ETL505 – Critical Reflection

Not wishing to repeat my knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles of information resource description (Modules 1-3), please refer to my Descriptive Cataloguing blog (Ellis, 2016). ETL505 has solidified my knowledge that one purpose of a TL is to deliver essential resources which: provide teaching and learning support in the context of syllabus and curriculum requirements; deliver students and teachers with quality print and digital material that supplements and provides individual learning and recreational reading, all of which sustains the development of an educational program meeting the needs of the school community (NSW Department of Education, 2005). While School Cataloguing Information Service (SCIS) provides a plethora of reliable and consistent features, the Teacher Librarian (TL) is still ultimately responsible for ensuring these records are accurately integrated into their local system and make cognisant decisions about any necessary change to records to enhance accessibility or create records when one is not available (SCIS, 2015).



Image Credit: Funny library jokes

Specifically, this subject has taught me to cater for user needs which are efficiently and effectively met, by systematically arranging and cataloguing resources to be easily retrieved (Australian School Library Association, 2014, Ellis, 2013, Hider, 2012, p. 3). To assist a swift retrieval, the TL needs to meticulously describe, classify and analytically house resources physically and virtually. Despite good intentions, this does not always occur as users may “fail” to enter authorised headings (Kaplan, 2009, p. 2). Google provides a service by enabling “hits” to resources based on a simple keyword search, although the quality, reliability and validity of this information can be questionable (Next-generation library catalogs, n.d.; Hider, 2012, p. 183).  The future trend of information organisation and consequently, metadata in libraries is complex. While content-based information retrieval is reasonable and appreciated by information professionals, metadata-based methods still provide access in ways that search engines struggle (such as for book indexes, pictures and music) because they need to be constructed by humans (Hider, 2012, p. 183). There obviously needs to be a compromise and many academic libraries are working to integrate their meta-data based catalogue with interfaces similar to Google to entice users back to the library (Next-generation library catalogs, n.d.).

Comprehending the Dewey Decimal Classification system and undertaking the creation of SCIS subject headings has given me a greater appreciation for the rules and standards required to successfully accession and research an item. I now have the confidence to manually generate subject headings and create a DDC number for an item that does not appear in SCIS (n.d.) if SCIS are unable to assist. I fully appreciate the Australian SCIS influence and need for TLs to alter call numbers to promote access by its local users. It is interesting to note that while SCIS dictates the call number, it is left up to individual libraries to allocate prefixes or location symbols to suit the needs of the user in finding a resource (SCIS, 2016, p. 3-5). It is ultimately about making decisions to appropriately classify resources to promote usefulness to school libraries. I strongly uphold the ethos of SCIS in promoting specifically Australian based resources to encourage the education of Australian students (SCIS, 2016, 3:D6 – Local emphasis) and will in future be sending resources to be properly catalogued as I now appreciate their invaluable role to school libraries.


Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2014). What is a teacher librarian? [Website]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2013, May 30). The future of school library collections [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2016, October 4). Descriptive cataloguing [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

Kaplan, A. (2009). Cataloging for non-catalogers. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education (2005). Library policy – Schools [Website]. Retrieved from

Next-generation library catalogs: A resource guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from Fuller: David Allan Hubbard Library:

Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS). (n.d.). SCIS Catalogue [Website]. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from

Schools Catalogue Information Services (SCIS). (2015). SCIS Standards for cataloguing and data entry. Retrieved from

Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS). (2016). SCIS Subject Headings [Website]. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from

Image Credit

Funny Library Jokes [Online image]. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from

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Descriptive Cataloguing


An information resource is any item that comprises information. It covers a variety of media, including print and digital sources such as, books, charts, physical and virtual artefacts, websites and DVDs, encompassing a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres, like novels, images and plays. Information resource description is the deliberately considered choice a library staff and/or teacher librarian (TL) make in describing and categorising any information resource to make it easily available to find, identify, select and obtain, based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), explained in more detail later on (Hider, 2012, p. 18). This essay discusses and analyses the following four key concepts and principles in information resource description: information organisation, the requisite for information organisations to classify information, what organising information involves and the role of metadata standards.

