Librarians are Gold!

Let the Learning Begin…..

ETL505: Describing and Analysing Education Resources Critical Reflection

Excellent Teacher Librarians (TLs) “support learning and teaching by providing equitable access to professionally-selected resources” (ASLA, 2004, p. 3). The TLs role as an information resource manager and information specialist, is to provide effective access to a well organised resource collection for all community members. It is the TLs responsibility to provide the school community with “timely access to information relevant to their needs” (Tillett, 2011).

ETL505 furthered my understanding that TLs do more than just restock shelves and loan books out to students. Throughout the readings, course booklet exercises and forum posts I have gained a greater understanding of the role of a TL. ETL505 was all about ‘Describing and Analysing Educational Resources’. It was definitely a very challenging subject. Lodge and Pymm (2007) believe that in the “foreseeable future, most libraries and information centres will continue to hold hybrid collections of both print and digital resources. The tasks in ETL505 allowed us to investigate, describe and analyse catalogue resources of all media types.

The principles and processes acquired in ETL505 were very technical in nature and often involved concepts and ideas that were foreign to me. Terminology such as metadata, indexing, bibliographic control and subject analysis were all part of a new language that I needed to master (Lodge & Pymm, 2007).

I enjoyed learning these new concepts and expanding my vocabulary with the advanced and ever changing terminology that a TL is required to know. In Module4, I found there were many useful and relevant concepts. I found concepts such as folksonomy and tagging interesting as they relate to the constantly changing world of social media.

I really struggled with Assignment1 when required to use the Resource Description and Access (RDA) Toolkit to classify metadata according to media, carrier and content types.  I found it difficult to get my head around the new international cataloguing code RDA and the many ways it produces well-formed, interconnected metadata for the digital environment (Tillett, 2011). At the completion of Assignment1, I understood the important role RDA has as a foundation or “building block in the creation of better catalogues and resource discovery systems” (Kiorgaard, 2008).

ETL505 moved at a very rapid pace over the past 14 weeks. It was difficult to obtain a deep enough grasp of the many important concepts that play a crucial part in the every day role of a TL. However, after speaking with other TL colleagues, we all concurred that these concepts do take years to master, and further practice will consolidate our understanding. This is what was covered:

  • description and analysis of resources using the RDA toolkit,
  • applying international and national metadata standards,
  • accurately applying the SCIS standards to provide access to information for a school community (SCIS, 2014),
  • utilising the SCIS catalogue to create appropriate subject headings and locate additional information about resources,
  • classifying resources accurately using WebDewey (OCLC, 2014).

The move to RDA is important and necessary to building better catalogues and resource discovery systems for the future (Kiorgaard, 2008). RDA is not the complete solution, but its role as a new kind of content will smooth the path in that direction. RDA is successful in making library bibliographic descriptions and access data more internationally acceptable (Tillett, 2011). Correctly described and well organised resources in school libraries is integral to a library that effectively supports the community to meet educational outcomes.

References

Australian School Library Association. (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for TLs. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Kiorgaard, D. (2008). Resource description and access. Retrieved from http://www.nla.gov.au/openpublish/index.php/nlasp/article/viewArticle/1420

Lodge, D. & Pymm, B. (2007). Library managers today: the challenges. In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information services (289-310). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Online Computer Library Centre. (2014). WebDewey. Retrieved from http://dewey.org/webdewey/login/login.html

School Catalogue Information Service. (2014). Subject headings. Retrieved from http://scis.curriculum.edu.au/scisshl/

Tillett, B. (2011). Keeping libraries relevant in the semantic web with resource description and access (RDA). Serials, 24(3), 266-272.

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ETL504 – Assignment 2 Reflection

Part B: Reflective Critical Analysis

When I reflect back on my initial postings in ETL504, I feel that I began this unit with limited knowledge about the Teacher Librarians (TLs) role as a leader. However, after extensive readings, discussions, blog entries and two assignments, I now know that an essential part of the TLs role is being a teacher AND an information specialist who inspires others and leads from the middle (Haycock, 2010).

