Tag Archives: critical thinking

Informing instructional design with theory & practice

I came across this book while browsing on ISSUU today and it really resonated with me as I have been working with some teachers in designing new curriculum units to open up their classrooms to more inquiry-based learning and encouraging their students to lead individual and group-based inquiry experiences.

It is important for us as educators to be able to effectively articulate the implications of learning theory on our practice. This demonstrates informed instructional design – its not all about the ‘what’, its also about the ‘why’.

The 2nd edition of ‘How We learn, What We Learn’ by Kate Atkins and Neil Hopkin provides teachers with a concise overview of learning theory that can underpin our pedagogical practice in 21st century schools.

Now is the time! My keynote address at Northern Sydney TLs Conference, 15 May 2014

I had a lovely morning in the northern suburbs of Sydney today, connecting with so many of my teacher librarianship graduates from Charles Sturt University. When you work as a lecturer for close on 20 years, it is not difficult to help ‘populate your profession’ as I have done!!

I also enjoyed connecting with this group of 100 TLs in my new capacity as Head of Professional Learning for Syba Academy.

Here’s my slides:

My main message was to ‘unthink the way you live and work’ and rediscover yourself. The introduction of the Australian Curriculum provides teacher librarians with many rich opportunities to establish or invigorate their teaching role. This presentation explores the richness that inquiry learning offers as an interdisciplinary approach to support students in exploring the world, and developing important critical and creative skills, understandings and dispositions along the way.

Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams manifesto

It is absolutely pouring with rain here in Canberra. We have had about 18mm in the past hour and for a summer’s day, it’s cold! But I don’t mind, today I downloaded Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams, and over a couple of glasses of red wine this evening I am going to devour every word of his 30,000 manifesto.


I’ve already read the first few sections and I am hooked! Section 5 really grabbed my attention:

and from what I have scanned his argument about traditional schooling being based on obedience and control captures what what we have been struggling with for the past 2 decades (at least), especially now we are living in a digitally driven, socially networked world… the ways we live and work are constantly changing, however many schools have not even shifted beyond first gear in terms of technology provision and networked access to online information and services. Not to mention a school curriculum based on critical and creative inquiry, collaborative learning, transliteracy, digital citizenship, personal learning environments, mobile learning, 3D virtual worlds as authentic learning environments, just to name a few.

Sections of Godin’s manifesto can easily be used to support professional learning activities. I can’t wait to see some of Seth’s ideas being discussed in tweet streams of edu hashtags such as #edchat and #tlchat in the near future!

I’d be interested to hear from others how Seth’s manifesto is being used to support professional learning in their school, district or PLN.

Curating Information & Making Sense of Data Is a Key Skill for the Future [Research]

Via Scoop.itFuture Trends in Libraries

Excellent scoop on Scoop.it by Future Trends in Libraries curated by nickcarman. He states:

Extremely valuable skills for Information Professionals of the future… The Institute for the Future and the University of Phoenix have teamed up to produce, this past spring, an interesting report entitled Future Work Skills 2020.   By looking at the set of emerging skills that this research identifies as vital for future workers, I can’t avoid but recognize the very skillset needed by any professional curator or newsmaster.   It should only come as a limited surprise to realize that in an information economy, the most valuable skills are those that can harness that primary resource, “information”, in new, and immediately useful ways.   And being the nature of information like water, which can adapt and flow depending on context, the task of the curator is one of seeing beyond the water, to the unique rare fish swimming through it.  The curator’s key talent being the one of recognizing that depending on who you are fishing for, the kind of fish you and other curators could see within the same water pool, may be very different.     

Here the skills that information-fishermen of the future will need the most:   1) Sense-making: ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed;   2) Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions;   3) Novel and adaptive thinking: proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based;   4) Cross-cultural competency: ability to operate in different cultural settings;   5) Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning;   6) New media literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication;   7) Transdisciplinarity: literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines;   8) Design mindset: ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes;   9) Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques;   10) Virtual collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.

Executive Summary of the Report

Download a PDF copy of Future Work Skills 2020

Via apolloresearchinstitute.com

PBL supports development of 21C skills

This recently released School News Special Report (January 2009) on project-based learning (PBL) demonstrates how PBL can help students develop such 21st-century skills as “problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity”. Executive Director of the Buck Institute, John Mergendoller highlights the authentic learning principles underpinning PBL which:

…engages students’ interest and motivates them to learn. One of the main reasons kids drop out of school is because they’re bored. With project-based learning, students are encouraged to explore their own interests and to make connections to the world beyond school.

The report also identifies how technology is becoming more integral to PBL as well as the development of students’ information skills. I recommend students read this report while exploring the concepts of resource-based learning, inquiry learning  and information literacy (Topic 4) in ETL401. Feel free to add your views here on the value of PBL in developing students’  21st century.

New York Times features school library in the digital age

Helping kids critically evaluate information
Helping kids critically evaluate information

Great to see a teacher librarian achieve ‘street cred’ by being featured in the New York Times. This article and accompanying videoclip illustrate the importance of having a dynamic information specialist on staff who is both a qualified teacher and librarian. Presents the importance of the TL’s role in supporting the development of students’ literacy skills as well as critical thinking skills. Note Rosalia’s advice to the young 5th grader about the need to select books that are of an appropriate reading age in order to ‘have fun’ in the coming week.