The New (Female) Disruptors

Really looking forward to this talk which will be held a the beautiful Geelong Library next month:

As the digital revolution continues to unleash radical change on industries, economies, politics and institutions, what future will this disruption shape? Is the brave new world one of decentralisation, anti-elitism and individual freedom – or surveillance, monopoly and control? And what does it mean in particular for women?

Yassmin Abdel Magied, Eileen Ormsby and Jenny Sinclair discuss the current era of disruption and what it signals for the future of feminism.

Presented in partnership with Geelong Regional Libraries, and GriffithReview for the launch of Edition 64 – The New Disruptors.

About the panellists

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese born mechanical engineer, author, broadcaster, social advocate and digital influencer. Yassmin founded her first organisation, Youth Without Borders, at the age of 16, published her debut memoir, Yassmin’s Story, with Penguin Random House at age 24, and followed up with her first fiction book for younger readers, You Must Be Layla, in 2019. Her TED talk, ‘What does my headscarf mean to you’, has been viewed over two million times and was chosen as one of TED’s top ten ideas of 2015. Yassmin’s critically acclaimed essays have been published in numerous anthologies, including It’s Not About The Burqa and The New Daughters of Africa.

Eileen Ormsby is a lawyer, author and freelance journalist based in Melbourne. Her first book, Silk Road was the world’s first in-depth expose of the black markets that operate on the dark web. In her latest book, The Darkest Web, Eileen’s gonzo-style investigations led her deep into the secretive corners of the dark web where drugs and weapons dealers, hackers, hitmen and worse ply their trade. Many of these dark web interactions turned into real-world relationships, entanglements, hack attempts on her computer and even death threats. She now lives a quiet life, getting off-grid as much as possible.

Jenny Sinclair is a Melbourne writer of non-fiction and fiction. Her books are Much Ado About Melbourne and A Walking Shadow. She is a former journalist at The Age, where she specialised in technology reporting, and has published in GriffithReview, Best Australian Stories, Verandah, Meanjin, Island and The Big issue. She has led walks around Melbourne for the Melbourne Writers Festival and loves to talk about books, culture and politics. Jenny is currently completing a PhD investigating Australian historical fiction at the University of Melbourne.


These questions are taken from a Kath Murdoch workshop advertisement:

  • What learning engagements best foster inquiry?

  • How can we use our questioning techniques to help students think more deeply?

  • What kind of ‘teacher talk’ invites inquiry? What shuts it down?

  • How can we help students make better connections between learning areas, between skills and concepts and between school, home and the community?

  • How can teachers use the physical environment in ways that better stimulate and support inquiry?

  • What does inquiry teaching and learning look like at ‘lesson’ level?

  • How can we help ourselves ‘let go’ unnecessary control while maintaining rigor and purposeful learning?

  • How can we ensure we teach with courage and curiosity?


Part C: Reflective practice

With the various challenges that I have faced in completing this task, I’m frustrated to admit that it was only when I was about three quarters of the way through that I thought to involve my chosen Information Search Process into my own assignment.  By that I mean, to apply the ISP steps to my own learning.

The deliberations that I’ve experienced in choosing a topic for the lesson plan and then following it through are helpful to keep in mind when attempting to explain to students how the process works. I really like the recursive nature of the NSW ISP as it’s often necessary to go back and attempt a stage again. If you get stuck on a particular stage, go back and check if you’ve missed anything. Keep referring to the subject outline to check that you’re still on track. Have you reached a roadblock that you can fix yourself or is it time to seek clarification?

I have been interested to learn about Kuhlthau’s Zones of Intervention in relation to Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). This is very helpful to keep in mind when we consider which stage a student may be at in their information gathering. i.e. is it necessary to intervene to offer some guidance?

