The Future is out there!

Well, here we are. The last blog! I thought I would steal a little of your time to say thank you to the SLAV PLN staff who have done a FANTASTIC job of running this course. I have very much appreciated your support, time and the effort you have put into making this beneficial, relevant and practical. I have gained a lot over the past 2 months.

Additionally, I very much want to thank all of my virtual classmates. I have learned a lot from you all as well. I have followed a lot of your blogs and I have picked up hints, tips, links to helpful tools and I have enjoyed learning alongside each of you. Good luck in your future studies. May I borrow the words of John Cotton Dana; “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn”. I believe this and I know, by the fact that each of you have enrolled in this course, that you all do also.

My final blogs are in the form of two screenr videos. The first is a screenr capture of a power point presentation I made on Evernote. The second is a capture of a static power point in which I have typed out the focus questions from the Unit and respond to them vocally.

I hope you enjoy them.



The future of learning.



Technology, Citizenship and Learning.

Consider your own attitudes to online citizenship. How do you manage your privacy and reputation? Why?

Rather than assigning just two arbitrary tags – bad and good – to the type of citizen we can be (both on and offline) I think the possibility exists for us to also be benign and neutral. Certainly there are times when I contribute actively to an online group or discussion or forum that I might belong to or follow. A good example might be an online discussion forum such as the Vic PLN. While it is true that I have tried to contribute, in some small way to the learning of others through my blogs, it is also true that I haven’t responded to people’s questions or concerns and neither have I had a chance to participate in any of the webinars and consequently I am not sure if I have been a good, bad or neutral citizen during this PLN course.  In a similar way, I find that I absolutely love following Twitter and the tweets of those I follow. However, I am quite reluctant to actually post tweets. From the statement “…take without contributing…” this would make me a bad Twitter citizen despite the fact that I don’t ever hurt those I interact with.

My view of citizenship is that it is perfectly fine to take without giving and equally acceptable to be benign and indifferent, at times, however when I do contribute I always try to add value and positivity.

I think that Facebook is perhaps the most public tool I use and here I am again conscious of what I post – which is very little. For most of the tools I use I try to put fairly stringent privacy settings in place to protect my privacy.

The other day I Googled my name and was very surprised to see a lot of my blogs, scoops and tweets were listed in the hit results. I didn’t actually expect, or like, this. Consequently, I deleted a few accounts I had opened that I really wasn’t using because I felt I would rather not have access to them than allow people to see what I was doing with them.

I think that if you are going to have a public persona and presence and you are going to be an online citizen then it is crucial to be aware of how you are perceived, what information is made available and I think you should try to govern what you say and post in order to preserve your identity and privacy.

Track down a person under the age of 18 (or a slightly older one if that thought scares you too much). Discuss their attitudes to privacy online: are they concerned about their online reputation and do they take steps to protect their privacy? 


I spoke with my wife’s 19 year old cousin about this topic. Connor is a very keen Facebooker and it often appears to me that he writes down every thought that enters his head and every action he has been engaged in. It seems like he posts for the sake of posting. This might, in some ways, be seen as bad citizenship as I feel he quite often is not adding any real value to the lives of those he is connected to. I do, however, accept his paradigm which is that it is fine to just have some fun and not everything has to be big or important or meaningful.

When I asked Connor about privacy he was very carefree about it. He said that his privacy settings are pretty tight but among his friends he feels free to be himself. When I asked him about the fact that his friends might have lax privacy settings which, by extension, might make him and his info more public than he intended he really wasn’t bothered by it. This attitude might be indicative of a little lack of foresight, experience and maturity as it is common practice these days for potential employers to FB potential employees to get a sense of who they are employing. Again, when I mentioned this to Connor he shrugged it off.

What tools do they use to stay in touch?

Connor is a big Facebook user. He also uses Skype and his mobile phone to communicate and keep in touch with people. Additionally, he belongs to a number of online gaming communities – each with their own forums and chat rooms – as well as a few movie fan chat sites.


