Digital Literacy

INF536 Blog Task #3 – Design brief – How might we?

Design brief

OBSERVATION & DISCOVERY: The entry into the Secondary library is through a large covered concrete area (and our students deserve inspiring spaces (Baudett cited in Elliott Burnes, 2005), and the doors are flanked by security gates and then opens into a large space broken into display areas, the circulation desk and the two teacher-librarians desks. The external area serves as a thoroughfare, social gathering place and bag drop. The internal space is the only way into and out of the library and is not used for anything other than pausing to watch the TV display or browsing the book displays.

Links to sketches, previous blog for background and photos of the spaces involved.

INF536 Blog3


Known unknowns:

  • Cost of enclosing the outer area may not be feasible for the next 1-2 years, given other building works currently under way and in the pipeline.


Known knowns:

  • The impending one-to-one program requires that students use their devices inside and the current library only has seating for around 100 boys (secondary numbers 1500)
  •  The school does not provide a social space for games, cards etc
  • The large external and reasonably large internal spaces are not utilised to maximise seating numbers, and some staff are concerned about the increased supervision that will accompany increased student numbers.

CHALLENGE: To redesign the entry into the secondary library in order to:

  • better utilise the space to accommodate more boys and their devices
  • welcome in boys who otherwise would be unlikely to make use of the library space
  • provide a service that is unique within the school (a welcoming social space)
  • ensure that access to, and the library itself, is user-friendly

POINT OF VIEW: With the view that imagination makes empathy possible (Green, 1995, cited in Bland, Hughes & Willis, 2013) the aim is to see the space, positives and negatives, from the point of view of all users, including students, teachers, TLs, library officers and visitors, to create a sense of belonging, be user-friendly and practical.

So, How Might We …?

Amp up the good so that these spaces provide students with one or more of the required social, collaborative, focused or shared spaces?

Remove the bad by providing adequate options for bags, so that both the boys and their bags are protected from the weather?

Explore the opposite so that the external and internal spaces can be repurposed in a variety of ways, as the need arises?

Question the assumption that the library is a ‘work’ space only and those who are not ‘working’ are not welcome? Change perspectives (Bont, 2013)

Go after adjectives such as welcoming, social, focussed, flexible, enticing?

Identify unexpected resources such as some of our library staff, who value social interaction or furniture that is available to support such an environment?

Create an analogy from need or context such as a coffee shop or cafe booth atmosphere in the external entry by enclosing the space, using furniture and plants or screening?

Play Point of View against the challenge of considering all stakeholders – students, teachers, TLs, library staff and visitors, such as tutors?

Change the status quo that the library is for ‘work’ only?

Break the Point of View into pieces of being welcoming; being social and being practical?


  1. Costly option – enclose the front external entry with a large (two storey) pane of glass, glass display cabinets and new wide glass sliding doors. Possibility of cafe or coffee shop style furnishings. Repositioning the current doors, security gates and circulation desk would also be worthwhile, if considering this option.
  2. The most costly option – enclose the northern front entry as above, creating a reading lounge entry with the social space to be created on a verandah/deck on the south side of the library, so that students have to pass through the library to reach the social space. (Rawstorne, 2014)
  3. Continue with the cafe style option, without enclosing the space, using outdoor furniture and plants, and investigating a mobile circulation desk.
  4. Any of the above prototypes would include the smaller changes brainstormed in the OneNote, including using staff as a valuable resource.


Bland, D., Hughes, H. and Willis, J. (2013). Reimagining Learning Spaces. Queensland University of Technology. Retrieved from

Bont, C. de, Ouden, P.H. den, Schifferstein, R., Smulders, F.E.H.M. & Voort, M. van der (Eds.). (2013). Advanced design methods for successful innovation. Den Haag: Design United. Retrieved from

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. HarperBusiness.

Elliott Burns, R. (2005). Designing Spaces for Learning and Living in Schools: perspectives of a ‘flaneuse’. . In Proceedings 2005 Australian Curriculum Studies Association Biennial Conference ‘Blurring the Boundaries, Sharpening the Focus’, University of the Sunshine Coast [Queensland, Australia]. Retrieved from

IDEO. (2014). Design Thinking for Educators. Retrieved from

Kumar, V. (2012). 101 Design Methods: A structured approach for driving innovation in your organisation. Wiley. Retrieved from

Rawstorne, T. (2014). From floor tiles that slow your trolley down to beer next to the nappies: We show you the supermarket games that make you spend more. Daily Mail. Retrieved from


#INF530 Digital Essay and Critical Reflection

Due to several issues with illness and technical difficulties, the Digital Essay “Visual Literacy in Secondary Schools” is available in the first instance in Joomag. However, even Adobe Acrobat Pro failed to enable the 126 links in this format, and with time running out, I resorted to an interactive PDF available via the link below.

Digital Essay complete

In addition, I created a Visual Literacy Pinterest board to support the digital essay.


