Re-designing thinking (on libraries) – Hamish Curry (notosh) #slav

Yesterday Marie and I attended a SLAV workshop facilitated by Hamish Curry (notosh) : Re-designing thinking on libraries.

I don’t have time for a well written post at the moment so I’m going to share my unedited notes and photos, including screenshots which will give you an insight into the process we went through during the workshop. A big thank you to Hamish Curry who ran a dynamic, engaging workshop with lots of depth and substance. I hope to share this with my library colleagues as well as other teachers in the school (and obviously here).  You can also look at Notosh’s ‘The Design Thinking School‘ online. I think it would be fantastic to have Hamish work with us at MHS, either as a whole school or in faculties.

I did feel a bit like I was going to explode while attempting to listen, participate, take notes, while sharing on Twitter and Instagram.

Great video demonstrating the importance of time given for creativity and problem solving.

A few screen shots. Please go full screen with the presentation.

More about Hexagonal Thinking on the notosh website.

If you want a more comprehensive, orderly set of notes, please look at Marie Buckland’s.

We are teacher librarians. We teach library lessons. #perception #librarymyths

“Oh, teacher librarian? So, what do you do? (Awkward silence) I guess you teach library lessons.”

Big sigh.

Even when you think that you and your colleagues have demonstrated to your school community what you actually do and are capable of doing, there will be the unexpected and totally surprising (not in a good way) comment which reminds me that we are partially stuck in people’s outdated perception of who we are and what we do. Is it because we all remain isolated in our silo-esque faculties in our schools, or that we are so busy trying to keep up with everything that we don’t have the time or headspace to even imagine what other educators are doing? And partially because, even as I sit at my computer researching and curating resources for teachers/students, a teacher will come in and ask me to photocopy something, and in his head, I am the person who assists him with menial chores – and cheerfully, because I love my job.

As a sort of creative therapy for my frustration, I made this very tongue-in-cheek slideshow. Hope you enjoy it.  Just a bit of fun; hope nobody is offended by it.


We are teacher librarians – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Drawn into remix #lesmauxdesmots

So the weeks and months go by and no sign of me here. Is it because I have nothing to say? Is it because I’m consumed by school? Obsessed by gorgeous art and photography? Delving into this and that online and offline? Yes and yes.

Some things still call out and I’m not going to pass up on the opportunity to play with Creatives whose work I follow daily and who feed my need for such things, nurture so many.

And so I spotted Simon’s poem on Twitter.  Simon is prolific in thought and deed. I would like to meet him one day.

 

Not well written but I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter. It’s written. Somehow I’ve stepped into Simon’s hashtag #lesmauxdesmots. I’m not sure what that is about because I haven’t been paying attention although I’ve noticed it.

And now Kevin comes in. Another Creative Prolific. Kevin and Simon never stop. Please don’t stop ever.

I hope that others will join in to remix. It’s one of the most satisfying kinds of online connection – next best thing to being with people face to face only it’s a play date so no small talk is necessary.

PS  Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Terry went on a creative rampage, leaving a trail of shimmering images and sounds of nature with a voiceover for technical tips. You really must see it all in his post. Really.

Simon asked how you attribute nature and Laura answered: by noticing and shared a Soundcloud recording of the sounds in her English country garden.

I guess we’ll just keep going for a while.

Leading from the margins. Teacher librarian work.

 

My role as teacher librarian is like plasticine. I rarely try to explain what it is because it’s different for every TL and different for me from day to day, and so it’s complicated and  nobody wants a long-winded answer.

Broadly speaking my role is to support and enhance teaching and learning in the school, or more correctly, to support students and teachers and enhance what they do, because it’s not a program, it’s a human to human interaction.

When I collaborate with teachers, it is different for each collaboration. That’s obviously the same for every TL. I might have an idea, a vision, but I need to start from where they are, from what they are doing and from what they want to do. Conversation is absolutely the most crucial first thing with a lot of listening from me. And then questions to clarify my understanding.

I realise that I should remain as open as possible to the the way this collaboration might go because that’s the only way a true collaboration can work, and the only way we leave room for the best possible work to happen.

Recently I asked permission from an English teacher to sit in on one class – it was a year 10 English class – on a regular basis. I wasn’t sure how to explain it to her, but I knew that I wanted to be there to observe her and her students, to see the teaching and learning processes, to understand her teaching style and see the content and skills being taught.

Often teacher librarians do one-off lessons, sometimes without knowing the names of most of the students, not knowing anything about them. Typically we perform  a specific job eg we help students with their research process in one of their assignments. I call this a performance. We often feel put under pressure to perform well because this might be the only time we see these students all term or even all year, or else we don’t want to disappoint teachers in case they don’t ask us back. The pitfall is if we try to cram skills and content in a way that is often doomed to fail. Maybe fail is a harsh word, but it’s our only chance to make a difference, to prove ourselves, to convince students and teachers that what we do is valuable.

