Becoming a digital school . . . reflections

Where do we want to go?

That’s up to you to discuss with your school leader. Is your leader committed to becoming a digital school? Are you? How many of your colleagues will join you? Konrad Glogowski has some interesting views on the leading learner.

How do we know where we want to go?

Read, research, scour the internet, read blogs, wikis, listen to podcasts, watch youtube and teacher tube hear what educators using technology have to say.

Get to know as much a you can about the capacity of technology in the 21st century.

Know that unless you look far out whatever you will try to implement within 2 years will be out of date even before you start.

That is why web 2.0 tools grounded in teaching and learning are so valuable to we educators. They provide an amazing array of things to do, ways to create, learn, collaborate, connect, problem solve, manipulate, evaluate and synthesise information within a classroom, a school or across the world. Web 2.0 is constantly changing but in a way that allows us to grow and change with it.

Web 2.0 is about going out to the world. Software Products are static and about enclosing.

Take time to listen to what these highly regarded educators have to say. Click on

Learning to Change – Changing to Learn; Advancing K to 12 Technology Leadership

Compiled by Consortium of School Networking

Writing then and now. . . words from Kathleen Blake Yancy


Human impulse is to write (21st Century Writing).

Kathleen Blake Yancey believes writing has been affected by the context of history from 1940’s to present

  • war and distance created need for people to write letters
  • school writing disciplined and punishment oriented
  • freedom of graffitti writing, letters of freedom of gaol
  • writing process, moves that lead to final product, process became very linear and unlike process real writers use. Energy and using steps in the way they need to be used not as a prescription.
  • process became digitised, formatting and publication possible
  • writing for connection – visual display powerful in writing
  • connection is new and exciting and part of process who for, which medium and why.

Writing is about connection. What does that look like now?

1.  Blogging from school to the world – responses are important and a measure of success, teaches respectful reply. Students like the environment.

2. Take on the personna of characters creating back stories in poetry, drama, blog that represents the author, historical character, scientist

3. Information Ecology, past information owned by experts.

Create a concept map to answer question, search of blogosphere to answer the questions. Found not possible so had to go further into other forms of information: academic, mainstream and alternative. How do we know we can trust resources? Need to be explicit in posing questions.

Go to Time Magazine and see top 100 list of blogs.

4. Blogging as learning in action.

Give an explcit task to pursue and share on communal blog. Where is poetry seen in culture? Students can see poetry almost anywhere but how is it poetic? 

Signs project all signs are about what you can’t do. Used to be words alone. Became mixed and now all pictures. Need to participate not be a voyeur. (Blog Projects done at Virginia Beach Schools)

Three types of participation

1. Experts and laypersons are composing knowledge eg citizen scientist,

2. Citizens composing news, when people help each other information seems to be more reliable. Not just crisis driven but stories of people are being told and their stories are part of History.

3. Citizens have composing power in form of facebook, twitter, blogs etc. This means we need to develop understanding and control of these tools. Need to know which tools are to be used and when to support effective and appropriate connection


Privacy is no longer relevant

                            facebook.gif Craig Bellamy

In recent times the line between public and private has become very blurred to the point of non existence. Young people, young teachers, students all use social networking spaces to air their thoughts, their feelings and their lives.

More and more I hear comments about there being no privacy anymore. All is public!! The most recent comment was as I was sitting in Kevin Amboe’s session on Wiki’s for Writing Workshops at NECC 2009.

Kevin Amboe said he expected his young daughter to be up on the web and out their organising her life on Facebook and commenting through her blog. Will Richardson has said he would be disappointed if his daughter did not have a web presence. Employers today look for a web presence as a guide for employability.

Mark another of the presenters today commented that he felt it would be safer for his child to be out there on the internet than walking through the local park.

Creeps and undesirables lurk everywhere, we need to teach our children and students how to deal with them both physically and internetly rather than locking them away in inpenetrable towers.

The inpenetrable towers block out so much that is good and exciting and fun to be part of. A world I don’t always understand but I do respect the young people’s need to be part of it. To us it is technology. To them it is natural they were born to it.

Nobody can stop the young people of today from getting through all the blocks that are put in their way. What a challenge? What a skill! I could never hope to be half as good a hacker as most of the young kids I know.  

A case in point. At our school we use a really cool social networking / problem solving game. It can be played in beta or paid for. For payment you become a full member with treasures at your fingertips.

One of our 11 yo really wanted a membership but his parents wouldn’t allow it. He wanted to be a member so badly he persevered until he hacked into the site and became a member.

Does he get rewarded for skill and initiative or sanctioned for willfully tampering with another’s property?

