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ETL 411 Topic 3 – Integration of ICT in Teaching and Learning: Integrating ICT’s

Reasons for Including Technology in the Classroom

“Technology is no longer an indulgence; it’s a life skill” (Backes, L. 2012). Today in the 21st century, technology has become apart of our everyday lives. It surrounds us (Backes, L. 2012). So naturally, the education system has also adapted to cater for these changes to society. Integrating ICT’s into the curriculum is crucial for many reasons.

Image retrieved 26th August 2014 from https://edu4transformation.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ict1.gif

Interest – “Kids like the newest things” (Backes, L. 2012). Let’s face it, when we were at school we would all follow a new fad and would beg our parents to have the latest “in thing” that was going around at school. Not much has changed! When a new toy is out, the kids have to have it. Now when I was back at school, a new toy meant a plush toy of some kind. Now if you mention the word “toy” that generally means something that requires batteries, moves on it’s own, plays music….basically, technology.

Practicality – “Technology is now a necessary skill in the workplace” (Backes, L. 2012). As teachers we are preparing our students for life beyond the classroom. We are preparing them to live successful lives. “For citizens in the 21st century, government and public information is increasingly being published in only digital format. Being able to locate, interpret and use this information is going to be an essential skill set for citizens in the future” (Coombes, B. 2009. P.32).

Knowledge – “By teaching them effectively now, you waste less time having to teach them again in the future” (Backe, L.2012). With technology students no longer have to visualise in their heads what we are talking about throughout history and science lessons; we can show them. For example, in science the other day we were discussing bridges and towers. In particular we were looking at how they were built, the structure and materials used. We were also comparing what was used in the past to what is used today. All of my students were highly engaged and then one of them put up their hand and asked “how was the Sydney Harbour bridge made?” I didn’t know the answer to this question so I googled it and then we were able to watch a youtube clip of the building process. We than began to discuss the importance of the structure and materials used and how it would need to be strong enough to withstand natural disasters. The teacher’s aide in my classroom mentioned seeing a youtube clip of a bridge swaying erratically and then collapsing due to a severe storm. Again we were able to look it up and youtube it. Technology is amazing and allows students to experience situations that they would never be able to without it.

Image retrieved 26th August from https://wiredwaihi.wikispaces.com/file/view/WordleCoroICT_(Small).jpg/62336390/428×267/WordleCoroICT_(Small).jpg

Flexibility – “Every child has a different learning style” (Backe, L. 2012). Curriculum differentiation is expected and vital in education today. Technology allows for this as it attends to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning.

Access – The classroom always has a diverse range of learners. I don’t know any classroom that has a group of students that learn all the same way. “Technology is a dual gift” (Backe, L. 2012). The disabled, ADD children, ESL students, etc. all have access to the same teaching and learning content through the use of technology.

Misconception – There is an assumption “that children born after 1984 have an in-depth grasp and almost ‘intuitive’ knowledge of how to use technology, simply because they have never known a world without the Internet and technological change.” (Combes, B. 2009. P.31).  This has meant that students are left to learn the ways of technology on their own by their own experimentation. This leaves a huge gap in the efficient use of information literacy skills, as they have not been taught how to effectively search, analyse, evaluate and inquire through the use of ICT (Coombes, B. 2009).

Pedagogy – Technology enables “learner-centred, student-centred interactive forms of pedagogy” (Pegrum, M. 2012). Whilst our pedagogy has always consisted of these elements, we are now enhancing this through the use of ICT. Technology is supporting what teachers are trying to do already.

Whilst most are on board with the Digital Education Revolution and praise the integration of technology into the curriculum, there are still some people who are not convinced. “Real engagement comes from great teachers with interesting lesson plans. Engagement is about human contact, the contact with the teacher, the contact with their peers” (Richtel, M. 2011). While this statement is true, yes teaching and learning is about human contact and yes a teacher who can gain engagement with interesting lesson plans are effective; technology is a tool to enhance student engagement, motivation and learning outcomes. It is not replacing the teacher! A teacher can still plan exciting and engaging lesson plans that involve technology that enables critical thinking, problem solving, research, evaluation and caters for the diverse learning needs of all students.

I will finish with this segment by Coombes which I found intriguing and highly relevant:

“If schools don’t take steps to teach this generation of students how to use electronic sources effectively, then our future citizens will be unable to operate in a world where information is the key to educational, social and economic success. The world and technology will continue to move forward and the information landscape will become even more complicated, overloaded and dense, as business and government place everything including service delivery online. Far from being digital natives, Generation Y and those who follow, will in fact be the digital refugees of the future” (Coombes, B. 2009).

 References

Backes, L. (2012). 5 reasons to add technology to your classroomThe Inspired Classroom [blog].

Coombes, B. (2009). Generation Y: Are they really digital natives or more like digital refugeesSynergy,7(1), 31-40

Pegrum, M. (2012). Emergent technologies in the classroom. University of WA.

Richtel, M. (2011). A Silicon Valley school that doesn’t computeNew York Times.

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The role of the teacher librarian: Current and future pathways

The role of the teacher librarian is progressively evolving, therefore what is expected of a Teacher Librarian and what they are accountable for is also changing. To shift the common misconception that teacher librarians sit at a desk all day and occasionally scan a barcode, is a slow and challenging task, as it has been this view for so long. However, with the Digital Education Revolution here, teacher librarians as media specialists have an opportunity to significantly change that misconception and lead their school into the 21st century. What is current is only the beginning for what is to come in the future. So what exactly do we do as Teacher Librarians and how can we lead the school into the 21st century?

 The Current Role of the Teacher Librarian

The role of the Teacher Librarian is complex. As Teacher Librarians, we have the exciting task of being multitasking magicians with the various roles we play within the library; many of which goes unnoticed. So what is it we actually do?

The ASLA Standards (Australian School Library Association) have listed the standards of professional excellence for Teacher Librarians within a broad framework of professional practice, professional knowledge and professional commitment. It is after reading the standards that fall under this umbrella, that you truly begin to appreciate and understand the complex and demanding role that we face as a Teacher Librarian. The ASLA Standards describe the role as having two key components, a teacher and an information specialist. As Librarians, we evoke life-long learning, collaboratively work with colleagues, resource the curriculum, understand and collaborate with the school community, continually develop our knowledge of teaching and learning across the curriculum as well as our knowledge of information resources, technology and library management. If that is not enough; we are also responsible for planning and budgeting the school resources.

Yet somehow, we are not appreciated and are just simply used as relief from face-to-face teachers. Now I am not claiming that every school has this view in common, however we can’t deny that this perspective and attitude is shared by the majority. “One of the major reasons why librarians are often overlooked by teachers is the lack of exposure during their teacher training programs to the types of value-added services librarians can provide. Collaboration cannot be fully realised without creating a collaborative culture in which all partners see the importance and understand the benefits of collaboration to themselves, each other and their students” (Teachers Connecting with Teacher Librarians, 2014). Our current role as the Teacher Librarian, information specialist can be highlighted as:

 

Image retrieved 25th August 2014 from https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qdiFUxBukcM/TYrKAXq7_BI/AAAAAAAABp0/09lFhGxCqvU/strong+libraries+medium+res.jpg

Image retrieved 25th August 2014 from https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qdiFUxBukcM/TYrKAXq7_BI/AAAAAAAABp0/09lFhGxCqvU/strong+libraries+medium+res.jpg

A teacher and educator involved in programming, teaching and assessing and responsible for literacy and information literacy skills development and the promotion of literature. We as collaborative teaching partners, support teaching and learning programs in information literacy, recognising that students need to be inspired, challenged and empowered with new knowledge.

A resource manager who develops the school collection to suit the needs of teachers and students and manages both the physical and virtual environment. Gibbons (2013) states that ‘a good school library supplements the prescribed curriculum with that other curriculum, the world of favourite books, comics, DVDs and websites’. Herring (2007), unlike Purcell (2010), refers to enabling students to use learning resources within and outside of the school. This is important given that students today have almost constant access to a wide range of resources and tools through the Internet. There is an expectation from the school community that the library is accessible beyond school hours and the physical constraints of the building (Lamb & Johnson, 2008).

An information specialist who makes information available for students and teachers. ‘Even though inquiry is a natural process for children, we help students with information retrieval through questioning and scaffolding.’ (Lupton, 2012)

The teacher librarian’s information specialist role is now more important than ever. Students need to be educated to become competent, ethical seekers and users of information in a technological world (Mann, 2011). Students need the help of the teacher librarian to confront the challenges of their information needs and develop knowledge and skills they will use for the rest of their lives (Harris, 2011).

