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Copyright-An information highway

https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1432517
Night light by Jeongho Seo is licensed under Creative Commons CCO 

That moment when you discover what you should have been doing happened when I went to the Smartcopying website. At some point I had been told that I shouldn’t be copying more than 10% of a work, so that I didn’t breach copyright. However, what if I am to put that same content on a wiki or a blog? It turns out that the site needs to be then password protected with access restricted to teachers and students-while I haven’t done this, I can see how easily copyright infringement could occur. The medium that we use to communicate alters the ways that we are permitted to use the original information, it is easy to see once you know, but unfortunately it just isn’t something we think about regularly.

Where, this site is particularly helpful is with links to content that is copyright free through creative commons licenses, this is of particular use for students making short films requiring soundtracks. I am so impressed by the fact sheets and can’t believe that I have not come across this information before. I am already thinking about doing a presentation at a staff meeting because I am pretty sure that most of my colleagues don’t know that this website exists and/or the ways it could assist in the creation of resources for themselves and students.

References

Smartcopying, The Official Guide to Copyright Issues for Australian Schools and TAFE. Retrieved from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/ 

 

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Outputs and budgeting- it takes a community

On reading about ways of budgeting in a library, I became yet again aware of how little I know and so at this stage without experience, my opinions are very loosely held.

Evaluating and assessing the effective collections as a means of resourcing the library seems a sensible approach with an identification of the resources allocated into the varied text types and sources. However, working out the sums required left me feeling overwhelmed as I know that my current school library has a budget half of what is suggested as a means of maintaining an effective collection. Also, direction is needed for what purpose, needs, and with what paradigms do we develop an effective collection?

The output method based on use of resources appears to have some benefits but, would depend upon how well the library collection addresses the needs of all stakeholders. Within a Secondary school it would be easier to service the needs of humanities departments than mathematics and so to continue to cater for the ones already successfully utilising the collecting would continue to build imbalance and inequity within a system.

By selecting the core mission of the library and therefore the budget as a means of meeting learning needs it is essential that librarians know their learners and also collaborate with their professional colleagues to ensure that budget expenditure maximises learning opportunities within the library.

From someone who clearly knows much more than I do, I like the following rationalisation as it recognises the importance of a budget as an intentional measure in meeting the needs of a learning community.

‘Collections are often found to be at less than optimal standards, and so, need funding to achieve four purposes:

• to replace materials which are worn, outdated or unsuitable

• to build areas of the collection which cannot sufficiently support user demand

• to develop new collection areas and services to meet anticipated user demand, and

• to build the collection generally, so that it reflects state or provincial standards,’ (Debowski, 2001, p.303)

This for me is a starting point, a reference model for what I want a library to look like, to do, and who I want to involve, it is the enactment of the collaboration, the stewardship, and the thinking required as outlined in my previous post. It isn’t just outputs or inputs, but a mixture depending on the particular needs of the community.

References

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection program funding management. In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J.McGregor (Eds.). Providing more with less: collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 299-326). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. (e-reserve)

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Budgeting- unexpected surprises of the pleasant kind

Accounting doesn’t tend to fill me with excitement, however, when viewed through a paradigm of collaboration , stewardship, and thinking, then it all starts to become an environment of possibilities.

The lack of funding within the public school sector is of no surprise to anyone that works within the sector, so the importance of prioritising funds is essential if we are to provide the service for students and staff.  It is also clear that this planning requires evaluation and connection to school goals, significantly, this presents an opportunity to collaborate and advocate for the library environment. A Library budget becomes a proactive document rather than a reactive one, if it is as Doug Johnson states, ‘a written, goal oriented specific proposed budget,’ that articulates the vision of the library. Additionally, proposals for library expenditure should be ‘supported by research and sound reasoning,’ (MMM).

The development or inclusion of an advisory group or committee further ensures that the library has a team working for the befit of the students and staff in the ways that the Library can be most effective. This is where the librarian becomes the steward, the professional with the most knowledge and understanding of the needs of the learners that the library services that consults with and seeks input from a variety of shareholders. It is essential that the librarian report to the wider school community about the intentions and success of library programs creating a sense of belonging and ownership within the learning community.

