INF533 Part C: Critical Reflection

Introduction

Through INF533 my understandings of education in digital environments has continued to expand. Initially I was hoping to develop my understanding of using digital narratives in the classroom. I was thinking mainly from a literacy and reading perspective. Now I understand digital narratives to encompass presentation of information (flipped learning), and for student work creation and student engagement.

Digital Literature

The ideas discussed in Module 1 regarding what constitutes digital literature expanded on my prior knowledge somewhat. I have begun to explore beyond eBooks, towards interactive narratives. I have also been considering the narrative element of a variety of computer and role-playing games. They can hook in students who may be negative towards narratives, and provide the basis for their own as they explore the game. I can apply Walsh’s and Yokota and Teale’s criteria for literature evaluation to future collection development in my next library and to text selection for curriculum reading tasks. This would involve using a checklist of criteria and comparing potential texts against it. In addition, the text would need to be checked against curriculum and topic requirements. I strongly believe that using texts that relate well to task context and which students can connect to is integral to student engagement.

Digital Skills

I really connected with the ideas in Module 2 regarding effective use of digital tools and positioning students to be successful with digital learning. Leu, Forzani, Timbrell and Maykel and Serafini and Youngs highlighted an additional skill set for students to efficiently work and read in digital formats. Additionally, Walker, Jameson and Ryan noted the necessity for information seeking and information transfer skills. These authors are connected to 21st century and digital literacy skills. In collaboration with classroom teachers, I would like to be embedding digital literacy using a variety of digital narratives – to explore and to create.

Creation of Digital Narratives

Through Module 4 the ways in which digital texts can be created by students to share their knowledge and understanding was explored. My reflection explores the various readings. There is a lot of potential for using student created digital narratives in classes. I think it is necessary to balance digital work and analogue learning (face to face discussions and using pen and paper). Students need to see the value in what they create and using digital narratives consistently in all classes could become monotonous. I would like to begin using digital narrative creation in my classes. For example, in History students could create a day in a life story (written, visual or audio) to show understanding of different times and cultures. In English, students could turn a traditional narrative into a picture story or a video. Digital narratives provide opportunities to embed narrative structure in all learning areas, and provides a platform for students to express voice, choice and empathy. Student digital narratives create pride in their own work, and experience in creating something for a purpose.

Technology Integration

Module 5 focused on the integration of digital media texts into student learning, through merging creativity, narrative and technology, and empowering diverse learners. The TPACK and SAMR models are highlighted to support teachers in ensuring a balance and reason for technology use in the classroom. The concept of merging creativity, narrative and technology (Hall, 2012) connects with Technology and Content Knowledge, and providing multiple ways (choice) in which students can present their understandings. Within 21st century education I think it is more important than ever to ensure that technology is value adding to student learning and not just used because it is available. When used, the models mentioned ensure the educator is considering how the technology is impacting student learning. I will endeavour to focus on the value added in my classes by following the TPACK model. I prefer this model as it highlights how technology connects with pedagogy and content.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the opportunities to explore different styles of digital narratives. I have warmed to some more than others, based on how busy the text was to engage with. I have expanded my understanding and views on using digital narratives in education. I am more open to different types of digital literature and how they can be used for literacy development or expression of knowledge. I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply this understanding in a library or classroom in the future. I think the possibilities for use of digital narratives either for reading or creating are limited only by creativity.

References

AnneWithAnE. (2013, August 9). AnneWithAnE. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/user/greengablesfables/videos

BradField Company. (2019) Inanimate Alice. Retrieved from https://inanimatealice.com/

Hall, T. (2012). Digital renaissance: The creative potential of narrative technology in education. Creative Education, 3(1), 96-100. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2012.31016

Kingsley, K. (2007). Empower diver learners with education technology and digital media. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(1), 52-56. doi: 10.1177/10534512070430010701

Koehler, J. (2019). The TPACK Framework. Retrieved from www.tpack.org

Leu, D., Forzani, E., Timbrell, N., & Maykel, C. (2015). Seeing the forest, not the trees. The Reading Teacher, 69(2), 139-145. doi: 10.1002/trtr.1406

Schrock, K. (2018). SAMR and Bloom’s. Retrieved from https://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html

Serafini, F. & Youngs, S. (2013). Reading workshop 2.0: Children’s literature in the digital age. The Reading Teacher, 66(5), 401-404. doi: 10.102/TRTR.1141

