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I have been a reluctant digital citizen. I joined Facebook really because I felt the pressure as a teacher librarian that I know what it is about. My involvement in it has been minimal. I am time poor and really prefer face to face interaction with my friends. I have tried to set up the various blogs and social networking sites so that my privacy is paramount. My posts etc. reflect an attitude generally that I am at work and write accordingly. I would not use an online environment for anything that was personal. I have found it rewarding when I have been travelling or friends of mine have also been away. I am lucky enough to work in a vibrant library where we can discuss our work practice on a daily basis but I can see that if I was in a smaller, less well-resourced library I would be more inclined to be linked to others via blogs etc. I am very conscious of how I spend my time and the need to make sure I allocate time according to the goals I am trying to achieve.

My son who is 17 uses Facebook on a regular basis and has only one identity. He regularly posts questions to classmates regarding homework or set tasks and he also makes use of the school’s intranet resources which sometimes involves using discussion boards. He has set privacy settings but has over 500 friends and was uncertain what his privacy settings in terms of these many ‘friends’.

At our school any site which involves social networking is not permitted as a learning tool. When I read about teaching about Facebook it seemed so sensible to me. Our school seems to think that having the policy of ‘No we will not use it’ will mean that the students are protected and the school is less likely to have trouble with social media. However I know that all students do use Facebook or something similar so it really is a part of the students’ lives which we don’t really address properly. I would like to see ‘teaching Facebook’ become a part of the school’s priorities.

Like most teachers I use a lap top or ipad every day in my work. Keeping connected with the many staff we have at school as well as the contacts outside that community is a regular feature of each day’s activities. It can work wonderfully well with some and be downright ineffective with other people.  When I really need to ensure good communication I really still have no other option but to see people face to face. Not long ago our email and internet went down for over half a day and people got us out of their offices and headed off to see the people they really needed to see. So many staff commented how nice it was to have a more meaningful connection with people on that day. We may be more connected with people in one sense but in other ways we are missing out.

In terms of my learning, the ease with which I can become knowledgeable about a topic or get the information I need to complete a task with the use of the web and the online resources we have at our fingertips makes the task more enjoyable and satisfying. I have a real sense of being able to confidently move forward. I have only really collaborated a little online so I don’t really feel qualified to comment on that. I opted out of the OZTLNET many years ago because it was too time consuming sifting through all the longwinded posts. I would be very selective in who I followed on twitter or what blog I might join etc. for fear of again wasting too much time.

One of my colleagues told me some time ago that she found that her students were more productive when they were discussing issues online than as a whole class in a discussion. They were also more focussed when they were working independently on their lap tops than relying on their teacher at the front of the class. I have seen that when students are able to work through tasks at their own speed at their own level, possibly directed through an online network that teachers are able to differentiate the work more effectively as well as assist students where they are at.  I still subscribe to the view that we need to teach students in a variety of ways so that we can accommodate different learners as well as teach students to learn in different ways. Technology gives us the opportunity to provide a lot of options for students and to perhaps capture their sometimes hard to harness, imaginations. I certainly think it is important for educators to, step by small step, to attempt to keep pace with the changes in technology and how those changes may be used in enhancing learning. School need to give teachers the time to do courses such as these and then more time to discuss ideas in teaching groups.

My chosen characteristics of a learner would include curious, open and honest, organised, problem solvers and communicator.

Curiosity: If a learner has a natural curiosity to find out about things; to explore and play, then they bring a good attitude or mindset to their learning.

Open and Honest: with this I am really thinking about the students who asks questions when they don’t understand or who feel comfortable to make connections. I have already noticed that students who might otherwise keep pretty quiet in class will use email to broach relevant issues with me, without fear of ridicule from peers. Technology could be a vehicle for creating an environment where students feel they can pose questions.

Organised: Technology has helped us organise what we have created as well as the information we have collected but it is so easy to have so much stuff that it is not humanly possible to ever get back to it as well.

Problem solvers: this refers to students who don’t give up, who are able to look in various places and try different methods in order to achieve an outcome. I think technology can help students to think that they are capable of troubleshooting problems, that they are not reliant on their teacher, that there are many ways to learn.

Communicator: learners who can communicate share their knowledge, issues and enthusiasm. This dynamism is a wonderful catalyst to engagement and learning. Technology demands that learners be able to write but also opens up opportunities for other types of communication.

