Posts Tagged ‘publications’

Whether participating as a reader or a writer of blogs, engagement with the Blogoshphere provides an opportunity to learn, explore and discover the knowledge, opinions and thoughts of others.  It is an exciting and vibrant world which invites readers and writers to freely express and explore an enormous range of topics.

Having the opportunity to tease out the various aspects of blogging – how to blog and what can be gained from blogging – is an opportunity that was extended to me by the Australian publication Education Technology Solutions and is the fifth and final article in a series about lifelong learning which I have written for this magazine over the last twelve months.

Aiming to provide concrete suggestions for the novice blogger to help get started as well as providing thoughts and ideas of the benefits to be gained by engaging in the Blogosphere. Blogging: Powerful And Addictive!  has just been published in Education Technology Solutions – Issue 69, December/January 2016.

ABSTRACT: Blogging is a powerful way to determine our own growth and development. By pursuing topics of personal interest, by considering the words and thoughts of others, by writing reflective and informative posts, a rich, supportive network is built. Engagement with the Blogosphere enables educators to enhance their own skills, knowledge and experience and in the process define their own path of lifelong learning.

Also published on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to also be able to share my article here:

Blogging: Powerful And Addictive!

pic-1By Bev Novak.

Blogging is a powerful way to learn, explore and discover.

Replete with an infinite source of information on a limitless number of topics, the blogosphere is a perfect location for educators to create and direct their own learning path. That which is learned from either reading or writing blog posts expands both their knowledge and their thinking. By posting comments on blog posts, it is possible to engage in a form of social networking that is distinct and different from other social networking platforms. Connecting with those who write blogs or with those who read their blogs is exciting, stimulating and inspirational.

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Being free to direct our own learning is a gift.

The days of ‘one size fits all’ type learning programs, so typical of teacher training programs and professional development programs rife in our schools can at last be replaced by online learning programs in which teachers can determine their own learning path.

Writing about the inspirational value of learning online is an opportunity that has been given to me by Education Technology Solutions, an Australian based publication.

This, the fourth in a series of articles I have written for this magazine around the theme of lifelong learning: Be inspired! Learn Online! in which I describe a range of issues relating to online learning programs including the exciting possibility of schools developing their own ‘in house’ online learning programs has just been published in Education Technology Solutions – Issue 68, October/November 2015.

ABSTRACT:  Online learning programs are a tangible alternative to traditional professional learning programs and enable participants to learn anything, anytime, anywhere with anybody in their local or global community. Online learning is a powerful way to increase skills, power lifelong learning and rejuvenate how teachers learn. Learning and sharing in cyberspace with educators across the world enables experienced and inexperienced teachers alike to share and exchange ideas, thoughts, and pedagogy.

Also published on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to also be able to share my article here:

Be Inspired! Learn Online!

pic1By Bev Novak.

Teachers, like the students in their schools, need to discover the joy of learning and its inherent power.

Whether it is the exploration of new skills, new tools or new pedagogy, the value of pursuing topics of personal interest in an online learning program in which self-directed exploration and discovery feature is a very powerful way to engage and excite the interest of teachers and can be the catalyst that lays the foundation for continued lifelong learning.

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The freedom to learning anything, anytime, anywhere and with absolutely anybody is a gift that today’s online world affords educators.  It is a gift which empowers educators to create their own learning opportunities and challenges and enables them to meet up with other like-minded people who have similar interests.

Writing about the process of learning within the safe boundaries of a Personal Learning Network is an opportunity which has been given to me by Education Technology Solutions, an Australian based publication.  This, the third in a series of articles I have written for this magazine around the theme of lifelong learning: Develop a Personal Learning Network to inspire lifelong learning in which I describe the nature of PLNs, how to create one and what can be gained from participating in one, has just been published – Issue 67, August/September 2015.

