First day back at school term 2 is a curriculum day for us at Melbourne High School. The theme is ‘knowing highly able students and ourselves’. Apart from set keynotes we have the choice of running sessions and also selecting to attend others’ sessions. Mihaela Brysha (Head of the Visual and Performing Arts faculty) and I will be running a workshop about Pinterest. I’m sharing the presentation slides here.
So I’ve been using Diigo for quite a few years now – especially to save and annotate what I’ve found online and want to keep, and to be able to find it again later and share it easily.
What I haven’t done very much is use the annotation tool to share with others in a group. I’ve shared things with groups but – you know how it goes, you’re in and out of groups over the years, so you’re not really a part of the group in a meaningful or ongoing sense. I admit that I try to engage in too many things on too many platforms at the same time, and recently I’m feeling the loss of a network of people I connect with in a deep way.
Since joining Connected Courses, the excitement of finding so many interesting people thinking and writing openly in blogs and on Twitter has blown my mind a little, and I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know people in this way, saving their blogs to Feedly, following them on Twitter (#ccourses) while growing a larger network, and reading their blog posts about the why of teaching.
Today, while reading Maha Bali‘s response post, Why read this, why read that, to Mimi Ito’s post, Connected learning = abundant opportunity + terror + hard attentional choices + productive tension (brilliant title, don’t you think?), I was happily disappearing down the rabbit holes of her hyperlinks, when I stayed a bit longer in her link to the Diigo group for #ccourses, and I had a forehead slap moment. I was reading and getting excited by what I was reading, highlighting what spoke to me, and annotating my thoughts in Diigo – to myself! D’oh! How absurd was this scenario? I was part of Connected Courses, reading the same things as the very large cohort – why wasn’t I annotating to the group?
Okay, so that’s been said and I’ve added some annotations to the group for this post. And now I wait until I feel a tug on the line I’ve thrown out, bearing in mind that most participants live in a different time zone, and the interaction may not be in real time. But potentially, Diigo is another way to feel connected in sharing ideas about a post or article – apart from Twitter, of course.
So I’m thinking that it would be very cool if we could use Diigo for something meaningful at school. Although I’ve tried a couple of times to get teachers interested in Diigo, and nothing came of it, I might have another go following my renewed enthusiasm. And I’d also like to use Diigo for a class of students to analyse a text in small groups. That’s the kind of peer learning we need more of.
In the meantime, I thought I’d use my highlights and annotations as a way to populate this post, to share parts of Mimi Ito’s post and my thoughts as I’m reading. So what I’ve done is opened the Diigo annotations tab in my annotated version of the post, and copied the transcript of what I’ve highlighted and commented on. A pretty easy way to throw content into your blog post if you ask me. I think it should make sense – if you realise that I highlighted phrases and not whole sentences, and in some cases just words.
Here it is – my highlights of Maha Bali’s post about Mimi Ito’s post. This kind of reading and annotation practice is very rich even though it might seem complicated. To give a bit of background, Maha Bali is remarking on Mimi Ito’s statement that she finds reading books easier than wading through tweets and blogs. My annotated comments are in green. There are too many highlights to include all of them, so I’ll be selective. I’m going to add some thoughts as I go and these will be in red. You would probably have to read both posts for the following to make sense.
- that she found reading books (quickly, i assume?) easier than wading through tweets and blogs; whereas I clearly did the tweets/blogs things quite comfortably but found reading books “too much”
- I feel the same as Maha, easier to read and respond to blog posts than read a book on my own – with nobody to talk to and no way of sharing my thoughts. Claustrophobic.comment byTania Sheko
- Anyway, it made me reflect on why I, someone who LOVES reading by all accounts, have a strong preference for reading blogs/tweets over books/academic articles in MOOCs. There are many reasons,
- This is something I’ve been thinking about for ages but feeling like I’ve failed in that I’ve lost the enthusiasm for reading books, or maybe don’t have the focus stamina any more. Thanks for writing this out, Maha, I might do my own blog reflection.comment byTania Sheko
- Mimi’s point that a connected learning experience “welcomes people with different dispositions and orientations to learning”,
I love this aspect of online learning – it often reveals surprising treasures from students who are too shy to have a voice in class.
- In terms of learning: Is the MOOC about experiencing connecting? Or about reading about it?
