Posts Tagged ‘The Age’

In just three days, our Year 12s will be sitting their end of year English exam.

While this exam marks the culmination of their compulsory English studies, for their teachers it marks the beginning of next year’s cycle.  Preparations for the 2020 cohort of VCE English students began several weeks ago as English teachers met, discussed and selected the texts that would be used next year.

And, as has been the process seemingly forever, these ‘class texts’ will become the focus of students’ English classes in which they will be required to spend copious amounts of time – often a full term – analyzing, discussing and handing in written reports.

My passion to nurture students’ love of reading remains as strong as ever.  So ….. as I read over a post I published nearly four years ago, in which I responded to VCE students’ disdain toward the books they had been required to read for their English studies, I feel sad to think that not much has changed.   The strength of my words then, remains unchanged:

I’m passionate in my belief that reading is a core skill which underlines all educational achievement. We need to ensure that we inspire students to read, to read anything and everything they possibly can. We need to ensure that students leave our classes and schools with an embedded love, desire and appreciation of just how much reading can bring to their lives – forever. Reading does not just fit into English or Library periods, but is a skill which extends across all aspects and subjects of the curriculum.

NovaNews: Do required reading and class texts inspire a love of reading? November 8, 2015

The entire post can be read here:

Do required reading and class texts inspire a love of reading?

November 8, 2015 by NovaNews

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As schools across Australia brace for the annual NAPLAN tests to measure basic literacy skills, opinion articles analyzing the reason for declining reading levels among our teens start popping up.

A recent article by Christopher Bantick: Why parents must unplug their kids to improve their literacy suggests that ever increasing screen time spent by teens in front of smartphones, tablets and computers is a significant factor contributing to low reading levels.  Parents, it is intimated, need to  encourage their children to switch off and read more in the home.

What would help would be if families read together.  A half-hour reading period where every member of the family read, sends a very positive message.

….. To get kids to read is not about ordering them to do so, but modelling behaviour. If parents don’t value reading, or privilege it over screens, it is hardly any wonder than children do not?”

I totally agree with Bantick.

While peer pressure can be very strong, behaviour traits learned and acquired at home are most often more powerful life lessons.  So reading to children from a young age, valuing print in the home, reading together as a family, sharing literature read – are all very powerful ways to implant the value of reading into the minds and habits of our children.

But ….. modelling reading habits at school is just as important!

Bantick suggests that schools “manage children in classrooms and the range of activities that they are asked to do. Reading is one of them.”


I’m yet to be convinced that reading is really valued in our secondary schools!  Competing demands of completing curriculum content or analyzing texts (to death) seem to predominate whenever I’ve found myself in discussion with teachers.   So, I’m left asking:

  • How much reading is really happening in secondary classrooms?
  • Does reading only ‘happen’ in English classes?
  • Is reading being incorporated in subject across the curriculum?
  • Are students encouraged to read widely beyond their comfort zone?
  • Do teachers model reading to their students?
  • How many classes start their periods with a 10-15 minute reading session?
  • How many teachers themselves put aside time to read?
  • How many teachers read YA literature?
  • How often do teachers chat about books and reading with their students?
  • Indeed – do our teachers value reading?

Sure – reading within families is important, but reading within our school communities is equally important!  If NAPLAN reading literacy levels for our teens are to improve, an increased emphasis on reading needs to occur in our secondary schools.  Reading is the cornerstone of all education.

Reflecting on the message of Fleur Morrison’s recent Huffington Post article Anyone who says they are too busy to read is talking fiction may go a long way to help sway educators to make a shift in what and how they operate in secondary school.

Mark Zuckerberg spent 2015 reading a new book every two weeks. Bill Gates consider himself a great reader and Barack Obama packed six books when he went on his summer holiday last year.  Former White House reident Theodore Roosevelt famously conumed one book a day when he was busy, and two or three when had a free evening.

And yet, whenever the issue of reading comes up among my friends and family, it seems like everyone says they don’t have time to read books …..”

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Three years ago I wrote a heartfelt post – It’s disturbing: Entry ATAR score for teaching drops – in which I lamented the diabolical implications and ramifications of the continued drop in ATAR scores needed by graduating  high school students to enter the teaching profession.  In short, I lamented

  • that students are being short changed
  • that top calibre candidates are not entering teaching
  • that teaching is not regarded as an attractive profession
  • that the best high school graduates are not being attracted to teaching

How much more disturbing it is to read the stats outlined in a recent article: Government considers plan for teachers to make the grade (The Age. January 18, 2016) in which the entry ATAR scores needed for Victoria’s largest and most popular teaching courses have continued to decline!

