Global Changes in Education: the teacher’s role

This video “addresses the forces of change that are causing educators globally to rethink what education for today’s students should involve.”
Students are moving from learning about an historical body of information to becoming life-long learners manipulating information to solve and innovate in inquiry projects.
How do we help them to become capable of managing their own learning and to be learning forever? Information literacy and digital literacy is the key and this is the special role of Teacher Librarians as they team with classroom teachers in the school.

Google search – less hits, more relevance?

A fascinating article was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend. Besides describing how Google operates at its headquarters in California, it tells of where it is aiming to go in the next ten years.

From a collection of information sites to specifically selected, collected and disseminated knowledge….

Googlers are now being urged to understand that turning uncounted trillions of pieces of data into more trillions of pages of retrievable information was a mere baby step in a march towards something much grander and less tangible: the getting and disseminating of knowledge.

It means, effectively, teaching computers to think; to figure out precisely what a user might want to know, find it and then package it up so it can be digested in the shortest possible time and in the most useful possible manner.

Read more:

Social Media and Learning

The blog post from Mind Shift: How we will learn entitled A Case for Using Social Media with Learning is worth sharing and fosters ideas and discussion points as teachers come to grips with the integration of social media into learning activities. Aran Levasseur says that “Social media has the potential to revolutionize our model of learning by transforming individual students from information silos into smart nodes within a dynamic and interdependent learning network. By serving as the connective tissue of a learning environment — whether it’s a class, school or community organized around common interests — social media can enhance student communication, collaboration and problem solving by aggregating perspectives.” This blog post could initiate discussion in the staffroom as we come to grips with change in our schools and classrooms.

Year 10 students present their Guided Inquiry work at TL Network meeting

On Friday 28 October five of our Year 10 students who have been studying “Issues in Australian Society” presented their work in the IRC Theatrette. They were sharing their personal perspective of the use of Guided Inquiry as a research process for their unit of work in Commerce. The occasion was a Network Meeting of Teacher Librarians of the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) and over twenty Teacher Librarians from across Sydney were in attendance .

The students described the Information Search Process and examples of the scaffolds they used to enable them to delve deeply into their selected topic areas. James then gave a four minute presentation of the answer to his self constructed question “Should nuclear energy, keeping in mind financial and environmental impacts,be implemented as a major source of electricity over the current major sources of electricity in Australia?”.

The students had used a wiki for storage of their work and to share their learning and this included peer review at the end of the unit of work.

TED talk by inspirational School Librarian, Dr Joyce Valenza

Dr Joyce Valenza is well known worldwide by Teacher Librarians for her innovative use of technology in schools and her contributions to the development of Web2.0 tools integrated into school research practice. She regularly visits Australia to share at our professional development conferences.

“Have our schools reached their limits?” Will Richardson

In his blog The Huffington Post, Will Richardson discusses the paper “Right to Learn: Identifying Precedents for Sustainable Change”
He says:
As a parent and a former classroom teacher, I for one hope all of the current ideas for “reform” fail because few, if any, of them put our kids’ learning lives first. Right now it’s about more standardization in our classrooms, more competition between our schools, and whatever is easiest and cheapest to implement. In many ways, it’s embarrassing the depth to which the conversation has sunk.

And I agree with the premise of the report: if we continue to place our energy toward “fixing the system,” literally millions of kids will be under-served in the process. Instead, what if we put a laser-like focus on improving real student learning, not test scores? (And yes, the two are decidedly different.)

Let’s start talking about how we can begin to deliver more personalized, relevant learning to kids right now. Let’s rethink our definitions of teacher and classroom and school, in some profound, albeit, radical ways. Let’s deeply consider the affordances that technologies bring to the learning equation, despite being made decidedly uncomfortable by those potentials in some big ways.

Read this thought provoking blog entry and click on the paper if you want to go further.
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Sir Ken Robinson: “Out of our minds: Learning to be creative”

On 16 March 2011, Sir Ken Robinson presented a talk to the Learning Without Frontiers community on valuing the arts in the redesign of education. He advocates including the arts as a core part of the curriculum to encourage creativity that will lead to innovative and creative thinking.

This talk was followed by a panel discussion available here:
If you are interested in Educational Policy and change these videos are a must!