Having worked part time in a high school library for a number of years, I have been aware of information literacy but haven’t had much luck in collaborating with colleagues on the need to implement it into their lessons. This task has given me an opportunity to really investigate the various models and attempt to figure out which one is best for my school’s context. I have generally referred to the State Library of Victoria’s ERGO site. This has proven to be very similar to the ISP I ended up choosing for this task which is the NSW Department of Education’s ISP.

I thought that I would select Kuhlthau’s model as it’s the only one that includes how a person is feeling along the way. I decided instead to use the NSW ISP for its circular format demonstrating the recursive nature of the process.

I agree with Yvette Stiles’ observations from the discussion thread 5.4a Information literacy that “Staff do not like to be told to do something extra or be given the impression that they are somehow at fault.” This is why forming trusting relationships is so important. It can be frustrating waiting for staff to come to us in order for us to help them when we know that we can be of assistance. I find that if someone comes to me with a particular query, I regularly try to follow it up and form connections that allow me to gain the staff member’s trust. If I can demonstrate that I can be of assistance in one area then I believe that they are more inclined to believe that I could be of assistance in other areas.

I have been working hard this year to build sites that provide all sorts of curriculum support as it’s one of the easiest ways of making the invisible work that we do in the library visible (thanks Lori).

I’ve curated sites for staff and students on:

Reading Recommendations

English texts in accessible formats

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Library resources

Research and fact checking skills for students

As a result of my work on these sites, I’m building one specifically for staff in order to share best practice in relation to information literacy skills.

The following quote from Mandy Lupton has resonated with me as it seems to sum up the many benefits from IL:
“Assessment of information literacy promotes learning, provides a yardstick to measure teaching performance and outcomes, highlights learning gaps, promotes the need for in depth structure for learning, can provide opportunities for student and teacher discourse on the topic of information literacy needs or difficulties and provides a foundation for teaching evaluation and certification.” (Lupton, 2004)


Daniels, H., Wertsch, J. & Cole, M. (Eds.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Chapter 8, Zones of Intervention in the Process of Information Seeking. [Electronic version]. Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services (pp. 127-144). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited

Lupton, M. (2004). Curriculum alignment and assessment of information literacy learning. In
A. Bundy (Eds), Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: Principles
standards and practice, 2nd Edn. Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information
Literacy: Adelaide, pp.25-28.
[Available online at ]

Making the learning explicit

Why bother using a framework? Don’t we know how to teach?

We might think we know what we want the students to learn but do they? When we work hard to make the learning explicit we are ensuring that we are actually covering what we think we are covering!

  • Using a template ensures that the assessment and the learning to be achieved are explicit and an integral part of the planning process.
  • Assessment is not something that is conducted at the end of the learning. Instead the assessment is embedded in the learning/activities and uses a range of methods (some teacher-directed, others student-centred).
    Coombes, 2018

Coombes, B (2018) CLEO template, School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Access via SLAV conference notes, March 2018.



I enjoyed this article for its take on where knowledge comes from:

PERCEPTUAL – The direct evidence of our senses

TESTIMONIAL – Facts we acquire from other people and media

INNER SENSE – Awareness of our own feelings and states, such as pain and hunger

INFERENTIAL – Knowledge we stitch together ourselves from raw inputs


What is knowledge? (cover story). (2017). New Scientist, 234(3119), 30.



I found this article on the Evidence for Learning site. I was interested to hear about the work that they do.

“The Learning Impact Fund funds the creation of new Australian education research. An independent Fund, it chooses education programs that are rigorously researched and evaluated by a panel of education experts.

We produce plain English reports of this research for use by educators showing a particular approach’s:

i) Average months’ worth of learning progress

ii) Cost to implement and;

iii) Security of evidence

We place emphasis on ‘empirical’ evidence with research for causation, quantitative measure of learning gain and the counterfactual (e.g. randomised control trial where possible).”

Evidence for learning established that Metacognition and self-regulation approaches have consistently high levels of impact.

Self-regulated learning can be broken into three essential components:

  1. cognition – the mental process involved in knowing, understanding, and learning;
  2. metacognition – often defined as ‘learning to learn’; and
  3. motivation – willingness to engage our metacognitive and cognitive skills.


