Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Peter Murgatroyd
The fourth edition of the annual K-12 series of the NMC Horizon Report examines emerging technologies for their potential impact and use in teaching and learning in the primary and secondary school environment in the next five years. Trends and challenges that will drive technology adoption in schools are also highlighted. The K-12 Horizon report is a collaborative research effort between New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education. The Report identifies six technologies to watch across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years:
The massive increase in the use of mobile devices and apps in the classroom and the rapid development in the tablet market leading to both more sophisticated and affordable portable devices are the dominant stories of the 2012 report.
And whilst game based learning remains on the edge of the near term horizon, Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) – collections of tools and resources to support individual learning - are gaining significant traction as both concept and practice strategy. The report notes that there has been a corresponding move away from centralised server based solutions as smart phones, tablets and apps have begun to emerge as an alternative to browser based PLEs and e-portfolios.
By Peter Murgatroyd
The annual Learning@School Conference run by CORE Education was held in Hamilton 26-27 January. With a focus on integrating new technologies to empower learning and transform leadership, the Conference, while targeting school leaders, principals, teachers, and ICT and technology advisers, is an excellent professional learning opportunity for school librarians and one that I would encourage colleagues to consider in 2013.
With more than 1500 delegates, inspiring and challenging keynote speakers from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, dozens of breakout sessions and workshops, a state-of-the-art conference venue with ultra-fast wireless access enabling a myriad of parallel conversations happening via social networks, Learning@School 2012 (#lats12) was both invigorating and exhausting.
Participation in the Conference was an invaluable opportunity to look at schools through the lens of teachers and school leaders to better understand their challenges in the face of what Mark Treadwell described as a perfect storm of change that is causing educators globally to rethink what education for today’s students should involve.
The themes of the Conference were:
There were a number of common threads that ran through all of the keynote addresses. Ideas and glimpses of new ways of thinking not just about the impacts of far reaching changes in technology but arguably more critically about changes in the way that students are learning and interacting with the world, deconstructing how we think about our learning environments, our relationships with our students and the notion of what it is to be a learner, a teacher, a librarian.
Common threads included:
It struck me how closely the conversations reflected the dominant ideas and values at the forefront of transformational thinking about twenty first century libraries. There is much to be gained in engaging in conversations with our teaching colleagues to explore new models of collaboration and new ways that the library can support new and emerging teaching paradigms. There is a great deal we can learn from one another.
Conferences such as these often pose more questions than answers. Indeed Christian Long challenged delegates to embrace the notion that there are no clear answers and that all that we can really do is to foster a culture that encourages divergent thinking and an ability to test ideas in messier and messier ways.
Participation at Learning@School was also an invaluable opportunity to engage with our teaching colleagues on new ways of thinking about libraries and literacy. Five separate workshops and presentations were facilitated by National Library Services to Schools staff and there was a vibrant presence in the Exhibitors hall promoting EPIC, Any Questions and Curriculum Services.
It continues to be vitally important that librarians are visible and engaged in the wider education debates that are shaping our schools, that we articulate our visions and ideas, and that we seek to understand the key trends in education that are likely to impact on the work of New Zealand teachers and schools in 2012 and beyond.
Did you know that you can now access the School Journal audio material through a self-contained intranet on your school computer network?
The School Journal Listening Post (SJLP) is an intranet which links all the Ministry of Education digital audio material, and can be supplied to primary schools on a single disk in mp3 format. The material includes stories from Ready to Read, Junior Journal, School Journal and School Journal Story Library.
It’s easy for students to use, students just click a graphical link and the selected audio story begins to play. It can be used for reading groups or for individual students with specific needs, and also contains extensive printable tracking sheets for students to keep a record of their reading.
Teachers tell me this is a great way for them to connect readers with amazing audio resources - the SJLP is much easier to organise than sorting through a pile of sixty compact discs, and it means that they can make the most of resources that the school already has.
The service will be updated annually, and pricing is roll-based. More information and an online demo are available here.
The elephant approach to change.
How do we succeed in changing things when our current initiatives seem to have got bogged down?
Often change becomes bogged down when we think that because we have discussed something and the need for change seems to have been understood, change will happen.
Actually the logical part of our brain is like a small rider on the emotional part of our brain: the elephant. Change only happens when the elephant agrees with us.
Direct the rider. Be clear what is wanted. The elephant is in charge if the rider is confused.
Motivate the elephant. Grow good stuff so that the elephant moves in the right direction. Grow people, find the excitement. Build positive habits of mind.
Create the path that the elephant can traverse more easily. What can be done that will make what we want easier and what we don’t want harder?
For more “elephants and change” inspiration, take a look at Chip and Ben Heath’s book: Switch, discussed by Dr Jennifer Garvey Berger at the recent NZCER Connected and Contagious Conference in Wellington.
“Warrior scholars” – who are they and how do we encourage them?
“Warrior scholars” according to Dr Anne Milne, are “young people with high academic skills and who are secure and empowered by their identity as Maori or Pasifika, with a kete filled with the tools needed to challenge inequity where ever they find it”.
“By year 13, we want our students to be ready to take on and change the world”.
