Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Linda M
As schools gradually increase adoption of laptops and mobile devices, it is timely to consider the implications for students to bring their own devices for classroom use. Christopher Harris’s article Going mobile: Key issues to consider for schools weighing BYOD discusses the pros and cons.
The immediately evident ‘pro’ of this is that the weight of hefty technology costs is shifted from ‘tight’ school budgets to the student: the ‘con’ of this, obviously, being inequity of access across the socio-economic spectrum. Harris asks some important questions:
He also points out that ‘teachers will also require training to help them develop and administer content across mobile platforms’.
Finally, Harris draws attention to Neil Postman’s essay: Five things we need to know about technological change (1998), which he uses to discuss the changes implicit in schools’ culture and ecology as we move towards increasing use of technology in general and BYOD in particular.
You may like also to follow the links through to wikiversity.org’s, which extrapolates from Postman’s essay to pose questions about the pros and cons of technology implementation in general.
You have probably seen them without realising it, a small black and white patchwork square in the corner of a movie poster or magazine advertisement. Designed for use with a mobile phone application, the QR code utilizes mobile phone tagging software to link your phone to the corresponding website, video, image etc. Once loaded on your phone the application works like taking a photo, you simply line up the pattern in the viewfinder and the QR software does the rest, linking your phone to the web address.
When you realise that all that is needed is to visually identify the design and ‘photograph’ it to link to online information, you can begin to imagine the applications this could have for libraries and library users of all ages and abilities.
QR codes were initially designed for use in manufacturing, transcending the need for foreign workers to understand the text or language on the machinery or packaging, a quick scan of the QR code, would link them via their mobile device to a relevant video or text that matched their needs and language.
Authors have already caught on to the marketing possibilities building the codes into their cover designs and posters, linking readers to their corresponding websites.
BookBuzzer a marketing blog for authors describes QR Codes as “The newest tool for book marketing.” It is little wonder then that Libraries are also seeing the possibilities. Library Success Wiki lists numerous University and Public Libraries utilizing the use of QR coding for anything from links to mobile phone compatible websites and chat to topic pathfinders for users browsing the book stacks.
What about school libraries? Dr Joyce Valenza, teacher-librarian and prolific education and technology writer has long been promoting QR Code use in school libraries. In her School Library Journal October 2010 article, Joyce lists many great ideas and information on ‘the simple process’ for the uninitiated school librarian.
A quick web search produced the following Blog entries:
Serious Fun Blog - QR Codes: Could you use them in your library?
Hyperlinked Librarian – Includes footage of pupils generating their own codes during a lesson.
Daring Librarian Blog – Includes a QR code tree containing codes for parents to scan.
The answer for some is a resounding YES!
How can we help your school library meet the challenge?
While many schools in New Zealand still have a ban on mobile phones, some schools are beginning to realise their huge potential as a learning tool providing students with personalised access to information 24/7.
Studies have shown that not only can a “culture of responsible use” with mobile phones be developed in schools but students are also far too busy participating in their new learning environment to want to play “virtual hooky”.
Privacy and safety issues are paramount with any social network but tools are now available to provide group administrators with a number of controls.
In class, turn on your cell phones: it’s time to text students use a service called Celly to “take quick polls and quizzes, filter messages, get news updates, take notes, and organize group study — all in real time.” Messages can be moderated or an administrator might choose to only send messages or “alerts” to group members and no phone numbers are shared.
Learning tool for all
Mobile phones for educational purposes are not limited to secondary school students as primary school teachers can demonstrate their use to, for example, take photos and video, record audio for podcasts, access the Internet and transfer files.
In Txting to m-Learn Howick Social Science teacher Nathan Kerr found that geography students’ test results shot up as a result of allowing them to use mobile phones to integrate the learning process.
However, as MOE e-fellow Toni Twiss found in her research on using mobile phones to foster information literacy, “the ability to critique and use information that is such a crucial skill” was lacking.
This is an area where school libraries can play a big part in ensuring students acquire these skills. Read here to find out how.
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
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
Links have now been added to EPIC to enable schools to access the EBSCO mobile interface when accessing EPIC from mobile devices. All the EPIC resources can be accessed via mobile devices, however, EBSCO are the first to provide an interface specifically for mobile devices.
All you need to do is go to EPIC using a mobile device and login with your school username and password. You will find a link to the EBSCO mobile interface listed under EBSCO.
Alternatively, once you have logged in to EPIC, you can also click on the Databases link in the top left hand corner where there are direct links to the mobile versions of the two EBSCO databases available through EPIC - Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre and MasterFile Premier.
Once you have accessed either of the databases there are also instructions on how to download the free iPhone and iPod Touch applications.
And finally, just to remind you all about the wealth of information you can access through the ESBCO resources in EPIC (including most of the major daily New Zealand newspapers, Time Magazine, New Scientist, Library Journal, National Geographic, History Today and much, much more) – here are links to information sheets about both of the products – including coverage lists and promotional links:
EBSCO - Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre
EBSCO - MasterFile Premier
Brainshark is a tool for creating, sharing and tracking online and mobile video presentations. With a few clicks you can easily create a narrated video to be shared with anybody.
Brainshark is cloud-based, so you can access and edit your presentations from any computer. You start by uploading the content you want to include. This can be powerpoints, photos, documents, videos and mp3 sound files. You then record a voiceover for your presentation using your phone or the microphone on your computer. Not sure what this might look like?
View the demo or take a tour
You can share your presentation through email or post it on a social networking site like Facebook. It’s also easy to embed it on your website or blog, or even publish a copy of it on YouTube. Once your presentation is out in the world Brainshark lets you track who views it, when they access it and where they are.
A basic account is free and offers unlimited presentations and views. Brainshark Mobile provides apps for smartphone and tablet users that enable them to view presentations, access content and download documents on the go.
The potential for e-learning with Brainshark is very exciting. Librarians and teachers could use it to present material to students, include questions and then track which students have viewed and responded to the material. Students could create narrated videos showcasing library events or reviewing books for your library blog or school website. Viewers will be able to see all the great things you have happening and hear the students’ enthusiasm.
Students can also use Brainshark as a presentation tool for their own work. They can share it with you, their classmates and their families and easily include it in their e-portfolios.
How could you use Brainshark in your library or classroom?
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