Building the capacity of Australian teachers and TLs as digital curators

03-Mar-2014

On Friday 28 February 2014, the Syba Academy hosted the first of a series of hands-on digital curation workshops for teacher librarians. With our workshop class size capped at 30, the PC lab at Training Choice in North Sydney provided participants with the perfect venue to receive individual instruction and professionally connect with like-minded colleagues.

Curating Digital Collections for the Australian Curriculum is a full-day, hands-on workshop facilitated by Lyn Hay, Syba Academy’s Head of Professional Learning. The workshop is designed to provide teachers and TLs with the capacity to resource specific topics of the Australian Curriculum by creating customised collections of digital resources using a range of curation tools. The program structure allows participants to undertake hands-on activities within every session of the day. On Friday, our participants were up to the elbows exploring curation sites on their PCs well before morning tea.

Immerse, explore, play, evaluate, design, create, and share, were the strategies employed to help participants move from new learning, to learning action.

Participants were:

  • provided with access to a dedicated networked PC for the day;
  • provided with a customised Syba Academy desktop and pre-configured web browsers for curation;
  • introduced to digital curation principles and practices;
  • introduced to the features and functionality of a range of curation platforms, tools and apps;
  • exposed to a range of curation sites addressing Australian Curriculum content and outcomes;
  • provided with step-by-step guidance in creating and managing curation accounts; and
  • guided through the curation process while building a customised collection of digital resources for an Australian Curriculum topic taught in their school.

The majority of participants on Friday were teacher librarians along with one classroom teacher, an ICT Teacher/Coordinator, and a librarian. Collaborative learning and participatory curation were encouraged, with participants sharing their observations and reporting on their hands-on curation experiences with the group.

Feedback from the day was very positive. Overall participants strongly agreed that the content of the workshop was relevant to their work situation, that the content was well-organised, with a good mix of theory and practice; and overall, the day was a good investment of their time. While some participants felt they needed more time to cover all aspects of the curation process, all participants had devised a plan of action upon returning to school.

Some examples of participants’ comments include:

"I can really see how the dynamic nature of these digital curation can really provided authentic support to teaching and learning programs."
"The hands on component. It was very valuable to be able to put the new skills into practice immediately and gain help when needed."
"Practical and well paced as well as relevant. Good to be able to interact with presenter and participants."
"I found this in-service very useful indeed as it has given me the means of curating relevant content for my school. Tips about including annotations and tabs and being content specific for a particular audience were great."
"Lyn was able to help everyone in a great deal of depth if you required a lot of help."
"Really enjoyed my course and definitely see myself creating Scoop.its and Learnist for all our units of inquiry from K-6."
"One of the best PD days that I have attended. I am excited at the ideas that have come from this and am looking forward to exploring the concept further."
"Lyn Hay was a fabulous speaker who made it relevant to our working day. She was friendly, approachable and presented a well-sequenced and easy to follow workshop. Thanks for an educational day."

We also had five participants register for the digital curation CLiP program. This is a formal program where participants commit to consolidating their new learning in practice over a 4 week period within their school. During this time they have access to Lyn as their CLiP facilitator to support their ‘learning in action’ plan. At the end of the 4 week period, CLiP participants submit documentation of consolidating their learning in practice for assessment, to gain further endorsed hours of professional credit in addressing a selection of the NSWIT/AITSL professional teaching standards.

The feedback from this day confirms for us at the Academy that teachers and TLs see digital curation as an important strategy in resourcing the new Australian Curriculum.

If you are interested in learning how to integrate digital curation into your role as a teacher librarian, teacher, ICT coordinator, or librarian in your school, information about future workshops in #SybaCuration is available at http://www.sybaacademy.com.au/learning/courses.