As reported in this article

In 2009, the largest Victorian teaching courses required an ATAR of about 75, but by 2016 a score of 60 was typically enough to secure a first-round place.”

ATAR entry to teacher traing 2009-2016

With a sigh of relief, it is encouraging to read that action may finally be about to occur:

Aspiring teachers who receive poor VCE results could be barred from Victorian classrooms under a proposal being considered by the state government.”

Establishing minimum academic standards for entry into undergraduate teaching degrees would be a welcome shift.

Why is it though, that the wheels of change move so slowly?

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By the time I finished reading an article in last week’s Age which reported on students’ completion of their English exam, their first formal exam in the annual final school year VCE Examinations, I felt sick and totally grief stricken!

The title of the hard copy newspaper, set the mood of the article:  Relief and thoughts of book burning follow the exam. (The Age. October 29, 2015, p12) While reporting on students’ response to the English exam was the article’s major emphasis, tucked into the article was the students’ response to seeing the English exam over and done with:

Anger boiled over at some schools, with one student burning his Death of a Salesman book, and posting the image on Facebook.


The online version of this report garnered an altered title: Whether ’tis nobler to recycle or burn one’s books – the big post-VCE English question, but still bred the same feelings within me. Reporting on the same incident, the text was softened and somewhat less specific:

Anger boiled over at other schools, where students posted images of burning VCE papers and books.

Both the hard copy and online articles started with the same lead line stating that the school captain of a Melbourne school was “tossing up whether she should recycle her VCE English books or burn them.”

The question: ‘Would you ever read it (the studied texts) again?’ was posed to a few students (see 2.03 minutes into the video at the top of the online article). While one student commented that it was good to examine books in depth and gain a better perspective of what the author was aiming to say, the common response from other students  was no – they’d never pick up the book again with one student adding:

I’ll probably never touch them ever again,” he said. “I’m pretty sick of them, to be honest. I’m pretty glad to be done.”

My response:


Burning books?  Never wanting to touch books studied again?  Discouraging the exploration of underlying messages and meanings shared by authors? Turning students off reading for life?  Is this the end goal of our English and Library classes?

I can see some head shaking in response to the veracity of my words though.  Some of you may well be commenting that these are the actions and response of only a few students or that the quoted words of students in these articles are merely their light-hearted response to the joy of finishing their much dreaded final English exam. 

But hang on …. is this really the case?

It was a few years ago when I had a Year 11 class in the school library for a Wider Reading session that I experienced one of those jaw dropping moments that stay with you for life.

With my characteristic enthusiasm to inspire and motivate a love of reading among this testy bunch of teenagers, I held up the first of the pile of books I’d assembled on the desk in front of me, sure as anything that this one would ‘hook’ them in!  To my horror, a collective groan emanated from the class as they saw the cover of Brian Caswell’s “Only the Heart”.  Unable to restrain myself, I proclaimed the brilliance of this novel.   No, they collectively responded.  That was our class text last year.  Engaging with them to suss out why they really disliked it, the answer was plain and simple.   The book had been ‘hashed to death’ with requirements to analyze, discuss and respond to exam questions.  Quite simply, this bunch of teenagers told me quite honestly that they never wanted to see or hear about this book or author ever again.   I was devastated and saddened to think that they had been so cruelly turned off not just one great book, but an accomplished and talented author.

Over the years, I’ve had lots of ‘heart-to-heart’ chats with senior students about books and reading habits.  Many have expressed their dislike of class texts and the inherent requirement to analyze texts to death.  Many of my chats have been with reluctant readers, who openly confide that they just don’t like reading.  Teasing out the reasons for their disinterest has almost always come down to their experience of being required to read specific books that they have found boring and then having to spend copious amounts of time – often a full term – analyzing, discussing and handing in written reports.

These conversations always leave me feeling bereft.

I’ve spoken with English teachers often about this issue, but always have the same facts thrown at me: students need to study class texts over an extended period of time so as to hone their analytical skills, their critical thinking skills and their appreciation of the classics. This ‘full stop kind’ of response invariably allows no openings to my pleas to  incorporate additional or alternate opportunities aimed at inspiring students to read, read and read some more – just for the joy of it!