In the learning environment of today, students demand access to information and ICT (Hay, 2006). Many authors including Herring (2007), Purcell (2010), Mann (2011), Twomey (2007) and Leppard (2003) agree that we need to be skilled information specialists who are able to select, locate, organise and use a range of information resources and technologies. However, our role as information specialist is more than just being able to locate relevant information for a particular topic or subject area. The knowledge that the teacher librarian can impart in the application of the information skills process has significant benefits in planning, the development of units of work and assessment tasks and strategies (Gibbs, 2003; Lamb & Johnson, 2008). We need to interpret and evaluate the library’s collection on a given topic in the context of the curriculum program, as well as developing information literacy skills (Herring, 2007; Purcell, 2010).  In addition, the teacher librarian must teach students the skill of evaluation (Harris, 2011; Sample job description: School library media specialist, 2009).

As an information specialist, we are in an ideal position to assist with the integration of critical thinking skills (Johnstone, 2009). Purcell (2010) identifies that the development of higher order thinking skills and enabling students to take part in the process of constructing knowledge is part of the role of the information specialist.

A collaborator who is a partner in curriculum planning and design, a resource creator who re-shapes tasks to suit the learners. Purcell (2010) discussed Teacher Librarians as being ‘instructional partners’, helping teachers develop the curriculum further. It is with collaboration that great things can happen. But it’s not only important to work collaboratively with the staff, but also with your Principal. The Principal and Teacher Librarian relationship is crucial. Without the support of the Principal, it can make the task of effectively carrying out the many roles of the Teacher Librarian more challenging than it ever should be. Farewell (1998) and Haycock (2002) share that the Principal plays a vital role as teacher-librarians and the principal share in the role of leadership (though the type of leadership differs) and both promote a shared vision. As the leader of the school, the Principal is naturally the person that the school staff looks up to and therefore for the majority, staff respect the decisions made by them. Therefore, if you have a principal who is passionate and supportive of your library, collaboration between you and your colleagues will be strongly promoted. Principals should support school libraries because it is in both their students’ and their own best interests to do so. Quality library media programs can enhance student achievement, and informed, committed librarians can help principals enhance their own administrative practice (Hartzell, 2003). As Haycock (2002, pg.32) states, “collaboration is not easy. But it is the single professional behaviour of teacher-librarians that most affects student achievement”. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? (Waldron-Lamotte, 2014b).

Herring (2007) and Diggs (2011) agree that our role is to provide training and assistance in the effective use of information resources and tools. When a new technology is introduced, we as the teacher librarian can present it to our colleagues in the context of the learning philosophy of the school and not as just another abstract training session (Lamb & Johnson, 2008).  Purcell (2010) takes this role a step further, stating that we should model effective use of emerging technologies. This would have more impact on teachers and students than training and assistance alone and is more likely to result in the community embracing the change for the benefit of learning.

A leader.  Another important role that we need to acknowledge is that of a leader. A leader who leads by example, e.g. implementing a guided inquiry approach to learning. Mann (2011) suggests that leadership may be considered the most important role of the teacher librarian because it provides the foundation on which to build the various other roles. It is interesting to note that both Herring (2007) and Purcell (2010) begin their discussions on the role of the teacher librarian with the leadership role. This alone serves to highlight its importance. We as teachers have already committed to becoming effective leaders just by choosing to be teachers (Collay, 2008, p.28). So whether we realise it or not, we naturally develop a leadership style within our everyday teaching. We support and guide our students through their educational journey and this is succeeded through change (Waldron-Lamotte, M. (2014a).

The Debate

It seems as though there are many roles that we as Teacher Librarians are responsible for, whom supposably “sit and read all day and occasionally check out books” (Purcell, 2010, p. 30). While there are many that would argue that we don’t fulfil these roles, there are others who agree that the job of a Teacher Librarian is never done because there are so many roles involved. However they express that we should prioritise one role over another as this would make our jobs more manageable. Admittedly yes, we do have a lot to be responsible for, and yes it is expected of us to multitask. But should we prioritise?

Herring (2007) believes that teaching and learning should be a top priority and that resources should follow. As a teacher, we build upon and extend the student’s knowledge about the topics being covered in the classroom. He says that, “while the physical environment may contract, the information and knowledge environments created by the Teacher Librarian in collaboration with the teachers will greatly expand” (Herring, 2007, p. 40). Valenza (2010) shares a similar view on what the roles a Teacher Librarian play and shares this in a very extensive list, all of which are a vital contribution to the success students achieve throughout their academic journey. Most points from this list align with Herring’s (2010) view that teaching is the prominent role and the rest follow.

Purcell (2010) shares some common views with Herring; particular in her example of the study she performed. She says that by reflecting on how you spend your time, you will be able to identify barriers. For example she shares that, “if you see that 25 percent of your time is spent shelving and doing other clerical tasks, then you need to overcome this barrier to spend more time actively engaging students” (Purcell, 2010, p. 31). Whilst she admits that teaching is extremely important, like Herring, she feels that a collegial work environment is an integral role that we play. She believes that it is vital for the Teacher Librarian to work with the entire school community to decide what should be taught and the resources purchased for the library. There are many misconceptions about what a Teacher Librarian does, so by working collegially with the school community it promotes the profession. Consequently, this should have a positive impact on colleagues and will hopefully begin to change the misconstrued views on what it is we actually do.

As suggested by the article’s title: Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette, Lamb (2011) believes that a Teacher Librarian should not favour one role over another, rather approach each role equally and taking a bit from each “colour” on the palette: People, Administration, Learning, Electronic information, Technology, Teaching and Environments. This would be a much more appropriate method to cope with and manage the ominous tasks that we endure on a daily basis.

The Future Pathways for Teacher Librarians

Now is an exciting time to be involved in educating our next generation. The way we think about education and our approach to teaching is continually evolving, and our libraries are also undertaking a parallel evolution. They are no longer dusty, silent spaces where the main function is to store and catalogue books. Today’s libraries are becoming vibrant spaces for information seeking, sharing, creating, and communicating new learning. They encompass the best traditions of our old-world libraries while embracing multiple pathways to supporting, connecting and collaborating in our new educational environments. Twenty-first century librarians are still there with the right book for the right reader at the right time, but we are also enthusiastic mavens, passionate knowledge-seekers, and committed communicators in this burgeoning landscape.

We can no longer predict knowledge needed for the future, which has significant implications for contemporary literacy programmes. Reconceptualising current literacy approaches will support teachers to develop future-focused literacy teaching.

Image retrieved 25th August 2014 from http://smotlrcblog.edublogs.org/files/2010/08/No-TL.JPG

Image retrieved 25th August 2014 from http://smotlrcblog.edublogs.org/files/2010/08/No-TL.JPG

With changes to the outside world occurring, are we an endangered species? “If school library media specialists are doing their job well, they are making a difference in the ways teachers teach and in the ways students learn. On any given day, a media specialist performs a wide variety of roles that serve to strengthen the entire school community” (Purcell, 2010). “Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills we will need to be productive contributors in the future” (Future Work Skills 2020, 2011). With this being said, you get an idea about what we should be thinking about in terms of our own future for school libraries and the role we will play in the future.

However, there has been much stir circling in the media of late as to whether or not we would eventually become extinct. Many have said that there has been a slow erosion of the uniquely qualified Teacher Librarians. It was once that a Teacher Librarian would be a permanent member of staff that would work full-time, without being dictated by the number of students that attended the school. “And with the NSW government proposing that Principals make their own decisions on funds allocation, a Principal with no particular passion for literature may decide the library and its computer already exists, and so let the specialist go” (Fienberg, A. 2012).

With that being said…

For every Teacher Librarian, defining their role is an important issue and much continues to be written about describing and defining the role (Diggs, 2011; Hamilton, 2011; Herring, 2007; Lamb & Johnson, 2008; Martineau, 2010; McKenzie, 2010; Purcell, 2010). The role is multi-faceted, has the potential to drive change in a school and to impact on student learning (Todd, 2004). It is the teacher librarian’s role to value-add to teaching (Green, 2004). Teacher Librarians must be genuine instructional partners and take an active role in contributing to the learning culture of the school. Teacher Librarians must be proactive, have a clear vision and the ability to articulate and demonstrate the importance of their role.  The role is dynamic and evolving, active, creative and innovative. Teacher Librarians need to be enthusiastic, skilful and knowledgeable; able to invigorate others and draw them into working together for improved learning outcomes for students. Often, Teacher Librarians have to be creative with the use of their time because of the demanding nature of the role (Terrell, 2011).

