Ending #ETL401

image by MaxWaidhas, downloaded from pixabay

The initial modules of ETL401 had me pondering about theoretical views of the information society and practical concerns about how the role of the TL is perceived by the different members and groups of the school community?. I wondered: “Are school librarians an endangered species?” in these fast-changing information-overloaded times?

Having been reminded of the many hats we TLs wear, I got down to the nitty gritty of what we do,  concentrating on one of the essentials: information literacy. Once again I realised how crucial it is in a student-directed learning environment that our students are literate in terms of the skills required by the information age – they need transferable literacy skills. The familiar information literacy models have been transformed and included in inquiry-based learning, and here is the big “take away” for me of this unit: “YES to Guided Inquiry!”, I shout with enthusiasm. This can work. Let’s do this. This is how TLs can make a difference in the teaching teams of our schools.

At the beginning of this unit I wrote that I believe the school library is at a crossroad: “it will either find its place in the centre of teaching and learning in the school, or lose its relevance altogether”. I am more convinced of this than ever. I have, though, come to realise that the TLs role in the guided inquiry team can make a difference to how “relevant” we are to teaching in our schools. I also believe that we can be that “third space” for many of our students that they will fondly remember about their school days – this I will explore in my next elective: INF536 Designing Spaces for Learning.

Throughout this unit I continued to use my blog, Gretha Reflecting, as a vehicle with which to develop my reflective practice. I find it an invaluable tool with which to clarify and articulate my perceptions, attitudes and learning. Through being more active in commenting on the blog posts of my classmates, I have discovered an added dimension in the discourse that followed through comments, as we all identify gaps in our knowledge and understanding, and seek clarification as we grow.

The journey and the learning – about being a TL that matters – continues.

IL, the TL, and Inquiry Learning

ETL401 Assignment 3, Part C: Reflective Practice

I started this module, ETL401, quite familiar with information literacy (IL) models, but with little understanding of inquiry-based learning. I have a reasonable amount of experience in supporting research tasks through the application of IL models (such as Big 6) and I intuitively knew that a new approach to teaching and learning – and the support from teacher librarians – is needed to accommodate the changes in the information environment. Here is what I learnt (the full story):

Due to advances in information and communication technologies, the information and information literacy (IL) landscape is changing and evolving (FitzGerald, 2015, p. 17). Students’ familiarity with technology leads to the assumption that they are able to find and use information effectively, but research shows that their information-seeking behaviour is unsophisticated, rather than showing good Internet literacy skills. Because they seem confident in their use of technology, they are often left to learn information-seeking skills through experimentation (Combes, 2009). As an educational institution, a school needs to take responsibility for the development of information skills and literacy through implementation of a curricular framework, or IL model (FitzGerald, 2015, p. 18).

As IL is perceived differently by different people, depending on a specific teaching and learning environment, I felt I needed to formulate my own definition (Bruce, Edwards, & Lupton, 2007, pp. 37-39). In response to a discussion forum topic (and in this blog post), I defined IL as: “a foundational and fundamental competence and capability for being successful in the complex and changing information landscape (Wocke, 2018b). I reasoned that IL incorporates identification of an information need and a strategy to find and use the information to meet the need. It includes a critical evaluation of the information, and an understanding of the economic, social and ethical issues surrounding the use of the information, it is more than a stand-alone process. In a response to the same discussion, a classmate, defined literacy as “a spectrum of ability in a task” (Parnell, 2018). This challenged my definition and I responded by including the idea of IL as a “continuum of capability” in my personal definition of IL (Wocke, 2018a).

There are many models for teaching and scaffolding information literacy (as I investigated in this post, but literacy is not pedagogy (Wocke, 2018c). “Literacy needs a pedagogy to develop it and give it meaning” (Lupton 2012). Inquiry-based learning seems to provide teachers with that pedagogy and curricular framework.

image by Pezibear, downloaded from pixabay

With “inquiry” I am familiar, it is natural to human behaviour, but about inquiry as a learning
pedagogy and curricular framework, I have a lot to learn. I was informed through Lupton’s (2013) view that holistic inquiry learning incorporates:

  1. a questioning framework (student-led and teacher-directed),
  2. an information seeking process (data collection and information gathering) – the IL model
  3. and an iterative action research cycle, through which learners apply the information found, take ownership of the problem they have identified, and revisit it with new questions or inquiries (back to step 1!).