I have found it fascinating to evaluate the variety of leadership styles I have encountered during my 18 years as an educator. I considered which styles have been the most effective when striving to lead and influence a team of educators and agree with Marzano et al. (2005, p.18), that no one leadership style is sufficient – a combination of styles ideally should be used.

It is exciting to learn that TLs in a position to change present teacher work habits and challenge the status quo in schools. TLs can really make an impact and be a “change agent” in their school by stepping up to perform beyond what is required of them and hence emerge as a middle leader (Couros, 2013).

When I finally commence a TL position, I plan to share my expertise with colleagues by attending collaborative planning meetings and present teaching ideas for 5 minutes at the beginning of staff meetings. These are just two ways for a TL to actively utilise their role as a teacher who leads and is an advocate for change.

I feel that it is crucial for TLs to demonstrate leadership in their role by providing curriculum development knowledge, especially when assisting with the implementation of the Australian National Curriculum (ACARA, 2013). TLs can model leadership by offering staff development and training sessions relating to these curriculum changes. This will allow the library to be seen to be at the centre of curriculum change.

I agree with Purcell (2010) stating the role of the TL is to “collaborate with teachers, students and other members of the learning community to develop policies that guide the school” to create lifelong learners. At my previous school, TLs supported and encouraged teachers to integrate relevant transliteracy skills into units of work to enrich students’ 21st-century learning skills. This focus on transliteracy complimented the school’s 2012 Strategic Vision and allowed TLs to lead the way – to be seen as collaborative coaches, mentoring, empowering and supporting staff. The TLs saw an opportunity to lead and rose to the occasion, this was an ideal opportunity for them to showcase their knowledge and expertise, especially at a time when teachers and students are attempting to navigate in a complex media landscape (Jenkins, 2012).

This subject has taught me that TLs who nurture strong relationships with colleagues in schools, result in higher levels of collaboration and teamwork. “Members of a good team trust each other. If a team is effective, then people learn from each other. They will inspire and challenge each other” (Aguilar, 2012).

Assignment 2 allowed me to create a vision for my school library, by strategically planning an implementation process over the next 3 years inline with the schools vision. According to Ferriter (2103) successful leadership is more than just a shared vision, “without strong relationships, a clear vision for an ideal tomorrow, and an ability to translate vision into practical action, learning teams simply WON’T succeed”.

Without change and innovation, the TLs role in the school context, would be solely based on resourcing the library and maintaining the current library collection with no vision for the future (Kotter, n.d.). At my current school, I am part of the school wide ‘eLearning and curriculum team’. I have found it exciting to be part of an innovative team who is leading change. By advocating change and working towards the shared school vision, this committee is assisting the school to move towards meeting the needs of 21st century learners in an engaging, technology rich, stimulating environment.

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in ETL504 and exploring the critical role of the TL as a leader. I am now inspired to lead and take on change as a TL in the library. I have the vision to be an optimistic and proactive leader, who is adaptive and stays ahead of the game (Halfpintofwisdom, 2011). I am now equipped with the knowledge and skills to become a TL who leads. I now know that effective leadership in a school library requires collaboration to implement innovation and creativity in an ever-changing digital world.

References

ACARA. (2013). The shape of the Australian curriculum. In Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/The_Shape_of_the_Australian_Curriculum_v4.pdf

Aguilar, E. (2012). Effective teams: the key to transforming schools? Edutopia.Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar

Coatney, S. (2010). Leadership from the middle: building influence for change. The many faces of school library leadership(pp. 1-12). Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from http://www.csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=801144&echo=1

Couros, G. (2013, January 26). 5 Characteristics of a change agent [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3615

Ferriter, B. (2013). What does leadership on a professional learning team look like? Retrieved from http://www.teachingquality.org/content/what-does-leadership-professional-learning-team-look?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+the_tempered_radical+%28The+Tempered+Radical%29

Halfpintofwisdom. (2011, August 4). Strategic planning for school libraries. [Slideshare]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/halfpintofwisdom/strategic-planning-for-libraries

Haycock, K. (2010). Leadership from the middle: building influence for change. In Coatney, S. (Ed.).  The many faces of school library leadership.(pp.1-12)  Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

Jenkins, H. (2012). 30 Second thought leadership: Insights from leaders in the school library community. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/aboutkq/30second_JanFeb12

Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-step process for leading change. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3-), 30-33.

