Category Archives: ETL401

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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Website Evaluation Form

Website Evaluation Checklist – Teachers

Subject: ____________________________________________

Grade: _____________________________________________

Site Title: __________________________________________

URL: ______________________________________________

Date: ______________________________________________

Author/Site creator: __________________________________

To assess the value of a website, consider the criteria described below and tick the box that best suits.

Criteria

Yes

No

1. Educational Criteria
    Does this site contain sufficient information on this particular subject?
    Is the information useful for the purpose of this subject?
    Is the information accurate for the purpose of this subject?
    Are the majority of students able to read the information?
    Is the information on this site well organised?
    Are there suitable interactive activities for the students?
    Is it suitable for students who are sight impaired?
    Is the content suitable from a Christian perspective?
2. Reliability Criteria
    Is the author of the material clearly identifiable?
    Is information about the author available?
    Can the author be easily contacted to verify information?
    Is there a date for when the site was created?
    Is the site updated regularly?
    Can the information be easily checked against other links       on the site?
    Is the sponsor of the site easily identifiable?
    Is the site impartial? (i.e. unbiased)
    Is this site free from advertisements?
3. Technical Criteria
    Does the web page load in a reasonable time?
    Is it easy for students to navigate around the site?
    Is there a good balance of text and graphics suitable for the students?
    Is the spelling and grammar correct?
    Do the links work?

Considering the above criteria, is this a website you would consider using?      Yes      No

(Remember educational criteria are essential to assess the suitability of the site.)

Comments:__________________________________________

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________

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ETL 401 – Critical Reflection

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Introduction

Having selected the NSWDET (2007) information literacy (IL) model to be implemented at my current school, it seemed an interesting process to undertake in critically reflecting on the role of the teacher librarian (TL) and the role of the school library in developing personal perspectives that will inform future practice.

1) Define: What do I really want to find out?

My purpose in undertaking this study was to remain in education, but to change direction, after many years of mainstream classroom teaching and retrain as a TL. The Master of Teacher Librarian (Charles Sturt University, 2012a) offered both a theoretical and practical component via distance education.

2) Locate: Where can I find the information I need?

Little was understood about the role of the TL prior to this course. It was believed to be an ‘easier’ alternative to full-time teaching in the classroom. No reports, no parent/teacher interviews, minimal programming and token accountability. “All librarians do is check out books, right?” is a catch-cry I truly believed (Purcell, 2010, p.30). Then the onslaught of the learning took place.

Information sources that have guided my thinking include the module itself, module readings, participation in forums (CSU, 2012b) and further academic research using Primo (CSU, 2012c) and a variety of other information sources. Significant learning took place in my ability to search and select relevant academic articles using credible and up-to-date educational databases, library organisations and reference lists in a digital format.

3) Select: What information do I really need to use?

As the amount of information increased, it was important to devise a system to store this material. Readings in print format, have been organised into clearly marked folders and placed in an archive box. Digital folders were created to synthesise material such as quotations and selected readings on particular assignments. Web 2.0 tools were utilised such as: Diigo (2012) – to collect useful websites and Google Reader (2012) – to obtain current readings from library and educational organisations. None of these tools were familiar prior to this course.

4) Organise: How can I use this information?

Learning how to use this information in an assignment was challenging. Articulating my own thoughts (when other authors wrote it better) was challenging. Correctly referencing material was challenging.

5) Present: How can I present this information?

Presentation formats for this module have included blog posts, module forums and essays. Sammy’s Scribblings (Ellis, 2012a), my first ever blog, was created to reflect on my learning in response to the module. Even though I posted weekly, more of my own personal thoughts rather than just a log of module responses, would have been beneficial in cataloguing my learning journey. One example is my blog post on collaborative practice, which I clearly believe benefits students, but neglected to mention how my current school would find this difficult to implement (Ellis, 2012b).

While it was hard to find time to read the numerous comments from the module forums, to which I contributed weekly, it was a great method for posing a question and seeking responses. Among many others, banters that I enjoyed with other students included a discourse on the role of the TL (Ellis, 2012c) and collaboration (Ellis, 2012d). It is interesting and amusing to review comments made during the forum. From not understanding how to correctly use the forum (Ellis, 2012e), or what an RSS feed does and how to access one (Ellis, 2012f), I now feel more confident about experimenting with Web 2.0 tools and sourcing help or contributing thoughts to the forum.

6) Assess: What did I learn from this?

