EER500 – Research Topic Proposal

Research Topic or Problem To be a member of society in the 21st Century requires an array of skills and capabilities unlike those of any generation before.  To be an active member of the information-age, technology is a fact of life, an expectation and a requisite tool by which we communicate, collaborate, create and share information.  In the review Building Innovation: Learning with technologies, Katherine Moyle suggests that social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies can ‘help develop literacy skills, critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills’ (ACER, 2010).  On the other hand, Luckin et al. (2009) ask if Web 2.0 tools really enable opportunities to learning or are there only a minority of young people effectively using these technologies?  Developing innovative and creative learning environments is a fundamental to the goals of 21st century education and an area which needs further investigation.

Draft Research Question

How has the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media expanded our view of new literacies and in what ways can teachers and teacher librarians meet the demand of rapidly transformational technologies whilst supporting participatory, critical and social literacies in digital texts?  

From Literature to Research Question and Practical Importance

Educators are constantly looking for opportunities to enhance student learning. Developing student literacy capabilities is a priority amongst teachers and teacher librarians both nationally and globally (ACARA 2013).  But are we as educators keeping up with the multimodal ways in which literacy is being consumed and produced? 

Teacher librarians can be at the forefront of this educational shift, according to Judy O’Connell, because they can ‘meet readers where they are’ by adopting ‘meta-literacy’ approaches whilst adapting to the digital needs of students (2011).  O’Connell maintains the notion that to be multi-literate in the 21st Century means teachers need to rethink methods of instruction as well as the tools and technologies we are using as educators that connect us to our digital world (2011). 

‘Transliteracy’, according to Buffy Hamilton, is ‘the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks’ (2010).  Hamilton shares the view that students need to be heard, seen, and participate in a variety of multi-modal and multi-literacy activities including social networking and online communities.

A movement beyond developing traditional literacy skills and understandings in students requires teachers and teacher librarians to transform their own pedagogical practices that accommodate a generational ‘shift’ in the ways we teach and learn (Hay, p. 3, 2010).  Information literacy in the 21st Century requires a new ‘mindset’ (Asselin & Moayeri, p. 2, 2011) that involves a movement away from complete consumerism and a giant step toward students becoming producers, participants and distributors of ideas, knowledge and information. 

The practical importance of the research question is that teacher librarians, in particular, are positioned to become leaders in the acquisition and dissemination of information literacy in all its forms and functions.  If teacher librarians are skilled with the right technological tools then they can be at the forefront of building the innovation.  How teacher librarians will meet the demands of the ‘digital reshift’ (Hay, 2010) and embrace the challenges of the expanding web of literacies presented through social networking and Web 2.0 technologies is an area of interest and importance particularly with respect to the ‘General Capabilities’ of the new Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2013) and the transformational nature of the digital environment. 

 References

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), (9 March, 2010), Social networking provides new opportunities for learning [Media Release].  Retrieved from http://www.acer.edu.au/media/social-networking-provides-new-opportunities-for-learning/

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), (2013), General Capabilities, Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Overview/General-capabilities-in-the-Australian-Curriculum

Asselin, M. & Moayeri, M., (2011), The Participatory Classroom: Web 2.0 in the Classroom. Practical Strategies, Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, (19)2, 1 – 8.  Retrieved from http://ictandliteracy.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/practical-strategies.pdf

Hamilton, B. (2010), NJASL 2010 Keynote: Participatory Librarianship – Creating Possibilities Through Transliteracy, Learning and Linchpins. Retrieved http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/njasl-2010-keynote-participatory-librarianship-creating-possibilities-through-transliteracy-learning-and-linchpins/

Hay, L. (2010),  Shift Happens. It’s Time to Rethink, Rebuild and Rebrand [online]. Access (24)4 pp. 5-10. Retrieved http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=519376422465087;res=IELHSS

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Graber, R., Logan, K., Mee, A., & Oliver, M. (2009), Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning? Practices, perceptions and profiles of 11–16‐year‐old students.  Learning, Media and Technology: Special Issue:  Learning and social software – researching the realities. (34)2, pp. 87 – 104.  DOI: 10.1080/17439880902921949

O’Connell, J. (2012), Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action.  Access 26(1) pp. 4-7.  Retrieved http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access/access-commentaries/school-libraries-and-meta-literacy.aspx

Two subjects in the summer: What was I thinking?

