Mostly Harmless

A reflective journal of a student teacher librarian

INF506 – Module 2 – OLJ TASK 4: The Client Experience

I will be exploring the online presence of the organisations listed below.

The three main elements of the client experience I will be looking at are the extent to which the sites :

  • are user friendly and navigable
  • contain up-to-date news and information
  • Build community (interaction and collaboration)

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INF506 – Module 1 – OLJ TASK 1: Social Media and Society – Journal Article Analysis

Photo credit: Jeso Carneiro via Flickr/ CC BY-NC 2.0

In the article Multiliteracies for Combating Information Disorder and Fostering Civic Dialogue, the author has highlighted the widespread nature of misleading information that is circulated throughout networked public environments. The term “information disorder” is used to encompass the intentional and unintentional spread of misleading, false, or harmful information within these environments. The author states that whilst there is a consensus that teaching media and information literacies is a vital part of combating information disorder, there is also a need for students to acquire a set of evaluative competencies that allow them to understand shifts in the landscape of information disorder” (Damasceno, 2021).

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What is Social Networking and How do I Use it?

Social networking involves “the use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users, or to find people with similar interests to one’s own” (Lexico, 2020). In a professional sense this would include the interaction, collaboration and sharing of information among colleagues, organisations, and other relevant parties that would be related to, or relevant to any work-related activity or issue. Additionally, professional social networking would take advantage of specific social networking sites and social media sites through the use of social software in order for professionals to connect with other users on a local, regional, national or global level. In this way, professional social networking allows users a greater reach and access to a wider professional community to enhance collaboration and sharing of knowledge and ideas.

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ETL401 – Assessment 3, Part C

The culmination of my learning journey in ETL401 involves a reflective practice task whereby I am to provide a critical reflection of how my thinking (particularly around inquiry learning) has expanded. Considering reflection is a fundamental component of Guided Inquiry and that “reflection and thinking about the ideas encountered…[will] enable students to construct knowledge and meaning” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p.25), this seems like a pertinent task. Reflection, as I have learned, is an important part of the inquiry process and one that I had overlooked when commencing my studies.

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Feeling (GID)dy

I’ve had a brief look ahead into the modules for ETL401 and am looking forward to the near future as I can see that we will be starting to learn about Guided Inquiry. I’m actually quite lucky, as I’ve been told that my school will be implementing a policy that will see every faculty delivering one Guided Inquiry Design (GID) unit for a stage 4 class at some point during the year. That means that, fortuitously, what I’m learning in my modules will be running directly parallel to what I will be working on professionally. Better get a head start!

 

I should also mention that I’ve been lucky enough to attend some professional learning in guided inquiry, specifically Guided Inquiry Design, in the form of a half-day workshop delivered by Leslie Maniotes – she literally (co)wrote the foundational books on Guided Inquiry (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, Caspari, 2015; 2012) and is lead author of the Guided Inquiry design in Action books (Maniotes, 2017). With this in mind I thought I’d share a few of the notes/insights I received on the day.

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Are school librarians an endangered species?

Responding to Bonanno’s “A profession at the tipping point (revisited)”

So, I’ve been asked to read and consider Karen Bonanno’s article A profession at the tipping point (revisited) and summarise in 100 words or less what I see as the ‘take home message’ with regard to answering the question “Are school librarians an endangered species”.

 

I’ll add my notes below, mainly because I feel like a 100 word summary probably won’t do justice to the article. I’m allowing myself the usual +/- 10%  even though that wasn’t specifically stated in the task description – it’s my blog, I make the rules!

Anyway, 100 words, here we go…

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For Whom The Bell Tolls – The Death of Libraries? I Don’t Think So!

I recently was looking for something light to read regarding libraries and library services. Something related to my course, Introduction to Teacher Librarianship, but that wasn’t a heavy-handed journal article. I wanted something engaging and approachable, something that may introduce me to a new idea or concept or that would still make me think but without having to enter “study mode”. I stumbled across an article by the MIT (prestigious!) Technology Review, titled “The Death of Libraries?” that grabbed my attention.

 

Immediately I checked the publication date, hoping that this wasn’t a recent article. The death of libraries, oh no! Am I entering a “dying profession”? I’ve heard this term being thrown out there once or twice before.

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The Ramifications of Having Ready Access to Information at all Times

In today’s world the concept of having ready access to information at all times connotes the use of digital platforms and the internet. Of course, one may have constant access to textbooks if they happen to have them sitting on the bookshelf, however, they may not necessarily be the most recent, appropriate or relevant textbooks for what you require. I think usually, most people would automatically think of accessing information online. Even hardcopy print resources that are still published will also have an online presence. Professional and peer reviewed journals can be accessed online – you don’t even need to spend money, open an account or pay for a license if you don’t want; just get a (free) library card. For example, the NSW State Library will give you access to their range of online databases to anyone who takes a few minutes to fill out an easy online form for a library card. Also, professional organisations’ newsletters and articles, newspapers and magazines all have online versions of their publications. Granted, these aren’t always free, but a lot of it is, and, if you wanted it, nobody’s going to stop you from doing what needs to be done to sign up – I’m sure they’re not publishing digital content so that people never consume their material. So, when considering the ease of access to information via the internet, a few benefits and a few negatives come to mind:

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Reflecting on Module 2.1: Definitions of Information (definitions, the data-knowledge continuum & attributes of information)

Photo credit: Renesis via Wikipedia / CC BY-SAPhoto credit: Renesis via Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

The concept of information is much more complex than one may initially think. Certainly after reading through Module 2.1: Definitions of Information, I have a better understanding of this. When posed with the question “what is information” I may have previously overlooked the classic definition of information as objective data and skipped straight to a more semantic opinion of information as transferable knowledge that conveys meaning and understanding. I may have then snuck a look at a dictionary definition along the lines of what the Oxford Dictionary or Macmillan Dictionary defines, although, these definitions mention facts, of which I would argue that perhaps information doesn’t need to be factual in order to simply exist as information. I suppose this would lead to the category of misinformation. In any case, I had not thought much on the idea that information may be defined as semantic and classic and the differences between these categories.

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Reflecting on my Understanding of the Role of the TL in Schools

Schools are diverse and multi-faceted environments and the people inhabiting these environments are equally as diverse and varied in their understanding of an individual role within a school. Certainly, my personal understanding of the role of a Teacher Librarian (TL) may be very different from others. I have been lucky enough that the majority of schools I have worked in have been supportive of the TL and I have seen how the role can encompass many different aspects.

 

There are many who see the TL as a leader or manager of a large space within the school. This in itself may derive certain connotations. For example, it can be a respite for students who experience social or learning difficulties as a place away from the classroom or school play areas; it can be purely a study and research space within a school; a resource area for printing assignments, study notes or emailing; or a social space to relax, play games and pass the time.

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