Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
Search Institute is a nonprofit organisation with a mission to: “provide catalytic leadership, breakthrough knowledge, and innovative resources to advance the health of children, youth, families and communities”
To achieve this, they work with educators, parents, librarians, youth-serving organisations, and librarians using the construct of Developmental Assets. Search Institute has identified through research in child and adolescent development, sets of building blocks for healthy development – the 40 Developmental Assets.
The Framework of assets “represent a common wisdom about the kinds of positive experiences and characteristics that young people need and deserve….that are powerful influences on adolescent behaviour….that both promote positive behaviours and help protect young people from problem behaviours” Their research has shown that adolescents with more of these assets are more likely to value diversity and exhibit leadership while being less likely to engage in violence or to use illicit drugs.
There is a wealth of information relating to both children and adolescents on the Search Institute’s website including a table of Developmental Assets and library connections for both school and public librarians. These library connections focus on support, empowerment, expectations, commitment to learning, positive identity and more.
Along with with information on their website, Search Institute regularly launches new programmes, products and services including a recent programme on teaching financial literacy.
By Wendy Macaskill
Recently 50 educators from 25 schools enjoyed a valuable day of learning at the Digital Discovery Day at Te Ahumairangi, the ground floor of the National Library’s Wellington building.
Our Storify provides a record of the day for participants and others; It pushes out links to the resources explored on the day and also records some useful feedback and reflection.
Storify is a curation tool, which lets users create stories by searching sites such as Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. The story creator then drags and drops the elements into an order to make a story. Users can easily change the order of the elements and provide headings and linking text. Stories can be embedded on blogs and web pages.
I can think of a number of ways Storify could be used in the library or classroom. A Storify of a current event, or a current topic of interest could be embedded in a class or library blog or in your Learning Management System.
You could take pictures of a school event or of art work created by your class and students could add narrative to link the elements.
Do you use Twitter to record your class’s responses to a text or video clip? You could save the responses as a story on Storify, share it on your blog or website.
Have you used Storify in your classroom or library? Did your students find it easy to use? Please share a link with us in your comments.
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.
image by edtechie99
Released this January, this fourth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report™, biannual national survey is based in the US, but with some insights that could be paralleled here in New Zealand. Kids aged 6-17 and parents shared their views on reading in the increasingly digital landscape along with the influences impacting reading frequency and attitudes toward reading.
Some of the key findings around the increasing significance of eBooks are:
The report also notes the potential for eBooks to motivate boys to read more. EBooks may also be the key to transition moderately frequent readers (defined as kids who read one to four days a week) to frequent readers (those who read five to seven days a week).
Additional findings of note include:
Other findings included that a reading role-model parent or a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids’ reading frequency than household income. Plus, building reading into kids’ daily schedules and regularly bringing home books for children positively impacts kids’ reading frequency.
One encouraging finding was that kids of all ages still love and use print books. Along with evidence of factors influencing children’s reading the report also tracks emerging trends and is well worth downloading from the Scholastic website and sharing amongst your colleagues
image by Will Lion
by Paula E
Everyday we are offered an abundance of information, conveniently streamed directly to us and linking us with the wider world. Being a connected, current consumer AND contributor of the E-literate world is part of 21st Century Librarianship, but some days this information feed can feel almost overwhelmingly unmanageable.
Emailing, texting, updating, tweeting, posting, blogging, searching, downloading, streaming, some days it’s easy to wish for the old days of just chatting and reading. As a tweeter, blogger, poster, emailer and downloader I’ve come to the realisation that I need control over what I do with this information, at a time that suits me to deal with it.
The age of Information Overwhelm is the new normal.
Email can be a major stressor and distracter when there are so many others things demanding our attention.
Being connected to online library and information communities combined with our in-school communities, can sometimes make email can seem like more hassle than its worth when our students’ and teachers’ demands and needs come first.
Setting up rules, to divert emails away from your inbox and into named folders can be one way of managing what demands your attention right now, and what you can park to look over later, tomorrow or next week.
Most school IT managers can help with this, YouTube is a great self educator or an email to the online library communities would no doubt offer a flood of support and help (but more emails potentially too!).
Reading the subject line and only opening the email if there’s relevance to your library and your situation can help with the inbox cull too. Being librarians makes us personally interested in a lot of things, but professionally we need to be strong willed during those time starved days, about what we can honestly get through.
