Archive for July, 2012

My Pinterest Boards (and why I’m bothering to make some)

For the first half of this year it seemed like all anyone was asking me was ‘do you have Pinterest?’

All throughout semester one, when I asked students about Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr, I was guaranteed to get a few voices around the room crying ‘Pinterest!’

It sounded like a cool tool.  A virtual pinboard – just make a board on a topic or ‘interest’ (ahhhh… pin + interest = ‘pinterest’!), then add images and videos to it. Always a fan of putting posters on my bedroom wall, covering my school folder with pictures under contact paper, and putting stickers on random bits of stuff, this highly visual curation tool has always sounded promising to me.

I had made the decision in semester one, however, to steer clear of Pinterest. This choice was purely motivated by my fear of taking up another addictive web tool … the first semester of this year was just too busy already to attempt trying new things.

Some questions have also flown around over time about the ethics and copyright implications of re-pinning images without permission, and I confess this made me wary.

THIS SEMESTER, however, I am pinning!

My most promising board so far is the one I have made to collect links  for the unit ‘Culture studies: Indigenous education’ (EDB007):

I hope to engage students in my two tutorials by sharing the board with them and inviting them to explore the links I’ve collected/curated.

Of course, I could have chosen to share my links in other ways, but they all have their drawbacks:

  • on a handout (which is not hyperlinked)
  • in a Blackboard/LMS post (students hate and avoid Blackboard)
  • using social bookmark sharing e.g. delicious (so far unsuccessful; students don’t use/engage)

My hope is that the visual nature of Pinterest, and the ability to browse it socially and on mobile devices, will entice a few students to explore the links I’ve found.

As far as the image copyright issue is concerned, I think I’ll just wait and see if any of these organisations complains, eh? I have done my best to attribute the images, that’s all I can say.

Last word:

This slide presentation by Joe Murphy (@libraryfuture) was really helpful for me:

Acrl webcast pinterest for academics

View more presentations from Joe Murphy

Joe makes this observation: 

“Pinterest succeeds at the juncture of the major online and content trends of:

  • self curation
  • image engagement and sharing
  • visual search/discovery
  • and social discovery”

In addition, points made in these slides about the potential of Pinterest to expand community engagement and open up services to diverse clients made me even more eager to try using this service as a teaching resource.

Here’s hoping my bid to invoke some ‘cool’ in my classroom pays off!

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I give a Gonski

The Federal Government commissioned David Gonski to conduct a comprehensive review of school funding in Australia – the final report was released in February 2012.

I wanted to post here the series of tweets that I sent out yesterday, when Peter Garrett was in Brisbane:

What comments would you make in relation to the Gonski recommendations?

Are you a public school supporter? A public school teacher?

What do you think it will take to close the gap?

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Storify – ACARA Senior English subject drafts #ozengchat

On 19th June I shared the role of leader/discussant with @vivimat in the 8.30-9.30pm Tuesday #ozengchat stream that takes place on Twitter.

The topic: the draft Senior English subjects proposed by ACARA.

You can check out the ‘Storify’ made by Vivian to see all of the tweets from the discussion that night collected in one place:

If you haven’t yet found where to download the draft curriculum documents from, here is the URL:

Consultation on these documents ends on 20th July, 2012 (THAT’S SOON!) You can contact your professional association to ask if you can add comments to their response, or lodge your own response at the ACARA consultation website: (you will need to register first).

Some interesting comments made during the #ozengchat were:

  • That an ‘English Literature’ (EL) course would flow nicely into university study
  • That the EL course did not look significantly more difficult than the ‘English’ (E) course
  • That the assumption is that in NSW, the current Standard course aligns with ‘English’ while the current Advanced course aligns with ‘English Literature’ – but this is not at all the case
  • That bridging the gap between Year 10 and Year 11 & 12 needs a stronger focus
  • That the proposal to organise Senior English into semester-long units seems to align with what currently happens in Western Australia…but we’re not sure where else (?)
  • That the local state/territory bodies would still be responsible for assessment and examination; i.e. many did not realise that the NSW BOS would still be responsible for setting the HSC reading list
  • That English Studies as exists in NSW (non-ATAR course) filled a big gap – the hope is that ‘Essential English’ (EE) turns out to be like English Studies (or English Communication, a similar course in QLD)
  • That English would likely remain mandatory in NSW, and people wondered why it was not so in other states/territories

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to the proposed Senior English subjects!

I hope to have a new post up soon with some of my personal thoughts about the drafts. In the meantime, if you’ve been thinking about (or wondering about) the curriculum ACARA has proposed, drop a comment here – let’s chat about it!

[View the story “#ozengchat for June 19th 2012” on Storify]

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