 

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ETL504 – What is leadership?

What is leadership? Initial Post at the beginning of ETL504

My understanding of leadership is someone who is a mentor and / or coach who not only has expertise, knowledge and advice to share, but someone who is an exemplary role model and ‘practices what they preach.’ An excellent leader is someone who is innovative, motivating and inspirational, they ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’. He / she displays empathy, understanding and has time to listen to team members. 

I show leadership in my school by:
• actively taking part in curriculum planning meetings.
• team-teaching and modelling ways of integrating technology into classroom lessons to effectively meet syllabus outcomes.
• collaboratively planning with grade level teams.
• organising and taking part in professional learning opportunities both school wide and for the wider community.
• mentoring other teachers (especially new scheme teachers).
• sharing teaching strategies and resources with colleagues.
• volunteering for extra curricular and co-curricular initiatives e.g. Tech Crewsaders Club, hosting conferences and TeachMeets, K-12 Professional Learning Committee.
• teaching and interacting with groups of students each day in school environment.

What type of leader would you like to be?

I believe that being in any role in education, especially in a ‘specialist’ role, it is all about building relationships with other staff members and developing a sense of trust in one another. In order for teachers to feel comfortable collaboratively planning, team-teaching and allowing you into their classrooms, they need to have developed a relationship with you first. This was my initial priority when I commenced my new role. 

I would like to be a transformational leader who focuses on reflecting, change and innovation. A transformational leader is a mentor and coach who empowers staff to achieve their goals.

 

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ETL504 – Module 2 Leading Change

Discuss Tapscott’s 4 principles for an open world. How can these principles be applied to school libraries or teacher librarians? Consider how this understanding of the 4 principles can support you in leading change at your school or in your school library.

Strategies that Teacher Librarians can apply for an ‘open world’ based on Don Tapscott’s (2012) 4 Principles:

1. Collaboration;

Teachers and teacher librarians planning and team teaching together. Skype classes around the world to encourage global collaborative projects (@globalclassrooms) and global projects where students interact and learn from and about one another. Use social media such as twitter and edmodo in the classroom to connect with students locally as well as globally. Staff as well as student use tools to plan collaboratively e.g. google docs, answergarden, todaysmeet. As a team, teachers plan ways to implement the Australian Curriculum.

2. Transparency;

TL’s communicate information seamlessly to teachers. This could be information about new authors, book week, writing / reading competitions, new resources linked to the Australia Curriculum. Display an openness to all students, parents and teachers so that they will visit the library more often and approach you willingly for assistance. Model the schools vision and ethos. Encourage relationships built on trust and integrity with library stakeholders. Be public, everyone needs to see you.

3. Sharing;

Sharing resources, expertise and knowledge with other educators, parents and students.

4. Empowerment;

‘Knowledge and intelligence is power’. Assist other staff members to achieve their goals by offering support, encouragement and valued feedback, this will result in them feeling stronger and having more confidence to be innovative and becoming ‘change agents’.

If a Teacher Librarian has a clear understanding of Tapscott’s 4 Principles and implements some of the strategies mentioned above, change will be taking place in their school.

                                                                                   References

Kotter, J. (2012). The 8-Step Process for Leading Change . Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved February 3, 2013 fromhttp://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps


Tapscott, D. (2012) Four principles of the open world [ETL504 Module 2]. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from Charles Sturt University website:http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201430_W_D/page/bc04b2bb-bf8d-4bc7-0064-24e289f73e4e

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ETL504 – Innovation and Change

“Innovation is open to every man, woman, and child. It requires an inquisitive mind intent on solving an existing problem.”

What innovation has occurred in your school or work environment in recent times?

I define innovation as making changes to something already established by redefining or introducing new ideas, solution or technology. This academic year has been a year of change, as my school has decided to implement the following innovative projects:

•           Introduction of ‘Google Apps for Education’ for all staff plus students in Years 3-12.

•           Implementation of a shared set of ipads in both the Primary and Middle School Libraries.