The above are some of the points made by Dr Anne Milne when she was addressing the recent NZCER Connected and Contagious Conference in Wellington. Dr Milne is Principal of Kia Aroha College.
Big changes are in the wind for your school?
What are the conditions that best promote positive change in New Zealand schools?
Early learning about something new as a group (promoting “redundancy”) encourages change. Such successful groups often develop visual overview metaphors of the new direction which become the touchstones for a new “shared way of being” for the future in the school e.g. “The 6 kindnesses poster” is one school’s metaphor for implementing the New Zealand curriculum in their school.
School leaders are strategic in deciding when to bring in an outsider with new ideas into the school, and when to develop new ideas within the group.
The above is a summary of some of the points made by Dr Rosemary Hipkins based on the results of research on New Zealand Curriculum “early adopter” schools, when she addressed the recent NZCER Connected and Contagious Conference in Wellington.
What does it take to encourage educators to change their teaching practice? What would it take to encourage educators to make the best use of their school library and information facilities?
Research shows the triggers which motivate professional learning and change in educational practice are:
The above is a summary of the research-based conclusions of Dr Lynne Hannay (Ontario, Canada) when she addressed the recent NZCER Connected and Contagious Conference in Wellington.
AnyQuestions.co.nz, the free online reference service, has been around since 2004. In that time we have helped over 80,000 New Zealand school students.
The aim of the service is not to give students the answers but rather, to teach them valuable information literacy skills so they can find the information for themselves. In the past year the service has undergone some dramatic changes. We switched to a much more reliable and friendly to use chat software, revamped our companion site ManyAnswers.co.nz and most recently overhauled our core AnyQuestions.co.nz site.
So why have we done this? The goal was to make the site easier to use for students and librarians as well as integrating our full services a lot better.
Up until recently, students needed to fill in an information survey before they engaged with a librarian. It was vital that we captured this information, yet the method we used failed to create the engagement with students that was needed. We rethought this survey and have incorporated it on the site as the start of a conversation between the student and the librarian. At each “step” of the survey students are asked a question in a conversational tone before entering the chat software proper. So far we have found this successfully creates an engagement that leads to positive interactions between the student and the librarian.
We have also integrated AnyQuestions.co.nz with our companion site ManyAnswers.co.nz. ManyAnswers.co.nz is home to hundreds of “answers” to commonly asked questions on AnyQuestions.co.nz and UiaNgāPātai.co.nz (our te reo service).
Like AnyQuestions.co.nz we don’t give the students the answers, instead we guide them to find answers for themselves. The big advantage ManyAnswers.co.nz has is that it is not limited by the opening hours of AnyQuestions (Monday to Friday 1 – 6pm).
There are hundreds of answers on ManyAnswers.co.nz in both English and te reo Māori and more being added every week. We have integrated the two sites on every page with search functionality, RSS feeds of the latest answers and tag clouds of keywords and tags. We hope that this interweaving of the two sites will provide a better service for students.
Our next project is integrating similar changes into our te reo site, UiaNgāPātai.co.nz.
Our goal is to continue to enhance our services. We welcome your feedback and suggestions! You can do this through the Contact Us page on the AnyQuestions.co.nz site.
Robert Baigent - Manager AnyQuestions
Wikispaces have just announced the winner of the 2010 Edublog Awards Best Educational Wiki: Greetings from the World, from Zagreb, Croatia.
Arjana Blazic’s Greetings from the World wiki has now won this award two years in a row. Arjana set up her wiki to give her students in Zagreb, Croatia a way to share their own experience and explore the world. Glogs posted by students from around the globe show the world from the perspective of students who live there.
Starting in September 2009 with 24 students from her class, the wiki aimed to create a round-the-world trip with a difference, inviting contributions from students around the globe.
Three months later there were 10 schools and 11 teachers taking part. By December 2010 this project had grown to 21 teachers and 420 students from five continents.
by Lisa O
Open content is a philosophical shift that educators are making. 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. “ Research and Innovative Thinking .
Schools in New Zealand are shifting to an open content model. How are school libraries positioned to support this new model?
Many schools in New Zealand are taking a decision not to buy textbooks to support their teaching and learning, but rather to find , develop and share their own materials to support their teaching. Instead of buying textbooks to underpin their lessons, the teachers are thinking about their pedagogy and the important skills their students need to be active participants as global citizens. To stimulate deep learning and critical thinking processes in their students, teachers are thinking in new ways about transforming their teaching practice: creating, sharing, re-mixing digital resources to support their objectives.
Given libraries’ mission of providing access to information – the shift to an open content environment is a great opportunity for the school library to provide pivotal services to enable the successful transformation of their schools.
By working with administration, ICT support, and teachers, librarians are perfectly positioned to create systems for storage and retrieval of this locally created material. In this central role, the librarian can then easily take on a knowledge manager role helping teachers to connect to each other as they develop, share and re-use their locally created materials. Librarians are also well positioned to help the teachers to understand and use standards as they are developed so that content can be shared amongst schools as well as within schools.
Apart from the benefits of custom made resources to support learning, there is also a monetary savings in ceasing to purchase proprietary content.
Further Reading –
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