References

Australian School Library Association (ASLA) & Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2001). Learning for the future (2nd ed.). Carlton, Vic: Curriculum Corporation.

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Diggs, V. (2011). Teacher Librarians Are Education: Thoughts from Valerie Diggs. [Interview]. Teacher Librarian, 38(5), 56-58.

Farewell, S.M. (1998). Profile of Planning: A study of a three-year project on the implementation of collaborative library media programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Florida International University, Miami.

Fienberg, A. (2012). Teacher librarians could soon be left on the funding shelf. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/teacher-librarians-could-soon-be-left-on-the-funding-shelf-20121014-27kry.html

Future Work Skills 2020. (2011). California. Retrieved from http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf

Gibbs, R. (2003). Reframing the role of the teacher-librarian : the case for collaboration and flexibility. Scan, 22(3), 4-7.

Gibbons, A. (2013) Beating heart of the school. Retrieved from http://heartoftheschool.edublogs.org/

Green, G. (2004). Teacher-librarians and the culture of thinking: Taking up the challenge. In S. La Marca & M. Manning (Eds.), Reality bytes: Information literacy for independent learning (pp. 67-73). Carlton, Victoria: School Library Association of Victoria.

Harris, F. J. (2011). The school librarian as information specialist: a vibrant species.Knowledge Quest, 39(5), 28-32.

Hartzell, G 2003, ‘Why Should Principals Support School Libraries?’, Connections, Issue 43, Curriculum Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/cnetw03/46principal.htm.

Hay, L. (2006). School libraries as flexible and dynamic learning laboratories … that’s what Aussie kids want. Scan, 25(2), 19-27.

Haycock, K. (2002). What Works: Building a Collaborative Learning Communities. Teacher Librarian, 29(4)35.

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Johnstone, K. (2009). Softly, softly : the library’s role in staff professional development.Connections(69), 3-4.

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2008). School library media specialist 2.0: a dynamic collaborator, teacher, and technologist. Teacher Librarian, 36(2), 74-78.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s PaletteTechTrends (pp.27-37).

Leppard, L. (2003). The role of the teacher librarian in essential learning. Access, 17(3), 9-11.

Lupton, M. (2012) Inquiry learning and Information Literacy. Retrieved from http://inquirylearningblog.wordpress.com/about/

Mann, S. (2011). 21st-century school librarians: envisioning the future. School Library Monthly, 28(2), 29-30.

Martineau, P. (2010). School librarians: vital educational leaders. Education Digest, 75(6), 4-6.

McKenzie, J. (2010). Teacher librarians : leading, connecting and innovating. Scan, 29(1), 6-9.

O’Connor, C. (2007). Teacher librarians and school leadership. Access, 21(1), 5-7.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2006). Teacher and teacher-librarian collaboration: Moving toward integration. Teacher Librarian, 34(2), 28-33.

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.

Sample Job description: School library media specialist. (2009). Knowledge Quest, 38(2), 80-82.

Teachers Connecting with Teacher Librarians,. (2014). Information Literacy. Retrieved 25 August 2014, from http://www.connect2tls.info/

Terrell, N. (2011). A quality school library program. Knowledge Quest, 40(2), 18-23.

Todd, R. (2004). Information-seeking behaviour. In S. La Marca & M. Manning (Eds.),Reality bytes: Information literacy for independent learning (pp. 3-17). Carlton, Vic: School Library Association of Victoria Inc.

Twomey, M. (2007). Empowering learners : how the teacher librarian, through enactment of the role, empowers learners to shape and enrich a changing world. Access, 21(4), 33-39.

Valenza, J. (2010). Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Retrieved 28th July 2014 from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

Waldron-Lamotte, M. (2014a). ETL 504 Assignment 1 Part A: Leadership a Concept Map. In Melissa’s TL Blog: My Journey to Become a TL. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/melissawaldronlamotte/2014/08/17/etl-504-assignment-1-part-a-leadership-a-concept-map/

Waldron-Lamotte, M. (2014b). Advocacy- Principal Support. In Melissa’s TL Blog: My Journey to Become a TL. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/melissawaldronlamotte/2014/08/02/advocacy-principal-support/

 

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ETL 411 Assignment 1 Web 2.0 Tools

Executive Summary

This report analyses and evaluates four web 2.0 tools that are suitable for primary classrooms. The recommended web 2.0 tools that will be outlined in this report are: Story Jumper, Edmodo, Class Dojo and Voice Thead.

  • Legal and privacy information is detailed within this report for each web 2.0 tool that is suggested.
  • An evaluation of the effective and ease of use is provided.
  • The costs involved in the implementation of these web 2.0 tools are outlined.
  • An implementation proposal demonstrates how this tool could be utilised within the classroom.
  • Curriculum links have also been included to ensure that teachers are well informed on how this tool could be effectively used to enhance the learning outcomes of their students, while addressing the curriculum and utilizing the 21st century digital technologies that are readily available.

Introduction

Web 2.0 is the current generation of technology. Web 1.0 was about viewing and linking and now web 2.0 has expanded and evolved from this initial tool. Web 2.0 is, “a second generation of the world wide web. Conceived as a combination of concepts, trends, and technologies that focus on user collaboration, sharing of user generated content, and social network” (dictionary.com). The Digital Education Revolution is greatly impacting on the education system and the way 21st century students access their learning. “Technology will never replace teachers. However, teachers who know how to use technology effectively to help their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those that don’t” (Catholic Education Office Sandhurst, 2009). Web 2.0 tools offer a wide range of use within the classroom. By integrating it into our best teaching practice, students can achieve optimum results. Many educators emphasise the creative, student-centred pedagogical approaches facilitated by digital tools, while others stress the role of online communication and collaboration in creating well-informed and well-connected global citizens (Pegrum, 2009).

The purpose of utilising web 2.0 tools in education is to enhance student’s learning by providing an environment that allows them to participate in a portable, personal web that is individualised. Students are able to access content being taught in various environments e.g. their classroom, the library, at home, at a friend’s house etc and access this content in their preferred learning style. To be able to participate fully in today’s technologically advanced society, students need to build information literacy skills and possess some level of ICT competence (The ECDL Foundation, 2011).

Due to the developing popularity and demand of technology within the education system, various research has been conducted on the implementation and effective use of technology within the classroom. Light and Polin (2010, pg.20) report that effective teachers are “using web 2.0 tools to create virtual learning environments (VLE) that support their pedagogical goals, both at the classroom and district level, and extend learning beyond the physical walls of the classroom”. However, in many cases the issue is not the lack of online tools available, (as there are many to choose from) rather a matter of how teachers can effectively utilise these tools and integrate it within the curriculum content.

It is with this advancement in technology that the education system has modified and added additional student learning outcomes to adapt to the 21st century environment. The implementation of the new Australian curriculum means that teachers (now more than ever) are required to update their ICT competencies as students need to be taught how to use ICTs effectively across the curriculum, with specific requirements to investigate with ICTs, create with ICTs, communicate with ICTs, manage and operate ICTs, and use ICTs in socially and ethically appropriate ways (ACARA, n.d., b).

Therefore, web 2.0 tools encourage critical thinking, collaboration with others, creative thinking, effective communication, gather, analyse and synthesis information. These technical skills prepare students for achieving success later in life are integrated throughout the ISTE Standards for Students (International Society for Technology in Education, 2007). This report demonstrates how four of the many web 2.0 tools that are available can be implemented into the classroom to enhance student engagement, motivation and learning outcomes.

 

Resource #1: Story Jumper

5486577Overview:

Story Jumper is an excellent tool that can be used throughout literacy sessions. Students are able to create and publish their own stories. They are able to understand the process of composition and relate their experiences to those of the author and illustrator. Students are also able to use both digital and old sources (such as the old pen to paper) methods when writing their stories. Photos or scans of the images created by the students can be imported online and then used in their story. Therefore students are able to use a range of techniques that they have witnessed through previous book studies within their own book. “Story Jumper works for a wide age range; little kids will love just playing around with the graphics, and older kids can construct a more advanced story using the advice provided in the Story Starter section of the site” (Common Sense Media Inc., 2014). This tool is a fantastic way to engage and motivate students through cross curricula learning. Students are exposed to English, Creative Arts, Design and Technology, Human Society and Its Environment, Science and even Mathematics teaching and learning content.

