Moving to COETAIL

Since I moved to Thailand more than 10 years ago, I’ve become a bit of a global      nomad.  I met my German husband in Bangkok and together we’ve moved six times-all but one being intercontinental moves.  So, we know a thing or two about packing suitcases and finding new houses.

I’m happy to say that the move that I’m describing here is an easy one-no suitcases to pack, no new homes to find, no plane tickets to book, no movers to call!  It’s a cyber move for this blog.  At the start of February 2013 I started the COETAIL program and now have a new blog for the purposes of my study.  The course will take me 18 months to finish and then I’ll merge the two blogs, probably back to this original one.  So, click on over to my COETAIL blog and follow my adventures in learning in the digital age there!



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I LOVE this TEDxKyoto talk from Garr Reynolds.  I connected with it in so many ways, but especially when he talks about 8mm film.  My parents have stacks of 8mm film, mostly of my brother.  You see, he’s five years older, so by the time I came around, the novelty of the camera and catching every move I made on film was over.  That’s OK with me, though.  I still love to watch the old films and get a glimpse into the past.

At school Year 6 is in the midst of the PYP Exhibition.  This TEDxKyoto talk served as a discussion forum for how we will visually express ourselves and our understandings on the “night” of the Exhibition.  We want the presentation of learning to be authentic and “meaty”.  I’ve been to many PYP Exhibitions where the learning looks “pretty” and “neat”, but quickly you can see through it and see that the level of understanding isn’t that deep.

Garr reminded us of a few key points that resonated with Year 6:

1.  we are storytellers: our story is our learning!

2.  ideas are KING (not the content…)

3.  motion pictures are emotion generators

After watching the clip, we discussed a number of ways that we can visually present our learning.  Along with photographs and written journals, the students chose a number of digital ways to present their learning.  We had a digital expression mini-conference where the students acted as presenters and experts to show how to present using iMovie, iPhoto, Tumblr, Instagram, infographics and prezi.  The students were engaged and excited to share their knowledge and expertise.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of their presentations and application of Garr’s talk at next week’s Exhibition opening!

After watching the Garr Reynolds talk, what do you think?  What points did you connect with?

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What Does Student Blogging Exactly Do?

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Blogging with Year 6

As I wrote in my first blog post, “Where’s the paper?”, we’ve spent much of this year playing with different devices and platforms for learning.  Earlier in the year I started blogging ( with the Year 5 classes and planned to roll it out to Year 6.  But a very busy schedule throughout terms 2 and 3 (including Year 6 camp and a massive school performance) forced blogging to the back burner.

As term 4 and the Year 6 PYP Exhibition started, we were determined to give our Year 6’s the opportunity to blog and to use their blog as a way of reflecting on the Year 6 Exhibition and their learning journey.  We set up a password protected wordpress blog and spent several lessons reading class blogs from around the world (one example).  We set up a wallwisher page where we posted our thoughts about the blogs we read.  We used TodaysMeet to discuss ideas for blogging guidelines.  We used the IB Learner Profile and PYP attitudes to frame our guidelines.  The guidelines also seamlessly incorporated previous lessons about online safety and digital citizenship.

The student created blogging guidelines are:

We will…

  1. Be knowledgeable thinkers by making sure our posts are relevant and will be something that people will want to read.  We will know our audience.
  2. Be principled and respect people’s work by not copying and pasting and by respecting any Creative Commons license.
  3. Be principled by not sharing our personal information online.
  4. Be creative when writing our posts and we will use unique, interesting ideas.
  5. Be reflective and look at our work for correct spelling, grammar and quality.
  6. Show integrity by treating others how we want to be treated and share our ideas without gossiping and judging.
  7. Be enthusiastic and show commitment to our blog.
  8. Cooperate with our classmates and teachers to make this blog the best it can be!

Next week we are planning to look at writing quality blog comments.

In 2013 I am hoping that these student created blogging guidelines will serve as a springboard for discussion for the entire school.  We are hoping to blog with more classes and certainly, to start out earlier in the year with Year 6.

