World Book Club

World Book ClubThe BBC world book club does a lot to support reading, authors,  interest in reading and knowledge of books. It regularly offers podcasts where they discuss particular books and you can email in questions to ask the author if you keep a track of which podcasts are coming up. They also have a bank of video clips where authors discuss their books. You can listen live or use the on demand services. It really is a good site to help keep reading and authorship real and authentic.

Another good site is Goodreads. You can track your reading and write reviews. It is also a site which offers insight into authors and books and encouragement to read. Right now they are holding a vote on the best books for 2017 which you might like to participate in.

Both of these sites offer a strong connection development between authors and readers and that’s how you do it in 2017.

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MIT technology review

MIT technology reviewThe MIT technology review site brings you a current reading of  technology developments, changes and possibilities in our world. Technology is not going to go away. It looks at AI and its impact. It considers how intuitive technology will be able to respond to your moods and emotions. It looks at security issues, opportunities in the technological world and the way technology is reframing how we can learn and interact with each other. It is a site well worth book marking.

“According to a World Economic report, 35 percent of core workplace skills will change between 2015 and 2020, with complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration in high demand.”

IT trends

Image: alstntec

soft skills

Soft skills are as equally important in 2017 as specific IT and business skills . In a nutshell it comes down to communication , analytics and security. The DevOps approach where it is so important to acknowledge the key stakeholders who are involved with you and how they use your device or site. I came across this article via Better Cloud about the 7 hot IT career trends which articulates the current situation well and gives links out to further information should you need or want it. As the article says:

 

“Technology becomes more meaningful when it’s put to work to address human needs, solve problems and help achieve goals,” Kimmel says. “Maintaining this human element in the enterprise will be much easier if the IT teams deploying big data, machine learning and IoT (internet of things) solutions have strong leadership and people skills, in addition to technical ones.”

Communication of ideas and good interpretation of data are key competencies in 2017. Blogging has become a natural part of that and an important skill to have:

“Use good blogging and communication skills to communicate on a one-to-many basis with your contacts,” Stanger says. “Don’t simply self-promote. Stream valuable, curated content and thoughts to people in your network. You’ll find that what interests you will generally interest them.”

Naplan Testing

acara naplanACARA has done some extensive work to get the Naplan testing up and running online. It has used the input from staff and students to improve access to and engagement with the Naplan testing and the results have been very positive:

“In NSW alone, 2,500 schools participated in the readiness tests in the past five weeks. Results from a survey of those taking part showed that schools felt students were more engaged with the online tests compared to pen-and-paper assessments. In NSW, with over 460,000 tests having been completed, feedback over the past five weeks has shown:

  • 76 per cent of students liked doing the test online
  • 87 per cent of schools indicated a level of confidence to transition to NAPLAN Online.”

It is important to match testing techniques with the people who are being assessed or you end up in that testing a goldfish to climb a tree meme we all know. Currently there would be many teachers who have not really participated in exam systems because they would have been assessed by continuous assessment techniques. The world has changed to technology and so there is now a disconnect between pen and paper and cognitive flow. Students have grown up with smart phones and tablets and so paper information is less relevant and accessible  to them.

We have yet to address the linguistic issues in benchmark testing in a nation where so many languages are spoken and English might be the second, third or fourth language of the student:

“In 2016, there were over 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes. More than one-fifth (21 per cent) of Australians spoke a language other than English at home. After English, the next most common languages spoken at home were Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. Tasmania had the highest rate of people speaking only English at home with 88 per cent, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 58 per cent.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The ACARA site explains clearly how it has gone about its preparations for moving testing online and it has very much adopted a consultative approach and  has provided plenty of online information and support for parents and other key stake holders in this process so that they can inform themselves and become a positive part of it.

Good standards of literacy and numeracy improve communities and the economy of the country. Unesco has completed plenty of research on that. There was also a field study research paper published in 1998 by the University of Nebraska : Benefits of literacy field experiences: Three views which concludes:

“We continue to alter our field experiences as we seek to improve
our teacher education program. Even though we each set up our field
experiences differently, we agree on some important tenets of field
experience. First, we think that being reflective about this process is
an important part of improving the product. Secondly, we think the
notion of practicing what we preach is particularly important for not
only preservice teachers to see, but also classroom teachers. And fi
nally, we think that preservice teachers are more apt to remember their
field experiences and learn from them when they are allowed to con
struct their own learning in a realistic classroom setting.”

This is what ACARA is doing. It is helping teachers , parents and students to construct a realist approach to benchmark testing in 2017 and beyond because the world has changed.

 

eSmart week

eSmart schools

 

eSmart Digital Licence

 

Is your school or library in on the eSmart programme? The Alannah and Madeleine Foundation have done plenty of high calibre research and work to create the eSmart site and the concepts which surround it. Many libraries and school have signed up and talk volubly and enthusiastically about the positive impact of the eSmart concept. It revolves around us all having  a common approach, common language, common understanding about what being online offers us and what we can offer the online word. It fosters a positive , responsible pathway for everyone.

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