This approach appeals to the constructivist in me: while the teacher guides the inquiry, student voice is present (David, 2015).  Students are encouraged to think, wonder, question and decide what they want to learn– to be active, instead of passive recipients of what the teacher decides to teach.

The essence of inquiry-based learning in summarised in a few bullet points below, and presented in a much more entertaining and informative video (Spencer, 2017):

  • Learning happens in a social context, wider than the classroom;
  • Reflection is planned for; Assessment is ongoing (Lutheran Education Queensland, n.d.).
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking is encouraged;
  • Transfer of knowledge and skills are facilitated;
  • Students learn how to learn and build self-directed learning (Restuccia, n.d.).

Inquiry-based learning seems “in tune” with the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) programmes that our school offers, after all, in the IBO’s programmes structured “inquiry” frames the curriculum, and together with “action” and “reflection” forms the cornerstone of its philosophy (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2014, p. 11). Would I find an IL model in the IB practice? The closest to an IL model that I found in IBO practice is the MYP Design Cycle ((Lohmeier, n.d.). It is, however, no IL model but just what it claims: A cycle for designing to solve problems

I found my answer  in Guided Inquiry (GI), as I over-enthusiastically shouted out in my blog (Kuhlthau, 2010; Wocke, 2018d). Guided Inquiry encourages information literacy, learning how to learn, curricular content, literacy competence as well as social skills (Kuhlthau, 2010, pp. 22-24). As IL model GI is such a good fit with the MYP Design Cycle. I did a comparison and found that GI augments and improves the Design Cycle with its more refined information seeking phases: Immerse, Explore, Identify and Gather (Wocke, 2018e). The integration and combination of the two approaches does not compromise the MYP philosophy at all but provides better scaffolding of the information seeking part of inquiry-based learning, thereby helping students to develop good information searching habits.

A further insight came when I took a good look at the IBO’s Approaches to Learning (ATL). The ATL skill clusters effectively enable self-regulated learning of information literacy (and many other) skills when these skills become an explicit focus for teaching and learning. So, Mrs Simon (fellow student), when I wondered with you “How do we promote the development of information literacy skills that truly give learners the capacity to learn how to learn and transfer skills and competencies from one context to another?”, I did not realize that the answers already lie in the teaching and learning of ATL skills (Simon, 2018)!

So, here is what I learnt (the short story):

We need a new approach to teaching and learning in this changed information environment. Teachers alone cannot create learning environment needed. The Teacher Librarian (TL), as information specialist, is well equipped, trained capable to be used as school-wide consultant in relation to inquiry learning pedagogy (FitzGerald, 2015, p. 19). “Collaborations with teachers in a team can create the necessary climate for students to inquire, participate, create and learn in an information environment” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p. 26). THIS is how TLs can make a difference in the teaching teams of our schools. Let’s do this – we’re all in this together.



Approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2018, from https://bit.ly/2FLvItH

Bruce, C., Edwards, S., & Lupton, M. (2007). Six frames for information literacy education: A conceptual framework for interpreting the relationships between theory and practice. In S. Andretta (Ed.), Change and challenge: Information literacy for the 21st century (pp. 37-58). Blackwood, Australia: Auslib Press.

Combes, B. (2009). Generation Y: Are they really digital natives or more like digital refugees? Synergy, 7(1). Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2r4yA0u

David, L. (2015, June 20). Constructivism. Retrieved May 11, 2018, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html

FitzGerald, L. (2015). Guided inquiry in practice. Scan, 34(4), 16-27.

International Baccalaureate Organization. (n.d.). Programmes. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.ibo.org/programmes/

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Guided inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2w1hNjx

Lohmeier, P. (n.d.). What is the MYP design cycle? [Blog post]. Retrieved from Passion for Learning website: https://www.whitbyschool.org/passionforlearning/what-is-the-myp-design-cycle-what-you-need-to-know

Lupton, M. (2012, August 22). Inquiry learning & information literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from Inquiry learning website: https://inquirylearningblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/what-is-inquiry-learning/

Lupton, M. (2013). Inquiry pedagogy and the Australian curriculum. Primary and Middle Years Educator, 11(2), 23-29. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/65829

Lutheran Education Queensland. (n.d.). Approaches to learning inquiry based learning. Retrieved April 21, 2018, from Australian Curriculum website: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/media/1360/lutheran-education-queensland-inquiry-based-learning.pdf

Middle years programme MYP: From principles into practice [Brochure]. (2014). Cardiff, Wales: International Baccalaureate Organization.