- the MOOC is about reflecting on connecting,
- My first PhD supervisor was big on encouraging me to read diverse articles not single-authored books
It’s the diversity of the ‘chaotic’ stream of shared information and ideas in Connected Courses that excites me.
- My second supervisor (who replaced the first) was big on me reading original works by e.g. Marx, Foucault, etc.
- I also find reading translated works really difficult and find it a better investment of my time to first read more contemporary (or at least, more education-focused) interpretations of the “greats” works, before reading the original. It helps me read it better
Thanks so much for saying this! I always feel guilty when I don’t manage to read a challenging book list. What you do is a much more productive way of managing things.
- I do not value the book-authors more than I value the blog-authors
- can interact with them more regularly
- more accessible, easier to read quickly
We should revise our separation of authoritative information especially as many authors are also bloggers.
- 2. Attention issues
- Philosophical approach to reading
- This is particularly funny because I keep not finding time to read the”attention literacies” part in Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart, as I get ‘distracted’ into reading different parts of it (i’ve probably read half the book already, just not in order).
- I can relate to this behaviour.comment byTania Sheko
- And that’s why I voice these things in MOOCs, because I am pretty sure that courses about connection want ppl to feel they can participate.
- So basically, I hope to engage with these readings “my way” (so not deeply with each entire book, unless it draws me in, but with parts of it)
- hope that blog posts by other people & the hangout will fill me in second-hand (you see what I am doing here, don’t you?)
- Very clever. I think this method wards away the guilts and also sustains engagement in the course. The alternative would be to give up and feel defeated if you couldn’t do everything.comment byTania Sheko
- P.S. some ppl may say that w blog posts u have no guarantee of quality vs a book recommended by the facilitators. However, there are many ways to gauge a blog’s quality, incl knowing the person, seeing it retweeted often or with many comments – and it takes v little time to skim it to decide to read deeply;
I think that evaluating blog posts is an important skill, and definitely, with all the information online, some of it from experts who also publish in peer-reviewed journals, or books, that it is important to encourage students to discover what experts and professional people post online, and evaluate these as they would anything else.
- lovely quotes from Mimi’s post:
- Connected Courses is a veritable cornucopia of ways of participating with no central platform.
- colliding through a loosely orchestrated cross-network remix, immersive theater where participants are all experiencing a different narrative.
- hybrid network, more like a constellation that looks different based on where one stands and who one is.
- a site of productive tension that is characteristic of connected learning.
I agree with Maha; these are exquisite quotes.
- Connected learning is predicated on bringing together three spheres of learning that are most commonly disconnected in our lives:
- peer sociability
- personal interests/affinity
- opportunities for recognition.
That is, for us in Connected Courses:
- our personal interests and expertise
- reciprocity and fun in the social stream
- institutional status/reputation
Thanks Maha and Mimi for your insightful reflections. I’ve had fun thinking about things in this connected way, and hope to make headway into a more connected way of reflecting using Diigo groups.
I’m not the only one remarking on the lapses between blog posts. The blog is no longer the main platform for sharing and communicating – there is a long, long list of online places which need to be fed and looked after – for me that includes other blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Diigo, Slideshare, Vimeo, Libguides, Facebook and all its groups, and more. So I thought I’d drop in and do a quick update on what may be worth checking out in case it’s helpful or even interesting.
My school library blog has been keeping up with reading ambassadors for the National Year of Reading (#nyor12). These short and informal interviews are a pleasure to read, and reveal thoughtful responses to reading preferences. We’ve also recently celebrated 2012 Book Week with a hugely enjoyable ‘party’ in the library. I’ve included photos I think you’ll enjoy of our costume and cake competitions so that’s definitely worth checking out. This is the first Book Week celebration I’ve attended at Melbourne High School since I started a year ago, and it was fantastic. I was so impressed by the willingness of staff and students to dress up and play the part. The creativity displayed in our book-themed cake competition added a gastronomical dimension – who can resist cake? Yes, we did go on a bit about the cakes looking too good to eat but it didn’t last long.
I’ve been having such a good time resourcing the art curriculum in the last few months. My art blog churns out a diverse selection of inspiration to art students and teachers (I hope). This includes images, photography, design and animation.
Our students explored links to websites with antiquated encyclopedia images to create their ‘transformations’ which I combined in a slide show. The reduced image size doesn’t do justice to the details in the students’ work, so have a look at larger ones in Mihaela’s new art blog.