Walker, S., Jameson, J., & Ryan, M. (2010). Skills and strategies for e-learning in a participatory culture. In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham, & S. Freitas (Eds.), Rethinking learning for a digital age: How learners are shaping their own experiences (pp.212-224). New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/863c5c8d-9f3f-439f-a7e3-2c2c67ddbfa8/1/ALiteratureCompanionforTeachers.pdf

Yokota, J. & Teale, WH. (2014). Picture books and the digital world. The Reading Teacher, 67(8), 577-585. doi: 10.1002.trtr1262

INF533 Part A: Digital Project Context

My digital story telling project will be a content for flipped learning. My artefact will be aimed towards a Catholic middle school in the inner southern suburbs of Adelaide. The school is co-educational and caters for years 7-9. It feeds into the associated senior school with year 10-12. Students have 1:1 access to Chrome Books which are used in most lessons. The school site uses Google Classroom as its main learning system, this is support by SEQTA for administration and pastoral activities. Students are experienced in the use of Google Classroom to access subject content and submit tasks online.

Subject Area:

The flipped learning task will be linked to the Australian Curriculum, Year 7 Civics and Citizenship. The task will cover the concepts of constitution and federation. Depending on past experiences, this may be revision of prior learning or development of new knowledge.

Purpose:

Flipped learning is the process of setting content-based learning for students to complete out of class (eg. homework). The use of flipped learning tasks enables class time to be used for discussions, exploration, analysis of content, and student questioning.

The task will be based around video content sourced through the Parliamentary Education Office (creative commons licensed). The task will be designed on Wix, and following some design elements from TED Ed Lesson Creator, such as the inclusion of think questions and discussion prompts. There are two sections to this task which could be completed by students at different times. The use of Wix allows for the sequential placement of videos, overarching introduction and conclusion, inclusion of student questions, and opportunities for collaboration between class members. The use of student questions will inform the teacher as to any areas of confusion and questions to respond to in future lessons.

Audience:

This task is aimed at a class of Year 7 students. The class has several students with diverse learning needs.

Value for program implementation:

Flipped learning is the process of delivering direct instruction to students in their individual learning space (FLN, 2014). According to Educause (2012), the value of flipped learning is in the reallocation of class time to provide opportunities for student to ask questions, apply knowledge and collaborate with others. Technology is often incorporated into flipped learning, but it is not a necessity (Shaffer, 2016). When technology is used a model such as TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy, Content Knowledge) is beneficial to ensure equal implementation of technology, content and pedagogy (Shaffer, 2016). In order to undertake flipped learning, it is necessary to follow 4 pillars to support full implementation.

Flexible Learning:

Successful flipped learning uses a variety of learning modes to get information across to students. This include videos, discussions, reading, and mini assignments (Hennick, 2014). Students now have choice over when and where they can learn.

Learning Culture:

The learning culture of flipped learning incorporates a learner-centred approach where students are actively involved in creating knowledge and meaningful learning (FLN, 2014). Hennick (2014) describes the inclusion of hands-on activities increasing student involvement in their own education. Shaffer (2016) agrees that students with active involvement in their learning are more able to retain information and skills, than students passively involved.

Intentional Content:

With intentional content class time is maximised, and conceptual understanding and procedural fluency increased (FLN, 2014). With more time in class to participate in project-based learning there is more opportunity for students to develop Higher Order Thinking skills (Hennick, 2014). In addition, students now have greater access to their teachers while applying their new knowledge (Hennick, 2014).

Professional Educator:

As a professional educator in a flipped learning classroom feedback can be given to students immediately, and teachers are constantly assessing knowledge (FLN, 2014; Hennick, 2014). Teachers are also able to connect and improve their content through professional discussions and acceptance of constructive criticism.

Value for diverse learning needs:

Flipped learning has benefits to all members of the class, not just those with diverse learning needs (Bergmann & Sams, 2012 in Shaffer, 2016:

  • helps busy or struggling students
  • students can re-watch or pause their content
  • more time for student-teacher and student-student interactions
  • increases teacher understanding of their students
  • changes how the classroom is managed
  • supports students who are absent

Value for community use:

Following the creation and implementation of a flipped learning unit or task the resources can be shared within the school community. This is highly valuable as it saves other teachers time and could be a stepping-stone for some teachers to try a flipped learning model. If teachers pool their time and resources together an entire curriculum could be developed as flipped learning.