Alright, here I am cracking my knuckles and tightening my cape! The crisis of a lack of libraries in schools isn’t going to fix itself! I have been enormously disheartened by the way the roles of teacher librarians and library staff in general have been sidelined over the years. Advocacy seems an unfortunate but increasingly necessary part of the role. It would be great to get to a point where advocacy wasn’t needed but rather where the benefits of libraries were self-evident.

“If technology continues its current advance, we may soon face totally convincing videos showing events that never happened — created so effectively that even experts will have trouble proving they’re fakes.” (Kent, 2018). It’s the role of a teacher librarian to teach critical thinking skills so that students are on the look out for false information which could prove not only to be misleading but harmful.

“Objective, professional journalism — which seeks balance among respectable points of view — flourished, we should remind ourselves, within the context of the print-and-typewriter age: a more benign technology much less given to forgery and alteration compared with that of our current era.” (Kaplan, 2018). The fact that we can so easily be subjected to manipulation, rumours, exaggerations and character assassination within one article or image means that we need to consider many factors when we consume media.

“Curious why I think FB has too much power?” [Elizabeth] Warren said on Twitter. “Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power.” (“World wide web turns 30: Designer laments its dark side”, 2019). Grasping these issues and maintaining currency with technological advancements and trends is a neverending but rewarding part of the role.

I have been closely following the work of Holly Godfree and the team at Students Need School Libraries. I was interested to see the emphasis they placed on research, resources, reading and relationships. I agree that it was necessary to simplify the role of a teacher librarian so as to make it understandable for everyone. My preference would be to see relationships come first in that list as we all crave connection, firstly through people then through stories. Libraries serve a major role in catering for our three basic needs of safety, belonging and mattering (Comaford, 2013). Libraries can be a safe space for those seeking refuge. It is a place where everyone belongs and students can have their opinions listened to and voice their concerns.
“It’s much more of an active role [teacher librarian]. No longer do they wait for a question. They anticipate the needs. Their place is with the learners in the moment of learning, be that adults or students.” (Promise, 2014)
Thank goodness that thirty years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, he has voiced concerns about problems such as data breaches, hacking and misinformation, but says they could be tackled. (BBC, 2019). I am hopeful that these issues can be tackled by placing our faith in teacher librarians.


BBC. (2019). Web creator discusses what went wrong [Video]. Retrieved from

Comaford, C. (2013). The 3 Things All Humans Crave–And How To Motivate Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. Retrieved from

Promise, D. (2014). The New Librarian: Leaders in the Digital Age – Digital Promise. Retrieved from

Kaplan, R. (2018). Everything here is fake. Retrieved from

Kent, T. (2018). Fake news is about to get so much more dangerous. Retrieved from

World wide web turns 30: Designer laments its dark side. (2019). Retrieved from


The Vision Australia Library provides a free audiobook library service to any student with a print disability, including low vision, dyslexia or a visual processing disorder. The library holds a huge collection of audiobooks including new releases and English school texts. Access is easy with the VA Connect app, compatible for Apple and Android. To join please fill in the online membership form at
For more information you can contact Sarah at Vision Australia Library on 9864 9486.  If we think a student is eligible we can refer them to the service. They need not have had an expensive diagnosis to be eligible.


“Copyright law gives creators certain kinds of control over their creative work. If people want to use copyrighted work, they often have to ask for permission from the creator. Creative Commons works within copyright law. It allows creators to grant permission to everyone in the world to use their work in certain ways.”
Copyright and Creative Commons are friends – Creative Commons. (2019). Retrieved from


  • Look out for students’ wellbeing
  • To ignite students’ curiosity
  • To examine my unconscious bias by asking who’s writing the stories, who’s benefiting from the stories and who’s missing from the stories be it novels, articles or any text
  • Compassion and social justice
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Apply critical thinking skills constantly