Information organisation is the often complex concept involved with information management (Hider, 2012 p.11). A key purpose for any library system is how physical information resources and digital information resources are systematised and then described and organised to maximise effective user access and usage. Information resources can be described and organised in a multitude of ways. The choices in organising print and digital resources will have implications on the effective search, access and retrieval of an item by its user.

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) endorses library specialists to create effective “information access and use through systematic and user-centred description, categorisation, digitisation, storage, preservation and retrieval” (ALIA, 2014). The ever increasing amount of information available in both print and digital format make it progressively more difficult to access and determine its place in a catalogue (Hider, 2012, p.xi). It is therefore necessary for an information agency to organise information that will assist its clients to effectively find, specific quality resources that satisfy their research goal be it for entertainment (such as reading for pleasure), investigation of a particular inquiry topic or a random and vague enquiry.

There have been historical, political and social reasons that various information agencies have been established to contextualise concepts and principles of information resource description. Hider (2012, p.12) stresses the importance of a common standard to be adopted because detailed and consistent data input usually results in a more effective information retrieval system. Once common standardised data has been universally accepted by prominent international library agencies, library services can profit from a unilateral provision which benefits all library users. Australian TLs need to understand and appreciate the significance of Resource Description and Access (RDA), FRBR and the Schools Library Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) because combined, they provide the foundational structure upon which most current Australian library systems operate.

Outlining a brief history of RDA is essential, as it has significantly changed user access to resources by expanding results of a search. Prior to computers, physically present resources were catalogued on a card system where one could access a resource primarily based on author, title, subject, date of publication, edition and other elements (not all of which were direct access points) that conformed with the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR), the second edition of which was updated in 1978 to AACR2 (Bowman, 2003, p. 9). This was adopted by many countries across the world as a standardised system for providing rules and access points for library resources, which worked successfully.

The introduction of computers and keyword searches critically changed how users locate resources, as it included online resources. It was concluded by the Joint Steering Committee in 2004, that a revision of AACR2 to accommodate these needs was not enough and that a whole new system was necessary (Hart, 2010, p. 2). RDA, has become an innovative standard to describe information resources and provide effective and consistent access, designed for the print and digital realm (Joint Steering Committee for development of RDA, 2010). As a result, the RDA Toolkit, an online cataloguing resource was introduced to the library community in 2010 (RDA Joint Steering Committee, 2010). Embodying the foundations of AACR2, RDA delivers a comprehensive set of instructions and guidelines, with access and detailed resource descriptions that cover a multitude of content and media.

Fundamental to RDA is FRBR which recommends that a library catalogue do more than just locate the whereabouts of a particular resource (Welsh & Batley, 2012, p. 8). A FRBR-based catalogue not only describes in detail the item to be recorded but links it relationally as a work, expression, manifestation or item (Group 1 entities) to any other bibliographic record that also may be of use to the end user. This concept is based on an entity relationship model which links Group 1 entities to other items of interest to users of bibliographic data such as other people who had a secondary role with respect to the resource (Group 2 entities) and the “subjects of those products of intellectual and artistic creation” (Group 3 entities) (Oliver, 2010, p. 17). This is similar in many ways to how search engines are structured and why so many users initially look on the internet because they are guaranteed of getting a “hit” when keywords are entered. The quality of the “hit” may be dubious, which is why it is important for digital and physical libraries to have, consistent databases and catalogues that yield instant high-quality resources.

SCIS is a cost-effective service that provides “access to the largest database of school-related catalogue records in the Southern Hemisphere”, to which most Australian school libraries belong (Education Services Australia, 2013). Their cataloguing system is based on the principles of both RDA and FRBR (Beilharz, 2012). Economically, buying into a standardised catalogue is fiscally practical because it enables TLs to acquire and record an item in the same format as a neighbouring library, rather than having to produce identical records individually (Bowman, 2003, p. 9). Both libraries are following the same rules and codes as both are based on the same comprehensive database. Library users benefit because catalogues in a different situation are the same, making it easier to use as they are not manipulating a new system.