•           Years 2-12 have all become part of the 1:1 program (either ipads, PC tablets or laptop computers).

•           Edmodo has been introduced into Years 3-12 as both a social networking tool and learning management tool for parents, teachers and students to communicate and collaborate.

The implementation of this innovation has been managed in a variety of ways:

•           Any students, teachers or parents who are having difficulty creating Edmodo accounts, adding ‘group codes’ or navigating their way around Edmodo are encouraged to contact an Educational Technology Specialist and additional assistance will be given.

•           Drop in sessions for any teacher who requires assistance or support with the introduction of any new area of technology in their classroom.

•           Support sessions, inservicing, initial overview and the problem being addressed by a new technological change to all staff during staff meetings. Differentiated professional learning sessions focussing on technology needs during staff meeting times to allow for a range of different teacher abilities.

What current aspect of your own work could have “an inquisitive mind” lens applied to solve an existing problem?

Schifter (2008, p. 264) states that in order for “change to occur in classroom practices there needed to be a strong training component. Therefore the Ed Tech team and School Admin have planned for extra support sessions and allowed for staff meeting time to be allocated to up skill teachers levels of technology.

One problem that has arisen is that there is such a large number of new devices and a range of new devices all arriving at the beginning of the school year. Teachers had not had adequate time to explore these new devices nor become confident users of ipads or surface RTs before these devices were introduced in their classrooms.

“Just because tools are present in classrooms does not mean teachers know how to make the most of those tools” (Schifter, 2008, p. 260). Ideally professional learning opportunities should have been planned for and taken place at the end of the previous school year, prior to new devices being introduced in classrooms to help the teachers (1) learn how to use these new devices, and (2) use these devices in a pedagogically appropriate way to assist the students to meet syllabus outcomes more effectively.

Now that the devices have been introduced, both formal and informal professional learning activities should be taking place regularly for teachers to exchange ideas and good practice, and therefore in turn refine their teaching expertise (Donoghue & Clark, 2010).

Additional professional learning strategies could be for teachers to share with another teacher ideas surrounding the use of technology that have worked and what did not work in their classroom. This strategy is called ‘pair share’ and allows teachers to not only come back to their classrooms with increased knowledge of technological use in their classroom; but also allows teachers to feel supported and encouraged, whilst at the same time building positive relationships with other colleagues in their school environment. By planning and working collaboratively together, teachers will display an increased level of trust within their learning community and stress levels, often heightened at times of innovative change, will decrease (Collay, 2011, p. 90).

I strongly believe that teachers need to be empowered and actively involved in the planning process when schools decide to introduce new technological devices and/or learning management systems. A shared vision needs to be adopted with a clear understanding of where the school is heading with regards to technology. “This process may take months or even years before final, broad adoption of the new technology. Teachers need extensive opportunities to ‘play with’ new devices before they are used in the classroom. Professional development should be hands-on and should involve teachers using the specific devices or software they will be using in class, to bring out problems ahead of time. Professional learning should be targeted to the distinct needs of different groups of teachers” (Russo, 2014).

“70% of all major change efforts in organisations fail” (Kotter, n.d.). Therefore innovation needs to be meticulously planned for, implemented gradually and heavily supported to order to successfully solve an existing problem.

References

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Donoghue, T. A., & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in international contexts (pp. 87-99). London: Routledge.

Innovation Takes Practice More Than Talent. (2013, January 30). —. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.redthreadthinking.com/innovation-takes-practice-more-than-talent/

Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-Step Process for Leading Change . Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps

Russo, R. (2014). Five Smart Ways to Deploy Tablets. Harvard Education Letter, 30 (2). Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://hepg.org/hel/article/592

Schifter, C. (2008). Chapter 14. Effecting Change in the Classroom Through Professional Development. Infusing technology into the classroom: continuous practice improvement (pp. 250 – 279). Hershey: Information Science Pub.EXTRA

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INF506 – Assignment 1

A. Define Social Networking (in your own words).

From the readings I have read and reflected upon, social networking is defined as an online community of people, located in any country or of any age, with a common interest who use a website or other technology to communicate with each other. Social networking sites help to build relationships by allowing users to interact and share information, ideas and opinions about their interests with the people in their online community or network.