Do they have multiple personae?

Yes, Connor does use multiple personae. For Facebook he just has the one true account. However, for his gaming and movie forums he tends to create avatars that reflect the characters he creates to play.

How would they feel about using the same tool for their personal lives and their learning?

When I asked this question, Connor joked that he doesn’t use digital tools for learning too often. He sees digital tools as tools to be used for his entertainment and socialising. When I asked him to consider all that he does he did agree that there are different types of learning and that there are learning opportunities to be had from each of the tools he uses. He said he would be very happy to use the same tool for both his personal life and learning.

Consider the relationship between digital fluency and citizenship. If one of the powerful aspects of online platforms is the way we can connect with others, then is it okay to try and lock students into walled digital gardens?  How far does an educator’s responsibility stretch? Do they need to teach students to be responsible and informed users of social tools?

The short answer is no, we shouldn’t try and lock students into walled digital gardens. The long answer is no, we shouldn’t try and lock students into walled digital gardens BUT we should be conscious of where they are going when they leave their gardens and who is entering them. There are so many ways that digital social networking tools can be used to educate and teach that it is safe to state you can’t really fully educate a student to survive in the 21st century if you aren’t using digital tools and technology. While I completely agree with this statement, this does not excuse the responsibility that is placed upon teachers to guard the emotional, social and spiritual well-being of those we teach. To do this, we need to be digitally fluent and always trying to remain aware of those most popular tools our students are using and aware of the best practices associated with managing and using them in an educational environment.

ACARA defines digital fluency as the “…capacity [to use] ICT for tasks associated with information access and management, communication, creative expression, and empirical reasoning…and the ability to transfer these across environments and applications. They [students] learn to use ICT with confidence, care and consideration, understanding its possibilities, limitations and impact on individuals, groups and communities.”

Implicit in the words “management, reasoning, confidence, care and consideration, and understanding” is the notion that students need to be trained to think for themselves and understand not just WHAT tools to use and HOW to use them but also WHEN and WHY. I think our job, as educators, is to help our students become FLUENT digital users – and not just LITERATE users – and to THEN allow them to use their knowledge, understanding and competencies to aid their own teaching and learning. Keeping them in a walled digital garden helps neither them nor others.

 Is this limited to the tools that we encourage students to use, or does it extend to the tools that students want to use? For example, should we be teaching responsible use of Facebook, or is it better to model behaviour in a platform like Edmodo and hope that it rubs off?

I think it is much more important to focus on teaching FUNCTION than FORM. By this, I mean that if we teach our students how to act and interact positively and with reasoning, consideration and understanding, as opposed to focusing on specific tools (FORMS) then they will be better prepared to know how to use specific tools as they are introduced or discovered.

Metaphorically this is akin to teaching students how to drive. The skill is in the driving (FUNCTION). It doesn’t matter what type of car (FORM) the student drives as long as they know how. Facebook and Edmodo are just two different types of cars (e.g. Toyota and Mazda). If the student knows how to drive safely then the car s/he uses is less important because they will have the knowledge to safely operate the tool. This is true FLUENCY.



By its very definition, to be a learner is to be someone who is willing to learn. I think that one of the problems we face, as educators, today is the fact that many of the students we teach are more digitally fluent than we are. Too often, this can cause educators to shirk away from using ICT and digital tools in the classroom. A better approach would be to accept that there are things you can learn from your students and things they can learn from you and to enjoy a collaborative teaching environment where the teacher can sometimes be the student and the students may sometimes be the teachers.


The question ‘Why?” has probably led me to Google more than any other. Effective learners tend to be individuals who are curious and inquisitive and prepared to take the steps needed to seek out answers to those “WHY, HOW, WHEN, WHO, WHAT” questions.