Blog task #1 (Ellis, 2012g), taught me the value of implementing a Guided Inquiry (GI) approach. However, I lacked depth in my understanding of the practice involved in teaching GI. Other feedback was that I needed to refine my writing skills a little more and to correct my referencing technique (Hay, 2012). Not only did I improve my academic writing capability in my first assignment (Ellis 2012h), I learnt that the teaching role of the TL is crucial to the information literacy development of students, as these skills are critical for the future employment of students in the 21st century (American Association of School Librarians (2007).  Honing my writing skills will be valuable when writing a library policy and making presentations in the school context.

Assignment 1, taught me about the diverse and influential role that a TL must have in developing IL skills and how to put this into practice. It helped me to understand the dual role of TL as educator and media specialist. TLs need to have sound pedagogical knowledge of how students learn, what students need to learn and how best to put this into practice.

Blog task #2 (Ellis, 2012i) reinforced the notion that, a well-resourced library that has a strong library program focused on teaching information literacy by a highly qualified TL increases student achievement (Everhart, 2006; Hartzell, 2003; Spence, 2006). I learnt that TLs need to have a cooperative working relationship with the principal in order to ensure there is an adequate budget for material resources – both print and digital and support for implementing an IL model consistently across all curriculum areas.

Blog task #3 (Ellis, 2012j) enabled me to consider that there is no agreed definition for information literacy and that IL is a learning process (Herring, 2011; Kuhlthau, 2004). It reiterated that the primary role of the TL is to support students to develop IL using a reliable IL model.

Academically, I learnt about the value in focusing my search for information, managing this information in both print and digital formats, selecting relevant information, presenting my learning in different formats and critically reflecting on my learning. I have also experienced the highs and lows of the information search process as predicted by Kuhlthau (2010) and will be able to empathise and intervene appropriately to support student learning.

In Summary

The skills of defining, locating, selecting, organising, presenting and assessing are invaluable in giving me the theoretical and practical knowledge to approach my school principal to begin negotiation in implementing an information literacy model across all curriculum areas supported by the Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2012). It has also given me the opportunity to learn about the role of the school library, which needs to be seen as the focal point of all learning and the place where students and teachers search first for information (Lonsdale, 2003). This can be improved by seeking principal support to introduce an IL model, further resourcing the library to support the teaching of information skills, composing a library policy and initiating collaborative practices with classroom teachers. I also now know that TLs do more than just check out books!

References

American Association of School Libraries. (2007). Standards for the 21st-century learner [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_Learning_Standards_2007.pdf

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2012). The Australian Curriculum. Retrieved July 20, 2012 from Author website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Charles Sturt University. (2012a). Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship). Retrieved October 6, 2012 from Author website: http://www.csu.edu.au/courses/postgraduate/teacher_librarianship_education/course-overview

Charles Sturt University. (2012b). [ETL 401 Teacher Librarian]. csuInteract. Retrieved October 6, 2012 from Author website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL401_201260_W_D/page/c82a5405-7a8c-4e1c-8005-2bfe97af3808

Charles Sturt University. (2012c). Division of Library Services: Primo Search. Retrieved October 2, 2012 from Author website: http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/

Diigo. (2012). Retrieved October 6, 2012 from http://www.diigo.com/ – United States

Ellis, S. (2012a, October 6). Sammy’s Scribblings [Blog]. Retrieved from https://samanthaellis4.wordpress.com/

Ellis, S. (2012b, August 27). Topic 5 – Collaborative Practice [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://samanthaellis4.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/topic-5-collaborative-practice/

Ellis, S. (2012c, July 29). Topic 2 Role of the teacher librarian [Online forum comment].Retrieved from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL401_201260_W_D_Sub5_forum&message_id=5923691

Ellis, S. (2012d, September 2) Topic 5 Collaborative Practice [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL401_201260_W_D_Sub8_forum&message_id=5991568

Ellis, S. (2012e, July 27) Topic 1 Introduction and Using learning tools [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL401_201260_W_D_Sub4_forum&message_id=5919008

Ellis, S. (2012f, July 28) INTRO and Blog subforum [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL401_201260_W_D_Sub1_forum&message_id=5922284

Ellis, S. (2012g, July 29). Blog Task #1 – Guided Inquiry [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://samanthaellis4.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/blog-task-1-guided-inquiry-2/

Ellis, S. (2012h). Assignment 1 – Teaching Role of the Teacher Librarian.

Ellis, S. (2012i, September 8). Blog Task #2 – Principal Support [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://samanthaellis4.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/blog-task-2-principal-support/

Ellis, S. (2012j, September 20). Blog Task #3 – Information Literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://samanthaellis4.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/blog-task-3-etl-401/

Everhart, N. (2006). Principals’ evaluation of school librarians: A study of strategic and non-strategic evidence-based approaches. School Libraries Worldwide, 12(2), 38-51.

