ISER Conference Presentation – Web 2.0 & PLNs

My intention for this presentation above, given at the ISER Regional Conference, was to propose a way that we could engage students using new tools by transforming professional development in our region with Web 2.0 concepts.

Students would benefit enormously as our colleagues became more Web 2.0 savvy and ‘new thinking’ entered classrooms (along with laptops/learning devices and wireless connectivity).

I asked every person in this room to engage with these new tools of communication, collaboration and creativity for the students currently in our schools. I imagine 7 000 staff in the region inspiring these students by showing the way, USING THE TOOLS and sharing online.

We need to take advantage of the new technologies available to students and teachers by providing a simple model that needs little funding and would grow exponentially. Our key strength, the teachers who work in our schools; we need to lead and ask them to lead learning in return.

Perhaps you do already. Perhaps you will.

 

In the last 12 months I have undertaken compulsory training in a number of areas, including Child Protection and also, CPR, completed online and by a practical test.

 

Maybe we could have compulsory Web 2.0 training too?

Approximately 80 people sitting in a room listening to me and watching slides is not symbolically, what I wanted to do at the conference, and in fact, represents everything that is wrong with education in our region, NSW and in fact, much of the Western World.

If we had each person with a laptop and internet access we could actually model what needs to happen in a classroom; each individual able to pursue the most appropriate option from a suite of choices that would suit their learning.

Colleagues,

This is how I’d really like to have proceeded.

Now that you have listened to my brief presentation, attempting to define the Web 2.0 and it’s impact, lets try and establish the beginnings of the Personal Learning Networks (PLN) discussed earlier.

You may wish to choose your path from the following suite of options  to continue, at your convenience, where we ended at the conference:

 *You can find all my saved videos (collected using VodPod) here.

 

THE VISION

  • Imagine if staff used RSS feeds well and were updated from professional websites they had ‘fed’ into Google Reader.
  • Imagine if every school in our region had a school Delicious account that all staff accessed and tagged websites of professional interest well. Each school could be part of each others’ network sharing sites creating a phenomenal number of peer reviewed sites.
  • Imagine if  we were all able to dip into the river that is Twitter to share, collaborate and communciate.
  • Imagine how much children would benefit if the Region went 2.0

Growing numbers of students will very readily grasp the concept of what a PLE means for them personally. Will our colleagues?

Here is a great presentation by Graham Attwell on Personal Learning Environments:

 

Developing a PLN is the most practical way that a teacher can learn more about pedagogy, their subject and what the internet has to offer learning in our schools.

Here are two videos I would have played if time permited:

 

Connectivist learning (PLE)

 

&

 

A twitter love song.

 

And here’s another one that I hope you’ve already seen as it is the most amazing video about Web 2.0 by Professor Michael Wesch:

 

The machine is us/using us

 

And here is a presentation on PLNs you may wish to browse:

 

 

 

And, there’s so much more.

 

 I look forward to dialogue about these ideas.

 

Darcy :-)

 

 

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The views expressed at this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

18 Comments

  1. Darcy
    Well done. A first hurdle ticked.
    Glad it went well with the audience, Regional Director etc.

    Keep chipping away at DET staff they will get it. Our first few web2.0 arvos are booked solid, so the staff want it, just a matter of tapping in to make it useful for them.

    I won’t be mentioning school at all in our Wednesdays, just netvibes/google r, social networking, RSS and photo sharing (and a great proxy way around filters, no joking on that one….maybe)

    Tony

  2. I’ve been sitting thinking about this for a while now and three things grab me:
    Maybe we could have compulsory Web 2.0 training too? Yes. It is our students main form of literacy. ICT is at the centre of the generation of students in the class room. Inside the classroom we must be able to work collectively within the context of our times. Or we will be left behind (and I don’t mean in economic terms!)

    PLN. I am officially settling into my new school (and I don’t want to rock the boat!) The school has solid academic results, a good culture and reputation, but innovation wise?? I am not sure. Just the physical nature of the rooms (desks and chairs in rows, teacher’s desk at the front) suggests traditional style of chalk and talk. I see PLN as something we could do to go that extra pace…

    Imagine how much children would benefit if the Region went 2.0…yep, that seals it. We can talk about engagement, but until we do this all we have are loose threads.