The ability and willingness to change an existing paradigm, belief, idea or attitude is crucial for on-going learning. There is truth in the statement, Time is the greatest teacher. So often, as we grow physically and mature in our thinking and experiences we learn to approach existing knowledge and beliefs from another perspective or point of view and it is this willingness to flex that often leads to the greatest discoveries.


I think this is probably synonymous with both teachable and flexible but goes one step further. It implies a willingness to accept that not only does one not know everything but that others will and do know more and a willingness to admit when a firmly held belief is wrong. It also implies a willingness to actively seek others’ ideas, opinions, beliefs, wisdom and understanding. It begins with a person looking outward as opposed to inwardly for answers. I think these are implications that must exist if a person is to truly ever learn.


I am using this adjective to describe a host of related synonyms such as tenacious, diligent, hard-working, determined, enduring, patient, etc…Each of these describe the characteristics and traits needed to be an effective learner. Learning is a process and like all processes takes time. It is often structured and sequential and it can often take years to truly understand and/or master a concept, skill, idea or tool. It is the persistent, patient person who works hard, learns from their successes and mistakes and endures that will be truly effective in their learning. Digital tools have certainly sped up the process of accessing information but the sorting, assimilation and implementation of information is still pretty much down to the individual.

Final questions and reflections

My own progression with technology. How it has changed the way I learn and shaped my professional practice.

I must confess that I took a somewhat slow approach to adopting and embracing technology. For a long time, I tried to resist allowing technology to take over my role as a Teacher/Librarian. Unfortunately resistance, as the Borg would say, was futile. It is just impossible to be an effective educator and information specialist, in this day and age, if you ignore the influence and use of digital tools and technology. Slowly I came to this realisation and decided that if I had to use technology I would embrace it. For the past 7 years I have tried to continually learn new skills and competencies related to digital fluency and believe I have a sound understanding of a good number of useful tools and technologies that I can effectively use in my role.

It is fair to state that technology has dramatically changed the way I learn. I completed my 2nd Masters (MBA) in 2010 and studied it at the Curtin Graduate School of Business in Perth. At the time, I was living in New Zealand and despite a few trips to Perth was able to complete the program completely online along with 270 other online students. This is a good example of how technology has changed the way I am able to learn.

Similarly, right at this moment, I am situated in Hornsby, NSW, while I work on a response to questions posed by people in Victoria.

These two examples demonstrate how boundaries no longer exist when it comes to learning opportunities. At the push of a button I am able to attend an online lecture from Stanford University or watch an online tutorial via You Tube or read a book online. I can take virtual tours of pretty much any city, landmark, library, museum, archive, or school in the world. This, to me, is the real benefit of using technology as a part of my learning strategy.

 My feelings about the impact of technology on us as citizens

Technology connects people from all walks of life. It is a tool and thus is no respecter of person, qualification, age or socio-economic status. As long as the user has some semblance of competency s/he can become an active citizen of the world.

Technology effectively removes borders. It brings the world to us and connects and informs people of what is happening everywhere around them. Consequently, as technology users we become, in essence, citizens of the world and should therefore, take a participatory interest in things that happen all around the world.  I think Twitter is a great example of people, from all around the world, connecting and coming together to share and teach and entertain and learn. This is a good example of the impact technology can have on creating citizens of the world.

My thoughts about the use of technology in learning and the role educators play in modelling the use of technology

Educators educate. Good educators model best practice for using teaching and learning resources regardless of their nature or design. Technology is a tool and, as such, has a place in education and teaching. When used properly, like any other tool, technology has a significant role to play in education.