ABSTRACT: Encouraging teachers to become self-starters, who are able to take control of their own learning, design its path and learn based on their own interests and needs should be the aim of all school professional learning programs.  Participation in Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) is a resource which can liberate teachers from the confines of traditional learning opportunities such as those offered in staff meetings, curriculum days, workshops and conferences. PLNs in which connections with other learners is a key component is the perfect vehicle to attain this aim. Participation in a PLN is both exhilarating and inspirational and is the essence of lifelong learning!

Also published online on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to also be able to share my article here:

Develop a Personal Learning Network To Inspire Lifelong Learning!

pic1By Bev Novak.

Encouraging teachers to become lifelong learners should be the aim of each school’s professional learning program. Learning success inspires a sense of achievement, self-satisfaction, increased confidence and motivates continued learning, leaving teachers feeling empowered to set their own agenda and pursue knowledge just for the sake of it.

To motivate this kind of learning, there is perhaps no better resource than that of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), a resource which can liberate teachers from the confines of traditional learning opportunities such as those offered in staff meetings, curriculum days, workshops and conferences. PLNs, in which connections with other learners is a key component, are both exhilarating and inspirational.

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I’m passionate about the importance of teachers not just modelling lifelong learning, but being active learners themselves.

No matter how busy we are, making time to read, engage, discuss, learn and share is an essential practice.  School administrators need to play an active role in not just encouraging this practice, but making it an achievable goal for our teachers. It’s time to consider alternate ways to excite teachers’ interest in their own lifelong learning.

The second in a series of articles I was asked to write for Education Technology Solutions Reinvigorate professional learning programs to inspire lifelong learning!  has just been published – Issue 66, June/July 2015.

ABSTRACT:  Exciting, stimulating and meaningful learning programs in our schools are vital to entice teachers to become lifelong learners.   Alternate program delivery which incorporates creating time for teachers to learn on the job and encourages professional reading, active use of social media and a new look at conference attendance as well as exploring how the skills of both students and teacher librarians can contribute to the professional learning of teachers should be considered as ways to upend traditional professional learning programs.

Also published online on the Educational Technology Solutions website, my article can be read here:

Reinvigorate Professional Learning Programs To Inspire Lifelong Learning!

picBy Bev Novak.
Exciting, stimulating and meaningful learning programs in schools are vital to entice teachers to become lifelong learners.

Apart from updating basic skills, teachers must constantly master new skills and new pedagogy that continue to evolve at an overwhelming rate in a fast-paced world. Rather than having to sit back and wait for learning opportunities to come to them in the form of staff meetings, curriculum days, workshops or conferences, teachers should be encouraged to embrace those many learning opportunities that constantly present themselves in both formal and informal settings. By developing independent learning skills, teachers will discover a wealth of learning opportunities they never knew existed.

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I’m passionate about the issue of lifelong learning and the value it has for each of us as educators.

Traditional professional learning programs which still predominate in our schools are no longer the best way to engage teachers.  Education, particularly teacher education, has been irrevocably altered by technology.  The ease of communication between teachers has opened up new pathways.  Life in our highly ‘connected’ world is transforming how teachers learn, what they learn, when they learn and with whom they learn.   A range of very effective teacher education programs are constantly evolving and it is time for school administrators to re-think the nature of learning opportunities being offered to teachers.

Having often written about lifelong learning here on NovaNews and having presented my thoughts on this topic at a number of conferences over recent years, it’s great to have been offered the opportunity to write a series of articles about lifelong learning for Education Technology Solutions, an Australian based publication which also has a web presence via its blog.

My first article in this series: Be inspired: Become a lifelong learner! has just been published in Education Technology Solutions – Issue 65, April/May 2015.

ABSTRACT: In our rapidly changing world teachers need to become self-starters who learn for the sake of learning rather than because it is a requirement. By discovering the joy of learning and its inherent power, the ‘one size fits all’ type learning, so typical of teacher training programs and professional development activities, can be replaced by meaningful and personalized programs and activities which nurture lifelong learning. This article explores a range of alternate learning opportunities which can be created within our schools.

Also published online on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to be able to share it directly with my readers here.