  3. darcymoore:

    Thanks for talking about ‘a great proxy way around filters’ as part of your Web 2.0 workshops, Tony. That’ll teach me to tweet you asking for ‘judicious’ comment ;O)

    ‘Compulsory’ is a dirty word to many but lets face it, so much revolves around doing compulsory things – driving licenses, speed limits, certification for all aspects of life and much much more – so why not Web 2.0? I feel certain it would make a difference in the lives of students as wireless connection and learning devices arrive.

    Thanks for your comments Tony & Troy – you are champions to post (on a Saturday night). :O))

    I keep thinking of all the things I forgot to mention in my presentation but the reality is, like all learning, there must be ongoing dialogue and experimentation.

    Two quotes from John Dewey:

    “Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy.”

    “Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.”

  4. Troy:

    Not a problem Darcy. Had a long day in the field, chasing a little red leather ball and bowling too many overs in row, hence my ability to post on a Saturday night.

    Your Dewey quotes can be combined with Buckminster Fuller’s: ‘…new advantages were gained through great gropes in the dark by unknown, unsung intellectual explorers…’

  5. Top job Darcy. It may be Saturday night but this kinda thing deserves a response.

    You’ve gathered some highly relevant ideas and I hope that the loudspeaker you are using is loud enough for people to make decisions the way you, me and obviously a few of your readers.

    As compulsory goes, I reckon ask any half-decent librarian these days and they’ll be happy to give you, staff and other comers a ’23 things’ course (the stuff Helene Blowers started a few years ago and is absolutely great as people adopt it to their contexts). You clearly carry the pragmatic bone as a school administrator and someone responsible for getting people off their backs (often).

    What I genuinely fear with all this 2.0 stuff is that we’ll become overwhelmed with the ‘science’ of it, the getting it right, best, latest etc and ignore the awesome human potential it holds. That’s the beauty that needs to be shown to people, or I should say people need to feel, rather than being at some imaginary and ever-shifting ‘cutting-edge’.

    No amount of convincing how relevant, progressive, wonderful, useful etc 2.0 is is going to change people unless they feel it. The 2.0 is not a panacea, it is a super-placebo that still needs to be believed in. We can’t tell people how to feel to feel about IT, 2.0, even different pedagogical approaches. We can’t tell them to value something.

    But we (I refer to 2.0 dabblers like myself) can sure as hell help them enjoy it and believe in it making a change. Again, to do that, they need to believe in the ‘end’ product and greater freedom, autonomy and responsibility of students and teachers for their own learning (I don’t mean exam results here) – and for some, THAT’s the scary part. Loss of control. Loss of feeling of being in control of a physical class etc are all real and valid concerns that need to be honoured when dealing with teachers (some will never get it, just like smokers die of lung cancer…often).

    We are operating between increasing past and present myths, idea(l)s of the future and growing insecurities of staff and students. What an exciting time I say! (But then there is that Chinese proverb about living in interesting times isn’t there :-) Beats deadening ‘certainty’ any time!

    Keep up the good work mate, you are becoming a very wise operator (the ‘becoming’ bit is a compliment :-D ) and thank you for your post.

    Best wishes
    Tomaz

    PS You’ve inspired me to sit down, grab a glass of wine and post something on my scribble pad at Human. Cheers

  6. darcymoore:

    I think the training is both important and urgent. In today’s SMH:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/when-myspace-ends-in-tears/2009/01/31/1232818794690.html

    “A significant proportion of teachers do not use or understand interactive online technologies,” Macquarie University lecturer Damian Maher said in the report. “Significant progress in this area is required.”

  7. Wow. You have created a comprehensive argument and introduction to web 2.0 tools for schools. I appreciate the passion with which you have tackled these issues, especially since it is coupled with so many resources and research opportunities. I look forward to following how these ideas and practices progress as your work continues.

  8. darcymoore:

    ‘EVERY NSW public high school teacher will get a wireless mini-laptop computer just like their senior students.’