Legal and Privacy Information:

Students who create an account must be over the age 13. Story Jumper requires a person to enter in their birthdate and announces, “anyone under the age of 13 must obtain verifiable parental consent before we can activate their Story Jumper account” (Story Jumper, 2014). This innovative tool also clearly outlines their legal and privacy information within their terms of service document and their privacy policy. Story Jumper also gives teachers an interface to manage and review student’s work so that teachers are aware of technology etiquette and cyber bullying. Story Jumper has also added another unique safety feature, the ‘duration field’. This setting is basically a time limit, set by the teacher so they can either let the class eventually expire, or if desired, click the stop button and end early. When the class expires or is shut down, Story Jumper initiates all of the students work to be saved and then logs every student out of their account until the teacher starts the class again. Only the teacher is able to start the class again. “Story Jumper wants to ensure a student’s privacy is maintained at all times. Setting class duration significantly decreases the chance that students in a shared computing environment accidentally or intentionally access other students’ accounts” (Story Jumper, 2014). Another effective privacy feature that Story Jumper has; is that students can only use their account at school. Students are unable to work on their books unless the class is open by the teacher within their school environment. Alternatively, parents can unlock this feature to allow their child to use this within their home. This feature has been added so that an adult can carefully monitor the work that is being publicly displayed. It is important to note that once a story has been finalised, it is then shared publicly amongst other users and then within weeks, students can search the title of their book using any search engine and it will be found.

Ease of Use:

This resource is extremely easy to use. There is a step-by-step teachers guide that is made readily available to assist in the initial setup of the account and the input of students’ accounts. Story Jumper has also provided an online video tutorial on how it works and how teachers may utilise it effectively within the classroom addressing a range of curriculum outcomes. “Story Jumper includes all kinds of prompts that will help kids get their imaginations rolling. However, once you’re actually creating the book, there isn’t much technical assistance unless you refer back to the main help page” (Common Sense Media Inc., 2014). Whilst this tool can be used from kindergarten to year 12, the lower grades will need to be equipped with basic technology skills before being able to use this tool independently. A lot of support will need to be given to the younger grades, however it can still be effectively used in the most basic form.

Costs:

This is a free and valuable resource for teachers. Students and teachers who create books online are able to share these with other users. However, if a student or teacher wishes to publish the book that has been composed, then there is a small cost involved. Story Jumper offers the following options to print classroom’s books (highest to lowest quality): Professional-grade, hardcover book, paperback book, high-resolution, digital download and low-resolution printing with a watermark. Fortunately, Story Jumper offers volume ordering of class books (10% discount for 15+ books). The order and payment system operates like an ordinary online shop. You add your product to the shopping cart, submit payment and shipping details and then finalise the information. Most books can be purchased for just a small price from $1.95.

Implementation Proposal:

Implementation of this tool would be most effectively used through literacy sessions. Accelerated Literacy, which is the dominant literacy program within the school, would benefit greatly by the use of this tool. Students are often subjected to transformations and pattern writes during their writer’s workshop experiences. It is through these lessons that students develop an understanding of the author’s intentions, ideas and the purpose of the text and how it has been written. Through pattern writes, students develop their own story based on the sentence structure presented to them. Story Jumper can be utilised to provide a greater purpose or goal that students can strive towards. Often with pattern writes, each is segregated to the other and students often lose motivation or can’t see the bigger picture because they aren’t all united to form a story. By using story jumper to publish students’ stories, they will inevitably have a greater sense and understanding of the writing and editing processes that are necessary for effective, creative writing.

Curriculum Outcomes:

English

Early Stage 1: ENe-2A, ENe-7B, ENe-3A, ENe-10C, ENe-12E

Stage 1: EN1-2A, EN1-7B, EN1-9B, EN1-3A, EN1-10C, EN1-11D, EN1-12E

Stage 2: EN2-2A, EN2-7B, EN2-9B, EN2-3A, EN2-10C, EN2-11D, EN2-12E

Stage 3: EN3-2A, EN3-6B, EN3-5B, EN3-7C, EN3-8D, EN3-9E

Issues:

  • Cannot be accessed at home without parental consent.
  • Cost involved when publishing the books, whilst slight, there is still a cost that may deter Principals from agreeing to allow publishing to proceed.
  • Cannot be accessed at home by teachers.

 

Resource #2: Edmodo

Edmodo

Overview:

Edmodo is collaborative web technology that allows students to communicate with one another in an environment that is safe and controlled. Comparable to Facebook, students interact with one another, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices (Kharbach, M., 2014). Edmodo also allows teachers to reward students with badges (like stickers) that can be customized to suit the behavior being rewarded e.g. work ethic, neat presentation, great work etc. The progress page is another effective feature that can be viewed by all involved. This allows students in particular to feel motivated to complete tasks set and they can see when their assignment or homework has been marked and is ready for viewing.

Legal and Privacy Information:

Edmodo has no listed age restrictions as each child is invited to join by a teacher. Unlike Facebook, students can’t “find a friend” or send friend requests. Instead they become a part of a group that is established by the teacher. The teacher then distributes access codes to each of the students. The student enters the code into the prompt box to be able to gain access to that group. Once all students have entered the code, the teacher can then lock the group so that the public and others users are unable to access the group and the content posted. If a student shares the code outside the class, the teacher can change it, without affecting students who have already joined the group. Unlike Facebook, Edmodo does not allow private messages between students. Therefore the teacher is able to view all communication between each child, limiting the chance of cyber bullying to eventuate. All posts are identified by the individual students’ names, so no anonymous posts can be made and the teacher has the ability to delete posts. Parents also have the option to sign up for a free account which allows them to view both the teacher and student activity. A free institutional account is also available to the school so that the school can monitor all content shared by their teachers and students.

Ease of Use:

Edmodo is very user friendly. It is probably the most simplest web 2.0 tools available. The FAQs link is readily available with easy to follow step guides to solve any issues the user may be experiencing. Because Edmodo is comparable to Facebook (a familiar and popular social networking site) it would be easy for students to adapt to and use efficiently.

Costs:

There are no associated costs.

Implementation Proposal:

Edmodo could be implemented in various ways. Teachers could consider the following:

  • Post homework. Teachers are able to post homework tasks in their group forums. Students can either choose to upload a document file of the completed homework or leave a reply in the comment box.
  • Post dates for assessments and revision. Communication is vital for students. This is another avenue to ensure students are kept up to date with important information so that they feel prepared. Parents are also able to access this information, which allows them to prepare and support their child. An alert feature has also been included that allows teachers to select so that an email can be sent to the students email address notifying them of the task. Students can also “turn in” their assignments that only the teacher can see. The assignment can be marked online and the student’s grade can be posted with written feedback.
  • Share videos. Teachers and students can post videos based on the topics being explored in the classroom. The comment box allows students to reflect on what they have learnt and express their opinion. It is important to note that the teacher is able to delete videos and comments posted that may not be relevant to the content being taught in the classroom, or that may be inappropriate.
  • Post listening tasks. Through another web 2.0 tool “voki”, the teacher can create an avatar, attach a voice file to the avatar and then post their voki to Edmodo. Students could then write in the comment box what they hear and answer questions based on what they have heard.
  • Share study materials. Study stack and quizlet are great web 2.0 tools that assist students in memorising information. Glogster is a web 2.0 interactive poster tool that can also assist students when studying. These files can be uploaded and shared on Edmodo.
  • Surveys and polls. A feature found on Edmodo is a survey and poll generator. Teachers can utilise this tool in many ways e.g. Mathematics: data lesson, health survey, Premiers Reading Challenge survey, Premiers Sporting Challenge survey etc.
  • Web Quests. Teachers can post web quests that already supplies the students with the links to the websites required.
  • Joint projects. Edmodo connects teachers from around the world. Teachers could opt to set up a joint project between their schools. In order to do so, they would need to set up another group which they could all access. Students could engage and connect with students they have never met before, sharing resources and ideas and developing an appreciation for one another.

Curriculum Outcomes:

There are many opportunities for Edmodo to be used widely throughout all Key Learning Areas.

Issues:

If students are using i-Pads, it is difficult for them to upload documents to Edmodo.

