October 6

ETL501 Assessment Item 2: Part 2 – Critical Reflection

The twenty-first century teacher librarian (TL) is an information specialist. They provide a wide range of services as part of this role, including leadership in technology use, resource selection and recommendation, creation of displays, integration of higher order thinking into curriculum programs, and information literacy (IL) instruction (Purcell, 2010).

When I first identified five key aspects of providing an effective information service (Murphy, 2020, September 20), I ranked IL third. Fellow student, Yvette Stiles, built on my discussion, although she ranked IL and research at number one (2020, September 25). As I reflect on my learning in ETL501, I can see why she made that decision.

Being information literate gives us the skills and knowledge we need to engage effectively with information (Chartered Institute of Library Information Professionals, 2018). Students cannot conduct research or engage with resources in the library collection if they do not have these skills. Therefore, I wonder if IL should be higher on my list too.

The goal for every media program should be to ensure that all their students are information literate.” – Purcell, 2010, p. 32

Harnessing the power of digital technology tools is an effective way for the TL to teach IL skills. I have learnt about the wide variety of tools available to us throughout this subject. For example, I reflected on social bookmarking as a tool to help students organise their information and ideas (Murphy, 2020, August 25), a core element in both ICT Capability, and Critical and Creative Thinking (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2010 to present). Likewise, blogging is a digital tool that can improve social skills and give quieter students a voice (Morris, 2018). I am planning to introduce a blogging platform to my reading group for these reasons (Murphy, 2020, August 23).

One of the most helpful resources a TL can create for their teachers and students is a research guide. These enable IL skills to be embedded in the context of curriculum content (Purcell, 2010). This is important, as teaching skills on their own is not enough to facilitate deep twenty-first century learning (Kutner & Armstrong, 2012).

When creating my research guide for Assessment Two, I drew on my growing body of essential competencies and knowledge as an information professional. Based on my learning in Module Two (Murphy, 2020, July 19), I used educational, reliability and technical criteria to assess potential web resources and, in my annotations, linked students to Schrock’s 5W’s of Website Evaluation (2009) so that they could do the same thing. I and three other students considered this model the most appropriate in a primary school context (Murphy, 2020, July 22).

Module Three informed my search engine selection. I included search strategies in my annotations, such as Boolean operators and the asterisk, and mentioned the importance of using the right key words. Design principles from Module Five informed the actual development of my Thinkspace website. I thoroughly enjoyed the construction process and look forward to re-using the template at school.

Of all of the tasks, attribution of images and using Creative Commons licensing were the most challenging. I also need practice using WordPress. However, I can improve my skills in these areas as I build my collection of research guides into the future.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2010 to present). General capabilities. In Australian curriculum: F-10 curriculum. https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/

Chartered Institute of Library Information Professionals. (2018). Definitions & models – Information literacy website. https://infolit.org.uk/definitions-models/

Kutner, L., & Armstrong, A. (2012). Rethinking information literacy in a globalised world. Communications in Information Literacy, 6(1), 24-33. https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2012.6.1.115

Morris, K. (2018). Why teachers and students should blog: 18 benefits of educational blogging. Primary Techhttp://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2013/03/08/the-benefits-of-educational-blogging/

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

Schrock, K. (2009). The 5W’s of website evaluation. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. http://www.schrockguide.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/5ws.pdf

September 18

A Balanced Collection

Browse your school or local library. Does the library have a balanced collection? Does it include the full range of resource formats and delivery modes identified above?

My school library collection is heavy in some areas and light on in others. At least for the needs of my primary school community, I think the collection is quite strong, although there are some gaps that I’d like to fill over the next couple of years.

Browsing the collection has certainly helped me to find some of those gaps!