Finally it is in the role of thinker that the librarian is able to assess and evaluate the needs of the library so that they can make appropriate decisions based upon most affordable and relevant resources. The documents titled Budgeting for Mean, Lean times provide a model for thinking about budgeting even during the times of abundance, can’t imagine that ever happening though.

 

References

Lamb, A. & Johnson, H.L. (2012). Program administration: Budget managementThe School Library Media Specialist. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sms/administration/budget.html.

Plemmons, A. (2010). Student Voice, Student Choice: Students as part of the budgeting process. The Georgia Library Media Association. Retrieved from https://glma.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/student-voice-student-choice-students-as-part-of-the-budgeting-process/

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Professional Standards


Literary society

It is not all that surprising that Australia’s first school libraries emerged from Sunday Schools in 1839. These modest libraries predate the NSW State library by 30 years. The tone created by these first libraries filtered into the the first school libraries with the focus being on religious education. This cultural capital of course has implications for the expectations that stakeholders may have of the types of information students may access in a school library and the purpose of the library in terms of education agendas.

An overarching statement of purpose provides a framework for teacher librarians to articulate the reasons for the choices they make within their spaces. UNESCO has a school library manifesto that sees a school library’s core business as ‘developing life long skills, the imagination, enabling students to live as responsible citizens,’ this is achieved through, ‘all members of the school community becoming critical thinkers and effective users of information,’ (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2006). It is significant that this goal is aimed toward all members, emphasising the role that the school library has at the centre of a learning culture, and by default the responsibility that the teacher librarian has as a leader within their learning communities.

The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) has a document detailing the  Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians while this document does specifically address elements that are specific to the context of the teacher librarian, it shouldn’t be viewed as a stand alone document. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited (ATSL) (2017) has developed the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers domain five, Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning, has particular relevance for teacher librarians. In order for the teacher librarian role to be valued with a school it must be visible and understood, assessing programs, encouraging feedback, and reporting on the success of library programs and initiatives must be a priority if the wider community is to understand the importance of a well resourced and professional school library.

References

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited (2017). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Australian School Library Association (2015). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians

 

 

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Anyone can be an Expert?

notebook

We live in a world that makes it deceptively simple for an individual to seem an expert, and with a plethora of information available to the average punter, why even bother with professional qualifications? This is really a question about what type of society do we want to have.

Everyone can Google? If only it were that simple. Not all information is created equal, as discussed in an earlier post, information is weaponised, intentionally inaccurate, and sometimes just unintentionally misleading. Additionally, not all individuals know how to interrogate and evaluate the information they obtain, with only themselves to assess their learning the need for qualifications becomes evident.

We are in the ‘fourth industrial age,’ and as is much reported the current workforce is facing unprecedented change, that requires an ‘adaptable and a proactive,’ approach or workers will face ‘becoming extinct’ (The Conversation, 2009). However, the fact that this is the fourth industrial age indicates that change has happened before, and that some people successfully negotiated those changes and some didn’t. The million dollar question is then, how do we future proof our students and ourselves?

Technology is evolving at a pace that makes specific curriculum targets within the school environment difficult as what we train students to do in terms of hard skills could be obsolete by the time they graduate. Significantly, this same issue is present within tertiary institutions as well.

A focus on personal epistemology throughout the curriculum enables learners to examine the ideas that they hold about knowledge. In terms of adaptability, what we are being asked to do is become life long learners, this is easier if you have the tools to ‘resolve competing knowledge claims, and evaluate new knowledge,’ (Hofer, 2001).  The qualified professional will have an understanding of the exisiting claims and be able to evaluate and incorporate new information as is appropriate, they will be able to apply academic rigour to their thinking and in turn work processes. If the explicit understanding is that knowledge within an information environment is fluid, and that learning is a process then individual identity is centred around a reflective process that accepts learning is a lifelong process (Hofer, 2001). Personal belief systems about knowledge influence an individual’s ability to acquire knowledge and make sense of it (Hofer, 2001).

Most importantly, the benefits of developing an understanding of personal epistemology reaches beyond the workplace into our individual lives, it is our connections with each other that promote wellbeing. Relationships like technology evolve and change over time, requiring individuals reflect and make fundamental decisions based on the knowledge process they undertake.