I believe that real teaching and learning is possible only when there is a developing human relationship between students and teachers. How is this possible in a short one-lesson performance? I don’t think it is. And so teacher librarians are often trying to brainstorm ideas which will enable a more organic relationship with teachers and students in the classroom.

Back to the English teacher – I did feel a little odd just sitting there in the first couple of classes, doing nothing but taking notes.  I wasn’t sure at this stage what I would do with these notes if anything at all but I just kept taking them in the hope that something would be revealed to me. Although I knew the students were studying poetry, I knew that the exact shape of the learning in that room was as yet unwritten.

A class is a process, an independent organism with its own goals and dynamics. It is always something more than even the most imaginative lesson plan can predict.

Thomas P. Kasulis (Source)

Eventually I decided to quietly create a blog and just add them there. There were three posts for three lessons and I added a couple of images and a video. The students are reading poetry and going through the process of annotating the poems and constructing their understanding together, guided by the teacher.

I wasn’t sure what the teacher would think of the blog – which I started without asking permission, but only as an experiment – like throwing some lines onto a page, just testing possibilities. I emailed the link to her and her response was positive. She remarked on the value of the audiovisual aspect. Blogging does work even just for the documentation of what happens in class. It’s neat, sequential, easy to add images/videos, and is an excellent archive.

This is a good start, I think. Good to show rather than tell and wait for the confirmation. There’s so much more to blogging but better to wait and let it unfold. Best to take the cue from the teacher. Patience and communication will hopefully lead the way to a fruitful collaboration.

When I read ‘leading from the margins’, without knowing the context, I thought to myself ‘that’s what I’m doing – I think’. Hope I’m not being presumptuous. I’m trying to shift things in small ways and I’m doing this not from any position of importance or power but just from a quiet, unremarkable place.

Someone might ask: Is what you’re doing, strictly speaking, the role of a teacher librarian? I hear that voice in my head sometimes. Should I really spend time ‘sitting’ and waiting for something I know not in advance to start stirring that will inform my collaboration in this class?

Collaboration is a good thing, yes?  A lone teacher can do a great job but out of class teachers communicate with their colleagues. There is nothing odd about two people in the classroom although I can see how habitual ownership of the class by one teacher can result in rigidity. I bring to the collaboration a passion for connecting students with each other and beyond the classroom. A blog can make that happen. Firstly it allows a student to connect with himself, to write out his thoughts and construct his understanding. The blog follows the development of this process and archives it, allowing retrospective reading. A blog is a published writing platform and invites readers. Suddenly the student is not just writing for the teacher in order to receive corrections and marks, but has a reading audience. At the very least the readership of his classmates. And beyond that the possibilities of interaction beyond the classroom.

I’ve been blogging for over 8 years and connecting to people across the world – people who share my interests and love of learning together – so I understand what’s possible. Talking about it usually doesn’t win teachers over but showing what’s possible and going slowly will have a better chance. I hope.

I’m leading from the margins and that’s okay.

Of course Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s slideshare includes heaps more than I’ve touched on here, so take a look at it.

What am I hoping to achieve by encouraging my students to use social media?

What am I hoping to achieve with social media and my interest group, Writing Interest Group (WIG), formerly known as Competition Writing?

Why am I insisting so much on the students’ participation in the comments section of the Facebook Group or the blog, Unicorn Express?

The screen capture below gives a clue. I had shared on Facebook Jason’s blog post (sonnet).

I want the blog to be a publishing platform for student writing. I want students to write for a real audience – both their peers as well as anyone outside the school and even in other countries.

I want students to know their work is being read and appreciated, and that other students will take the time to tell them so, or to leave constructive comments.

My aim is connected learning, interaction and reflection after writing.

I love the fact that former MHS students are still part of the Facebook group and read current students’ work, and even more when they come in to say something about it. That connection beyond the classroom, beyond the year level, the school – that’s what I want for our students.

How do you think Jason Li feels when he reads what Hanford, a former MHS/WIG student, says in the comment section of the Facebook group:

I stay to get the opportunity to read things like that poem!

Virtually Connecting – expanding and enhancing the conference experience for those not attending

This year I’ve been involved in something called Virtually Connecting which was initiated by Maha Bali and Rebecca Hogue.

The purpose of Virtually Connecting is to enliven virtual participation in academic conferences, widening access to a fuller conference experience for those who cannot be physically present at conferences.

Using emerging technologies, we connect onsite conference presenters with virtual participants in small groups. This allows virtual conference attendees to meet and talk with conference presenters, something not usually possible. Each session is recorded and, whenever possible, live streamed, to allow additional virtual attendees to participate in the discussion by listening and asking questions via Twitter.