How technology can be used to support my chosen 5 characteristics of an effective learner

  1. Teachable: Technology broadens horizons and exposes new ideas, truths, discoveries, theories, inventions, beliefs and philosophies to its users. By showing the diverse breadth of knowledge that does exist, technology encourages users to adopt a teachable attitude that allows them to be taught by the wisdom of others.
  2. Inquisitive: How often does one questions answer lead to another question? Technology helps to make this learning and discovery process almost infinite. As users use technology to find answers to questions and make new discoveries it also exposes the user to new mysteries, ideas, beliefs and teachings that should be explored.
  3. Flexible: It is impossible to remain ignorant in the information age. We are all exposed to so much information each day that we are forced to concede there is much we don’t know and much we need to learn.
  4. Humble: See teachable and flexible.
  5. Persistent: Learning is a lifelong process. It is paradoxical that while technology makes learning easier and faster it also exposes us to so much more information that needs to be learned.

My predictions about how technology will change the way we learn in the future.

  • Less formalised
  • Less face to face time
  • Greater dependence on online learning
  • More collaborative
  • Less specialised/fewer specialists
  • Global classrooms.

Sorry for the long posting guys, but there was a lot to respond to.


Evaluating Search Engines and Websites.

Task 1

Choose a relatively popular term that students might be searching for at your school (such as Ancient Egypt) and compare the results offered by Google and some of the other search engines.


As you can see, I chose the search term ‘HSC BELONGING’. This is something that all Yr. 12 English students in NSW are, or soon will be, searching in preparation for their upcoming exams.

I chose 7 search engines, including You Tube (2nd largest search engine in the world) and Twitter Search and made the following observations for each.


Hits: 466,000

Google is the poster child for getting more “Bang for your buck!” While I appreciate that Google is the most comprehensive search engine available the truth is that I very rarely search beyond the first 8 pages of results for any search and consequently, while the 466,000 hits seems impressive they are, to some extent, wasted.

I limited myself to the first 4 pages for this exercise and must say that I was happy with the results provided by Google. Most of the hits were links to sites with edu, gov or org. urls which tells me that they are perhaps more likely to be reliable and fairly accurate. There were a few blog and You Tube hits which were nice to see as it provided a good mix of individual, collective, subjective and objective opinions.

In addition to general information about HSC Belonging and the NSW English syllabus I also found some good sites, such as ( offering prescribed and related lists of texts and resources connected with Belonging.


Hits: 370

It was actually very nice to have just 370 hits. I feel like if I was really searching for HSC Belonging I could, in just a short time, go through all 370. I noticed a good mix of edu/gov/org sites with .com sites which again accommodates both the research side of the search and the more personal/subjective side which I like.

I did note that Goodsearch offered no related search suggestions which is less than ideal as these often prompt further thinking and approaches to a subject.


Hits: 26,800

This search engine was almost the exact opposite of Goodsearch in that it had a lot of hits and a lot of related search terms and suggestions. It doesn’t surprise me that Mywebsearch is powered by Google as most of the hits were almost identical (in terms of order and ranking) with Google’s. Like Google, the first 4 pages were mostly edu/gov/org sites. The very first, however, was to a You Tube link.


Hits: 26,100

What I like most about Lycos is that it provides thumbnail images for each of the hits which just makes it a little easier to get a sense of what to expect if/when you choose to open a page from the engine. I looked at the first 4 pages of hits and found there to be more blog/.com/personal websites that edu/gov/org sites.

You Tube

Hits: 825

I was most interested in searching for HSC Belonging on You Tube and Twitter Search than the other engines as they are distinctly different in nature. I was relatively happy with the number of videos retrieved (825) and found, for the most part, was I was expecting – a mix of educational and entertaining videos offered. There were some good videos that provided teaching on the themes related to Belonging and some that also looked at specific texts commonly studied in NSW schools. At the same time, there were some that probably weren’t worth the investment of time needed to watch them. This is to be expected as you have to take the good, the bad and the ugly with You Tube.

Twitter Search

Hits: Hundreds

This was a tough engine to evaluate as it is time consuming to check the provenance of the tweets and retweets being posted. Twitter is a little unique in that it is very easy for a teen to retweet something originally posted by a Harvard Professor. What I did see were some good links and posts related to the topic but mostly personal commentary about past HSC exams, assessments, essays, etc…by teenagers who were either venting or bragging.