Google. (2012). Google Reader. Retrieved October 6, 2012 from http://www.google.com/reader

Hartzell, G. (2003). Why should principals support school libraries? Curriculum leadership: Education Services Australia. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/leader/why_should_principals_support_school_libraries,4639.html?issueID=9691

Hay, L. (2012, August 4). Blog Task #1 – Guided Inquiry [Blog Comment]. Retrieved from https://samanthaellis4.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/blog-task-1-guided-inquiry-2/

Herring, J. E. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Learning as a process. In Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services (2nd ed.) (pp.13-27). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. (2010). Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1),17-28.

Lonsdale, M. (2003). Impact of school libraries on student achievement: A review of the research. Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research.

New South Wales, Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information skills in the school. School Libraries and Information Literacy. Retrieved from Author website: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/isp/index.htm

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right?: A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

Spence, S. (2006). Invest in school libraries to create 21st century learning communities. Access, 20(3), 17-20.

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Blog Task #3 – Information Literacy

 

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Information Literacy: More than a set of skills?

There are many definitions of information literacy (Langford, 1998; Abilock, 2004; Herring, 2011). Depending on which definition is accepted, dictates whether one believes that information literacy is more than a set of skills or not.

Herring defines “information literacy as a critical and reflective ability to exploit the current information environment, and to adapt to new information environments” (2011, p. 63). Herring (2011) goes on to contend that information literacy is a capability and not a set of skills. Supporting this idea is Doyle (1996) and Langford (1998) who view information literacy as a concept that is built upon the attainment of particular skills via a process of learning. Information literacy involves the ability to identify an information need and then to define, locate, select, organise, present, assess (New South Wales Department of Education and Training, 2007) and use the information effectively. “Information literacy demands the ability to use critical thinking…it demands a set of skills to use to navigate various information sources and a process to follow to be successful” (University of Montana Western, 2009).

For example: turning on the computer, is a skill; being able to log on to the computer is a skill; setting up a Word document is a skill. All of these skills are part of the learning process that students need in order to develop information literacy. Information literacy is a process because there is no definitive end. However, students need to learn various skills in order to become information literate. This is because it is built on the reflective nature of the process of learning and the ability to transfer this knowledge to a new context. “Research projects should be a learning experience in which information literacy skills are integrated into the curriculum in such a way that students are able to take part in the process of creating knowledge, because learning is a process, not a product” (Purcell, 2010, p.32).

Role of the Teacher Librarian – Implementing it into the school

Accepting that information literacy is a learning process, research (Herring, 2011; Kuhlthau, 2004) suggests that the most effective teaching practice is for the teacher librarian to implement an information literacy model in collaboration with the classroom teacher. Examples include the Big 6 model, the PLUS model and the ISP model (Herring, 2011). Information literacy skills need to be taught explicitly within classroom learning programs (Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association, 2009).

Teacher librarians should be the driving force behind the successful implementation of one of these models in their school. Hay (2005) recommends that teacher librarians: support teaching and learning through a collaborative teaching structure, resource the curriculum to ensure that there is high quality print and digital information and create a conducive learning environment through the implementation of an information literacy model.

Using an information literacy model as the learning process embodies the idea of continuous lifelong learning. As technology changes at a rapid pace, students must learn to regularly update their skills to meet these changes (McElvaney & Berge, 2009). Using this process in developing information literacy skills encourages students to critically evaluate and synthesise new information in any situation.

Conclusion

Information literacy is a process that will teach students the skills required to critically assess and evaluate the vast amount of information that bombards them on a regular basis, no matter what the context. The primary role of the teacher librarian is to encourage students to become information and technologically literate users of information through the application of an information literacy model.

References

 Abilock, D. (2004). Building blocks of research: an overview of design, process and outcomes. NoodleTools: Information literacy. Retrieved 15 September, 2012 from http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association. (2009). ALIA/ASLA policy on information literacy in Australian schools. Retrieved from: http://www.alia.org.au/policies/info.literacy.schools.html

Doyle, C. (1996). Information literacy: Status report from the United States. In D. Booker (Ed.), Learning for life: information literacy and the autonomous learner (pp. 39-48). Adelaide: University of South Australia.

Hay, L. (2005). Student learning through Australian school libraries. Part 1: A statistical analysis of student perceptions. Synergy 3(2), 17-30.

Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Learning as a process. In Seeking meaning: a process approach to library and information services (2nd ed.), (pp. 13-27). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: A clarification. School Libraries Worldwide, 4(1), 59-72

McElvaney, J. & Berge, Z. (2009). Weaving a personal web: Using online technologies to create customized, connected, and dynamic learning environments. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 35(2) Retrieved 13 September, 2012 from: http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/524/257

New South Wales Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information skills in the school. School libraries & information literacy. Retrieved from Author website: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/isp/index.htm

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

University of Montana Western. (2009). How do I become an information literate lifelong learner? Library. Retrieved 15 September, 2012 from http://my.umwestern.edu/academics/library/page21.htm

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Blog Task #2 – Principal Support

 

  

Introduction

Research is unequivocal in supporting the notion that: a well-resourced library that has a strong library program focused on teaching information literacy by a highly qualified teacher librarian increases student achievement (Hartzell, 2003; Everhart, 2006; Spence, 2006). Research is also unequivocal in demonstrating that teaching information literacy by the teacher librarian in collaboration with the classroom teacher, leads to improved student learning (Everhart, 2006; Haycock, 2007; Morris, 2007). One key element that can be pivotal in influencing the success or failure of the library and its program, is the support of the school principal.

Principal Support

Oberg (2006) suggests that there are four key ways in which the principal can support the school library. The first is through the principal’s role as supervisor of all teachers and the expectation that collaboration will occur between staff members. “Collaboration is a trusting, working relationship between two or more equal participants involved in shared thinking, shared planning and shared creation of integrated instruction” (Montiel-Overall, 2005). Collaboration between teacher and teacher librarians positively influences student learning in the area of information literacy and the integration of technology into other curriculum subjects (Farmer, 2007). It is essential therefore, that the principal shows leadership in encouraging and facilitating collaboration to support good communication and a professional working environment between teacher librarian and classroom teacher (Morris & Packard, 2007).

The second key role of the principal is “demonstrating personal commitment” (Oberg, 2006, p.14). The principal publicly acknowledges the valuable contribution that the library and the collaborative teaching of information literacy programs make to the learning outcomes of the students.

The third key element is principals ensuring that there is an adequate budget for resource materials, both in print and digital form. Within this budget is the provision for teachers to be released off class in order to plan collaborative lessons with other teachers. The school library program is seen as an integrated part of the overall teaching structure and practice in the school, not an isolated unit.

The last focus for the principal, is the specific support and mentoring of the teacher librarian. Supportive principals recognise the competency and knowledge of the teacher librarian. Teacher librarians are encouraged to continue professional development and time is made to meet with the principal to discuss expectations and focus for library resources and teaching programs.

Role of the Teacher Librarian

Concurrently, the teacher librarian also needs to be proactive in advocating support and developing a professional relationship with the principal (Gibbs, 2003). Purcell (2010) found that, “despite the positive impact of the media centre on the school’s success; many education professionals do not have a clear understanding of the media specialist role” (p. 31). The teacher librarian needs to ensure that there are clearly stated policies and documents within the school defining the role of the librarian and outlining the teaching program. Having a visible profile within the school through the creation of a library blog, running parent and teacher technology workshops, leading curriculum committees, etc. will help ensure continued principal support.

Hartzell (2002), suggests that it is easy for a principal to assess the effectiveness of a classroom teacher, but much harder with the teacher librarian, as often student work is integrated and it is difficult to specify the value of teaching conducted by the librarian. It is therefore important for teacher librarians to incorporate on-going evaluation procedures throughout the teaching program such as using diagnostic, formative or summative methods (Stripling, 2007) or by considering the components in Johnson’s 13-point checklist (2006).

Conclusion

In conclusion, “principals and teacher librarians need to have a shared view of the potential of the school library program, as one that reaches beyond the library and into the teaching and learning of the whole school” (Oberg, 2006, p.16). Collaboration between principal, teacher librarian and teacher is essential to increasing student learning potential.

References

Everhart, N. (2006). Principals’ evaluation of school librarians: A study of strategic and non-strategic evidence-based approaches. School Libraries Worldwide, 12(2), 38-51.

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56-65.

Gibbs, R. (2003). Reframing the role of the teacher-librarian: The case for collaboration and flexibility. Scan, 22(3), 4-7.

Hartzell, G. (2002). What’s it take? Knowledge Quest, 31(1), 27-43.

Hartzell, G. (2003). Why should principals support school libraries? Curriculum leadership: Education Services Australia. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/leader/why_should_principals_support_school_libraries,4639.html?issueID=9691

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

Johnson, D. (2006). A 13-point library media program checklist for school principals. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 70-71.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2005). Toward a theory of collaboration for teachers and librarians. American Association of School Librarians. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/slmrb/slmrcontents/volume82005/theory

Morris, B. J. (2007). Principal support for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 23-24.

Morris, B. J., & Packard, A. (2007). The principal’s support of classroom teacher-media specialist collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 36-55.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33.

