Module 5.3a – Information Literacy

How might the TL help the school move towards integrated information literacy instruction?

The change in societal expectations of students has meant that students need to have strong fluency in information literacy and the inclusion of inquiry learning within the curriculum was the ACARA’s response to this change.  Information literacy is cumulative and needs to be embedded across the curriculum and year levels. Unfortunately, information literacy is not integrated into the curriculum, but rather aspects of it can be found within some subjects and their inquiry strands.  This disjointed learning means that the skills that inquiry promotes are taught in a haphazard manner instead of being practiced in sequential and regular intervals. Information literacy is cumulative and thus requires it to be embedded across the KLAs and year levels rather than in ad hoc stand alone units (Lupton, 2014).  Therefore, IL needs to be part of the content, structure and sequence of learning.

Fitzgerald & Garrison (2017) reinforce that consistency is important and a school wide focus is important.  The central position of the library within a school allows a teacher librarian to have an holistic view of the school’s teaching and learning.  This holistic vision means that a TL is able to liaise and collaborate with their colleagues to implement a framework for inquiry learning within the school so that those essential skills can be practiced at regular intervals (Kuhlthau et al., 2015).  This framework, once designed by the TL, can be then adapted by the classroom teacher and or TL to suit the needs of the subject and or year level. As the keeper of the framework, the TL is also able to differentiate the scaffolding to suit the learning needs of the students in anticipation of the unit of work.

What challenges lie in the way of such instruction?

The biggest challenge for the implementation of inquiry units is time, or the lack of time.  The curriculum is already very crowded and with the prevalence of standardised testing and the emphasis on traditional assessments, there is insufficient time to properly run inquiry units at regular intervals.  Additionally, whilst inquiry units are popular in primary schools and in lower secondary, it is deemed less rigorous in senior years. This is a fallacy, but old habits often die hard. The other challenges for inquiry units are lack of collaboration within the teaching staff and reluctance for students to work in collaborative groups.  As mentioned in other posts, many teachers struggle to work collaboratively with their colleagues for numerous reasons. Teacher librarians are often excluded from curriculum planning and assessment design due to the presence of subject silos within schools. This inability to collaborate often leads to poorly designed and implemented guided inquiry units that fail to engage students and provide lacklustre results.  This inability for teachers to collaborate effectively is then often transferred to their reluctance to let students to work in similar groupings. Inquiry units are best done collaboratively as learning is enhanced when based within social constructs. These groups are often called inquiry circles or focus groups. Unfortunately some teachers are reluctant to have their students working in groups as they differ from the traditional classroom setting and upset their preferred teaching style.

How teacher librarians and teachers might encourage students to transfer information literacy skills and practices from one subject to another?

The library is often a neutral zone and utilised by all subject areas.  Therefore, students are able to view the TL as the ‘inquiry teacher’ regardless of the subject that the task is for.  This means that it is plausible that students would be able to transfer their skills in inquiry learning from one subject to another simply because the teacher teaching the subject has not changed.  Additionally, the TL is already aware of the learning needs of the students and thus can scaffold them appropriately. This scaffolding can be tailored individually to allow all students to participate to varying degrees.  Fitzgerald & Garrison (2017) point out that reflection within an inquiry unit forces students to contemplate their learning and ruminate on the processes they used to achieve their goal. This reflection helps students determine their strengths and weaknesses for future tasks and thus be more conscious of their learning. This cognisance of learning is an essential part of the process and can be used as feedback as well as determining the zone of proximal development (Fitzgerald & Garrison, 2017).

Doyle, A., (2019) The hard skills employers seek. The Balance Careers. Retrieved from

Fitzgerald, L. & Garrison, K. (2017) ‘It Trains Your Brain’: Student Reflections on Using the Guided Inquiry Design Process. Synergy, 15/2

Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L., & Caspari, A. (2015) GI: Learning in the 21st Century. 2nd editon, Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Lutheran Education Queensland (n.d.) Approaches to learning. Inquiry based learning. Retrieved from

McLeod, S., (2018) Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from

‘NATIONAL SORRY DAY’ – Annotated bibliography






Appropriate for students in

Mainly STAGE 4 & some STAGE 5

Appropriate for History, English, Drama, Visual Art, RE and Mathematics subject areas.

