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ETL 503 Module 1 The school library collection in the context of teaching and learning and the digital environment

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The following quote resonated with me “the pace of change has been such that there has been no time for systematic research into the efficacy of different models of publishing, collecting and resourcing curriculum and how they contribute to learning”. I think we need to remind ourselves of this, and the rapid speed in which information transfer has occurred in the last 10 years alone.

I remember the days of the chunky modem to connect to the internet, waiting for the DJ to stop speaking so I could hit ‘record’ on my cassette player to record my mix tape, submitting my final assessment online via paper copy into an Assignment collector bin, to eventually purchasing my own i-Pad. I am proud and excited to be able to say I have experienced all of this change first hand, however anxious as I cannot predict precisely the ramifications of this rapid change and therefore cannot predict where we’ll be in another 10 years time.

Currently, at our school, despite our print collections being quite well stocked, the fact remains (and as the Module 1 topic notes dictate), ‘the presence of information technology is growing and teacher librarians are stepping up to the challenge of providing both a physical collection (DVDs, books, print journals, newspapers, etc) collection and a digital collection (streaming video, e-books, journal databases, websites, learning objects, apps etc) to meet the needs of the curriculum within their school’. With the new system OSCAR coming soon and online cataloguing systems already available, the digital world is here and it’s here to stay.

I mean, sure, one can assume, especially after reading ‘substantially less than 50% increase over the last year’ (Shatzkin, 2013). However, regardless of what happens, we as TL’s ”face the challenge of educating their community about the complexity of the current situation and of working with administrators, learners, teachers, publishers, funders and system providers to ensure delivery of optimal school library collections and associated services.” This will ultimately add to the question of how trends such as these may impact school libraries.

Shift in culture: my school as an example: Staff are beginning to see the value of our Teacher Librarian and how her expertise can be utilised and enhance students’ learning outcomes through technology.

Re-defining who/what the teacher librarian is/does: Teachers are now considering the option of working alongside the teacher librarian to cater for the needs of the 21st century learner. The teacher librarian is readily becoming the Information technology specialist.

The two points above, coupled with:

Strategic Plan: Re-evaluating the current school library collection and resources. What do staff encompass as their overall vision of the collection, and does this fit in with the Executive’s? Or the Ethos of the school? This introduction in ebooks come at a cost. How will the analytics be collected and what would be done with the statistics of usage? How do you manage this? How do you manage Copyright?

From the notes in module 1 I was intrigued by the notion that in the near future it won’t be the publisher who decides which books get released but rather the e-book retailers. Amazon has the market share; will this mean some books will only be sold via Amazon due to licensing deals? Will all children’s books have to have an animation and audio component to be viable? This would take the emphasis away from reading and towards listening and watching and also the tactile nature of current books would also be lost. I however, found comfort in the quote given in Libraries for a Post-Literate Society, Johnson, D. (2010)

So in terms of these trends impacting school libraries – so long as we’re capable of adapting (ourselves professionally AND our resources within the library), and that we are able to assist our students how to access and be able to undertake higher order thinking when evaluating these resources,  then we’re on to something, right? I think there is the potential for libraries to not just offer e-books for loan, but also offer the readers themselves for loan for people to try for themselves. Lessons in using new technology resources should also be considered if introducing new forms of technology into the collection.

References:

Johnson, D. (2010). Libraries for a post-literate society. Connections Issue 72, pp. 1-2

Shatzkin, M. (2013) “The Truth is We Do Not Yet Know Whether e-books Will Work for Anything Other Than Readerly Books” (http://www.idealog.com/blog)

Shatzkin, M. (Jan 2, 2013). The Shatzkin Files – What to look for in 2013. In The Idea Logical Company. Retrieved from http://www.idealog.com/blog/what-to-watch-for-in-2013/

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ETL 402 Module 1: Overview and Introduction to Children’s Literature

The history of children’s books

When defining children’s literature, Barone (2011, p. 9) mentions the debate about when children’s literature was said to begin. Was it when literature was written for children or was it from when children started using literature written for adults (Barone, 2011, p. 9)? While children’s literature is influenced by how adults perceive childhood resulting in books to learn from, books for enjoyment, or a combination of the two (Barone, 2011, p. 19).

The University of Delaware Library Special Collections Department’s (2010) website the World of the Child was really interesting as it has some of the books that were mentioned in previous readings as well as some of the books I have read which I hadn’t realised were written so long ago.