B. List the social networking technologies and sites you already use (for personal, work and study purposes).

Social networking technologies and sites that I already use are:

  • Twitter– professional use including following specific educational hashtags
  • Scoop it! – professional use, I have curated 3 topics related to education
  • Ning – professional use, in particular the Flat Classrooms Conference Ning
  • Delicious – set up to use mainly when completing my Masters
  • Diigo – professional use to collaborate and share websites with teachers in an eLearning group within my school
  • Wikis – professional use, Teachmeet wikis, iPad wikis, technology wikis
  • Pinterest – personal use relating to my hobbies
  • Wallwisher – professional use relating to collaborating and connecting after a conference
  • WordPress blog – set up to use mainly when completing my Masters
  • Edmodo – professional use to collaborate and communicate with likeminded teachers, as well as using the ‘groups’ setting to communicate with the classes I teach.

For the purposes of INF506 I have recently started accounts on Facebook, Linkedin and Flickr. I look forward to furthering my knowledge about many new and engaging social networking tools.

C. Describe what you expect to learn from completing INF506.

I expect to learn effective ways for Information Professionals, including Teacher Librarians, to use social networking sites effectively in the learning experiences of teachers and students. I would like to know more about Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 technologies such as facebook, twitter, flickr etc.. and how these technologies can be used to assist students in their learning journey both in the classroom and afterhours when completing school tasks at home.

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ETL504 – Assignment 1 Reflection

Part B: Reflect upon your own understanding and practice of leadership in a school library.

By reflecting, then making comparisons with my prior and current teaching experience in schools, I have learnt that innovation, leading change and collaboration are essential attributes when striving to be an effective leader in a school library. I agree with Hudson (2014) that “leaders of the future have to be innovative.” Innovation in school libraries is a critical component of meeting the needs of a rapidly changing educational environment.

I found it fascinating to learn about the many complex leadership theories, especially the distinction “between management and leadership” (Kotter, n.d.). I have reflected on the many TLs that I have worked with in schools, and applied these theories to their leadership styles. At my previous school, I have been inspired by many innovative TLs who emerged as leaders, simply because they were influencing colleagues way beyond the power that had been appointed to them in their current role description. These TLs emerged spontaneously into a leadership role because they willingly put their hands up and volunteered for additional projects, such as being on the ‘K-12 Professional Learning Committee’ and the school wide ‘eLearning Committee’. This demonstrates that these TLs are middle leaders, they are modeling best practice by sharing their expertise about technology with colleagues, as well as suggesting strategies for teachers to be innovative and creative in their teaching. It is an expectation that committee members provide professional development relating to classroom technology, during this time, they demonstrate the integration of innovative Web2.0 tools both formally and informally in front of staff (Dees, 2007).

TeachMeets are professional learning meetings where teachers from a range of schools and schooling sectors come together in a relaxed atmosphere to share ideas relating to good practice. I collaborated with many inspiring TLs when organizing and hosting TeachMeets for educators. After attending many TeachMeets and reflecting, I realised that TLs are the main educators in this movement and are demonstrating the concept of “leading from the middle” (Winzenried et al., 2010, p. 16) These TLs are leaders and have a powerful ability to empower and inspire other educators. They are utilizing their skills and expertise by modelling best teaching practice for others via 7 minute PechaKucha, 2minute micro presentations or through conversations held during networking time.

Effective TLs who are leaders in a school library believe that “collaboration is essential to leadership success” (Collay, 2011). The Head of Library at my current school demonstrates outstanding leadership skills. She is a dynamic and effervescent, ‘mover and shaker’ who thrives on working collaboratively with teachers across the globe.

Since exploring the many complex leadership theories, I am now able to formally label her leadership style as being both instructional and transformational. Prior to this subject, I would have simply labeled this TL as leading librarian with energy. She goes beyond collaboratively planning during weekly team meetings and assisting library users to achieve their goals, by engaging in collaboration on a daily basis across her global community via her extensive professional learning network. She uses many social media tools such as twitter, Google circles, Facebook and her own personal blog to be a connected educator who collaboratively plans engaging global projects for her students.