Hits: Thousands doesn’t display how many hits were made. It gathers information from Google, Yahoo, bing and Yandex and consequently there was a lot of info to go through. While it did provide a lot of hits and a lot of related search terms I don’t really like as the site design and layout makes it difficult to navigate and read. Unlike most search engines with provides one centred column of hits provides two. This seems economical but really it just makes the page look too busy. Aside from that, the hits themselves were mostly similar to those returned by Google and Mywebsearch.

How would you rate the effectiveness of these search engines?

Overall, the search engines mostly performed as expected. For the most part, they provided links to a good mix of educational and government sites along with personal sites, blogs and videos. The main differences seemed not so much to be the results as much as the advertising, related search terms and layout and I think these considerations are mostly secondary to the actual hits returned.

All of the engines provided their results in a very timely manner and all provided enough to satisfy even the most demanding student or student’s parent.

Task 2

  • Find and post a trusted web resource
  • How do you know it’s reliable?
  • Record your findings in your blog post, but also tell us about your thought process – how did you go about evaluating this resource?

I have chosen as my trusted web resource. This is the link to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) news page. I like to read both the BBC and ABC pages each day as my main source of current events/news.

While I do find the ABC a little too left leaning for my liking I do consider it to be a trustworthy and reliable source for current news and information. I think it generally reports the news in a mostly unbiased manner and certainly believe the content is accurate and timely.

Given the choices of test to take, I naturally chose to take the CRAP test. Come on, would you expect a guy to choose anything else?

Here’s how it came out… (um, don’t think so)

Here are the results… (nope, try again)

These are my findings… (that will do)


 Q:  How recent is the info?

A: ABC provides news stories that are live (Just in), within the past hour, 24 hours, week and month on their site.


Q: What kind of info is included in the resource?

A: The site provides local, national and global articles and news stories. It also covers a variety of topics including NEWS, WORLD, BUSINESS, ENTERTAINMENT, SPORT, WEATHER, NEWS RADIO and individually selected topics of interest.

Q: Is the content primarily opinion? Is it balanced?

A: Because of the nature of the site (news based) it is balanced and objective. Certainly, there are times when an article is biased or subjective but mostly the content is a reflection of events and stories as they happen.

Q: Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

A: Yes, the journalists are cited as are the witnesses, sources, quotes and other references made.


Q: Who is the creator and what are their credentials?

A: The creators are a host of journalists and news editors from around Australia and the world.

Q: Who is the publisher/sponsor and are they reputable?

A: The ABC is the main publisher and sponsor. They do trade information from AFP, APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and BBC also. I believe all these sources are reputable.

Q: Are there advertisements on the site?

A: There are no advertisements on the site beyond those advertising other ABC services.

Purpose/Point of View

 Q: Is this fact, opinion, biased or trying to sell something?

A: It is mostly fact, as reported from individual witnesses. There are some elements of educated opinion and perhaps a hint of bias occasionally thrown in – which is the nature of reporting. We all have a point of view or context from which to view, interpret and make sense of events around us. I don’t believe it is trying to sell me anything.


Task 3


 I have been using Evernote, pretty much on a daily basis, for some time now. I am very comfortable using Tags to sort, identify and find Notes within my various Notebooks. Tagging is a common sense competency that allows me to personalise the Notes I create in a way that makes perfect sense to me.

Twitter & popplet

First of all, choose an online service you’re already using (it could even be one of the tools you’ve signed up for in the first three units of the course, such as Evernote, Diigo or Google services)


See if you can locate the Terms of Service page and the Privacy policy page for your chosen service. If you find them, read a random section of each page.

Is it written in clear language, or is the language designed to confuse?

On the whole, the language used on the Twitter Terms of Service policy is quite straightforward and easily understood.

Do you see anything that surprises or concerns you about the service you are using?