Organising information entails implementing a standardised and consistent library cataloguing system with the prime outcome of making information discovery easy, productive and efficient for its users. Library catalogues or Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs) are a central component of the information access provided to libraries. While resource description is not a primary role of TLs as it is usually outsourced to information agencies such as SCIS, it is important for TLs to understand the principles of information resource description. This knowledge enables TLs to evaluate the effectiveness of access to resources within a school library via the catalogue and educational databases and how that access can best be utilised and promoted to its users. While SCIS provides a plethora of reliable and consistent features to include in a library catalogue, the TL is still ultimately responsible for ensuring these records are accurately integrated into their local system and make cognisant decisions about any necessary changes to records to enhance accessibility or create records when one is not available.

Metadata is “data about data” which includes the diverse features of a resource that are believed to be useful to “access, retrieve and manage it” (Chowdhury, 2010, p.62). Haynes (2004, p. 17), suggests the following five essential roles of metadata. Firstly, metadata provides a consistent information resource description which aids information organisations to facilitate appropriate description and cataloguing of information resources. While a book can be described in terms of the number of pages it has, a video cannot; a website has a URL and a map often contains coloured illustrations. Descriptions need to be reliable and streamlined. Secondly, by accurately describing resources, metadata accelerates information retrieval and resource discovery. Thirdly, metadata plays a central role as the building block of information organisation and content management. It provides more effective ways to organise information and enhances retrieval by making it more intuitive for its users. Fourthly, metadata enables the storage of important information about ownership, provenance, special marks and so on which can significantly highlight the authenticity of resources (digital in particular), useful for resource discovery and management. This is especially important for many school libraries which either have or are in the process of, establishing a digital collection as well as a physical collection. Lastly, the role of metadata is to ensure interoperability and data transfer between systems because metadata formats need to be interpreted and correctly installed on whatever computer platform is found in a library. MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloguing) is the most utilised record exchange system because it has a standardised scheme for encoding metadata to be ‘read’ by any computer (Hider, 2012, p. 122).

Hider (2012) writes that metadata sources come from a variety of people such as resource creators, publishers and information professionals who are specifically trained to enter the correct data. Hider advocates that the quality and standard of metadata is crucial to its distribution as it can make a critical difference to information retrieval. The quality of metadata is based on the principles of functionality, comprehensiveness, accuracy, clarity, consistency and vocabulary and authority control. Companies like SCIS, establish quality control processes to ensure that metadata is checked when records are being created (Chadwick, 2015).

The standardisation of metadata means that it can be used by different information retrieval systems and therefore by different libraries. Significantly, once that metadata has been created, it needs only be done once by information professionals and stored in a centralised place to be accessed again. It is interesting to note that libraries have now begun to share their records with internet search companies in order for their catalogues to be easily accessed across the web (Hider, 2012, p. 98). There are a multitude of metadata standards which are specific to a particular context such as museum archiving, book publishing and E-research and still the purpose of each, is effective and efficient retrieval of a resource by the end user – based on the first principle as stated by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) which is “the convenience of the user” (2009, p. 2).

In conclusion, this discussion has examined the key concepts and principles in information resource description by outlining a brief history of FRBR, a conceptual framework upon which RDA, a standard for descriptive cataloguing and SCIS, the major database of library catalogues in Australian libraries. It is important for a TL to understand what information organisation is and why it is necessary for information agencies to organise information because as the person who is responsible for accessioning, it is valuable knowledge in making informed decisions about how to organise print and digital resources to best suit the end user. The quality and standards of metadata contribute significantly to the role of a library catalogue in providing the end user with information effectively and efficiently.


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2014). The library and information sector: Core knowledge, skills and attributes [Website]. Retrieved from

Beilharz, R. (2012). RDA new cataloguing rules. Connections, 83. Retrieved from

Bowman, J. (2003). Essential Cataloguing. London: Facet Publishing.

Chadwick, B. (2015). SCIS is more. Connections, 92. Retrieved from

Chowdhury, G. G. (2010). Introduction to modern information retrieval (3rd ed.). London: Facet Publishing.

Education Services Australia (ESA). (2013). About SCIS. In Schools Catalogue Information Service. Retrieved from

Haynes, D. (2004). Metadata for information management and retrieval. London: Facet Publishing.

Hart, A. (2010). The RDA primer: A guide for the occasional cataloguer. Santa Barbara, California: Linworth.