References

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retreived from http://www.csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=675256&echo=1

Dees, D. (2007). Today’s school library media specialist leader. Library media connection. Retrieved from           http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e058800b-3e55-46a5-b170-a755ddfb3a76%40sessionmgr4&vid=2&hid=27

Hudson, K. (2014). How an Innovation Coach Can Help Leaders. In SmartCompany.com.au. Retrieved March 31, 2014 from http://leadingcompany.smartcompany.com.au/innovation/how-an-innovation-coach-can-help-leaders/201402115093

Winzenried, A., Law, D., Hughes, P., Johnson, D., Healy, S., Warner, D., Hannan K., & Giovenco, G. (2010). Visionary leaders for information. Wagga Wagga NSW: Centre for Information Studies, 2010.

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INF506 – Part B: Personal Reflection

The subject content investigated and learning journey undertaken throughout INF506 has enabled me to think deeply and reflect upon my thoughts and ideas about social media. Harvey (2009) suggests a teacher “should be a person who is experimenting with new technologies as they come along.” After researching, exploring and evaluating many new forms of social media I have furthered my knowledge and understanding of the educational benefits to people of all ages who immerse themselves in social networking environments.

I enjoyed the practical nature of this subject where I was able to trial and evaluate many different social media tools. I am now an active member of Goodreads, Linked in, Facebook, delicious, flickr and investigated many other tools such as Second Life and RSS. Although I am currently on leave and not working in a school at the moment, I found this subject very useful to assist me in carrying out further research into social media tools that I could implement in the classroom when I begin my new position in August 2013. I enjoying evaluating these tools and examining which ones could be successfully used in a middle school classroom to engage students and enhance their learning outcomes.

My new teaching role will be ‘Educational Integration Specialist’ in a middle school working with teenagers in Years 6-8. I will be using my newfound knowledge about social media tools gained throughout INF506 to implement social media tools that will engage students. My previous teaching experience is with primary age students where the terms and conditions state many social media tools are limited to above 13 year olds only. I am now looking forward to working with students who will have more access to social media tools and an already gained knowledge about social media.

Hanson (2013) states, “integrating social media into
 your work develops digital literacy, builds relationships, helps you meet teens where they are, and helps to provide access to information”. I agree with Hanson and can now (at the end of INF506) see the many educational benefits from using social media in the classroom. I am grateful that I have completed INF506 and have had the time to experiment with many social media tools. I can now take this newfound knowledge to my workplace and assist other colleagues to implement social media tools that best assist students to effectively meet syllabus outcomes.

Another piece of advice that I will be able to take with me into my workplace is to understand the fears teachers have and then give them concrete examples of ways 
to use social media in the classroom. Hanson (2013) suggests “modeling digital literacy practices for our school community” to support teachers using social media tools in practice. Fear of failure and lack of time to learn how to 
use the tools are factors that librarians believe are holding teachers back. Addressing these fears when talking to teachers will help to encourage them to introduce social media seamlessly into their classrooms.

Hanson (2013) recommends “finding out what current research says about using social media with teens in school”. I took on board this advice throughout this unit and curated a collection of blogs and websites to collate the best current examples of social networking tools for students and teachers. I created a new page on the social networking tool Scoop it! titled ‘Social Networking for Educators and Information Professionals’.

Utecht’s (2009) ‘Thinking Stick – Stages of PLN Adoption’ is a model that I will be able to refer to in my new teaching role as I assist teachers expand their professional learning networks in an online environment.

“Goodreads has fast become one of the more popular social sharing sites on the web. Not only is their site every bookworm’s dream, but their ability to create a very social atmosphere is an enviable model for every online business” (NetHosting Releases Case Study on Book Recommendations from Goodreads, 2013). I thoroughly enjoyed implementing the Goodreads project as part of Assignment 1 in INF506. “To use these tools successfully with students, teachers themselves need to become confident with them” (McGuinness, 2010). I now have the knowledge and experience needed to model this social media tool to colleagues and will be able to support them when introducing Goodreads into the classroom to enhance literacy outcomes. Another reason why I found the Goodreads project so interesting and worthwhile is that Goodreads “can last beyond the classroom and encourages reading far beyond the scheduled semester, grade and school life” (Crow, n.d.).

