July 14

Leu’s literacy – it’s brand new all over again

Once again in my readings this week, I was struck by my skepticism regarding claims of “new” literacies (Leu, et al., 2011; Leu, Forzani, Timbral, & Maykel, 2015). In the 2011 article, David Leu and company refer to the “new” literacies required for online reading comprehension, then goes on to enumerate a set of skills that have been part of research and information-gathering reading comprehension throughout the print age. I would argue that the majority of the skills that he listed may be modified somewhat in their context or in some aspect of their quality or quantity required in an online environment, but that they are hardly new. I suspect that I am not the first person to take issue with his characterisation as I note that by the time he co-authored the second article included in the module (Leu, et al., 2015) the skill under discussion was re-named “online research and comprehension” (Leu, et al., 2015, title).

I responded to a discussion forum post by Stojana Popovska (2018)  on this topic, and have copied that response here:

Do you really believe Leu et al.’s (2011) claim that online reading comprehesion represents a significantly new literacy? I found most of the factors that he described as “new” literacies of reading comprehension to be rather tried and true skills, perhaps modified somewhat in degree or format by the online medium, of non-fiction reading comprehension in a research or inquiry context. In fact, I found it quite illuminating that four years down the track, Leu, Forzani, Timbrell and Maykel (2015) were now referring to this supposedly “new” literacy as ‘online research and comprehension’ (pp. 139-140).

The factors described by Leu’s team (2011), including identifying important questions, locating important information, critically evaluating information, synthesising information and communicating information are all skills that are employed when conducting a research inquiry using traditional print materials. They hardly qualify as novel skills.

I would argue that their argument for new skills being required was most believable when related to locating information. Computer-based skills such as navigating hyperlinks effectively and employing keyword and boolean search strategies in search engines and using menus and submenus to navigate through website information are specific to online reading and research (Leu et al., 2011, p. 7). However, these do have analogues in the skills used to find print and microfiche materials in card catalogues and using tables of contents, chapter and section headings and indices to locate specific relevant information in large, complex print documents.

I feel that researchers who are quick to proclaim the overwhelming novelty of the literacies involved with current technologies actually do more of a disservice than a service with the alarms they raise. To my mind, a more useful and accurate approach would be to recognise the areas of overlap between skills needed to comprehend and synthesize traditional and online materials. After that identifying the specific computer-based skills needed to navigate and search for online information or highlighting the different degrees of care needed in areas such as establishing authority and credibility could be done. This would capitalise on the existing skills and knowledge of experienced educators rather than presenting findings in a manner that suggests they need to go back to the drawing board and completely re-invent reading instruction.


Leu, D. J., McVerry, J. G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., . . . Forzani, E. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1), 5-14. Doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

Leu, D. J, Forzani, E., Timbrell, N., & Maykel, C. (2015). Seeing the forest, not the trees: Essential technologies for literacy in the primary-grade and upper elementary-grade classroom. Reading Teacher, 69(2), 139-145.

Popovska, S. (2018, July 3). Digital narratives [Online discussion comment]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125929_1&message_id=_1877671_1&nav=discussion_board_entry

April 6

ETL503 Module 2.3 Activities and Reflections

If you are new to Scootle, watch the promotional video produced for a non-teacher audience.
Register and access Scootle:
  • Teachers within Australia should register for and access Scootle using their school email address.
  • If you do not have a school email address, you can register as a Charles Sturt University student.
  • Scootle is not available outside Australia. Can you identify an equivalent education repository from your jurisdiction?
Search Scootle for a resource related to critical thinking. In Forum 2.4 share the strategies you used to refine your search results.

* Scootle main search box used term: critical thinking
* On sidebar, deselected all but K-2 -> 53 results
* Deselected Teacher resource, Assessment Resource and Dataset, -> 6 results

Resource found:
Exploring traditional and contemporary Aboriginal Visual Arts – TLF ID M019567

http://www.artsedge.dca.wa.gov.au/resources/Pages/Visual-Arts.aspx DoE collection of links to resources

https://japingkaaboriginalart.com/education/ (a specific resource link)

I chose that resource as strengthening my resource base and skills in incorporating the Cross Curriculum priority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Histories and Cultures is something I would like to focus on in my personal development goals for this year.

