Portfolio – ICT use and the Role of the School Library

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays such an important role in education today that it is highlighted as a General Capability in the Australian Curriculum. The organising elements of this capability are: ‘Applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT, Investigating with ICT, Creating with ICT, Communicating with ICT and Managing and operating ICT’ (ACARA 2016). In 2014 I undertook the elective unit of ETL411 ICT for Innovative Practice. In this unit I came to more fully appreciate the important role that the teacher librarian (TL) plays in embedding ICT in school teaching and learning practices. This role is highlighted in NSW Department of Education’s School Policy – Library. It explicates that teacher librarians should ‘collaborate with teachers in the planning, implementing and evaluating of teaching and learning programs, including the integration of Information Communications Technology and literacy’ (NSW DoE 2016a). The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) also expands that excellent teacher librarians ‘comprehensively understand the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in lifelong learning’, ‘appreciate the dynamic nature of ICTs and their role in education’ and ‘teach the appropriate and relevant use of ICTs and information resources’ (ASLA 2016).

General Capabilites (ACARA 2016)

With changes to the information landscape, school libraries now play a crucial role in promoting the integration of ICT in the curriculum (Coombes & Valli 2007). Many innovative TLs have seized the opportunities offered by the advent of the digital age and have transformed their school libraries into vibrant 21st century learning hubs or icentres (Hough 2011; Purcell 2010; Zmuda & Harada 2008). Indeed, well before it became a buzz word in Canberra, Moyle predicted that ‘innovation may well be the most important educational issue of the day’ (2010). Libraries provide access to a range of ICT hardware, software and Web 2.0 tools. Moreover, TLs play a crucial role in helping to leverage technology to promote ‘futures learning’. (Alliance for Excellent Education 2016; NSW DoE 2016b; Godfrey 2015;). As TLs, we can position ourselves as ICT leaders in the school as we provide both formal and informal ICT training to students and staff. (Coombes & Valli 2007; Hay & Foley 2009 ; O’Connell 2012). In my library I have been able to make some modest changes with the aim of remodelling the library as an icentre. I have designed flexible spaces, purchased flexible furniture and iPads, and set up charging docks for students to charge devices (Hay & Todd 2010; Johnson 2010′ O’Connell 2012).  In addition, I have recently been successful in lobbying for school funds to build a maker space in our library to help plan for ‘futures learning’ (NSW DoE 2016b; Provenzano 2015). Furthermore, I was successful in advocating to be included on the school Technology Team. Thus far in this role, I have helped to put together a Professional Training workshop on the use of Google Apps in the classroom. I have, likewise, provided staff training on the teaching and learning applications of Oliver LMS at various faculty meetings (Costello 2017b).

My Library icentre (CPAHS 2015)

In my ETL411 reflection blog I related how I perceived myself to be fairly tech savvy and, therefore, quite competent with ICT (Costello 2014a; Lamb 2011). I was to find out later in the unit that there was so much more to learn. I am still on that learning journey, continually adding more knowledge and skills to my repertoire as the technological landscape evolves (O’Connell 2012; Moyle 2010). One of the professional learning ICT tools I have been utilising is DoE’s Yammer. Yammer is an online professional learning network (PLN). Online PLNs are a fantastic way to share ideas with a community of other educational professionals. I am an active member and have learned many valuable tech tips and ideas to improve classroom practices. I have also set up a new Yammer group for secondary school librarians for school TLs to share their expertise pertaining to specifically secondary school teaching and learning.  As a corollary, the use of PLNs, models lifelong learning and collaborative ICT practices for students and colleagues (O’Connell 2012; Pegrum, Oakley& Faulkner 2013).

Screenshot of Yammer PLN

I also made reference in my 2014 ETL411 blog to an assessment on using Web 2.0 tools such as bubbl.us, Socrative, Weebly and Delicious (Costello 2014a; Costello 2014b). I continue to make good use of these web 2.0 tools both in the library and in the classroom. I have used Weebly website builder, in particular, quite extensively as it hosts my Virtual Library website (Costello 2017a). It was interesting to note that in my ETL523 blog I exhorted the need to ‘integrate technology to support our students in developing the high order skills they will need to participate in the 21st century’ (Costello 2014c). In the ETL411 blog later in the year, however, I conceded that I had not fully mastered the art of integrating ICT into the curriculum in student-centre approaches (Costello 2014a).