Appropriate for students who identify as Indigenous people across Stages 4 & 5.  


Citation 1 Various Authors (2011) Yarning strong guided reading series. Oxford University Press, Australia.



Mixed formats print/audio/images.  

Copyrighted for person and educational use but not for distribution.


Description This is a set of novels, graphic novels, anthologies and a teacher kit that covers issues such as identity, family, law and country.  The anthologies include poems, images as well as a teaching kit.
SC 1A 1B 1C 2A 2B 3A 3C 4A 4D
SA Booktopia


Recreational reading     TR Std 2.4 OI – 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The box set is aimed at Indigenous students as they would identify with the storylines and characters and thus be more likely to engage with it.  The language is colloquial and could be considered a Hi-Lo series for older readers. Since many Indigenous teens have lower literacy than their non Indigenous peers, it is important to have books that cater to their ability and interest (AIHW, 2017)

The resources allows for development of a subtle and covert knowledge and understanding of indigenous peoples.  Authenticity and perspective has been maintained as all stories have been compiled by Indigenous authors and anthologies led by tribal elders.


Citation 2 Pascoe, B., (2018) Little Red Yellow Black Book. 4th Edition. Aboriginal Studies Press. Australia
Format /Licensing Book = owned and with copyright attached.
Description This book has been written from an Indigenous perspective and thus assists with encouraging appreciation and reconciliation between both non Indigenous and Indigenous Australians.  It makes strong connections to the concept of Country and culture. The stories within, cover a range of socio-political issues and this edition also will challenge stereotypes and educate the reader as to the contributions made by ATSI peoples in past and present times.
SC 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2c, 3a, 3b, 4a,
SA Better Reading blog
Evaluation and use TR and/or RECREATIONAL reading   TS: 1.4 & 2.4

OI: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9

This book is excellent at initiating educators to Indigenous culture and histories especially those who have had limited exposure to Australian and Indigenous culture such as overseas born staff and students. There is an accompanying website listed in the book with additional materials. It is aimed at adults as a teaching resource, but can be read recreationally by both staff and senior students.


Citation 3 Manning, N., (1994) Close to the bone. Currency press. Australia
Format/licencing Class set currently in collection. No production permissions purchased.
Description This play is about the forced removal of a young Aboriginal child from her family and the reawakening of her Indigenous identity twenty years later.  An excellent story about the importance of identity and kinship ties.
SC 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 4a,
SA Part of current collection
Evaluation and use Stage 4 – Drama – (ACADRR046); English –  (ACELT1806) (ACELT1806) (ACELT1806)

Stage 5 – Drama – (ACADRR053); English – (ACELT1772) (ACELT1636)


OI: 2, 5, 8

This play, whilst dated, can be used as a culmination for National Sorry Day or similar units of work. The themes may be distressing for younger students, so class discussion is essential.  The play uses common language that resonates with the reader. It can be analysed from an Australian perspective and it can be performed to a groups as informative drama or as a dramatic reading. Good for kinesthetic learners.


Citation 4 ABC Education (2018) National Sorry Day. Retrieved from!/digibook/618742/national-sorry-day
Format/ licencing Digibook – chapters and videos

Downloading/editing/embedding with citation permitted

Description This eBook is embedded with videos showcasing interviews with various stakeholders detailing the political and social events that eventuated at the Rudd Apology in 2008 and the ongoing process of Reconciliation.
SC 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b,
SA Scootle – TLF-IDM019082
Evaluation and use Stage 5 History – ACHMH072 and (ACDSEH106)

And. (ACDSEH023) (ACDSEH104)  (ACDSEH134) (ACDSEH149)

OI: 2, 4, 5, 6,7,8,9

This resource is heavy in learning outcomes, capabilities and ATSI CPP.  The multimodality will support teaching and learning in discrete lessons and as part of NAIDOC week and National Sorry Day.  

The resources are appropriate for a school setting and are of mixed literacy ability and an inclusive school.    The main downside of this digi-book is that it does not belong to the school and there is no guarantee of its continuance.