Madej (2003, p. 1) summed up one of the main things that I appreciate about children’s literature when she wrote that children’s literature helps children to “construct meaning for themselves”. It’s always interesting to listen to what children have taken away from the story you have spared as there are countless times where they have noticed something that you have missed. As Winch (2006, p. 401) said “literature is a deep experience that we respond to in many different ways and at many different levels.” We all have our own beliefs, experiences and emotions which affect the way we respond to and understand literature.

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Madej (2003, p. 15) writes about the reality of children’s literature in games which I hadn’t made the connection to before however upon reflection on playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo, 2010) I can see this is very true.

Defining children’s literature

Winch (2006, 393) states that children’s literature is typically defined as “literature for children or, less commonly, as literature of children” and moves onto discuss the differences between the two perspectives.

While Burke (2008, Development and social-constructionist Models section) and Winch (2006, p. 396) highlighted the debate of how to define children, Winch (2006, p. 394) discusses the debate about what constitutes literature. Winch (2006, p. 398) defines literature as “a body of writing – fictional and factual – includes novels, poetry, drama, biographies and autobiographies”. Winch (2006, p. 398) states that children’s literature is “literature that is usually written by adults, for children and to children”. Children’s literature historically aimed to teach, socialise and acculturate about morals, religion and education while today they tend to entertain and teach children about social issues and ideas (Winch, 2006, p. 398). I love Winch’s (2006, p. 398) notion that children’s literature is “a conversation – that a society has with its young”.

Winch (2006, p. 400) suggests that we should read to children of all reading capabilities and to read books that these children many not select to read for themselves. I think this is a great idea as students who are very focused in one area of reading such as Zac Power can discover other genres and characters that they enjoy. At my current school we implement the Accelerated Literacy program which entails studying a book for a term. Students are exposed to a range of literature that they wouldn’t necessarily look at unless we presented it to them. Students also study the author and develop an appreciation for writing and illustrating as they begin to understand the process and the intent behind each story.

Winch (2006, p. 406) discusses the commonality between children’s literature and poetry. I think this is true as some books are more enjoyable read aloud to highlight the flow of the words and sometimes the rhyming. 

It was interesting to read about Winch’s (2006, p. 407) belief that we should remember that books are to be enjoyed which Barone (2011, p. 8) also encourages teachers to do. Children’s Literature: Literature, as in fiction and nonfiction, written by anyone for children aged between 0-18 years old.  

The value of literature to children

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Haven, K. F. (2007). Story proof : The science behind the startling power of story. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group.

As a teacher Haven’s chapter is so inspiring and reaffirming.

  • Knowing the structure of stories improves comprehension and information delivered in a story structure is easier for students to comprehend increases informational memory and recall (Haven, 2007, p. 91 & 97).
  • As humans, we think, live and learn through stories (Haven, 2007, p. 104)
  • Curriculum content is more effectively and better when it is presented within the context of a story structure (Haven, 2007, p. 104).
  • Using a story and story structure enhances the creation of meaning (Haven, 2007, p. 104).
  • Haven (2007, p. 105) quotes Mahl-Madrona’s (2005) conclusion that “Story provides the dominant frame for organising experience and for creating meaning out of experience. …Stories provides the dominant frame for organising experience and for creating meaning out of experience.” While Drew (2005) states that “Stories provide a template for character and self-development and they also provide a model through which to approach life.” (Haven, 2007, p. 103)
  • Haven (2007, p. 106) quotes the following conclusion by Barbrow et al. (2005) “Stories provide a way to make sense of experience. Stories provide particularly important ways of understanding when unexpected, or uncertain experiences challenge what had previously been taken for granted.” The children we teach go through so much as such a young age from parents in jail, to abusive relationships, to terminal illness of their friends or themselves. I like to think that the stories we can select to read and include in our collects can help in some way to help them process what they are experiencing and help to create a sense of belonging. It’s a bit weird but when life has turned upside down is a relief to know you’re not the only one to have challenges like this and that there is a way through it.
  • Haven (2007, p. 108) writes that stories can create “enthusiasm and a sense of belonging and community” so while stories are valuable from an educators perspective as teachers we are also invested in the emotional health of our students. In this sense stories can be used as a tool to help improve emotional health and social issues.
  • If I cannot see the point or reason for learning something I lack motivation. To increase learning and interest use stories to “create context and relevance for new” lessons (Haven, 2007, p. 109).
  • According to Haven (2007, p. 112) “stories and storytelling effectively communicate facts, concepts, beliefs, values, and other tacit knowledge.” While storytelling also enhances literacy learning (Haven, 2007, p. 113).