Yes! Our head of art now has a blog, and so do her students. This term our year 9s and 10s were lucky enough to get iPads, so we decided to get them to create Posterous blogs which we linked to Mihaela’s ‘mother blog’ and encouraged them to start snapping away with their iPad cameras so that they could develop a store of visual inspiration for their work. The beauty of a mobile device is the opportunity to capture photos as you go about your everyday activities. I’ve found the best images are the unexpected ones. I was inspired to get the art students blogging when I saw my dear friend, Marie Salinger’s, student blogs. Marie’s students have realised the rich potential of blogs in terms of journalling, reflecting, evaluating and just plain sharing. A blog is visual, it’s sequential, easy to access online and share with others; it invites responses and conversation. In her Visual Arts blog, Marie has reflected about the way in which iPads have enriched learning for her girls. The way Marie’s students used their blog to experiment with and evaluate iPad apps for drawing, then share with others, inspired me to talk to Mihaela about doing the same. Consequently I went into obsessive mode and lived and breathed art and apps for a couple of weeks, adding an Art Apps page in our LibGuides, my art blog, Pinterest, Flickr and Diigo.
Robot I am Apps used: Blender Pixeltwist (iphoneart.com)
Recently a dedicated team of students from the co-curricular group, Writing Competition, successfully wrote a book in a day. They had to collaboratively write at least 8,000 words and illustrate their story. The whole thing had to be done within 12 hours. I was very proud of the way they managed to work together and fuse their ideas and talents to produce a fantasy story for the Children’s Hospital. I hope to be able to share their book once I check the copyright.
Well, that’s it for now. Hope some of this has been useful to you.
You are amazing, Twitter network. Today during my presentation to staff – How do social networks empower teachers – I tweeted out the traditional ‘Please say hi and where you’re from’ to demonstrate the scope and generosity of my network, and lo and behold! many, many people took the time to respond. That really is the power of the network – people from different parts of the world, some who don’t know me at all, extending a welcoming hand for those who are new to Twitter.
Thank you to my friends, people I see face to face, and those with whom I maintain a close and collaborative contact, for your constant support. Thanks also to those whom I have now discovered, whose blogs I’ve now saved to my Google Reader, and whose shared resources I will share with my staff.
Here is the stream of hellos we received today –
Not bad, huh?
I’ve created this slideshow to accompany a presentation I’m giving to staff on curriculum day about how social networks empower teachers. It’s a little text-heavy but I’m using the slides to structure my talk and hoping that the slideshow will be a resource for interested staff to refer to after the talk. I’ve probably spent much too long on the preamble, the ‘what’s it all about’ but the mindshift preceding any technical instruction is very important. It’s a good idea to view the full version of the slideshow because the embedded version has cut off the far right side.
[googleapps domain=”docs” dir=”present/embed” query=”id=dcb397dn_375864rs8h7&size=m” width=”555″ height=”451″ /]
I have a lot to learn about public speaking and so I am a little nervous about the presentation itself. It’s going to be a challenge providing enough information about what to do with Twitter, Diigo, Vodpod and Scoop.it and how to do it, as well as leaving enough time for some hands on play. Hopefully it will all come together and I’m prepared to skip great chunks of the presentation after I get a feeling for the mood of the group attending. I’m still new to the school and I’m thinking that I should not focus entirely on cramming content but take the opportunity to get to know the teachers attending my session.
I’ll let you know how it goes!
The words from Big yellow taxi come to mind
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
That’s how it’s suddenly hit me with the news about Yahoo terminating the popular social bookmarking site, Delicious. I haven’t felt this disappointed since Ning stopped free service. Delicious was one of the first Web 2.0 tools I used and raved about to other people. Not only an extremely efficient way to save links and render them searchable via tagging, but also a very transparent way to follow what other people are reading and saving.
I’m slow off the mark with this post; so many people have already tweeted and blogged their despair but it’s taking a while to settle in. At first I thought, oh well, I still have Diigo. And actually, I’ve been sending my links to Delicious via Diigo for some time since it’s so easy to use Diigo’s bookmarklet for recording essential information, and since, like others, I’ve used the automatic Diigo to Delicious function.
But then today I decided to have a look at my Delicious and realised how easy it is to see what people in your network are reading and saving. The beauty of Delicious is in the Network. Not only can I see what someone in my network is reading and saving, I can see an alphabetical listing of their tags, their tag bundles and their lists. This means I have an insight into the way their thinking, what’s important to them, the direction they’re taking.