While it doesn’t surprise me, as it relates to ownership of the site and economics (revenue), I do tend to get a little concerned with the idea of personal data and information being shared with other organisations or individuals for revenue raising/advertising/marketing purposes. The idea that by deliberately accepting the services of one organisation means that I have to blindly accept exposure to others is a little concerning.

How long are the policies – could you read the whole thing or did you get bored?

12 main clauses constitute Twitter’s Terms of Service. On average, each clause is approximately 1-3 paragraphs in length. While I could quite easily read the whole thing I haven’t simply because it is a little boring.

Did you read it when you signed up?

I did not read the Terms of Service policy agreement prior to signing up for Twitter’s services. I can honestly state that I have not read ANY term of service for ANY tool/service I currently, or have historically, make use of.


Now explore whether your chosen service has a way to back up or export your data. (You might find these options by logging in and looking for a Settings or Account menu.) Does it seem like an easy process?

I wasn’t sure if it was possible to export or back up Twitter data. Following a little play on Google I found the following website which discusses 3 tools that can be used to export Twitter data.
The first tool is “The Archivist” –
Second tool is “Searchtastic” – It appears from their website that this site is closing down
Third tool is “TwapperKeeper” –

While Searchtastic is soon to be shut down it appears obvious, from these three tools, that Twitter does allow for data to be exported/backed up.

I haven’t discovered whether or not Twitter itself provides an easy means for this to happen.


How easy is it to close down or delete your account? (Don’t go deleting it, just see if you can find the option or details of the account closure process.)

Unlike Facebook, which does NOT allow you to delete an existing account, Twitter does allow users to deactivate their accounts. It is a very straightforward process.

Putting aside the actual usefulness of the service and based purely on your findings about these four questions, do you think you’d be happy recommending that other people sign up for the service?

If I were only judging Twitter on these 4 considerations I probably WOULD recommend it to others – for the simple fact that its terms of use are straightforward, it is possibl2 to export/back up data (even if only from an external source) and you can deactivate your account at any time. I would, however, inform the person that Twitter does reserve the right, and will, share their personal information/data with marketing/advertising companies and individuals.



Does the service require a login? If so, what information needs to be provided when signing up for an account?

Popplet does require a login. However, it doesn’t send a verification email so it is possible to create a fake email (dummy) account if you wanted to. To register for an account all you need to provide is:

  1. First name
  2. Surname
  3. email
  4. Password
  5. Confirmed password


Read through the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the site (if applicable). Do you see any potential issues for staff or student use?

Popplet states “…no part of the Site or Services is designed to attract people under 13 years old”.

This is a potential issue for teachers. While Popplet is not saying children under 13 are restricted it is implying that the service was not designed for them. I actually believe that Popplet is extremely well suited to senior primary and lower secondary students as it is an ideal tool for class collaborative projects. Teachers might need to discuss this statement with School Heads to consider if it is prescriptive or more of a recommendation and to then decide if children under 13 will be allowed to use the tool in the classroom.


How could you use this tool in your professional learning? Can you see it being useful to someone else in your organisation? Why?

I could use popplet in much the same way I use either Power Point or an Infographic. I could, for example, use it to create a lesson plan or lesson content to be shared, in a sequential order, to a class.

Additionally, I could use popplet to study a particular topic and gather, sort and store information, about that topic, in either a sequential or non-sequential manner.

I could also use popplet to create a infograph or poster or fact-sheet and store it for my own use (professional learning) or share it with colleagues.

Pretty much any department within a school could find uses for Popplet. PR/Marketing, for example, might use it in partnership with digital signage to promote a schools resources, activities, achievements and information on a parent/teacher night or during a public open-day.


Could this tool be used in an educational setting? What tasks might students complete using the tool? 

Popplet is a very useful and easy to learn tool. I think teachers could use it to create basic infographics, posters, and fact-sheets for students; librarians could use it to create genre posters/recommendations, book reviews and author-work posters. More specific to actual teaching, teachers could use Popplet to have students either individually or collaboratively create a fact-sheet or poster about a person, place, thing, theme or event. It is an easy way to visually capture text and images and present them in a structured, organised manner.


