Unit 7 Screenr

Here is the link to the first Screenr that I have posted. I love this natty little tool. It has huge potential for the classroom. I can see many opportunities for using it. Especially for introverted students who do not enjoy presenting in front of the class and who may actually enjoy presenting via screenr instead. It also has wonderful potential for creating tutorials that can be used in the absence of the teacher.My First Screenr

Unit 6: The Task

Unit 6: The task

How technology has changed my personal and working life and how this impacts on learning.

  • Your own progression with technology. How has it changed the way you learn and shaped your professional practice?

I started using technology in 1997 when I started to study Teacher Librarianship. From those early days there has certainly been a vast progression such that I now feel that I am totally addicted to social media and that I am always checking for updates. I use social media as much for work as I do socially. I use it extensively in my teaching but with my school now not being one to one I find that I have had to fall back on paper and pen for students. I find it frustrating that the capabilities of my school and the students to bring their computers has not kept up with the potential of technology.

  • Your feelings about the impact of technology on us as citizens.

The impact of technology on us as citizens has been extensive and ubiquitous. It is all pervasive and we are totally reliant on it for all aspects of our lives. Sometimes when I think about this reliance I get a little nervous as I consider what would happen if online banking and shopping and all other aspects of our lives was hacked. The web is extremely vulnerable to attack and in many ways it operates on good will. Our dependence upon it as citizens is total.

  • Your thoughts about the use of technology in learning and the role educators play in modelling the use of technology.

Educators are really at the mercy of students owning computers and the internet working at a reasonable speed when it comes to utilising new technology. At my school these two aspects have been problematic which has made utilising technology in a meaningful manner tricky. The only way around this is to utilise students’ mobile phones rather than expecting that they will have computers or other devices.

  • How technology can be used to support your chosen 5 characteristics of an effective learner.

           What are the characteristics of an effective learner?

If you had only five phrases to summarise the characteristics of an effective learner, what would they be?

  • Organised(how): Manages information in a way where it can be stored and retrieved easily. The web enables this through tools such as Diigo and Evernote, although for many people organisation is difficult to achieve but extremely necessary for successful learning.
  • Curious and Open-minded (why): Always investigating and follow up on hunches and ideas. Receptive to new ideas and not closed off to opinions that may differ from their own. The web offers a plethora of avenues for the curious and open-minded to follow, although in saying this it can take us in a multitude of directions that can often make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.
  • Creative (how): Thinks outside the square. The web offers many creative ways to demonstrate an understanding of the learning. Tools such as prezi, animoto, storify, glogster and others all enable alternative ways to present information. Although these should not be used for the sake of it but rather to enhance the learning.
  • Responsible (how): Knows how to be an ethical online learner and use information in a respectful manner. The web offers a mine field of ways to be unethical in information usage but on the other hand there are many resources out there to teach students the right way to manage their digital profiles and to be respectful of others and the information that they use.
  • Resourceful (what, who, when): Knows how and where to find information. This is where the web comes into its own. It is a treasure trove of information that is infinite in its extent. Knowing how to manage this and not get lost is essential for good learning.


  • We’d also love to read your predictions about how technology will change the way we learn in the future.


In the future we will embrace mobile technologies such as smart phones and tablets, desktops and laptops will be a thing of the past. They are clunky, expensive and don’t always do what we want.


Students will all have blogs that will be their digital portfolio. Much of their learning will be done online and they will be able to tap into educational institutions and experts globally. They will add to their portfolios by completing digital badges from countries all over the world.


Google glass will create some interesting options and will probably replace the smart phone.


There will still be a digital divide as disadvantaged students will find it hard to access information and devices in a meaningful manner.


Digital citizenship will be essential to learning and all students will need to be taught how to many their digital life.


ebooks will be all pervasive but I hope for some that they still prefer to read hard copies as well.


Hand writing will still be encouraged as research has proven that this is still the best way for children to retain information and to learn. Rather than being on paper this handwriting could be done on tablets with a stylus that would be converted to a digital format.


Voice recognition will take off and after a time may even replace the need to type and handwrite.


Newspapers in their current form will not exist and citizens will customise their own news via rss feeds, twitter and facebook.