 

Resource #3 Class Dojo

DOjo (1)

Overview

Class Dojo is a very effective and engaging web 2.0 behaviour management tool. It aims to reduce the time spent managing behavior so that teachers can do more teaching (ClassDojo.com, 2014). ClassDojo provides real-time feedback for students on how they’re meeting classroom expectations and includes an easy way for teachers to share this data with parents. Each student and parent are given usernames and passwords to be able to access this information from home. Classdojo can be accessed from their website or their app can be installed on mobile devices, tablets or i-Pads. Students also have the added benefit of selecting and personalizing their own avatar. This is another great way of engaging students as it is personalised. ClassDojo can help individual children as well as an entire class identify areas for improvement in their behavior and set related goals. Teachers set the behaviors, and goals can be based on schoolwide systems or areas identified by you. You can use the mobile app (iOS and android) to give points from anywhere in the room, which frees you up to move around while providing feedback on students’ academic efforts or on behaviors from critical thinking to kindness. The reports feature can be used at the end of a class to show students where their behavioral strengths and weaknesses are. Class Dojo also enables other features such as an attendance record. In the morning, teachers can display the attendance chart, select the option “mark all absent” and as the students enter the room, they click on their name to mark them as present. This attendance can be saved.

Legal and Privacy Information:

Class Dojo outlines their legal and privacy information within their privacy policy. Class Dojo who is owned and operated by Class Twist Inc. states that they have, “been awarded TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal signifying that this privacy policy and Class Twist Inc’s practices have been reviewed by TRUSTe for compliance with its program requirements including transparency, accountability and choice regarding the collection and use of your personal information” (Class Dojo, 2014). This program only covers Class Dojo and does not cover any other information that may be collected through other sites owned by Class Twist Inc. Class Twist Inc. provide a Terms of Service information page during the time of the initial sign up which highlights, “that you post any Content (as that term is defined in the Company’s Terms of Service, located at www.classdojo.com/terms) on the Website at your own risk” (Class Dojo, 2014). Whilst there are passwords to protect users from being hacked, Class Dojo do admit that even with these privacy measures, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable and therefore no system is completely secure. Class Dojo users need to be aware of this and take full responsibility of the protection of their account details and private information. While there are no age restrictions, as found with most web 2.0, “If you are under the age of 13, you may only use this service and disclose Personal Information with your parent or guardian’s express consent” (Class Dojo, 2014). If users have any questions or concerns regarding privacy at ClassDojo or www.classdojo.com, they can contact hello@classdojo.com.

Ease of Use:

Class Dojo is extremely easy to use. The site provides a very easy to follow guide. Tutorials are readily available online and the FAQs page provides users with various solutions to problems they may encounter.

Costs:

There are no associated costs.

Implementation Proposal:

Teachers can create different classes and add students to each class. Each student is assigned a “monster” avatar. The avatars can be customised. Teachers then input the behaviors and skills they want students to display, such as being on time, participating, or working hard. Students can earn points by behaving the right way. When teachers click Start Class, the student avatars appear as a list on the screen. Each avatar has a number next to it indicating the number of points that student has. These numbers are green when they’re positive and red when they’re negative. Teachers can award points through the computer or by using the app on your phone or tablet. At the end of class, teachers can display a summary of behavior point totals for a class or by individual student. These reports can be emailed to parents, and parents and students can log in with a personalised, secure code to view their progress from home. What teachers decide to do in relation to the points gained by the students is up to them. A suggestion would be that at the start of the week students get into dojo pairs. These pairs work together to encourage one another to get as many points as possible. At the end of the week, the three pairs with the highest amount of points can receive a prize from a prize box. Another suggestion would be to le the points accumulate over the term and then reward the students with the highest points at the end of the term.

Curriculum Outcomes:

As this web 2.0 tool is associated with behavior management, there is no specific curriculum outcome that can be pin pointed. However, to encourage participation and engagement in all Key Learning Areas, teachers could customise behaviours that target particular outcomes and KLAs e.g. super scientist, clever mathematical thinking, warrior writer etc.

Issues:

The effectiveness of the tool for learning depends on how it is used. Some teachers may find it inconvenient to continuously switch screens on the smartboard from their current lesson to Class Dojo. Therefore they may consider carrying their mobile phone in their pocket and utilizing the app to keep the points up to date or alternatively create Class Dojo tokens that can be fast and frequent. Teachers could hand out the dojo tokens without any interference to the lesson and when there is a break in the lesson or another appropriate time, students could “cash in” their dojos by updating their points on the Class Dojo site and returning the tokens to the teacher.

 

Resource #4 Voice Thread

voicethread logo

Overview

VoiceThread is a web 2.0 tool that allows teachers and students to upload images, videos or documents, record audio, video, or text comments, and then collaborate with others and invite them to leave comments as well. This tool is unique due to its audio feature. VoiceThread has been created so that its users can easily add audio commentary to their images and documents. This web 2.0 tool is an effective way for students to express themselves creatively and to explore and create multimedia presentations. Users don’t need an email address to sign up, they may just elect a username and password and then start creating.

Legal and Privacy Information:

As with all web 2.0, VoiceThread has terms and conditions that a user must agree to before being allocated an account. There are no age restrictions, however, a student must be invited by a teacher to be able to gain access and use its facilities. This is a secure learning environment where students are free from the public eye. Only those who have been given permission may access these accounts. Other VoiceThread users may also see the content posted by others if that user elects to have their content made public.

Ease of Use:

VoiceThread can be used by anyone, even if they possess the most basic ICT competence. However, the more experience and skill the user has, the more creative and useable the tool. There are many tutorials on how to effectively and efficiently use this web 2.0 tool readily available for those who require further assistance.

Costs:

Unfortunately there is a cost involved if teachers wish to implement VoiceThread. However, the cost depends on the amount of users.

  • A single license allowing up to 50 student accounts is $79/month.
  • A school licence for 350 users is $450,
  • and for 1000 users is $1100.

Implementation Proposal:

There are many ways to integrate VoiceThread into the curriculum. For example:

  • Analysing and reporting on significant historical places or events. Students could import photographs of such places or events and then use the audio feature to critically analyze and explain their research.
  • Art: Students could upload, describe and explain their artwork. This would enable an in depth analysis and critical reflection of their thought processes. Often when we assess art, we are unable to truly understand the student’s intention and ideas behind their masterpiece. However, by utilizing this tool, teachers will now have a thorough understanding.
  • Virtual Tour: Students could create a virtual tour of a place they are studying. This is a great way to connect with students from different areas in the country or the world. Students could create a multimedia presentation that explores the world they live in and then share it with the other students from the buddy school.
  • Book Report: In literacy sessions or for homework, students could use this tool to give an oral book report. Students could scan illustrations or draw pictures that reflect what they have learnt or the main ideas in the story to add to the presentation as well.
  • LOTE: Language Other Than English lessons. Students could utilise this tool as a study aide. They could draw a picture, write the word and then add the audio for pronunciation.

Curriculum Outcomes:

There are many opportunities for VoiceThread to be used widely throughout all Key Learning Areas.

Issues:

Bandwidth can be a problem if an entire class is working on wireless.

A slideshow cannot be created directly inside VoiceThread with music playing in the background.

If the file is too big, VoiceThread will not upload it. Photo, file, video and audio restrictions need to be checked before composing to save this issue from occurring at the completion of the project.

When recording audio, students will need to be reminded to make sure their voices were picked up by the microphone.

References

ACARA [Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority]. (n.d., a). The Australian Curriculum: English (Rationale/Aims).  Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/English/Rationale

ACARA [Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority]. (n.d., b). The Australian Curriculum: Information and communication technology (ICT) capability (Organising elements). Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Information-and-Communication-Technology-capability/Organising-elements/Organising-elements

Catholic Education Office Sandhurst. (2009). Cool tools for schools: Graduate induction. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/mackas/cool-web-20-tools-for-schools-getting-going-with-web-20

Classdojo.com,. (2014). ClassDojo. Retrieved from http://www.classdojo.com/about

Common Sense Media Inc., (2014). Story Jumper Website Review. Retrieved from http://www.graphite.org/website/storyjumper

International Society for Technology in Education (2007). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/STANDARDS

Kharbach, M. (2014). A Handy Guide to Everything Teachers Need to Know about Edmodo: Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Educatorstechnology.com. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/06/a-handy-guide-to-everything-teachers.html

Light, D., and Polin, D.K., Center for Children and Technology. (2010). Integrating Web 2.0 Tools into the Classroom: Changing the Culture of Learning (PDF). New York, NY: Education Department, Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Retrieved from http://cct.edc.org/sites/cct.edc.org/files/publications/Integrating%20Web2.0.PDF

Pegrum, M. (2009). From blogs to bombs: The future of digital technologies in education. Perth: UWA Publishing.