Where does this leave us? Qualifications aren’t enough to ensure professional relevance in a changing world, however ontological knowledge in conjunction with an understanding of personal epistemology provides us with a foundation to negotiate change.

Teacher Librarians are in a unique position to develop and lead epistemological inquiry within educational institutions through explicit teaching of skills to professional and student bodies, as a society we need individuals who are able to critique and evaluate their ways of knowing.

 

References

Hofer, B. K. (2001). Personal Epistemology Research: Implications for Learning and Teaching. Journal of Educational Psychology Review, 353-384. Retrieved from

https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/article/10.1023/A%3A1011965830686

 

The Conversation (2019) In an AI era, lessons from dinosaurs help us adapt to the future of work Retrieved March, 2019.

 

 

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The Information Environment

Information processing

The difficulty in defining information as both a process and a concept in and of itself is evident when reading through Case’s, The Concept of Information (2006). The ways that meaning is encoded both in the delivery of the message and by the recipient is unknown and if it can not be seen can it be measured? This is one of the unresolved issues as outlined by Fox (p.57). However, the description of ‘information as telling,’ resonates within a class room setting I often create a narrative structure out of the information I am communicating to students (Fox, p.57). As teachers we position ourselves in ways that explicitly place us as an authority to be entrusted with the dispersing of information, significantly, these models show us the ways that our own encoding inevitably alters information before we even get to the telling stage. Knowing this presents an opportunity to demonstrate to students the language required to interrogate our own processes of information. Increasingly, we live in a time where fake news is utilised as a means to weaponise information, the infosphere contains content constructed with the deliberate intention to deceive along with everyday inaccuracies. My own notes are an example of the ways that information processing is both a deliberate and unintentional exercise.

Additionally, an interrogation of information output facilitates an understanding about the process that created it, so does that mean that this blog is the output and my notes are evidence of the process, similar to Losee’s cake analogy? I have already filled two 120 page A4 notebooks for ELT401 and much prefer a mind mapping process to a blogging one.  Perhaps it is because for me the process is much more interesting than the destination/message? It is through the rereading of my own notes (the process of transmission to receiver) that the message is reevaluated and changed, the blogging process requires a commitment to a position, and as my own narrative changes so does my own understanding of the information process and environment.

I need to become more familiar with different ways to communicate and present my ways of thinking.

References

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.

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Not waving but drowning

Contemplation by Rebecca Kelly (model Ragnar)

The irony is not lost on me that while attempting to write a response to an assessment task that I initially thought was fairly straight forward, I am in fact drowning in a choppy sea of information chaos.

I have immersed myself to the point where it really is submersion. I have entered many rabbit holes, I have increased my vocabulary and consequently my confusion, I have twenty four pages of hand written notes and feel like I am only getting started.

While it is wonderful being part of an engaged learning community I have to learn how to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed by information.

I should have started writing, but I just keep reading!! I think this is some sort of perverse procrastination.

 

 

On the other hand, I love reading this stuff, my ideas and understanding of information, of libraries, and of teacher librarians have been blown out of the water so many times it is wonderful. I am buoyed by the possibilities and overwhelmed by the responsibilities in conjunction with the lived reality of restricted resources in a library budget.

I revisited the information continuum and have placed myself firmly in a circle of chaos peering across at knowledge on the distant shore.

My reflections have lead me to think of my current and future students who live in a world of information overload and who are almost permanently connected to the infosphere in a variety of capacities. The ability to sort through and create information relies on their ability to determine relevance, accuracy/authority and understand the ways their own social constructs interact with and shape their perspectives. In effect what we are doing as Teacher Librarians is to give them a life jacket so that they can keep their heads above the sea of chaos until it can be controlled and managed in such a way that they can move with purpose and understanding towards the knowledge on the far shore.

 

Not Waving Drowning by Stevie Smith

 

 

 

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Assessment Item 1-Part B reflection

Reflecting on your experiences as a teacher before you became interested in working in a school library, write a 500 word piece about your understandings of the role of the TL in schools. 