    We will all be ‘hyperconnected’ soon

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/teachers-in-laptop-of-luxury/2009/01/31/1232818794645.html

  9. I went from Blinklist to del.icio.us and now finally use diigo. You might want to create an account (if you don’t already have one) and then use diigo in PD. You could also apply to be a Diigo Educational Pioneer. So could your teachers as they move forward. Just a thought. Really nice preso that guides but does not overwhelm teachers in the shift.

  10. darcymoore:

    Thanks RJ and Kelly for your posts. I do not have a diigo account but will check it out (I have been trying to consolidate with the tools I use).

    Here’s another good link to more of Sue Waters work: http://suewaters.wikispaces.com/

  11. kellimcgraw:

    This post is such a good resource Darcy – everything the lay-teacher/exec needs to cover the key bases on web 2.0 and PLNs with their colleagues. I’ll be using this at next week’s technology meeting, and with faculty later in Feb.

    I am going to try using delicious with students for the first time this year. I’m tagging items of interest to students in the debating club with ‘debating_issues_09′, and students will hopefully do the same.

    It was also refreshing to see someone use the ‘I’m a parent’ line for good instead of evil (in your slides) – can you believe we were almost agreed this week on getting rid of exams in stage 4 English, until two teachers foiled the plan with ‘speaking as a parent, I wouldn’t be happy with that’. Cheap trick…always works!

  12. This is a great post Darcy. It is a fine blend of good thinking and practical, achievable ideas.
    Hard for any informed educator committed to their own professional learning to dismiss these persuasive strategies, since each of them is likely to engage learners in creative tasks with real-life applications.
    The post with its links to additional high-quality work by recognised education professionals provides all that is needed for a series of PL workshops.
    It will be my pleasure to draw it to the attention of friends and colleagues to spread the word on the potential of social learning2.0 to transform our teaching.
    Elaine

  13. Darcy, your drive and passion will have an impact. You have sown the seeds and now is the time to nurture the growth and spread the thinking, rationale and implementations of the programme set out above. Incremental yet formative steps.

    Change is underway in how many members of society communicate and act. Individuals are no longer simply the passive recipients of news and information. They now have the power to publish and disseminate information. Passive has been replaced by proactive. That entails a measure of responsibility.

    Decision making and choice was often imposed upon society via marketing and regulation. Now, via the web, individuals have the ability to make change occur from the ground up via rapid publication and the sharing of their views and decisions. Ideas and actions, both good and bad, can be disseminated quickly and efficiently.

    Technology has provided society with a new swathe of communication and publication skill sets. These new skills have arrived rapidly. Much can be achieved with the change that is taking place with respect to the empowerment of the individual and the group facilitated via the changing use of the Internet. The wise and beneficial use of these skills as positive change agents within society predicate that good exemplars and education is required.

    The Internet as a platform has changed. individuals are not simply an audience observing a performance on stage. They now have the potential to be part of the performance whether they be actors, writers, directors or producers. Education has a role to play in facilitating the staging of a good performance.

    Think upon the car. A rapid impact on society. Imagine driving on the roads if driver education had not taken place. Not the best of similes yet I feel that the evolution of the Internet as a media that primarily facilitated consumption to one that fosters participation educators (and also those elected to oversee the functioning of our society) cannot simply sit back and watch it happen. They need to be involved and, at least, to understand. Comprehension of the change can facilitate sound judgement and the provision of good exemplars for students, colleagues and the wider community.

    On another level the Internet and mobile technologies have collectively allowed the individual to be either a passenger or a driver on this new road. Our students have already made the decision to be drivers. The ride can either be bumpy or smooth. Would you rather be a passenger or a driver? Certainly not hiding in the boot of the car.

    Compulsory PD re Web 2.0? Will it happen? Frankly, I am not sure. Perhaps, like the car, the impact on society of Web 2.0 will become so significant and so pervasive that educators will want to secure that license and learn how to drive it anyway. Not all, but many.

    We all need to grab a map, buckle up, turn that ignition key and make the journey happen otherwise we will be left behind, standing at the kerb, and observing opportunity as it disappears over the horizon.

