Category Archives: ETL501

Reflections on ETL501

I’m done! I can’t thank my lecturer,  Barbara Combes enough for her patience and inspiration. Her patience in answering the same questions over and over again has been inspirational. The knowledge that I have gained over the last 13 weeks has been mind-blowing. I would also like to thank my husband who has looked after our 4 children, cooked, made lunches, folded laundry and cuddled me when I’ve cried. Thank you both for making this dream possible. Here are my thoughts on my learning from ETL 501:


The process of creating this pathfinder has been motivating and fulfilling. A pathfinder definitely has benefits in assisting students and teachers, as it is created specifically for them and with a particular purpose. It would be enormously beneficial to classroom teachers (but initially time consuming) to create a pathfinder for each HSIE stage. Once established, it would just be a matter of up-dating the pathfinder and checking the links. This current pathfinder could be extended to incorporate:

  • an information literacy model
  • a student website evaluation form
  • a research sheet to guide learning
  • a student assessment rubric
  • a reference/bibliography outline
  • a forum or blog for student feedback/comments/sharing of other resources
  • a blog to exhibit student work

There are so many resources available that I have now created a library resource folder that contains my preferred search engines, dictionaries, Web 2.0 tools to utilise now and experiment with later. Further work is still required on refining my search skills. I was disappointed at not finding a more student-centred search engine that had quality information on this topic. More time investigating educational databases and directories would have been beneficial. The length of the video selected is concerning, but the content is sound. I struggled with the GCs and working at the top layer. However, overall my learning curve has been huge and includes learning to:

  • plan, search, evaluate, create and present my first pathfinder (woohoo!)
  • deliberately select advanced features and use Boolean on search engines and understanding its potential
  • use educational databases and directories
  • select quality information in all forms using a set criteria
  • experiment with a variety of Web 2.0 tools such as diigo,, wikis, Weebly and animoto
  • think about the purpose and structure of a pathfinder
  • manage resources and Web 2.0 tools
  • reference everything
  • value copyright issues – contacting authors for books/images/videos

I now have a wonder and enthusiasm for teaching and technology.

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Topic 8 – TL Collaborators



Activity 1 – Learning websites: Design and tools

Having read Herring (2011, Chapter 7), consider the following questions:

  • Are learning websites being developed in your school (or a school you know)?

No. Teachers share teaching lessons, assignments and practice tests with students, primarily use the school’s intranet.

  • Are these learning websites well designed? If not, how could they be improved?

Ones that I’ve had a look at on other school sites, vary in terms of quality. The better ones are easy to navigate, simple in terms of colour use and structure.

  • Consider developing a storyboard for a learning website. What would you include? What are the advantages of developing a storyboard before designing your learning website?

I actually did one of these for my library pathfinder assignment without realising that there was a name for it! I included what the home page would have on it, where I wanted the sidebar, the names of all the tabs and how I would set out my pages. I like to put things down on paper as I find it easier to visualise and change.

  • How much do you know about the technical aspects of website design eg. format, template, colour, navigation and accessibility? Which of these do you consider most important for your own school (or a school you know)?

I know nothing! Having spoken to others and browsed the Internet, I think that all of these aspects are important and they are all linked in with each other.

  • Check some of the tools suggested in the chapter eg. Wikispaces, Weebly, Prezi. Do you use these already? If not, do you think you might use them in the future?

No. I was going to give Wikispaces a go as my library pathfinder, but am going to go the Weebly option, as it ‘appears’ to be easier to use. Prezi is out of the question for me. Too trendy!!

Activity 2 – Learning websites: Content

  • Why do you think subject content is important in a learning website?

This is the basis for student learning! It needs to be linked back to the curriculum or the purpose of the learning website is void. It’s a good reminder to students about what and often why they are learning.

  • Do you agree that learning websites developed in your school (or a school you know) are likely to motivate students, because they are geared to what is being taught in that particular school?

Yes. Once students get use to the idea of specific learning websites being developed for their exact research topic by the TL, and then this will become their first point for researching.