Multiple formats and delivery modes Our school has a reasonable range of print resources, although we don’t store any large posters, infographs, ephemera or maps within the library itself. Big books are stored in the junior primary building. We have access to a wide variety of eBooks through the Scholastic Literacy Pro program, but we don’t have any subscriptions to popular eBook titles as students generally don’t access them and we’re trying to save money on that front. We don’t have DVDs or CDs as these sorts of resources can be found online. I’m not sure about Realia. This might also be stored elsewhere within the school. I’ll have to investigate!
Reading and comprehension levels and social development The Lexile system is used effectively from Year 2 to Year 7. Foundations and Year Ones use readers from Level 1 to Level 30 before accessing the Lexile program. We have an excellent range of books varying from very low to very high reading levels. We also have magazines but no newspapers. So far I haven’t come across any material that is socially inappropriate.
Support for the curriculum Recently I cleared out the NF section because many of the resources were old and tattered. I am now beginning to see gaps that I need to fill, especially when students come in asking for a book on a particular topic. We do have lots of resources for STEM topics, as well as Sustainability, Civics and Citizenship, and Australia.
Leisure resources to challenge and maintain literacy development Again, our leisure-based resources are many. We have six years worth of Guinness Book of Records, magazines, joke books, games, construction and fact books. We don’t have a whole lot of books that are dual language. Our school teaches Japanese, so it would be good to have more resources related to that as well.
Catering for different learning styles I don’t know exactly what we have in terms of Teacher Resources. I am thinking that I should start here when I do stocktaking for the first time at the end of the year. I know that the STEM teacher has lots of kinaesthetic learning resources stored in the library. We don’t have any audiobooks, as far as I know.


September 12

Learning Object Exploration

The Education Services Australia website links to an enormous range of resources for teachers and parents. I already knew about Scootle, and have used Learning Objects (LOs) from this repository before.

Choose three different areas of professional interest on the Online Resources page and locate one learning object in each. Consider the intended learning for each – do you think this can be achieved?

Write a brief reflective evaluation on how you could incorporate LOs into your current or future practice.

Scootle > Super Stories: The Abandoned House: Nouns and Adjectives

I chose to search for a LO on Scootle about editing a piece of writing, as this is my focus for next term’s writing groups. I narrowed my search using a Year 4 Content Descriptor within the Australian Curriculum – ACELY1695 – Reread and edit for meaning by adding, deleting or moving words or word groups to improve content and structure. I chose The Abandoned House because my group of boys enjoy the horror genre.

Intended Learning

  • Students relate the nature and strength of evaluative stance in texts to language and multimodal choices.
  • Students analyse and compare the use of grammatical forms such as nouns and adjectives to evoke an emotional response from readers and listeners across a range of texts.
  • Students analyse how particular language choices can give more or less emphasis, intensity, force or focus to evaluations.
  • Students investigate how images influence the reader to adopt certain evaluative positions about a text.

I liked that once you actually started editing, the LO provided a couple of nouns to choose from and explained why those choices improved or didn’t improve the text. There is lots of scaffolding, and once the learning is complete, you could move into a more open task, depending on the students’ understanding. My writing group often finish a writing task and believe that it is complete, without editing or improving anything! I feel like this LO is a good place to start.

The intended learning outcomes are a little bit beyond my group’s academic level. I do think the LO would help them to analyse and compare the power of different nouns and adjectives, as well as investigate the images and power of certain language choices.

Student Wellbeing Hub > Be Deadly Online

I chose to search the Student Wellbeing Hub because my wellbeing teacher frequently comments on the lack of resources available to her. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it especially easy to find resources of interest using the filters. For example, there was not a whole lot about growth mindset, persistence or resilience, which is our school’s current focus.

In the end, I chose Be Deadly Online. I like that it links to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cross-curriculum Priority. I watched a  video called ‘Dumb Stuff’, about a boy who makes a video about doing silly things, and then he gets fired because he was filmed in his work shirt.

Intended Learning

  • Understand the concept of respect in the context of technology use.
  • Critically analyse the impact of your actions on yourself, others and your family/community when using technology.