Citation 5 AHRC (1997) Bringing them home report. Retrieved from
Format/Licencing Digital PDF – CC 4.0 International.
Description This report offers insight to the scant schooling, systemic abuse and trauma that affected several generations of Aboriginals, and offers understanding to the current gap in education and health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.  There are very confronting stories of physical and sexual abuse within. It also elucidates the loss of culture, tradition and language.
SC 1a, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b
SA Reconciliation Australia
Evaluation and use Stage 5 – History – (ACHMH072) (ACHASSK013)


OI: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

This report has a narrow use in a school setting. It is NOT to be disseminated to the students but rather excerpts used in specific teaching and learning practices.  Teacher discretion required. For example, to provide ‘voices’ for a yarning circle as a classroom exercise which would highlight the importance of oral traditions for Indigenous peoples and thus in turn, the significance of mother tongue.  Or as stimulus for class discussion and debating targeting CCP and CCT.


Citation 6 Behind the news (2018) 10th Anniversary of Stolen Generation Apology – 13/02/2018. ABC ME. Retrieved from
Format/ Licencing Interactive Video. Licence permits sharing and embedding.
Description This short video is an excellent introduction to the CCP and is accompanied by a worksheet that can be done individually or in collaborative groups.
SC 1a, 1c, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a.
SA Clickview
Evaluation and use Stage 5 – History –  (ACDSEH020)

As this video is short it can easily be used to introduce this topic to elicit discussion.  The video is aimed at upper primary, and its interactive aspect has low level Bloom’s questioning so can be used as an activity for students with learning needs.  The theme of reconciliation would be useful in an RE context too.






Citation 7 Screen Australia (N.D) Australian History Timeline.  Retrieved from
Format/licencing Interactive website. Can be used but not amended.  
Description This interactive graph gives snapshots of information of Australian history major events such as the Mabo decision and the Apology.  It is easy to use, multi user ability and has good graphics.
SC 1a, 1c, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b.
SA Scootle TLF ID M012862
Evaluation and use Stage 4 & 5 History



OI: 1,6,9

This website is strong on digital literacy due to the depth and layers present.  The embedding of videos, images and hyperlinks work seamlessly to inform the view of events significant to Indigenous and non-Indigenous history.  This tool would be great to use across the History KLA but also for the ATSI CCP in identifying key dates. Additionally, data can be searched for by date, event and decade. Whilst the language used is stage appropriate, digitally illiterate students will need guidance due to the multi-layering of information.  




Citation 8
Format Interactive video
Description This movie is about three girls, removed from their family in WA based on legislative assimilative policy and sent to a mission to train as domestic workers, from which they escaped and followed the infamous fence home.
SC 1a, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b,
SA Clickview
Evaluation and use Stage 5 – History  (ACHMH072) (ACDSEH106) (ACDSEH104)  (ACDSEH143)

Stage 4 – English  (ACELA1541) (ACELT1619)  (ACELT1806)


OI: 2, 5, 6, 8, 9

This interactive movie is rated for 13+ and whilst appropriate for Stage 4 students, it can be used in both History as a social viewpoint or in English (without interactive) from a technical language perspective. The video, with embedded questions would be a great choice for homework and the resulting critical and analytical collaborative discussion held in class.  The book is also in the collection already.


Citation 9 ABS (2018) Estimates of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Retrieved from
Format Interactive website/  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Description This summary commentary summarises the ATSI statistics for Australia on population, population growth, age structure, state and region prevalence as well as additional documents about birth and death rates.  As this resource is free, the narrowness of its applicability is accepted.
SC 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b 2c, 3a, 3b, 4b.
SA Mathematics HOD suggestion
Evaluation and use Stage 4 – Mathematics –  (ACMSP169)  (ACMSP171)  (ACMSP172) (ACMSP284)

Stage 4- Geography –  (ACHGS048)  (ACHGS051)  (ACHGS052)

Stage 5 – Mathematics – (ACMSP227)  (ACMSP283) (ACMSP253)

GC: Numeracy, CCT, ICT.  OI: 1, 6,

This document and accompanying materials are ideal for statistical analysis activities.    The students could analyse the raw data and account for variances as well as question the disparity.  The resource would also supplement HASS/Geography as it would provide evidence for discussion/analysis.  

