Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Peter M
cc image by DanCallahan
Adolescents as a group are both the highest users of new media and the group most vulnerable to some of the harms associated with its misuse. Online watchdog Netsafe has claimed that one in five New Zealand secondary school students report being cyber bullied online, or via text message or photographs
Updating laws written prior to the development of social media, the proposed digital communications law reform will support the work of parents and schools combating cyber bullying.
Education to support digital citizenship is at the heart of proposals to combat cyber bullying. Digital literacy or the ability to understand and fully participate in the digital world is fundamental to digital citizenship. It is the combination of technical and social skills that enable a person to be successful and safe in the information age.
The Law Commission in its briefing to the government emphasised, the need for the recommendations to be treated as a package: “law change without education and without mechanisms for effective enforcement will not succeed”
Moreover, it highlighted the need for collaboration between parents, schools, law enforcement agencies, policy makers and the corporate sector.
I was recently at a NEAL breakfast where Andrew Cowie shared how he works with students to embed strong digital citizenship. He focussed on fun ways of engaging with students, exploring their issues and concerns and harnessing their creativity to inform one another in authentic ways using digital media. Students created short, lively, funny video ‘ads’ of the perils and pitfalls of the digital environment that can be shown in class, at assemblies and streamed from the school intranet. Digital citizenship education promotes and supports confidence and a range of digital competencies while exploring the values associated with citizenship in an online environment.
Andrew highlighted platforms such as Edmodo where students can explore the online world in a safe and supported environment. He also recommended night classes for parents to help them understand the tools their children are using inside - and outside – the classroom.
The school library is a safe environment where expertise and access to technology and information of many kinds connects learners to global communities and ideas and the librarian is ideally placed to provide consistent support and guidance. The school librarian must be part of the school wide conversation around cyber bullying and promote their role as a supportive and empathetic information coach.
Libraries should prominently display posters and guidelines clarifying for students how to engage in an online environment in a safe and responsible way.
The library can also play its part as a welcoming family friendly place where whanau can be introduced to both the range of online social media their children are using and the concept of digital citizenship and how they can support their children at home.
Students, teachers and parents are all on a learning curve and it is inevitable there will be missteps and mistakes. It is critical that there is open and supportive communications between students, the school and families and a culture of mutual respect and honesty is promoted.
Reaching out to whanau. Embedding a home school partnership to not just keep our kids safe but to develop their confidence and competence to discover, connect, create and share.
Ministerial Briefing Paper. Harmful digital communications: the adequacy of the current sanctions and remedies
Netsafe Kit for schools
By Jan W
I recently read STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND READ THIS! , Vintage Press 2011. It is a collection of essays written by people who are passionate advocates for reading.
I was particularly taken with the final essay, by Dr Maryanne Wolf and Dr Mirit Barzillai. Dr Wolf is the Director of the Centre for Reading and Language research at Tufts University. Dr Barzillai is a researcher whose current work focuses on the implications of technological innovation on reading processes.
Their essay “Questions for a Reader” talks about how ‘momentous and semi-miraculous’ it is that the human species ever achieved the ability to read. It then discusses the fact that an ‘expert reading brain’ is developed over time. This process can be short-circuited at any point by poor instruction, impoverished environments, lack of opportunity or motivation. The essay also discusses the ‘plasticity’ of the human brain, enabling the ‘reading brain’ to adapt itself to whatever is required by the reader.
They go on to share their thoughts and concerns about the current transition from printed to digital text and the possible effects of this change in terms of our traditional definition of an ‘expert reader’ – one who thinks, infers, imagines, connects, reflects and gains insights into their life and the lives of others.
As today’s children are increasingly immersed in digitally dominated formats for reading, the authors pose these questions:
Huge questions, with real resonance in terms of literacy teaching and learning in the 21st century. What do you think? Share your thoughts with us.
STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND READ THIS!can be readily borrowed through interlibrary loan if it is not available from your local library.
flickr image by Wesley Fryer
2011 was the year for library development at Ngapuke, including the reorganisation and relocation of the library, and staff professional development around accessing and using digital resources. However the most significant development has been the Computers, Library and In Classroom (CLIC) programme developed and implemented by the principal.
The programme runs for three days each week and involves all students. Each class is divided into three groups. One group works in the library learning how to use it effectively and engaging in literacy activities. The second group use computers (also in the library) for research or other activities (for example, photography and design), that build on work begun in class. The third group are in class doing focused work with their teacher. Each day the CLIC programme is operating students spend time in each group.
After two terms on the programme staff have observed significant changes in student attitudes to learning, notably more enthusiasm and ‘on task’ behaviour. Students have been motivated to develop their own kaupapa for their library and a set of ture (rules/behaviours).
A group of CLICers has evolved – these students assist others to use the library and technology effectively, operating rather like ‘tech angels’.
Next steps for Ngapuke are further development of the library, professional development for staff on creating learning classrooms, and extending the role that Teacher aides play in the CLIC programme.