  • What kind of information literacy guidance should be provided in an e-pathfinder and how can this be linked to information literacy development in the school in general?

Herring (2011) is adamant about the fact that the information literacy guidance that is embedded in the epathfinder should not be new information. As the name suggests, it should ‘guide’ or scaffold the learning of the student and act as a reminder only. Specific teaching about the information literacy model should already have occurred within the classroom teaching context and it should be a model that is adopted and used by all teachers across all curriculum areas.

  • Annotations should be helpful to students – how can we ensure that students will read and take note of the content of annotations?

– Make them short

– Easy to read for the particular age group

– Include specific reference to which part of the assignment/research project that would benefit from the link or resource

– Ask for feedback from students

– Avoid information overload

  • How can we get students to participate in developing learning websites, and subsequently adding content to the sites?

Not really sure! Is there some way of setting up a page on the pathfinder to which they can add resources?

–       Ask for feedback

–       Include student work samples

References and Comments

Herring, J. (2004). The Internet and information skills: A guide for teachers and school librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

  • Older version of current course book!
  • Interesting to see how much has changed in a short amount of time!

Hill, P. (2010). Thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool. Retrieved July 6, 2012.

  • Appears a bit too fussy for me
  • A tool to consider later on in my digital journey!

Lombard, R. (2010). Web 2.0 in the classroom. In Yamamoto, J., Penny, C., Leight, J., & Winterton, S. Technology Leadership in Teacher Education: Integrated Solutions and Experiences (pp. 214-240). Retrieved July 6, 2012. eBook available CSU library.

  • “A true learning community is one in which active interaction involving content and personal communication between students and the instructor takes place” (p.218) YES!!
  • Excellent overview of Web 2.0 and the variety of tools that can be used to support true information literacy
  • Need to go back to this at a late date

Lowe, K., Lee, L., Schibeci, R., Cummings, R., Phillips, R., & Lake, D. (2010). Learning objects and engagement of students in Australian and New Zealand schools. British Journal of Educational Technology 41(2), 227-241. Available CSU library.

  • “Learning objects need to be well structured and to integrate pedagogical, instructional and multimedia design” (p.239)
  • Interesting that students may find it fun initially, but that it also needs to be challenging enough at their ability level to keep them engaged
  • Good learning objects are hard to design and student interaction is complex

Lynch, P & Horton, S. (2008). Web Style Guide: Basic design principles for designing websites. 3rd ed., New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Available as eBook. Retrieved July 6, 2012.

  • Great resource – will consider buying for the school library
  • Have read sections of it online to help with pathfinder assignment

Marcinek, A. (2009). Hello Animoto. Classroom 2.0. Retrieved July 6, 2012.

  • I would love to have a play around with developing these short videos
  • Great way to introduce a topic
  • Kids could summarise a topic
  • Kids could do a before and after video to compare their knowledge of a topic

Pappas, P. (2000) Design your website from the bottom up. edteck Press. Retrieved July 6, 2012.

  • Lots of grammatical and typing errors, but a fabulous resource
  • Similar to doing an assignment – introduction is the last thing to be written!

Robinson, A. (2010) Effective research: Advanced search. Retrieved July 6, 2012.

  • Great overview for children of effective research
  • Ideal to show each class

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Topic 7 – LIS for Staff

Activity 1 – Planning for an Information Service


Think about providing an information service to teachers in a primary or secondary school and list three key factors that a teacher librarian needs to take into account before offering such a service.

  • Is this a need that teachers have expressed or is it one that you would like to provide?
  • Is it easy to access for all teachers?
  • Have you informed the teachers about how to access this service?

Activity 2 – Using a wiki or a web

Read Valenza’s comments on pathfinders and wikis and think about whether you agree with her reasons or if you might add other reasons.

Having never even heard of a wiki before this course started, nor having ever created one, I’m happy to go with an expert opinion! Valenza’s work appears authentic and validated – if she’s happy, I’m happy!! Although weebly sounds like another great option.