None of this is new and is happening now. The speed with which this has occurred has been so rapid that I don’t even think my brain can comprehend what is around the corner.





Refine the Web

  • I have always been an early adopter of new technologies and continue to develop my skills but I am very aware of the constant need to keep up and that it is so easy to slip and before you know it you have been left behind. That is why the PLN is such a wonderful way to revisit new digital learning and how these many tools can assist myself and my students in their learning. I have always had an online presence and have done much of my learning through subscriptions to blogs, pages on Facebook and Twitter and the many links that they enable. I still read non-fiction books if I wish to explore a topic in depth but the internet is often the best approach to getting summaries around an idea and to reach out to colleagues in an accessible and timely manner.
  • Technology has impacted hugely upon citizens. It is all pervasive and it is essential to operating successfully in this digital age. I have always attempted to act in an ethical manner when I am online and have always been very mindful of the impression that I create online. I always check the privacy settings of the social media sites that I use and I only accept people I know as my friends. I do not post photos that may offend and I am very annoyed when I find that people do not do the same.  When speaking to my 17 year old daughter about her online presence she said that she always tries to present a positive impression of herself and she does not post things that would be detrimental to her reputation. She does not post incriminating photos and she said that she would never post anything that her parents and teachers would not approve of. She mainly uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snap chat. She has dabbled in having two Facebook accounts and using a pseudonym but mainly uses the one User-name for all account. She says that she is different to other people her age and that they appear to be unaware of the impact of their online presence and that they simply don’t care about what they post and do not worry that this may have an everlasting impact on their reputation.
  • It is simply a given that we should use technology in learning. It offers a number of tools that certainly enhance learning and it cannot be ignored. The challenge for us as educators is to ensure that we help students to become productive and ethical users of technologies. I see my role in the library as essential to imparting this knowledge. My biggest challenge is getting access to classes and sharing my knowledge. I viewed the materials for Unit 5 and will definitely use some of these with classes. The ‘Tagged’ documentary inspired me to write a five week course for year 8 or 9 students for teachers to conduct in advisory classes. I will present this in a community meeting and suggest that staff work through this program with their students. As educators we owe it to students to teach them to be informed about their digital presence. We also need to be operating in this space to ensure that we are confident users and can impart our knowledge to students and help them to understand their responsibilities. I do not believe in blocking programs and I take a ‘harm management’ approach where students learn to operate more effectively. I will return to this material as much of it could be adapted to my school.
  • The 5 characteristics that I believe make an effective learner are:

 Organised: It is essential to learning to help students to manage their time and their work output and there are online resources that can support this. Evernote immediately leaps to mind as a way of keeping track of research and commenting on where you have been. Storify is also another way of demonstrating this learning in an electronic format.
Creative: It is important for students to feel safe in their learning to play with whatever resources are available to extend this creativity. Tools such as Prezi, Wordle, Glogster, Storybird and Storify are a few examples of how learning can be demonstrated in a more creative manner.
Literate: The internet, unlike many predictions, offers many opportunities to improve literacy and from where I sit I see students reading and communicating more than ever, they are simply choosing a different platform. The opportunity to access free e book classics is enticing, as it subscribing to newspapers online. Good Reads provides the opportunity to store all of this information online and blogs allow for reading and reviewing to be shared.
Inquiring: The internet offers a goldmine for the inquiring mind. Questions can be answered in a flash and search engines can take researchers to unexpected places. Twitter enables people to extend their learning network and to connect globally. TED talks offer the opportunity to learn and inquire on a daily basis and to extend your thinking.
Digitally competent: The more that students use these tools online the more competent they will become and the more able and discerning they will be in choosing the right tool to showcase their learning. Many of these resources are intuitive and once you master one it helps you to understand the concept and become competent. The power is then sharing this information with others.

  • How will technology  change the way we learn in the future? This is a big question! It has certainly increased the pace of learning and the scope of where we get information from. Learning becomes border-less and provides the opportunity for us to be global citizens. To operate effectively in this environment it will be essential to keep organised and to keep track of where we have been and where we are going. It is exciting to think that students from remote locations will be able to log into lessons online at city schools and will not face the tyranny of distance when it comes to accessing education. The NBN will make this a reality when it is rolled out. The internet theoretically should create a level playing field if all players have access to computing. It is truly exciting and mind boggling when you think about where this will take you as a learner. We will all be travelers in this virtual space and hopefully able to customise the way we learn by choosing tools and pathways that suit us best.

