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 Lisa O
Recruiting for the school library
I read every job description / recruitment ad for school library staff in New Zealand that I see. I am passionate about the future of library services for our students. In particular how we can contribute to the evolution of these services so that future students will enjoy a more equitable provision of and an ever increasing quality of services
Just as a playing field doesn’t make an athlete, nor does a library make a learner or a reader. It takes an agent, a person who supports and enables students through resources, skills development and coaching. Connecting learners to the people, resources and skills they need is a service – performed by a person or team.
In the ecology of the library learning environment there are a variety of different roles and people who fill them. In reading job descriptions from schools around New Zealand, there are skills and qualifications that are often sought, and there is often a “person spec” or list of qualities as well. These skills, qualities and qualifications with various emphases are somewhat standard.
A set of dispositions or attributes is also important and that any one working with students and teachers in a library learning environment must be in possession of these non-negotiable traits.
Here are some that would top my list:
This is not a comprehensive list but I think it is a start. Anyone can learn a library system, or other software, but great school librarians share a love of students, and a passion for empowering learning and literacy.
Phat Poetry provides a new take on the creative art of poetry by offering a very interactive, multimedia poetry experience. Phat Poetry is a FUSE (Find, Use, Share, Educate) project supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Australia).
I started my journey through the site on the homepage listening to the Featured Poem, The Jabberwocky, being recited. What a wonderful way of being introduced to such a classic poem.
Then there was the opportunity to explore the images, sounds, and videos presented on the homepage. These newly created pieces represent what Phat Poetry is all about “…a creative and innovative way of enhancing literacy learning in the classroom and exciting students about poetry through technology.”
There are many ways to explore and use this site including:
For anyone wanting to bring poetry alive for students in new and interesting ways Phat Poetry is definitely worth exploring further.
Are you looking for resources to support your learners throughout the year? Do you want new and exciting material; books to engage and inspire students; digital resources that educate, stimulate, and motivate.
Curriculum Services offers this and more. All around New Zealand, every school has access to the very best information, support, professional knowledge and resources available.
Over the next several weeks ANZAC and Matariki will be at the forefront. Along with our print collections, we have a wonderful selection of digital material, which you can access at any time to support classroom learning.
The High Interest Topics area on our Services to Schools site has an extensive list of authoritative, quality web resources specially selected by Curriculum Services Librarians on subject areas that are constantly in high demand.
There is also wonderful content in the Primary Sources section. These galleries include material that has been digitised from the Turnbull collections in Wellington, along with supplementary material: explanations of what primary sources are; guides for using primary sources and educator resources too.
Have a look at the Primary Sources ANZAC gallery.
For more information on Matariki take a look at Many Answers, which collates responses from librarians around New Zealand to students’ questions on this topic. The focus is on developing student information literacy skills.
Now is the time to be placing your order for resources with your nearest Curriculum Services Centre. You can order classroom resources online. If you would like any of the digital resources mentioned above sent to you please tick the appropriate box on the order form and provide us with your email address. Otherwise these resources are easily available to you on our Services to Schools page.
We look forward to sending you resources and would love to hear what you and your students have done with the material. What have you created? What have you learnt? How did the material strengthen and assist the inquiry process? If you have stories or feedback your nearest centre would love to hear from you.
I follow a blog Free Technology for Teachers. Don’t get put off by the title … there’s often treasures in here for ALL educators, especially librarians.
Today’s offering introduced me to Pixabay: direct from the blog, Pixabay is described like this;
“Pixabay is a good place to find and download quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. When you find an image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture.”
This site is another tool we can add to our toolkit of legal-to-reuse photos sites. It offers beautiful photos to support an enormous range of presentations as well as being a visually stunning backdrop to introducing the idea of Creative Commons to classes.
Pixabay are on PIntrest too, so amazingly easy to follow on a smart device too!
By Rob F
School library teams have an important part to play in reaching students who are part of the “long tail” in education. A recent Education Review Office (ERO) report defined priority learners as: “groups of students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the New Zealand schooling system. These include many Māori and Pacific learners, those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and students with special education needs.” What does this mean for us?
The report identifies three key issues:
Learning involves relationships and communication, responding to students (and their families) as they are. When the library is welcoming and inclusive, students respond. The teacher may be the agent for presenting a planned curriculum. Librarians can present themselves more easily as a ‘partner in learning’.
The national curriculum is flexible. According to ERO: “generally, schools are not developing and managing their curricula in ways that are responsive to learners…some schools do not make use of the information they have about students to design a curriculum that responds to their strengths, interests and learning needs.”
Four curriculum principles: “future focus, coherence, cultural diversity and Treaty of Waitangi” and their importance for priority learners are not well understood in some schools. “Schools should be places where learners’ cultural and ethnic identities are acknowledged, celebrated and promoted through the curriculum.” Schools’ curricula and teaching practice need to “reflect the culture, knowledge and understanding of learners.”