Spence, S. (2006). Invest in school libraries to create 21st century learning communities. Access, 20(3), 17-20.

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency: Gathering evidence of student learning. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 23(8), 25-29.

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Topic 6 – Management Implications

Activity 1

Three new ideas: –

  • Choose carefully what you give 100% to
  • Have other options in mind when negotiating with people
  • Communication – don’t ignore those emails!

I could be more productive if I went down to the primary staffroom at lunch to talk informally. I work in a K-12 school and started the year as a teacher’s aid in Maths in the high school. Now I do 1 day a week TL with K-6. I don’t know the K-6 teachers well because the staffrooms are separate. I need to get to know them more if I wish to initiate collaborative measures in the future.

Activity 2

Advanced skills of influential teachers include:

  • Calm, friendly persona
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Humorous
  • Ability to set priorities and get the job done
  • Following up on discussions
  • Tidy/punctual

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Topic 5 – Collaborative Practice

Activity 1 – Forum

 1)    What are the challenges posed by Collaborative Planning and Teaching (CPT)?

The major issues identified by research appear to be:

  • Time
  • Finding a teacher who wishes to collaborate
  • Resources
  • Principal support

2)    Does the teacher librarian have a positive role to play in the curriculum or should CPT be abandoned?

The TL has a major role, even if it’s simply to find resources necessary for classroom teachers to do their job. However, it’s much better for student learning outcomes for TLs to participate in CPT.

3)    In your opinion where does the truth lie? I do remember reading that somewhere, but can’t find it again.

4)    How well do you believe that the CPT model picks up on the factors given by Senge, and Watkins and Marsick from the previous section?

I found the readings this time around hard-going and too theoretical – particularly Senge and Fullan. Watkins gave a more concise summary, which was easier to follow.

Activity 2 – Forum

The role of the teacher librarian is fulfilled in a school that believes in collaborative practice and where teachers are leaders. But many teachers see working with other teachers as a major challenge. In fact they might fight against this.

1)    In such circumstances what would be an appropriate response from the teacher librarian?

I would find that one person willing to give collaboration a go and lead by example. Once other teachers see the success of CPT, they may be more willing to jump on board.

2)    From your reading so far, can you build a convincing argument for collaboration between the teacher librarian, principal and teachers at a school that you know?

  • increased student learning outcomes
  • would quote from studies and research
  • concept of constructivism
  • GI skills are learning for life skills
  • Incorporating both curriculum (content) and information literacy skills – vital for future roles in the workplace

Activity 3 – Questions

Recent research can be found in the Australian research columns of journals, ACCESS and Scan.

1)    In light of Harada’s research, consider how such research might be used in school libraries. Is there any ‘action research’ happening in schools you know?

No.

2)    How important is it that teachers and teacher librarians act as researchers?

In theory, this is a great concept. The reality is that teaching staff are so overworked that there simply isn’t enough time to do “proper” research. The research that the TL and teacher will conduct will occur during the learning process and will be more anecdotal and observational in nature.

References

Brown, C. (2004). America’s most wanted: Teachers who collaborate. (1), 13-18.

Gibbs, R. (2003). Reframing the role of the teacher-librarian: The case for collaboration and flexibility. Scan, 22(3), 4-7.

Harada, V.H. (2004). Action research: How teacher-librarians can build evidence of student learning. Scan, 23(1), 27-33.

Harvey, C.A. (2004). The Rookie: A primer to help you survive your first year with flying colours, School Library Journal, 50(9), 50–52.

Kahn, E., & Valence, L. (2012). Collaboration is the key to successful research. Library Media Connection. (March/April), 40-42.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2005). A theoretical understanding of teacher and librarian collaboration, School Libraries Worldwide, 11(2), 24-48.

Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations. Scan, 27(2), 19-28.

Williamson, K., Archibald, A., & McGregor, J. (2010). Shared Vision: A Key to Successful Collaboration?. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(2), 16-30.

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Topic 4 – Information Literacy

Activity 1 – Definitions of information literacy

Langford:

“Why have not the understandings and skills that inform information literacy become embedded into the classroom practices of teachers and educational systems? Is it because information literacy is understood as something that is teacher librarian oriented and not part of the general curriculum?” (p. 60)

  • teachers need to become literate in the field of information
  • promote literacy as part of the necessary skills for information development and thinking
  • “the concept of literacy really depends on the information needs of the society of the time.” p. 63
  • all literacy is information literacy
  • “the Australian definition of literacy may, in fact, be the best: to be able to function well in society, which entails the ability to read, use numbers and to find information and use it appropriately” p.65
  • students need to develop skills that enable them to locate and access information in all its forms and to be able to solve information problems that develop competencies in the skills necessary to survive in the information age
  • at present most teacher librarians are at the forefront for developing information literacy skills that will enable students to become lifelong learners.
  • In order to become a lifelong learner, one must develop literacy information skills

Abilock:

This model was based on Engaging, Defining, Initiating, Locating, Examining, Recording, Communicating and Evaluating.

