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Archive for February, 2012

Why I lose faith in Educational Politics. Taken from the HUB

Posted by arlekeno on February 29, 2012

This Article is a direct copy and paste from the HUB.


School Based Management, the political imperative destroying public education


Where did the notion of a “Self-Managed School (SMS)” or School Based Management or Locally Empowered Schools begin? Professor John Smyth, Flinders University, gives us a lead.

In a 1999 interview by Nick Davies of The Guardian with Lord Baker, the Secretary of State for Education responsible for bringing in the SMS under Margaret Thatcher in England in the 1980s, the true intent behind the SMS was startlingly revealed. According to Davies, Baker laughingly admitted in the interview that the SMS policy (and its close relatives, standardised assessment, league tables, national curriculum, parental choice, and the Office for Standards in Education [Ofsted]), were all developed for entirely political reasons: the ‘real agenda was to punish the teacher unions and to kill off the local educational authorities; secretly the big master plan was to wipe out comprehensive schools by stealth’ (pp. 113-4).

From John Smyth, “The disaster of the ‘self-managing school’ genesis, trajectory, undisclosed agenda, and effects” in Journal of Educational Administration and History 43:2, Apr. 2011, pp. 95-117. quoting Nick Davies, “Political Coup Bred Educational Disaster,” The Guardian, September 16, 1999, P. 1.

And where does it end? With the withering away of the low SES schools, as middle class parents with the skills to lobby for better schooling move their children to higher SES, selective and private schools. It ends in increasing division between social, racial and religious groups, principals spending valuable time on PR and image making, reduced staffing, and decision-making based on economics instead of pedagogy.

Has SBM improved student achievement? There has been no research to demonstrate this. “What is staggering,” says Smyth, ” is the absence of any evidence showing that dismantling public schools, in the manner that has occurred in the countries mentioned, actually produces any better learning for students” (p.109).

Real improvements are made through changes in the classroom, through the relationships between students and teachers, and through offering the best teaching and learning to every student.

As Smyth states, “Measures that have made schools self-managing through creating educational markets and that have been necessary to sustain that ideology (choice, school selection, baseline assessment, Ofsted inspections in England, league tables, naming and shaming, national assessment, and others) are starting to become unravelled through the social polarisation produced as a consequence of some schools attracting bright students and funding, and the rest being left behind in struggling circumstances” (p.115).

If we believe in public education and in social equity and a democratic society, it is time to question what we are doing in our schools and implement the best educational and classroom practices, not the best in marketing. Consider the outstanding Finnish model, where every school offers the best to every child, resulting in top marks in literacy and learning. Time to turn this political juggernaut around and use what we already know about the best in teaching to give our students the best learning.


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Masters in Education. Freedom From

Posted by arlekeno on February 19, 2012

I just got my last paper back, after a rather bad assignment 1 I needed a good task 2, and I got it.  A credit from one of the courses hardest markers.

I am now a qualified Teacher Librarian. Tomorrow I shall ring up the rude people at staffing and tell them to change my status…. and I will MAKE SURE I get an email or written confirmation after their last 5 year long stuff up. No doubt they will complain I don’t have te final results all nicely tabulated and will probably make me wait, but since it can take 5 years to get them to correct their mistakes its best to start early.

I guess I will now have my days off and holidays free from reading. now if I am reading Library journals such as THE library journal, Scan, reading time etc, then I will be doing it because I want to.

I will no longer have to worry about increasing my H.E.C.S. or P.E.L.S. debts and worry even less if one of the two Library jobs in my area coming up goes to me 🙂

after 3 and half years, extended due to pneumonia and other disasters, I have a long awaited freedom.

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INF506 Evaluative report Final draft.

Posted by arlekeno on February 5, 2012

INF506 Evaluative Report.

Part 2A


During this course, through readings, OLJ activities and the Assessment tasks the objectives of the course have been met. The various networking tools have been joined, used and reviewed with reference to the articles provided in the modules and found in external study.

What it means to be a Librarian 2.0 has been taught using the tools of web 2.0 such as Youtube videos.

These tools have been studied for their ability to meet the needs of organisations and individuals, in both OLJ and Assessments.

And the procedural and policy issues, as well as the social issues have been commented on.

Objectives of the course.

1) demonstrate an understanding of social networking technologies;

This objective was met in all of the OLJs and the course. To take part in the course we needed to join Twitter, Facebook, and other tools. In completing the activities in the notes and for the assessment these tools had to be read about and used.

The various readings in the notes explaining the differences between Library 1.0 and 2.0. Such as O’Reilly 2005, and these technologies were examined in the way they could be used by a Librarian 2.0, an example of this can be seen in OLJ 3 on delicious where the tool was found to be useful for its collaborative ease.

2) demonstrate an understanding of concepts, theory and practice of Library 2.0 and participatory library service;

This objective was demonstrated in all 3 of the OLJ’s.

In OLJ 1, the use of the “4 C’s” collaboration, conversation, community and content creation, was discussed, and how they were being met by A.S.U. Libraries using Web 2.o technologies. Understanding that Library 2.0 uses Web 2.0 applications to meet these 4C’s.

In OLJ 2, Theoretical and practical issues of using Social networking in a library were discussed and how they could be of benefit and or carried out. The need for direction in choosing which tools will meet your needs was discussed and identifying the needs in planning was also raised.

In OLJ 3, The Concepts of following, sharing and cloud storage were also covered with reference to Delicious, a service I have been using for several years now, but which could easily be turned to an online reference list for a class.