What about your school?  Do you have blogging guidelines?  Are we missing anything?


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The Connected World

“Can you explain 3G again?” I asked my husband for probably the 100th time.  It was August 2006 and we were moving to Melbourne for Heiko to start working on the Telstra 3G project.  He patiently explained the potentials of 3G technology and what I would be able to do with my smartphone (at this point I had a Motorola Razr flip-phone that I thought was pretty cool).  At the end of his explanation, I wondered aloud “Who would want or need to check their email on their phone? I definitely don’t need to do that.”  Once again, my famous last words…

Fast forward to 2008 when I got my first iPhone and fast forward to 2012 when I got my first iPad…I live the potentials of 3G, WiMAX,  4G and WiFi everyday in and out of school.  The power of connectivity in these devices astounds me.

Last week I wrote about “too much of a good thing” but this week I decided to go back to where it all started. When I first asked “What can 3G do for me?”  To look at the power of our connected world and what the future of education might look like.  I came across a video this week from Ericsson-The Networked Society.  The video highlights the powers of connectivity and learning.  I was pleased to see a video produced and sponsored by the Swedish telecom giant to be so highly focused on education and not as a commercial for their products.

There were a few points in the video that I really connected with…

Seth Godin says “Give access to the information and they will get it when they want it…”  I see this constantly in my school.  Connecting children and showing them how to access the information empowers them to learn and to be responsible for their own learning.

Sugata Mitra says “Knowing something is probably an obsolete idea.  A teacher’s job is to point young minds to the right kinds of questions.  Teachers don’t need to give the answers-the answers are everywhere.”  I love this idea!  As an information literacy specialist, I spend time with children to develop their questions so that they are conceptual and big.  Questions that take time to uncover and can’t be answered  by a quick Google search.  We spend time learning how to be critical users of information and how to find out the answers that are all around us by looking at multiple sources, both primary and secondary.

It might be overwhelming, but this connected world sure is an exciting place to live and learn in!

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Surviving InfoWhelm: Information Fluency to the Rescue! The Committed Sardine

See on Scoop.itLearning in the digital age

The 21st Century Fluency Project’s stance on the importance of information fluency as a skill in the standard digital age survival toolbox applies to students, teachers, and everyday people just like you and me. It focuses on the skills we need by illustrating them in the 5 A’s—Ask, Acquire, Analyze, Apply, and Assess.

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Too much of a good thing?

It’s that time of year again…the seasons are changing and so the twice yearly ritual of changing my closet from “cold” clothes to “warm” clothes begins.  I thought it would be a fairly quick process to swap my wardrobe around.  But, once I got into it and into the piles and piles of garments and shoes, I started to feel overwhelmed.  How could I have accumulated so much?  So many tops, sweaters, pants, skirts and shoes?  Stacks of things that are often unworn and frankly, unnecessary?

After two hours of sorting through clothes (I couldn’t even touch the shoes!), I didn’t make much progress.  I felt stuck and overwhelmed.  I felt like throwing the whole lot out.

The connection between my closet and this blog?  I realized that I often feel the same way…stuck and overwhelmed…by life in the digital age.  Sometimes, there are too many tweets, scoops, videos and blog posts to read.  Sometimes, I just want to throw the whole lot out and not be connected 24/7.  I wonder if I, as an adult, feel this way, how our children feel?  Is learning in the digital age overwhelming for them?  Do they have the coping skills necessary to handle life in the digital age?  How can we help them to deal with the sheer amount of information they are faced with everyday?

At the start of the school year, one of the first things Shaz got me onto was the 21st Century Fluency Project.  We both became “committed sardines” and read all we could from the 21st Century Fluency Project.

This video from the 21st Century Fluency Project explains InfoWhelm and the need for Information Fluency as one of the key fluencies in the 21st Century.

Information fluency needs to be a cornerstone in our daily teaching and learning practice.  It is one step towards surviving InfoWhelm.

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