SAMR Model  (Puentedura 2014)

The integration of ICT into the curriculum requires careful planning so that programs are designed to provide authentic learning experiences (Gurung & Rutledge 2014). ICT should not be included as ‘technlology for technology’s sake’ (Borsheim, Merritt & Reed, 2008). Rather, ICT learning experiences should: be inquiry-based, include collaborative practices, explore real world issues and promote deeper learning (ISTE 2008; Moyle 2010; Partnership for 21st Century Skills 2011). One framework that has been designed to help teachers design meaningful learning experiences with technology is the SAMR model (Braxton 2016; Kharbach 2015; Puentedura 2014). SAMR has four enhancement levels: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition. When aligned with Bloom’s taxonomy, the lower enhancement levels of Substitution and Augmentation equate with Bloom’s Remember, Understand and Apply lower order thinking skills. The higher enhancement levels of SAMR’s Modification and Redefinition equate with Bloom’s higher order thinking levels of Analyse, Evaluate and Create (Costello 2017c; Puentedura 2014). To illustrate, an example of a Substitution level might be substituting a physical textbook with an ebook. An example of a Redefinition level, on the other hand, might be an activity where students connect online with another class to collaboratively write a narrative that is then created into a stop-motion animation (Kharbach 2015; Puentedura 2014).

In my classroom practices I have integrated ICT into learning programs where students collaboratively create end-products using tools such as Wikispaces, Powtoon, GoAnimate, Xtranormal and Weebly.  After recently learning about the SAMR model, and conducting an appraisal of my ICT integration practices, I determined that further improvement was needed in this area. This self-evaluation revealed that ICT use in my lessons had merely reached the SAMR Modification enhancement level. To rectify this, I plan to design more ‘creating with ICT’ tasks in future programs with the aim of attaining the ultimate Redefinition level  (ACARA 2016; Puentedura 2014).

GoAnimate Student Work Sample

References

ACARA. (2016). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. Australian Curriculum v 8.3. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Retrieved from: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

Alliance for Excellent Education. (2016). Future ready librarians. Future Ready Schools. Available at: http://1gu04j2l2i9n1b0wor2zmgua.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Library_flyer_download.pdf.

ASLA. (2016). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Borsheim, C., Merritt, K. & Reed, D. (2008). Beyond Technology for Technology’s Sake: Advancing Multiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 82(2), 87-90.

Braxton, B. (2016). The technology hat. 500 Hats: The Teacher Librarian in the 21st Century. Retrieved from http://500hats.edublogs.org/2016/01/29/the-technology-hat/

Combes, B. & Valli, R. (2007). Fiction and the 21st century: A new paradigm. Cyberspace, D-world, E-learning: Giving libraries and schools the cutting edge, the 2007 IASL Conference and Research Forum, Taiwan.

Campbelltown Performing Arts High School (2015). Campbelltown Performing Arts High School Newsletter. 11 March 2015. Retrieved from http://cpahs.schoolzinenewsletters.com/2015/20150310/

Costello, C. (2014a). ETL411 – Critical Reflection. Edumacational. Retrieved from http://edumacational.edublogs.org/2017/01/28/etl411-critical-reflection/

Costello, C. (2014b). ETL411 ICT 4 Innovation. Wikispaces. Retrieved from http://etl411ict4innovation.wikispaces.com/

Costello, C. (2014c). ETL523 Critical Reflection. Edumacational. Retrieved from http://edumacational.edublogs.org/2014/06/09/etl523-critical-reflection/

Costello, C. (2017a). Virtual Library – Home. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/

Costello, C. (2017b). Oliver library. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/oliver-library.html

Costello, C. (2017c). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/blooms-taxonomy.html

Godfrey, N. (2015). ASLA 2015 Conference: Provoking the future: school libraries, pedagogy and technology. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/professional-learning/ASLA-Conference-2015/speakers1.aspx

Gurung, B. & Rutledge, D. (2014). Digital learners and the overlapping of their personal and educational digital engagement. Computers & Education, 77, 91-100

Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins. Scan, 29(1), 30-42.