I like the idea that you can:

  • Include free images and pictures
  • Create an index to keep organised
  • Create a collaborative document to which the students can add information
  • Use with ease

Activity 3 – Reference interview

 Thinking about Janes’ (2008) reading, it would be easy to set up a word document on the school’s website with a list of questions to direct a student or teacher’s information needs.  Janes’ concern was that is was often hard to ascertain the needs through an email but a set of questions that needed to be answered would help. This could be emailed to the library. Its success would depend on the timely response and quality of information provided. The other important issue to remember is that even if you are the only TL, there are heaps of network sources available to help you with any query – tap into them!

If you had to define what a reference interview is, how would you describe it? Use no more than 20 words and add this to your LIS for Staff notes document.

A reference interview is a conversation between a librarian and a client where the client’s need for information is specified and then directed to the appropriate print or digital information resources.

Activity 4 – Information services to students

What would you recommend should be included in an effective school information service as a new teacher librarian? Identify the 5 key areas, in order of importance, that you consider a part of the information service. Remember, there are no absolutely right answers to this.

1)   Be approachable – if you are not sociable towards the students, it makes it hard for them to see you as a valuable resource. Otherwise, their first port of call will be the Internet, which is not always reliable and valid.

2)   If you can’t immediately satisfy their needs, follow up with resources as promptly as you can.

3)   Have a well-resourced and well-organised library and know where everything is – both print and digital.

4)   Be aware of student research projects by collaborating with teachers so that student needs are anticipated and not a surprise.

5)   Provide online resources appropriate to the learning needs of the students.


Activity 5 – Student information needs

Go to the School Community Profile template from the National Library of New Zealand. Using this document and the one above, identify how the community profile might be useful to a teacher-librarian? Add a summary to the LIS for Students notes document.

Information that would be useful for a teacher librarian in terms of resourcing the library would include: –

  • Ethnicity – Do you need to include extra resources in a particular language?
  • Religion – Do you need to be sensitive to particular religious beliefs or to include more resources based on a certain religion?
  • Reading levels – Are the children on average at a higher or lower reading level compared with the state/national average? How can you cater for this?
  • ESL – Is there a high non-English speaking culture within your school and have you catered for this need?
  • ICT – Do you work in a high/low socio-economic background? Do the students have equal access to computers and the local library or do you need to compensate for this?
  • Teacher use – Do you know the curriculum needs of teachers? Are you catering for these needs?


Activity 6 – Student information

Reflect on the situation where a student comes in to do a research project on solar energy in houses in South Australia and decide on methods, which the TL could use to provide students with instant reminders of the information literacy/skills process. These might include posters or handouts or other methods. List three (3) ways in which you think a TL might do this. The context is a library where there is only one TL who has part-time clerical support.

I’m hoping that as TL in a collaborative learning community that I would already be aware of this upcoming assignment and that it would be a simple process of directing the student to the library pathfinder that I had already created!! Our library is poorly resourced, has no database or system for finding print material apart from using the TL’s computer, so…

  • Have a colourful A4 sheet available to hand-out to students with the school’s information literacy process
  • Direct the student to the school’s library Website that also has a section on the school’s information literacy process
  • Ensure that all teachers in the school have collaborated on this information literacy model and that they have copies of this in poster form in their rooms and you have posters in the library


Janes, J. (2008). An informal history (and possible future) of digital reference. Asis&t: The information society for the information age. Retrieved from

Valenza, J. (2012). 10 reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki. School Library Journal. Retrieved from

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Topic 6 – Students and the web

Activity 1 – Planning for Web searching: Mind maps


a) Concept maps (or mind maps) are a very useful technique for students to use before they search the web. What is the best way to teach year 7 (1st year of secondary school) students to develop a concept/mind map?

  • need to model to the whole class first
  • allow pairs of students to create a mind map
  • individuals to create a mind map
  • tools I liked include and webspiration

I know that I’m going to get howled down – but here goes…in all my years of teaching I have NEVER been keen to use a mind map. Whenever I was shown how to do one at an inservice course or they would discuss the value, I would tune out – maybe I’m just not a visual learner. To me, it just appeared to be a waste of time. Brainstorming a whole bunch of words that we already knew – so what!