Whenever possible, there are two seats in each session reserved for people we don’t know, or people who have never participated in one of our open conference discussions. This is intended to encourage participation from new people who are not necessarily connected to us.

It is our hope that through this experiment, people will not only make new connections, but they will also make weak connections stronger.

So far I’ve participated in 2 Virtually Connected hangouts – the timezone is a restriction for me here in Australia. It really is an enriching way to experience conferences you can’t attend – and let’s face it, living in Australia, how many of us can attend international conferences? Even if I attended the conference physically, I wouldn’t necessarily be in conversation with keynote speakers or people I didn’t know so the Virtually Connected experience gives you the opportunity to be part of a conversation with these people as well as connecting to other people at the conference and those connecting through the hangout. You get a chance to ask questions and take part in the conversation, but even if you don’t have a lot to add you are still in the room during the real-time conversation.

I like the fact that the backchannel exists as an added layer during the live hangout. It gives you a chance to be active during the listening by bringing up questions or additional idea or information and interacting with the other members of the hangout.

It’s also a perfect way to ask a question without interrupting the speaker – and a good way to ask before you forget! The people speaking will have an eye on the backchannel and answer the question when they’re ready.  Of course, there’s another backchannel which is on Twitter and that’s open to those people following the hangout but not directly involved. To do all those things at once – listen to the hangout, participate by speaking, participate in the hangout backchannel and participate in the Twitter backchannel – that’s a serious brain-stretching exercise! But fun, for sure.

After the hangout I find the people I’ve just met on Twitter or Google+ or wherever they are, follow them and add their blogs to my Inoreader. It’s a brilliant way of doing PD because you continue to interact with these people and keep up with their writing and conversations.

Sometimes you haven’t been able to actively follow the conference sessions before the hangout – because you’re at school! – and so you don’t actually have a lot to say but it still feels like you’re in the room and the opportunity to speak up is there.

My participation in these hangouts has been fairly low-key. Firstly because it’s new to me and I’m a bit overwhelmed with the collective knowledge of the people in the room, but also because I’m learning on the spot from the conference speakers and don’t want to ask questions for the sake of asking them. The backchannel is great for this kind of situation although you can’t see it on the video. I’m usually much more active in the backchannel. I think with practice I could increase my participation in the face-to-face conversation especially if I’ve had time to keep up with the conference. Work gets in the way!!

I was invited to participate in a third webinar and was all set up at work (before school started) but technology failed me! Very disappointing and confusing because it had worked at school before that. Oh well.  Maintain a philosophical attitude to these things…

You can see a bit of that backchannel interaction here where Virtually Connecting facilitators promote their involvement in Educause 2015 conference.
You can see all Virtually Connected hangouts archived in their video channel.

The story ends #digiwrimo #storyjumper

I don’t know how they did it – I struggled to keep hold of the threads in chapter 10 already and it finished with 26  – but somehow a bunch of people from different parts of the world managed to write a story together. A digital story.

Here we all are. You can click on the circles on our faces (on the Thinglink) to read our chapters:

The final chapter is hilarious. I don’t think you could actually keep a straight face for too long while writing this story; it just becomes more and more absurd. The story is a long and winding one (yes, with Beatles references) so this summary might help.

I love that we come from such different places and come together for this bit of creative fun.

As if – poem inspired by Michelle Pacansky-Brock #digiwrimo

Thank you for your beautifully worded post, Michelle Pacansky-Brock.

I first shared these images in a blog post back in 2009. They are part of a historical narrative contained within an autograph book which belonged to my maternal grandmother.

(I attempt to write down the story)

As if 1917 were still now.

As if the colours have just been applied with the brush,

as if the painter has just left the room to make a cup of tea.

As if the sled has just arrived,

leaving straight lines in the snow

punctuated by horses’ hooves

and the travellers’ impatience to dismount has marked the snow with hurried footprints.

As if the anticipation of the travellers lives on perpetually,

as if the barely contained joy of the husband and father is about to happen right now

and the warm, strong embraces can be felt over and over:

the first embrace for the little daughter, then a kiss for the newborn son, and finally the longest one for the soul companion

whose letters have sustained a solitary confinement.

As if the tears shed remain moist on the cheek and the loving words white clouds that linger in the cold air frozen forever.

As if the story of war-torn families is the same everywhere

and every day husbands, fathers, wives, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, grandmothers, grandfathers and babies

are living and reliving the moment when dreams are realised and the family is reunited.

As if 1917 is now and in the future.

Background to the illustrations:

The father/husband in the story is my maternal grandmother’s father. She is the little girl in the picture and the baby is her brother (who died from tuberculosis at the age of 18). Her father was staying in Siberia for work.  They were Germans in Russia, and my grandmother was born in Russia.

The second illustration is part of a story written in the form of a poem by a friend of the family.  The poem and illustrations relate the story of this episode of their lives in 1915 (but the poem is dated 1917). Poetry in verse was commonly written by Russian people at the time (and even now).