Guess what percentage of New Zealand’s 15 year old students are among the top performers internationally in digital reading? The January 2012 In Focus reports on the OECD’s PISA results from the the 2009 survey on the proficiency of 15 year old students in 16 OECD countries in locating and assessing digital resources. More than 17% of New Zealand students are among the top performers in digital reading, on a par with those from Australia and Korea. However, New Zealand, along with the other participating countries, also has a significant number of low performing students who are unable locate crucial online information even when given explicit directions on how to scroll and navigate across web pages.
The findings included:
PISA makes the following observations, which have implications for teaching and learning in your school and for targeting of your library’s services to support student achievement:
Are you doing something to capitalise on students’ strength in digital reading to create opportunies to increase overall reading mileage? ( digital and/or print) Please share your success stories with us.
The NZTA is running a fantastic competition for secondary schools encouraging evidence of engagement with a remix that students have created to encourage road safety.
Students are invited to create infographics, creative remixes and even a literature remix based on the works of Shakespeare and prizes include $10,000 worth of vouchers.
We’re trying to make it really easy for teachers and librarians to support students in finding remixable content so as well as the Free to Mix guide we have also created a collection of links in a Prezi that gives search tips and hints for various search tools. This Prezi can be embedded into your school’s online environment and used as a teaching tool to enhance the learning experience.
In our Primary Sources gallery, we have created a collection of some great Road Safety images that might inspire some interesting and thought provoking remixes. Many of these images are remixable themselves.
From sound advice to shock statistics to hilarious videos, road safety campaigns have been around for a long time now and we’re looking forward to seeing how some of this is translated by teens of today.
Are your students digital citizens?
It was interesting to see the Digital Citizenship survey results in the December 2011 Interface magazine, particularly those results relating to digital citizenship and ethical behaviour.
Young people spend significant time in the virtual world, both in and out of school. As we encourage students to grow their skills in the use of computers and devices, and as the focus shifts to digital learning and online collaboration, we need to scaffold the skills to support our students to think about their digital footprint and to be safe, positive and responsible while online. This is especially relevant in New Zealand schools as we start to take advantage of ultra-fast broadband.
I recently revisited the NetSafe website [http://www.netsafe.org.nz], and found their useful definition of a digital citizen as someone who:
NetSafe’s interactive digital citizenship site is a great source of content to support digital citizenship education programmes based on their Learn, Guide, Protect framework. It is designed to help you build a cybersafety programme that is appropriate to your schools’ context, and enables you to maximise local resources and opportunities. Content on this site is created by a range of individuals and organisations (anyone with a myLGP account is able to add content).
I also discovered the New South Wales Digital Education Revolution group website, which offers relevant information for students, teachers and parents, addressing the six domains of digital citizenship: digital conduct, digital relationships, digital footprint, digital health and well-being, digital law and digital financial literacy.
The student information on this site is packaged for both primary and secondary levels, and includes online games, learning activities (with full teaching notes) and videos. The teacher support material includes a professional learning course which familiarises teachers with the materials in the Digital Citizenship programme and guides them through the process of implementing the program in their school.
Technology provides many opportunities for users to learn and expand their horizons, and our students need to learn what will be expected of them and others when using these tools. These sites will be an invaluable support for schools and communities working to ensure that students have the skills and abilities to use technology in a responsible manner.
Recently I was given the fantastic opportunity to show educators Digital NZ and Mix and Mash at the annual ULearn conference in Rotorua.
I have presented these topics before and I am always amazed that there are some teachers who haven’t used Digital NZ before. Amazed and excited actually, because I know that I am about to show them something hugely useful and relevant that they will take away and be able to implement with their classes immediately. At Services to Schools, we discuss the skills students need to follow an inquiry process, like finding information from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats. This lends authenticity and credibility to the information and when using it to make something new, different sources provide multiple perspectives and a deeper layering and understanding of a story. Digital NZ, of course, makes this easy.
We have been very keen to encourage student entries into the Mix and Mash competition as it is such a great outlet for creative use of New Zealand digital content and ties in beautifully to many aspects of the curriculum. To increase confidence in teachers this year, we created Free to Mix; An educator’s guide to reusing digital content where we provide a whole heap of tips and ideas and links that will enable teachers and librarians to help students understand, find and use New Zealand digital content. We discuss copyright and Creative Commons, the best places to find material for reuse, what to do to enter the competition and a whole lot more that will keep a school’s creative remix community buzzing well beyond the six weeks of the competition.
One of the things that the teachers at the ULearn breakout enjoyed seeing was the achievability of some of the entries. When they saw A Grand Mother they realised that you don’t need advanced technical skills when you have a great narrative. Year 12 student Casey Carsel’s entries showed history, heritage and humour and a huge variety of well attributed resources. Our favourite primary school entry from Pt England School embodies the spirit of the competition and just looks like a whole heap of fun. Another entry reflected work that was completed for NCEA credits and also eligible for entry, and others showed learning that started in class and was extended beyond that.