Having finished all modules and assignments for ETL503 & INF506 I’m feeling somewhat relieved that I’ve gotten through them this summer.  I had thought, initially, that the summer would lend itself to a more stress-free time frame to complete these subjects.  In a way it was true.  School was about to finish.  Ah yes, there were those reports to get out but I managed to get that done without too much anxiety.  Then the assignments started!  I had begun my first ETL503 assignment in the middle of reports and managed to get on to it quite quickly.  I forcused on a topic, Australian Colonialis – Year 5 History, that I was going to be teaching in 2013 (although it wasn’t certain at that point being a contract teacher).  Researching and writing about a topic that was relevant to what I would be doing was beneficial.  I also made sure that I understood, exactly what the assignment was asking me to do.  This meant reading over the Assessment information meticulously, listening to podcasts/vodcasts several times, posting questions on the forum and reading posts from other students on areas that I too was unclear about.  As a Distance Ed. student, these things are imperative.  It is too easy to lose your way by not keeping up to date with all that is going on in the subject.

Over Christmas and into the New Year, I stressed about receiving my first ETL503 assignment back.  I went to Melbourne with friends and told them later than I was inwardly stressing abou the return of my assignment.  Well, my stress was unwarranted because I actually did quite well on that one.  I received a Distinction but only missed out on a higher mark due to my lack of including references other than those provided.  In hindsight, I did read other authors but the ones I used for the assignment (after a lot of culling) were from the modules.

INF506 is a differently structured subject.  Social Networking for Professionals is just that: it’s a training ground for those of us who have either used social networking for personal use or for others who have never used social networking at all.  As the former type of social networker, I was encouraged to start using a variety of different social networking tools on a professional basis.  My project, create a social networking group for an group or organisation, was designed to meet the curriculum resourcing needs of teachers in South Australia towards the Australian Curriculum.  I was optimisitic even though I was about to launch the Facebook group about a week before Christmas.  I knew I needed about 10 people to make it feasibly.  In the end it has proven to be very rewarding and professionally satisfying.  The group, as of today, sits at 89 members and is constantly growing through members inviting members and so on.  This is the true organic nature of social networking at play.  I have made a conscious effort to post regularly and always welcome each member as they are invited.  Although I am still waiting for more active participants (most are passive) I feel that this will just be a matter of time as individuals slowly get used to how the group works and are more confident in what they have to share.

After a good start to both subjects, life’s harsh realities took me into a tailspin.  News of one of my closest friend’s health decline and sudden passing has brought me to reflect much more deeply into relationships, management of time and keeping connected no matter how far apart we may be from one and other.  One begins to realize that time is precious with the ones you care for and love and keeping those lines of communication alive is extremely important.  Had it not been for social networking (Skype), I would not have had the opportunity to say these things to my friend.  I also used Facebook to communicate with her sister and her husband blogged to inform their friends from all over the world of her condition.  Because I couldn’t be in Canada for the memorial service, I also made a Slideshare in her honour and sent the link to her family.  I had never dreamed that social networking tools would ever be used in this way.  I have learned and experienced a lot througout this subject.  Some intentional and others by pure necessity.

Now it’s the waiting game.  Two more assignments to get back.  This is the stressful time.  I’m not completely confident in my Collection Development Policy as to this day I am still thinking of things I would add/delete/change.  I can see how beneficial it is to have a policy such as this.  The school where I am working does not have  a colletion policy so I’m hoping that what I have come up with could be adapted to suit the school in some way.  I’m not getting my hopes up but I hope it was good enough to pass with.

As for my Social Networking Evaluation and Reflection, well, all I can say is that I have learned so much. this subject has been well worth it.  Lyn Hay has been a wonderful leader and incredibly generous with her time and her amount of sharing.  I loved using Facebook as a means for communication with our group.  I found it to be much more conducive to discussions that flowed and actually went somewhere.  All in all, a very difficult, memorable, rewarding, and emotional summer; kind of what life is all about, I suppose.