Libraries have always been a wonderful place for me, and so this has coloured my perception of them as a teacher. I am an English and Philosophy teacher and the school library has provided a gateway for students to explore both the known and unknown in a guided and supported manner.

As a class room teacher, it has been of interest to me as to which students are to be found in the library, and the ways that they are engaging with each other and learning when they are afforded self-direction. The range of activities available has served to build a diverse community of learners, and this has always seemed to be a significant strength of libraries. The library in responding to diverse needs should be designed to provide spaces that facilitate ‘communal and individual learning’ as is required, they are in effect ‘flexible and varied learning spaces,’ (Future Learning and School Libraries, Australian School Library Association Inc. 2013, p.10).

Of particular importance to me as a class room teacher is having students be able to apply a critical thinking lens to their own knowledge and evaluate the quality of the information they are utilising. Additionally, students are expected to be both ‘ethical and creative’ with their use of information, these are skills that need to be explicitly taught in a world where they are deluged with information (Future Learning and School Libraries, Australian School Library Association Inc. 2013, p.10).

The role of the Teacher Librarian as disseminated by The Australian School Library Association can be too easily read as a list of tasks, and so I am reminded that we must always remember purpose, ‘the student is infinitely more important than the subject matter,’ (Noddings, 2013, p.176), when imagining our roles. The Library is student centred and all tasks performed are the means by which we deliver better access to information and consequently knowledge that enables informed choices in both a personal and educational sense.

Reading the Creative Commons website has resulted in my reevaluation of the knowledge sphere, and I have sought out more information on the ‘commodification of information,’ and the impact this has upon the types of roles we fulfil in a teacher librarian role (Beck, Cohen, Faulkenberg, 2017, p. 45). The focus of replacing more knowledge with ‘knowing more deeply,’ and the ways that that could be delivered, has resulted in me thinking more about the type of teacher librarian I want to be. I have started to read about Critical Information Literacy  and am particularly interested in the ways that ‘social and political dimensions’ create and replicate systems that alienate and disenfranchise some students (Tewell,2018, p.11).

Finally, I am really not keen to refer to the Library as the School Information Service Facility, it seems like a term that belongs to a Monty Python skit. Would that make me a School Information Service Facility Officer/coordinator?

I am renaming my blog, ex libris in honour of the tradition of the not so humble Library.

 

Reference List 

Australian School Library Association Inc (2013) Future Learning and School Libraries. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Resources/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

Australian School Library Association Inc (2019) What is a Teacher Librarian? Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/what-is-a-teacher-librarian

Beck, K., Cohen, A., & Falkenberg, T., (2007) Bridging the Divide: In Quest of Care Ethical Agency, Paideusis, Volume 16 No. 2, pp. 45-53.

Noddings, N., CaringA Relational Approach to Ethics and Moral Education (2013) University of California Press

Tewell, E.C., The Practice and Promise of Critical Information Literacy: Academic Librarians’ Involvement in Critical Library Instruction (2018). Retrieved from  https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/view/16616/18062

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Creative Commons, ‘When we share, everyone wins.’ Assessment 1 Part A

Creative Commons is an entity that I was unaware of until preparing for this blog, since then I have been thinking about it daily.

Initially, my concern was in determining the type of licence I needed, if any. I thought that I had definitively decided the type of licence I wanted, open with a not for commercial use caveat.  Further research on the Creative Commons site revealed my concept of sharing is not a particularly open one, in fact it only just made halfway on the scale provided.

Delving into Creative Commons and the mission of the Education Program, which has the specific aim of facilitating access to quality education to individuals regardless of their circumstances reminded me of Friere’s Culture Circles (Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970), wherein knowledge can liberate, emancipate, and facilitate the individual’s ability to participate more fully in society. Furthermore, Creative Commons has the potential to ensure that individuals regardless of their circumstances can access recent, relevant, and reliable information that under other circumstances would be limited.

The search options outlined were revelatory and I can forsee how these will assist my colleagues when they are designing learning resources.

As an educator I was challenged to reevaluate my reasons for selecting the no sharing for commercial use and instead look at the potential benefits for open sharing and so amended the licence I have selected for this blog.

Finally, this has been an excellent example of, you don’t know what you don’t know.