I think this LO would be very helpful in generating a discussion about respect for yourself and for others, as well as responsible use of technology, in an upper primary / lower secondary context. Students would engage in critical thinking, and personal and social capability.

The video is animated, uses humour and would appeal to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and student who do not identify as ATSI would get an insight into the culture in a contemporary, everyday context.

Digital Technologies Hub > Quick, Draw!

I went into the Digital Technologies Hub to simply explore. It was far easier to find LOs of interest in this repository, compared to the Student Wellbeing Hub. I found a game called Quick, Draw!

The keywords identified for the LO included Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. I think this LO would be a fun way to generate some discussion around these topics, especially for primary students. It is fast-paced and students would enjoy the challenge of beating the clock and drawing successfully.

Intended Learning

  • Explain how student solutions and existing information systems meet common personal, school or community needs.
  • Explain how student solutions and existing information systems are sustainable and meet current and future local community needs

As the Digital Technologies curriculum is a little foreign to me, I’m not sure how I would use this LO to achieve these learning outcomes.

August 29

A Reflection on Flipping Learning

Think about your learning journey so far in this subject. What have you learned? Has the journey been exciting? Is it harder to excite/engage students in learning when working wholly online?

This subject began in an area of great personal interest – physical library spaces. I have explored this topic in a previous subject, so was able to build upon my knowledge. Through the first assignment, I was also able to put this knowledge into practice, using the principles of twenty-first century library design to consider how to enhance my own school library. In particular, I like the idea of creating zones in the physical space, such as Thornburg’s campfire, cave, watering hole, and life (Oddone, n.d.), to ensure that the needs of the whole school community are being met.

But it was the next section that was new and perhaps more helpful to me – virtual library spaces. My school library does not have a strong virtual presence so it was interesting to explore ways to improve this, applying Thornburg’s spaces to a virtual sphere.

From there we explored the provision of different types of reference materials, website readability and evaluation, selection criteria for digital resources, and the print versus digital debate (the last of which, I must say, is enormously boring, especially reading through statistics comparing the two formats and coming to the same conclusions every single time). We have also considered how search engines work, using search strategies, and Web 2.0 tools. For some reason, I found the history of the internet to be very interesting – I look to the future with keen interest! And the Padagogy Wheel (Wilson, 2020) and SAMR models (Costello, n.d.) will both come in handy for planning.

Has the journey been exciting? Initially, it was, but right now I feel so bogged down with work, study and life that it’s hard to get excited about anything! I don’t think it is harder for me to engage in learning online because I am so used to it and I am happy to dive into it. But for many others I am sure that face-to-face learning is preferred. Indeed, when I was taking digital reading sessions in April, I found that face-to-face learning offers so many more learning opportunities, chances to ask questions and confirm understandings.

How could flipped learning influence program design and delivery for the classroom and library research investigations?

Flipped learning is not something that has crossed my radar before now as I have worked in schools in very low socio-economic areas where access to technology at home is minimal. Here, flipped learning is simply out of the question.

At my current school, however, this is certainly something to consider. I have seen firsthand the amazing learning that can take place during 1 to 1 time with a student. A benefit of flipped learning is that it frees up the teacher from ‘teaching’ content and allows them to work with students individually (Teachings in Education, 2017). For the TL, who may have fewer minutes with classes than a classroom teacher, this could allow them to work more closely with students on a face-to-face level. I mentioned this above, and research has shown that some students do prefer learning with a teacher present (Earp, 2016).

Clearly, flipped learning is not something that can be implemented overnight. You need your colleagues to be in on it. You need to curate resources and prepare the content for home learning so that it is suitable for each student. You might need some training in the relevant digital tools for implementation, and you need to invest time into setting flipped learning boundaries and expectations (Teachings in Education, 2017).

Now that we’ve been forced to prepare more online content, due to COVID 19, maybe planning time will be reduced, though, because we have the content made up already. Hmmm … I think flipped learning could be great, as long as it is well planned and considered. It would be important to evaluate the process with students. After all, they should always be the focus of any teaching and learning.


