Library services impact significantly on learning and literacy outcomes. There is a growing body of research highlighting the role of the library in supporting learners.
image by Nancie McKinnon used with permission
Horizon Report 2011: K-12
Library Budgets, staffing and literacy in Australian Schools (June 2011)
The third Colorado study has been completed, published at the end of 2010
Australia New Zealand Edition of The Horizon Report (November 2010)
This page will contain summaries/ syntheses and links to newly published information and innovative thinking from a variety of sources and will be continually updated.
There are a variety research streams which are being undertaken globally. For research about the impact of libraries on Student Achievement see Student Achievement - theResearch. See also Evidence and Learning Outcomes.
The Horizon Report 2011: K-12 edition has just been released. This edition ” examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative expression withing the pre-college education.”
Earlier this year New Media Consortium released the Horizon Report 2011 the “eighth in the annual series of reports focused on emerging technology in the higher education environment.”
Particularly relevant to New Zealand was the release at the end of last year of the 2010 Horizon Report: Australia-New Zealand edition. This “examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative enquiry within higher education in Australia and New Zealand over a five-year time period” and is required reading for New Zealand educators.
In response to the Australian Federal Government’s Inquiry into school libraries, Softlink Australia conducted research to look at the correlation between literacy achievement and school libraries.
This research builds on a body of existing published research on the links between school library variables and literacy achievement.
This research was conducted over a year with surveys of schools conducted in 2010 and again 2011, looking at library budgets, library staffing and professional development and correlating these to literacy results as measured by the Australian national assessment programme, NAPLAN.
This report provides us with clear information about the strong and statistically significant links between the provision of quality library services and student achievement which will be very useful for school libraries staff and others to utilise to advocate for their own libraries.
Highlights of this report include the following:
The original Colorado study was conducted in 1993 and the second in 2000. This latest study reconfirms the results of the previous two as evidenced in its title: School Librarians Continue to Help Students Achieve Standards: The Third Colorado Study (2010).
Keith Curry Lance and associates again conducted the study looking at the correlation between well-resourced school libraries and student achievement. As in the 2000 study, this one uses standards based testing results to measure difference in achievement between children at schools with a full time qualified library staff. The study looks at the reading scores for students in years 3-5 (equivalent to NZ years 4-6). In addition, this study “examines the impact of libraries and librarians on low-performing as well as high-performing students, particularly relevant to those concerned about closing the achievement gap”.
The findings are consistent with both the previous Colorado studies and also the many other studies that have been conducted internationally over the past 10 years.
The evidence shows that students perform better when school libraries have:
There are also practices linked with higher achievement rates (which were 2-3 times more likely to occur in libraries with qualified staff):
Schools with at least one full time qualified librarian averaged better performance (in reading) than in schools with less than one FTE qualified librarian. Further, the findings show that in schools with full time librarians 4 % more students achieved higher results at the top end of the scoring and significantly, 3 % fewer students fell below the unsatisfactory mark.
Other results include similar impacts on measured reading achievement based on library expenditure (above or below the median per student), number of visits per child to the library (above or below the median of .42 visits per student per week), size of periodical and video collections.
For the full report visit the Library Research Service
Note: for this report Librarian was defined as “ an individual employed by a school as a librarian AND endorsed by the Department of Education as: Teacher Librarian or School Librarian or Media Specialist”
Following on from the Horizon Report 2010 published earlier in the year (see: Emerging Technologies) comes the third annual regional report for Australasia. This is one of several regional/ sector based companion reports done each year “using a smaller lens” to view the impact of emerging technologies.
This report is very interesting as it focuses on the key technology trends impacting on Australian and New Zealand education specifically and is put together by researchers here.
Two of the trends from the main report also feature in this one:
As well, the Australia-New Zealand edition discusses four more trends:
The format for this report is consistent to other Horizon Reports. Trends are discussed in terms of three horizons over the next five years. These horizons refer to the predicted time frames until the technologies are in the mainstream in the education sector.
Electronic books and Mobile devices are expected to be in mainstream education in the next twelve months. Augmented Reality and Open Content look to be mainstream within three years and Gesture Based Computing and Visual Data Analysis are on the five-year horizon.
There are still several hurdles to jump before Electronic books are well integrated into the education landscape. These include: Digital Rights management issues, paucity of required content, content tied to specific formats are all obstacles to wider uptake.
However, signs point to many of these issues being surmounted in the near term with significant increases in content, including scholarly journals being published in electronic format. Another step forward is the trend toward interactive, enriched electronic publishing that is not simply an e-version of the print experience. The entrance of the I-pad into the market has coincided with the development of enriched content which can integrate web browsing ability and other applications. The trend away from simply making a digital version of an existing text and toward the creation of dynamic new digital materials enriched with other digital material will clearly have a profound impact on teaching and learning.
With the creation of e book standards and when content is divorced from format so that different types of e publishing can be used on a variety of devices without restrictions, electronic books will likely become completely mainstream. The possibilities for education once this happens are enormous.