  • comprehensive explanations
  • exhausting

Herring & Tarter:

This model was based on Purpose, Location, Use and Self-evaluation with the premise that one could go back to purpose if after location and use the student either didn’t have enough information or had too much.

Activity 2 – Guided Inquiry

I am overwhelmed at the number of different Guided Inquiry models. However upon reading the literature, I’m still drawn to Kuhlthau’s model as it takes in to account the feelings of the students as they progress through the stages. Students learn in different ways and I feel that this model is structured yet flexible enough to accept different learning styles. I like the idea of GI, but am still not sure to tackle this within the job that I currently have. I simply don’t have the time with my study commitments to take anything extra on. I can see the benefits that this can have and am hoping that with the Website that I’m designing in 501, I may be able to start next year with a small GI unit. The challenges are finding someone willing to collaborate with you and having the time to set such an adventure up. I’m still not confident enough of my technology skills to go in to a classroom and try and teach it. I’m hoping to go and visit a few different libraries in T4 to check out how other teacher librarians are working it.

Activity 3 – Transfer of information literacy skills and practices

It’s a little discouraging to read that despite good teaching practice, not all students will transfer information literacy skills unless prompted. However, I believe that this is the case with any learning. Until it is does often enough it is not automatic. It’s like learning to drive a car. There is the theoretical knowledge as well as the practical. It is initially daunting to drive a car and one needs lessons and prompts before it becomes automatic. The same thing with GI – it needs to be repeated several times.

Activity 4 – Forum Questions

1)   Has the school in which I work developed an information literacy policy?

NO! We don’t even have a library policy!! I work in a resource-learning centre that has a lady in charge that is neither teacher nor librarian qualified. I have to contend with the noise of Yr7-12 classes as they are “dumped” in the library with “quiet” work to do by the absent teacher. I have to throw high school students off the available computers that I have booked to use with Stage 3. Not conducive to learning or teaching!

2)   Should this be an essential policy for a 21st century school?

Definitely!!

3)   How is information literacy approached in your school? Do you see gaps in the approach used, and if so, where?

There is no approach to teaching information literacy in the school. There has not been a qualified librarian in the school for over 5 years. I was only employed 1-day per week as a stop-gap measure for the AP who no longer wishes to take library RFF because she is too busy.

4)   How can a transliteracy approach expand the teaching role of the TL beyond the traditional information literacy paradigm?

I would be happy just getting an information literacy program up and running first and then be able to think about a transliteracy approach.

Information Literacy vs Information Fluency

I was surprised to read that:

Information fluency is the ability to access, make sense of, and use information to build new understandings. The term “information fluency” is now accepted in the field as a replacement for “information literacy” because students must not only know the skills, but also apply the skills fluently in any personal or academic learning situation. (Stripling, 2007, p.25)

My understanding of information literacy was that it was the teacher librarian’s objective for the skills acquired by the students to be with them in any learning situation either personal or academic. Is Stripling trying to rename something that already exists?

Any other thoughts?

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Topic 3 – The TL and the curriculum

Activity 1 – Webinar: constructivist learning in the curriculum

  • literacy underpins all that we do
  • need to be able to read words, images, videos, sounds
  • Bloom’s digital taxonomy – problem and project based learning in the 21st century
  • active participant – construct knowledge actively, rather than mechanically
  • 21st century curriculum is outcomes based
  • project based learning (PBL) is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world challneges

Activity 2 – Inquiry learning

  • Collins et al. (2008) state that: ‘Inquiry learning can be an effective form of tuition for acquiring intuitive, deep, conceptual knowledge’, and that ‘inquiry learning across the school curriculum is becoming a widely recommended approach’. Like other approaches to learning, inquiry-based learning is defined in different ways by researchers and practitioners, but the focus of inquiry-based learning is on the students using a range of skills and abilities to complete a task or solve a problem. There is an obvious connection here between inquiry learning and information literacy as both involve higher order thinking skills such as question formulation, evaluating information and building new knowledge. We will explore information literacy in depth later in this subject. Meanwhile, this video shows a teacher librarian in action – using a variety of tools and strategies to promote 21st century inquiry learning.
  • Video on farting shows how students need to:

–       locate

–       select

–       evaluate

–       synthesize information

Activity 3 – Curriculum Corporation

Nothing there.