However…having read the literature and having a look at a few – I like and webspiration and kidspiration (I teach mostly K-6), I’m prepared to give it a go. What I like is the idea that you go back to your mind map throughout the various stages of your research project – it’s not something done in isolation.

b) Teaching students to develop their own questions before they search the Web is a very effective way of improving the pre-search planning which we want our students to do.  What is the best way to teach year 7 (1st year of secondary school) students to develop their own questions?

  • brainstorm lots of questions with the class
  • use the question formulation technique (Rothstein and Santana, 2011) to refine questions
  • encourage children to put the digital Bloom’s taxonomy app onto their iPhone/iPad etc. to refer to
  • use the Bloom’s taxonomy wheel to demonstrate to the students the different ways of thinking and creating as you become more engaged in the topic.

Activity 2 – Using effective search strategies

How can we convince students they need to create search strategies? Two suggestions in chapter 6 are getting students to brainstorm the term search strategy and asking students, in groups, to develop a concept map on How to be a good Web searcher. What do you think of these ideas? What other ways can TLs encourage students to develop search strategies?

  • encourage students to use more than one search engine
  • show the students the difference between an advanced and basic search
  • show students how to use ?dinosaurs?/AND/NOT/BUT eg. boolify
  • use specific search engines for students/teachers eg. KidSearch2

Activity 3 – Reading for information

What are the best ways to teach students to be critical readers (i.e. not just users) of websites? What should we be advising students to look for on websites e.g. the difference between opinion and evidence based information?

  • showing students some of the hoax websites and demonstrating how easy it is to believe what’s there – even the drop bear site which is embedded in a quality site
  • discussing with students the usefulness of evaluation websites and having a journal of which ones they have already been to
  • convincing students of the usefulness of note taking and citing as they go along

This is a hard area for students as research shows that most students are impulsive and impatient when it comes to finding information on the web.

Activity 4 – Reflecting on web use

How can we teach our students to be reflective web learners? What should students be asking themselves after they have completed web searches? How can we encourage students to learn from their own searching?

Students need to ask themselves: –

  • Could I have been more efficient in my search?
  • Are there better ways that I could have conducted my search?
  • Did I slow down enough to evaluate the site correctly?

We can encourage students to learn from their own searching by giving them time to think about it and discuss it as a class – most students do want to be better and more efficient.

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Topic 5 – Web 2.0


Activity 1 – Introduction

1)    What do you think are the key aspects of Web 2.0 that are likely to impact on education in today’s schools?

  • it’s a shared technology
  • students can create information and be active participants in their learning – supports GI and constructivism
  • change the learning environment from one that is static and teacher-led to one that is dynamic and engaging – democratic
  • suits individual learning styles

2)    What are the opportunities here for teacher librarians?

  • engage students with tools that they would use anyway
  • utlilise current technology
  • create online materials that students can access anywhere and at anytime
  • share programs and resources
  • share student work with teachers who need convincing that this is the way to go!
  • interactive learning opportunities for the students

3)    Can teacher librarians afford to ignore Web 2.0 tools?

No! However, part of me would like to ignore it because there’s so much there and I don’t know where to start!!

Activity 2 – Blogs

I am so excited by the prospect of creating a blog for the school library – I’ve had a look at a number in NSW public schools and love how they share the student’s work with the parents. As a parent, I’m often asking my children what they have done at school and this is a fantastic way to share. Some other positives include:

  • sharing resources with students and teachers
  • creating a debate with older students on a topic
  • having a library newsletter that shares photos and podcasts

Some issues would include ensuring privacy and having the time to update.

Activity 3 – Wikis

So, in my mind, wikis are more interactive for children to use than a blog? Some interesting things that I didn’t realise;

  • simple websites that are created and edited by many authors
  • can add new information
  • can be public, protected or private
  • easy to use, can upload almost anything
  • has a searching and tagging function
  • can create a discussion forum
  • able to have an RSS feed

I might use one to:

  • create and share stories
  • create and share research projects
  • communicate
  • discuss issues
  • have research tutorials or other tutorials to suit the needs of the children

Activity 4 – Social bookmarking

I like the idea that you can use or diigo or sqworl to bookmark your references. This is an invaluable tool to use in the library as you can provide URLs to teachers and students in a user-friendly format. Can you imbed this resource into a wiki?