It is predicted that within a year internet mobile devices will outnumber computers and that by 2013 will be the most common way to access the internet. The portability of devices and the increasing access to ubiquitous internet mean that mobiles are becoming an important part of suite of learners tools. They can be used to record, access information, communicate etc. Many university lecturers have incorporated twitter into their teaching. Students use their mobiles or other device to access twitter to feedback into the lecture in real time, giving students in huge lecture theatres easier access to the professor. Auckland University library has a mobile app so that users can search collections; renew books etc via their mobile device. In primary education, non-English speaking students are using special apps on Ipod touches to reinforce their English language exercise.
Mobile devices present tremendous opportunity in and out of the classroom as e-book readers, note-taking tools representing a format shift; while GPS, motion sensors, camera features, rich editing tools will all allow for new types of student led, deep transformative learning experiences.
Augmented Reality and Open Content are expected to be incorporated into the mainstream-learning environment within two to three years.
Augmented reality involves the blending of real world sensory information with data. Augmented reality responds to user input. An example of how this works is being developed at University of Canterbury where tools are being created that will “assist students in practicing complex procedures…”
Open content is about a philosophical shift that educators and others are going through. As the learning process takes precedence over information content and as educators face the challenges of making best use of the exponential growth of information, sharing and open content become more important.
The use of open content “promotes the ability to find, evaluate and put new information to use.” The open sharing of the created content then “informs a wide variety of learning modalities”. It will likely “empower students and teachers to create individualized learning experiences..” Teachers will use open content by re-purposing it for their own contexts. There are already many examples of educational open content organisations and links are provided in the Horizons document linked above.
Gesture Based Computing and Visual Data Analysis are expected to come on stream in the next five years.
Gesture based computing is predicted to have widespread adoption within five years. Like the Wii and the I-phone/android Gesture based computing uses human gestures to interface with the computer.
It will allow new channels of access and interaction for learners. Devices like multi-touch screens encourage collaborative interaction. Current uses of Gesture based computing include: delivery of fitness games, collaborative viewing and manipulation of medical data in hospitals, games designed to help deaf children learn sign language. There are also of course many game based learning programmes being developed with this technology.
Finally Visual Data Analysis is becoming an increasingly important way to convey data. A great example of a practical use of this is the Christchurch Quake Map which provides excellent visual representation of the 2010 quake and its aftershocks very effectively.
Conveying data visually helps to see patterns that may not be evident from viewing raw data. An example is a Crimespotting map which visualises a city’s crime by location, date and time. Users can see patterns/trends that may inform policing or public policy.
Three reports have recently been published in the United Kingdom relating to School Libraries.
The first of these was published in July 2010 by CILIP :the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (UK). School libraries in the UK: a worthwhile past, a difficult present - and a transformed future?
In the press release, Stephen Heppell wrote:
The evidence continues to accumulate that libraries - and their librarians - lie absolutely at the heart of 3rd millennium learning organisations: a place for scholarship, a place to escape into adventures, a place of discovery, a place to share and explore, a place for deep thought, a place for surprise, and above all else a place absolutely without limits. The best schools have libraries at their centres not as some sad throwback to an earlier age but as a clear and evocative prototype of what ambitious learning might look like in this century of learning.
Drawing on detailed information from over 1,500 secondary schools supplemented by information from 655 primary schools draws many important conclusions, including:
The vision and support of senior management is vital to success.
There is a clear positive relationship between level of education of school librarians and their ability to make an impact on teaching and learning in their schools.
60% of secondary school librarians report to senior management
75% actively engage in information literacy development in the school
“One other noteworthy finding that gradually emerged through this work is that where there is a schools library service available it makes a positive difference, not only to the availability of books and other resources for loan, but in helping unqualified school librarians to extend what they can do and in supporting school promotion of reading for pleasure.” Read the full report (PDF)
Students at Snells Beach school reading in their library
The second major piece of research from the UK is School Libraries: A plan for improvement, which was released September 2010 by the National Literacy Trust and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Baroness Estelle Morris Chair of the School Library Commission writes in the press release: a well-managed school library is an essential part of any school success. As the school landscape is set to change drastically it is essential that benefits of this vital resource are fully understood.
This report is full of thought provoking information, discussion and recommendations. Some of the many recommendations are:
The report concludes: An effective school library acting as a powerhouse of learning and reading within a school is a unique resource.
Read the full report (PDF)
Students from Snells Beach School
The third report, by Christina Clark, published by the National Literacy Trust September 2010 is Linking School Libraries and Literacy.
This report, like the work of Lyn Hay in Australia and Ross Todd in the United States draws on Learner Voices This report differs from the others cited in that it focuses on the correlation between students attitudes toward and use of school libraries and literacy. Some of the conclusions of the study that included over 17,000 students are:
0800 LIB LINE
0800 542 5463
Get help from our advisers using this free phone line