Storyjumper Part 10: The maps #digiwrimo

This is part 10 of a storyjumper for Digital Writing Month.  You can read the other parts here:

Part 1          Bruno’s blog started us off with a personal narrative.
Part 2          Kevin’s blog began the story.
Part 3          Maha’s blog continued…
Part 4          Sarah’s blog…
Part 5          Ron’s blog…
Part 6          Tanya’s blog…
Part 7          Kay’s blog…
Part 8          Ron’s blog…

Part 9          Dana’s blog

You can follow the story here.

What was he waiting for? Why didn’t he knock? *She was more than ready to let him in. She felt her hand dip into her pocket and her fingers feel around for what she knew was there.

They were facing each other.

The first thing she saw was his puzzled expression. Then her eyes traced the fine lashes on his face and down his straight nose to his mouth which was partly open – she guessed from shock – the shock she tried to suppress as she struggled to make sense of their physical closeness in unknown surroundings. What the…!?  In her peripheral vision she guessed they were in a deserted street and it was dusk. Or was it dawn? Nobody in sight. A car parked a little way down the road.

And then she let her eyes follow his arm down to his hand which was clutching a map. And she? She was still holding the map she had been turning over at home, scrutinising. And between her fingers… what? Sand?

Image courtesy of the Lewis Lab at Northeastern University. Image created by Anthony D’Onofrio, William H. Fowle, Eric J. Stewart and Kim Lewis. (See Anthony D’Onofrio on Flickr)

“Where the hell are we?” he broke the silence and her mental musing.

Map found here.

“I..I…I think – I know it sounds crazy – but I think it’s the maps,” she managed to splutter, blushing a little as he came to life, and unnerved now by their physical closeness.

They both turned in the direction of the sudden sound of a car screeching towards them.

“Sarah?” he said, as she jumped out of the car. “What the hell is going on here?!”

“Get in!” Sarah grabbed Kevin’s arm and pushed him into the car.  “Time’s running out! Get in! Hurry up!”

She had no time to lose. No time to think, she swung open the back door of the car as it started moving and flung herself into the back seat, the car accelerating at an unnerving speed.  She knew, somehow, that she had to hold onto the map.

It was difficult to describe what happened next. The scenery flew past them too quickly; it wasn’t normal. Physically she felt squeezed, she felt as if all her organs were compressed, she could barely breathe. And all the time that dreadful shrieking – not just in the ears but everywhere. Stop it, stop it! Unbearable.  And then she realised it was she who was shrieking.

via GIPHY

“Shut up!” screamed Sarah, “what are you doing here? It’s too late; you have to come with us now” as the car came to a sudden stop and she banged her head against the seat in front of her. The seat of the boat she was now in. In the middle of a vast, icy lake. Under a white sky.

“What the hell are you playing at!” Sarah’s face too close to hers.

*The initial motif of Beethoven’s 5th symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door

Your turn, Maureen.

 

 

My unofficial geographic CV – I am Australian #digiwrimo

I love Maureen Crawford’s geographic CV which she has written for Kevin Hodgson and opened up for response and remixing to all.

Here is my offering, my geographic CV of sorts:

Somehow I manage to stand without falling

with all the other Australians

at the bottom of the world

or so the map says.

 

I shiver when you, at the top, are walking sleeveless through the park.

I shelter in air conditioned rooms, curtains drawn,

with my European trees burning before they get the chance to turn red

at the same time as you shovel snow and boast about snow days.

I want heat days.

 

In my early schooling I learned about convicts

farewelling England forever

to come to the place of my birth

which was not the birthplace of my parents.

 

My double life was week days a certain kind of world view

and weekends different in language and customs

but I questioned not

and kept the other life quiet.

I danced to Greensleeves in the asphalt playground;

on Saturdays I sang acapella in Russian and recited Pushkin.

 

Tic Tac Toe, here I go, where I land

I do not know.

What shall we do with a drunken sailor?

There’s a green oak-tree by the shores
Of the blue bay; on a gold chain,
The cat, learned in the fable stories,
Walks round the tree in ceaseless strain.

The textbook of my life is sewn together

from pages torn from books in libraries

at opposite ends of the world.

 

I ignore the footy on tv –

my country’s religion,

the races also,

but enjoy the public holiday.

I wonder about the words of my country’s anthem:

Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free;

We are not so young, surely,

We are old but some of us have only just arrived

and chosen to forget who lived here first.

 

I question also

For those who’ve come across the seas We’ve boundless plains to share…

 

Along with many others

I remark on the falsehood;

We sing what is not true

but should be.

 

I am Australian.

Here is the Hackpad with everyone’s versions of the #DiGiWriMo unofficial CV.

 

Button up, we’re out in the open

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