“Are stories as more efficient and effective vehicle for communicating factual, conceptual, emotional, and tacit information and a more effective teaching vehicle? Not only yes, but absolutely, yes!” (Haven, 2007, p. 122)

 What are your pleasures in literature?

ESCAPE – When life is too busy, too messy, too stressful, just too something a good book allows you to step back, switch off and dive into another world where problems will be solved by someone else by the next chapter or the end of the book.

IMAGINATION – I enjoy reading stories where you get to imagine a completely different world with different possibilities, characters and beings.

ADVENTURE – I loved reading ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ to my year 3 and 4 students. They were so engaged in the story and became so involved in discussions. Because I also teach in a rural area where most parents are farmers, the students could also relate and make connections to the story and their real life experiences.

Zipes, J. (2009). Misreading children and the fate of the book in: Relentless progress the reconfiguration of children’s literature, fairy tales, and storytelling. London: Routledge. (Chapter 2, p. 27-44)

Zipes (2009, p. 29) laments that many homes are without books which it a disturbing thought! We even have a Home reader program and allow students to choose their own books to take home each day, but still the parents are too busy to listen to their children read each night and the children never return them. Our library’s bookshelves are overflowing with children literature and our Librarian is forever adding new books that the children request. We are extremely fortunate to have a well stocked library, but again the children just don’t have an appreciation for books as they used to!

As a teacher the lack of books in some family’s homes is a worry. If there are no books how are parents modelling the importance of reading to their children and the joy of reading for pleasure?

From a teachers perspective I see children who perceive reading to be just something they ‘have’ to do. They don’t find it enjoyable and they tend to read without meaning, reflection or interaction. They are as Zipes (2009, p. 30) terms it ‘misreading’: missing meaning which prevents effective comprehension.

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We need to ensure that our students have at least one adult in their lives that values literature for enjoyment and discovery, by sharing our love of stories and the fun, excitement and discussions that they inspire. We need to teach students that the literature is not simply about ‘curriculum’ learning it is also about learning and discovering ourselves and those around us.

Ebooks in an educational setting…

In response to iPad: Evolution of Books (SoldierKnowsBest, 2010) I wonder do some of these enhancements distract the reader from the story? I love the idea of enhanced e-books as students are so immersed in technology.

Advantage of the use of eBooks in the school library environment: Students are interested in ebooks and if we can harness that interest for educational purposes or to generate effective readers or students that choose to read for pleasure what a future for our students.

Disadvantages of the use of eBooks in the school library environment:

  • Which devices do you cater for?
  • Who provides the devices?
  • How do we make e-content accessible for everyone?
  • How do we fund it?

Oxford has a free UK ebook site that allows you to select an ebook and it will be read to you. When you click on the title it shows you the series or book level however when it is read to you the pictures are visible but the text isn’t which could be a drawback. It provides a range of genres but limited titles and it would be useful to have more flexible search options.

http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/teacher

Inkmesh (2013) is an interesting site that provides an ebook search engine to find and compare ebook prices for various ebook readers.

https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.inkmesh.com?gname=teacher_librarians

References

Barone, D. M. (2011). Children’s literature in the classroom : engaging lifelong readers. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://www.csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/Read.aspx?p=581948&pg=15

Burke, C. (2008). Theories of Childhood. Encyclopaedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society. Retrieved from http://www.faqs.org/childhood/So-Th/Theories-of-Childhood.html

Guldberg, H. (2009). Reclaiming childhood: freedom and play in an age of fear: Retrieved from EBL Library.

Madej, K. (2003). Towards digital narrative for children: from education to entertainment, a historical perspective. ACM Computers and Entertainment, 1(1). doi: 10.1145/950566.950585

The University of Delaware Library Special Collections Department. (2010). World of the Child. Retrieved from http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/child/

Winch, G. (2006). Literacy: reading, writing and children’s literature (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

 

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EER 500 Assignment 1a

Research Topic or Problem

The focus of my research is Information and Communications Technology (ICT), which has originated from my recent experience and exposure to ICT within schools over the course of my teaching career. To be more specific, my inquisitive proposal is parallel to the implementation of ICT into the classroom and school environment and the implications that accompany it. For many years now, the in-school use of technology has been growing exponentially with many classes

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forgoing the use of chalkboards for interactive whiteboards and many more, if not most, making use of desktop computers for conducting in-class research, learning vital computer competencies for the twenty-first century, and to enhance student knowledge and understanding across a range of topics. Within this subject, I have also decided to touch base with the many implications that accompany its implementation; such factors include its possible applications, accessibility, the barriers of socioeconomic status, cultural considerations for indigenous students, the age-old conflict of teaching old teachers new tricks, and the advancement of ICT in the future and where it may be heading in an educational context. All of these factors can affect the impact of ICT on students for better or for worse and I aim to bring these considerations into perspective through my research.