 

References

Educause. (2012). 7 things you should know about flipped classrooms. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2012/2/eli7081-pdf.pdf

Flexible Learning Network. (2014). What is flipped learning? Retrieved from https://flippedlearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FLIP_handout_FNL_Web.pdf

Hennick, C. (2014). Flipped. Scholastic Administr@tor, 13(5), 38-42). Retrieved from ProQuest.

Koehler, J. (2019). The TPACK Framework. Retrieved from www.tpack.org

Shaffer, S. (2016). One high school English teacher: On his way to a flipped classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(5), 563-573. doi: 10.1002/jaal.473

Module 4 Reflection: Digital Storytelling

Module 4 has covered a variety of areas, including some practical ways to incorporate digital storytelling into the classroom, and exploring the definition and how it has expanded over time.

I already had some idea of the potential for creating digital texts in the classroom from INF530. This module has built on those concepts and I have begun to make connections to curriculum and class tasks and explore the use of pre-made digital narratives.

It has been highlighted that there is opportunity for creating AND reading digital stories and these can both be incorporated into teaching and learning. Botturi, Bramani and Corbino discuss how digital stories can be used to assist with communication and finding voice for students with learning difficulties. Matthews comments similarly that communication is a benefit for using digital stories. While Tackvic highlights the benefits of using digital platforms to create narratives. And Bjorgen refers to the similarities and differences in student use of digital tools at home and school through a digital storytelling project.

These readings follow similar themes but approach to topic from different contexts. The concept of using digital stories with students with diverse needs to share their learning or their own personal story, highlights why providing tasks with different presentation options is necessary for all student learning.

Building a narrative from scratch is hard, particularly, as Tackvic points out, when the page in front of you is blank. Getting students to plan their narratives using digital tools – giving the access to images and music which can spark creativity is teaching students to use the tools around them to meet an end goal, and encouraging student’s own interpretation of images/sounds (thinking critically and creatively).

Students are exposed to digital environments/tools at home and at school, and they use them differently in each scenario. Students creating digital narratives at school are building a skill set they can use outside of the classroom. Conversely, they can bring skills learnt at home and apply them to school tasks. Yes, there is often a difference in what can/cannot be accessed (eg. YouTube), but this forces students to find other solutions.

Using digital storytelling in the classroom is something I would like to start doing. It provides opportunities for differentiation and critical and creative thinking, as well as building an ongoing understanding of digital tools and narrative structure. I would start small – working with one class on one topic in order to develop my presentation of the task and skills in tools. I would like to build up to completing at least one digital storytelling task a year with each class. There are multiple opportunities for this throughout the HASS and English curriculums.

 

References

Bjorgen, A.M. (2010). Boundary crossing and learning identifies – digital storytelling in primary schools. Seminar.net: Media, Technology and Lifelong Learning, 6(2), 161-175. Retrieved from EBSCO.

Botturi, L., Bramani, C., & Corbino, S. (2012). Finding your voice through digital storytelling. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 56(3), 10-11. doi:10.1007/s11528-012-0569-1

Matthews, J. (2014). Voices from the heart: The use of digital storytelling in education. Community Practitioner, 87(1), 28-30. Retrieved from ProQuest Central.

Tackvic, C. (2012). Digital storytelling: Using technology to spark creativity. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 426-429. doi: 10.1080/00131725.2012.707562

Module 2 Reflection: Learning and Teaching

Module 2 focused on how digital tools can be used to enhance teaching and learning, how digital tools relate to literature in the classroom, and the challenges around practically implementing them.

2.1 discussed the importance of using digital tools to their full potential in the classroom, instead of as a ‘busy’ tool to keep student occupied. How are we using the technology in our classrooms? In order to be most effective with digital tools, we need to position students as knowledge builders and producers, providing collaborative opportunities to engage students.

Serafini & Youngs’ (2013) discuss new skills required by digital readers, how digital reading can be incorporated into curriculum, and the effect of changing modes of texts. The ideas about using book websites and social networking opportunities to connect with likeminded readers can be applied to a classroom/school. In addition, the use of digital tools to create responses to literature is also valid. I think it is necessary to identify digital tools which can enhance an already embedded literature experience. For example, book reviews or book talks can be transferred to digital sites, comprehension responses can become digital. But we should also be looking to expand student experiences and incorporate tasks which can only be done in a digital format, to do this I think we need to think outside the box for tasks which allow students to show understanding as well as engaging with new texts or formats. Even incorporating a digital text as a class novel could provide a platform for students to explore something different.