Costello, C. (n.d.). Using ICT and web tools in the classroom. Virtual Library. https://www.virtuallibrary.info/using-ict-and-web-tools.html

Earp, J. (2016, February 3). Homework culture key to flipped learning success. Teacher. https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/homework-culture-key-to-flipped-learning-success

Oddone, K. (n.d.). Re-imagining learning spaces to inspire contemporary learning – part one: Models for change. Living Learning. https://www.linkinglearning.com.au/re-imagining-learning-spaces-to-inspire-contemporary-learning-part-one-models-for-change/

Teachings in Education. (2017, June 20). Flipped classroom model: Why, how and overview [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/BCIxikOq73Q

Wilson, A. (2020, June 26). Tooltime taster: Select the right tool with the padagogy wheel. UTS. https://lx.uts.edu.au/blog/2020/06/26/tooltime-taster-padagogy-wheel/

August 25

Social Bookmarking

How might social bookmarking sites be useful – for teachers? for students? for TLs? Are there any limitations and issues relating the use of such sites?

Social bookmarking sites can be useful for students, teachers and TLs. Keeping track of quality content is made easy, and some of the platforms are visually engaging, like Pearltrees, which is good for kids. They might need to do some research, and bookmarking is a good way to track potentially useful websites or content. If students annotate resources, teachers can track how students are researching from an information literacy perspective. The various elements of the social bookmarking process also build on twenty-first century skills.

Diigo is not as visually appealing as other platforms (Cool Tools for Schools, 2018-2019), so might be more suited to professional content sharing by the TL. On a personal note, I find Diigo a little difficult to navigate.

Although it can be useful to receive notifications when some new content is bookmarked, the constant arrival of new content can be overwhelming, especially during busy times when it’s hard to squeeze in some professional reading. If there is too much content at once, you can end up sifting through it to find the most important or interest pieces. Wasn’t that the whole point of social bookmarking? That the best bits on a topic are being curated for you? Then you end up sifting through it anyway.

Advertising is another issue. I wonder if it still pops up in a student account?


Cool Tools for Schools. (2018-2019). Thing 8: Digital curation toolshttps://cooltoolsforschool.net/curation-tools/

August 23

Using a Blog in the School Library

This year I have been working with six students on their reading. Each is at vastly different stages of their reading journey and participate in other more structured reading intervention experiences than just their time with me.

I wonder if we could start blogging about the books we read in our group. I could provide a prompt for them, or they could write their own reflections if they are confident. This process could improve their social skills within a group, and give the quieter readers a voice (Morris, 2018), as they start to comment on each other’s posts. They have already proven that they enjoy using their Chromebooks for learning, as we have done a Padlet activity, and read some eBooks.


Morris, K. (2018). Why teachers and students should blog: 18 benefits of educational blogging. Primary Tech. http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2013/03/08/the-benefits-of-educational-blogging/

July 24

Choosing a Format

Write a short blog post on the key considerations you need to take into account when choosing which format/s when purchasing resources for your library.

… there are those who assert that it is not relevant whether the desired information is available online, or on CD-ROM or in print, it is the content that is important.” – Stewart, 2000, p. 95

One thread present throughout the reading was the importance of educational criteria. Does the content of the resource suit my purpose? Does it suit my audience? Can my audience read and understand the information provided by the resource? All of these considerations come first, ahead of reliability and technical criteria.

Educational criteria are by far the most important when evaluating Web sites.” – Herring, 2011, p. 22

Something else that captured my attention was the need to cater for different learning styles. When I hear ‘learning styles’, I think of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. But I’ve never considered the print versus digital argument through a learning style lens. No matter what eBook download or database subscription statistics get thrown around year by year, every learner will have a preference for print or digital, and may choose differently in certain situations. I think school libraries should be ready to provide access to both formats, to cater for everyone at any time.