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ETL 504 Assignment 1 Part A: Leadership, A Concept Map

Part A.1 Leadership Concept Map Part A.2 Critical Narrative

Leadership and how it is defined or recognised differs amongst many. The term and the execution can often be mistaken for management rather than someone who leads an organization, or in this case a school (Quality Leadership in Australian Schools, 2007). Leadership identifies two crucial aspects: WHAT style of leadership is executed (organizational theory) and HOW effective leadership is implemented (leading change). Teachers have already committed to becoming effective leaders just by choosing to be teachers themselves (Collay, 2008, p.28). So whether they realize it or not, they naturally develop a leadership style within their everyday teaching. They support and guide their students through their educational journey and this is succeeded through change. But for teachers to be true leaders, they must be reflective practitioners that are committed to life-long learning. The school context is continually evolving, so teachers must adapt and learn so that they can lead, and learn as they lead (MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. 2009, p.49).

A starting point for leading change should be a moral purpose, accompanied by a shared vision (Dempster, 2008; Law & Glover, 2000; Winzenreid, 2010). Leading change requires effective management, but change also requires leadership. An effective leader is able to distinguish the difference. “Change management refers to a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control. The goal is often to minimise the distractions and impacts of the change. Change leadership, on the other hand, concerns the driving forces, visions and processes that fuel large-scale transformation.” (Kotter, 2011). The moral purpose amongst all schools should be that through learning, people’s lives would be enhanced or improved (Dempster, 2008). The vision set out by the leader is that of their own beliefs and values. However, it also has to reflect the values and beliefs of all stakeholders (Quality Leadership in Australian Schools, 2007). This purpose can be achieved through an enabling environment that is collaborative, built on trust, fosters teamwork, innovation and promotes problem solving. With that comes openness. But to succeed in both elements, communication is vital. Without effective communication, a leader is unable to make sustainable change that needs to be implemented effectively to enhance and improve student’s lives.

Don Tapscott (2012) identifies two different types of change: change that occurs within yourself as a teacher as you evolve with the demands of technology and the needs of the 21st century learners. The second being the change in values in order to implement change. To address the two, he has identified four principles: collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment. These principles are imperative to effectively lead. The leadership in the school stems from the principal. He or she is responsible for leading change, as the Teacher Librarian, staff and the school community respond to the decisions made by him or her. “Effective school leaders have expertise in building school and community capacity and collegiality” (Quality Leadership in Australian Schools, 2007). For example:

  • The Principal defines the vision for the school (transparency).
  • Through collaboration, the Principal shares the vision among school staff, students and the wider school community. He or she is who drives the change towards improving or enhancing people’s lives through learning (Dempster, 2008).
  • The Principal has a wide range of knowledge and skills that can be shared among staff to assist and promote quality teaching and learning (sharing).
  • Finally, the Principal empowers his or her colleagues by establishing long-term benefits.

However, while this demonstrates how a Principal effectively utilises these principles, Teacher Librarians demonstrate these principles in their role as a leader also.

There are many different leadership theories. When considering which leadership style is most suitable, there are conflicting opinions. Does a leader have to only portray one style of leadership? Or can a leader elect to possess various qualities that attain effective leadership? Transformational and instructional leadership styles are found to be comparable and many would argue that these two are the most suitable for an educational leader. As an instructional leader, the Principal is a resource provider, instructional resource, a communicator and visibly present (Smith, W. F., & Andrews, R. L. 1989). These four components are ideal for an educational setting and can also be represented in the leadership qualities that a Teacher Librarian possesses. As pointed out by Robert Greenleaf (1970, 1977), servant leadership emerges from a desire to help others, which is also a great quality or style for any effective leader. A great leader should work collaboratively, inspire, empower and share (Tapscott, 2012) rather than dictate a situation. When one considers the evolving educational setting and the current changes to the 21st century, there should be fluidity in the style of leadership, modifying the elements of leadership to suit different tasks and student cohorts (Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005).  There should not be one-style fits all approach, particularly in an educational setting.

Effective leadership skills such as technical, problem solving, decision making and the five domains of leadership for schools: personal, interpersonal, educational, strategic and organizational that are highlighted in the Leadership Capability Framework (School leadership capability framework, 2006) are imperative to the outcome and success of sustainable change and overall operation of the school.

Technical skills are essential in a 21st century context. As the school environment evolves with the digital revolution, a leader must first be able to master the skill of technology to then effectively implement sustainable change. Whilst it is important that a Principal as the leader of the school acquires these skills, it is now required that a Teacher Librarian is also a media specialist, “librarians need to actively promote their role as CIO and influence the leadership of the school” (Hough, 2014).  Therefore, both the Principal and Teacher Librarian share the role of leading the school community in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The school is an insightful, engaging and resourceful learning facility that should be utilised to assist its students to find purpose in what they are learning, connect it to other experiences and develop skills that are “fundamental to functioning successfully in today’s information and knowledge based society” (International Association of School Libraries, 2006).

Decision-making and problem solving are important aspects of leadership. The approach that leaders use for solving problems and making decisions contributes to the growth or dysfunction of a team (Leadership Management Development Center, Inc., 1997).  In an educational context, the leader works collaboratively with their staff to achieve their vision. They encourage their colleagues to solve problems by taking calculated, legitimate risks (Quality Leadership in Australian Schools, 2007).  Inevitably decisions shape and determine the future (State University of New York Press, 2009). Therefore the leader should possess the skill to both manage and execute decision-making and problem solving within their school to successfully sustain a collegial environment that epitomizes the moral purpose and vision the school upholds.

An effective educational leader also possesses skills that adhere to personal and interpersonal qualities. It is important that a leader is trustworthy, respectful and approachable. Communication is vital in upholding personal and interpersonal skills. Personal relationship skills are valued and they support their staff in achieving their full potential. Effective leaders encourage innovative thinking and possess emotional intelligence (Quality Leadership in Australian Schools, 2007). These qualities are reflected in the five domains in the Leadership Capability Framework. Without these characteristics, the school context would be dysfunctional. It would form boundaries that separate the leader from the school community rather than unite them together. The style of leadership will often reflect the skills that are utilised and ultimately determine the future success of the school in executing their vision.

In conclusion, leadership is not hierarchical rather a process and a product of the interactions between members of the school community and their situation. School leadership is not the sum of its individual leaders. School leadership is a system, a culture (Hargreaves & Fink, 2003).  It involves various elements and qualities that engage with promoting life-long learning, leading change and implementing a shared vision and moral purpose. Effective leadership requires distinguished skills that are derived from the leadership style depicted. While there are various styles, many are comparable and a leader will often execute qualities from a range rather than a specific leadership style.

References

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dempster, N. (2008). What do we know about leadership? In J. MacBeath & N. Dempster (Eds.), Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from EBook Library database.

Greenleaf, R. (1970). The servant as leader. Indianapolis: Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership.

Greenleaf, R. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

Hough, M. (2014, July 12). Libraries as iCentres: Helping Schools. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access/access-commentaries/icentres.aspx

International Association of School Libraries (March 28, 2006). IASL Policy Statement on School Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/about/handbook/policysl.html

Kotter, J. (July 2011). Change Management vs. Change Leadership – What’s the difference?. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2011/07/12/change-management-vs-change-leadership-whats-the-difference/

Law, S., & Glover, D. (2000). Leading effective teams. In Educational leadership and learning: Practice, policy and research (pp. 71-86). Buckingham, England: Open University Press.

Leadership Management Development Center, Inc. (1997). Decision making styles. Retrieved from http://www.leadershipmanagement.com/html-files/decision.htm

MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London: Routledge.

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Quality Leadership in Australian Schools. (2007). Curriculum And Leadership Journal: An Electronic Journal For Leaders In Education, 5(9). Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/leader/quality_leadership_in_australian_schools

School leadership capability framework. (2006). Professional Learning and Leadership Development. Retrieved from https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/areas/sld/frameworks/slcf/slcf_more.htm

Smith, W. F., & Andrews, R. L. (1989). Instructional leadership: How principals make a difference. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

State University of New York Press (2009). Introduction: Leadership, Decision Making, and Unexplored Issues in Decision Making. Retrieved from http://www.sunypress.edu/pdf/61932.pdf

Tapscott, D. (2012). Don Tapscott: Four principles for The Open World. TEDGlobal 2012. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html

Winzenreid, A. (2010). Towards an organisation theory for information professionals. In Visionary leaders for information. Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies.