Draft Research Question

I have three possible questions that I would like to research:

  1. The twenty-first century’s technological advancements are revolutionising the way that society negotiates everyday life; education included. How has the integration of ICT changed the way we educate the students of today, and what is the education system doing to ensure that the advancements are parallel to the ongoing changes in society?
  2. There are a number of current issues and concerns relating to the integration of ICT into classrooms that have a high percentage of Indigenous students, as well as in classrooms belonging to schools of low socio-economic areas. What are some of the most pressing issues and how will it affect the students involved?
  3. Education has forever been an evolving entity, always seeking improvement and existing parallel to the norms of society. As such, teachers should be expected to evolve with the education system within which they teach, and thus be included in government budgets and expenditure for the purpose of updated training. What is being done to support the retraining of teachers, and even if teachers are being retrained, how equitable is ICT access within the school environment for its effective integration within the classroom?

From Literature to Research Question and Practical Importance

Budde, P. (2011). Australia – Digital Economy – E-Education and E-Government. Bucketty: 1-13.

Based on the analysis and critical reflection on this paper, The National Broadband Network’s (NBN) aims and objectives are to provide extensive resources and avenues in the area of ICT in the education sector. As such, the technological advancements that are promoted due to this scheme are greatly enhanced and reiterate that ICT is an inevitable transformation that we as educators will be exposed to. This paper clearly outlines how ICT in the classroom will take shape as a learning tool. As a tool, ICT is inevitably enhancing teaching and learning as it is addressing the demand of evolution in the 21st century and to meet the needs of the students who are being educated in it.

Peeraer, J. & Van Petegem, P. (2011). “ICT in teacher education in an emerging developing country: Vietnam’s baseline situation at the start of ‘The Year of ICT’.” Computers and Education 56(4): 974-982.

The critical analysis of this paper has enabled the investigation of the emerging development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education. With supporting evidence through thorough research, Peeraer and Van Petegem have identified steps being taken to effectively integrate ICT into everyday operations of today’s classrooms. This paper will be utilised to address two of my queries. It highlights the many barriers in which teachers are confronted with and need to overcome in order to successfully and effectively integrate ICT into the classroom. This analysis illuminates teacher educators’ access to ICT, their intensity of use, their related skills, and their confidence in using ICT, as well as their conceptions of learning. Peeraer and Van Petegem also question whether or not ICT improves classroom teaching and confronts the pedagogical issues that have evolved as a result of ICT. Finally this paper justly defines and addresses two of my key questions of concern and that is: What is being done to support the retraining of teachers? How has the integration of ICT changed the way we educate the students of today?

Wallace, R. (2008). Engaging Remote and Very Remote Indigenous Students with Education using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Darwin, Charles Darwin University: 1-22.

This paper addresses a number of issues that will impact the education system as well as teaching and learning. It particularly focuses on Indigenous education and how it will be affected by the growth of technology in the classroom. Wallace explicitly explores and investigates the current issues that exist around the use of ICT for students of low socio-economic living standards as well as remote areas. Through case studies and a series of action research projects the research team of Charles Darwin University has answered our questions and have further deepened my own understanding in relation to the concerns of integrating ICT into classrooms that have a high percentage of Indigenous students and low socio-economic areas. The team also identifies effective strategies and practices to use ICT and innovative online learning materials to engage remote and very remote Indigenous students with learning to support improved educational outcomes. This report is enriched with information and evidence that will enable my own research to be extensive and supported.

References

Budde, P. (2011). Australia – Digital Economy – E-Education and E-Government. Bucketty: 1-13.

Peeraer, J. & Van Petegem, P. (2011). “ICT in teacher education in an emerging developing country: Vietnam’s baseline situation at the start of ‘The Year of ICT’.” Computers and Education 56(4): 974-982.

Wallace, R. (2008). Engaging Remote and Very Remote Indigenous Students with Education using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Darwin, Charles Darwin University: 1-22.