How could it change the tasks students are already doing? 

One of the distinct advantages/benefits of popplet is that it accommodates mixed medium. This means teachers and students alike can create graphs, posters and information displays that use text, images, video and sound.


Where does it fit in the SAMR model of assessment?

I definitely believe popplet fits within both the Modification and Redefinition part of the SAMR model of assessment. Within Modification, popplet allows the teacher and/or students to take advantage of the mixed medium option popplet provides to address a task, assessment or topic of study utilising diverse resources and demonstrating thinking across mediums. Music students, for examples might choose to film themselves playing an instrument and add the video (via You Tube) on to a popplet page as opposed to simply providing an audio recording.

Within Redefinition, teachers and students might be given access to the same popplet page (using a shared password) and instead of each student producing an individual poster or info-sheet the whole class might be able to collaboratively create one and comment on each other’s postings/creations.


Were you able to create something useful with the tool? Is it easy to share what you’ve done by either publishing it online or even embedding it into your own site? If so, share what you created by pasting a link into your blog entry or embedding the item.

I have created a few different popplet pages and found it to be an enjoyable, easy and educational experience. Here is a very basic one that I have created.


Hope I didn’t bore you all.


Professional Communities & Social Media

Within an educational (Teacher Librarian) context, online PLN and professional communities provide opportunities for individuals and library teams to:

  • Build esprit-de-corps with other TLs and expand professional connections;
  • Access academic and professional data/information to learn about new approaches to teaching;
  • Participate in industry specific Professional Development;
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of tools that can assist their work,
  • Discuss and discover solutions to professional concerns;
  • Discuss strategic planning issues and be influenced in future directions; and
  • Simply share successes, ideas, strategies, questions and inspirations.

I think that having access to other professionals in the same industry, at the same level (primary, secondary or tertiary), who are experiencing similar challenges and opportunities provides some measure of comfort, reassurance and helps create a sense of connectivity with others around you. I further think that being able to share ideas, questions and challenges also provides opportunities to help others which further adds to a sense of community, professionalism, connectivity and collegiality.

I think it is just as important for these professional networks and communities to exist for other educators (teachers, school execs, learning support, etc…) so that no one should ever feel isolated or without a means of sharing or learning.

I am a fan of Twitter. I tend to read more than I tweet but this suits my preferences just fine. There are a lot of very smart, savvy, switched on people on Twitter who are tweeting about libraries, digital tools, 21st century education, Culture of Thinking and other educational practices and philosophies that I love to learn from. Yes, I do follow the odd celebrity (mostly the Big Bangers) but no-one said it had to be all work and no play!

I must confess that while I do have a FB account this is more to stay connected with family overseas than for Professional Development. I actually have never once used FB in a professional capacity and belong to no professional or educational groups – other than the VicPLN, which I joined today

I think Twitter is an ABSOLUTE MUST for the 21st Century teacher!!! The chance to connect, in real time, with real people, about real events is an opportunity that should never be wasted. At the moment, I am absolutely addicted to my daily dose of Commander Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) and the educational implications of what can be done with his tweets is mind blowing and almost limitless.

While I can see that Facebook can be used as an educational tool, I think there are probably better tools out there to use. Edmodo is one example. While I am not a fan of Edmodo’s aesthetic and some of its design flaws I do think it lends itself more to being an educational forum than FB which I tend to see more as a social site alone. This might be indicative of a need for me to implement a paradigm shift but I don’t think I will as I don’t believe there is anything wrong with using a digital tool in a strictly social way – even if it has educational capabilities or implications.

For those who are interested my Twitter handle is: @BarkerBookman.


Till next we meet between the lines…


Using paperPads and iPads to Organise Information and Workflow.