Categorizing (colour coding) those emails that we’d love to look at “on a quiet day” can be another way of prioritising what gets dealt with now, whilst being aware that those quiet days are few and far between!
Tools like Scoop.it give us the opportunity to read a topic thread, never miss out on a post, and access, follow or unfollow them when we choose.
Twitter’s use of #hashtags to follow news threads can sift out the should reads from the
could reads, and turning off the instant notification option of feeds like Twitter and Facebook delivered to smart phones can be a great way of clawing back control too. You can even turn off the little outlook notification that appears on the bottom of your screen when an email arrives.
I’m currently trialling following OZTLNet on Facebook and receiving their emails as a daily digest, instead of getting every post in real time, as the frequency of email delivery was too much for my current workload.
If we needed evidence of the increasing amount of information available to us this video from the 21st Century Fluency Project explains InfoWhelm and the need for Information Fluency as one of the key fluencies in the 21st Century.
As information and library professionals we need to know what’s happening, but it’s a bit like watching TV; we choose what’s best for us and fast forward through the ads and rubbish!
It’s important to find a way that works for YOU and remembering that just because we can have ubiquitous information feeds, sometimes this is not the best option. Your information stream may need to be tweaked to cope with the seasonal flurries that working in schools presents.
We teach and encourage our school communities to be discerning users of online information, but sometimes in our attempts to ensure the best experience and service for library users, we forget to regularly refill our own cup too.
A small and regular time investment in yourself professionally, has the potential to continue giving to your customers for a long time, as well as energising and invigorating your day-to-day school lives.
If in doubt remember what L’Oreal says; “Because you’re worth it!”
What other strategies do you use to manage your information streams?
by Peter Murgatroyd
A 2011 research report designed to explore the experiences of children aged 9-13 in using Auckland’s public libraries and to identify which library services and spaces they valued most, underlines the value of listening to children’s perceptions of library space and design.
The Auckland study showed that children were very conscious of the aesthetics of the library spaces, recommending more comfortable and colourful furniture in a range of styles, shapes and configurations, larger more visible and more descriptive signage, and vibrant colour schemes.
They wanted library spaces that were comfortable, organised, large enough but not too large, functional, and visually interesting.
A large number of participants in the study considered how the library might be better integrated within the wider environment and recommended having plenty of windows with areas of indoor-outdoor flow, outside reading areas, and access to food and drink.
Consideration of space for functional use rather than for age specific use should be the guiding principle including quiet and non quiet spaces, homework spaces and computer and technology spaces.
A dominant theme that emerged from the research was the importance of improving accessibility and ease of finding the books the children want to read. Most children confirmed that they don’t search on the computer for books but merely browse through the shelves, often choosing a book because they like its cover. Libraries should resemble great book stores in the way that titles are arranged, promoted and displayed.
Although a number of common themes emerged there were also creative, innovative and different design ideas that would help in both creating the “wow” factor and to aid usability.
More recently, Stonefields, a new Learning Hub environment school in East Auckland, has been asking its students for their input in preparation for the school’s second build. Children were encouraged to share their ideas, take photos of existing spaces they liked – or didn’t like, draw pictures, both individually and collaboratively, and to make models to illustrate their preferences. Some students used Minecraft to create three-dimensional representations of learning spaces.
The students demonstrated a high level of understanding about the relationship between the space and their learning and a growing level of self-awareness of their own use of space.
A number of common themes emerged:
The children were able to make connections between the space and their experience as learners, contributing enormously to the thinking behind the next stage of the building process.
Moreover the whole process of engaging with the students is a rich learning experience for both students and teachers and gives the children a strong sense of ownership of their environment and of their learning.
It is important that our thinking about the design of our libraries is learner focussed and is part of a whole of school approach to space planning. Listening to student voices and incorporating them into our thinking and planning is critical if we are to be responsive and relevant to their needs.
To quote Luke Nola of Let’s get inventin’ :
“New Zealand’s got some great brains out there and most of them are kids”.
We need to engage with our students. Listen to their ideas. Design spaces and places with them and not merely for them.
cc image by enricod
Phew! After years of remodelling, relocation and renovation, the Wellington National Library building is finally re-opening.
