Tag Archives: australian

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.


How can we measure learning? Week 2 #rhizo15

Data or it didn’t happen.

— Shit Academics Say (@AcademicsSay) April 18, 2015

How can we measure learning? Can we measure learning? Define learning. What did I learn today? I learned about the Australian Indigenous artist, Vernon Ah Kee.

Ah Kee is also part of the Proppa Now group and is one of the most political aboriginal artists of his time.

The above is from his 2002 collection titled “If I was White”. I was interested in reading the transcript.

6×5 A4 grids transcribed L-R, downwards:

If I was White
I could walk down the street
and people would pay no particular
attention to me.

It may not seem like much
but if you’ve ever had
a shopkeeper tell you to
Buy something or move on, or
simply follow you around the shop,
it’s significant.

If I was White
people would speak to me.

Wouldn’t you feel a little lonely
if you were the only White person
in a new school
and nobody including the teacher
understood you or your culture?

If I was White
I would think like a White Person.

If I was White
I would believe myself to be equal
to anyone.

If I was White
I would be more likely
to live longer.

If I was White
I would be less likely
to spend time behind bars.

If I was White
just think of all the names
I wouldn’t have been called.

If namecalling does not seem
all that serious to you
then you haven’t heard the names
I’ve been called.

If I was White
a lot of the fights I’ve been in
would not have been my fault.

If I was White
I wouldn’t have been in so many fights.

If I was White
I would not be part of the Stolen Generation.

If I was White
I would have been counted in the Census since 1901.

If I was White
I could live, shop, and socialise
wherever I want.

If you’ve walked into Real Estate
Agencies where houses and units
To Let suddenly become Taken,
and just as suddenly become
Available when you leave, then
you know what I’m talking about.

If I was White
I would be accepted.

If I was White
I could group together
all the people who don’t
look like me
into their own separate

If I was White
I could accept a life of privilege,
wealth, and power
that the exploitation of Black
People has brought me
without even blinking.

If I was White
I could stand back,
walk on by, sit on the fence,
and do nothing.

If I was White
I would think I have every right
to be here.

If I was White
I would fit in.

If I was White
I would not have to live in a country that hates me.

If I was White
I would have a country.

If I was White
I could say This land
has been in my family
for three generations.

If I was White
I could say My family
have lived on this land
for two hundred years.

If I was White
I could say My father worked hard
to buy this land.

If I was White
I could buy bandaids
the same colour as my skin.

What if all bandaids were black?

If I was White
and in an accident, I would be
wrapped in white bandages.

If I was White
I wouldn’t be asked if I was
Fullblood, Half-caste, or part White.

If I was White
I would not hear other White People
say to me You don’t look like you
have alot of White in you, or
You don’t look White.

If I was White
my fair skin
would not be such an issue
with other White People.

If I was White
it would be okay
to claim to be White.

If I was White
I wouldn’t have to claim to be White
just to get a job.

If I was White
I would be taken at my word.

Try accepting everything written
here as being true
simply because I say it is.

If I was White
I could really identify with
Australian TV Soaps.

If I was White
I could really identify with
Australian TV Advertising.

If I was White
popular Australian newspapers
would print what I want to read.

If you don’t think so
then count how many Black People
appear in the weekend social

If I was White
I could go to church
and Jesus Christ would
look like me.

Imagine Christ images all over the
world being black.

If I was White
I would not have to be smart
to keep a good job.

If I was White
I would have more chance
of getting a job.

If I was White
I could wear a suit and tie
and not look suspicious.

If I was White
I could own a luxury vehicle
and not look suspicious.

If I was White
I could shop in luxury stores
and not look suspicious.

If I was White
I could walk
in a white neighbourhood
and not look suspicious.

If I was White
I could dye my hair blonde
and it would not look strange.

If I was White
I could have blue eyes
and it would not look strange.

If I was White
I could marry another White person
and it would not look strange.

If I was White
I would have a better chance of becoming PM.

If I was White
I could write history any way I please.

If I was White
ignorance could be my excuse.

If I was White
I would have nothing to fear
from Police.

If I was White
I would not have to explain
the things I say.

If I was White
the world would make
more sense to me.

If I was White
I could make myself believe
that Black People were evil.

If I was White
I could shelter my children from
the evil that exists in the world.

If I was White
I could lie to my children about
the evil that exists in the world.

But I am Black
and I am as misunderstood as the next Blackfella

but I am beginning to understand the White Men.

What did you learn from that text art by Vernon Ah Kee? Does it make you curious to  know more? Does your understanding shift into another context? Are you thinking about this in a broader sense? How did you feel when you were reading this? How did you feel when you were thinking about it?  How would you assess the learning during all of that?

Give yourself a mark out of ten. Make sure you address the outcomes which sit neatly in lines next to their dot points. Don’t forget to ignore everything that is not neatly summarised by these points. Don’t go including the metacognition.  Make sure you toss all those airy fairy ‘what if…’ thoughts. Don’t even think about including the way you felt when you were reading the text; that’s not important and we can’t be getting all touchy feely when we’re assessing serious learning outcomes.

So, back to Dave.


Learning is a non-counting noun.  It’s not something we should worry about counting, I don’t think measuring it makes any sense. Once that’s done, what can we measure? Dig into the possibilities of measurement. What can we use to send to administrators? Some way of talking about using all these numbers and  How can we map out the rhizome? a tool for people to map out their own rhizome.  I understand this conflicts with the freedom but work with that.

Really. This is hard. If I knew how to do that …

Taking a look at my own learning which has taken place in MOOCs lately – Connected Courses and now Rhizo15…

If we are talking about connected learning rather than the consumption of learning then counting is no longer useful. You can’t ‘count’ connected learning but connected learning does count. Turn it on its head. It counts. Show it, write about it, share it, discuss it – make it transparent. There it is; you can see it for yourself.

