Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Rob F
flickr image by Cockburn Libraries
At the 2011 SLANZA Conference I was impressed by a session called “Hosting a Living Library in your school” taken by Colleen Shipley, from Marlborough Girls College. This is a way to add to the dynamism of your school library, encouraging students to engage with people as sources of information.
Colleen organised a Living Library day with 18 “living books” as part of Library Promotion Week in 2008. As a result of its popularity she repeated it on a smaller scale in 2010.
Frequently-cited benefits of Living (or Human) Libraries are encounters with people who experience prejudice, talking with someone outside your normal zone of comfort, hearing what it was like to be part of a dramatic event in history or scientific expedition.
Consider the potential in a school with Māori, Pasifika or immigrant students where there are few resources in home languages. This is an opportunity to showcase other cultures and their experiences.
I interviewed Colleen for this feature. Here are my questions and her answers:
R: What attracted you to the idea of Living Libraries?
C: When LIANZA put the suggestion out for Library Promotion Week in 2008, I did some reading and thought it was an excellent way to get the girls buzzing, especially as we have a popular biography section.
R: What issues did you face in timetabling and promotion?
C: I timetabled it to fit with the health class which was studying discrimination in 2008 and media class in 2010. Plus we covered a lunch time- so it was open to everyone. We allowed 20 minute slots each, and for some that was enough, but a couple of girls came and “renewed their books”. Promotion was done in assembly, via newsletter and a general tell-girls-about-it when they visit the library. We also had support with an article in the newspaper.
R: How did you recruit your “Books”?
C: We kept an eye out in local newspaper for stories of interesting people, canvassed staff for ideas or contact agencies appropriate to the “book.” The local district health nurse was very useful.
R: What excited you about the experience?
C: Seeing the girls engage with complete strangers was very rewarding and the feedback was amazing. The “books” stayed on for an afternoon tea together and although they often felt self conscious about talking about themselves they found the experience rewarding. In some cases it also changed their prejudices against teenagers.
R: Any warnings?
C: Be prepared for some books to not turn up because something else crops up, and a phone call reminder the day before helps even if they say they don’t need it.
R: Are you happy for people to contact you directly for more information or sample documents?
C: Certainly, love to help.
Thank you, Colleen.
If you have further questions, contact Colleen : ColleenS@mgc.school.nz
For further information:
Consultation is now open to all schools and teachers, until 11 November 2011, to provide feedback on the development of the New Zealand schools e-Learning Planning Framework (English-medium) and it is important that librarians engage in this process.
The e-Learning Planning Framework will provide schools, teachers and librarians with a road map that will guide them as they develop skills, knowledge, and confidence in using ICT. E-Learning supports the teaching approaches outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa through “development of knowledge, competencies, and values, enabling students to be successful citizens in a digital world”.
Development of an integrated, holistic, student-centered practice and school culture to embed information literacy and digital fluency into the curriculum is a core component of the draft framework. While the draft framework has at its heart an integrated, whole of school approach to e-learning and information literacy, school libraries are not identified explicitly. For the best possible student outcomes, the articulation of both the role of the librarian and a process for school libraries to engage collaboratively with teachers to support this vision should be part of the planning framework.
Student Learning in the Information Landscape (2005) highlighted the need and value of establishing a school-wide cross-curriculum approach for student information literacy development and aligning the various parts of the school’s information infrastructure – principally the school library (including school library ICT) and other ICT within the school – with a clear rationale for their respective complementary roles in contributing to student learning. The e-Learning Planning Framework potentially offers a structure and process for ever better alignement and integration of the library.
The Ministry notes that feedback from a wide range of schools is vital to ensure the framework is meaningful and usable.
So, review and discuss the framework with colleagues, provide feedback individually via the online survey, and participate in the e-Learning Planning Framework workshops and ensure that we make the most of this opportunity.
Details of the E-Learning Planning Framework and the consultation process are available from the Enabling e-Learning website.
Details of how to provide feedback and participate in both online workshops and surveys are available from the Virtual Learning Network website.
E-Learning Planning Framework: draft for consultation
E-Learning Planning Framework: background information for sector consultation
E-Learning and implications for New Zealand schools: a literature review
“The ebook juggernaut is moving along like a train with no brakes, and it's raising so many issues…”
In an article in the latest online Connections magazine from SCIS, Stephen Abram looks at ebooks in the wider context. Rather than focusing on the merits or otherwise of e-readers and other devices, or the Digital Rights Management issues that are often the focus of articles on this topic, he views ebooks in the wider context, starting with a taxonomy of ebooks.
He describes ebooks as a subset of ‘e-resources’ – which librarians and educators have long been using and promoting: databases (think EPIC), websites, articles, audio, video, podcasts, and more.