Parnell, E. (2018, April 10). Information literacy – module 5 – ETL401 [Blog post]. Retrieved from Liz at the Library website: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lizatthelibrary/2018/04/10/information-literacy-module-5-etl401/

Restuccia, D. (n.d.). Curriculum model: Inquiry-based learning. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from http://www.teacherinformation.org/curriculum-model-inquiry-based-learning/

Rhonnieful. (2009, October 29). Teaching in the 21st century [Video file].
Retrieved from https://youtu.be/bjgKzrkMetU

Simon, M. (2018, May 2). Reflections on information literacy – complexity, context and transfer [Blog post]. Retrieved from Mrs Simon says website: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mrssimonsays/2018/05/02/reflections-on-information-literacy-complexity-context-and-transfer/

Spencer, J. (2017, December 5). Inquiry-based learning in less than five minutes [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/QlwkerwaV2E

Wocke, G. (2018a, April 10). Re: Information literacy – module 5 – ETL401 [Blog comment]. Retrieved from Liz at the library website: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lizatthelibrary/2018/04/10/information-literacy-module-5-etl401/#comment-17

Wocke, G. (2018b, April 26). Information literacy: A commentary [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/04/26/information-literacy-a-commentary/

Wocke, G. (2018c, May 2). Information literacy models [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Information Literacy Models

Wocke, G. (2018d, May 2). YES to guided inquiry [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/05/02/yes-to-guided-inquiry/

Wocke, G. (2018e, May 5). MYP design cycle & guided inquiry [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/05/05/myp-design-cycle-guided-inquiry/














MYP Design Cycle & Guided Inquiry

While writing my blog post YES to Guided Inquiry, I came to the conclusion that “Inquiry learning” and associated models – such as Guided Inquiry (GI) – are wonderful theoretical frameworks for us to study and get excited about, but then we have to get realistic and implement them in our very-much-not-theoretical schools. Our schools serve a number of masters already and we are not free to abandon them at random to be loyal to another.

My school, for example, is an IB World School where we offer the IB’s

Middle Years Programme (MYP). The IB’s approaches to teaching and learning document states that “The IB approaches to teaching skills are… based on inquiry.” Can GI then be implemented in the MYP curricular framework? For this investigative exercise I chose the MYP Design subject, more specifically a simplification of the Design Cycle (MYP DC) as inquiry framework.  Can this work? Let’s compare and see:


This comparison was a very good idea! The two processes are clearly very similar, and the comparison illuminated gaps in both approaches:

  • The DC does not have a corresponding “Open” phase. On reflection I wonder: Is this really part of the Inquiry process? Or is this just a strategy with which teachers launch an inquiry unit?
  • The Immerse and Explore steps from GI are jointly identifiable as part of the Investigate phase in the DC, as are Identify and Gather. These more explicit steps can successfully expand the DC Investigate step and provide needed scaffolding and “guiding”.
  • What is not as explicit in GI, is development of a clearly formulated design plan.
  • The DC does not include a phase for sharing, a clear shortcoming in an age where learning and inquiry is decidedly social and collaborative in nature.

By merging the two processes a more focused and guided learning experience can be designed. Through this comparison my understanding of both these approaches have grown and elements from both will be included in the future design of inquiry units.

NOTE on 11 May 2018: Since writing this post I have started to plan the required Inquiry Unit for ETL401 Assessment item 3 and I have learnt that there is a more current version of the MYP Design Cycle. In the updated version the 4 phases have been renamed.


Investigate -> Inquiring and analysing

Plan -> Developing Ideas

Create -> Creating the solution

Evalute -> Evaluating

This does not change the conclusions I reached much: Guided Inquiry is still the best IL to fit with the Design Cycle, but I can map the corresponding stages of the two processes slightly differently, and in my opinion showing an even better corrolation. In the ETL401 Ass 3 inquiry unit this version will be used for accuracy.