Yes, I’ve also faced the argument that I’m not an English teacher who has an allocated number of periods a week within which to teach a curriculum and ensure that students complete inherent required assessments.  I’ve also been reminded that I’m a Teacher Librarian who has lots of time to spend dreaming up, creating and staging a range of enticing literary activities.

Well, yes, I guess that’s correct.  A big part of my job as a Teacher Librarian is indeed to inspire a love of reading.  And that’s just what I do and will continue to do for as long as I work as a Teacher Librarian!  I make no apologies for this!

I’m passionate in my belief that reading is a core skill which underlines all educational achievement.  We need to ensure that we inspire students to read, to read anything and everything they possibly can.  We need to ensure that students leave our classes and schools with an embedded love, desire and appreciation of just how much reading can bring to their lives – forever.  Reading does not just fit into English or Library periods, but is a skill which extends across all aspects and subjects of the curriculum.

As a Teacher Librarian I constantly grapple with the issue of engaging students with literature.  Over the years, I’ve devised many an alternate approach to put books into the hands of students in my school.   Many of these alternate approaches were incorporated into Literary Festivals I organized at one school.  I have also blogged, written and presented about some of the many activities, programs and events I have organized over the years in my library sessions.  If interested, have a read of this post: Engaging readers: Tried and tested ideas that work!

Perhaps it’s time for all of us – secondary school English teachers and Teacher Librarians alike – to step back and take a look at the nature of our program content and question whether what we are doing is encouraging or discouraging our students to become lifelong readers.

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It was some years ago, after undergoing a fairly major operation that I found myself, doped to the gills with pain killers, totally unable to pick up any of the enticing books I’d brought with me to the hospital.  None of them caught my interest and in any case I was sleepy and completely unable to concentrate.

Then it happened!  One book somehow slipped into my hands.  It spoke to me, inspired me and made me realize that my despondent state was not as bad as the experiences of the character I was reading about.  I finally felt connected and inspired and yes ….. the book, I discovered with some joy, brought me hope and a great deal of pleasure.  This book was a key to my return to the ‘land of the living’ and re-established within me the joy of reading.   The book was given to me by my work colleague, another Teacher Librarian.

It is this experience I often reflect upon when faced with those occasions of feeling “out of it”, hit by a bad run, or totally preoccupied with “stuff”, so-much-so that my ability to concentrate on reading is dead, buried and gone.  How easy it is for each of us who work with books, to suss out the kind of book that is ‘just right’ for our library patrons.

So when I read an article a couple of months ago in The Age: Bibliotherapy a novel approach to helping readers treat literary indecision I was intrigued.  Before I’d gotten too far into the article though, skepticism started creeping into my mind.  By the time I got to the end of the article though, I was soon saying out loud to myself ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me!’ ‘Is this for real?!’

To put it mildly, I was blown away by the idea that a new profession had evolved from the tools of the trade normally associated with those working in libraries and book shops.  I was also bowled over by the idea that these kinds of services, normally provided at no cost by those working in libraries, were being charged for and that consumers were ready to part with money for the kind of information being offered.

Thanks perhaps to a recent article in The New Yorker: Can reading make you happier?, which has most probably fanned interest in yet another ‘alternate therapy’, two Melbourne Bibliotherapists have expanded their trade by taking on overseas clients via Skype.  With interest piqued, three sessions presented by this pair at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival were sold out.  It is interesting to note that one of the Melbourne Bibliotherapists, a former genetic counsellor, trained at the British School of Life with Bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud, the person quoted extensively in The New Yorker article.

The process, I gleaned from both articles, seems fairly straightforward.   Clients complete a questionnaire prior to meeting the Bibliotherapist.  Questions asked, hinge around a person’s reading habits:

  • What kinds of books do you like?
  • What books did you read as a child?
  • What are your interests/passions?
  • What would you like to try? (Presumably life pursuits)
  • When do you read? Daily? Weekends? Holidays?
  • Do you buy or borrow books?
  • What is preoccupying you at the moment?