Stage 4 will need scaffolding which licencing permits, whereas Stage 5 could criticise and evaluate the raw data.  It would also provide good material for test papers or as an extension supplement for advanced students in all KLAs.  Bloom’s Taxonomy of Questioning can be used in its varying formats with this resource.

An example would be the age structure breakdown analysis –

Indigenous lifespan graph has no bell curve graphically – Identify reasons why and justify with evidence.


Citation 10 Songlines – Tracking the Seven Sisters Exhibit. (2018). Canberra: National Museum of Australia.
Format Touring exhibition by the NMA
Description This is an excursion/incursion which will lead attendees on a journey through the Dreaming stories via art, multimedia and integrated displays.  
SC 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2c, 3a, 4a, 4b.
SA Teacher referral
Evaluation and use Stage 5 – Science  (ACSSU188)

Stage 4 Arts – Visual art ACAVAM125 ACAVAR131

Stage 4 – RE – World religions

Stage 4 – English ACELA1552

GC – Literacy, CCT, PSC, ICU.  OI 1,2,3,4, 5, 7, 8, ,9

The exhibit will be exemplify the importance of Country, kinship and oral traditions to attendees and thus the ramification of the stolen generation had on communities then and now.   It will challenge both students and teachers in their perceptions of the ancient culture. The oral traditions during the exhibit use powerful imagery and evocative language to complement the paintings and thus force the viewer to engage deeply with the subject matter.   

Educators can use this multidisciplinary exhibit as stimulus, a unit of work itself or culmination for a unit of work.  The supporting text resource will provide background to the exhibit and guide the educator in understanding the imagery present within the artefacts.   Whilst this excursion is expensive, the multidisciplinary nature and CCP coverage makes it valuable.


Information literacy, education and elections

It is evident that literacy is an important skill for navigating life’s journey.  From a rudimentary age, reading and writing are methods in which people, including children learn to communicate their thoughts and ideas.  Naturally, oral communication is the first skill a child learns.  Why?  Well from personal experience and basic understanding of anthropology (I like the TV show Bones) …. I have learned that children are all masters of oral literacy.  Well, all my children were adept at saying “NO!” before they were toilet trained.  But aside from that unnecessary anecdotal story, literacy is more than just being able to read and write.

ACARA has clearly defined literacy as “Literacy involves students listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts”.  Literacy is no longer just the domains of text.  It is a domain of skills.

In previous years, information literacy was sometimes known as information skills and or digital literacy.  But that shortened the scope of the term to just the mechanics of it rather than including associated behaviours and attitudes.

Some could argue that information literacy is restricted to the domain of academia and that the average person has no need of it.  Well after the debacle of yesterday’s election I can clearly say that the information literacy is sadly missing in Australian adults.

  1. Information literate individuals would realise that 70% of popular Australian media is owned by the same organisation that funds one of the political parties.
  2. Information literate individuals would also realise when there is bias
  3. Information literate individuals would realise that there is misinformation and how to identify it.

But we don’t live in an information literate world.  Information literacy is a life skill that everyone needs.  Otherwise, we doom ourselves, our nation and our future outcomes.


#note – I have very strong political leanings and I am not apologising for them.



Who am I? What do I do? – When an identity crisis occurs.

What do I do all day?


Just chillin – Courtesy of Pixabay


To my mother, I read books all day and tell people to shush!


To my husband, well he is only concerned that I am happy (and I can still manage my children’s school drop offs and pick ups).  Oh and there is no need for vacation care. Winning!!


To my children, mummy goes to work in a library and reads books and then comes home with more books all the time…. Oh and mummy is home in the holidays.


To my colleagues, I am that Energiser bunny that nabs you in the corridor asking to come into the library to work on your next task; the idjit that goes to departmental meetings and ‘volunteers’ to help with planning. I am also that nutter that gets over enthusiastic during Book week, Roald Dahl day, Harry Potter day, Jane Austen day

What’s your skill? This is mine.