2.2 looks at challenges in reading and responding to digital texts. There is the suggestion that comprehension and retention of information can be lacking through this format. Opportunities need to be provided for student to think deeper about the information they find, and to make meaning through collaborative activities. Walker, Jameson & Ryan (2010) highlight the need for students to have skills to transfer information between contexts and to locate relevant information. This section indicates to me the necessity of information and digital literacy skills teaching. These skills are necessary so students can identify what they need to know, how to find it, where to find it, how to evaluate it, and skills to create digitally and be literate/comprehend online. These are key areas within 21st century skills which student of today need to be developing.

2.3 looks at practical uses for digital tools in the classroom. Mills and Levido (2011) identify iPed as a pedagogy for incorporating digital tools and application into curriculum and task development. I think this methodology provides a good basis for integration of digital tasks and tools. Link – to students lives. Challenge – authenticity and authority of digital sources, reflect critically on assumptions made in own created products. Co-create – collaboration and sharing of knowledge to create a product. Share – with a community for feedback and recognition. By following iPed you can be sure that connections are being made between content and creation, and students are developing a variety of skills. I would like to integrate digital storytelling, following iPed would a good way to do this.

I would like to identify specific tasks for reading comprehension and creation which can only be completed with digital tools. This will ensure that the tool is adding to the learning task, and that curriculum goals are still being met. In addition, I would like to use iPed as the basis of a digital storytelling activity.

 

References

Mills, K. & Levido, A. (2011). iPed: Pedagogy for digital text production. The Reading Teacher, 65(1), 80-91. doi: 10.1598/RT.65.1.11

Serafini, F. & Youngs, S. (2013). Reading workshop 2.0: Children’s literature in the digital age. The Reading Teacher, 66(5), 401-404. doi: 10.1002/TRTR.1141

Walker, S., Jameson, J., & Ryan, M. (2010). Skills and strategies for e-learning in a participatory culture. In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham, & S. Freitas (Eds.), Rethinking learning for a digital age: How learners are shaping their own experiences (pp.212-224). New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Module 1 Reflection: Trends and Developments

Module 1 discussed trends and developments in literature – from Gutenberg’s moveable type printing press to eBooks and digital narratives. I understand the speed at which changes to literature is occurring now, in relation to previous innovations. The use of reading and digital texts in the classroom needs to be able to value add and enhance the learning experience. Changes in format are also impacting pedagogy, and the way students comprehend information. ICT should be embedded into classrooms, providing a solid platform for introduction of different text formats.

Do we need to change how we teach comprehension and literacy? I think is it important for students to have opportunities to explore these skills using different text formats. I also think that for each type of format there are differences in how we note-take and comprehend the information. A discussed in Learning 2030 student have an intuitive sense for games on devices, but not necessarily education. They need to be taught hose to use their devices to find the information required. This aligns with digital literacy and information literacy skills which students will need to be effective 21st century learners and citizens.

Embedding and value adding with ICT in classrooms is integral to its use. The access which can be made to information and resources through digital connections can help students to see the bigger picture, as well as access resources they may not have been able to from a physical library.

Moving from print literature to digital literature can also increase student engagement and understanding of concepts. There can be more interactive elements within digital literature, and ways to expand on ideas and provide definitions and images to help build background knowledge. This could be highly useful for disengaged readers – particularly if you are able to access graphic digital narratives.

Literature in a digital environment can vary from the standard scanned eBook to electronic game narratives. I think the distinction in types of digital literature is important to understand when choosing a title. Do you just want to be able to display the book on a screen or do you want students to be able to interact with it, or have it read to them? I did not realise there were so many sub-categories of digital narratives. But is it clear that they all serve different purposes.

Walsh’s chapter highlights how to evaluate digital texts, and she does so through a comparison to good literature. What does the digital text add to the reading experience? How does what is adds connect to good literature? We should not be using digital texts ‘just because’, they need context and they need to add to student learning.

I found this Module helpful in understanding different types of digital literature, and ways to assess its quality. The key point for me here was that context and the value it adds are very important.