Hough, M. (2011). Libraries as iCentres: Helping Schools. ACCESS, 25(1) 5-9.

ISTE. (2008). NETS: The standards for learning, leading and teaching in the digital age. International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved, from http://www.iste.org/standards

Johnson, D. (2010). Changed but still critical: Brick and mortar school libraries in the Digital Age. For InterED, Association for the Advancement of International Education [AAIE], Fall. Retrieved July , 2013 from http://www.doug-johnson.com/dougwri/changed-but-still-critical-bricks-and-mortar-libraries-in-th.html

Kharbach, M. (2015). SAMR Model Explained for Teachers. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/06/samr-model-explained-for-teachers.html

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.

Moyle, K. (2010). Building innovation: learning with technologies. Victoria: ACER.

NSW Department of Education. (2016a). Library Policy – Schools. Retrieved from: https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/library-policy-schools

NSW Department of Education. (2016b). Leveraging technology. Futures Learning. Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/futures-learning/learning-space/leveraging-technology

O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you,  in P.Godwin & J. Parker (Ed.) Information literacy beyond Library 2.0. London:Facet Publishing, UK.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Appendix: P21 Framework Definitions. P21 Common Core Toolkit: A Guide to Aligning the Common Core State Standards with the Framework for 21st Century Skills, 35-43. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/P21CommonCoreToolkit.pdf

Provenzano, N. (2015). Fostering Creativity With Makerspaces. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/fostering-creativity-with-makerspaces-nicholas-provenzano

Puentedura, R. (2014). SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy: Assembling the Puzzle. Common Sense Education. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/samr-and-blooms-taxonomy-assembling-the-puzzle

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.

Zmuda, A., & Harada, V. H. (2008). Librarians as learning specialists: moving from the margins to the mainstream of school leadership. Teacher Librarian, 36(1), 15-20.

Portfolio – Information Literacy

As information specialists, teaching information literacy is a Teacher Librarian’s main area of expertise (Gordon 2010; Herring 2007). Indeed, ASLA’s Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians elucidates the expectations that a TL’s teaching and learning role will focus on implementing Information Literacy programs (ASLA 2004). Likewise, NSW DoE’s Library policy documents also highlight the teaching of ‘information skills’ as a key TL teaching and learning role (DoE 2016; Dawson & Kallenberger 2015). Information Literacy can be defined as the set of skills needed to locate, retrieve, assess and use information to solve problems and become independent lifelong learners (Bundy 2004).  As such, Information literacy is viewed as the core set of skills needed for 21st century learning (Eisenberg 2008; Herring 2011). Before beginning this course, I had little idea of what information literacy (IL) entailed. After completing ETL401, I was able to expound at length in my blog about what I had learned in theory, but not in practice, about information literacy teaching approaches (Costello 2014a).

Before undertaking my masters, I had the opportunity to present but a few information sessions to classes on topics such as ‘Ways to avoid plagiarism’ and ‘How to reference’ (Costello 2013). I had not realised at that stage, that these were, in fact, information literacy skills. These sessions, however, were isolated sessions and not integrated in the curriculum (Eisenberg 2008; Dawson & Kallenberger 2015). This course taught me that best practice for teaching information literacy is when it is embedded in inquiry-based teaching units (Eisenberg 2008; Lorenzo 2007). When taught in context IL skills are not viewed by students as separate to classroom teaching and learning. As a result, students can begin to make connections about how these skills can be transferred across all learning, in school and beyond (Bundy 2004; Todd 2003).