An interesting side-note to be cautious about, though, is that the resource I found did not really focus on K-2 as I had requested in my search limitations.

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March 12

ETL503 Module 2.1 Activities and Reflections

Module 2.1 Selection in the school context

Definitions of selection


Hughes-Hassell, S. & Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: responding to the needs of learners [ALA Editions version]. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=289075
Review the model (p. 34) developed by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005) – Chapter 4, Selecting resources for learning.

Note that it presents selection as a series of YES or NO decisions. In reality, many selection decisions are not this black and white, and involve a process of prioritising across a range of criteria.

Attempt to draft your own selection decision-making model or flowchart that considers a more complex set of choices and criteria.

My model:
Resource being considered —>

Test 1: Apply selection criteria regarding Curriculum Relevance and Authority and Fit —> 90 – 95% = hold for second look, < 90% = NO

> or = 95% on Test 1 —> Test 2: Apply selection criteria regarding resource fitting the needs of the learning community (fits program units/themes/priorities) —> 75 – 85% = hold, , 75% = NO

> or = 85% on Test 2 —> Test 3: Apply selection criteria regarding learner characteristics, reading levels, scope, appropriateness of language, illustration, etc. —> 85-90% = hold, <85% = NO

>or = 90% on Test 3 —> Test 4: Consult teachers regarding whether resource fits into their teaching-learning context, fitting pedagogical and methodological planned usage —> < 90% = NO

> or = 90% on Test 4 —> Test 5: Value and budget testing —> check cost relative to budget, compare with scores received by resource going through various tests and enthusiasm of teachers for resource… if within budget and rated well for value, recommend — if not, bring to committee for further comparison with other resources, if beyond budget or scored low along the testing for value and low on teacher enthusiasm = NO.

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March 1

Comparing collection development and management definitions

As an exercise for ETL503, we were asked to find a definition of collection management or collection development or a statement regarding resourcing the curriculum, preferably from a governmental authority with which we are familiar, and compare it to those provided in the learning module. This was to be posted in the Discussion Forum for Module 1 into the embedded Padlet app.

It took me at least three tries to get my work into the app to my satisfaction, hopefully my cross-posting to the blog will be easier as it is gradually becoming a familiar process. Without further ado, the record of the task for my personal archive:

Comparison of definitions

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February 26

Technology giants, publishing companies and the library – why care?

Shatzkin (2016) discusses the change to the publishing industry brought about since the advent of Amazon in 1995 – the big tech companies have caused a paradigm shift in how people find out about, search for and acquire books. This is leading to a change in how publishers will work to market books. Shatzkin makes it clear why publishers need to be aware of the tech company trends and techniques, but why is it important for librarians?

Librarians need to know where to go to find out about new books and to assess the quality of books. In this transition time we need to know the new ways related to the tech giants but also the old ways that may still be used by publishers. To get the widest variety of choice we need to combine the traditional and how to make them serve our needs rather than dictate choices to us. We can either exploit technological methods or be exploited by them.

Additionally, Shatzkin’s premise (2016) that in order to readjust themselves to the current situation requires publishers to develop an understanding of how the tech giants actually work, especially the roles of Google and Facebook in marketing and readers’ ‘discovery’ of books has relevance to librarians. Just as the publishers need to understand the workings of search engine optimisation and social media promotion and how they interact with more traditional methods of book marketing to regain some amount of control in the fate of their products (Shatzkin, 2015), so librarians need to understand these topics to retain some level of control in the fate of their library collections. An understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques can help librarians locate materials they desire for their collections (Schiller, 2013). In addition, Rushton and Funke (2011) and Schiller (2013) describe how SEO can help librarians connect patrons to relevant material more easily. To remain relevant and valued in this digital age and avoid the risk of having bureaucrats make hasty decisions regarding libraries and technology that they then come to regret, as in the Canadian case of Windsor Catholic School District (CBC News, 2011) we must understand and ride this wave of change or risk getting wiped-out by it.

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