The light bulb moment

Image: Pixabay

As educators, we often talk about light bulb moments. They are the moments when we can see a fundamental shift in our student’s understanding and at that moment, we can see that they understand whatever it is they are trying to master. That bright smile that moves across the face of a student when they realise that they finally understand…that smile always makes me smile, even now as I type I can’t help but smile. I love those moments. Those moments are why I entered the teaching profession and they are why I stay. As a mother, I also get to see these moments in my children and I know that I am blessed to be able to see an abundance of these moments…and often the frustration that comes before it too.

It’s easy to forget how powerful these moments can be to a child who has struggled with a concept for a while and then finally gets it, or who even makes a new discovery on their own. I was reminded this week of that feeling when I too had my own light bulb moment. My TL journey has been an interesting one and one of a mixed bag of emotions. From that feeling of elation upon being accepted into the course, to frustration and stress during the assignment writing stage. But as I’ve begun to ‘re-calibrate’ (in my lecturer’s words) and have figured out how to fit study into my already busy life, I have begun to embrace my learning with a sense of calm and purpose. It’s here in this calm that I have begun to make connections between readings, modules and subjects. These connections are allowing me to see the bigger picture instead of small, fragmented pieces that don’t fit together, like in the early stages of my study. For me, it was as simple as recognizing the name of an important document in an e-mail and instinctively knowing what that document was without having to ‘Google’ it. It’s hearing a term or a process and finally understanding what it means and how it fits into the context of the TL role. It’s reading an article and being able to resonate with it, and then wanting to read more because now I finally understand.

Despite being at the very beginning of this journey, its comforting to know that those links are finally beginning to form. The future is looking bright!

Information literacy – an overview

If one searches for a definition for ‘information literacy’, they might be surprised to find that there are many different definitions of the term. It would appear that the way in which one defines the term differs depending on the context and purpose of the information. Furthermore, as the information environment changes and evolves, so too will the way in which we determine what constitutes information literacy.

The Behaviourist Approach to information literacy is concerned with the acquisition of skills and competencies required to be information literate. These skills include:

  • Recognise a need for information
  • Locate and evaluate the information
  • The ability to retrieve information and store it
  • The ability to use the information in an ethical manner
  • Use the information to create new knowledge and communicate this knowledge with others (Catts & Lau, 2008, p. 12)

On the other hand, the Sociocultural Approach focuses on the construction of knowledge through the interaction with the information environment and a shared experience (Lloyd, 2007). Collaboration and shared ways of interacting are communicating are considered paramount in the development of literacy within this approach (Talja & Lloyd, 2010). This approach challenges the traditional school of thought which assumes that learning is highly individual process.

Perhaps one of the challenges for educators is to use a combination of both approaches to developing informational literacy that will enable their students to become life-long learners and responsible and ethical users of information.

References

Catts, R., & Lau, J. (2008). Towards Information Literacy Indicators, UNESCO: Paris.

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.

Information literacy as a sociocultural practice

This morning, I read the article “Recasting information literacy as a sociocultural practice: implications for library and information science researchers” by Anne Marie Lloyd. In this article, Lloyd suggests that rather than thinking about information literacy (IL) as a skills-based literacy, we should explore how IL can be used to construct meaningful learning in all contexts. This suggestion is based upon the findings of two studies which explore how emergency services officers in New South Wales, Australia use information as part of their training to either act or become a practitioner. The findings of the study helps to explain the way that the relationship with information changes when the learner moves from the epistemic mode of learning (text-based) toward the corporeal and social modalities (information obtained through experience and practical knowledge).

As a relatively new Masters student, this article resonated with me. At present, I am very much learning in the epistemic mode. I do not work in the context of a library or with other librarians and my learning is predominately text based. I often find it difficult to relate to what I am learning as I am learning it out of context. Lloyd suggests that IL learning is a sociocultural process which should not be limited to the epistemic mode only and I can certainly understand why. I wonder how much easier this course is for those who have some contextual understanding upon which to build their knowledge.