Bookmarking means that you can go back to these sites at a later date and that they can be retrieved from a different computer.

Possible limitations would be having to sign up to use them, limited access and time to create and use them.

Activity 5 – NZ video

It was so enlightening so see someone who started with only a limited amount of technological knowledge to progressing to where she is now. I was starting to feel overwhelmed, but she’s put it all in to perspective. I love the way she trialled the use first before launching it into the classroom. I was starting to think that I needed to create a library blog, a delicious site, etc. all at once – but it’s one stage at a time and it’s where the school is currently at.


  • Hargadon’s article was great at comparing the different social bookmarking sites and explaining exactly what they all are!
  • Web Tools for kids had some fun activities.


Edublogs (2008). 10 ways to use your edublog to teach. Retrieved July 4, 2012.

Hargadon, S. (2007). Best of social bookmarking. School Library Journal, 53(12), 20. Available CSU Library.

Hauser, J. (2007). Media specialists can learn Web 2.0 tools to make schools more cool. Computers in Libraries, 27(2), 47-48. Available CSU library.

Jove, A. & Perez, L. (2012). Web Tools for kids. Retrieved July 4, 2012.

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2007). An information skills workout: Wikis and collaborative writing. Teacher Librarian, 34(5), 57-59. Available CSU Library.


O’Connell, J. and Groom, D. (2010) Connect, communicate, collaborate. ACER Press. This book is recommended for purchase at $19.95 from

O’Connell, J. (2006). Engaging the Google generation through Web 2.0: Part 1. Scan, 25(3), 46-50. Available CSU Library.

Valenza, J. (2011).  New tools. Retrieved July 4, 2012.

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Topic 4 – Searching

Activity 1 – Noodletools Site

– A real mix of different information that wasn’t connected. Asked me to “target” my search to make it more specific, but even this didn’t really help

– Very biased toward American sites and information

– A much better site for general information for a geography teacher

– Very biased toward American sites and information

Activity 2 – Google Features

  • Advanced search – a lot more useful and specific sites just by using this
  • File type – great if you want to find interactive powerpoints
  • Language – not sure I would us this much, but good to know for suggesting to language teachers
  • Site or domain – love the suggestion, there was heaps of good information there for older students
  • Google Images – my son showed me this one – great for any image/picture
  • Google Maps – found my house! Awesome!
  • Google Earth – great for the Geography teacher or units on features such as landscapes or buildings
  • Google News – current news items that can be shared with a class
  • Google Books – great for doing a book search on a particular topic
  • Google Scholar – a bit limited, but had some good articles on TLs

I have never used any of these features but Google Images before. I’ve listed them here so that I can refer to them in the future. It’s definitely changed the way I’m going to search in future.

Activity 3 – Knowledge 2.0

  • I like the way a lot of the search engines are grouped under the heading More Great Search Engines – once you become more familiar with the strengths of each search engine, you’ll become better at finding the better search engine to use.
  • I don’t have students I can test a search engine with, but had a look at

–       This gave me different information

Activity 4 – Boswell’s Guide

  • How to search the web more efficiently and effectively

Activity 5 – The Seven Habits Site

  • Some great advice that I need to go back to, in order to absorb more.
  • This would be a great starting place to give advice to students about how to search more effectively – could develop a whole term’s worth of lessons just on different search engines!
  • One idea is to use different search engines/methods to find information on the same subject.

Search activity table

Search engine Keywords Hits How useful? Comments discovery AND gold AND NSW pages The ones further down the page were more useful Much better results when I did “gold rush” as an exact phrase and to include NSW “gold rush” NSW none Not at all I think American based “gold rush”NSW none Not at all Got American hits when I tried just gold rush “gold rush”NSW heaps Fabulous It just proves to me that some of the “bigger” and better-known sites will yield more specific results to your search. However, I’ve also learnt to refine my search so that I get more of what I want.