On her personal website, Ella Berthoud, gives greater specifics of the questionnaire:

When you book a bibliotherapy session, you will be sent a questionnaire asking you about your reading habits, loves and dislikes. We ask why you read, what you read, when and where you read – who with, or whether you always read alone. Do you ever read aloud, or listen to audiobooks? All your reading habits are explored. We also ask what is going on in your life at the moment – are any major issues coming up? Are you in the middle of a career-change, about to have a baby, moving home, experiencing a break-up, or beginning a new relationship? Are you perhaps retiring, or living alone for the first time? All life situations, whether serious or frivolous, can be illuminated by a good book. We believe that reading the right book at the right time can change your life. Our job is to help you find that book.”

Her business website, The School of Life, expands on the process:

In a consultation with one of our bibliotherapists, you’ll explore your relationship with books so far and be asked to explore new literary directions. Perhaps you’re looking for an author whose style you love so much you will want to devour every word they’ve ever written. Perhaps you’re about to trek across China and need to find ideal travel companions to download onto your kindle. Maybe you’re feeling disconnected from the world and want to listen to the classics of your childhood during your daily commute. Or you’re seeking a change in your life and want to hold the hand of people who’ve been there and done that already.”

If your visit with a Bibliotherapist is in England, you will, after parting with £80.00, have a forty minute consultation face-to face, via phone or on Skype which will further illuminate responses to the questionnaire, and then be prescribed a list of the 8 best books to be read over the next few weeks or months.  The list is accompanied with an explanation as to why these books are considered to be the best.  A few weeks later, the client is contacted to ask if they would like to come back for another consultation. 

The questions asked by Bibliotherapists are eerily similar to those asked by Teacher Librarians working in School Libraries, Librarians working in Public Libraries, and those working in book shops, all of whom have an excellent grasp of literature and regularly make sound book recommendations to their patrons.  Indeed, the raison d’être of our profession aims to put the right book into the right hands at the right time.  There is of course, no charge for this service.  It is a role that we joyfully take on; revelling each and every time we establish that connection between patrons and books.

On sending the link to The Age article to family and friends, as well as current and past work colleagues, the comments and replies received back were interesting.  One emphatically stated:

You should write to the author of the article and remind them that librarians are there for more than putting books away on the shelves.”

Another response reminded me that there is many a website today which can aid and assist the needy in their search for the right book.  No costs apply of course.  I’ve blogged about this previously: What’s a good book to read Miss? and Any more good books Miss? 

I’m passionate in my belief of the immeasurable value to be gained from reading.  I agree totally with many of the statements made in The New Yorker article:

For all avid readers who have been self-medicating with great books their entire lives, it comes as no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health and your relationships with others, but exactly why and how is now becoming clearer, thanks to new research on reading’s effects on the brain.”

as well as this:

So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”

I also applaud the engaging video which appears on The School of Life website which I have taken from YouTube:

Who knows, perhaps in our next career some of us will become Bibliotherapists!

Right now though, I get a real thrill out of encouraging others to read, getting them to discover the joy of reading and yes ….. helping them find the perfect book to meet their mood, interest, need or take them to the next point of discovery in their life.


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I read a short article in yesterday’s morning paper, The Age, about a Canadian family who have decided to ban all technology in their home for the next twelve months.   Unfortunately I can’t find this article online, but it has been reported extensively across the world, including the Huffington Post.

In banning all technology made after 1986, Blair McMillan and Morgan Patey, the parents of a 5 year old and a 2 year old, decided that for the next twelve months they wanted to re-create the world in which they were both born – 1986.  Concerned that their kids couldn’t tear themselves away from iPhones and iPads to kick a ball around outside, a phenomenon so different to their own upbringing, they decided to create an environment where their kids could learn to play games including playing outside.   So …..  cellphones, computers, internet access, GPS devices, digital cameras and pay TV are all off limits.

Many have applauded the initiative they’ve taken with some saying that the parents have shown much courage in making this decision.  Although they expressed pangs of anxiety in closing their own Facebook accounts, the children’s father says that “we’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented, for a year, just to see what it’s like.”

Much has been written about the dangers of us being constantly ‘switched on’ to tehcnology and the impact this has on on our children.   The Huffington Post article to which I refer you incorporates a comprehensive slideshow “Studies About Kids and Technology” which is well worth having a slow look at.