About the IB’s programmes. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2018, from https://www.ibo.org/

Approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2018, from https://bit.ly/2FLvItH

Design. (2014). Retrieved May 5, 2018, from International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief website: https://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/brochures/myp-brief_design_2015.pdf

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2013). Learner profile. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.ibo.org/contentassets/fd82f70643ef4086b7d3f292cc214962/learner-profile-en.pdf

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2014). Approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/flyers-and-artworks/approaches-to-teaching-learning-dp-en.pdf

Maniotes, L., Kuhlthau, C. C., & Caspari, A. (n.d.). Guided inquiry design. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from https://guidedinquirydesign.com/gid/

MYP curriculum. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2018, from International Baccalaureate website: http://www.ibo.org/programmes/middle-years-programme/curriculum/

Programme model. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2018, from MYP: From principles into practice website: https://ibpublishing.ibo.org/server2/rest/app/tsm.xql?doc=m_0_mypxx_guu_1409_1_e&part=2&chapter=2

Wocke, G. (2018, May 2). YES to guided inquiry [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/05/02/yes-to-guided-inquiry/


YES to Guided Inquiry

image by ExplorerBob, downloaded from pixabay

I absolutely believe in the necessity for information literacy in the 21st century. The development of the Internet and mobile technologies have given us access to a complex and changing information environment – an environment where we have instantaneous and ubiquitous access to vast amounts of unfiltered, and often unsubstantiated, information. Our students need the capability to navigate this information environment successfully – they need to be information literate.

There are many models for teaching and scaffolding information literacy (see this post, but literacy is not pedagogy (Wocke, 2018). “Literacy needs a pedagogy to develop it and give it meaning” (Lupton 2012). Inquiry-based learning provides teachers with that pedagogy and curricular framework. Inquiry is an approach to teaching and learning, where learners are active participants who feel and think and act (Kuhlthau, n.d.). Learning is central to the inquiry process, the teacher facilitates the process and challenges students’ inquiry journey through the design of inquiry tasks, resources use and the use of teaching spaces (Murdoch & Claxton, 2015, pp. 14-15).

Kuhlthau turned her successful model for information literacy, the Information Search Process (ISP), into pedagogy when the Guided Inquiry Design (GI)process was developed. “Guided Inquiry is planned, targeted, supervised intervention throughout the inquiry process” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p. 20). GI frames the process, the thoughts, feelings and actions in clear understandable words that can help our students understand their learning better.

Having just finished reading this article Kuhlthau (2010) wrote about Guided Inquiry, I want to say:



Yes, we need a new way of learning for the 21st century.

Yes, school libraries should be the dynamic learning centres of schools and school librarians as vital partners in the inquiry process,

Yes, inquiry that is guided by a flexible, collaborating instructional team will enable students to gain understanding and knowledge and be self-directed in their learning.

Yes, the third space is where learning will be the most meaningful.

Yes, assessment throughout the process makes the most sense.

Yes, to information literacy, learning to learn, content learning, literacy competence and development of social skills.

Yes, to connecting with what they already know.

Yes, to putting our students in the centre of learning.



Yes, but… many schools do not have the freedom to experiment in this way because of standards and curriculum constraints and requirements.

Yes, but… many schools do not have fully qualified and dedicated librarians and libraries and technology that provides equal access to online and print resources

Yes, but… there are such prescriptions about assessment and reporting practice that restricts how teachers teach and assesses.

BUT, this is  a worthwhile model for all TLs to know and implement, even if it cannot be in its purest form. Our students deserve a new way of learning and we should do our best to guide them and support them as best we can.




The video below, by Karen Bonanno, provides a worthwhile introduction to GI (Eduwebinar, 2016).


FitzGerald, L. (2015). Guided inquiry in practice. Scan, 34(4), 16-27.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (n.d.). Information search process. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from
Rutgers School of Information and Communication website: http://wp.comminfo.rutgers.edu/ckuhlthau/information-search-process/

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Guided inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2015). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited,
an imprint of ABC-CLIO.

Lupton, M. (2012, July 10). IL is dead, long live IL! [Blog post]. Retrieved from Inquiry learning website:
IL is dead, long live IL!

Murdoch, K., & Claxton, G. (2015). The power of inquiry. Northcote, Vic: Seastar Education.

Wocke, G. (2018, April 26). Information literacy Models [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Information Literacy Models

Information literacy (IL) is a foundational and fundamental competence and capability for being successful in the complex and changing information landscape (Wocke, 2018). From this definition, that I posted earlier on this blog, it is clear that IL is a description of competence in information handling skills. Information specialists, such as teacher librarians (TL), have long implemented IL models with which to scaffold the development of IL skills.

From Lamb’s (2001) schematic comparison of IL models, to Lupton’s (2012)more recent comparison (see right) and Laferla’s presentation (see below) as well as many similar sources on the Web, it is clear that these models describe the same basic process. Although there are individual differences, these models seem to share a common range of steps: “seeking/gathering, selecting, evaluating, analysing, organising and presenting information” (Lupton, 2012). Non-essential differences exist between the models, mostly reflecting the preference, experience or emphasis of their specific creators. TLs and librarians can choose IL models that suit their personal philosophy, as well as the curriculum and culture of their schools.

Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) is especially appealing to me because it places the learner in the center, in that it describes the feelings, thoughts and actions of the learner during the information seeking process. This approach aligns best with the Approaches to Teaching and Learning (IBO, 2014)and the Learner Profile (IBO, 2013)that the International Baccalaureate, whose programs our school deliver, prescribes. In recent years Kuhlthau, Maniotis and Caspari (2015) improved on the ISP by adapting it for the inquiry-based approach to learning, which they named Guided Inquiry (see my next blog post: YES to Guided Inquiry).


International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2013). Learner profile. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2014). Approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/flyers-and-artworks/approaches-to-teaching-

Kuhlthau, C. C. (n.d.). Information search process. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from Rutgers School of Information and Communication website:

Information Search Process

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Guided inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2015). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited,
an imprint of ABC-CLIO.

Laferla, C. (2011, October 2). Information literacy standards & models. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from

Lamb, A. (2001, May). Information and communication literacy model comparison [PDF]. Retrieved from

Lupton, M. (2012, August 22). [Comparison of information literacy models by Mandy Lupton]. Retrieved from

Lupton, M. (2012, August 22). Inquiry learning & information literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from Inquiry learning website:
What is inquiry learning?

Wocke, G. (2018, April 26). Information literacy: A commentary [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:


Wocke, G. (2018, April 30). YES to Guided Inquiry [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:


image by SCY, downloaded from pixabay

image by SCY, downloaded from pixabay

The word literacy describes man’s competence with the social constructs of his environment. To be literate means man has the capability and knowledge to access and internalise text, oral and other representations of ideas. It includes the ability to engage with, interpret and understand ideas in a particular context, use it, and re-purpose it. It refers to the capability and skills needed to communicate these ideas, in multiple formats and delivery modes, with the competence. Literacy enables a person the interaction needed for integration in the social environment.

When we speak of information literacy (IL), we refer to the capability to interact with information in a particular context, for a specific purpose. More than just the ability to decode text and the spoken word, it incorporates the identification of an information need as well as the plan and strategy executed to find and use the information to meet the need. It further encompasses a critical evaluation of the information, as well as an understanding of the economic, social and ethical issues surrounding the use of the information.

Through these studies my understanding of IL has evolved from a primarily skilled based and behaviourist approach: I now understand that knowledge is contextual and because information is the basic foundation of knowledge, IL is a catalyst and scaffold to ALL learning (formal and informal). IL is the essential capability and competence for lifelong learning and learning to learn. I have also come to understand that information practices are not individualist but inherently social –  originating socially amongst members of a community of practitioners – and is dependent on specific contexts and the setting of activities.

Information literacy is a foundational and fundamental competence and capability for being successful in the complex and changing information landscape.

Of all the definitions of IL the one from ACRL (2016), adopted in the Information Literacy Framework, reflects my understanding best:

“Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.”


Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved April 26, 2018, from American Library Association website:

Fitzgerald, L. (2018) Introducing information literacy [ETL401 Module 5.1]. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from Charles Sturt University Website:

Lloyd, A. (2007).  Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4).

Talja, S. & Lloyd, A. (2010). Integrating theories of learning, literacies and information practices. In Talja, S. & Lloyd, A. (2010). Practising information literacy: Bringing theories of learning, practice and information literacy together. WaggaWagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies. pp. ix-xviii.

We need to transliterate, practically

(to ‘transliterate’: to transfer the meaning of an idea as accurately as possible to a different alphabet or language)

The information landscape is changing, evolving in response to technological advances, the proliferation of information in new media and formats, as well as the changed information behaviour of users.

A new approach to literacy is needed in order to ensure that our students are prepared to successfully interact with this evolving landscape in the 21st century. Transliteracy is a framework that assumes a fluidly transferable skill-set that can be applied to a variety of settings and contexts that may arise in the evolving information landscape (Thomas et al., 2007).   The term ‘transliteracy’ was derived from ‘transliterate’: to transfer the meaning of an idea as accurately as possible to a different alphabet or language.

Can this be the answer to literacy in the future?

Transliteracy is presented as an over-arching concept, a unifying perspective, encompassing different literacies and communication channels, capturing in essence our capacity to interact with information as both linear and non-linear message (Andretta, 2009, p. 3). Sukovic (2016) listed creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as the main skill and knowledge components of transliteracy.

