Read // Watch // Share // Connect

This post has been written for participants at a conference in July where I am making a presentation to teachers. Rather than only focussing on pre-reading, I have decided to provide a range of digital approaches that include reading, watching TED Talks, finding some relevant blogs and signing up for Twitter. The conference theme is “Embracing Change”. If you have an idea that would help other teachers please leave a comment, or tweet me @scil

Hello everyone,

I’m really looking forward to meeting you at the conference in July. Because we are going to talk about embracing change, I thought I’d present this pre-conference material a little differently.

We are facing an era of unprecedented pace of change. So if I am going to talk to you about this topic, and I forward a handout for you to print and read beforehand, then I wouldn’t be true to what I believe. It is important for us all to become comfortable with reading and interacting within a digital interface. So what you will find in this blog are four different ways that you can start thinking about the conference day

Read, Watch, Share & Connect.

The information here will be the foundation of what I will talk to you about. So don’t leave this to the last minute the night before or the morning of the conference, put a day in your diary, grab a cuppa and take some time to digest the ideas. I would love to hear your thoughts about what you have found out, blogs you’ve read, videos you’ve watched and maybe how Twitter has changed your perspective! Tweet me @scil.

So here is your pre-learning – Read, Watch, Share & Connect. Just with any learning, it’s up to you how far you decide to take it.


A challenge to change

Digital natives in the digital age come to our schools every day. Did you know that:

45% of young people said they felt happiest when they were online

75% of young people claimed that they couldn’t live without the internet

86% loved how new technology helps them communicate with people

96% of 16 to 24 year olds say they use another media device whilst using the internet


Our world is different, students are different but for many students their life inside school is very different from their life outside school.

  • What do these statistics mean for schools today?
  • What can we do to bridge the gap between us and our future leaders?

Schools need to change to engage and inspire students to be lifelong learners


“Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg in an abridged version of their book, The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, argue that traditional institutions must adapt or risk a growing mismatch between how they teach and how this new generation learns. Forms and models of learning have evolved quickly and in fundamentally new directions. Yet how we teach, where we teach, who teaches, and who have changed only around the edges.”

Ten principles that can guide in adapting to learning in a digital age:

Self-learning: They browse, scan, follow links in mid-paragraph to related material. They look up information and follow new threads. They create their own paths to understanding.

Horizontal structures: Rather than top-down teaching and standardized curriculum, today’s learning is collaborative; learners multitask and work out solutions together on projects.

From presumed authority to collective credibility:  A key challenge in collaborative environments will be fostering and managing levels of trust.

A de-centred pedagogy: To ban or limit collective knowledge sources such as Wikipedia in classrooms is to miss the importance of collaborative knowledge-making.

Networked learning:  Networked learning is committed to a vision that stresses cooperation, interactivity, mutual benefit, and social engagement, not competition.

Open source education:  Networked learning is an “open source” culture that seeks to share openly and freely in both creating and distributing knowledge and products.

Learning as connectivity and interactivity:  Digital tools and software make working in isolation on a project unnecessary.

Lifelong learning: The speed of change in this digital world requires individuals to learn anew, face novel conditions, and adapt at a record pace. Learning never ends.

Learning institutions as mobilizing networks: New institutions must begin to think of themselves as mobilizing networks. Issues of consideration in these institutions are ones of reliability and predictability alongside flexibility and innovation.

Flexible scalability and simulation: Learning institutions must be open to changing scale. Students may work in small groups on a specific topic or together in an open-ended and open-sourced contribution.

  • Have you seen a mismatch between how we teach and how this generation learns?
  • Is there one thing here that has challenged you in your practice?

Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant?

In 2001 Marc Prensky first used this term to delineate between those that were born into to the digital world and those who have learnt the habits and culture of this new ‘land’, in ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’ (Prensky 2001):

Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. Today’s students have not just changed incrementally from those of the past … A really big discontinuity has taken place. One might even call it a “singularity” – an event which changes things so fundamentally that there is absolutely no going back. This so-called “singularity” is the arrival and rapid dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century…. Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

Read more about this in research papers written by Stephen Harris, Principal at Northern Beaches Christian School:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

If you are prepared to take up the challenge, Ian Jukes outlined 15 ways to help you become a smarter teacher for the digital age:

  1. Understand That It’s About Them, Not Us
  2. Study the Student
  3. Create Safe Environment
  4. Exude Passion as well as Purpose
  5. Show Students How Much They Need to Learn
  6. Keep It Clear, Even If You Can’t Keep It Simple
  7. Be Vulnerable While Still Being Credible
  8. Teach from the heart
  9. Repeat the important parts
  10. Ask Good Questions
  11. Don’t Just Pass Out Information
  12. Stop talking and start listening
  13. Let the students teach each other
  14. Avoid Using the Same Approach for Everyone
  15. Never stop teaching

See the full text on the 21st Century Fluency Project website. It has some great resources and ideas that you can try with your students –

  • Which are the ones where you are going well?
  • What is one area you can work on?