Without a doubt all of us are using technology at an incredibly high rate.  But is this all bad?  Is the danger so serious that we need to cut off access to the outside world and create a false world within the confines of our home?  Is placing a ban on all technology such as this family have chosen to do, the way to get our kids to appreciate and involve themselves in activiites such as talking and sharing as a family and playing outside?    Doesn’t banning something make it all the more appealing and pique the interest of the kids who are bound to see this technology in the hands and homes of their friends?

Surely the role of both parents and teachers is to teach our children moderation and variation.   Having down time when the TV is turned off, where conversation over dinner is encouraged, where playing outdoor games, kicking a ball, going for walks in the park or curling up with a book in hand should surely be part of the parenting and education we give our children.

Cutting our children off from technology and the immense opportunities that technlogy bring to our lives is not, I feel, the way to go.  Learning ‘moderation’ is the key to life!  Being able to learn when and how to switch off technology so as to enjoy the wonders of our world and other modes of communication is part and parcel of the education game to which we should all aspire – a responsibility incumbent on both parents and teachers.

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A few days ago, I received an email from a friend who was distressed at revelations that hit her when doing a Google search:

I’ve decided that Big Brother (Google) is definitely watching me (and you). On a couple of occasions recently when I’ve done an internet search about something, your face pops up on my screen and I get a message telling me that you have blogged about the topic! It happened to me last night again when I decided to create a Wordle and did a search for it……….. “

As I replied to my friend ….. and as further proof that I think while I write! ….. I realized that my friend didn’t understand that Google’s massive processing of Internet data incoporates blog posts equally alongside other websites as valid sources of information. No surprises here – the background ins and outs of how search works is very complex.  Out of curiosity, I ran a search for Wordle and found that the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th returned hits showed the mug shots and blog posts of people who are in my PLN – all of whom I communicate with on either Google+, Twitter or have listed in my RSS feed on Google Reader.   I admit to not fully understanding how Google knows this, but do realize that it is part of Google’s grand plan to become more encompassing and improve the search experience for its users.   If you’re unaware of this intention though, it can be a little unnerving to have what you think is a personalized search or communication between you and a friend being incorporated into something far bigger than you could ever have imagined!

Just this weekend there was a lengthy article about Google in The Age Good Weekend Magazine.  Google World explains and describes much about the development of Google and the direction in which it is moving.   Interestingly, there was reference to the very issue that my friend was concerned about!

Thinking about a trip to Bali? If you’ve mentioned it on Gmail, Google knows and has already bombarded your screen with advertisements about where to stay and what to do. Precisely where were you last Thursday at midday? If you are one of the many millions with an Android phone, Google knows because it tracks your phone’s movements. Daniel Soar, of the London Review of Books, took the trouble to check Google’s tracking of his own phone’s movements, and discovered that “on April 30, 2011, at 4.33pm I was at Willesden Junction station, travelling west”. Favourite shops, style of clothing, restaurants, genre of books? Google’s got it covered, and learns more and becomes smarter every time you ask it a question, check out a YouTube video, pull up a map or log into Google+.”

In an attempt to provide some further info to my friend, I suggested that she have a look at Eli Pariser’s TED talk: Beware online “filter bubbles”.   Although I found some of this info to be fairly heavy, it does give a good explanation of how perceived bias ends up being incorporated into our Google searches.

When I first saw this presentation, my mind went into overdrive thinking how important it is that our students really need to understand what happens when they run searches.   Recognizing that it was way too complex a video though, I went on the hunt for something simpler.   Taking a logical step, I turned to the many Google videos that are out there to see if there was a simple, appealing explanation that could be shown to our students.   Of course there was!  Have a listen to How Search Works and see just how much transpires in the ½ second between pressing on the search tab and receiving a list of hits!

It really is incumbent on us as teachers to teach our students how to use Google and to develop in them an understanding of how to word a search so that it finds hits that are relevant to the information being sought.  Or, as so succinctly said on one of the sites I came across when researching thoughts for this post:

Searching the web to find responsible, verifiable, genuine information of the professional or educational kind is a skill. Like all skills, it’s an acquired one.”  Search and teaching your kids to research

An excellent post by Jenny Luca: “Its what we know – Helping our students understand Google search” also talks about how we can’t assume our students know it all. Mentioned in this post is the very cutely named Dumb Little Man Tips for Life 20 tips for more efficient Google searches – an excellent list of tips that we should all know to enable better searches.