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ETL 504 Assignment 1 Part B: Reflective critical analysis, blog post

My Leadership Concept MapThroughout this course we have been exposed to a variety of different authors who provide various outlooks on what leadership in schools looks like. By reviewing the course modules it is clear that leadership can be identified in two crucial aspects: WHAT style of leadership we execute (organizational theory) and HOW we execute effective leadership (leading change). I have never really thought about myself as a leader until now. Initially my opinions on leadership were more aligned to managerial qualities rather than someone who collaboratively works with their school community to execute common established goals. I now see how misguided my perspective was.

As I am not an acting Teacher Librarian in a school as yet, I have often asked myself, when the time comes, where do I start? Through the exploration in my concept map (above) as well as the various readings throughout the course so far, I have found that a starting point for leading change should be a moral purpose accompanied by a shared vision (Dempster, 2008; Law & Glover, 2000; Winzenreid, 2010).

No matter what the moral purpose or shared vision is; it can only be achieved through an enabling environment, as shown in my concept map. Without a collaborative environment that fosters teamwork, promotes problem solving, encourages innovation and is built on trust, the school context would become dysfunctional and segregated from one another making it impossible to achieve anything. This has also made me question whether or not this may be the reason why people often have a misguided view on the role of Teacher Librarians. Perhaps their leadership qualities are not effective and lack motivation? In many schools I have found that Teacher Librarians feel defeated by the overpowering view that they are just someone who takes the “real” teacher’s class once a week and scans barcodes.

Don Tapscott’s (2012) four principles: collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment I find are imperative to the role of the Teacher Librarian, and perhaps the solution to changing the diminishing view of Teacher Librarians. The Teacher Librarian defines the vision for the school, particularly in the area of ICT and Literacy that is collaboratively agreed upon (transparency). Through collaboration the Teacher Librarian shares the vision among school staff, students and the wider school community. He or she is who drives the change towards improving or enhancing people’s lives through learning (Dempster, 2008). The Teacher Librarian has a wide range of knowledge and skills that can be shared among staff to assist and promote quality teaching and learning (sharing). Finally the Teacher Librarian empowers his or her colleagues by establishing long-term benefits that are sustainable and reflect the current context of the school. I say this because the digital education revolution has redefined the way we learn and teach. It is crucial that the Teacher Librarian and teachers evolve and adapt with the changes, rather than block and ignore. I believe the Teacher Librarian is qualified and the most appropriate staff member to lead the school community in this area.

There are many different leadership theories (as seen above).  Upon reflection, I personally believe that transformational and instructional are comparable and therefore these two are the most suitable for the Teacher Librarian. Having said that, I have found traits of servant leadership in my own teaching practice as I have the desire to help others (Robert Greenleaf, 1970, 1977). I also believe that after reading the leadership theories in Marzano, Waters & McNulty (2005), it clarified for me that I also use situational leadership, modifying my style to suit different tasks and student cohorts. I do think that this is an important style Teacher Librarians need to consider as they teach multiple classes, all of whom possess different learning styles and personalities.

In conclusion, there are many differing views on the “superior” style of leadership that should be executed. I feel as though each style has desirable qualities, therefore I can’t seem to pin point one particular style that I portray. As I have found, there are multiple. The style in which is chosen reflects the skills in which we use. This ultimately determines the success of achieving the goals that we set. I look forward to learning more and I am interested to see what my views on leadership are at the conclusion of this subject. Already I have changed my mind a million times.

References

Dempster, N. (2008). What do we know about leadership? In J. MacBeath & N. Dempster (Eds.), Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from EBook Library database.

Greenleaf, R. (1970). The servant as leader. Indianapolis: Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership.

Greenleaf, R. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

Law, S., & Glover, D. (2000). Leading effective teams. In Educational leadership and learning: Practice, policy and research (pp. 71-86). Buckingham, England: Open University Press.

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Tapscott, D. (2012). Don Tapscott: Four principles for The Open World. TEDGlobal 2012. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html

Winzenreid, A. (2010). Towards an organisation theory for information professionals. In Visionary leaders for information. Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies.

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Collaborative Curriculum Programs ETL 504 Topic 3

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from http://betterboards.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/leadership-web.jpg

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from http://betterboards.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/leadership-web.jpg

Have you been able to identify any particular element of leadership practice in collaborative environments, that has made you stop and think about the practical professional opportunities that you may like to explore or adopt in your school? What sort of approaches would you like to explore in the future?

As stated earlier in this course, I relate to the instructional leadership style. I believe that it would be the most effective style to utilise within the school community. As stated by Collay (2011, p.28) “choosing to become a teacher at all is an act of leadership”. So whether we realize it or not, we naturally develop a leadership style within our everyday teaching day to support and guide our students through their educational journey. It is how we choose to lead that is the most important.

It has only been since participating in this course that I have become aware of the different leadership styles, because until now, I’ve honestly never really thought about it. As a result of reading the papers and articles I have become informed about the various styles and have now begun to form my own opinions about each. I have also reflected on my own teaching practice and have found that I portray a mixture of both instructional and servant leadership. I think it is important when collaborating with the school community that the characteristics highlighted in the instructional style of leadership are evident. As an instructional leader you are a resource provider, instructional resource, communicator and visibly present (Smith, W. F., & Andrews, R. L. 1989) all of which are imperative in a collaborative environment.

As a new scheme teacher and only three years into my career, I am still trying to find my feet and I am constantly updating resources, knowledge and skills in order to provide my students with the quality education they all deserve. In the future, as a leader I will continue to move in the direction of instructional leadership. As a teacher I will provide my students with an abundant amount of quality, engaging resources that are relevant and up to date so that it supports the teaching and learning within the classroom. As an instructional resource I will continue to develop my knowledge and skills to ensure that I can provide my students with a quality education. As a communicator, I will keep my students up to date with opportunities that arise in the school and will effectively communicate any information necessary to them as well as to their parents. As an instructional leader I will make myself visibly present and provide and safe and supportive learning environment and ensure that students know that I am very approachable which will come as I develop a rapport with them. Naturally, these characteristics will be present in my classroom whether I label them or not and will also be fostered in the wider school community.

References

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from http://betterboards.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/leadership-web.jpg

Smith, W. F., & Andrews, R. L. (1989). Instructional leadership: How principals make a difference. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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Leadership for Learning ETL 504 Topic 3

leadership-quotes-cool-images-300x126Leadership for learning is defined as “principled influential interactions arising from, and resulting in, valued learning” (Macbeath and Swaffield, 2009, p.49). As teachers we are leaders in our classrooms. Our students rely upon us to guide and support them through their educational journey. But for us to be true leaders, leaders that are worthy of this title we must be reflective practitioners that are also committed to life-long learning. Throughout previous modules and stated in other courses I am currently undertaking, technology and the way we teach is continually evolving, as such we need to constantly adapt to new environments, methods of teaching and learning as well as the resources readily available to engage and motivate our students. So therefore, as stated by Macbeath and Swaffield (2009) “leaders need to learn and learners learn as they lead”(p.49).

Leadership for learning also encompasses collaboration and communication as a way to support life-long learning. Students are able to access these skills modeled by their leader (teacher) and therefore effectively enhance their learning experiences. After reading Trilling and Fadel (2009) it is clear that these skills, together with inquiry, develop effective problem solving skills in students. Leadership for learning all about offering various teaching and learning opportunities and methods to ensure the needs of ALL students are met so that each student can access their learning effectively. By doing so they are continually engaged and will be successful learners whom continue to develop and strive to achieve their best.

How does this definition connect to instructional leadership?

As Wilma Smith and Richard Andrews (1989) mention, instructional leadership has four dimensions. An instructional leader is a resource provider, instructional resource, communicator and visibly present. An instructional leader is someone who collaborates effectively with their school community. Instructional leadership can be described as the process of reflecting on outcomes and collaborating with others when learning. As Marzano (2005) shares, the leadership style that is evident in ‘leadership for learning’ is reflected in the characteristics of an instructional leader; the teacher guides and supports their students through their learning experiences while fostering and maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment.

References:

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from http://picsndquotes.com/quotes/leadership-quotes/attachment/leadership-quotes-cool-images/

MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London: Routledge.