Lloyd’s article highlights the importance of teachers and TLs providing not only the epistemic mode of learning but also of providing opportunities for students to learn through the corporeal and social modalities in order to develop a holistic understanding of the concept or topic about which they are learning.

References

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

Where to find Creative Commons licensed music

 

Image by Author

A mere short nine months ago, I began studying after a fifteen year break. One of my first tasks was to create a blog, which at first glance seemed simple. As it turns out, this task really challenged me, almost to the point where I pondered quitting my new journey before it had even really begun. Perhaps I would have, had it not been for the fact that I knew that if I were going to be the best teacher for my students, and hopefully one day a brilliant teacher librarian, then I would need to rise to this challenge, and the many many more that lay ahead of me.

Where to locate ‘free to use’ images

One of the first things I learnt about creating a blog was the importance of being able to find images that were freely available to use as well as how to credit these images on my blog. Websites such as Pixabay, Unsplash, and Google are some of my favourite places to find images and I hope to one day create some of my own too. What I hadn’t considered until today was that if I could locate images this way, that I could also locate music.

Where to find CC licensed music

Using the search function on the Smartcopying website, I was able to locate a webpage with links to where I could locate CC licensed music.  Today, I thought I’d take a look at a platform called SoundCloud. This site provides access to a large collection or music, some of which can be freely used and shared. The user is able to create an account in which they can save music. One thing to note about this platform is that the user needs to ensure that they have adjusted the search filters to ensure that the music they are searching for is free to share, if that is the intention, because not all music on this site is free to share. Some other platforms which allow the sharing of CC licensed music include FMA (Free Music Archive), jamendo, and Audionautix, which allows you to search by genre.

There are, of course, many more platforms that provide CC materials in addition to the ones mentioned above however these are where I will begin my exploration and use.

Copyright…an interesting discovery

Image: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0

This morning, my journey towards becoming a TL has taken me to the topic of Copyright. I was directed towards the Smartcopying website which is an essential resource to be aware of if you are a teacher or a TL. In particular, my focus today was exploring the use of film/DVD and how copyright applies to this. While I was reading up on my responsibilities regarding how to use film/DVD appropriately within my school context, I made a discovery.

As someone who likes to follow the rules, I was surprised to learn that I may have unknowingly breached the rules of copyright in regards to the use of DVD’s. As it turns out, it is not permitted to screen a video or DVD on the bus during and excursion which has been hired from a video shop by the school for the sole purpose of entertainment: AKA attempting to keep the students entertained for a short period of time on the very long bus ride from Brisbane to Canberra…and back! If the video or DVD is used for teaching purposes, or the bus company/school has obtained permission from the film’s copyright owner, then it is OK to use.

Since this is fairly standard practice among teachers, I began to wonder…

  • Is it permitted to use the video or DVD purely for entertainment if they are purchased by the teacher rather than hired from a video store?
  • Is it permitted to use the video or DVD purely for entertainment if they are streamed by the teacher rather than hired from a video store?
  • Is it even appropriate to be screening videos and DVDs purely for the purpose of entertainment or should all viewing be done with the view of teaching and learning in mind?

After further reading, I discovered that some Australian schools are covered by the Co-Curricular Licence, which enables them to play films for non-educational purposes. This licence sits outside the Copyright Act (National Copyright Unit) and is negotiated individually by schools.

Copyright Law is not merely a guideline for fair use, it is, in fact, the law. As teachers and TLs, it is our responsibility to know about and follow Copyright Law. Furthermore, part of the role of the TL is to ensure that copyright information is shared with teachers and they they are aware of additional licences which have been budgeted for and purchased by the school

References

National Copyright Unit. (n.d.). Film and Video/DVD. Retrieved from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/faqs/film-and-video-dvd

National Copyright Unit. (n.d.). Playing Films, Television and Radio in Schools. Retrieved from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/information-sheets/schools/playing-films-television-and-radio-in-schools

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