  14. I was at a conference where a speaker said that his young daughter asked “why do I have to go to school? I can Google anything I want to learn”. He was stumped and had no answer for her.

    Later when someone repeated it to me, I pointed out that teachers don’t just teach facts, they teach research and critical thinking.

    Perhaps Education 2.0 means much less factual knowledge and a much more teaching how to find the information, assess the information and contribute back. Because community members who contribute back their knowledge are overall happier than those who simply consume knowledge.

    I think it’s brilliant that you are pushing the envelope on what education in the social web means.

    So, imagine a classroom with two screens. One has the lecturers slides on it, the other is for the audience to ‘throw up’ relevant sites. Or a twitter stream for “back channel” discussions, like they have at web conferences. Participatory, engaged learning, with no judgement and high level of critical thinking.

  15. David Lewis:

    I had the privilige of instigating and introducing Darcy to this ISER Regional staff conference. I would also congratulate the senior leadership of the region on its thinking, in utilising this inspirational presentation in a tight timeline, and listening to my continual bleatings that we really need to look at this – now.

    In nearly four decades of working in and with schools, there are three types of people one encounters. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who say “What happenned?”

    Darcy obviously is in the first group.

    ISER has a moment in time, an opportunity to do something special with our people. The tipping point has been recognised, and the energy, expertise and wisdom of the group can be harnessed – and I can be part of it. Darcy’s presentation elped me make a hard personal decision about my own commitment to the future.

    Darcy, keep on keeping on!

  16. darcymoore:

    Wow! I really appreciate the input of everyone here – my PLN in action – thanks so much for your fine form.

    Thanks to David, who responds to a challenge well and is a very encouraging and warm colleague to have. Maybe some good 2.0 stuff will be happening in the ISER…very shortly.

    I am especially pleased to see the diversity of individuals commenting. DET, as well as independent school teachers and folks who work in education bunkers around the state. It is also great that not just educators are posting about this topic.

    Some folks at the ISER conference would have seen Laurel Papworth on the NSW Public Schools ‘Click’ site and maybe listened to the podcast: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/news/technology/cybersafety/yr2008/pod_socialnet.php
    And, at the next ISER conference lets have a Twitter backchannel, as suggested by Laurel, just for the experience.

    Thanks John, for the chat and your v. long, thoughtful comments and link from blog.

    Kelli, if you have a Connected Classroom, maybe we could do something live?

    Thanks Elaine, your support is just superb!

  17. What can I say? Been really busy but it was on my list to come back and leave a response.

    Glad your presentation went well and you found my information useful. We need to keep having these conversations at conferences to help spread the message. Eventually if they hear the message enough times it will make a difference.

    I’m pleased that for my presentation I did decide to set up the PLN yourself wiki because what I am now seeing is people who were at the conference working through the resources plus globally people are using it for themselves plus with their staff.

  18. darcymoore:

    Thanks Sue.

    I have had some emails from conference delegates and David has posted here but it is disappointing that their are no comments from the participants. I know the evaluations of the session are extremely positive with requests for more PLN sessions.

    One emailer said she would have posted but couldn’t work out how to comment and I also know that some are not keen to write in a ‘non-official’ blog like this that has not been sanctioned by DET.

    *sigh*

    Maybe it is my disclaimer ;O)

    Ironically, I have had an email from a colleague ‘in regional office’ asking me for online links for a project they are working on. I checked my Delicious network tags, sent them the link and asked on twitter (received half-a-dozen or more responses with good links).

    PLNs are quite handy, as you, dear reader, well know.

    I’m taking Sue’s sage advice:
    “We need to keep having these conversations at conferences to help spread the message. Eventually if they hear the message enough times it will make a difference.”

    By way of an addendum to my presentation, I should tell you that Lucy’s first day at school went swimmingly well. She positively skipped down the path from her classroom to the ‘oak trees’, where parents wait; she was beaming. “Dad, I love school”, she said unbidden.

    She asked me about her email account later that night. “Dad, you said when I am a school-kid I can have an email account”.

    We set one up together last night.

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