For schools the wait is really worth it. Included in the extensive make-over is a new learning commons space, called Te Ahumairangi. This area offers visitors the opportunity to explore and create and includes a mix of free wi fi, PCs, Macs, printers, scanners, device charge stations, a cafe and flexible furnishings.
We also have a fascinating digital touch table, called Lifelines, which lets you interact with items from the National Library collections. And in the remodelled gallery a marvellous new exhibition called Big Data examines how we collect and present data, past, present and future, locally and globally.
In conjunction with the exhibition, we offer workshops, education programmes and seminar events. More information is available on our exhibition page. The first is Big Data.
Visiting Wellington or planning to? Schools group visits are welcome and our learning specialists can host or assist you with the things you want to do; we’re here to enable and add value to everyone’s experiences.
Request a tour of the National Library to see what’s new, what the library does, learn the basics of research, or spend time with a specialist.
Whatever you choose we have so much to offer for a memorable visit!
Personally significant learning for the future
This is the second in a series of posts about the keynote speakers for the SLANZA Conference, 15th–17th July 2013 in Wellington.
Erica McWilliam has been a teacher and teacher educator and is now an educational speaker and writer with a continuing role in the Creative Workforce 2.0 research programme based at the Queensland University of Technology. The work from this programme is being used worldwide to develop innovative teaching and learning in schools. Currently Erica is the Writer in Residence at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Her focus is on building creative capacity in young people for “future living, learning and earning”.
In 2010, Erica spoke at the School Library Association of Queensland’s biennial conference, which was combined with the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) annual conference. Her talk, entitled High standards or a high standard of standardness? sought to address the following questions:
What does it mean to build and maintain high professional standards, given this push to pedagogical innovation and the pull to performance standardisation?
How can we be educational players not pawns, given this paradoxical state of affairs?
One of Erica’s recent blog posts co-written with Peter Taylor, explores what they term “personally significant learning” and why young people need to be self-managing in their learning after school.
Here are some of the things they feel we need to be aware of in order to help them to develop this disposition:
The future isn’t what it used to be. The way in which information is being transformed means that those who do not add value to a learning network involving this information can, and will be, bypassed.
We cannot teach kids what they need to know. The sheer “volume, variety, velocity and veracity” of information means that it is no longer possible “for educators to create a knowledge base that will prepare young people for their post-schooling life”.
Learning matters more than knowing. We will know when young people have developed the disposition to be self-managing when they become curious and agile thinkers— “learn, unlearn and re-learn fast will beat knowing every time”.
To choose to learn means choosing the discomfort of the unfamiliar and the not yet.
Developing creative capabilities in our young people means helping them “tolerate short-term discomforts in the pursuit of long-term reward”. It means getting them accustomed to moving away from familiar concepts and helping enhance their ability to reassemble known facts in original and creative ways.
Schooling needs to provide kids with low threat, high challenge experiences. We need to help and allow students “to ask better questions, not just give correct answers”. We need to continue to provide a high level of support with learning while also creating a learning environment with high expectations and challenges. Rather than focusing on low-level tasks to prevent students from being distracted from, for example, that which is constantly available on the World Wide Web, we should move towards harnessing those distractions while ensuring that learning intentions are clear.
Teachers have new responsibilities as co-learners in this scenario. Moving on from being ‘sages on the stage’ to ‘guides on the side’, educators can now be seen as being ‘meddlers in the middle’. They can be seen as co-learners with their students, modelling what it means and looks like to experiment, question, take risks, critique, evaluate and generally “experience learning as personally significant”.
Kids who experience the pleasure of the rigour of learning will always choose to learn.
This is not just about ensuring students become more engaged with their learning through pleasurable, fun and enjoyable activities, but also through providing them with opportunities to engage in “serious play”. This is so students come to experience the satisfaction of complex problem posing and solving, of adding value through collaborations and of successful innovations.
These are just some of the propositions that Erica McWilliam has put forward to those involved with educating our young people for their futures and I am sure she will have more to present to us at the SLANZA conference next July. I’d like to know more about how we can help to develop young people to become self-managing with their learning, wouldn’t you?
There is not a conference today that doesn’t mention how rapidly the world is changing and how best to cope with it. But at Core’s ULearn 2012 Jason Ohler reframed the issue with this insightful statement:
“Everything is changing - and the big question for each of us is how prepared we are to change personally - change is not external!”