INF506 – Reflection

INF506 – Part B – Reflective Statement

(The following reflection was copied from my Wiki from INF506 which was an elective subject in the Teacher Librarianship Master of Education course)

When looking over the Abstract of INF506 I was reminded that students would need to ‘immerse themselves within a range of social networking environments’ and ‘evaluate their learning experiences throughout the session as social networkers and information professionals’ (CSU, Handbook 2012). There is no doubt that what I have experienced over the course of this subject has been a complete immersion into the online world of social networking. There wasn’t a day that went by that I did not blog, Facebook, or check my ‘Daily Scoop’ to see what was going on in the information environment where I now reside. Although I had always considered myself to be a fairly regular Facebook participant I had not really capitalized on its ability to work for me professionally until the launch of my social network project. As I commented on the INF506 Facebook group page, ‘Seeing how my Facebook Group is starting to take on a life of its own, I can really appreciate how the social media ecosystem works now.’ (January 31st at 10:36pm). This statement was referring to Fred Cavazza’s article, ‘An overview of the social media ecosystem’ in which ‘conversations and interactions’ (2012) all become interconnected and grow organically. The growth and development of my Facebook group had clearly taken off about midway through January when other members of the group began to add members causing the group to grow exponentially. It became quite evident that to maintain a healthy ecosystem, the addition of ‘value-added content’ (Cavazza, 2012) was essential to keeping the ecosystem alive, active and sustainable.
Planning, developing and maintaining the Facebook group, The Share Network for the Australian Curriculum SA, (SNAC SA) has been a satisfying and rewarding professional experience. It has achieved exactly what was intended: to be an online environment where educators can ‘share resources, information and ideas about teaching and learning with the Australian Curriculum’ (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/384597188300408/members/). As someone who is new to using social networking professionally, I am encouraged by its potential: the creation of collaborative environments that bring likeminded members of communities together. What began as an assigned project has now become a routine part of my day and something that I enjoy maintaining and developing for the benefit of teachers and students alike.
Utilizing social networking tools with students has led me to consider ethical and potential cyber-bullying issues at school. With the advent of one-to-one computers/devices and increased access to online learning there exists the potential for abuse and misuse of social networks. Being fearful and resistant of social networking is not the answer. Rather, a proactive approach is needed in conjunction with education of staff and students with the development and implementation of clear objectives in a social media policy (Cybersmart, 2013).
As a social networker I have expanded my horizons to include a variety of other platforms with which to engage. As seen by the concept map in my ‘Developing a Personal Learning Network’ post, my own social network has developed into an immersive, meaningful and informative web including Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Second Life, blogging and microblogging sites. PLNs have become the new wave of professional development and as Luca states, many teachers have ‘developed the fine art of sharing and benefit from the reciprocal generosity that pervades these spaces’ (2012). In my own school, this has also translated into becoming a more valuable member of staff; someone who can provide leadrship in helping others become professionally socially networked online. What has become evident over the course of this subject is that for every type of social need, be it sharing teaching resources, articles, recipes, favourite books, photos, there is either a social network or online community that can fulfill our human drive to share and build relationships in meaningful ways. This subject has lived up to its promise. It has allowed me to immerse myself in a variety of social networking environments and assisted me in my development of the information professional I aspire to become.

References

Cavazza, F. (2012), Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2012/03/12/an-overview-of-the-social-media-ecosystem/
Cyber[smart:] (2013), Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Schools/Cybersafety%20policy%20guidance/Holistic%20approach%20to%20cybersafety.aspx
Department of Education and Child Development, (2013) Retrieved from http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/socialmedia/default.asp?navgrp=185
Farkus, Meredith, (2008) Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/
Fleet, David (2009). Social Media Policies E-book. http://www.slideshare.net/davefleet/social-media-policies-ebook
Hay, L. (2012). Library 2.0 and participatory library services [INF506 Module 3] Retrieved February 2, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201290_W_D/page/84cf677e-ec91-4f08-8080-0f7dd953df21
Luca, Jenny, (2012) Retrieved from http://splash.abc.net.au/teachers/blog?id=40029
Mallan & Giardina, (2009) Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2445/2213

 

ETL503 REFLECTION

Part C

Reflection

The task of creating a collection development policy for my school library presented itself as a mammoth undertaking that, quite frankly, felt extremely daunting to begin with.  Having only spent two terms as teacher librarian during 2012 and jumping into the position midway through the year due to unforeseen circumstances at the school, I had not been prepared for many of the responsibilities that were expected of me.  To be given a document from which to guide and acquaint me with the policies, procedures and practices of a teacher librarian in a particular library, would have equipped me with a much more clear understanding of the scope and breadth of the collection and the role and responsibilities of the position (Kennedy, 2006, p. 13). 