Library teams can contribute to the resourcing of these curricula. Librarians are aware of the informal curriculum, the interests and preoccupations and spontaneous questions- of students and can work with students outside of classroom time to support priority learners.
School libraries can use this data to inform:
Library staff can use the available assessment information to plan their support for: literacy, inquiry and curriculum content areas using library resources.
The report says that little measurement of specific groups like Māori, Pasifika and students with special learning needs actually takes place, and it is necessary to “recognise and cater for the significant diversity that comprises the Pacific populations in school.” “It is not enough for schools to analyse and respond to achievement information of a notional Pacific ‘cohort.”
Consider how the library can provide support for priority learners and discuss the opportunities with school leadership. Investigate and plan to deliver that support. Incorporate an evidence based approach to the development of new services for your priority learners. Use existing data and carefully consider how and what you will measure to know you have made a difference.
“Explore, Play, Discover” from within the Exploratorium museum website.
This San Francisco based museum of science, art, and human perception promotes the asking of questions and the fostering of curiosity as important steps on the path to discovery.
Dr Frank Oppenheimer, who founded the museum in 1969, was the visionary behind this amazing museum and he “…viewed art and science as complementary ways of exploring the world, and incorporated both into the Exploratorium from its earliest days”.
The Explore section includes such gems as:
The Education section includes :
There is a load more to discover and this site would be a great resource to explore further as part of a staff, syndicate, or departmental meeting.
The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, is now available as an interactive app for the iPad and NOOK. It is one of the most incredible book apps I have ever seen and is a worthwhile investment for any school.
The app includes the full text of the diary and also provides video interviews, audio clips, historic documents and archival images. There is a dual timeline featuring images and information about Anne’s life and family as well as historical images and commentary about the war. This gives readers a better understanding of what life was like in the Secret Annexe and also what was happening around the world when Anne was in hiding.
A quick tap on a word will allow you to listen to an audio clip, watch a video, see where a person or event fits into the timeline and read more information. There are also curated ‘Story Trails’ which explore themes in the text. For example, if you follow the ‘Life in Hiding’ trail you are brought to relevant passages in the diary and given further information about both Anne’s life and the world events which drove the family into hiding.
The app has been developed with the cooperation of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel, founded by Anne’s father Otto Frank in 1963. They have made rare and previously unpublished material available and Anne’s only surviving direct relative, her cousin Buddy Elias, is featured. There is also a commentary from Miep Gies, one of the people who risked her life to help Anne and the other occupants of the Secret Annexe.
photo by smiteme
View historical events in the form of a tabloid front page created by The Sun newspaper.
The Hold ye front page website divides major historical events into three subject areas: Sport, History, and Science which can be browsed by thumbnail images in each section.
The first front page in the history section celebrates The Big Bang and is emblazoned with an explosive image and the headline “Bang”. This page is accompanied by a short article and two short video clips explaining some of the science behind the event. There are links to further front pages to take the reader on a journey of discovery.
It’s interesting to examine these front pages from a media perspective and the way a tabloid newspaper might approach major historical events.
This is also a great resource to support high interest non-fiction reading and could work well as a resource for content curation.
By Linda F
You are literate. In fact you enjoy, even crave books and reading, but you don’t have an income to buy books or a home where you could read and shelve them. Perhaps you’d borrow them, but where could you go if you didn’t have an address with which to secure a library card or didn’t feel you belonged in a public library?
In Sydney the Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library is an inspirational example of libraries as a powerful vehicle for social justice. Founded by philanthropist Sarah Garnett in 2003 the Footpath Library provides new and high quality books and magazines for those who would not usually have ready access to books and reading. The library now also has branches in Melbourne and Brisbane and aims to be Australia-wide by 2014.
The library began on the footpaths of Sydney when Sarah noticed a homeless man regularly retrieving books from rubbish bins. Now, books are delivered by van to the footpaths of Sydney streets and libraries of books have also been set up in refuges, hostels, community centres and other places that look after homeless and marginalised citizens.
In addition, and perhaps because books warm the soul but not always the body, the Footpath Library also co-ordinates the donation of knitted goods like hats and scarves to keep their customers warm during winter.
For those who live on the streets or live on the fringes of ‘mainstream’ society deliveries from the mobile Footpath Library open up a whole world of new places to go, access to different ideas and learning, and a forum for book conversations. It also builds literacy and a community of readers. The Footpath Library is a continuously evolving and inspiring story about the difference reading makes to the lives of a diverse group of people who may not otherwise have access to books.
Listen to Sarah Garnett speaking about the establishment of the Footpath Library, how the library changes lives, and the kinds of books that are most popular:
Follow @Footpathlib on Twitter
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