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). (2009). Statement of international cataloguing principles [Statement]. Retrieved from

Joint Steering Committee for development of RDA. (2010). RDA: Resource Description and Access [Archived Website]. Retrieved from

Oliver, C. (2010). Introducing RDA: A guide to the basics. Chicago: American Library Association.

RDA (Resource Description and Access) Joint Steering Committee. RDA Toolkit [Website]. (2010). Retrieved August 20, 2016, from

Welsh, A. & Batley, S. (2012). Practical cataloguing: AACR, RDA and MARC 21. London: Facet Publishing.

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ETL507 Final Reflective e-Portfolio

With two subjects to go in the next sixth months, I have decided to complete Assessment Item 3 – Final Reflective Portfolio first during my “break” from commencing ETL505. While it was not due until 17th October, I didn’t want to be rushing at the end to finish it and as a result, I’ve decided to use a new Weebly site rather than just as a word document. Please find the link attached here:

Sammy’s Final Reflective e-Portfolio.

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ETL523 Final Blog Reflection

Screenshot 2016-05-31 13.16.29



I am pumped! I feel passionate, compelled and motivated to become a connected, collaborative and creative Teacher-Librarian. I finally know I have the skills to apply theory into practice. Other subjects have contributed to my learning and I’ve begun implementing changes such as Guided Inquiry, however, ETL523 has expanded my concept of Digital Citizenship (DC) and “forced” me to use new Web 2.0 tools. Ribble (2016) defines DC as the appropriate use of responsible behaviour regarding technology practice. This subject has extended my view of DC to include student manipulation of technology-researched information to create a meaningful, original, digital artefact, combined with appropriate online behaviour that involves connecting and collaborating one-to-one and in teams, nationally and globally (Stripling, 2010; Wheeler, 2015).

Web 2.0 Tools

I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with a multitude of Web 2.0 tools I had never previously explored:

  • Wiki, to collaboratively create units of work;
  • Symbaloo, a digital curation tool, which I’ll utilise on our school’s website page;
  • Padlet, to introduce ourselves on this subject, which I have employed as a sharing tool with a class overseas;
  • Skype, to bond, communicate and collaborate on a team assignment, which led me to connect with a Singaporean teacher to instigate a Mystery Skype that will evolve into a sharing opportunity for students to showcase work completed in class.

I’m no longer scared. There are so many cool tools out there and I’m never going to be able to use them all (Shearing, 2016). It’s not about what you use but how you use the tool to achieve a particular educational goal. Reviewing my blog (Ellis, 2016a), one essential tool to initiate is student curation. I rely heavily on diigo to catalogue my websites and I need to introduce this (or something similar) to assist students with digital organisation.

So what?

Leadership and Teacher Professional Development

My role as TL has extended from being an information resource manger, a curriculum leader, a collaborative partner, a budget manager, a website manager, an information literacy leader (Herring, 2007) and now, includes being a confident technology teacher and leader. “Leadership is needed to promote change” (MacBeath & Dempster, 2008, p. 32). I am a confident educational leader who has led and implemented successful school-wide change in my previous role as Assistant Principal. Experimenting and being challenged by Web 2.0 tools, has made me realise that I need to push myself into the unknown – it’s great to trial and succeed; it’s also okay to fail and think laterally, to overcome problems by seeking collaborative help with those online. It’s not about what you know, but the skills and abilities one uses to come to know.

It is essential to develop a supportive digital learning environment, which is engaging, exciting and motivating in promoting positive student learning outcomes. Optional and informal responses from the Computer Technology survey (Ellis, 2016b), indicated that teacher professional development is fundamental at my school for developing the skills to effectively integrate technology into classroom practice across all curriculum areas, leading to positive student learning outcomes and creating 21st C learners (Hanover Research, 2014, p. 4).

Now what?

The future

Five key points I discussed in a forum post that needed to be included in a DC policy, which was previously non-existent (Ellis, 2016c):

  • Acceptable Use Policy (✔);
  • DC program (in progress);
  • Parent workshops (in the future);
  • Utilising Web 2.0 tools with students (✔) and
  • Student use and citation of creative commons (in progress).