And now I’m lamenting not using Delicious as well as I should have. Why didn’t I use tag bundles or make lists? Typical that I’d want to start now that Delicious is on its last legs.
Seriously, many people have written about the demise of Delicious with informative alternatives. I like Anne Mirtschin’s post. Anne’s not a whinger like me; she’s a postive, forward thinking person who remains open to future possibilities.
Just the other day, when Anne read on Twitter that @ggrosseck and I were wondering if we could trust cloud applications, if we should stop promoting Web 2.0 tools to colleagues, Anne responded with her characteristically unwavering conviction:
“Never any guarantee on the future of any Web 2.0 but will always be alternative”.
Wise words, Anne, very true.
Good luck, everyone, in exporting your Delicious bookmarks and finding alternatives.
Photo courtesy of Eliselovesprada on Flickr
Marie Salinger just shared with me an excellent blog post written by Andrew Douch, No learning for unauthorised persons. Andrew expresses his disappointment in the fact that many teachers are reluctant to share what they create for their students’ learning. I recommend that you read the entire post.
In my comment following Andrew’s post, I mention that my role as teacher librarian automatically puts me in the position of finding and sharing resources, and that I don’t see why I shouldn’t share outside my school, or even outside my country. Since forming a personal learning network on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Diigo and similar networking platforms, I’ve realised that what I share with others is a drop in the ocean compared with what I receive. If only all teachers would experience this.
My blogs and wikis are also a way of sharing ideas, resources and discussions which would otherwise only be shared with a couple of colleagues or not at all. It seems that blog authors find all manner of things useful and edifying, and write about these. I’ll often share resources this way, or even re-post from someone else’s blog if I think it’s worth passing on and giving my two cents worth.
More problematic is the sharing of material which I’ve read in a hard-copy publication. Currently, I’m reading the current edition of Fiction Focus: New titles for teenagers published by Curriculum Materials Information Services, WestOne Services, Department of Education and Training, Western Australia. It’s a teacher librarian’s treasured resource, providing excellent critical reviews of adolescent fiction, as well as reviews of resources of professional interest to teachers. I’m also reading the Centre for Youth Literature Newsletter published by the State Library of Victoria.
It’s frustrating for me to read these excellent resources and not share them online. What may normally occur is that we read them and take out ideas and resources for our own practice, or at best, email a few teachers if we think there is something of interest for them.
So what’s problematic? Well, it’s common practice to re-post online content written by someone else because you can give a synopsis and hyperlink to the actual resource; you don’t have to do more than give a quick summary of the original post since the reader can go directly to the source for more detailed information.
Not so in this instance. I would really like to feature some of the articles in these publications, but how much should I say? I don’t want to overload my readers, and I can’t presume they will obtain the hardcopy publications. I’m not sure if the publishers will consider my efforts a breach of copyright.
For example, there’s an excellent special feature in Fiction Focus, Wow websites – book inspired web wonders, which links to Young Adult fiction websites which
use high quality art and web design to create spaces and interfaces that reflect the character of the fiction that they represent,
spaces for young readers to do what they have always done: play, discuss and imagine…
I applaud the promotion of such websites because I’ve realised that reading becomes an experience when adolescent readers become involved in the art, interactive activities and games, author blog and videos. Providing such websites increases the chances of hooking young people into reading fiction.
Here are the links to author websites provided by this article:
Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series
Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series
Charlie Higson’s Young Bond series
Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series
For Picture Book authors, there are links to the following websites:
Chris Priestley’s Tales of Terror Gothic feel site
The selected works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
The CMIS Fiction Focus blog include more extensive links to more blogs and websites of young adult authors and illustrators.
Fiction Focus also has an excellent article on Steampunk,
a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction. At the core of steampunk is the notion of altered history (often Victorian and London-Victorian at that) combined with technology that is historically impossible, and therefore all the more intriguing.
There are great links included, so you can see my dilemma – I’d like to share all these wonderful resources with people, but I really think they should subscribe to the magazine, or even, the magazine should go online. CMIS has also given us a taste of Steampunk in their blog which is worth adding to your RSS feed reader, but I can’t resist including all the Steampunk blog links given here as well.
Antipodean Steampunk Adventures with an Australian slant
Do read the Fiction Focus blog post about Steampunk.
And guess what? From May 2010, the Centre for Youth Literature Newsletter will be going online. Yes!