I have also gained knowledge of various information literacy models that scaffold inquiry-based teaching, as outlined in my aforementioned eLT401 blog (Costello 2014a; Eisenberg 2008; Herring 2006; Kuhlthau 2010a). I also understood that these IL models should be collaboratively planned and taught as discussed in my latest blog The Role of the Teacher Librarian (Costello 2017a; Goodnough 2005; Todd 2008). I was keen to put into practice Kulthau’s Guided Inquiry model, as it was the most respected and oft cited in our readings (Herring 2006; FitzGerald 2011). In 2015, I was fortunate to find a willing colleague. After a couple of planning meetings, however, we realised that the Guided Inquiry model was not a good fit for our students. As we know our students and how they learn, we decided it was necessary to adapt the model (ASLA 2014).

The Research Process (Costello 2017b)

The alternative model I devised is an amalgamation of NSW DoE’s The Information Process (ISP) and Guided Inquiry (Kulthau 2010; Dawson & Kallenberger 2015). It is simply called the Research Process (Costello 2017b). The steps of the process are Initiate, Locate, Evaluate, Organise, Present and Assess. I collaboratively plan the Research Process with colleagues and it is team-taught as part of an Inquiry Based Learning unit (Goodnough 2005; Rytivaara & Kershner 2012). Information Literacy skills are made explicit at relevant steps of the process. For example, at the Initiate stage students are taught to brainstorm to determine key concepts and directed to define key words (Costello 2017d). At the Locate stage students are taught online search techniques (Costello 2017e). Furthermore, at the Select stage students are taught to use critical thinking skills to evaluate information sources (Costello 2017f).

Like Guided Inquiry, the Research Process is designed to be student- centred with teachers only intervening at critical points. I have also developed a Student Learning Impact Measure SLIM survey which is based on Kulthau’s School Library Impact Measure SLIM model (Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinström 2005). The survey serves multiple purposes. It is an evaluative tool for intervention, data collection and student reflection. It also assists teacher reflective practice so that any need adjustments can be made to the teaching and learning program (FitzGerald 2011; Todd 2008). The SLIM surveys are conducted at the Initiate, Select and Assess stages of the Research Process (Costello 2016c; Costello 2017c). Designing the Research Process and undertaking collaborative teaching demonstrates another area of my professional growth as a result of this course. It is a source of pride and gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I could not have imagined undertaking such a role when first undertaking my studies.

SLIM survey responses (Costello 2016c)

Team-teaching the Research Process has served another purpose. It has raised my professional profile in the school and has boosted my self-confidence. Approaching teachers to work collaboratively is now much easier. Additionally, I publish regular articles for the school newsletter on various Information Literacy topics such as critically evaluating information sources and information literacy (Costello 2016a; Costello 2016b). This has also helped raise my profile in the school.

Another aspect of information literacy that I collaboratively plan and teach is Digital Citizenship. Digital Citizenship is outlined in ICT General Capability of the Australian Curriculum as being an understanding of ‘social and ethical protocols and practices’ when using ICT (ACARA 2016). ASLA also outlines the expectation that excellent teacher librarians ‘teach the appropriate and relevant use of ICTs and information resources’ (2004). In 2014, when undertaking elective ETL523 Digital Citizenship in Schools, I then described digital citizenship as simply the ‘necessary skills needed to cope in the 21st century digital environment’ in an online discussion forum (Costello 2014b).

All good digital citizens school girl (Costello 2014d) Image remixed from ClipartFest 2014 &  Common Sense Media 2013.

In my ETL523 reflective blog post I conceded that before undertaking this course my knowledge of digital citizenship was limited to ‘a basic understanding of cybersafety and netiquette principals’ (Costello 2014c). At that time I had not contemplated, let alone embarked upon, teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom.  Since that time my understanding in this area has markedly developed, as evidenced by the Digital Citizenship pages on my Virtual Library website (Costello 2017g). I have designed and team-taught Digital Citizenship units with Year 7 classes for the past two years (Chen & Orth 2013). The unit incorporates topics such as: Personal digital media habits, Cybersafety, Cyberbullying, Digital footprints and Copyright and fair use (Costello 2017g; Neilsen 2011; Topsfield 2012). I have found it necessary, however, to adjust the program each year to incorporate new technologies and social media platforms (O’Connell 2012). These units, regrettably, have been taught in isolation. As yet, I have not managed to convince school leaders to integrate Digital Citizenship into PDHPE curriculum topics (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan 2011; Ribble 2011).