Web Searching and Tagging

I chose to use the topic of roman gladiators to test out four search engines: Google, Duck Duck Go, Bing and InstaGrok. I was a little underwhelmed by some and pleasantly surprised by others.

Google brought up the most hits and of course has the option of its wide range of search tools to limit your search. It is the search engine that I use by default and it makes regular improvements to improve your search outcome.

Duck Duck Go produced a reasonable amount of results but the actual amount was not listed. It is visually simple which makes it easier on the eye. It includes symbols for sites next to the hits which makes it easy to determine where the site is from.

Bing is very similar to Google. It offers lots of search options with its ‘More’ tab which enables you to focus your search. It also lets you search by images and videos. It has a ‘related search’ section which is also helpful. It lists the amount of hits but it did not get as many as Google.

InstaGrok was a lot of fun. I like the graphic with the mind map which is excellent for the visual students. I thought the ‘Journal’ section was helpful for students. The options on the right of the page of ‘key facts’, ‘websites’ and ‘Videos’ was also helpful. The site is visually simple and would appeal to students because is doesn’t overly complicate the search.

Based on this search I would continue to use Google but I will be showing InstaGrok to my students.


I have been tagging particularly when I use Instagram as well as Twitter so it was nothing new to me. I will endeavour to use it more in the future.



Evaluating a Website

The website that I have chosen to look at is the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge site. This is a site that I use often as a part of my daily work. I used the CRAP method of evaluation to determine if the site is acceptable (which I know it to be anyway)

Currency: The site was last updated on March the 28th 2013 and therefore does not have information and a photo of the new Premier, Denis Napthine. I was actually a little surprised that it has been nearly two months since it was updated and I put this down to budget cuts.

Reliability: The site is very reliable as it comes under the umbrella of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Developement (DEECD). It is a well know site that is used extensively by schools across the state. It has stringent privacy protection for students who must have a complex pass word to access their accounts.

Authority: This is a very authorative site. It has the backing of the State education department and ex Premiers and the current Premier. It also has a number of well respected authors who are ambassadors. It represents the Education Department’s view on reading and literacy for students across the state. The challenge has been in operation since 2006.

Purpose: The purpose of the site is to allow for ease of navigation for teachers and students so that their reading data can be uploaded onto the web site with the view of meeting the challenge. It is an intuiitive site that has progressively made improvements over the past few years.

In summary this is a site that I trust and that I use on a regular basis and it is responsive to suggestiions by users.


The Service that I chose to evaluate was Storify, an online service that integrates your social networking sites around a topic.
  • The service offers you to ability to sign in using your twitter or Facebook account. You can also sign in with a unique Storify account. I like the idea of signing in with the big 2 because this saves having to have yet another account.
  • I read through the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and they all look fairly straight forward. This service would only be suitable for use in a secondary school because you have to be 13 years or older to use it. What you put up is also public so you would have to carefully monitor how you used the service and that students were well aware of who was seeing their stories.
  • I have created my first Storify and I see huge potential for sharing information with my professional learning network as well as extensive use in the classroom. It is very easy to use and allows you to put elements from the major online services such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc in the one spot.
  • It is excellent for tuning students into a topic and enabling them to look broadly into a topic. They could create their own Storify account and create similar versions for themselves. It enables them to store all of their research on a topic in the one place and makes it easy to navigate through these sources and not lose where they have been with their searching. The Storify could be included with any formal assessment that they submit. As far as the SAMR model goes, this fits into the Transformation area as it allows a task such as research to be re-modeled and shared across the web. This service relies on students having accounts with the more popular social networking sites.
  • I have created a Storify with some links to various services on the topic of Power and Corruption in North Korea. I will use this to assist students with their understanding of life in that country and the struggles that the citizens encounter. I spent only half an hour creating this Storify which is testament to its potential in the classroom. The link for my Storify is: http://storify.com/shariem/power-and-corruption-in-north-korea

Evaluating Instagram

1. The online service that I have chosen to look at is Instagram.

2. I got seriously bored reading through the long winded Terms of Use for this service. It went on for ages and lost my interest immediately. The language appeared to be simple enough but there was just so much of it. The Privacy Policy was equally long winded although a little more user friendly with a contents section with links. It was easy to read but boring nonetheless. 