When developing my library collection, I will pay closer attention to digital narratives which are available. I will provide access to them through the library homepage or as favourite links on school computers. I will promote them and their usefulness to class teachers as alternate text types. I think having a better understanding of the types of digital literature and ways to evaluate it will be beneficial for collection development and motivation of disengaged readers.

 

References

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2013, October 4). Learning 2030: From books to screen [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/215NPpHsQPk

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/863c5c8d-9f3f-439f-a7e3-2c2c67ddbfa8/1/ALiteratureCompanionforTeachers.pdf

ETL504 Part B: Critical Reflection

Teacher-librarians are middle leaders, involved in influencing change with staff members and with leadership. Leadership for the teacher-librarian also relates to advocacy as they use their ability to support the goals of others to build trust. A reflection on my initial thoughts of teacher-librarian leadership can be found here.

The case-studies provided an opportunity to explore scenarios requiring different aspects of leadership and change management. During the first group case-study, I fell into the leadership role. This was because the group agreed to my interpretation of the scenario. I used distributed leadership to suggest that group members choose a section of my interpretation to expand and relate to readings. I was a subtle leader, and open to opinions from others. The positive views of the team to my response helped me see that I was on the right track with my learning, and that my contribution was valuable. Distributed leadership was used consistently throughout the case-studies. Discussions were initiated by the same team member. Individually we identified an issue of interest or which needed more depth and worked on this to contribute to the final product.

The scenario presented for the case-studies was intricate and involved different personality types we could possibly work with. My teacher-librarian experiences have only been in teams of two. In both cases our personalities and ways of working complemented each other and there was no conflict. Because of this, I found the scenarios to be very helpful. I can now come up with a stronger response to conflict resolution questions in interviews!

Through the module content and case-studies I now have a more thorough understanding of how different leadership styles can impact a school culture and staff willingness to participate in change (Smith, 2016). I have subconsciously been applying different leadership styles to my principals in previous employment and also reflecting on how different initiatives have been presented to staff for implementation.

During Module 2 I connected with transformational and distributed leadership, as describe here. Because of this, these styles have been the basis of my assessments. When working with a library team or faculty it is necessary for there to be a shared vision, collaborative culture, and appreciation of efforts (Smith, 2016). These form the basis of transformational leadership. In the same situations, being able to share tasks and expertise helps increase staff involvement and reduce burnout. Case-study 6 emphasised the importance of the teacher-librarian using these leadership styles to implement change.

In reflecting on change implementation, I considered what steps I may need to take in my next TL role. I suggest change away from NIT library time to collaborative inquiry over 1-2 years. This ensures there is time for planning, completing trial units, gathering support, and building understanding of the change and pedagogy. I would be hopeful that with slow, considered implementation change fatigue can be avoided and staff can have their voices heard.

Leadership and the teacher-librarian are integral to a smooth running of the library and to ensuring an expansion to 21st century curriculum, pedagogy and learning. Through leading from the middle and implementing leadership and change strategies, the teacher-librarian can influence both the teaching staff and the leadership team. This is important for the smooth implementation of any new initiatives.

 

References

Smith, B. (2016). The role of leadership style in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78. Retrieved from www.selu.usask.ca

Module 3 Reflection: Leading Change

Module 3 focused on the process of implementing and leading change in an organisation. Ideas covered included management of change, impact of technology, internal and external forces of change, incentives, factors of stress, processes to lead change (eg. Kotter’s 8 step model), impact of specific teams and communication, conflict within organisations and teams, and how to be a change leader.

Through 3.1 (change in organisations) ideas about mandated change in education arose in the readings. Mandated change will always be around, but it is necessary to have a suitable mindset towards it. Clement’s (2014) discussion around the way change is introduced being highly important towards perceptions of the change is relevant. It is necessary to introduce change in a way which will encourage staff to embrace it. Mandated change should also be integrated into site priorities. In addition, change fatigue needs to be downgraded or eliminated if possible (as discussed by Dilkes, Cunningham and Gray, 2014). Through this discussion I can see the importance of implementing change slowly and not having too many initiatives being introduced at one time. Staff need the opportunity to learn and embed one change of practice before beginning another. I think it is also necessary for connection between potential initiatives to be identified. How does one initiative support the next etc? How do they support site priorities and improve teaching and learning?