Be Inspired: Become A Lifelong Learner!

lifelongBy Bev Novak.

Stop for a moment and think: What is the best professional learning program you have ever experienced?

Was it one of the weekly school staff meetings? Perhaps it was a curriculum day session or a conference you attended at the end of the year? Was it a session you were required to attend or a session you were hanging out to attend? Was it a talk, a presentation, a workshop or a reading? Was it a one off session or a series of sessions? Were you required to actively participate and/or submit required responses? Did it involve the use of social media, the blogosphere or attendance in an online forum? Did you pick up new skills and knowledge that have now become part and parcel of your teaching personae?

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Reading permeates every aspect of our lives.  As an important skill that continually opens doors, it is without doubt, one of the most powerful and enjoyable recreational and educational tools known to man.

Throughout both my personal and professional life, I’ve taken every opportunity to ignite a love of reading in those around me.  I consider myself fortunate to have inspired both colleagues and students in a number of schools to join with me in the celebration of literature and to help unveil the many and varied joys of reading.

So when the opportunity came along to share details of a program I’d instituted in one of the schools in which I’d worked, I didn’t hesitate.  By writing an article about my experiences in staging a Literary Festival, I aimed to inspire yet more people to realize that it is well worth the effort and is not, in fact, all that complex.

Published in the latest edition of FYI, a publication of SLAV – School Library Association of Victoria – (Volume 16, Number 3, Winter 2012) my article appears alongside others which have focused on the theme of “Reading in 2012 and beyond” – a theme which no doubt emanates from the amazing celebration of literature which has been happening throughout Australia in this the National Year of Reading.

As the publication FYI is not currently available in full online, I have, with permission of the FYI editor, reproduced my article both here and on BevsBookBlog, my other blog.  Should you wish, I am available for either consultation or assistance to help make a Literary Festival a reality in your school.

A revised version of this article has subsequently been published in the online edition of IDIOM Volume 50 No 1 August 2014.  Online access to this article if via VATE Membership.  Contact me directly if you are not a member and would like a copy of this article.

Enjoy the article.  I hope it leaves you feeling inspired to ‘give it a go!’


You can do it!  Stage a successful Literary Festival.

2012 has been a bonanza year for literature.  2013 should be even bigger and better!

Take advantage of the excitement spun throughout 2012 and plan big for next year!  Close your eyes and dream.  Imagine the joy, the exhilaration and the euphoria that can be achieved by bringing literature to life.  Think outside the square.  Take the plunge and initiate a wide and varied range of literary events that will sweep your school off its feet!  Create an even greater splash than you have this year by staging a Literary Festival – an event which will inspire and ignite a passion for literature within and among all members of your school community.

Too hard, you think?  Too expensive?  Too much work?

The simple response is – no ….. not at all.  Staging a Literary Festival is actually not as hard as it sounds.  How do I know?  Because I’ve done it!

Back in 2006, when the school in which I was working relocated its Year 9-12 students to a new, dedicated senior campus, I was faced with the challenge of re-designing our literature programs so they would more fully reflect the nature of the campus and its students.   Conscious of wanting to excite and inspire a love of literature, I also aimed to create an event which would encapsulate the interests of students in our new senior campus.  So was born the Literary Festival, an event which was more sophisticated and appealing to our senior school students than the traditional well-worn ‘Book Week’ activities so regularly promoted by Teacher Librarians across the country.  Swept up with the euphoria pumped out during the planning stages, the entire senior school staff joined with students in celebrating literature across the curriculum.  With 18 presenters and nearly 50 concurrent sessions in its first year and 26 presenters and more than 80 concurrent sessions in its second year, the two Literary Festivals held in 2007 and 2008 ran over three and four consecutive days respectively.  With the usual timetable put on hold, students, staff as well as many members of the extended school community joined hands in the celebration of literature.   The joy reflected on the faces of participants as well as the pleasure derived from both written and verbal feedback was enormous.  So too was the immediate demand for book loans!