… medium preferences matter, since those who studied on their preferred medium showed both less overconfidence and got better test scores.” – Myrberg & Wiberg, 2015

Last of all, one of the readings touched on the dynamic nature of our information environment. Just twenty years ago, librarians were looking at CD-ROMs (Stewart, 2000). In 2020, the technology is very different. If it continues to evolve at the same rate, what will the information landscape look like in 2030?

In the same way we’re preparing for the future with flexible furnishings in our physical library spaces, we have to be ready for any kind of future in the digital space, not playing catch-up when something new comes along. This is not something we can really predict, but it’s worth thinking about when deciding which format to choose as we build our collections.


Herring, J. E. (2011). Web site evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Librarian, 27(8), 22-23. https://maureensresources.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/websiteevaluationlibrarian.pdf

Myrberg, C. & Wiberg, N. (2015). Screen vs. paper: What is the difference for reading and learning? Insights, 28(2). https://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.236/

Stewart, L. A. (2000). Choosing between print and electronic resources. The Reference Librarian, 34(71), 79-97. https://doi.org/10.1300/J120v34n71_07

July 19

Website Evaluation Criteria

Create a table for website evaluation criteria. Go to the Cyberguide Ratings document and evaluate this tool as a guide to assessing the educational value of a site. Does the list cover all the criteria that you might apply? What criteria might you add? Is this too complex. Consider other resource selection criteria. Add in the educational criteria you consider the most important. Post your criteria on your Thinkspace and reflect on the process you have undertaken.

I started this process by creating my own blank website evaluation criteria table with three columns. For the Educational section, I initially chose five criteria, guided by the questions provided in the ETL501 module content.

The Cyberguide ratings document’s list of questions seemed relatively comprehensive, but it mixes Educational, Reliability and Technical criteria, without using those terms as headings, which made it a little confusing. For example, the questions in the third section were both Reliability and Technical related. Indeed, the questions in the fourth section were related to all three main types of criteria! By using those headings, the document could be somewhat simpler and easier to use.

Upon reflection, in the Educational section, I added a sixth criterion to my table – Audience. Although they seem somewhat similar, I felt as though there was a difference between an intended audience and a reading or cognitive level.

I also added a column to the right of the criteria. In a practical situation, this could be used to tick off each of the criteria, or add a comment on how the website addresses that particular element.

Educational Criteria

Reading Level
Cognitive Level

Reflect on what you have learnt so far. Create a list of questions that TLs might consider in relation to reliability criteria. What additional questions might TLs consider to judge whether a site is reliable for a particular range of students who are studying a particular topic? Add your reliability criteria as a comment or edit on your Thinkspace post about the Website Evaluation Criteria table.

Does the author have credibility?

Is there evidence that the information has been approved by other credible people?

What do reviews say about the information?

Are there spelling or grammatical mistakes?

Does the author show bias?

Are there glaring omissions in the information?

Is the information possible or probable in the real world?

Are there any inconsistencies or contradictions in the information?

Are there any other sources of information that support the other source?

Is the information current? Has the information been updated recently?

Does everybody have access to the information?

My reliability criteria is a mixture of Schrock’s website evaluation ABCs (2002) and Harris’ CARS checklist (2018). For example, Schrock mentions citations, which can fit under Harris’ Support criterion. However, I thought some of Schrock’s criteria were better off on their own, like Bias.

Reliability Criteria


Credibility & Authority  
Quality Control  
Grammar & Spelling  
Dates & Timeliness  

Look at the technical criteria included in Schrock’s surveys and reflect on whether there might be other technical criteria which you might consider to be important when selecting websites for school staff or students. Add your technical criteria as a comment or edit on your Thinkspace post about the Website Evaluation Criteria table.

Schrock’s surveys are great! But … I think that it is important to consider how much text is on a webpage. If you have too much text it can be a real turn off. I’ve added this criterion to my own table.