INF530 has been a remarkable journey of information overwhelm, fascinating paths of discovery and absolute frustration learning to become ‘new’ technology literate. This course has opened my eyes to how those who are less confident with learning and using new technologies, let alone teaching and assessing them, feel; as I am reasonably IT literate and the demand placed on my time and energy, keeping up with social media and new web 2.0 tools was a real challenge.

I have enjoyed reading all of the social media interactions, despite finding it difficult to contribute as much as I would have liked, and particularly enjoyed reading the blog posts, as we have all had different perspectives and interests. I was drawn to:

  • Modules 1.6, as Digital Literacy falls squarely into the Teacher librarian role;
  • Modules 2.3 and 2.7, which made me rethink not only my beliefs about learning theory, but also how I actually apply these theories in my classes (and fail to);
  • Module 3 was my favourite, and the one that I delved into the most, digging down through the readings digital media literacy, information fluency and content curation, resulting in my selecting Visual Literacy for my digital essay.

Selecting a topic that I enjoyed reading about and was highly motivated to learn more about, meant that I spent far too much time finding even more readings, videos, blogs and slideshares, than a 1500 word essay warranted. On the upside, the topic of Visual Literacy resulted in many fascinating conversations with my work colleagues about how we are and are not teaching visual literacy in the secondary school; what we call it; how we assess it, if at all, and which key learning areas are incorporating VL into their curriculum.

Unfortunately, the word limit (I did expect a larger limit for a Masters essay) and the depth and breadth of the topic, meant that I found myself unable to include more information and a research component that would have made this essay even more relevant to my school. It has highlighted that I will probably use the essay research to develop a matrix of elements of visual literacy from  the ACRL standards, ISTEs and the QCS CCEs for years 7, 8 and 11 across several KLAs, for inclusion in our information literacy 101 and 102 lessons for 2015. I will incorporate examples from the Visual Literacy Project and I have bought Serafini’s book, Reading the Visual, for future reference.

So INF530 has opened up my mind to growing how we teach those aspects of information literacy that I am passionate about, but more than that, it has opened my eyes to some of the new opportunities that I had not considered for our library – makerspaces, gamification, digital literature and wikipedia, to name a few. The blogs of my peers have been enlightening, as their perspectives have tempted me to investigate new ideas, and I will make it my business to read and follow them all in the coming weeks. Most importantly, I have moved from following a lot of my favourite bloggers, to committing to contributing more to my own, and to continue with my commitment to sharing and curating via Twitter and on my Pinterest boards, Digital Citizenship for Schools Facebook page, Diigo and more.

All my teaching life, I have been told  – Evolution, not Revolution, we need to change slowly – but INF530 has convinced me that we need the revolution, yesterday, last year and last decade. Could you imagine a school filled with graduates of Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovations? Now that would be a revolution, indeed.


Association of College and Research Libraries. (2014). ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for higher Education.

ISTE. (2014). Nets for Students 2007.

Serafini, F. (2014). Reading the Visual: an introduction to teaching multimodal literacy. Teachers College Press. NY.

Wright, J. (2014). The Visual Literacy Project.


Digital Essay Proposal

  1. Topic Proposal:

The role of Visual Literacy in developing digital literacy skills in secondary school students: what educators need to consider in planning and assessment.

2. Proposed digital tools and/or spaces to be used

Digital essay will be presented in Thinkspace or Google Webs to facilitate an essay style presentation, with multimedia aspects included.

3. Rationale

21st Century educators need to consider each aspect of the term digital literacy, on their own merit, when planning, teaching and assessing units, tasks and projects, as highlighted by Crockett, Jukes and Churches (2012) and this essay will focus on the role of Media Fluency/Visual Literacy (Liss, 2012; Bleed, 2005) in multimodal tasks.

The aim is to:

  1. define the components of digital literacy;
  2. specifically, the elements of media fluency and visual literacy; and

debunk the commonly held view of educators that:

  1. secondary school students are ‘digital natives’ who can create multimodal presentations, without the need for the explicit teaching and assessment of the skills required to produce quality pieces;
  2. visual literacy is often considered trivial, transitory or even nonacademic and for arts subjects (Bleed, 2005); and
  3. this aspect of digital literacy needs to be valued and supported through educating the educators to better support the students develop these skills (Turner, 2013); and

provide reference to professional development models to facilitate the development and implementation of Visual literacy skills in secondary programs.

References will include, but not be limited to:

Bleed, R. (2005). Visual Literacy in Higher Education. ELI Explorations: Educause Learning Initiative.

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2012). Literacy is Not Enough. Hawker Brownlow Education. Victoria, Australia.

Liss, J.A. (2012). Opening Eyes, Opening Minds: Standards for Visual Literacy. InULA Notes (24)2.

Metros, S.E. & Woolsey, K. (2006). Visual Literacy: an Institutional Imperative.

Turner, J. (2013). The Difference between Digital Learning and Digital Literacy – a practical perspective. Canadian International School, Hong Kong. New Horizons: Education Review


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