So where and how do you start planning an event such as a Literary Festival?   How on earth do you fund it?   How do you get people on board to assist with planning?  And how do you timetable it so that it all runs like clockwork?  Questions, questions, questions!  One thing you can be sure of is that questions such as these will continually pop up throughout the planning stages.  From the outset, you will need three key ingredients:  Enthusiasm, determination and perseverance.  Alongside this you need to attend very carefully to fine details!  Be sure to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.  When you most doubt it, you will find that problems and issues that present themselves will either get resolved or resolve themselves.  Retain a calmness and sureness while keeping a grasp on the ‘big picture’ that you are trying to create.

Write a rationale:

Figure out what it is you want to do, how you see it being put into action and who it is you want to involve.

Convincing others of the value of implementing a new idea is hard.   You therefore need to be very clear from the outset that you are keen to take on a leadership role in the planning, staging and implementation of the Literary Festival.  Write and present your rationale to the Principal, to Heads of Campus and to key school leaders.   Request to present the idea at a Curriculum Committee meeting where various Heads of Faculties are present.  Sell the concept with enthusiasm and you will find that your excitement will ignite an enthusiasm in others.

State in clear terms what the Literary Festival is to entail including its length, specific dates and how you anticipate it being run.  Outline the reasons for wanting to stage the Literary Festival including benefits to be derived.  Describe the intended audience: all students of a specific campus, a year level and/or parents and members of the extended school community.  Explain who will be involved in staging the event – Library staff, Library and English staff or representatives of a number of school departments.

Determining these kinds of details will allow you to refine specifics needed to actually stage the Literary Festival.  Once the number of days and the size of the audience are decided it will then be possible to determine the number of presentations needed and the likely costs.

Planning Committee:

Having a small dedicated team who are willing to put in the hours and the thinking necessary for staging the Literary Festival is a key to its success.   You may find that members of the Library staff are the most reliable, available and committed.  There may also be an eager member of the English staff who is ready to team with you.   Then again, it may turn out that you are the only one who is really enthusiastic and committed to the idea!  Don’t despair – you can do it alone!

In addition to a planning committee, have key members of staff who can act as a sounding board.   And don’t forget to ask for student involvement.   After all, the event is being staged for students so they will have an idea of what they think is great and what they think will be boring!

Selecting presenters:

Deciding on the presenters to be included in your Literary Festival will depend on what it is you are trying to achieve.  It can be a staid affair involving author talks and workshops or it can be a dynamic event incorporating a wide range of presenters.   In addition to authors and illustrators, consider including song writers, poets, hip hop artists, clay animators, puppeteers, scientists, journalists, musicians, actors and motivation speakers all of whom are united in their passionate desire to engage, stimulate and challenge us with their love of the written and spoken word.

As teachers across the school become inspired to participate in the Literary Festival, more and more ideas of suitable presenters will be generated.  As these ideas are incorporated into program planning, you will find teachers eagerly embracing proposals you suggest of suitable presenters.  Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm!  Continuous lateral thinking will generate some amazingly exciting ideas.


Involving many presenters in a Literary Festival is without doubt exciting!   Unfortunately it can also be very costly.  Don’t let this put you off though.  Think outside the box!

The Literary Festival does not have to be funded solely from the Library budget.  By incorporating events focused on a range of curriculum areas, it is reasonable to request that those faculties contribute to the costs.  Not all presenters need to be hired.  Look at the school community – parents, board members, friends and most especially friends of friends!   Don’t be surprised when they are thrilled to be invited to present.  Accept all volunteers gratefully.  And don’t forget to call for teachers to volunteer their skills – you will be amazed at what they have to offer!

Explore the availability of school administration funds to cover the cost of publicity material such as posters and programs.  Write a brief describing your Literary Festival and approach local book shops to run a book fair.  If your event is to include a lunch or morning/afternoon tea, approach local food shops to donate food in return for a mention on the program.  If planning of your event commences well in advance, consider local funding grants that are available.