After undertaking this course I view Information Literacy as my core business as Teacher Librarian. I have undergone a real personal and professional transformation as a result of my learning journey. I am now equipped with the expertise and self-belief to view myself as a school leader.

References

ACARA. (2016). Key Ideas: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability. Australian Curriculum v8.3 .Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/key-ideas

ASLA. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

ASLA. (2014). Evidence guide for teacher librarians at the proficient career stage: Australian professional standards for teachers. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/evidence_guide_prof.pdf

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). Retrieved from: http://www.caul.edu.au/content/upload/files/info-literacy/InfoLiteracyFramework.pdf

Chen, E. & Orth, D. (2013). The strategy for digital citizenship. Retrieved from NAIS Independent School Magazine (online). Retrieved from:  http://www.nais.org/Magazines-Newsletters/ISMagazine/Pages/The-Strategy-for-Digital-Citizenship.aspx.

Costello, C. (2013). Writing a bibliography. HSIE Stage 5 Resources 2013. Retrieved from https://hsiestage5resources2013.wikispaces.com/Writing+a+Bibliography

Costello, C. (2014a). Information literacy is more than a set of skills. Reflections of a Teacher Librarian. Retrieved from http://edumacational.edublogs.org/2014/01/27/etl401-olj-blog-3/

Costello, C. (2014b). ETL523 Discussion forum. Interact2.Charles Sturt University.

Costello, C. (2014c). ETL523 Critical Reflection. Edumacational. Retrieved from http://edumacational.edublogs.org/2014/06/09/etl523-critical-reflection/

Costello, C. (2014d). All good digital citizens school girl. [Image]. Remixed from ClipartFest. (2014). Clipart girl at schoolClipartFest. Retrieved  from https://clipartfest.com/download/108b4368803dca464bd1e0183f09d788e8bd10e1.html
and Common Sense Media. (2013). Digital Citizenship Poster for Elementary ClassroomsCommon Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/elementary_poster

Costello, C. (2016a). Information literacy: Essential skills for the digital age. Campbelltown Performing Arts High School Newsletter, 16 September 2016. Retrieved from http://cpahs.schoolzineplus.com/newsletter/15496

Costello, C. (2016b). Evaluating information sources. Campbelltown Performing Arts High School Newsletter, 7 November 2016. Retrieved from http://cpahs.schoolzineplus.com/newsletter/23095

Costello, C. (2016c). EBP. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/ebp/.html

Costello, C. (2017a). The role of the teacher librarian. Reflections of a Teacher Librarian. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/clctl/2017/01/24/portfolio-the-role-of-a-teacher-librarian/

Costello, C. (2017b). The research process. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/theresearchprocess.html

Costello, C. (2017c). Select. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/select.html

Costello, C. (2017d). Initiate. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/initiate.html

Costello, C. (2017e). Online search techniques. Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.virtuallibrary.info/online-search-techniques.html

Costello, C. (2017f). Evaluating sources. Virtual Library. Retrieved from

http://www.virtuallibrary.info/evaluating-sources.html

Costello, C. (2017g) Digital citizenship. Virtual Library. Retrieved from

http://www.virtuallibrary.info/digital-citizenship.html

Dawson, M. & Kallenberger, N. (Eds.).  (2007).  Information skills in the school: Engaging learners in constructing knowledge.  NSW: Department of Education and Training.  Retrieved from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/isp/docs/infoskills.pdf

Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.

FitzGerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based  practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.

Goodnough, K. (2005). Fostering teacher learning through collaborative inquiry. Clearing House, 79(2), 88-92.

Gordon, C. A. (2010). The culture of inquiry in school libraries. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 73–88.