Boswell, W. (2010). Web search made simple [ETL501 Topic 4]. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website:

  • I have learned heaps from this article – good to go back to at a later date.

Carlson, C. (2002). Notes from the technology trenches – the seven commandments of highly effective Web searching [ETL501 Topic 4]. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website:

  • My biggest issue is wasting my time – if I can’t find it in 10 minutes, stop looking or try something completely different!

Cohen, L.B. (2012). Internet tutorials: Your basic guide to the Internet [ETL501 Topic 4]. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website:

  • My favourite “reading” – so much that I had a vague idea about has been explained in these tutorials.
  • These tutorials will really help me lay the foundation for my students – I have learned so much here.

Hock, R. (2007). The extreme searcher’s Internet handbook: A guide for the serious searcher. (2nd ed.) Medford NJ: Cyberage Books.

  • This is an excellent resource for basic and advanced searches and using different types of search engines.
  • Loved the glossary, which helped with computer terms.

Notess, G. (2006). Teaching Web search skills. Medford NJ: Information Today, Inc.

  • Unable to obtain this book. (2010). Google Earth lessons [ETL 501 Topic 4]. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website:

  • Fabulous – there was heaps of stuff to play around with here, great for learning about maps, distances, geographical features. Perfect for the Geography teacher.

UC Berkeley Library. (2009). Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial [ETL 501 Topic 4]. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website:

  • Initially I thought this was too “cluttered”, but it actually had a detailed summary of everything that I’ve learnt – a bit too detailed to use with kids, but great for adults.

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Topic 3 – Website Evaluation


Activity 1 – Evaluate Cyberguide Ratings

Having never had to evaluate a website before, this looks pretty comprehensive to me. However, until I’ve actually used this tool it’s difficult to critically analyse. This tool seems okay, but a bit wordy and long. Do we have the time to complete this checklist for every website that we come across? Or do we just have to make time because it’s our responsibility? I think that I would need to add something about the suitability for particular students to use. Kindergarten students have very different reading abilities and interests to Year 6.

Activity 2 – Herring’s Ratings For Evaluating Websites

Herring’s reliability criterion for evaluating websites is quicker and easier to use than Schrock’s. While the theory behind Schrock’s article is sound, I do not have the time to evaluate each website based on 26 criterion.

The other aspect that I need to consider working in an independent Christian school is that based on the school’s religious standings. The library does not have books, which contain reference to witchcraft or Halloween. Is there a Christian website evaluation tool that I could consider? Must research that one!


Herring, J. (2011). Improving Students’ Web Use And Information Literacy: A Guide For Teacher Librarians. London: Facet Publishing

Schrock, K. (2002). The ABC’s of Website Evaluation [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3]. Retrieved July 29, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website:

Activity 3 – Summary of Readings on Topic 3

  • Ferguson and Johnson and Lamb’s articles were similar in criterion list. Except that the latter recommended cross-checking data which I thought was a good idea. A bit like my parents who would always get 3 quotes on a house job to make ensure that they weren’t being ripped off! It also included a list of sites that were dubious and power point presentations that you could use with a class to evaluate a website.
  • The article on Testing the three click rule still seemed a bit ambiguous and inconclusive to me…
  • Schrock’s Critical evaluation surveys are an awesome resource for evaluating all sorts of things to do with the web – have a look at the sidebar list of information too. I really liked the “bogus” websites that you could use to help your students evaluate authentic websites from fake ones – one even admits that it’s an April Fool’s joke. Wish I had more time to look further at this, but at least I know where it is now. Also had PowerPoint presentations to use with the class. One site that was no longer up-to-date had a link to more updated information – this would be a valid site?

  • The Schrock’s 5 W’s of website evaluation is a lovely summary for the kids.
  • The Scottish Library and Information Council’s Validity of information was sound, but long-winded. It took a while to go through all the links and the information became disjointed.


Ferguson, J. (2005). Why evaluate information found on the Web? [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3] Retrieved July 6, 2012.

