school.  Some people will abuse social media no matter how much positive role modeling they receive but most will do the right thing if they are encouraged/expected  to take responsibility for their actions.

Twitter Amanda Pile ‏@elipadnama

Unit 2 – Organising Information

My current techniques for organising and keeping track of my my work and sharing resources are: using files and folders on my laptop, links in my favourites, emails,  folders of paperwork and the diary I write in – all rather cumbersome!

I think that using Evernote and  Diigo will allow me to bring a lot of things together and enable me to find information more quickly and easily.

Students tend to lug a lot of folders around still (very bad for the back!) so learning some of these digital tools should enable them to use their devices more for much of this information.  They should be able to travel lighter.  The thing is to convince teachers to do the same – use electronic devices and set tasks that can be accessed electronically.

Digital technologies and the internet have changed many of the ways we organise ourselves, making life so much easier.  We are no longer confined to doing shopping, banking, mailing etc. to business hours.  We can work, do business and communicate when we please.  The only downside for students could be getting the sleep they need to function effectively!


Educator for Flexible Learning

Hi Fellow PLNers,
I worked as an English and Drama teacher before working as a Teacher Librarian for the last 12 years in Victoria and New South Wales. My experience with Web 2.0 tools is fairly basic, hence my interest in and need to complete this course!
My Personal Learning Network consists of AIS Teacher Librarian meetings and courses, TLs at Barker and in the AISTL network, internal school based staff meetings, PD and Conferences and membership of associations such as IEU and NSW Writers’ Centre.
My PLN is a bit haphazard, so I would like to gain the skills to have more control over the information flow and a greater knowledge of digital tools. With improved skills, I should be better able to help staff and students with their digital information and research issues, by the end of term . By the end of the year it is important that our library is able to take the lead in digital literacy in the school. I want to be able to work effectively with English and Learning Support classes to improve the use of digital tools in their classrooms.