Herring, J. (2006). A critical investigation of students’ and teachers’ views of the use of information literacy skills in school assignments. School Library Media Research, 9.

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

Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’ web use and Information Literacy: A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L.,  &  Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends 55(4) 37-47.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Guided inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 1.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., (2010). Building Guiding Inquiry Teams for 21st Century Learners. School Library Monthly 5(26).

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for Change: Information Fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the New Education Culture, Clarence Center, NY: Lorenzo Associates, Inc., March. http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Nielsen, L. (2011). Discover what your digital footprint says about you. The Innovative Educator. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/discover-what-your-digital-footprint.html.

NSW Department of Education. (2016). Library Policy – Schools. Retrieved from: https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/library-policy-schools

O’Connell, J., (2012) Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. ACCESS, 26 (1), pp. 4-7.  Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access/access-commentaries/school-libraries-and-meta-literacy.aspx

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. International Society for Technology in Education.

Rytivaara, A., & Kershner, R. (2012). Co-teaching as a context for teachers’ professional learning and joint knowledge construction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(7), 999-1008.

Todd, R. J. (2003). Irrefutable evidence: how to prove you boost student achievement. School Library Journal, 49(4), 52-54. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA100608794&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&asid=194fea091c82b000bb3b69ca05004411

Todd, R.J., Kuhlthau, C.C. & Heinström, J.E. (2005), SLIM: a toolkit and handbook for tracking and assessing student learning outcomes of Guided Inquiry through the school library. Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries at Rutgers University. Retrieved from: http://cissl.rutgers.edu/images/stories/docs/slimtoolkit.pdf

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.), School reform and the school library media specialist. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited, 57-78.

Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations. Scan, 27(2), 19-28.

Topsfield, J. (2012). T is for teaching. The Age, National. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/national/t-is-for-teaching-20121130-2amd9.html

Portfolio – The Role of a Teacher Librarian

I have become increasingly aware, as I progressed through this course, of how much the role of Teacher Librarian is continually growing and evolving. This is, largely, in response to the constant evolution of the information landscape (Lonsdale 2003; Mathison 2016; Schwarz 2016). I too, have been continually growing and evolving in terms of knowledge and skills as I have progressed through this course. The more I have learned, the more I am convinced that we, as Teacher Librarians, are well-placed to be instructional leaders of 21st centuries pedagogies (Alliance for Excellent Education 2016; ASLA 2014; Stansbury 2016). In my ETL401 Final Reflection about the role of the teacher librarian (TL), I made reference to roles such as collection development, teaching referencing and how to research using Inquiry Based Learning models (Costello 2015a). Since then, I have come to appreciate the wide and varied roles of a TL.  One only needs to examine Valenza’s manifesto and MacMeekin’s infographic to begin to fathom the depth and breadth of our roles (MacMeekin 2013; Valenza 2010). My lament as a TL is ‘so much to do, so little time’.

Teacher librarians are specialist teachers, accordingly, our title emphasises our teaching role. Collaborative teaching is a role highlighted in Teacher Librarian standards (ASLA 2004; NSW DoE 2016). The TL’s instructional role in collaborative teaching was addressed in my aforementioned blog (Costello 2015a). At that stage, I conceded that I had never even seen, let alone, embarked upon collaborative teaching. As I have progressed through this course I have been empowered with the knowledge, skills and confidence to overcome to my initial angst to accomplish this role in various forms (Gordon 2010; Todd 2008). Self-belief and confidence in my own abilities is, without a doubt, the area of greatest professional and personal growth as a result of this course. Confidence in my expertise as an information specialist has allowed me to showcase my knowledge and skills and promote myself as an instructional leader in the school (Brown 2004; Collay 2011; Costello 2015b). I showcase and promote my skills by collaborative teaching, regular emails highlighting ways I can assist their classes, school newsletter articles, posters in the library and around the school, Sentral announcements and personal conversations (Costello 2016b). This has helped smooth the way to approach previously resistant colleagues to consider collaborative teaching practices (Hartzel 2002; Hynes, Danahy, Schneider & Dowling 2012).