This concept clearly has potential for application in the educational and school environments where we introduce our students to concepts and ideas, assist them to develop the necessary skills to master the concepts, but also to be able to transfer and adapt these skills to new situations and contexts. It is unfortunate that major collaborative projects such as the Transliteracy Research Group and Libraries and Transliteracy have been abandoned. The only recent publications on the topic seems to be by Sokuvic. Transliteracy needs educators and librarians to roll up their sleeves and produce an applicable implementable scope and sequence for this approach to really classify as a framework.

Transliteracy does not yet offer a complete and directly applicable proposal to develop the literacies of the future, but on reflection there is evidence of intuitive implementation of transliteracy by teacher librarians (Gogan & Marcus, 2013, p. 42). School libraries are in fact ideal places to develop transliterate skills, because its collections facilitate access to information sources in many different modalities: print on paper, digital print media, images, audio and video recordings, as well as access to different technological tools and platforms. Learners are exposed to a wide range of source and encouraged to investigate different media and environments (Jaeger, 2011, p. 46).

Teacher librarians understand that reading on paper is different to digital reading and can facilitate and encourage transfer of “reading” skills from one medium to another (Jaeger, 2011, p.45).  They support traditional literacy development, but also support students to interact with material in different formats: A book can be made available in paper, e-reader and audiobook format (encouraging transfer of coding and decoding skills to new content platforms). Social media book discussions and email contact with an author provides context, adding multi-modality and facilitating deeper and more authentic interaction with the content.

Teacher librarians create media- and resource rich environments and assist students in creating print, digital or multi-modal information artefacts, choosing the most suitable medium, tools or platforms, for the product. They encourage students to go beyond the ability to interact with specific modalities but includes the intentional follow through of repeated and transferred learning behaviour related to knowledge building and communication (Bush, 2012, p.5). They create opportunities, and provide scaffolding, for the development and execution of transliterate skills.

School libraries build collections of information sources that portray different cultures and can be accessed through different languages, helping students to develop a global consciousness, local purpose or intentional neutrality where appropriate (Bush, 2012, p. 6).

The transliterate learner is encouraged to maintain a critical approach to information and evaluate the authority of the source.

It is essential for the teacher librarian to be transliterate, to keep up with the development of new media and transfer skills to newer media in order to model and teach students and fellow educators. They do not teach use of a medium, but the skill to evaluate, produce, communicate, organise, encouraging higher order thinking skills and transfer of skills.

Transliteracy offers valuable conceptual guidelines that teacher librarians can interpret and implement as approaches to future proof our students in terms of skills and insight and prepare them to effectively and safely navigate the changing information landscape.

The school library is the ideal venue for students to acquire and develop the skills and insights needed to become transliterate users and creators of information products. It will serve us well to keep this concept in mind as we support and scaffold literacy development in our students.

NOTE: This post is based on an assignment submitted for ETL401 201830 and has been submitted in another format to the ETL523 discussion forum on Module 2.


Andretta, S. (2009, August). Transliteracy: Take a walk on the wild side. Paper presented at World Library and Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, Milan, Italy. Retrieved from http://eprints.rclis.org/14868/1/94-andretta-en.pdf

Bush, G. (2012, September/October). The transliterate learner. School Library Monthly, 29(1), 5-7.

Gogan, B., & Marcus, A. (2013, May/June). Lost in transliteracy. Knowledge Quest, 41(5), 40-45. Retrieved from https://primo.csu.edu.au/discovery/fulldisplay?docid=proquest1355895189&context=PC&vid=61CSU_INST:61CSU&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&tab=Everything&lang=en

Ipri, T., & Newman, B. (2011, February 27). Farewell and thanks for the memories [Blog post]. Retrieved from Libraries and Transliteracy website: https://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/farewell-and-thanks-for-the-memories/

Jaeger, P. (2011, October). Transliteracy – new library lingo and what it means for instruction. Library Media Connection, 30(2), 44-47.

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from MacArthur website: http://www.clubofamsterdam.com/contentarticles/47%20Children/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

Librarianbyday. (2009, October 7). Libraries and transliteracy [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk4Cw8vrDuM

Sukovic, S. (2016, September 15). What exactly is transliteracy? Retrieved March 26, 2018, from Elsevier SciTech Connect website: http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/what-exactly-is-transliteracy/

Thomas, S., Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S., & Pullinger, K. (2007). Transliteracy: Crossing divides. First Monday, 12(12). Retrieved from http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2060/1908

Transliteracies project. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from University of California Santa Barbara website: http://transliteracies.english.ucsb.edu/category/research-project

Are school librarians an endangered species?

