Opening day of International Boys’ Schools Coalition conference, in Melbourne today. Here is the Twitter stream from the keynote presentation by Dr Rufus Black, Master of Ormond College, Melbourne entitled “Practical Disciplines for the 21st Century Mind”.
Having been a player in this field for quite some time, I often find it frustrating that we converse within the ether of our social networks totally isolated from colleagues we meet in the school staffroom. My frustration lies in how we illustrate the value of new media to these colleagues in that elevator ride (30 second) timeslot we have to capture their attention, before the shutters come down.
I’m also aware of the right of every student to be educated to live and work in today’s society. For this reason, I’ve embedded here a video from Becta Web 2.0 in Education which deserves more than the 7221 views it’s had to date. Reason being, I believe it provides a clear explanation of why we should be using Web 2.0 tools in education. The term ‘Web 2.0′ is actually becoming redundant as the Internet evolves as an interactive space for creating, collaborating and communicating, however, it’s worth retaining for now as increasing numbers of educators are exploring change in the classroom.
Coaching at school on a daily basis and interacting with participants in the SLV/SLAV Personal Learning Project (PLN) reminds me constantly of the need to meet people where they are at with new media. It’s easy to unconsciously slip into jargon and suddenly be out of reach. Developing a climate of safe questions and conversations via Twitter and Facebook has evolved through the PLN project as an exceptionally effective support tool, illustrating clearly that success in adopting new media is not about struggling with it alone but rather, being part of the larger conversation.
Our students live socially interactive lives. A 2010 report Social Networking in Developing Countries is a market research document but it shows the social networks available across these countries that are also being used for communication.
Finally, a member of my personal learning network Hamish Curry @hamishcurry distributed a reference today via Twitter. It’s a post from January 2011 by Mahomed Kharbach entitled The 21st century pedagogy teachers should be aware of - I recommend this post as an accessible overview to anybody still trying to grasp details of the new media literacies.
Howard Rheingold has written extensively on what it means to be ‘literate’ in today’s world of exponential information growth and social connectivity. See his excellent article published in EDUCAUSE Review entitled Attention, and other 21st Century Social Media Literacies where he explains that to be information fluent today requires an individual to think critically and to build literacy through:
This video focusses ‘critical consumption’ – the ability to think critically and identify the difference between true and false information sources. How do we teach this to our students? Rheingold explains that literacy is not simply skill development but a combination of skill building and social involvement. Literacy today, he insists, is no longer text based but is a combination of:
This video Crap Detection 101 by Howard Rheingold is informative and provides ideas that can easily be transferred into the classroom for the benefit of students. 25 minutes well spent.
Much has been published in recent weeks about the proposed US SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) legislation, the intention of which was to provide control over copyright and the free use of resources shared via the Internet. This proposal started with the intention of controlling the widespread sharing of resources online. However, sharing online in today’s information landscape doesn’t only relate to media corporations and information related businesses, it relates to every individual who uses Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and all those applications we use on a daily basis. The ramifications of this legislation were far reaching and would effectively close down the Internet as we know it today. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed through online networks, influential individuals and sites like Wikipedia rallying to highlight the consequences, and the legislation has been withdrawn.
Why should we be concerned about this issue as Australians? New models are required for all industries today. The banks and telecommunications industry were early players in the field, the retail and education industries are amongst the latest. We are all having to rethink of the value, worth and influence of our products and services. Libraries are reinventing themselves. It is now spreading to the classroom where students have increased access to resources beyond the knowledge of the teacher. Like the media companies, we cannot run away from this but must look at new ways of working within a changed information environment. This is not a United States issue, it’s a world issue of which we all need, at the very least, a basic understanding.
Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media lays out the argument on Google+
PCWorld also provides a clear discussion in relation to small business
There will be more said about this topic and more legislation proposed both in Australia and elsewhere. In 2009 the Australian Federal Government was pushing to censor the Internet via ISP providers giving rise to sites such as No Clean Feed. This will be an ongoing issue until new models evolve of which we must all be aware.