Excerpt from school newsletter article (Costello 2016b)

I have collaborated with teachers by examining programs to source or purchase supporting resources. I have also collaborated when team teach English wide reading classes. I have, likewise, collaborated as an instructional partner in planning and team teaching Inquiry Based Learning units (Purcell 2010). I have also been involved in collaboratively teaching a ‘Schools of the Future’ cross-curricular IBL unit which was both challenging and rewarding (Costello 2016a). These are just a small example of some of my collaborative teaching undertakings.

Collection development is another TL role in which I have grown in knowledge, skills and understanding during the course of my studies.  It is clear from my ETL401 Final Reflection blog that I had limited understanding of the full scope of this role (Costello 2015a). The selection of curriculum related and recreational resources is a traditional TL role and , traditionally, the resources were often in the physical print form. I have come to understand that a future focused school librarian needs to also provide access to electronic resources such as eBooks, audiobooks, online encyclopaedias and websites in addition to print resources (Oddone 2016 ; Latham & Poe 2008). I also understand that I need to ‘provide access to information resources through efficient, effective and professionally-managed systems’, as outlined in the Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (ASLA 2004). To do this I ensure that the school library collection is managed so that my users can easily locate and access resources.

One of the ways that I have achieved this is by embarking upon the reorganisation of our fiction books into genres. Genrification of the collection has been shown to increase loan statistics as they help users locate reading material more easily. This is because it acts as a short cut in the selection process (Johnson 2009 ; Rippel 2012). This process has been a huge undertaking but now nears completion. As a reflective practitioner, I plan to evaluate loan statistics as part of evidence-based practice to determine the degree of success for this strategy at our school (ASLA 2004; Hay & Foley 2009).

Snapshot of books from my library from the Fantasy Genre collection

Additionally, as a result of undertaking this course my understanding of the importance of providing access points in the library catalogue have been significantly enhanced (Coombes 2012; Hider 2012). This is another important way that I can meet the TL standards by providing ‘effective and professionally-managed systems’ (ASLA 2004). When describing collection development as one of the roles of the TL in a 2014 blog I had not, at that stage in my learning journey, even considered this important part of collection development (Costello 2014). Since completing ETL505, however, I can now confidently expand access points to library resources by tailoring additional SCIS subject terms and ScOT authority files in Oliver LMS (Coombes & Valli 2007). I now understand how to align the access points to curriculum topics and assessments (Hider 2012).  I, likewise, curate library resources into reading lists in Oliver aligned to curriculum topics. This helps teachers to direct students to professionally-selected reliable information sources on their topic (ASLA 2004).

Reading Lists as shown on school OPAC main interface.

In my collection development role, I have also carefully curated credible websites and catalogued them with applicable subject headings and authority files. School users have ubiquitous access to the school’s Oliver OPAC. These curated electronic sources can assist students to locate credible information sources faster than a Google search (Hutchinson 2017 ; Oddone 2016). I have also increased my understanding of strategies to enhance the school library eResource collection such as by uploading SCIS’s Special Order Files. These files provide quick access to batches of records for digital resources such as recently SCIS-catalogued websites, e-resources and websites reviewed in SCAN magazine and Scootle resources (Styles & Richardson 2016). As part of my collection development role, I also provide school users anywhere, anytime access to eBooks and audiobooks via Overdrive subscription.

Carousel of eBooks as shown on school OPAC main interface.

I have, likewise, complemented and augmented our school library’s resources with a Virtual Library. The Virtual Library website is a curation of educational resources that can be accessed by students, teachers, parents and the community. Additionally, the Virtual Library has been a powerful tool to showcase my professional skills and build my profile within the school community. The Virtual Library also serves the corollary function of providing evidence of my growth as a teacher librarian. It demonstrates all that I have learned while completing this course (Costello 2017).

Other important roles of the TL are in the instruction of Information Literacy and the utilisation of ICT as a learning tool . These roles will be covered in detail in the following posts.

References

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Hider, P.  (2012). Information resource description: creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.

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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.

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