Johnson, D. and Lamb, A. (2007). Evaluating Internet resources. [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3] Retrieved July 6, 2012.

Porter, J. (2003). Testing the three-click rule. [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3] Retrieved July 6, 2012.

Schrock, K. (2009A). Critical evaluation surveys. [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3] Retrieved July 6, 2012.

Schrock, K. (2009b). The 5 Ws of website evaluation. [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3] Retrieved July 6, 2012.

Scottish Library and Information Council (2006). Validity of information. [ETL501 Part 1: Topic 3] Retrieved July 6, 2012.

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Topic 2 – The Verso Solution

As always, I was completely stunned by the technology and the foresight, in the creation of VERSO. I liked the idea that digital borrowing was based on the way students borrowed when physically going into the library. This ties in with the constructivist idea of building on a student’s prior knowledge of how things operate. It will be interesting to see how this shapes up in the future.

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Topic 2 – Information Resources

Activity 1 – Reference Material

A reference book is defined as a “book intended to be consulted for information on individual matters rather than read continuously.” (Moore, B. (Ed.). (2002). Australian Oxford Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

I’d like to expand on this definition to say that reference material includes all print reference resources including the almanac, atlas, bibliography, chronology, dictionary, directory, encyclopaedia etc. These are resources that are not for loan and kept exclusively in the library.

I do feel pretty black and white about the fact that reference material should be a term kept only for non-borrowable print resources in the library. While it appears that the reference section is diminishing in size each year, surely there will be some reference material kept; even it’s just housed as an historical keepsake! As TL’s we need to remind our children about how to access print material, which is sometimes easier and quicker than logging on to the computer.

Let’s create a term used for our virtual reference and keep the distinction separate. eRef? iRef? References found from a World Wide Web source is so variable and different in terms of how we access it and it’s reliability. Much of this information hasn’t undergone the same proofreading and editing stages as our print reference material. To me it’s a different type of information resource.

If there are print and digital versions of the same thing available, it needs to be catalogued separately so that students know where to physically go to get it. Print reference materials are more tangible.

Activity 2 – Wikipedia

Okay…so now I know what all the fuss is about with Wikipedia. (Please forgive me – I have been living in the dark ages for the last 9 years!) The fact that Wikipedia is an online dictionary that is community-edited rings alarm bells. No-one is ever going to agree to any one definition. I like the idea that it is being updated regularly, but not that it can be edited by people who lack credibility and authority.

The few times that I have searched for things, I’ve avoided Wikipedia purely based on its appearance! It’s always seemed kind of dull and boring. If there’s another option, I usually go to that first.

However, it is a reference source that is going to appear regularly. Therefore as TL, I would definitely be explaining to the students the reasons that they would need to check any information found on these sites and why. I would be suggesting alternative sources to the students and gently steering them away from using Wikipedia exclusively.

Activity 3 – Dictionaries

Yes, I believe that the school library should still provide students with access to print-based dictionaries. At the moment not all students K-12 have access to a computer. It’s much easier for classes to have sets of dictionaries for quick reference and it’s a social leveller – everyone’s is the same. It is also easier to have a class set of dictionaries that are appropriate to the reading and cognitive level of the students.

Using a dictionary properly is a skill. Students need to learn how to use the alphabet to look up words, how to interpret the meaning, what the symbols mean etc. Dictionaries often contain other resources as well – definitions of parts of language, Australian leaders, countries in alphabetical order and so on. These are all skills that are easier to teach with print-based dictionaries.

The Free Dictionary wasn’t too user-friendly for younger students, but I quite liked Onelook Dictionary.

Online Australian Dictionaries:

I liked this site because it was very Australian. It had the serious explanations of words as well as descriptions of slang Australian words. This site also contained a thesaurus and a link to Aboriginal words. There were links to rhyming dictionaries and ones suitable for children in language, science and maths.

This site included children friendly websites for research, encyclopaedia, dictionary and thesaurus. Good for science/HSIE too.

This one was a maths dictionary – interactive and new.