In lots of different ways, the teachers at the session felt positive and empowered and challenged with a variety of actions. One of the participants, a school librarian, was going to create a Digital NZ custom search related to the school wide topic in Term 4 and put it on her library blog. Another participant was going to show the whole staff the digital stories that were entered this year and use them to inspire digital storytelling work in all the classes in his school. One teacher found an image of some students in her school of about 100 years ago; this is going to be a centrepiece in their jubilee work.
Even as I was delivering the workshop, one teacher was uploading links to her Learning Management System. Her students were easily able to find links to Creative Commons, Digital NZ and inspirational digital stories in their own learning environment before she’d even left the room. These things are easy to do for educators but hugely empowering for the students who will learn about the rich resources in New Zealand’s digital collections, who will make their own heritage materials and become an active part of global creative communities.
“Our digikids may have the ICT technical skills but they possess limited online information and critical evaluation skills and teachers don’t have strategies to teach these skills. “ These were the findings of a just published New Zealand study undertaken by Judine Ladbrook and Elizabeth Probert.
School librarians will find this research extremely relevant useful as the context of the research is the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum’s vision statement that young people will be, “confident, connected, actively involved and lifelong learners. Ludbrook and Probert describe the lifelong learner as “literate, critical thinkers who actively seek, use and create knowledge.” These are the attributes of an information literate person.
Their research involved three large Auckland secondary schools and began with 188 year 10 students and from those students 22 of the most active, experienced and skilled at using ICT and at seeking information on line were selected for the research.
The students undertook focus group discussions and surveys about how they used information from the internet and how the teachers helped them with the skills involved.
All 16 students used Google as their only search engine. The strategy for choosing a site was to enter the first listed site and they never went beyond the third listed site! Many students based their judgments of site trustworthiness on how the site looked. It was trustworthy if “it’s nicely presented, it’s not just white background, black writing” because that “shows a professionalism” and “it doesn’t have the adverts or pop ups.” Nearly all of the students felt that a internet site was accurate if it was well laid out and divided into chunks with sub-headings as this lent itself to accuracy and if it “sounded convincing it probably was true.”
The students’ strategy for using the information did not involve any synthesising but simple cutting and pasting. When they were asked to research using more than one source students 75% of the students used strategies such as putting in sites that they hadn’t used but which had come up on their initial Google search.
The students suggested that the prior knowledge work would enable them to judge information more accurately. The students did suggest that if teachers gave them several URLs, a couple of articles or chapters in books from which to choose information, and also built their prior knowledge, then they would be unable to plagiarise because teachers would know their information sources and also it would stop them from adding false references.
One of the key themes that emerged from the research was how little teachers helped students develop their research skills. Most of the students stated that little help had been given to them. There was often an assumption by their teachers that research skills had already been taught before students reached secondary school.
Some students got given a list of helpful sites but only a few were given some minimal help to research on the internet. None of them were given help to use books to research, apart from being taken to the library.
The authors suggest teachers conduct diagnostic work to see what students can do in the area of information literacy and in using online resources, and use this information to make pedagogical decisions for addressing the gaps.
With the advent of the new e-Learning Planning Framework in schools, enabling “students to be successful citizens in a digital world” the deliberate teaching of information literacy skills is even more crucial.
Ladbrook, J. & Probert, E. (2011), Information skills and critical literacy:
Where are our digikids at with online searching and are their teachers helping?
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(1), 105-121.
Lee Crockett recently visited New Zealand. Lee is a national award wining graphic designer, marketing consultant, entrepreneur, artist, author and international keynote speaker. He is also the Director of Media for the InfoSavvy Group and the managing partner of the 21st Century Fluency Project. Lee is a co-publisher of the Committed Sardine Blog.
This is what he has to say about digital learners and their learning styles.
If this is the case, what impact does this have on the work being done in school libraries? What kinds of programmes are available for today’s digital learners living and learning in a digital age? Are today’s school library staffs comfortable in a digital environment and able to relate to their 21st century students and make relevant and meaningful connections? We all need to step up to the challenge.
by Pauline McCowan
Mix and Mash, the Great NZ Remix and Mashup competition was launched last night and all this year’s amazing categories have been revealed! With Mix & Mash's focus on New Zealand images, data, words, video and music, you and your students have six weeks to compete for prizes by remixing Kiwi digital content into beautiful new works.
Some of the fantastic remix categories that are now open to enter are:
The guide gives you information, activities and ideas to confidently create a remix from material you know you have the rights to reuse. It shows students why copyright and licensing exist, how they work, and how they can apply licences to their own work through simple information, suggestions for activities, and links to more resources. The latest version also has lots of ideas for the categories you are most likely to be interested in. By using it, you and your students will be able to participate in the global remix community while demonstrating creativity and integrity.
This competition is a great way to extend learning in a range of curriculum areas and to teach practical application of 21st Century skills and learning around communication, design, creativity, ICT, information and the very real issues around reusing digital content ethically.
Go to the Mix and Mash website now and find out about the fantastic prizes!
0800 LIB LINE
0800 542 5463
Get help from our advisers using this free phone line