Exploring this topic gave me the inspiration to look back on the lengthy notes taken at the recent Joyce Valenza conference I attended in Melbourne.   A range of search tools were mentioned.  Figuring out how best to teach our students to search the web for info means that we need to take time to explore what’s out there.   Following is just a starting point of some of the many great resources that are available:

  • Spingfield Library Google Search Options created by Joyce Valenza can be a great starting spot to sift through the many Google offerings and decide which ones you’d like to highlight to students.
  • A similar list can be found on Kathy Schrock’s Bloomin’ Google search page. Hung around Bloom’s Taxonomy, this sorting of the many Google offerings may be just a little easier to sift through.
  • Teach kids about RSS feeds, how to set them up as well as how to set up Google email alerts.   Both offer excellent ways to expand their knowledge of information that is “out there”.
  • Expose senior students to WolframAlpha so that they can use this computational search engine to locate answers to questions.   View the short video explaining this great search tool to develop an understanding of how it differs from Google search.
  • For younger students Boolify is a fun way to teach Boolean logic.  Bright and colourful it’s use is instant.  Have a look at Boolify: Basic Operation video or at Boolified on the Ed Tech Axis Blog.
  • Although still in Beta (trial) phase, Twurdy analyses texts to determine its readability providing web searchers with information that is most appropriate for them.  A simple colour coding panel to the right of the returns lists easier to read to harder to read websites.  Very nice and easy to use!
  • SweetSearch a search engine for students.   Check out the tutorial listed on the homepage: SweetSearch Web Research Tutorial to develop a clearer understanding of this powerful tool.

Let me know if there are any great search tools  you’re using with  your students so I can explore them.

For now, I guess the next step for me is to figure out how best I can share some of this information with students and staff with whom I work.   Check back to see if I end up creating something worth sharing!

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My thoughts have been piqued by an article in ‘The Australian’ by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Swinburne University of Technology Shirley Leitch who wrote a piece: Unis must learn to deliver online courses (April 27th 2011).

Her argument about the need to move to a higher education model which incorporates online learning is of interest and relevance.  Indeed Ms Leitch’s words reflect similar discussions in the school education sector which has grappled, for a number of years, with many of the issues raised in this article.

Teachers in schools are constantly faced with a barrage of work requirements, many of which require up skilling IT skills so that new technologies can be incorporated into both their teaching style and the required response mode of their students completing set tasks.  Without question, the constant battle of juggling many day-to-day duties and tasks while simultaneously up skilling has been a huge undertaking faced bravely by the school teaching profession for some years now.  While there is a slow and steady stream of ‘digital natives’ entering the teaching profession, we have a long way to go before all school teaching staff feel sufficiently comfortable  to present and utilize a range of IT skills.

Movement toward ‘online’ education is, in some of our schools, already present.  For others, it is just around the corner.   The proliferation of wikis currently used by a range of teachers across a range of schools is evidence of this.  The use of IWBs (Interactive White Boards) similarly has, for some years now, enabled joint collaboration/learning to occur between classes across the world.

Attendance at online conferences held at all ends of the world are also beginning to proliferate the professional learning opportunities available to teachers.  With teachers increasingly attending webinars, instead of face to face professional learning sessions, exposure to the values of ‘online’ education have begun seeping into our schools.    Similarly, TweetChat, which has grown out of Twitter, a topic I have discussed in some detail in a post on my other blog – BevsBookBlog –  enables teachers from anywhere in the world to meet, share and discuss common issues on a regular basis.

How long will it be before these forms of ‘study’ become second nature in our schools?

Those of us in the school or higher education sector can no longer hang onto the ‘blinkered’ ideas reflected in the comment mentioned in this newspaper article:

Without a hint of irony, a senior colleague and respected researcher recently said he simply did not believe in online education. He articulated the widening generational gap between baby boomer academics and digital natives perfectly.

The time for us all to move forward and embrace the vast depth of information, knowledge and opportunity presented via evolving technologies is now upon all sectors of education.  If not, we collectively face the consequence of becoming irrelevant to our charges.   The wealth of opportunity already available as online education is abundant.  Look no further than iTunes U to know whether or not the delivery of online education is of value.   Consider also Salman Khan who was highlighted in an article  Education 2.0: the global university with just one lecturer in The Age newspaper just this week (April 26, 2011).  Indeed it is well worth the time to view this TED talk which features Salman Khan.

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