A range of publicity material will be needed to not only inform, but to excite your school community about the impending Literary Festival.  Posters, liberally displayed around the school will inform and excite.  Articles in both the school newsletter and local press can be staged so as to slowly build up both an interest and an expectation of a very special event.   Blog posts with engaging ‘sneak peek’ details on the school and school library blogs should be well publicized via social media such as Twitter and Facebook.  Promotional videos could also be made and uploaded to YouTube to ensure interest and intrigue.

As the event draws closer, program outlines incorporating biographical details of presenters and event outlines will be needed.   Some events may need to be ‘ticketed’.   Bulletin board displays will need to be created and tended.  Overhead projections as a background to presentations, while not essential, certainly make a powerful addition.

The creation of publicity materials can be very time consuming.  Tap into support services available to the school administration.  Request the involvement of students or work with art teachers to enlist the interest of students.  Take care though to retain an involvement and control over the content and design of publicity material being generated to ensure that it accurately represents the nature of the Literary Festival being planned.

And finally:

Planning what, why, when, where and how a Literary Festival is to be staged is a big undertaking.  Dealing with the never ending details can be exhausting.  Being clear headed about what it is you want to achieve is essential.   Calling on the expertise of others for both ideas and support is advantageous.

Like building a house, it is the planning and design that is most important.   Begin planning well in advance.   A year ahead is not unreasonable.

Soon into the planning though, you will find that your Literary Festival develops a life of its own.   Take time to reflect on what it is you are creating, but most of all, enjoy the ride!

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Blogging, reflecting, writing and thinking.

These have now become part of my weekly routine.   Rambling on ….. writing as I do ….. has become a pass time in which I’m able to indulge.  There are no demands on my time.  No deadlines to meet.  Just writing for the sake of teasing out my thoughts.  My writing varies from week to week.  It’s often based on what I’ve had time to explore and discover.   Sometimes my writing is reflective of discoveries made.  Other times I’m keen to share what I’ve been doing or thinking.  Yet other times, I’ve found myself writing passionately about topics close to my heart.

It seems like a natural progression to write articles for publication – either hard copy or online journals.   Up until the last 18 months, I’d published in a journal only once – and that was a very long time ago when I lived a very different professional life.   But since ‘getting into’ blogging, I feel like I’ve discovered a voice that has been lying dormant within me for a very long time.   Just recently, when asked to write a few lines about myself which could be used as an intro, I found myself reflecting on how far I’d come with – well I’d like to say pen and paper, but the reality is that it’s fingers and keyboard!  Sitting back and thinking about all the words written here on NovaNews, as well as those on my other blog, BevsBookBlog, alongside the articles I’ve been fortunate to have published in a range of journals, has made me stop and think about how far I’ve come in a relatively short time.

Sometimes I’ve used my blog posts as the basis for published articles.  Other times, I’ve thought, pondered, drafted and re-drafted until I’m satisfied that I’ve been able to effectively share my thoughts.   Publishing in journals gives a sense of achievement.  Knowing that my peers are interested in what I have to say is indeed inspiring and uplifting.  Some of you have given me complimentary feedback which I’ve appreciated so much.

A natural progression from writing is presenting, as it affords a different way of sharing my experience, my knowledge and my thoughts.  Presenting at conferences or workshops is very much an extension of teaching.  Knowing that I’m able to help others on their learning journey is so very satisfying.  Just recently, I was overwhelmed when contacted by a journalist from Australian Teacher Magazine asking if I’d agree to be interviewed about the process of getting into presenting.  The phone call came out of the blue.  Totally out of the blue.   How did the journalist find me I queried.   Social Media was the reply.   WOW – I thought.   How powerful is that!   And so, an article about me and how I’ve come to get into presenting at conferences can be read in both the online and hard copy of the March edition of Australian Teacher Magazine.

Being able to contribute to our collective knowledge, by sharing my experiences with others and having others gain from me is what it’s really all about.  There’s no time for any of us to be shy or hesitant about sharing our knowledge.   We have so very much to share with each other!

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