My perception of the school library has been transformed since first starting this subject.  As a teacher I had always been aware of the valuable role the school library has toward the teaching and learning needs of the school.  I was also cognisant of the all important function of providing good quality literature to encourage a love of reading in students.  After reading Hughes-Hassell and Mancall’s Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners, I began to understand that an effective library collection responds to and is guided by curriculum and pedagogy.  Having an approach to guide you, such as the ‘Learner-Centered-Model’ (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall, 2005) allows for selection decisions that are based on different access points and a variety of ability levels of students.  Putting the learner at the centre and not the collection has been, perhaps, the revelation to my concept of collection management.

What appeared to be the most transformational aspect of resourcing the library and developing a collection policy was the inclusion of digital materials such as e-books.  The issues surrounding the selection and acquisition of e-books have made it challenging for school libraries to include them in their collections.  Finding the right approach to access, licensing, storage, cost, maintenance and preservation appears to be one of the main issues to overcome in a school library (Ifla, 2012, p. 7).  As Polanka states, ‘A definitive best practice business model has yet to emerge for either libraries or publishers’ (2010, p. 99).  Nevertheless, it is only the beginning of the e-book revolution and changes in technology and they way we do things with technology is far from static.

Collaboration between the teacher librarian and other teachers to support inquiry based learning and developing digital literacy skills was an aspect of resourcing the curriculum that interested me greatly.  As Wall & Ryan (2010) identify in Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation, resource needs continue to evolve into the 21st Century and we need to find appropriate and authoritative content that will support our students in becoming digitally skilled and information literate.  I look forward to being part of the change.

 

 

References

Hughes-Hassell, S. & Mancall, J.C., (2005),  Collection Management for Youth : Responding to the Needs of Learners. Retrieved from ALA editions.

 

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) (2012).  Key Issues for E-resource Collection Development:  A Guide for Libraries.  Retrieved from http://www.ifla.org/news/ifla-electronic-resource-guide-now-available

Kennedy, J., (2006), Collection Management: A concise introduction (Rev. ed.). Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

 

Polanka, Sue (2010). No Shelf Required : E-Books in Libraries. Retrieved from http://csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=598919

 

Wall, J., & Ryan, S. (2010). Resourcing for curriculum innovation. Camberwell, Vic: ACER Press.

ETL 503

What a year it’s been! I began the year thinking that doing two subjects and working full time would be manageable. I enrolled in ETL401 and ETL503 in Term 1 and quickly decided to put one of them on the backburner. Well, here I sit on the backburner many months later and yes, it’s still hot. Again, I’ve decided to do two subjects, this time along with ETL503 I’m also doing INF506 which is extremely interesting but very time consuming, particularly with my social network project in full swing. Nevertheless, I have managed to get through the end of term, student reports written, classroom packed up, and Assessment 1 for ETL503 handed in on time!

When I stepped into the position of Teacher Librarian in second term this year, after only taking one subject in the course, I was not quite prepared for everything required of me as a TL in a school library. I brought what knowledge I had along with what I had gained in ETL401, as well as a great deal of enthusiasm toward the role of the TL. I was brought in to fill a void that had been created by internal movements of staffing. It was a wonderful opportunity for a fledgling TL. My main focus in Term 2 was to get to know the library and try to make it into a learning space. I began with the physical space and started moving things around to give more flexibility for learning spaces. I also began creating positive relationships with SSOs, teachers and parent volunteers. I focused on the things that I could achieve with the knowledge I had. By the end of Term 2 and the beginning of Term 3 most of my focus was on Book Week. This introduced me to the selection and acquisition process. Well, selection was easy. I, along with every other librarian in Australia, was given a list from the Childrens Book Council of Australia (CBCA). Deciding where and how to acquire the books was a trickier decision. Do I order from the same seller that the school has always used or do I look elsewhere? What are the advantages/disadvantages of going with a different book seller? This is when I needed to research costs, discounts, promotions, supply and delivery, payment methods and any other factors that might influence my decision in going with a different provider. Even if I was to go with the company that the school had used in the past, it was still necessary to determine if, in fact, this was the best decision for acquiring the short-listed books from the CBCA. Having reached the halfway point of ETL503, I now understand, more clearly, the many factors involved in selecting and acquiring resources for the school library.