It is positive to see the ✔’s and progress made during this course. Submitting this report is the next crucial step because I believe it is an honest, practical, theoretically sound and realistic critique of how our school can move forward. My next step is to scrutinise my Personal Learning Network to assist me to take further control of my own life-long learning and move with the times as I adapt to this constantly changing technologically driven world (Cooke, 2012). ETL523 has provided me with the digital confidence and motivation to be a voice in consultation with others, in moving our school forward and fostering 21st C teacher and student learning.



Cooke, N. (2012). Professional development 2.0 for librarians: Developing an online personal learning network (PLN). Library Hi Tech News, 29(3), 1-9.

Ellis, S. (2016a). Sammy’s Scribblings: Module 2- Content curation [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2016b). Computer Technology [SurveyMonkey]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2016c, May 3). Module 6.1: Developing policies to support a DLE [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school. In S. Furguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Ribble, M. (2016). Digital citizenship: Using technology appropriately. Retrieved from

Smiley face thumbs up #1723. (n.d.). [Online image]. Retrieved May 24, 2016 from

Shearing, L. (2016). Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools [Website]. Retrieved May 24, 2016 from

Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching students to think in the digital environment: Digital literacy and digital inquiry. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 16-19.

MacBeath, J., & Dempster, N. (Eds.). (2008). Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice. Routledge.

Wheeler, S. (2015). Learning with’e’s: Educational theory and practice in the digital age. United Kingdom: Crown House Publishing Limited.

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Module 2 – Content Curation


Curating in an educational setting

Digital curation is the considered selection, collection, maintenance and archiving of appropriate digital resources, which are usually centred on a particular theme. It is like creating a mini online library of resources pertinent to a particular topic. The potential impact that this can have on an educational setting is enormous. Although students are considered to be ‘digital natives’ and most students can comfortably navigate their way on the Internet and effortlessly use any device, their biggest reported issue is finding appropriate, high-quality information for research. With so much digital information available to students, many find it completely overwhelming as they have not been taught how to delve through the websites that appear in their search or how to assess it for reliability, authenticity and accuracy.

Digital curation is enormously valuable in providing appropriate content for students as the teacher librarian has already undertaken a web search and filtered out the less important information and listed quality material at the top. Many of the new digital curation tools are extremely flexible and user-friendly, allowing the teacher librarian to keep the content updated on a regular basis by deleting out-of-date resources and adding new items.

Some examples of suitable content curation tools include:

Strategies to support curation for all learners

The students at the primary school in which I presently work, do not use curation tools during class time. My first strategy would be to introduce a variety of different curating tools and to explain its significance. The students would then set up accounts and begin to collect digital resources on a given topic that they are studying in class so that it is purposeful.

The only curation tool I personally use is Diigo. I haven’t decided which one I would use in a school setting, or if I would use a combination, but I would like to set up a system for teachers to be able to access high-quality digital resources that I have initially sourced for them to be able to add to as they discover other resources or delete if out-dated. This would showcase to the students and teachers how valuable digital curation can be in managing and storing collaboratively sourced information.

Mobile digital curation and how can this be integrated into learning needs within a school

Our school is currently exploring Google Apps and its many features, such as Google Classroom. This has enabled both students and teachers to integrate their teaching and learning into a mobile setting, accessible 24/7. Students using documents and other resources in Google Apps can no longer use the excuse that their work “is lost” or they “can’t find it” as they have inadvertently saved it in an obscure place on the school’s collaborative share drive. The role of mobile digital curation would be similar in allowing students and teachers access to digital resources 24/7.

I’m currently sitting at the Big 4 Dubbo camping site under the tent annex typing this up while my kids “chillax”. I was able to get free Wi-Fi access on my laptop. The beauty of 24/7 access to technology. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to go away this Easter if I couldn’t have fitted some work in the afternoons as I don’t want to fall behind. The beauty of 24/7 access to technology!



Valenza, J. (2012). Curation. School Library Monthly. 29(1), 20-23.

Valenza, J. (2011, September 30). Curation is the new search tool [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Image Credit

Content Curation unknown

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Module 1: Activity #1 – Sharing digital citizenship and digital learning environments


Definition of digital citizenship: Ribble, defines digital citizenship as the appropriate use and responsible behaviour of technology practice ( He identified nine elements of digital citizenship that in my opinion, should become imbedded into everyday school curricula and teaching and learning practice:

  • digital etiquette,
  • digital communication,
  • digital access and digital literacy,
  • digital commerce and digital law,
  • digital rights and responsibilities,
  • digital health and wellness, and
  • digital security.

