A year is a long time in Web 2.0 (OR… Cue singing, “Happy blog birthday to me”)

My Web 2.0 journey began exactly a year ago, inspired by a few questions at a professional development activity and fuelled by my own desire to understand ‘what all the fuss was about.’

As a way of celebrating this milestone I thought I’d revisit the key discoveries of the past year.  My journey was an informal one, with many paths and many lingering visits along the way.  This blog was my starting point.

One of the first things I did after starting this blog was to explore the amazing array of quality blogs out there.  Many inspired me to develop and maintain the best quality blog I could with my limited talent and experience.

CogDogBlog by Alan Levine proved an excellent starting point.  From there I found the wiki and a list of story tools which fuelled my journey for weeks. I used many of them in my early blog entries and still love the simplicity of tools such as toondoo, slideshare and animoto.

Teacher-Librarian blogs:

As a qualified teacher-librarian I was keen to learn what I could from the online experts in the field.  One of the first gems I found was an Edublogs award winner, A Library by Any Other Name.  I learned about the 23Things Web 2.0 activitiy via this blog and followed it to learn more on my own.

This blog also led to another Edublogs winner, this time a fellow Australian, Judy O’Connell, who maintains the Hey Jude blog.  Judy seems to have an amazing capacity for ‘thinking outside the square’ and has steered me in the direction of many new online connections and blogs, including Dean Shareski’s blog and, one of my all time favourites: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.

The PLN:

The blogosphere is the sort of place where each new connection leads somewhere else: Twitter, Plurk, Ning, Diigo groups, Second Life etc.  It got to the point where I was signing up for something new each day.  It was several months before I realised I actually had a PLN of my own, a discovery which immediately led to a blog post…an event which in itself demonstrated how completely I had become immersed in the Web 2.0 world.  Something had happened…suddenly I needed to share my discoveries with other educators, suddenly I felt responsible for helping others learn.  More importantly, I began to see the real potential of the connections I’d made and began to change the way I approached my job and my teaching.

The Shape of Learning: One Size Does Not Fit All

The best part of my learning journey is the way I have been able to shape it with my own interests and needs.  Surely, this is the most effective type of learning?  The blogs I turn to have changed, the tools I race to sign up for are slightly different from last year’s offerings.  My new best tools include:

pageflakes, which I used to build an Earth 2.0 webquest;

wetpaint wikis which I use to host a wiki for my Year 11 English students called English @ 11. While they are still getting their heads around this new tool they are also learning a lot.

I’ve also rediscovered the potential of flickr, particularly photographs usable via creative commons licensing.  Other tools which complement flickr are available via Big Huge Labs

My new favourite blogs are

The English Blog: for its cutting edge articles and tools

The Best Article Every Day: for fun and great resources

Free Technology for Teachers: for its outstanding resources

Jane’s e-learning pick of the Day: excellent tools

A Geeky Mother’s Blog: excellent writing, great discussion

The Open Classroom: because I’ve met Jo and love to read her thoughts

and ICT in my Classroom: for ICT ideas and activities in a real classroom.

A meme for educational change.

Thanks to Elizabeth Koh who tagged me for this meme which was started by TJ:

“List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system. Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students…tag the following people…from a variety of perspectives. If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.”

Real life learning is about passionate engagement and lifelong curiosity. I would like to see the education system change to reflect this.  Students need to be provided with more opportunities to explore personal passions and learn about the things that are important to them.  They need to learn that learning itself is actually fun!

Avoid ‘Ivory tower’ type decision-making by ensuring decisions which impact on schools are based on what’s actually happening in schools.  It is too easy to make far-reaching decisions in an office far removed from an actual student, teacher or class.  Administrators and Principals need to understand what is happening out there.  Educational vision needs to be shared.

Increase funding to libraries and work to raise the status of libraries and teacher-librarians.  Libraries are central to learning and can have a huge impact on student learning outcomes in any school area.  The research to support this is overwhelming yet so many people still don’t get it…

Encourage teachers to work together, share resources and ideas, and give them time to talk to each other.  If we work together we will, ultimately, save time and energy to the benefit of our students and families.  We will also be working towards improving the status of teachers and teaching.   Education-based PLN’s are global and achieving wonderful things daily.

Measure real student achievement through authentic assessment and decrease the status of exams as an indicator of achievement.  Students are so much more than their exam grades!

I would like to tag the following people:



@Hershey Thorp



However, I would also encourage anyone with an opinion on this important issue to share their viewpoint