This activity has prepared me for real world website evaluation. Clearly, there are so many different sets of criteria to refer to, it is important to modify them so that they work for you.

There is no one definitive set of criteria that school librarians might apply, and school librarians can benefit from reviewing a number of criteria sets and selecting the parts that most suit their circumstances.” – Herring, 2011, p. 22

As I evaluate websites moving forward, it will be easy to adjust my table so that it is effective. Herring (2011, p. 22) notes that often, website evaluation criteria are too general. I wonder if my criteria are too general, but I don’t want to get too bogged down in the questions. A balance between not too general and not so specific that the evaluation becomes arduous, is probably the way to go.

Here are the Technical criteria that I chose for my table …

Technical Criteria


Fast Loading  
Easy to Navigate  
Not Too Much Text  
Not Too Many Graphics  
Working Links  


Harris, R. (2018). Evaluating Internet research sources. Virtual Salt. https://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

Herring, J. E. (2011). Web site evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Librarian, 27(8), 22-23. https://maureensresources.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/websiteevaluationlibrarian.pdf

Schrock, K. (2002). Teaching media literacy in the age of the Internet: The ABCs of website evaluation. http://www.kathyschrock.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/weval_02.pdf

July 17

Farmer’s Formats

Reflect on Farmer’s ideas about print and digital reference material. Are there other materials you would consider appropriate in an Australian context? What factors may influence the decision on which format (physical or digital, or both) to choose?

When I started working in my primary school library at the start of this year, I noticed a set of encyclopedias on a low shelf behind the circulation desk. They were covered in dust and other staff claimed they had not been touched for a very long time. When people say ‘reference books’, this is immediately what I think of. When I blew the dust away, the books looked brand new. It made me wonder, had the books been used at all?

For this reason, this reading clashed with my own ideas. I can certainly see the value of holding other print reference resources, like atlases, dictionaries, or thesauri, in a library collection. But encyclopedias in print? No, I don’t know how I would justify any money spent on such an item. The information they provide becomes out of date almost as soon as they’re published, and they cannot be updated easily, like digital reference materials can. Print reference materials can take up a great deal of storage space, whereas digital resources do not. Indeed, the future of publishing is more about access than it is about ownership (Kimmel, 2014, p. 52).

We do have a wonderful set of paperback reference books about Australian landmarks. These, and other similar subject specific reference materials, I think, are appropriate in an Australian context. And fact books, like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or Guinness Book of Records are also very popular in my library. I can’t really think of any others.


Kimmel, S. C. (2014). Developing collections to empower learners. American Association of School Librarians


July 11

Technological Advances for a Virtual Library

Grantham’s article (2007) was written over a decade ago – what advances in technology might change the way you approach a virtual library from those examined here?

While the definition of a virtual library remains the same, there are some advances in technology that might change the way a virtual library is constructed.

Grantham (2007, p. 7) highlights knowledge of web design as a barrier for the Teacher Librarian (TL). However, website design and construction has certainly simplified since 2007. Any number of website creation tools can be used, like Weebly, WordPress, or Google Sites. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic TL should be able to use these tools, and if not, they are simple and easy to learn.

More than a decade later, visual media is so much more prominent. A virtual library will need to be designed with this is mind. Library staff could film their own videos, include photographs and infographics, or embed visuals found elsewhere online.

Although she mentions subscriptions to databases and reference materials, Grantham makes no mention of eBooks, which are a common information source in many schools today. Also, although interactive whiteboards are a dated technology, interactive links are still useful for students and teachers visiting the virtual library (Grantham, 2007).

At my school, there is no external access to the library or its catalogue. You can only view and search the catalogue from the school intranet, which is somewhat limiting. The library doesn’t have a strong online presence. Developing a virtual library is certainly something that could be explored moving forwards.


Grantham, C. (2007). Virtual library: e-ssential. Access, 21(3), 5-8. https://search.informit.com.au/browseJournalTitle;res=ielhss;issn=1030-0155