My concern surrounding digital citizenship: Technology provides remarkable opportunities for students to learn, connect, create and collaborate with their local community, nationally and globally. However, while many students consider themselves to be “tech-savvy”, there is no guarantee that they are cyber-safe (Australian School Library Association, (ASLA), 2013) because it is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT), capability (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2015), indicates that Australian educators have an obligation to teach students about the ethical use of technology, however, there is no explicit reference as to where it specifically sits in the curriculum or by whom it needs to be taught. While the educational community agree with the teaching of digital citizenship in principle, O’Brien (2010), policy leader of the NSW Digital Education Revolution, acknowledges that the decision to teach digital citizenship relies solely on the initiative of the individual teacher, as there is no coordinated K-12 curriculum approach. Teacher Librarians (TLs) are well placed to teach these skills, however is it their responsibility, or that of the classroom teacher (CT), or both?

An informed, publicly engaged digital citizen, is difficult to define. Greenhow (2010) states that more research is needed into exactly how students learn and then practise legal, ethical, safe, responsible and respectful uses of the Internet.

School direction: Implementing digital citizenship practices, is currently in its infancy at our school. Those students accessing the Learning Centre this term, have been given a brief overview of some of the aspects of being a safe and respectful digital user. New this year, all students (if they agreed) signed a Computer Use Contract, which states that they will abide by the policies outlined by the NSW Department of Education when they log into their student portal. Next term, there will be a trial to implement programs available from the New Wales Department of Education and Communities (2011) Digital Citizenship website (



Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015). The Australian Curriculum v8.0. Retrieved from

O’Brien, T. (2010). Creating better digital citizens. The Australian Educational Leader, 32(2). Retrieved from

Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & leading with technology, 37(6), 24-25.

Image Credit

Teaching & Technology. Free for commercial use, no attribution required. Image from flickr


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Preliminary Discussion to Digital Citizenship


By Okky.novianto – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

I’m about to embark on my 6th subject out of 8 to complete this course. I’ve read through the requirements and while I love setting up collaborative activities for my students, am anxious about my role in the forthcoming assignment. I am excited and challenged at the prospect of engaging with others undertaking this course and learning to manipulate and utilise new technology.


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Future Proofing Critical Analysis and Reflection

LeaderImage uploaded from:


There is no doubt that the role of the teacher librarian (TL) has vastly changed over the last decade with the introduction of computers and easy access to the Internet into the majority of schools (Herring, 2007; Kuhlthau, 2010). The TL’s role is complex and varied.

Dewey (1916) suggested that the purpose of schools is to develop educated individuals or cohorts to actively participate in society. Globally this continues to be the primary purpose of schooling… (Starkey, 2012, p. 20).

The assimilation and introduction of the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (ACARA), 2015), with revamped syllabuses in New South Wales (Board of Studies, Teaching & Educational Standards NSW, 2015) has made the role of the TL critical in terms of being a curriculum leader, an information literacy leader and an instructional leader (Herring, 2007). This has necessitated the need for the TL to have a thorough and current knowledge of key issues that surround leadership and change management.

Teacher Librarian as Leader

It is interesting to note that in my assessment task one blog, “the next step in my leadership journey will be to implement an information literacy model that is adopted school-wide” (Ellis, 2015, April 14). This did become a strategic focus, but it was so much easier said than done! Discussion was also about the TL as leader in the areas of team teaching, collaboration and promotion of information literacy (IL) skills, supporting classroom teacher practices and as a service leader in resourcing the Learning Centre (LC) with quality print and digital materials. While all these are important components of the role of TL, my view has now been dramatically expanded to include that of being a curriculum and pedagogical leader who must understand change management and have a vision for the future of the LC to ensure it is a central learning space in the school. Defining and articulating a vision statement as opposed to a mission statement proved rewarding, but challenging.

Changes In 21st Century School Libraries

A key area of growth and understanding with regards to 21st century school libraries is the incredible, fast-paced changes that are occurring in terms of web tools and the importance of having a flexible LC, physically and virtually for students to access information resources and learn individually or in a group setting at school or at home. The implementation of a whole-school Guided Inquiry (GI) process can be the key to stabilising these changes as it provides an educationally sound framework for information literacy learning (Kuhlthau, 2010).