Q: What are your current techniques for keeping your work organised, keeping track of resources and sharing these resources with others? How do you imagine the tools covered in this unit will change your workflow?

A: I am, to some extent, an analog guy trying to thrive in a digital world! Consequently, I still find that my first choice for recording information is a trusted pad and pen. I like the connection I feel between receiving info, formulating thoughts and ideas and capturing them on paper. I appreciate the same process exists when you substitute pad and pen for a laptop or some other smart device but, for some reason, it feels more tangible and connected when I write my initials thoughts down.

Normally, having written my thoughts down I then transfer them to a selected range of digital tools – mostly Evernote (if I plan of keeping them long-term or sharing them), or a word doc (when I plan on accessing it regularly and amending it).

In addition to these tools (used to capture info/thoughts, etc…) I regularly use email to communicate with colleagues (I love finding reasons to create new email folders!) and twitter to find out what is happening in the world (I tend to follow A LOT more than I tweet).

These are probably my main tools of the trade.

I don’t think I will continue with a blog beyond the PLN. I have followed a small number of dedicated blogs for some time and will continue to do so but am not, and haven’t ever really been, motivated to share a blog.

I think there will be some tools introduced in this PLN that I will further experiment with down the line. Unfortunately, I don’t think Edmodo will be one of them.


Q: Is teaching workflow and organisation techniques to students an important task? What have you noticed about the workflow and organisational strategies of students?

A: Absolutely. I think that more important than this, however, is helping students make sense of all the tools that are out there to assist workflow and organisation techniques and helping them to select those few that are most going to help them achieve their specific needs and wants and then both master and use these tools. Digital Fluency dictates knowing not just HOW to use a tool but also WHAT, WHEN and WHY and this is important.

I think students are generally pretty fearless about trying new technology and also generally pretty adept at discerning what works, what doesn’t, what appeals and what isn’t worth their time. Having said this, I also think that many students tend to stick with what they know until new technology is exposed to them. I think this is one area where teachers and TLs can be of some meaningful assistance to students – helping them discover new tools and technology and helping them develop the WHAT, WHEN, WHY and HOW that should be associated with using it.


Q: How have digital technologies and internet access changed the way we organise ourselves?

A: Talk about a big question! You may as well ask, ‘How long is a piece of string?’ Digital technologies and internet access pretty much dictate all my organisational activities. I used it to do my banking, to purchase items, to plan holidays, to keep track of my meetings, to tell me when to get up in the morning, to provide my entertainment, to record minutes, information and ideas, to share minutes, information and ideas, to teach and to tell me when I should be teaching. You could almost say that if the power goes out, so do we!


BTW – Here is my quick brown fox jumping over a lazy dog:


Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Experience, Networks and Great? Expectations…


Hi all,

My name is Jason Saikaly and I work as the Head of Library Services – Barker College (Sydney). I am very new to Barker, having started just this year. The past 7 weeks has been a busy eye-opening experience.

Prior to coming to Barker, I was Head of Library Services at Masada College (Sydney) and before that was 11 years Head of Library Services at a private school in NZ.

I am now in my 16th year as a Teacher Librarian and spent a few years teaching English/History before that.

With regards Digital Librarianship and Web/Library 2.0 I am neither a novice nor a superstar. I enjoy learning how to use technology, as an aid to librarianship, and finding ways to incorporate it into our role as educators. I believe technology has its place and, when used properly, is a valuable asset to the 21st century Teacher Librarian.

I am hoping that this PLN will help me establish and broaden my very small network of Library professionals. Having spent the majority of my working life overseas and then the past 5 years in a fairly insular educational environment I haven’t met many people in the Library profession throughout Australia.

My expectations? Hmmm…..To be honest, I’m not really sure what I expect from this PLN beyond learning some new skills and expanding my contacts list. Having said that, I am open to surprises!

Anyway, that’s me in a few paragraphs. I’m sure as time rolls on I shall think of some things to share that might actually interest you.