To me.  Well, I am a teacher of information.  I teach students (and their teachers) how to find, seek, use and create information.  I find resources that support the curriculum and wellbeing of my students. I teach students how evaluate their sources, protect themselves online, be aware of the legislation around copyright and academic integrity. I help students and teachers in their teaching and learning by co-creating units of work that promote critical thinking and reflection.  I create lesson plans and collate resources to commemorate special events such as Reconciliation week, Anzac Day, Eid, Diwali and Samhain.

Each teacher librarian will have different priorities depending on the school they are attached to and the personality they were born with.  Some TL are brilliant at curriculum planning and get heavily involved with the co-creation of units. Other TLs are great collaborators and involve themselves with the teaching and learning aspect.  Some TLs are fantastic at resource collection management and development. Their collections are constantly evolving with the community’s needs. Each TL’s practice will differ from the TL next to them, the one down the street, the next suburb, or interstate.  That’s the beauty within the practice of teaching. Each practice is unique as it is the individual’s interpretation and implementation of the teaching standards that leads to such distinctiveness.

Each teacher, in their own sphere has an impact on their students, peers and community.  Individually we cannot change the world, but we can change the experiences of the people around us.  We can change how our students learn about internet safety, about how to use online information ethically.  We can teach the skills to differentiate fake news from real news (and in an election week… OMG!). We can show them how to seek, identify, use and create information that is meaningful to them and others.

How we do it will vary… but the point is that teacher librarians are trained and equipped to teach others the skills to survive and thrive in an information society. 

We can show the next generation how to become active citizens in this digital world. 

Guided Inquiry Design – An analysis

The world is changing before our eyes.  I have previously expounded upon Information society and the literacy that is required in order to engage with this new society, so will not go on about that now.  As teachers we can see the declining literacy ability of our students. We can see their lack of engagement and motivation. We know that this disengagement and apathy leads to poor behaviour within the classroom and consequently, poor life choices externally.  Many students fall through this gap, citing boredom and disconnection to the school paradigm. This is even more true for low achieving students and or students in low socio-economic zones, where education is paramount to break generational cycles of dysfunction.  Some schools focus their teaching and learning to address standardised testing (Kuhlthau et al., 2015). Whilst those schools may test high, their students struggle to translate their learning to an out of school context. As teachers we are frustrated and hamstrung by the politics of school.  

Guided inquiry is a method of teaching and learning that has changed how students learn.  Rather than a behaviourist method with stand alone teacher, GI promotes a constructivist team approach to teaching practices (Garrison & FitzGerald, 2016).  This style of pedagogy promotes students to gain a deep understanding of the curriculum content and learn valuable skills in the process (Kuhlthau et al., 2015).  The benefit is its fluid nature and this allows a flexible approach to learning which can be applied for all abilities and styles, as it seeks to explicitly teach skills rather than content.  This is simply because skills are transferable and therefore of a higher value to both students and teachers. After all, in this information age, everyone can find out anything, provided they have the skills to do so.

A guided inquiry teaching and learning activity is designed to engage students in the content using their own intrinsic motivation (Maniotes, 2019).  By utilising the 3rd space of learning, teachers can challenge students to connect to the curriculum content. This connection, based upon a constructivist ideology, allows students to question, explore and formulate new ideas based upon their own knowledge and perceptions (Kuhlthau et al., 2015, p.4).  The learning itself is involves students finding and using a variety of information, to address an aspect of the content through an inquiry approach.  During this process, students pose questions, make decisions, develop areas of expertise and learn life long skills (Kuhlthau et al., 2015, p4). As an educator there are two steps to GI.  The first step is to apply the GI design framework when creating units of inquiry.  These units incorporate curriculum content, literacy goals and information literacy concepts (Kuhlthau,, 2015) and have specific learning goals as well as skills that will be addressed during the activity.  The second step is to guide students through this learning with interventions, assessments and strategies (Kuhthau et al, 2015).  It is quite common for teachers to explicitly teach ‘just in time’ skills during this process as teaching them any earlier usually has less relevance to them (Maniotes, 2019).

There are seven stages in GID unit.  The stages go from an introduction phase through immersive, gathering, creative and sharing.  As students progress through these stages they develop a whole range of skills and undergo a variety of emotional stress.  It is this emotional stress and achievement over stress that assists with overall competence and self esteem. This figure shows the changing affective stages of an inquiry task.