Activity 4 – Forum discussion

* How do the dimensions of quality teaching relate to inquiry learning and project-based learning approaches?

–       professional teachers keep up-to-date with new/emerging pedagogy and are willing to try different approaches such as with inquiry learning and project-based learning

* What is an appropriate role for the teacher librarian in curriculum development?

– TL needs to be involved in any school-wide scope and sequence in order to be able to resource the library appropriately

– TL can advise what resources are currently available and if not suggest a budget to have more material included.

* What benefits can a school obtain from the active involvement of the teacher librarian in curriculum development?

– time management – TL can find resources easier

– collaboration eases the work load

* Should a principal expect that teachers would plan units of work with the teacher librarian?

– definitely, but this doesn’t always happen

* How are students disadvantaged in schools that exclude the teacher librarian from curriculum development?

– TL is unable to support students who come to the library looking for help

– TL has not prepared lessons to support the learning that is currently happening in class

– there may be no resources available to the students as the TL was unaware of the topic

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Topic 2 – The Role of the Teacher Librarian

TOPIC TWO – THOUGHTS

(My husband thinks I should have better ones!!)

Activity 1 – Forum Discussion

Crikey! Our school has no teacher librarian role statement…does this mean the TL doesn’t exist? Or is not important? Or that there is no TL?

I’m working in a K-12 independent Christian school and “fell into” my role. Struggling to find a part-time teaching position, I accepted a position with this school as a Teacher’s Aide supporting students in Maths (Years 7 – 10). They were desperate – I’m primary trained and they admitted that my HSC score in Maths was what got me over the line. Yeah…I could do that maths 60 years ago, but not now!

Anyway, they advertised for a 2-day TL position (in Term 2), which I applied for and didn’t even get an interview for. However, the Head of K-6 has been “doing library” this year and was so frustrated that she offered me 1 day a week to “take library” so the teachers can have some RFF and she doesn’t need to worry about it any more! I accepted and basically have 30 minutes a week with each class, K-6. It’s only a small school, so I have 8 classes.

It just shows you how devalued the role of TL is in this school. I am so determined that as I work through this course, I’m going to prove to be so invaluable to them that I’ll be there 5 days as TL!! As someone else in our course said: “bring it on!”

Activity 2 – The 21st Century Media Center (YouTube)

  • TL’s are the cultivators of change into the 21st century
  • Information literacy is a valuable source for any school
  • Principal – need: “certified school library media specialists to develop and implement inquiry-based research projects to prepare students for college…and beyond”

Activity 3 – Are Teacher Librarians an Endangered Species?

No! We might be “endangered but not extinct” (Henry Jenkins). In fact most of the commentators that spoke were adamant that the role of the TL would increase exponentially in the future, in terms of how crucial it will become for student learning. Our role is to learn to be the expert in finding, evaluating and using information for learning. Our current students are facing a digital future and we need to be there to equip them in the best possible manner. These students need to become critical users of information and ideas. Classroom teachers have so much pressure to ensure their students are doing “the basics” – reading, writing and arithmetic. As TL we need to add technology to the list of basics and be there to support both teacher and student.

Activity 4 – Compare and contrast the views of Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza

Valenza’s article summarised in a succinct manner the role of the TL, which were discussed in the other three articles. From these articles, the major function of the TL is to develop information literate students for the future.

I think that TLs need to prioritise the role that they play in their school around the current infrastructure of the school. Priorities will be different from school to school dependent on resources and support. The ideal is to be able to check off the list in Valenza’s article. However, not all libraries are that well-equipped or supported by staff and teachers.

There are definitely other roles played by the TL. A good rapport with the children is essential. Teaching is relational and creating opportunities to be collaborative with classroom teachers and share with parents is crucial in promoting the library as a great learning resource centre.

Herring, Purcell and Lamb outlined the multifaceted role required of the TL. It’s HUGE! Purcell summarised this by saying that TLs needed to be: leaders, information specialists, a teacher, instructional partner and program administrator. All of them advocated the crucial role that TLs can make in supporting students into the digital information future.

Currently, I’m not a proper TL. Our school has a Resource Centre Manager who has no teacher training or skills in librarianship. So for me, I need to prove my worth over the next 6 months so that I can take on more responsibility and shift the thinking of the leaders in the school to seeing the value of a proper TL. The theory in being a vital TL in a school as outlined by these authors is scary! I would like to think that one day I will tick the majority of their boxes…

Yes, I believe that the teacher comes first.

