The e-Generation – it’s how we look at life that matters

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We still hear a lot about Gen Y, or Gen X etc etc.  To me, it’s not so much about age.  Recent reports from Education au, for example, point out that the perception of ‘Digital Natives’ may lead us to miss the need for explicit teaching in digital literacy, and in some of the skills needed.

If we look around at some of the people we follow and communicate with on Twitter, it becomes clearer that it is more about a ‘state of mind’  I’ve re-blogged below a piece written about 2004 for ‘Directions in Education.’

Meet the e-generation: a generation unlike others, linked not to a particular age cohort, but rather to the simple uniting forces of an overwhelming curiosity and the strong human need for love and belonging.

The e-generation is any age, and anywhere.

The e-generation, inextricably linked to internet technologies, have replaced the baby boomer linear relay model of life with a new paradigm: the world wide web. For the e-generation there’s a range of possible routes to get to a destination and an horizon of possibility disappearing into the distance. From the eighties, and mobile phones the size of a small sports bag, to the plethora of gadgetry available today, the e-generation has come to regard very little as impossible, given a combination of will, ability and resources.

Luckily, we have realised recently that we need to add to the mix of will, ability and resources a key ingredient : intelligent relationships.  A product of emotional intelligence, intelligent relationships help satisfy our need for affiliation, and, in so doing, deliver better outcomes for all. The ‘web-way’, which allows people to get to similar places without competing for a route is rich with possibilities, if disturbing to the control freaks.

Like any generation, the e-generation has taken time to grow up and decide just what it wants to do. It can happily be reported, however, that huge numbers of the e-generation are tapping in to new ways of affiliation, developing trust and learning communities online.

Connect: The value of Twitter

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I’ve been fascinated by Twitter in the last few weeks.  You know, the micro-blogging platform which allows anybody who wants to to post up to 140 characters in response to the universal question: “What are you doing now?”

Very quickly, as a person largely uninterested in celebrities, the interest value in somebody ‘tweeting’ about the nice coffee they just enjoyed has waned.  What has risen, however, is an apprecation of the ways in which Twitter can connect people with similiar interests and connect places and events, enabling collaboration and creation of new knowledge and understandings.

I was able to tell a conference the other day about a Twitter interaction with an academic at Charles Sturt about research on the value of Video Conferencing for students in rural and remote locations.  In the same few days it was possible to be directly connected to the Laptops for Learning forum being held in Sydney and the Microsoft Innovative Schools’ Conference being held on the Gold Coast, and to exchange messages and ideas with people who had been part of Education au’s strategic think tank in Sydney last weekend.

And, along the way it’s beein possible to make positive links with members of the Hunter business community with the potential fo synergies which will assist our schools and communities.

Seeing the ability of Twitter to contribute to student learning has also been a highlight.

Last night, late, one of the people I am following asked for input for his history class in Western Australia who are studying the Vietnam War and were seeking commentary from people who could recall the tine of the Vietnam war.

I was only a primary school child at the time, but it was interesting to reflect and offer the following.  Through Twitter we have been all able to connect and collaborate to create greater knowledge and shared understanding:  and that is a good thing.

Here are my memories from the Vietnam war period.  If you have others, click the Comment button and add yours.  I can pass them on to a group of students who are helping us to all see the positive uses for tools like this.

Hi to Mr Lasic’s class !!

The online form didn’t really fit what I wanted to say, so it is.

Some memories from the time of the Vietnam war

I was a kid at a one teacher school in Northern NSW in the early sixties as we went ‘All the Way with LBJ’  Children of small mixed farmers, on lands of drought and flooding rains, and varying degrees of love for this sunburnt country on the rim of Dorothea’s time in Gunnedah.

One of the boys of a local farm family was a real character, often appearing shoeless, bright Hawaiian shirt and smile hanging loosely from a personality which was as expansive as the plains just to the west of us.  As was the custom in small rural communities, we all celebrated landmark birthdays.  I can’t recall whether we’d had Phil’s 21st.

Phil went away to Vietnam: as every young guy did.  How could this generation of young men shirk the same sense of duty as shown by their fathers and grandfathers?  Flowers in the spouts of guns may have been nice to imagine as the heralds of a new beginning, but the reality was a headlong rush to muster to the same clarion calls which had brought the men marching from the mid west to join up: ‘for King and country.’

Phil came home with no sight and no ability to walk.

A number of years ago his Vietnam legacy claimed his life.

All of us, farmers kids, spread to other places.  All of us would have reflected on the need for that loosely hanging smile to fall, collapsing at our feet.

To what extent has Australia’s development since Federation been periodically handicapped by losses to other causes?  Imagine if we had seen, instead, the sustained and innovative growth of a young nation?

Beautiful country – and visual metaphor

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I’ve just returned from Dungog, which is a country town about an hour and a half  North of Newcastle in NSW.  My gig was a keynote for a combined group of teachers from local schools: kicking off a full ‘Tools For Learning’ day.