3. On the App site I could find no way of exporting data. On the web based site there was a section in the FAQ’s that said that all photos uploaded or taken in instagram automatically become part of your photo roll on that device and therefore I guess this is a way of exporting the data. There was nothing specific and I am not sure that all of the photos do become part of your photo roll.

4. It was a bit vague about closing the account and suggested that you go directly to the ‘support’ link. It did say that does retain information for ‘…a commercially reasonable time.’ It did seem fairly straightforward to close the account.

This is a very popular site and is used by millions of people, especially teenagers. I would recommend it because it seems to cover thoroughly all the privacy and terms of use aspects. It is a reputable site. The fact that I couldn’t easily find a way to export my data is a bit concerning but I am sure if I emailed ‘support’, that they would be able to assist me.


Unit 3 Reflection

I am a regular user of Facebook but I mainly use it for catching up with friends and family. Lately though, I have been adding links to authors and other educational groups which has expanded my usage. The trouble is that all friends and groups are in the one big pot and after exploring Google + I have discovered that the circle concept enables you to compartmentalise you friends which should cause less confusion.

I do love Facebook and I see potential in schools but it is currently blocked in my school so there is no scope at this stage. There is part of me that likes to keep Facebook as my personal space rather than overlap with school. Just like having two email addresses, maybe I should look into having two Facebook accounts. Although once again time is the issue and finding the time to check so many accounts and keep up to date with what is going on will be problematic.

Twitter is a great way to share ideas when students are looking at  a particular topic. My school does have a twitter account and this is a good way to put notifications up about what is happening at school. I started a masters course a few years ago and was in a lecture when they encouraged us to tweet while the lecture was given. It was a cute idea but I felt a bit distracting from the main lecture so I have been unsure about using it in this way in my classes.

I had a play with Google + and love it for the reasons mentioned above. I have joined several communities and created a PLN circle.

My Twitter Account

My Twitter account is


Twitter has often been a poor cousin  compared to Facebook but I am currently loving it and find that I am using it more for my professional side rather than personal. I love that it is brief and that I can instantly work out if this is a tweet that may be of interest to me. I have so many excellent people to following with myriad links to expand my personal learning network.

Unit 2 Assessment

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?

After completing this challenging unit I feel that my record keeping previously has been a disaster and solely based around my outlook, my documents in my computer, notes in my iPad and iPhone and hundreds of bookmarks in internet explorer in windows and safari on my Apple devices. I am all over the shop and trying to keep track of all of those passwords is time consuming in itself. Evernote certainly has potential for me as does Diigo. The challenge is to use them regularly so that they become automatic, that way I will get maximum benefit. I share resources mainly through the Apps that I use and through Facebook and twitter but Diigo will certainly allow me to explore this further.

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

Teaching these sorts of skills is essential for students and I will make it a priority to establish this with my English class next term as a minimum. I will trial some of these techniques with my class and then offer to share this with other interested staff and students who come to my Library to learn information skills. There is so much to do that it is kind of mind boggling but deeply exciting. I believe that students have become progressively more disorganised when it comes to online resources so it is up to me and my colleagues to teach students how to manage themselves more productively when they are researching online.

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

Digital technologies have changed dramatically how we organise ourselves and it is essential that we have tools such as those covered in this unit to help us keep track of where we have been, what we have learnt and where we want to go next. These tools are essential for survival in the digital age and we cannot assume that we automatically understand these skills. They have to be learnt by teachers and taught to students. The challenge is that digital technologies change almost on a daily basis so keeping up can be tricky. When I think about it most kids do well with their mobile phones to keep track of their social networking, texting and contacts but there is so much more that can be improved upon.

Here is my link to my first ever Evernote post. I feel like it was an eternity ago in digital learning time.