It is a privilege and a joy working as a teacher librarian in a primary school library. Even the challenging days are worth it because you hope that you are planting the seeds for a lifetime of learning, so now more than ever we need to be proactive in connecting with students not only while they are within the school grounds but also when they go home. If a major part of our role is connecting students to learning then we need to be accessible and social networking through social media platforms seems more important than ever. Social media however, can be challenging to incorporate into a primary school library and that is why I have decided to embark on the addition of a blog to our already existent website.
The blog was launched on the 21st March and I found it more challenging than simple. The first hurdle, I needed to jump was clarifying in my mind the purpose of the blog. Would it be for parents, teachers, students? It is developing into a space shared by the learning community to showcase what is happening in the library and to promote it as a space that connects our learners to learning but also to each other. It is hoped that eventually we may be able to connect with other K-6 libraries around the world building an understanding that participation with a digital device opens up our network of learning to a diverse range of opinions, understandings and learning.
As I spend more time immersing myself in social networking I can see that this is an opportunity to drive the learning and provide a space to learn about and practice citizenship skills required by the students for their future. Comments are moderated so that students learn to comment in an effective and dialogic way that is appropriate in tone and content. One of the assumptions that I had made was that students would know how to comment and interact on the blog. This has proven to be a teachable moment as my assumptions were incorrect. Emoji and one word reactions were the initial comments that were being posted and this meant that I needed to explicitly teach what makes a comment that can be responded to. It was necessary for some Blog Commenting Guidelines to be formulated. First, we harnessed the skills and talents from Mrs Yollis’ Class blog and investigated the learning that classroom of students were doing and how they commented on their blog. Then we brainstormed and I was able to create a poster of Blog Commenting Guidelines that suited our community of learners based on their ideas.
The other issue that I am trying to overcome is being able to keep the blog sustainable. If the blog is to be representative of our students then my aim is to try and become more of a facilitator and have students contribute posts about what they are reading, viewing, playing, learning. This can be challenging in that some teachers and students see this as an extra, so one issue to overcome is how to embed such an activity as part of learning.
I believe this blogging idea is going to require commitment so that it really takes off and the other issue is can I maintain my own blog for my own learning needs?