I agree that in a Web 2.0 world, “networking (or one’s ability to network) has become an important part of a Librarian 2.0’s professional toolkit” (Hay et al., 2013). I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to partake in INF506 and hence feel as though I have become better prepared with the experience of Web 2.0 technologies to implement as an ‘information professional’.

References

Crow. (n.d.) Making Reading Social. In Ms. Crow’s Digital Portfolio. Retrieved from http://www.crowscompendium.com/goodreads.html

Hanson, A. (2013). Can we talk? How school librarians discuss social media with stakeholders. Young Adult Library Services, Winter 2013, 35-37.

Harvey, M. (2009). What does it mean to be a Science Librarian 2.0? Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (Summer). Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/09-summer/article2.html

Hay, L., Wallis, J., O’Connell, J. & Crease, R. (2013). Module 3: Library 2.0 and participatory library services. Librarian 2.0. [INF506 Module 3.3]. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201330_W_D/page/ac87941b-5bcb-45fc-80ce-be53a4c930ea

McGuinness, B. (2010). Applying social media in schools. Curriculum Leadership, 8(26). Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/leader/applying_social_media_in_schools,32196.html?issueID=12201

NetHosting Releases Case Study on Book Recommendations from Goodreads. (2013). Retrieved from http://books.broadwayworld.com/article/NetHosting-Releases-Case-Study-on-Book-Recommendations-from-Goodreads-20130422

Utecht, J. (2008, 3 April). Stages of PLN Adoption [Blog post]. In The Thinking Stick. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption

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INF506 – Part A: Evaluative Report

The subject INF506 was designed to “provide a broad understanding of the concept, theory and practice of social networking technologies within the context of libraries and information agencies and the work of information professionals” (Hay et. al, 2013). The learning objectives of this subject have been met by using the OLJ to evaluate and reflect on relevant readings and learning experiences. The three blog posts that I have selected to best reflect the subject content and objectives of INF506 are:

The above three posts highlight and reflect on the main themes of INF506: managing change with Web 2.0 technologies and the professional practice of Library 2.0. Valenza (2009) writes a “teacher librarian position in the networked world is more of a moderator or coach, the person who can effectively interact with information and leverage it to create and share and make a difference in the community and beyond”. INF506 has encouraged and emphasized the critical importance for informational professionals to educate themselves and become active participants in a changing Web 2.0 world. Cohen (2006) suggests the following advice for teacher librarians to “focus on the attitudes that a successful librarians in the 2.0 world might possess”. Recognize change and become an active participant in moving forward by ‘working with colleagues to expedite our responsiveness to change” (Cohen, 2006).

Web 2.0 is an exciting time for technological change, it allows for a new breed of librarians who will be able to embrace change and extend their state of mind beyond the traditional library skills of cataloging into “experimenting and trying to find new ways to employ new tools in our libraries” (Harvey, 2009). A key point made by Schrier (2011) suggests “when done properly, a social networking program provides a way for digital librarians to develop rapport with users, extend general awareness of the digital collection”. This will establish the librarian as a knowledgeable, helpful, and easily accessible source of authoritative information regarding a given subject area. A Web 2.0 librarian will be better able to serve library users research needs and to improve communication by “providing resources and services that users want and need”(Cohen, 2006).

INF506 course participants were “encouraged to explore what it takes to become a social networking producer, rather than just a consumer” (Hay et al., 2013). That is adopting the approach of a social networker who creates content to share with others, rather than just a consumer (Utecht, 2009). Once teachers have “immersed” themselves in Professional Learning Networks and “evaluated” their networks they will progress through the emerging of Utecht’s ‘5 Stages of Personal Learning Networks Adoption’. As a result, teachers will then be more equipped to “help young people shift from being consumers of the internet to creators on the web” (Lamb, 2009).

Social networking sites assist users to see connections that are hidden in the real world. They assist users to “make the connections between people visible and help users get to their next destination e.g. new career, hobby, new partner etc. (Common Craft, 2007). According to McGuinness (2010) the most important reason for using social media in education is to “prepare students for careers that will require online proficiency and competency”.