Assignment 3.2: Watch Karen Bonanno’s speech at ASLA, 2011 conference: A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan. Consider Karen’s points and summarise in 100 words what you see as the ‘take home message’:

Teacher librarians can be invisible and seemingly insignificant in terms of the contribution we make to the learning experience and academic success, if WE do not take charge and make sure that we make a difference in a unique way.

I need to establish where I can best support – what my best qualities are and use this to determine my focus – concentrate on the 10% that want my help and identify the 30% that may be inte rested in my support. It must be clear what I stand for as I reach out and build relationships with students and teachers.


Forum 2.1 Post – Information Society

What is the Information Society?

Information has always been central to human development because data/information and knowledge is necessary for us to remember, learn, know and think. Why is it then that our society has become known as the information society? And what does this term mean?

It all started when digital technology enabled us to represent information that originated in any format (image, sound, text, numerals) in a homogeneous format that is accurately and efficiently stored, manipulated, and transmitted.

The spectacular technical advances that followed digital representation, the convergence of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the fact that computing power and digital storage became faster, smaller and cheaper, has resulted in the widespread dissemination of computers and digital information in our society (Webster, 1994, p.3).

More and more economic activity, associated with the wealth of a society, is based on production and trading of information-based goods, turning information into a major commodity (Bawden and Robinson, 2012, p. 232). According to Floridi (2010) a country qualifies as information society if at least 70% of the Gross Domestic Product depends on information-related goods (p. 5). The functioning and growth of these economies rely on generation of immense amounts of data and information related products, generated by a workforce with occupations found predominately in information work (Webster, 1994, p. 8).

image by TheDigitalArtist, downloaded form pixabay

ICTs has enabled the development of digital networks, which has had an unparalleled influence on how easy it is for people to connect, access and transmit information – resulting in the ability of humans to transcend the boundaries of space and time in the virtual spaces and communities where socialisation and transactions are now possible. IT infrastructure has made global integration possible, linking people regardless of time and space, allowing them to exchange information and knowledge (Webster, 1994, p.12). Castells sees the importance of networks so paramount that he refers to this society as “the Network Society” (2010, p. 500). He reasoned that “networks substantially modify the operation and outcomes in processes of production, experience, power and culture”.

The digital nature of the information society has resulted in an information landscape that is characterised by multiple formats and delivery modes and an enormous increase in the amount of information available. Because of the ease of production and publication there are real concerns about the authority and authenticity of information (Fitzgerald, n.d.). Further problems associated with the availability of large volumes of information in different formats, are information overload, continuous partial attention, and the digital divide – poverty and generational gaps (Bawden and Robinson, 2012, pp. 243 – 245). Even though it has a global nature, the information society is influenced by national and international policies, laws and regulations in terms of intellectual property, copyright, patents, etc. (p. 235).

The fact that there is no one accepted definition for the information society may have to do with the fact that we are still very much in this era, an era that is already known for constant and accelerated change; as well as the fact that “information” has proved to be such a primitive concept, basic to human understanding, that it defies defining (Case, 2006, p.66).

Why is it important for the teacher librarian to understand the information landscape?

In the information society there has been a large increase in information available, both in new and old formats of media, in this landscape teacher librarians (TL) can give students access to information sources that support their individual needs.

In the connected digital era it is easy for students to rely on the Internet, believing that it is a one-stop-shop for information, where all information is good information, not realising that the fact that information is freely available does not mean that it is reliable or accurate (Combes, 2016). TLs have an important role to play in ensuring that, in this information landscape, students are critical users of information who develop the information skills needed to locate, retrieve and evaluate relevant information sources. We know that in the information society, the information landscape keeps changing as technology advances. TLs must stay abreast of current developments to stay relevant as professionals and to be able to support their patrons in finding the information they need.


Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2012). Information society. In Introduction to information science (pp. 231-249). London, UK: Facet.

Case, D. (2006). The concept of information. In Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs and behaviour, pp. 40-65. 2nd ed. Burlingham: Emerald Group Publishing Lid. ebook, CSU Library.

Castells, M. (2010). Conclusion: The network society. In The rise of the network society (2nd ed., pp. 500-509). Retrieved from https://deterritorialinvestigations.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/manuel_castells_the_rise_of_the_network_societybookfi-org.pdf

Combes, B. (2016). The nature of information: The story of chicken Little. [Webinar]. Retrieved Mar. 2018 from Interact2 CSU.