3.2 (leading change) looked at the development of teams and the importance of good communication. Kotter’s 8 step model for change management was introduced here, along with 7 step problem solving. I think that together these models can support the implementation of change within an organisation quite well. Development of teams which support each other and work well together is necessary when leading change. Aguilar (2015) highlighted the importance of a clear purpose, alignment to school vision and team needs, and the provision of time to meet. Being willing to mix teams up if personalities are clashing or if there aren’t the right people in specific roles is sometimes necessary when building teams for a purpose. Having the right types of people in roles will make the team run a lot smoother and more efficiently than not. Discussion about conflict (organisational vs personal) also comes into leading change and the creation of teams. It is necessary to deal with conflict when it arises, not let it fester. The information given in this module about dealing with conflict is important to me. This is an area which I do not have much experience, and I am someone who would like to avoid conflict where possible. The problem solving and change models will be useful for implementation of change in the future, and in dealing with conflict.

3.3 (change leader) focused on innovation and management vs leadership. I think it makes a lot of sense for a leader to be a successful manager first, if you cannot manage your role and your people how can you expect to be able to lead a team through an innovative change. The reading by Oberg (2011) highlights how the TL can influence and change school culture. I think it is necessary to ensure changes still align to school priorities and vision/mission, and meet teaching and learning objectives.

This module has provided steps and information about how to implement change in a workplace. I now understand the pitfalls of too much change and implementing it too quickly. As noted in my earlier blog post, if I were to change the perception of the TL role I would do so over a 2-year period, providing opportunities for staff input and practice sessions.

 

References:

Aguilar, E. (2015, July 15). Cultivating healthy teams in schools [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/cultivating-healthy-teams-schools-elena-aguilar

Clement, J. (2014). Managing mandated educational change. School Leadership & Management, 34(1), 39-51. doi: 10.1080/13632434.2013.813460

Dilkes, J., Cunningham, C., & Gray, J. (2014). The new Australian Curriculum, teachers and change fatigue. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11). Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol39/iss11/4

Madsen, S. (2016, October 24). Kotter’s 8 step change management model [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/7qlJ_Y8w5Yk

Oberg, D. (2011). Teacher librarians as cultural change agents. SCIS Connections, 79. Retrieved from https://www.scisdata.com/media/1353/connections-79.pdf

Module 3 Blog: Implementing Change

A change I have been thinking about implementing is regarding how teachers use the library and the TL. I do not know where my next TL job will be or the specifics of the role (eg. is library considered NIT? Is it collaborative inquiry learning? Is it teaching skills just in time? Is the library just used by classes with no support from the TL?) My ideal library usage is one where teacher and TL are working collaboratively on units of inquiry and embedding information and digital literacy skills into the process. A process of change may be required to reach this goal.

To change how staff view the use of library time and library space I think it is necessary to show them what could be possible. Drawing on ETL401’s discussion of advocacy, I would consider getting a few people on side with the idea of collaborative learning and demonstrating the process with them. It is important here to show the Principal how working collaboratively through inquiry units adds to student learning and the ‘big picture’ of the school. Once a successful unit (or two) have been completed this can be shared with the Principal. Hopefully they will see the benefits from the test cases and want this to occur school wide. The next step would be to convince other teachers that this is the way to go – this could be done through a staff meeting presentation given by the test case teachers to share their experiences and what their students (and them) got out of the process).

While transforming the usage of the library and TL could be considered a top-down directive (the Principal now wants it this way), it would be directed from the TL, and teachers are encouraged by those who have worked this way to give it a go. There is also an opportunity to put it to the teachers: what else do you want from the TL? Things are going to change, what changes would you like to see? This adds in teacher voice and gives them notice that things will be changing.

A process like this could take 1-2 years to be fully supported and implemented by the staff. It could be introduced in stages.

  1. Get the principal on-side. Provide them with readings and data about collaborative inquiry learning
  2. Remove library as a NIT time (if it is this way)
  3. Brainstorm ways the library and TL could be used instead
  4. Get a few teachers on-side to work collaboratively with as test cases
  5. Share results and experiences with whole staff
  6. Work with a few more teachers
  7. Implement some of the brainstormed ideas – as relevant and applicable to circumstances
  8. The following year – start the year off fresh with collaborative inquiry units

Through this process staff voice is being heard, they can see the outcomes from the collaborative opportunities, the process can be tweaked and changed, and staff have the opportunity to ‘give it a go’ at any stage during the year prior to full school implementation.