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.

Smith, W. F., & Andrews, R. L. (1989). Instructional leadership: How principals make a difference. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Trilling, B, & Fadel, C. (2009). Learning and innovation skills. 21st century skills learning for life in our times (pp. 45-60). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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Don Tapscott ETL 504 Topic 2

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/oca3-prod/media/21st_century_classroom.jpg

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/oca3-prod/media/21st_century_classroom.jpg

I found Don Tapscott’s video titled “Four Principles of an Open World” enlightening. He spoke of two different types of change: change that occurs within yourself as a teacher as you evolve with the demands of technology and the needs of the 21st century learners and the second being the change in values in order to implement change. This video highlights the issues found in today’s technological advancing world, and the issue is just that. Technology is continually evolving and teachers and leaders find it difficult to evolve with it.

I have seen many cases in my short time as a qualified teacher where the older generation of staff whom are nearing retirement cannot be bothered to learn new innovative ways to teach through the use of technology. It’s as the saying goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” However, there have been the small select few where they are willing to adapt to the 21st century environment and become proficient in the use of ICT and integrate into their teaching and learning programs.

Don Tapscott’s highlights four key principles: collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment.

Collaboration:

The “net generation” have been born into a society where technology becomes second nature. Students in classrooms today don’t know any different, they have probably never entered a classroom where there is no smartboard. We as “digital immigrants” are aware of this and in my experience are progressively catering for the needs of these students through the effective and proficient use of ICT. Because students are apart of this “net generation”, through the use of ICT students can collaboratively learn together and from each other. Social media is a powerful tool and if used appropriately can foster engaging and effective learning experiences. Students could use blogs and wikispaces to reflect on their learning as well as become involved in their peers learning experiences. This could also be used as an effective collaborative tool with the wider school community. Parents could become more involved in their child’s learning because they can access the teaching and learning content from home, if it was posted to one of these social media sites.

Transparency:

Don Tapscott’s speaks about transparency and how the digital age is a powerful tool to source a wide range of information. You can literally find out anything by accessing the world wide web. While this can definitely be used to the teachers advantage and it is most certainly a positive, there is also a risk. Students would need to be taught online etiquette, particularly as cyber bullying is growing. The librarian as the media specialist should take the lead role in ensuring students aware of their rights and responsibilities as well as the dos and don’ts and that teachers are kept up to date with the recent policies and procedures regarding the use of ICT and any amendments made to the code of conduct regarding this area.

Sharing:

Embracing change and being prepared to share our ideas and resources is another principle mentioned by Tapscott. Through the use of technology, we no longer have to constantly reinvent the wheel. There are many ideas, resources and programs that can be sourced on the internet simply with the click of a button. Pinterest and Facebook pages are becoming increasingly popular and programs are becoming increasingly creative due to colleagues coming together and openly sharing their ideas.

Empowerment:

It is vital that the librarian shares their knowledge with the rest of the school community, as knowledge is power. If librarians wish to be respected by their colleagues (which seems to be a common battle within many schools) then the promotion of their qualified expertise, ideas, knowledge, innovative teaching and learning styles and engaging technology tools will assist towards changing the misconception of librarians just being “fill ins”.

In conclusion, through the use of Don Tapscott’s four principles, the library is then able to foster innovative and engaging teaching and learning experiences, support and guide colleagues in the use of ICT, promote collaboration as a school community and unify staff, students and the wider community to achieve success in a technological advancing world.

References:

Don Tapscott’s ‘Four Principles of an Open World’, http://embed.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html

Image retrieved 13th August 2014 from https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/oca3-prod/media/21st_century_classroom.jpg

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OLJ ETL 401 Blog Task 1

The role of the Teacher Librarian is multifaceted. The Digital Education Revolution is greatly impacting on the education system and the way the 21st century student accesses their learning. So it is the responsibility of the Teacher Librarian as the media specialist, to put on another hat and lead the school community into the 21st century. The TL does this whilst adhering to and complying with the professional standards; leading the curriculum and information literacy; managing information services, staff and budgets; collaborating with colleagues and of course teaching (Herring, 2007).  It is expected that the TL is to be able to perform their duties successfully. To do so, a media specialist is required to accept new tasks and challenges and ultimately evolve with their changing roles (Purcell, 2010, p.33).

Image retrieved on 10th August 2014 from: http://jenscatablogue.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/herrring_rolestl.jpg

Image retrieved on the 10th August 2014 from: http://jenscatablogue.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/herrring_rolestl.jpg

The professional standards are designed to guide the professional practice of Teacher Librarians in schools. The SLASA Standards (School Library Association of South Australia) divide the role of the Teacher Librarian into six categories; teaching and learning, leadership, curriculum involvement, management, literature promotion and services. These standards are also evident within the National and International standards. The role of the Teacher Librarian is always subject to debate. Many people share common opinions about how that looks, while others oppose and voice differing views. Herring (2007) and Purcell (2010) believe that one area is more prominent than the other. Whilst they both recognise that there are many roles that a Teacher Librarian plays in the school, Herring (2007) believes that teaching and learning should be a priority, resources are secondary. Purcell (2010) suggests that a collegial work environment is paramount to the TL’s role and should be treated as such. These views both conflict with one another because as mentioned by Lamb (2011) the TL should not favour one role over the other, rather do it all equally. Teaching cannot happen unless the TL works collaboratively with staff and program together; and working collaboratively with staff will inevitably lead to teaching.

The Teacher Librarian will always be faced with criticism and the fear of becoming an ‘endangered species’. This is due to the tired misconstrued view that has been formed over the years on the vital role they play in schools. Purcell (2010, p.32) highlights that one of the ongoing responsibilities is to serve as an advocate to show the critical function media programs perform in teaching and learning. “Aspiring teachers don’t come to think of school libraries as potential partners in curriculum and instruction” (Hartzell, 2010, p.2). Therefore, as Farewell (1998) and Haycock (2002) highlight, the principal plays a vital role as teacher-librarians and the principal share leadership and both promote a shared vision. “Librarians serve on curriculum committees, help with staff development, and participate in a wide variety of school operations. None of that happens if the principal doesn’t want it to” (Hartzell, 2010, p.4).

In conclusion, “the school library provides information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today’s information and knowledge-based society” (International Association of School Libraries, March 28, 2006). Whilst the role of the TL is quite extensive: addressing and upholding the International, National and State standards; working collaboratively with staff and leading the school in information literacy and the curriculum and sharing the same vision with the principal, managing each ‘hat’ is crucial. Haycock (2002, pg.32) points out that “collaboration is not easy. But it is the single professional behaviour of teacher-librarians that most affects student achievement”.

 

References

Farewell, S.M. (1998). Profile of Planning: A study of a three-year project on the implementation of collaborative library media programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Florida International University, Miami.

Hartzell, G. N. (2002). What’s it take? Professor, Educational Administration and Supervision University of Nebraska, Omaha: http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf

Haycock, K. (2002). What Works: Building a Collaborative Learning Communities. Teacher Librarian, 29(4)35.

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher Librarians and the School Library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp.27-42).

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette. TechTrends (pp.27-37).

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 (pp.30-34).

School Library Association of South Australia – http://www.slasa.asn.au/Advocacy/rolestatement.html

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Accountability and Research Topic 2

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Image retrieved 2nd August 2014 from http://designurge.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/6a00d8341c5c2253ef01538e0ac5cd970b.jpg

It has become clear at the completion of this topic that the teacher librarian’s priority is to promote an environment where students can become and grow as successful learners. In order for this to happen several others factors need to addressed: Teacher and teacher librarian collaboration, library maintenance and management and a promotion of literacy in all forms.

These priorities can be made clear through proactive measures such as attending staff and stage meetings, actively seeking professional development in other key learning areas (particularly now that the new Australian curriculum is progressively being implemented), organising events such as: book week, premier’s reading challenge and author visits, engaging students to partake in roles within the library e.g. library monitors, hosting your own workshops to share your expertise in the areas of ICT and assisting teachers by resourcing the curriculum.

The need for modernisation would also be integral. The school community needs to see the teacher librarian as a leader and as a media specialist it is ideal that they are the ones to lead the school community into the 21st century. By reinventing the library, you are also changing the tired old perception that libraries are just about books and the librarian just sits behind the counter and once in a while scans a barcode.

With a proactive approach that is both helpful and inviting, you can make your priorities both clear and palatable to the school community.