Technology and changing learning in the future is a big unknown to me really. I think only that technology will continue to open up different learning opportunities for us but I  am expecting that we will still enjoy learning in a variety of ways.

margmoran

I seem to spend quite a bit of time helping students find the bibliographic details of websites they have used via a google search and the common problems is finding who may have written the article they have sourced, when the article was written or when the site was last updated as well as who the sponsor of the site may be; all good lessons in evaluating websites but as far as the students are concerned the information has been found, sufficient to satisfy their classroom teacher and getting the bibliography right a minor concern. The lesson learnt is of course buiklding into the assesssment the sourcing of reputable, trusted sites. I have a student doing an extended research assignment into drugs in sport so I chose that to research in my hunt for a trusted site. the ACARA site came up first and as a government site qualifies immediately…

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I seem to spend quite a bit of time helping students find the bibliographic details of websites they have used via a google search and the common problems is finding who may have written the article they have sourced, when the article was written or when the site was last updated as well as who the sponsor of the site may be; all good lessons in evaluating websites but as far as the students are concerned the information has been found, sufficient to satisfy their classroom teacher and getting the bibliography right a minor concern. The lesson learnt is of course buiklding into the assesssment the sourcing of reputable, trusted sites. I have a student doing an extended research assignment into drugs in sport so I chose that to research in my hunt for a trusted site. the ACARA site came up first and as a government site qualifies immediately as trusted and reliable. a look further down the search results drew my attention to ‘The Conversation’, a great site which publishes the articles of academics. It is very easy to find the author of each article(their credentials), when it was written, and look at the bibliography attached. the site is well organised and easy to navigate around. To become a contributor to this site you have to belong to an academic or research institution. It makes interesting reading. there is also the opportunity for readers to communicate with the writers. A colleague has also drawn my attention to Inside Story, a similarly useful site from Swinburne University.

I did a simple keyword search of drugs in sport using Instagrok, Duckduckgo and Bing and compared it to results thrown up by Google. the graphic mapping of results with Instagrok is very appealing and I could see working very well with students doing their own individual research assignments where they are directing their own investigation of something. it would give them good ideas of where their research or exploration of the topic might go. I have shown it to students and they laughed at the term grokking but were similarly intrigued to see the graphic organisation of resources and ideas. It was enlightening to see the varied search results using the other search engines and we will encourage students to not rely on Google.

I was quite interested to have a look at this site as I have Middle School students interested in taking on reading challenges and we have been wondering about an online tool to record reading, all blog posts etc. To log in you meed to provide an email address and password and the site is only open to 13 Year olds plus which rules out most of our year 7 cohort. We have come across this problem before with the Ning the school established. The terms of Service was very detailed with long involved paragraphs. the site appears to be well set up allowing the member to leave the minimum amount of personal information yet allowing you to add wuite a detailed profile if that suits your needs. the Privacy section was much easier to read as the paragraphs were shorter and the information more straightforward.  the sigte encouraged me to link with my Facebook account but asked for permission to also access my friends and I decided that wasn’t necessarily desirable so rejected that.

The site is easy to navigate around and the Rate a Book section is quick and easy . adjustments are made every time you rate a book so that other titles you have read inevitble come up as a result of your interests. At the end of your rating you then get a bookshelf full of books and also a lot of recommendations. New Releases are included in the explore section and there are links to online bookshops with free shipping in Australia  despite the site being largely American. I did find a lot of Australian titles popped up as i rated about 24 books in a matter of about 10 minutes. Students would like the ease with which they can pass judgement on books as well as get ideas of what to read. reads are also able to communicate with each other through discussion groups which can be deep or superficial and seemingly very temporary.

Lists of ‘want to read books’ can be generated and knowledge of books can be tested on particular reading interests. Members can make their own quizzes. this too would appeal to teenage members. I am interested to know what teenagers think of the site so will ask one to check it out. I could have created a quiz but with time constraints I will leave it to later or get students to do one.

I have just signed up to twitter today and I can see that if I am very discerning about who I  follow and I am careful not to spend too much time on twitter it would help me keep up to date with some of the interests I have at work. Following writers, what they are thinking as well as what they are doing and where they will be would be beneficial. I have been on Facebook for some time but only used it in a personal way. I have enjoyed the connection with people I don’t see from week to week but I haven’t been very good at providing my ‘friends’ with much information, photos etc that I quite like to read and see myself.  The potential for connecting people with similar interests is fantastic but as a full time worker I am very conscious of spending too much online because i value the face to face connections and reading books. In a time poor time of my life I am very conscious of how I spend my time each day.

Prior to undertaking this course I have used Word documents mostly and organised them in relevant folders.   I have shared information, including websites by emailing people with the links copied in.  I am wondering about using diigo particularly when working on dedicated projects with other staff and considering how students might make use of this as they focus on particular areas of research or problem solving. I am also concerned about overload of information on time poor students and teachers and the need to choose information carefully.

students at our school all use lap tops and they appear to have adopted pretty good organisation of their work in folders etc. I am not sure about how they go keeping track of websites they have found useful for their research. I imagine that we could look at improving workflow with the use of diigo.