Module 2 Reflection: Organisation Theory

Module 2 expanded my understanding and knowledge of theories behind management and leadership, and what makes an information service. I read about different theories including: Classical Management Theory, Mintzberg’s classifications for organisations, Situational, Transactional, Transformational, Servant, Distributed, Instructional and School Leadership. As well as why leadership is important for Teacher-Librarians.

I didn’t realise there were so many different theories behind leadership. During my reading I connected some theories to education and schools more than others. Classical Management theory relates to jobs being precisely defined, hierarchical structure and clear levels of command. I see this as teacher and leadership role descriptions, Principal at the top of the pyramid, and various middle and senior level leaders in the chain of command to deal with any issues or changes.

There was cross-over between levels of Mintzberg’s classification regarding where school’s sit. I think schools lie between Divisional and Professional, with a little bit of Innovation. They are under the banner of a large department (the state, catholic, independent systems) with centralised control. But they are also characterised by professional and competent teachers in specialised areas of expertise. Schools which have expanded to Distributed leadership could work towards becoming Innovative as other staff members begin to have control of decisions and direction.

In terms of leadership theories, I connected with situational, transformational and distributed.

Situational Leadership: I think it is necessary to be flexible in how to lead in a particular situations (context is important). However, for this method to be successful relationships with all members of the team are highly important as you could call on any of them to assist in a particular situation. This type of leadership calls for a good understanding of your team’s skills and the structure of the task at hand.

Transformational Leadership: I like the big picture direction required for Transformational Leadership. It is a focus on identifying what the next steps are to build on performance and success. I see this form of leadership in convincing subject teachers to team-teach with you. This is an opportunity to develop change in practice. Collaboration across all levels can be seen in team-teaching with different year levels and subject areas. There can be team building in preparing library staff for these opportunities (resource collection, online presence), and in working with faculties (what I can do to help you and your students achieve – inquiry and information literacy). There is also the opportunity to provide PD to staff about how a collaborative session can be planned and implemented.

Distributed Leadership: This form of leadership can be used within the Library team. It requires an understanding of the areas requiring leadership and the skill sets of the team members. Can other people take on leadership roles in their area of expertise? For example, someone working on explaining copyright practice to staff and students – they can also teach that understanding to all library staff.

I also understand further now that leadership for a TL could be leading by example, being visible, being a manager, knowing when to delegate, and integrating myself into teaching and learning. This connects to TL Advocacy (from ETL401), identifying how the TL can help other members of the school. Get them onside and then incorporate/suggest ways of working together to improve teaching and learning outcomes.

I found this module to be highly useful in expanding my knowledge and understanding. I have a greater picture of what how different types of leadership could be used as TL. Examples and explanations (particularly in Smith, and Bush & Glover) expanded on the basic concepts and highlighted areas to consider.

By better understanding leadership theories, I can identify what styles I connect with best and how I can use them in the future. In completing the case studies, I hope to better apply leadership understanding to the scenario, which, in turn, will assist with future leadership responsibilities. My knowledge about leadership styles can also direct me about what styles are not suited to my personality or situations.

 

References:

Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know? School Leadership & Management, 34(5), 553-571. doi: 10.1080/13632434.2014.928680

Smith, B. (2016). The role of leadership style in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78. Retrieved from www.selu.usask.ca

Part B: Critical Reflection of Digital Literature Experiences

Digital Texts

What makes a good digital text?

Within each of my reviews (50 Below Zero, Green Gables Fables, and 80 Days) I referred to the qualities of good literature as identified by Walsh (2013) and Yokota and Teale (2014). The key points of analysis of a digital text become how it engages the reader (Walsh, 2013) and how the reading experience is enhanced (Yokota and Teale, 2014).

A good digital text can mean different things to different reader groups. As Walsh (2013) comments, young readers require texts with solid narrative structure and a variety of vocabulary, whereas older readers need complex plots and characters for analysis. Yokota and Teale identify 3 questions which form the basis of their criteria, which are integrated into my reviews.

Through exploration of different types of digital literature, the application of these criteria have been observed in different ways. What is obvious throughout this exploration is that the digital elements used must add to the story and the reader’s experience.

What counts as a digital text?

A digital narrative is a story which has been designed and created specifically for viewing on a digital device. Unsworth (2006) and Lamb (2011) have similar points of view on what digital literature is.