“According to Nielsen Online social media has become an essential part of most people’s everyday lives” (James, 2012). “Social Networks are now visited more often that personal email is read” (Chapman, 2009). Therefore it is imperative, that we as information professionals educate students about how to create a positive digital footprint and teach them the skills necessary to succeed when using social media for both professional and personal use in a Web 2.0 world.

‘INF506 Social Networking for Information Professionals’ provided many practical tasks and experiences to clearly illustrate the many educational and collaborative benefits of Web 2.0 social networking tools. The completion of the modules, assignments and OLJ assisted to develop a deeper understanding of social media tools by communicating effectively and working collaboratively with others. INF506 students used a range of technology tools, to develop their own capacity as social networkers, online learners and information professionals.

References

Chapman C. (2009). Social Networking Design: examples and best practices. Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

Cohen, L. (2006, November 8) A Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZblrRs3fkSU

Common Craft. (2007, June 27). Social Networking in Plain English. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc

Harvey, M. (2009). What does it mean to be a Science Librarian 2.0? Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (Summer). Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/09-summer/article2.html

Hay, L., Wallis, J., O’Connell, J. & Crease, R. (2013). Module 3: Library 2.0 and participatory library services. Librarian 2.0. [INF506 Module 3.3]. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201330_W_D/page/ac87941b-5bcb-45fc-80ce-be53a4c930ea

James, R. (2012, January 12). Using Social Media in the classroom for real word learning. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/social-media/using-social-media-in-the-classroom-for-real-world-learning/

Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2009) Wikis and Collaborative Inquiry. School Library media Activities Monthly, Volume XXV(8), 1-5. Retrieved from http://occwebsites.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/55115541/D3.Lamb.Wikis.Collaborative.Inquiry.pdf

Schrier, R.A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: The digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html

Utecht, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN Adoption [Blog post]. In The Thinking Stick. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption

Valenza, J. (2009, September 28). 14 Ways K-12 Librarians can teach social media [Blog post]. In Tech & Learning. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/copyright/0031/14-ways-k%E2%80%9312-librarians-can-teach-social-media-by-joyce-valenza/46329

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INF506 – Reflection on ‘Second Life’ as a Social Media Tool

You will need to write a short evaluation (no more than 400 words) of your use of Second Life as a 3D virtual world throughout this session. Include a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of different features/functions and learning experiences encountered, as well as a brief statement on the different ways an information organisation may be able to utilise Second Life to support information services, learning and/or collaboration of users and/or employees. 

Second Life is a free 3D virtual world program where users can socialize and connect with other users in an online environment. Second Life users create an avatar and engage in individual and group activities online. Some of the features include using free voice and text chat.

I have never been interested in online gaming. However, seeing as Second Life is one of the most popular 3D virtual worlds on the web, I decided to create an avatar and give this gaming program a try.

I believe the strengths of Second Life to be: communicating and interacting in an online environment, promoting risk-taking, anonymity, making friends, ability to create online “groups” and it is free.

I believe the weaknesses of Second Life to be: age limited to 16 years old, definitely not user friendly, can lead to an addiction of online gaming, limited and / or very little educational value, program needs to be downloaded from the internet in order to access, confusing to use.

I appreciated the extra Second Life support sessions that were provided by CSU staff throughout INF506. However, I still experienced a great deal of difficulty using this program and could not see it as “an ideal space for learning”(Helmer & Learning Light, 2007, p. 5). I do see Second Life as “a chance to engage a younger generation of learners” into the online world of gaming, that is, having fun online and not necessarily being a tool for educational purposes.

In my opinion there are many other social media tools that exhibit much greater educational value and a higher level of engagement and interaction for users that Second Life. I believe the following tools are more successful at providing engagement and educational attributes in a Web 2.0 world: Edmodo, blogs, facebook, twitter, flickr, Google apps, Goodreads, wikis, wordclouds… and the list goes on.

Reference

Helmer, J., & Learning Light (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds Available from http://www.norfolkelearningforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/virtual-worlds_ll_oct_2007.pdf

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