References

  • 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.
  • Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33.
  • Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.)
  • Joyce Valenza (2010). In the 21st century, what does a school librarian do? In Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Retrieved from http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

Activity 5 – Gary Hartzell

  • It is the methodology of the TL that influences the learning taking place in a library not the library media program per se (Blue Skunk blog)
  • Even in today’s teacher training programs there is little instruction on how librarians could contribute to helping the classroom teacher.
  • TLs need to reconceptualise how principals/teachers view their role.
  • A committed principal is the key element to a successful library.

Activity 6 – Principal Support

In my opinion, principals have varied in terms of their support for the library and the TL. In some schools it has been wonderful and in others not quite so good. Those principals who keep up with current academic research are more likely to advocate collaborative learning practices and inquiry-based learning using the library as a significant place for resource information. Those principals who scheduled collaborative time on staff development days between teachers and the TL demonstrated their support (Kaplan, 2007 and Oberg, 2006).

However I do believe Haycock (2007) when he states that, “the lack of role clarity, particularly as witnessed by misconceptions and misperceptions, has been a barrier to successful collaboration” (p.29). Morris summed up the key characteristics of a TL when s/he had the support of the principal.

At this stage, I need to convince my principal that I’m more than a teacher and that I am developing the skill to be a TL.

References

Activity 7 – How might a teacher librarian make his or her priorities both clear and palatable to the school community?

Based on our readings this topic, the TL needs to have clear teaching and learning goals that are founded on sound research and evidence.  The TL needs to collect evidence not only to demonstrate continuous learning but ongoing evaluation of the learning process. Also of importance is to promote their role and the value of their teaching to the wider community.

The old saying goes: actions speak louder than words.

So practically, TLs need to be seen in the community. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but some ideas may include:

  • in consultation with the school community write a library policy (ours doesn’t have one!)
  • work collaboratively with teachers and parents to promote and plan Book Week
  • run parent workshops on Guided Inquiry research or evaluating websites etc.
  • promote the Premier’s Reading Challenge through the morning assembly or by writing short articles in the school newsletter

Maybe it would be good for us to have a central place where we could brainstorm practical ways of promoting the role of the TL? I’m only brand new to being a TL and would love some help! This seems to be an area that the research is pointing out we’re not very strong.

Activity 8 – Implications of reports to TLs

School Libraries 21C:-

The following quote scares me as TL:

“ The reengineering of school libraries into flexible, dynamic, high-tech 21C learning centres designed to prepare students to function effectively in an increasingly complex informational and technological world depends on your investment of time, creative and innovative thinking, and carefully strategic planning to make this vision for school libraries of the future happen.”

I just don’t feel that I have the skills and abilities to do any of these criterion any justice whatsoever at the moment. I’m petrified. Good thing I’m only one day a week and no one cares as long as I take their class for half an hour for RFF. However I’ve found that my studies and learning about new technology has been additive – I crave more. I want to do more for my students and the learning community.

I’m struggling to get my blog active – I have no idea how to use categories, tags and RSS feeds, which I know are important to my blog. Yet there are very few teachers or students at my school who can help. Are we presuming that students have more computer skills than teachers? Yes. Do they? Not always. The only person who can help at my K-12 school is our IT expert. But he’s too busy at the moment. I even called Geekscometoyou for blog help but it was out of their expertise!!

I don’t like to use Facebook. The only reason I’m on and have about 20 friends is because my best friend moved overseas to Singapore.  Coincidentally, I lived in Singapore from the age of 7 – 16. It has been great to contact friends from this time to keep in contact.

I find posting my blog activity confronting because it’s public and anyone can read it. When I did my first degree, no one was able to read what you submitted. I have an issue with this because I’m scared someone will shatter my confidence with and unfavourable comment.

Hay, L. & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins (ETL401). Retrieved July 30, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website: http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;res=AEIPT;dn=183676

Looking For The Evidence:

  • Schools with better funded school libraries, tended to achieve higher average test scores.
  • Collaboration

Parliamentary Inquiry:

  • Encouraging a love of reading – p. 49 Is this a fading skill of significance?
  • Great to see (but not surprisingly) “our Lyn” involved in recommendations – p. 41, p.46 and others…
  • Increasing digital literacy: “I think our students are information rich, and question poor and search skills poor” (p.50).
  • “Our Barb” (ETL501) appears – p.50
  • Heaps of great recommendations, which are founded on the research that we are currently reading in our course, but is any of it actually going to be implemented?
  • Without trying to be smart, it was encouraging to read that both our lecturers are considered by Parliament to have a significant voice in this area due to their expertise knowledge and research. And, they are passing on their expertise to us.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment. (2011). School libraries and teacher librarians in 21st Century Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia

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