In addition, e-books are a format of books in general – and these too come in a variety of subtypes (encyclopedias, audio books, large print, Braille, non-fiction books, fiction, and so on)
Abrams then turns the spotlight on some of these categories of books, to explore how they are intended to be read or used, and how the ebook format can impact on the reader’s experience.
Fiction, he says, is one of the few book genres designed to be read sequentially, from beginning to end. Non-fiction is much more of a mix, with some (such as biographies, diaries, and self-help books) also intended to be read from cover to cover. Others are designed for the reader to dip into, to read just the piece of information required.
However, it is Reference books that can shine as e-resources. No longer bound by the conventions of page order, electronic versions are able to add functionality and search features to enable the reader to discover and experience content in whole new ways.
eBooks in school libraries
eBooks. Love them or hate them for your personal use, there is no doubt that these resources will have an increasing impact on school libraries and learning. Of course their use will initially provide a challenge for the way collections are managed, and there is obviously a requirement for a technological component, and there will undoubtedly be many reasons to also keep a print collection but lets consider some of the benefits of working through some of the issues.
Most eReaders provide a great selection of tools. As a student researches, they can use highlighting tools, take notes, search, and click a word to access a dictionary definition. For students that require it, some eReaders provide a text to speech feature.
eBooks can very easily give access to additional content. Multimedia and interactivity can be powerful motivators for students, links to webpages can provide updates, discussion features and further information. Textbooks in eBook format can provide online exercises that reinforce learning as well as the benefits of the research tools. Speaking of textbooks, a large number of textbooks in eBook format are much easier on shoulders and backs than if they were in print.
And eBooks don’t need covering, or repairing, or shelf space.
There are fast changing issues around digital rights management and compatibility with all the different devices and these are well discussed on the New Zealand eReaders Taskforce wiki along with links to many other sources and research for further information. We also discuss eBooks in more depth on our website
and host a group in the online community.
Join the discussion, ask lots of questions, debate the pros and cons, the journey will be easier and more fun if we put our collective minds to them and learn from the global ‘each other’
By Lisa O
The concept of literacy has evolved from a fairly universal one: the ability to read and understand printed text, to a rather complex one: the ability to absorb and understand many types of information in an ever-growing list of formats. The range of literacies includes, but is not limited to: digital literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, media literacy, health literacy, financial literacy, and news literacy.
We need to grow and maintain our own knowledge and understanding of the many literacies, how they are interrelated, and why they are important for students. We need to identify ways of effectively facilitating understanding in our students. Basic literacy, critical analysis skills and competence with ICT are key to developing all other literacies.
How do school libraries fit?
One of the major concerns about multiple literacies or transliteracy voiced here and overseas, is about the divide between those who do and those who don’t have these skills.
The school and its library are a good place to address that divide, to give access to the tools and teach the competencies, especially for those students who come from a home that has limited access to a computer or to broadband Internet.
It is in fact critical, that all students learn multifaceted literacy competencies at school if they are to be effective adult participants in our democracy and our society generally.
The pace of change from an analogue to a digital environment is accelerating. The ability to navigate effectively through the future landscape of data and information to find and utilise valid information for any purpose is a basic skill that will underpin others.
School libraries therefore are well placed to provide access to and learning opportunities for students to become skilled users of text, data, and other information that will form the foundations of other learning.
Lane Wilkinson writes: “Transliteracy comes into play as a pedagogical method, a way to break down the barrier between the student and the library. It encompasses established methods like transfer of learning and analogical reasoning in the library classroom. It’s using Wikipedia to find keywords for a search in CINAHL. It’s reading an academic journal article and then looking up the author’s personal blog for more contexts. It’s comparing hash tags to subject headings and Amazon reviews to abstracts.”
“ Linking up traditional notions of authority with the realities of how people obtain information today”
Recently the Unquiet Librarian wrote a thought provoking post about transliteracy and what it means for libraries.
She writes: “I would like to further explore how libraries can be sites of literate communities. …Where people are engaging in many kinds of literate practices to consume and create content in thoughtful, meaningful, and new ways that meld traditional and new literacies.I also will continue to explore how participatory culture and librarianship dovetail with transliteracy.”
Image by Unquiet Librarian
L2 - Libraries and Learning is a new blog from Services To Schools. We will be writing about a range of topics that fall within the scope of libraries and learning. Expect to read about: Literacies in the 3rd millennium, technology trends for teaching and learning, research about libraries and student achievement, culture, heritage, and much more.
We are interested in the many ways that libraries impact on learning, through pedagogy, technology, collaboration and personal interactions with students. Subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss any of the stimulating posts.
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