ULearn - Karen Melhuish

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The first in a series of posts reflecting on and sharing the learning from Ulearn12.

by Lisa A

Karen Melhuish presented : Punch above your weight at Ulearn 12

Key themes were:  Knowledge is in the network and Blend to extend

Karen observed that teachers who actively reflect (and this applies to library staff too) are more likely to improve their practice. With the advent of online virtual learning possibilities and flexible pathways, we no longer have to be isolated in our practice. De-privatisation of professional practice is now possible, allowing reflection, comparison and a shared conversation on what it means to be effective.

Karen identified the following trends that will support this shared learning:

Enablers and amplifiers in technology:

  • use of mobile devices and tablets. As an example, Karen related the story of a school visit to a marae which one disabled student and many interested parents weren’t able to attend. The visit was photographed by the teacher and posted on the class blog in real time - those who weren’t able to attend were still able to keep up virtually.
  • the social web – the locus of control is now with the individual. Karen talked about the importance of leveraging the ease of publication and content curation.
  •  connectivity and clouds – designing learning around students’ individual interests. Read the NZ report on Future oriented learning: a New Zealand perspective.

The characteristics of future oriented learning include:

  • De-silo-ing, bringing in multiple perspectives
  • Personalising your learning
  • Learning to learn
  • Sustaining your learning
  • Co-constructing and collaboration
  • Teaching for diversity, equality, inclusiveness (multi-modal)
  • Critical reflective inquiry
  • Inclusiveness

Karen finished with a step by step approach for getting started:


  1. De-silo –project yourself beyond your school – don’t think you have nothing to offer – be willing to share (project yourself) and make yourself into a project. Use tools such as blogs, listservs, professional online learning communities.
  2. Connect to useful networks– use the Virtual Learning Network
  3. Accept/ reject – be a discriminating digital citizen. Think of this as filter feeding – dealing with large amounts of information and deciding what you really need. Use RSS feeds, Twitter, Digital citizenship.
  4. Collect and curate – select, contribute and sustain. Use Scoop-it , pinterest .
  5. Reflect – on your learning and practice. Use blogs, e-portfolios.