Current evaluation of the Australian Curriculum is that it is too crowded in terms of content and that it is currently under review (ACARA, 2015). Keeping up-to-date with present-day curriculum implementations is crucial in being able to support classroom teachers with the new syllabuses and supporting resources.

One personal weakness, highlighted during this module, has been my lack of technological knowledge. How can I support the entrenching of information literacy skills in the school if I don’t have the skills myself? Using the forum to seek suggestions from others (Ellis, 2015, April 8) and delving further into a name – Karen Bonanno (2015), proved extremely valuable. Excitingly, the discovery of Bonanno’s F-10 Inquiry skills scope and sequence and F-10 core skills and tools has piqued my interest and will become the building-block, that not only informs my teaching practices next semester but my role as curriculum and information literacy leader.

The deliberate provision of time for teachers to collaborate on issues of curriculum and instruction is paramount in providing opportunities for “teachers to learn from one another, refine their practice, and work with others to deepen their understanding of the complexities of teaching (Lieberman & Mace, 2010, p. 79). However, this does not necessarily have to be done face-to-face. As a result of this module I have now:

  • joined the New South Wales TL Listserv;
  • encouraged the school to subscribe to SCAN;
  • begun experimenting with web tools to use with students; and
  • joined a variety of educational diigo groups.

This has been significant in terms of feeling supported in my journey as TL as I seek help and keep abreast of new concepts and student and teaching learning practices (Coatney, 2010, p.x). Collaborating digitally, has made me realise how important it is for students to be able to feel connected and supported in their learning journey. Not only do we want to create a safe physical learning environment for students but a safe virtual learning environment where students can seek support and learn from others.

Curriculum Design Leader

In one of my earlier forum posts I commented that the principal wanted me to become a leader in the LC (the first time I’ve ever worked in the library) and that I was thrown in the deep end and led by “selecting library monitors, organising rosters…coordinating PRC and Book Club” (Ellis, 2015, March 8). While I understood that this was more leadership management (even at the time), the concept of leader in curriculum design, delivery and strategic planning were well out of my realm of understanding.

The TL role as a leader in curriculum design is multifaceted. However, I kept going back to Sinek’s Golden Circle (Sinek, 2007), where he inspires all great leaders to take action by initially asking the question “why”, then, “how” and finally “what”. Answering the “what” is always much easier than the “why”. When developing this strategic plan, I kept trying to focus on “why” – Why GI? Why IL? Strategic plans need to begin with educational outcomes. During the strategic implementation stage, it was then “how” – How can GI and IL be integrated as a lasting change practice embedded as part of the school culture.

Key aspects of understanding about the role of the TL have been:

1) Leadership from an organisational perspective as opposed to being a curriculum leader – eg. volunteer for leadership roles,

2) Knowledge of innovation and change;

3) Communication – be active at staff meetings to promote digital and physical resources, attend stage meetings to help with curriculum planning, develop relationships with students and parents; initiate and implement workshops for all stakeholders advocating the role of the LC and TL in supporting the curriculum;

4) Planning – be intentional and deliberate; start small with interested teachers and grow from there (Zmuda & Harada, 2008).

A critical component of strategic planning is to take the time to assess the current situation and context before leaping in with an action plan. While the gathering of information and analysis of the school’s internal and external context can be time consuming it is worthwhile to critically think about any possible issues that may arise. It may not always be fool proof in avoiding unknown problems, but at least the TL will be more aware (Allison & Kaye, 2005, p. 125).


Currently, there is no whole-school approach to embedding IL or GI as part of the school culture. It is therefore critical that the TL adapts a leadership role to promote, establish and embed these concepts within the school. This is only possible if the TL understands the motivating forces behind personnel undergoing change and the concepts that underpin lasting change. Implementing change can be challenging and as the image at the top suggests, the TL needs to be intelligent, honest, creative confident, driven and courageous.