Must watch TED talks for those who teach the digital natives:

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools kill creativity?

Alan November: “I have to decide, do I work for my teacher or do I publish to the world?”

Charles Leadbeater: Education Innovation in the slums

Sugata Mitra: New experiments in self-teaching


Become an innovator and share your ideas and join the conversation. There is a community of educators sharing practice through blogging. You may think you have nothing to talk about, but this is a mindset, of course you do. Have a look at a few blogs and sign up and get started.

What Ed Said: Does your school…?

Teacher Tom, teaching and learning from pre-schoolers  – Best Teacher Edublog 2010

Stephen Harris blog – Principal at Northern Beaches Christian School

Steve Collis – Director of Innovation at Northern Beaches Christian School

Google: blog, education, [your area of interest] and then start investigating and share your ideas

Which blog site to use: – formal style blog interface, good data gathered – really simple to use, to upload photos easily

Ideas shared – these bounced into @scil’s Twitter feed this weekend:

Flickr for teachers:

21stC Mobile Learning Devices:

Are you a learner?

Some design ideas for your school:

Joining is important to social learning:


Twitter is so much more than telling people what I had for breakfast. If you really want to understand the world of young people then you need to embrace social media. You might just like it! Here is what you do:

  1. Go to
  2. Sign up for a Twitter account
  3. Follow people you find interesting. For education start with: @scil, @whatedsaid, @Stephen_H, @ewanmcintosh, @Steve_Collis
  4. Tweet your own great ideas, resources you’ve found and share your triumphs
  5. Check regularly and find lots of great ideas and trends

The lingo – the basics:

@ Replies – An “at reply” is when you want to send a public message to someone in the Twittersphere, They may or may not see it, depending on how many they follow

DM – “Direct messages” can go between people who follow each other and from ‘Following’ to ‘Follower’, but not the other way around

RT – When you really like a tweet of someone you follow, “Retweeting” sends it out to your followers

Following and Followers: When you follow a person, you will receive their Twitter feed, but unless they are following you they won’t receive theirs.

Hashtags (#)

  1. Next time you are at a conference join the conversation by using the hashtag – and it there isn’t one, start one.
  2. Follow Twitter conversations like #edchat to see what ideas people are sharing, whether you follow them or not

Find out more from my blog

Twitter for beginners

See you on the 18th July and have a fantastic break


6 thoughts on “Read // Watch // Share // Connect

  1. Really looking forward to hearing you speak, Anne. Thanks for the collection of information…have always loved Sir Ken Robinson glad to see him included for our CSA conference.

    Yvonne Hughes
    Head of Junior Primary
    St Andrews Christian College


  2. The mantra of ‘change’ has been with us for a while now. Computers and the internet are not exactly new either. I remember the shock when affordable calculators arrived, supposedly ending the need to rote-learn maths tables, and to master mental arithmetic. A serious discussion on educational change must factor in Naplan testing, VCE examinations and the demands of employers and tertiary institutions. Educational change needs to be responsible, ensuring that new learning structures pay due attention to the non-negotiable elements of the curriculum (little things like numeracy and literacy come to mind). Teens love to spend hours socialising via the internet and their mobile phones. It is naive to confuse this with education.


  3. I really appreciate the effort you’ve taken to practice what you preach with this pre-reading material. It bodes well for tomorrow’s conference.

    I liked the Alan November video in particular…I hadn’t seen that one before.

    How abour #csa2011 for tomorrow’s hashtag? It doesn’t appear to be in use atm.

    I’m really looking forward to your talk tomorrow. Good luck.


  4. The comments by Ted above are food for thought. I think we all feel this tension between government requirements, parents and change theory.
    It is interesting though that some business are doing away with everyone being at a desk, that they congregate together like in a cafe. Some business even have a rotation of desks. You basically place an order or book a desk. Its not just education changing. Throw in the NBN and watch more people working from home sending large junks of data down the line. How will this change schools? The imagination runs wild. Sadly, schools and change are far too slow for my liking but I think Ted cautions us to be careful. We can waste time in this process and our students should not be an exercise in experimentation. I am confident we can handle this well as long as we are trained, given time and enjoy the process. Time is the biggest killer though. It also costs money to some extent.


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