And although you’d be forgiven for thinking Ulearn was all about technology, many key messages were about people. Yes, presenters spoke about devices and technology–videos, podcasts, ipads, ibooks, ebooks and others—and how these can be used to enthuse and engage students and teachers alike. However, ultimately great things happen when educators become self aware and care enough to change.
Some key messages from Ulearn 2012:
Teachers and librarians who care matter a great deal – most of us remember teachers who inspired us and urged us to believe in ourselves. Those educators who took the time to get to know their students, who cared and encouraged curiosity, showed their students a future and then empowered them to believe it – door openers!
Gratitude —Focus on what you have, not what you’re lacking. Then support and encourage your students to do the same.
Get to know and love the tigers in your class—“Treat the scariest kid like he’s the only one you trust.” Yes they will test your patience. But the world is full of tigers who went on to great things as entrepreneurs, innovators, adventurers; people lucky enough to have met someone who helped them focus on what they could do, rather than on what they couldn’t, someone who helped open a door.
Great expectations—All students need to know that people care enough to expect great things of them. Consistently.
Be consistent— Have I mentioned this before?
Schools as incubators—Schools have a responsibility to create a safe place for all, where it’s OK to innovate and collaborate, where people are acknowledged, ideas are shared, and risk is supported, pilot initiatives are encouraged and its okay if they don’t all work.
Trust and bestow responsibility —Give students the tools to investigate and then let them teach and lead.
Learning can take place anywhere, anytime —The school represents the real-world and all devices are allowed.
Develop social skills –Develop a social-skills programme to help students learn how to manage stress and understand their emotions and what triggers them. Help them understand how to be good citizens online and off.
Manage self talk—Practice positive thinking. Ongoing failures or success and repeated practice creates permanent performance and attitudinal beliefs. These beliefs become us. School staff can help counter kids’ lack of belief when they encourage the practice of self belief.
Be ‘rewindable’ —Make and upload podcasts and videos of easier aspects of lessons for students to watch/listen to outside of school. In a flipped classroom you can team teach with yourself. Andrew Douch gave a brilliant example of teachers in his school who record themselves explaining simpler aspects of a topic. They then play that to one group in the class, while they interact and explain more complicated aspects of the topic to another group.
It seems only apt that Khoa Do , who spoke as he has lived his life, passionately and courageously, should have the final words: “We all have the potential to make a difference.”
What messages resonated with you?
This is the first in a series of posts about the keynote speakers coming to the SLANZA Conference, 15th–17th July 2013 in Wellington.
One of the perks of being on the planning committee for the 2013 SLANZA conference is in knowing who the keynote speakers will be before they are publically announced. So, in addition to the profiles of keynote speakers on the SLANZA website, I will also write a series of posts about each one and their particular relevance to our work with school libraries.
Tara Brabazon is Professor of Creative Media and Head of Photography and Creative Media at the University of Bolton in Greater Manchester, UK. After hearing Tara at the Librarian’s Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) in 2008, a conference delegate wrote
“Tara Brabazon…gave one of the most outstanding performances I’ve ever seen…from her lack of PowerPoint, to Star Trek references. We need to bottle her enthusiasm for librarians and information literacy and sell it; she really has the potential to do for information literacy what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners!” Jane Secker
Information literacy is just one of the areas in which Tara talks and writes with great passion. Her other interests include:
A podcast of Tara’s address to a Master Data Management Summit in London last year entitled Change we need? Moving from information obesity to digital dieting discusses how popular search engines like Google not only “restricts, reduces and limits” but also encourages “sloppy thinking” and information behaviours that are “easy” but not necessarily beneficial.
Tara recommends that we start using simple interventions before moving onto more complex information scaffolding and to ask ourselves the following 10 questions when thinking about the management of information:
Tara says that due to a lack of information literacy, students become easily satisfied with superficial information and need to “stop snacking on crusts of knowledge and develop advanced interpretive skills” because real learning is “slow, gradual and incremental”.
I’m curious to know what kind of “digital diet” Tara might have us consider next July, but I agree with what she says about “less being more” and I like her references to Harold Innis’s work The Bias of Communication which argues that the medium is not the message but rather, as Tara emphasises, “the medium is the first moment of choice to create meaning.”
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