Allison, M., & Kaye, J. (2005). Strategic planning for non-profit organizations: A practical guide and workbook (2nd ed.).Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015). Australian Curriculum v7.4. Retrieved from

Board of Studies: Teaching and Educational Standards, NSW. (2015). Syllabuses. Retrieved from

Bonanno, K. (2015). F-10 Inquiry skills scope and sequence and F-10 core skills and tools. Retrieved from

Coatney, S. (Ed.). 2010). The many faces of school library leadership. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

Ellis, S. (2015, March 8). Re: Task 1: What is your understanding of leadership? [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2015, April 8). Re: Task 3: Digital Learning [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2015, April 14). A reflection on a concept map and critical analysis of leadership [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions in information (pp.27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Kuhlthau, C. (2010). Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st Century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17 – 28. Retrieved from

Lieberman, A., & Mace, P. (2010). Making practice public: Teacher learning in the 21st century. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 77-88. Retrieved from

Sinek, S. (2007). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. London: Penguin Books.Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and learning in the digital age. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Zmuda, A., & Harad, V. (2008). Librarians as learning specialists: moving from the margins to the mainstream of school leadership. Teacher Librarin, 36(1), 15-20. Retrieved from

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Conflict Resolution

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model (Kilman Diagnostics, 2015) 

What is your approach to managing conflict?

Based on the responses to the Conflict Resolution Questionnaire (n.d.), my preferred conflict resolution style is compromising, which means that, I tend to: “express about average assertiveness and cooperation” and that some of my colleagues may think of me as a “fox” because of my ability to make trade offs to accomplish what I want by helping the other person gain what he/she wants. Some thought processes may involve:

  • This isn’t important enough to fight over
  • I don’t want to be unreasonable
  • If I give her this, maybe she’ll give me that
  • We could both live with that

People tend to use one of the first four conflict styles – competing, avoiding, accommodating or collaborating (Thomas & Kilmann, 1974). The fifth one compromise, “describes a state that can be used temporarily to get someone to move from one of the other styles. For example, if the person is acting like a shark (competing) you can help him/her to become less assertive and more cooperative” Conflict Resolution Questionnaire (n.d.).

Depending on the context, each of these styles can be valuable in resolving a conflict. It does not necessarily mean that you always select that approach to managing conflict, but that it would be your preferred style.


Does this match to how you think of yourself?

Yes, it does match how I view myself in conflict situations. I could give an example of a time when I’ve used each one of the above 5 approaches depending on the situation I was in and my emotional state.


What areas do you think you need to develop?

As a leader, I feel that I need to further develop my “on-the-spot” emotional reaction to a conflict situation. I don’t respond so well at instantly having to problem-solve and prefer to know about a conflict situation prior to meeting with a person. If someone “attacks” me or is aggressive towards me, I tend to go into flight mode and want to avoid the situation. I’m better now at just listening to their diatribe and saying that there’s nothing I can do about it right now because of…and then saying that I will follow it up by… that I’ve heard what they wanted to tell me and I’m sorry that they are so upset. And I am good at following things up – my preferred method is via phone because I can make faces in the background that the other person can’t see and I can hide the fear that may be on my face when I’m communicating something that I may need to say but don’t want to. I’m good at compromising with a situation if I’ve had to time to share my emotions with a colleague or friend, reflect on what’s actually happening and causing the conflict and then having a meeting to resolve the situation to either stand up for what I believe is right, admitting that I’ve done the wrong thing or seeking collaborative advice I required.


Conflict Resolution Questionnaire [Questionnaire]. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Kilmann Diagnostics (Publisher). (1974). Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model [Image] Retrieved April 17, 2015, from

Thomas, K. W. & Kilmann, R. H. (1974). The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Tuxedo, New York: XICOM, Inc

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Concept Maps

Wow! Informally blogging after having submitted a “formal” blog to do with concept maps. I love the idea of integrating concepts maps with students (even though I struggled with this idea through my assignment) to value visual learners and will incorporate this with doing natural disasters next term on Stage 2. So was thinking this would be a great way for them to display their knowledge having done some research.

However, I also think that it is still important to have a pen and paper model before constructing a digital image. I used both when I was working on this assignment. I went from brainstorming ideas:


to trying to connect ideas:


to re-constructing my ideas of leadership and change:


and then conceptualising my ideas based on a completely different conceptual model with –

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