According to Unsworth (2006), digital texts fall into three categories:

  • Digitally augmented
  • Digitally re-contextualised
  • Digitally originated

Lamb’s (2011) labels of eBooks, enhanced eBooks, and interactive storybooks fall into Unsworth’s (2006) final category. These are texts which are born digital and have no hardcopy format.

The important factor when identifying if a text would be considered digital literature would be to consider its origins and current format. There are many types of digital literature already, and there will be more to come.

What purpose do digital texts serve?

Digital texts can serve to increase access to reading material and opportunities to increase literacy and explore different formats of text.

Walsh (2013) highlights the world outside the books through discussion forums, author websites, research into books, and hyperlinks within texts. All these can help to engage students who might not necessarily be readers. Through digital texts, readers can use text to speech, hyperlinks, music, and interactive features to assist with comprehension. Students can incorporate the multimodal elements to become active participants in reading.

Experience Comparison

I am a print reader. I like the feel of a paper book in my hands, being able to flick back and forth as I make a connection to something earlier in the text, being able to see how much I have read versus how much still to go, I like the smell of a well-loved book, and looking at texts displayed on a bookcase. I think I will always prefer a printed book.

Jabr (2013) and Cull (2011) discuss some impacts of digital learning, and my experiences studying online suggest similarly that comprehension is impacted through reading course material on screen. Printing readings to highlight relevant facts by hand and copy notes from the screen is still beneficial.

While exploring various digital texts for this task, the ones I enjoyed the most were those which were most like print books (eg. your standard print to digital eBook). Except for the texts chosen for review, which were enticing because of the story they tell.

Contrary to several opinions (Walsh, and Skains), exploring Inanimate Alice as part of the semester content was not a pleasurable experience. As a digitally created text it contains many features which make it quality digital literature, including music, moving images and interactivity. But I found the whole experience quite distracting. It was difficult to focus on the actual text and take it all in. In contrast, 80 Days as a game-based narrative also included these elements but to a more subdued level, which enabled a high level of focus on the story being told.

Opinion and Application

The digital text I most enjoyed was the enhanced book Green Gables Fables. This text is a vlog adaptation of the story Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. It highlights issues and themes from the original text and places them into a 21st century setting.

Green Gables Fables could be implemented into the Australian Curriculum English (literature strand) or Media Arts (or as a cross-curriculum topic). In English the videos could be used as part of a text study; and in Media Arts, as an example of script writing, filming and editing skills.

Due to the short nature (4-5 minutes) of each episode it would be possible to watch a selection of episodes within class time. Activities which could be undertaken include:

  • Making a comparison between issues and themes in the videos and their own experiences;
  • Analysing the vlog for narrative and language elements;
  • Comparing vlog to original text;
  • Analysing the vlog for media elements;
  • Creating their own vlog based on a book they are interested in;

By incorporating a different style of text into English (enhanced book, as opposed to book), a wider range of students may engage in the text and the activities. Incorporating a creative task, such as making a vlog, empowers students in their learning; they become ‘active knowledge developers’ (Hur & Sub, 2012, p.324). In addition, students are developing new skills for the future.

New digital texts and digital adaptations of old texts are on the rise. It is necessary to stay abreast of developments and be critical of digital text choices for use in the classroom.

References

AnneWithAnE. (2013, August 9). AnneWithAnE. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/user/greengablesfables/videos

BradField Company. (2019) Inanimate Alice. Retrieved from https://inanimatealice.com/

Cull, B. (2011, June 6). Reading revolutions: Online digital text and implications for reading in academe. First Monday 16(6). Retrieved from https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3340/2985

Hur, J. & Suh, S. (2012). Making learning active with interactive whiteboards, podcasts, and digital storytelling in ELL classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 29(4), 320-338. doi: 10.1080/07380569.2012.734275

Ingold, J. & Humfrey, J. (2014). 80 Days [Mobile application]. Cambridge: inkle.

Jabr, F. (2013, April 11). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learningandleading

Skains, RL. (2010). The shifting author-reader dynamic. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 16(1), 95-111. doi: 10.1177/1354856509347713

Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/863c5c8d-9f3f-439f-a7e3-2c2c67ddbfa8/1/ALiteratureCompanionforTeachers.pdf

Yokota, J. & Teale, WH. (2014). Picture books and the digital world. The Reading Teacher, 67(8), 577-585. doi: 10.1002.trtr1262