I drove up in the last afternoon and loved the beautiful colours on the hills, the deep greens and contrasts as the lengthening shadows gathered in the clefts of the hills.  It made me think of the great possibilities which the mobile device so many of us carry with us provides in capturing images and moments of meaning. 

I was able to take the picture below and include it in my presentation as a way of talking with teachers about how we might, (subject to the obvious needs around agreed acceptable usage), ask students to provide an image which has a meaning for them and get them writing and talking, or creating other digital objects which work from this single metaphor. Yet another way that we can promote key actions as we CONNECT, with ideas and people and with physical infrastructure, where  we COLLABORATE with a shared purpose of making learning meaningful and relevant and where we then CREATE new knowledge or expressions of our understanding.

Hope you like the picture.  Feel free to click the Comment button and have your say !


Quote of the week #1109

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Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open.
You’re able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others, without being crippled by your own judgment.
~ Ralph Marston

One of the things I loved about debating was the focus on finding points to support the point of view needing to be taken. 

More recently, it has been interesting to discuss the concept of how aspect creates a vastly different perspective or: put simply; if we all stand in a circle around a chair then we will all be viewing the same objective, but all of us will have a different aspect and perception as a result of the place from which we do the viewing.

And, so we will with ideas. And people.

Quote of the week #1009

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“All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.”

Arthur Aufderheide

For the last year or so, it’s been interesting to focus on the three key words which sit behind lots of thing about internet use and the growth of the web 2.0 environment.  Connect, Collaborate and Create.

We live in a world of exponentially growing amounts of knowledge, freely available and floating out there within reach.  But, knowledge simply of itself, without connection to purpose, or a prior knowledge and understanding, remains simply another unconnected fact, or piece of information. 

One of our tasks as educators is to provide narratives which enable children to connect new knowledge to a piece of held knowledge which is already meaningful.  The trick is to provide an environment in which curiosity is fostered, and where the seeking of answers to questions which have meaning is a key aspect of learning.

A powerful means of negotiating meaning for new knowledge is provided by collaboration: utilising the synergy which can flow from the inputs and connections of a range of others.

And, from this flows the third ‘C’ as learners create new knowledge and new understandings, generating, in the process, new curiosities and seeking of answers to questions which have now become meaningful.

Yes we can.

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Quote of the Week #909

Don’t live down to expectations.  Go out there and do something remarkable.  ~ Wendy Wasserstein

I went for a walk in the street as it swelled with St Patrick’s Day fun.  In the midst of an intersection we were caught up in the energy of a performance by a High School Drum Team and Cheer Leader Team. 

The exuberance of the drummers: pierced and baggy panted young men, energetic and drilled yet freewheeling and edgy.  Engagement.  It is what makes the difference.

The willingness of this group of young men, their varied hats and body shapes at counterpoint, to focus intently on the quality and energy of their performance bore out the belief that engagement can maximise the quality of outcomes.

I am reminded of the person who once made such sense when they said something like: ‘the first violinist in the orchestra plays to the best of their ability not out of fear of the conductor, but out of a desire to produce the best sound possible.’  When people are engaged to care about the outcomes, then the horizon of possibility is endless.

Why should our young people have anything less than maximum opportunity ?


Quote of the week #809 – trying some tools

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Very happy lately that a team have taken the Moodle idea and run with it.  Looking for other opportunities to promote the use of Collaborative Online Workspaces..(COWs)

Innovation by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires ‘courageous patience’. ~ Warren Bennis


It has been refreshing in the last few months to work with some other educators to explore the possibilities of Moodle as a Learning Management System with students from a couple of schools

Early days yet..but looks like we can probably tick the ‘engagement’ box.

This presentation is worthwhile in getting an idea about Moodle

Quote of the week #709

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I’ve pasted below one of my favourite quotes which seems to become more and more pertinent every day.  The author is unknown, but it seems to reflect the famous quote from Anaiis Nin, which says:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Or, very simply, in the words of Moloko:

‘The time is now’

Or, Obama




Quote of the Week #609

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Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  Perhaps, as the quote below suggests, we need both.  There may be some who wish to always work from the end of the spectrum where all energy is devoted to trying to imagine what could possibly ever go wrong and then to developing elaborate plans to take account of every possibility.

We will always need, however, optimists who are willing to see beyond and push back the horizon of possibility for a better future.

It is, like so much, a case of getting the balance right.  Just part of ‘Doing what’s best.’

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society.  The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.  ~ Gil Stern

And, what a wonderful idea: a future we can already describe with warmth and fondness, hugging to ourselves the joy in knowing that we assisted its creation.

Optimists are nostalgic about the future.  ~ Chicago Tribune

Quote of the week #509

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Some of the events of the last week: fires, floods and other examples which show that we are, after all, simply creatures like any other within a world environment which has a power far beyond our ability to meddle with it, demonstrate that we must make the creation of possibility a key goal.  Optimism and hope all combine to allow us to imagine a future where the world is a better place.

Teaching people skills, without giving them a vision for a better future; a vision based on common values; is only training.Nido Qubein

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