The world is changing, the world is changing so fast, way too fast for many of the older generations to understand. A young person’s social mores are not what the older generation understand. Do older generations have the right to impose our will and sanctions on something we don’t understand.

Rather than funding technocrats to shut down something that can be amazing shouldn’t we promote teaching practices which ensure we are developing responsible students who are so engaged and motivated by the authenticity of what they are doing that they do not have the time or inclination to abuse their use of the internet.


It was really interesting in the session on one to one laptops attended yesterday the majority of those present felt people who saw themselves as EXPERTS in technology should be kept AWAY from SCHOOLS. Technocrats were cast as control freaks preferring to use technology to shut people out and control rather than develop an inclusive caring and respectful learning community. 





Is the book on the way out?

Just a few thoughts after listening to Kathleen Blake Yancey, reading Writing in the 21st Century and Will Richardson’s commentary.

The concept of connective writing is not about the act of publishing it is what happens before and after publication.

Reading and writing now, are not what they were.

They were:

  • Reading to inform, teach and indoctrinate.
  • Writing was for the few, the elite of the literatii.

Now  they are skills used by all. They are vital elements for

  • Personalisation and establishing relationships based on trust and with respect between readers/writers as the basis for interaction across the web.
  • Self sponsored learning and we need to help our students to get to this stage.

What will be the life span of the printed page word?  It is in doubt because the printed word is not as easily accessible when compared to the fast flexibility that is provided in the www environment.

Writing is ubiquitous . . . it doesn’t have to be DONE at a particular time in a particular context.

It happens any where any time when the mood strikes, the link or the connection is made.

Connective writing stems from what we read because ideas for writing have beginnings in what people have read. Others’ thoughts and ideas are reflected upon and writing is then produced.

Sceptics question the quality and preciseness of the information. The audience requires quality and preciseness and they will ensure ideas are fine tuned and written in a knowledgeable way as knowledge is no longer the domain of the few. It is outside of us all. It exists in the world in the space of the www.

Writers on the web synthesise their ideas and link them to sources and context. Writing has to be linked. It cannot occur in isolation. It has little meaning if isolated, unlinked and unread.

What does linked writing look like? Look at Borderland.

Publishing is a cyclical process? It is not only writing it is reading. Is the way we read being changed by  our www experiences? Teachers who know their students and observe the way they work in a classroom can tell you reading for the students of today is a different more complex skill than it was even 20 year ago. The NCTE has endeavoured to address this with their recent NCTE Definition of 21st century literacies.

Do online readers use the same reading strategies as a paper reader?

Is literacy more dependant on images than words?

Is reading as we have been taught and tested still relevant?

What strategies are there to teach reading in an online world?

How do we use web 2.0 and blend it with the best of pedagogy to ensure our students learning needs are met?


The lines are fuzzzzzzeeeeeeee

MacArthur Foundation Research in 2008

Speak Up 2008 available 24 March

We are becoming Nodes around interest groups on line.

Children are learners and teachers.

Lines are blurrring between who is the teacher and who is the learner.

According to context the role of learner is fluid.

Smell the Roses

Smell the Roses was a presentation made by Kim and I at the Network Literacy Conference. This conference featured the well known American educator and exponent of Web 2.0, Will Richardson.

Our presentation was his support act. We planned it using and a new tool called Prezi. 

Prezi is an interactive tool which allows for great flexibility of presentation. Click on the link to see the main themes addressed in the presentation.

We presented a recount of a week in the life of a class at Belmore South Public School  and their introduction to using Web 2.0 tools. 

The class is the new  Allstars09 and their teacher is  Kim Pericles.

For the week I was her co-teacher and we all had an interesting time.

There were so many things we learned together. The main thing we learned is that teaching “the how to” of Web 2.0 and then encouraging creative responses and ideas is very very hard.

The eventual results; however, are well worth the time, the endless questioning, effort and talking.

One of the groups who produced an excellent animation were Dushan and Verin. Roses Division has received a 4 Star rating on Goanimate.

Do you think it is clever? If so follow the  goanimate link and vote for their animation. Roses division Like it? Create your own at It’s free and fun!

South Western Sydney ICT Conference

21st Century Pedagogy Conference 2009

The “c” Generation

connect, communicate, collaborate, create

The conference today was an interesting experience. The session I presented went well . . . it was a compilation of the previous few blogs. The blog was simply there as a reference point for the Case Study presented about Belmore South Primary School.

Kim presented a really good practical session, so much work and then the Internet connection let her down. At least the whole presentation is on her blog.

The venue was excellent Fairfield RSL