3) critically examine the features and functionality of various social networking tools to meet the information needs of users;

In OLJ 3, Delicious is critically examined and found to be very useful academically, both for students/teachers storing links or for sharing, in no small part due to the ease of its interface as well as the service it provides for free.

OLJ 2. discusses how Social networking can be used to communicate information about new resources or useful links to readers, and how a library page could be used to pass on links to eBooks or Videos, containing requested information, or information relevant to an assignment due at the time.

OLJ1 reviews how a library is using these features to meet information needs. For example, the speed and simplicity of twitter to supply quick responses, as used by ASU.

4) evaluate social networking technologies and software to support informational and collaborative needs of workgroups, communities and organisations; and

This objective is covered mostly in OLJ 3, on Delicious, with the examination of the group following feature, which enables a workgroup or community to add links. This objective was also covered in OLJ 1 with discussion on ASU library’s communication with students.

5) demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world, and how information policy is developed and
implemented to support such issues.

These issues were explored mostly in OLJ 2, with the references to the equality of access to the internet, the ethics of not using these tools, which are culturally part of the connected generation, as well as reference to school policies regarding social media.

The technical management issues were mentioned regarding clickview and the DER laptops, fortunately, with the exception of second life, which, from my experience, doesn’t work properly without a high speed connection and an up to date computer, most of the social networking tools are simple enough even to be accessed to a degree by smart phone, let alone the school system.

Part 2B:


Prior to this course I felt I had a good idea of how tools such as Facebook could be used by schools, having visited many school websites. I was fairly familiar with Delicious and Twitter, but, as with any tool you have taught yourself to use by trial and error, there is often much more which can be done.


Initially, library 2.0 was a term I was familiar with through reading Scan magazine, which for the past several years has been running articles on Web2.0 and its tools. Articles such as “New literacies, New York and web 2.o” (Callow 2008) were the limit of my knowledge, while a good introduction, the readings in this course have provided a much greater depth of understanding, especially in the examples supplied.


Where as before I defined web2.o through ease of information access, sharing and feedback, I now see it more closely to the “4C’s” of Web2.0, from Module 3 of the course notes. “the underlying principles (or 4Cs) of Web 2.0 – collaboration, conversation, community and content creation (or co-creation)“. The collaboration and conversation were new to me, and the readings provided tied this concept well with an example of crowd-sourcing used by the NSW archives, given during study visits earlier this year, of the Archives using Flickr to correct information on stored photos.


While other subjects in this course had led me to study blogs and wikis, as a social net-worker, I was thinking more in terms of web 1.0. presenting my information like an encyclopaedia, rather than collaborating on it as is done in Wikipedia (O’Reilly 2005). Now I am thinking of ways to have my classes use web2.0 tools, and started to implement applications such as Audioboo and Google+ into my classes, where the students themselves can create the content and share it.


In any course, the highlight is and always will be what I can take back with me and use straight away, e.g. sharing a stack on delicious. I can do this without approval from a head teacher, it is quick, easy, and the kids will understand it. This course has contained many of these ideas. An example would be the use of twitter, not just in the articles and readings, such as Let these social networking services do the filtering for you” (Harris 2009) Which gave a list of 20 ways Librarians could use twitter, but through the use of twitter by students and lecturer in the course. I have joined twitter and experimented with it, and am currently using it, as the Library Journal article suggests, to “Filter up” articles, by subscribing to experts in the field through Edudemic or specific researchers. As well as to follow other people I find interesting, and for my own tweets, mostly of educational articles.


I find Twitter far more useful for finding new ideas for and about teaching than the NSW school’s closed social media tool, MAANG, both because of the wider range of sources, and for the ease of its interface, Maang being in my opinion user unfriendly, as it has a crowded presentation and is often very slow, overall creating an unpleasant user experience.


The required practical use of the tools such as second life, have applied the old Chinese proverb of “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

By making us use the tools, we have understood; Everything from Delicious stacks to Youtube Videos. Not only have we used these tools, they have also been modelled for us; Using the Khan Academy to aid in a flipped classroom, a term I had not heard before this course, seems more manageable, when you learn about it using streamed video, the method with which the Khan academy delivers its information. And the way Facebook has been used for this course is a direct example of how we could use it for classes.


The focus on the policy issues in this course have already been of benefit less than a week into the new school year. I was able to point a head teacher to the exact paragraph in the NSW DEC policy on Social Media and Technology Guide for Staff, which suggested a way to use Facebook in schools, by creating a group or fan page, due to my reading of it in the course of my studies. She had been told that the use of Facebook may be prohibited, but now can show it is allowed while following the guidelines.


I intend to start using these new ideas more, which will hopefully lead to a more relevant and used library, and nothing will defend a library’s position within a school, or a T.L.s job, than being seen as useful. Being able to show other teachers examples of what can be achieved, whether library minutes, or use of twitter, or providing information on social media policy, I could prove both useful, and reposition the library within the mind of the school.






CALLOW, J. (2008) New literacies, New York & Web 2.0: a little knowledge is a helpful thing! in Scan 27 (4) November, pp. 13-16. Ideas on how new literacies and new technologies enable students to share information and knowledge.


INF506 Course notes, Module 3 Module 3: Library 2.0 and participatory library services Retrieved 29/1/12 from CSU interact portal.


O’Reilly, T 2005, What is web 2.0, retrieved 2/2/12 from


Carscaddon, L & Harris, C.S. (2009) Let these social networking services do the filtering for you retrieved 29/1/12 from


NSW DEC Social media and technology guide for staff, retrieved 2/1/12 from

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