Fitzgerald, L. (n.d.). The information environment. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from S-ETL401_2018_30_W_D (Introduction to teacher librarianship) website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_34577_1&content_id=_2060420_1

Floridi, L. (2010). Information: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Webster, F. (1994). What information society? The Information Society, 10(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972243.1994.9960154

How is the role of the TL perceived by the different members and groups of the school community?

I believe teacher librarians (TL) are uniquely qualified information specialists and educators with a common aim: to underpin teaching and learning in our schools (“What is a teacher librarian”, 2018). How we reach this aim varies greatly according to the roles we have in our individual school communities (“School Community,” 2014).

School library. Photo by author.

School administrators, who are knowledgeable and supportive of the school library (the Library), view TLs are valuable faculty members (American Association of School Librarians, 2016):

  • instructional leaders, who support development of all aspects of learning and literacy development;
  • information specialists, who support teachers through collaborative teaching, resource gathering and professional development and
  • promoters of literacy, who foster the reading habits and information skill development of students (Lupton, 2016, p. 56).

This is unfortunately not the view of all administrators and many TLs find themselves marginalised in terms of staffing, funding and space allocation. Lupton’s (2016) research showed that the principal’s perception of the role of the TL is pivotal in the influence and participation a TL has in a school community (pp. 52-53).

The attitude of teachers towards TLs is the most important factor that allows librarians to become part of the learning process. TLs rely on teachers to invite them to support and collaborate in classroom activities. It is unfortunate that some teachers see TLs as adding to the complexity of their work (Markless et al., 2016, pp. 25-26). TLs have to create opportunities – from structured planning meetings to casual staff room conversations – to  build trusting relationships with teachers, aiming to convince them that the Library and its resources present opportunitiees to extend classroom learning (Formanack & Pietsch, 2011, p. 9).

Parents’ perception of the Library often originates in the opinions of their children, or in their own recollection of their school library experience. Parents are more likely to have a personal interest in the school library if they have younger children (and visit the library with them). A more general awareness of the Library can be generated by general school wide communication (email, news bulletins, podcasts and the school website). I find it unfortunate if a parent’s only contact with the library is through overdue notices, or the challenging of book choices! Parents’ view of the role of the TL and the library can be positively influenced by encounters such as book fairs, author visits, and open-day events, as well as a positive working relationship with the school’s parent organisation.

It is the perception that students have of the TL and the Library that lies the closest to this TL’s heart. Not all students will be readers, and not all will be regular visitors to the library, but being able to provide a “third place”or community hub, and making the Library and its services an accesible and supportive place, is what I aim for (Coppola, 2010, p. 14; Devenish, 2017, p. 4). Studies such as “School libraries work!”and “The beating heart of the school” suggest that the Library can play an important part in teaching and learning, but I believe that it is up to each individual TL to craft their role, and the perception thereof, in their school community (School libraries, 2016; Libraries All Party, 2014).


American Association of School Librarians. (2016, June 25). Definition of an effective school library program. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslissues/positionstatements/AASL_Position%20Statement_Effective_SLP_2016-06-25.pdf

Coppola, G. (2010, Fall). Library as the third place. Florida Libraries, 14-15. Retrieved from https://libraryallegra.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/library-as-the-third-place.pdf

Devenish, A. (2017). Turning the school library into a thriving community hub. Connections, (103), 4-5. Retrieved from https://www.scisdata.com/media/1656/connections103.pdf

Formanack, G., & Pietsch, L. (2011). Fixed schedules can support 21st- century skills. School Library Monthly, 27(6), 8-10. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=iih&AN=58657146&site=ehost-live

Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group. (2014). The beating heart of the school. Retrieved from http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=620060

Lupton, M. (2016). Adding value: Principals’ perceptions of the role of the teacher-librarian. School Libraries Worldwide, 22(1). Retrieved from https://iasl-online.org/resources/Documents/05luptonfinalformatted49-61.pdf

Markless, S., Bentley, E., Pavey, S., Shaper, S., Todd, S., & Webb, C. (2016). The innovative school librarian (2nd ed.). London: Facet.

School community. (2014, October 21). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from The Glossary of Education Reform website: https://www.edglossary.org/school-community/

What is a teacher librarian? (2018, January 29). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from Australian School Library Association website: http://www.asla.org.au/advocacy/what-is-a-teacher-librarian.aspx