Online Australian Atlases:

It was difficult to find online Australian Atlases – maybe there is a niche market out there! Here are some that I would use anyway:

Fun and colourful – may need to subscribe though.

Limited for Australia, but some good general maps for younger kids.

More for the older student.

Online Australian Biographies:

If I were looking for a specific person, then I would do a general Google, which reveals a whole variety of sources.

I have used this one while helping students research this term on “Australian Heroes”. It was also handy for students to have a look at some Australians who were significant in order to select one to research.

Good, detailed information, more for the older student.

Once again, good old aussieeducator came through!

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Topic 1 – Resource Provision

Bloom’s Taxonomy

I initially found this task daunting as I haven’t worked in a classroom for so long and I’m not used to using the Internet to search for resources that are reliable and student-friendly.

So, I decided to list all the resources that I would look at using for any topic.

  • Dictionary
  • Atlas
  • Encyclopaedia
  • Syllabus
  • Teacher resources
  • Posters/Charts/Pictures
  • Online search
  • Local/state government – printed material and online
  • Textbooks – fiction and non-fiction
  • Field study/excursion
  • Guest speakers – from local groups/parents
  • Class discussion/prior knowledge

The content of the resource information would have to vary according to the ability of the children within the class. You would need to be really organised with resources available prior to the beginning of the unit of work.

I would suggest that this unit of work could be undertaken by students from Year 5 doing just the Knowledge/Comprehension and Application sections and the older grades doing all 6 sections depending on their ability.

Objective Question Resource
Knowledge What is an ecosystem? Dictionary – print or online or basic textbook
Knowledge Define an ecosystem and list the varieties that are found in South Australia. Encyclopaedia – print or online or basic science bookContact South Australian government or look on their

Contact Australian Ecosystems:

Comprehension List the different parts of the ecosystem and explain what they do. Encyclopaedia – print or online or basic science bookPosters/Charts/PicturesOnline search:

Comprehension Compare a marine ecosystem with one from another area of our state. ExcursionOnline

Application Using a diagram, show how the water cycle operates in an ecosystem Encyclopaedia – print or online or basic science bookPosters/Charts/PicturesOnline search:

Application Demonstrate what happens when humans interfere with the water cycle. Science textbookGuest Speaker – from local/state government or conservation group
Analysis Contrast the natural water cycle with that used by our community Excursion – Water PlantGuest Speaker – from local/state government or conservation group
Analysis Examine an ecosystem that has been damaged by human interference. Avoided how? Textbook – print or onlineOnline search:


Synthesis Identify an unspoilt ecosystem and design a way of preserving it. Where the Forest Meets the Seaby Jeannie BakerExcursion to an unspoilt local areaGuest Speaker – from local/state government or conservation group
Synthesis How would preserving our local ecosystems enhance our environment? Excursion to an unspoilt local areaGuest Speaker – from local/state government or conservation group
Evaluation Is it reasonable that people pollute our waterways? Defend your answer Online

Class discussion

Evaluation Assess the impact of pollution in our local waterways. Field study to local waterwaysGuest Speaker – from local/state government or conservation groupOnline search: As above

Geography Teacher

Three types of key resources I would encourage a new Geography teacher to use would include:

1)    Reliable Website Resources:

This is an awesome source for new Geography teachers in NSW as it goes through how to programme, how to assess the students, expectations etc. At the very end it has a list of useful websites that the teacher can use to get resources on a particular topic such as Rainforests.

2)    Geography Syllabus:…/geography_710_syl.pdf

3)    Library Resources:

A bulk library loan on Rainforests, which could include some or all of the following:

– Non-fiction and fiction books suitable for Year 7

– Teaching Resources that include ideas on what and how to teach Rainforests

– Kits on Rainforests that can include posters/charts/pictures

There are other sources of resources that you could mention to the teacher such as:

  • Environmental Education Centre
  • Joining the professional association
  • Speaking with other teachers who have taught this unit
  • Local/state conservation and government groups
  • Excursion – kids LOVE going on an excursion and usually the place has information to support the unit of study

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