Learning is complex. Yes, we could map it. But… there’s so much to take into account. It’s giving me a headache. Big data.  That term gets bandied about a bit lately. Looking it up on Wikipedia gives me a bigger headache. (Not sure where I saw this image; someone shared it on Twitter?)

And don’t forget –

As I’ve said in a previous blog post, Einstein, Newton, Edison, Tolstoy, Pasteur, Lincoln – these are only some of the notable gifted people throughout history who were assessed as failures in school.

How could that happen? Is it happening now? How reliable are our methods of assessment? One thing I know – we should definitely assess assessment.

Dave Cormier, I can’t answer your question. Fail me.


Step into the Known World of rare and collectible books in Ballarat. An invitation.

I visited The Known World Bookshop recently when staying with my dear friends, Tanya and Allan Adair. The experience was so magical that I immediately wanted to invite everyone I know to visit.  Because he is a generous soul and because he lives and breathes the stuff of books, Allan ‘minds’ the shop every second Saturday. Who better to capture  the bookshop’s essence with words than a man whose storytelling muse resides even in his everyday speech.

(I’m afraid my phone photos hardly do justice to this magnificent World. I would urge you to drive to Ballarat and visit as soon as possible.)

The Known World Book Shop (Michelle Coxall, proprietor) – post by Allan Adair

Born in Buninyong in 2001, this delightful shop now lives at the Melbourne end of Sturt Street, Ballarat’s main thoroughfare. Fittingly, its 1880’s building stands not far from where the Yarrowee Creek was once plundered for its gold, and mediates Camp St and Bakery Hill – sites from which the opposing forces of police and miner were to march and meet in blood at Eureka.

Such history still resonates in the shop’s amazingly eclectic collection of books and artefacts; to enter the shop (treading upon original wood flooring which is maintained using the original polish recipe!) is to walk into the past, a past which venerates books and all things in print.

Because here is Print’s Plenty: books on history and militaria, on the arts and artisan crafts, on maths, music and maps, books rare and books popular, books classical and contemporary, books to entertain, inform, fascinate. Discuss The Sewerage Question with author Krepp (almost!), learn The Art of Stalking from the Girl Guides’ Association, shudder at A Children’s Book of True Crime, or relish a first edition of Catcher in the Rye: they’re all there, and much, much more.

There’s coffee and time to browse; there’s a marvelous Children’s section (whole room actually) where Harry Potters lie beside The Girls Own Annual and the uncensored Noddys of Enid Blyton; and there is, most memorable of all perhaps, the remarkable and restorative stillness which fills its space. Old cameras stare upon the hush of leadlight lamps in shadowy corners. Quirky book-ends calm a leaning threat of chaos. And books, walls and walls of them, silently await your touch in this one still point of a turning world.

Judith Way’s Virtual Aussie Libraries Tour

This has been cross-posted from the Melbourne High School Library blog.

I am privileged to have as a friend Judith Way. Judith makes things happen – I’ve said this before. As soon as I heard she hit on the idea of a virtual library tour I knew it was going to be good. And it is. Take a look here.

Thanks to everyone for sharing photo of your gorgeous libraries – so many ideas for those of us who are thinking about how we can improve our library spaces. And thanks to Judith for going to the effort of putting this project together.  It’s one step towards bridging the distances between all our libraries and sharing library design ideas.

Historypin looks fantastic – have a look at all the different tours.

Poetry and sport? What a challenge

Today during our library meeting, I received a less than positive reaction to a suggestion that poetry be the subject of a display or activity in a boys’ secondary school. Eyebrows were raised sceptically and scornfully, and ‘you must be kidding’ was all over everyone’s faces. Boys would never be coerced into read poetry; they preferred sport, war or anything that made you want to beat your chest and shout ‘Oi’. OK, I may be using some of my own poetic license in describing people’s reaction, but that’s just to set the scene.

By some poetic miracle, or perhaps the gods of Poesie were smiling down upon me, but later today I read about the Red Room Company’s mission to create, promote and publish Australian poetry in unusual ways.

‘Eight pigeons will race along the New South Wales south coast on Sunday – in a time trial the organisers liken to the Tour de France – with a piece of original, Australian poetry strapped to the ankle of each bird’. The day’s events began with live poetry readings at Stanwell Park, after which the pigeons flew to the breeders’ HQ in Mt Ousley, transmitting pigeon-cam video back to the launch site.

And just when you thought gambling and poetry didn’t go together, they do! You could put a (free) wager on whichever pigeon and poem you thought would win, and the winners would get a single poem as their prize, and also go into the draw for the grand prize: a “Pigeon Poetry Sculpture and poetry books from all states and territories”.

The website proclaims the success of the strange union of sport and poetry, as it occurred on 3 August this year. You can view a picture of each pidgeon, and read each pidgeon’s poem. Don’t forget to read about the pidgeon and the poet, especially since the write-up is so creatively metaphorical, that you’re not sure if the poet is a bird or if the bird is a poet. For example, reading about the pidgeon ‘Real Radio’, you not only get its weight and wingspan, but you also find out about its reading habits, and the languages it speaks (Hebrew and Wave, in this case).

When everything is presented in such a wondrously confusing way, young people won’t even realise what they’re doing, and before they know it, they’ll have read some great poetry without meaning to. I think this approach is fantastic: distract with strange coupling of poetry and sport (you could come up with your own version), blur the lines between the two, then confuse everyone, throw the poetry in while they’re blinking in confusion, and there you have it! This has given me food for thought…