Inquiry learning has many forms including project based learning; blended learning, International Baccalaureate programs and expeditionary learning.  In Australia there are several IL models including Herring’s 2004 PLUS, NSW information search process, Newman’s 2014 iLEARN and Big6. But the superior form of inquiry learning is Guided inquiry design as it has a research based framework to substantiate its method of practice and the design understands the importance of affect in student behaviour.  This affect is important to understand as it indicates to educators where motivation is and where guiding becomes important.

Whilst students are guided through the project, they get to pose their own question and explore ideas.  This posing of question, is formulated from their own experiences, reflection and understanding. It acknowledges their learning is valid and promotes self esteem and self efficacy.  Guidance can be tailored to individual students needs thus allowing for differentiation. As this process is a collaborative, students work with their peers in creating and investigating together.  This sense of ownership and accomplishment leads to independence, expertise and competence (Kuhthau et al., 2015). Unfortunately, like all skills based learning, regular practice is required to maintain competency. Kong (2014) points out that classroom integration of IL leads to an increase in competency.  Therefore, GI needs to be part of the learning and teaching across all grades and curriculum. It cannot be taught as a single subject in an ad hoc method as information literacy is cumulative (Lupton, 2014).

One of the many positives of Inquiry learning is that it promotes critical thinking skills (CCT).  CCT, as part of the Australian curriculum’s general capabilities, needs to be embedded in teaching and learning practices.  These skills are essential for participation in modern society. Within inquiry learning – CCT assists students in five major components.  Curriculum content, information literacy, learning how to learn, literacy competence and social skills (Kuhlthau and Maniotes, 2010, p.19; Kong, 2014, p.2).  All these skills are interwoven throughout the whole activity and an educator can choose which skill to assess at any given time.

The other interesting aspect of GI design unit is that the task comes halfway into the unit.  Unlike current pedagogical practices where students get given a summative task at the beginning of the unit and then ‘do what is necessary’ and submit it a few weeks later.  Inquiry tasks take students on an exploration of the unit. They are immersed in the unit of work either with field trips or excursions. They browse broadly among the literature, gaining various perspectives BEFORE the question is even posed.  This means that when the question is posed by the student is truly authentic (Maniotes & Kuhlthau, 2014). It comes from what they DON’T know about a topic, rather than a regurgitation of facts. This process forces student to engage with the unit of work or they simply become mired in an information overload.  This information overload occurs commonly outside school, where adults of all backgrounds, refuse to participate with something because they do not know or understand it. GI teaches students how to persevere and understand what the information is saying.

Collaboration is key to guided inquiry for both teachers and students.  As the creation and implementation of GI units is multifaceted and complex, a team of teachers is required (Kuhlthau & Maniotes 2010). Ideally, this unit has three teachers co-creating the unit with additional experts involved as required. This team approach has the benefit of collaborative learning, in that many minds are better than one.  It also models to students how collaboration occurs in the workspace. Students use the teaching team as role models for their interactions with their peers. These interpersonal skills are essential.


The genius behind GI is that it is based up the information search process model which compares feelings, thoughts and actions  of students as they progress through the unit. This understanding of student’s behaviour is of great insight to the educator. Teachers can predict when students are suffering from confusion and doubt and assist them in finding their way.  I am musing if Marcia’s work on Erik Erikson’s theory of identity development is related to this process. After all, Erikson’s theory about adolescents facing moments of crisis and their response to the crisis shapes their identity. So theoretically, students who have their moment of crisis during an inquiry task move through to identity achievement, in that they have made a commitment to a value or role (David, 2014).  Then once they have formulated a question or concept, students feel a sense of confidence, a sense of purpose. This sense of purpose and confidence translates to other aspects of learning and thus builds self efficacy.

The problem with the Australian curriculum is that IL is not embedded within and across the curriculum in all KLAs.  Information literacy is cumulative. To have an IL education, sustainable development is required across all years and areas of study.  It is should be part of the content, structure and sequence of learning; and definitely not the outcome of a single subject (Lupton, 2014).    There has been some attempt by Bonanno & Fitgerald (2014) to map the Australian curriculum to the Guided inquiry design by Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2012).  The scope and sequence suggests the introduction of inquiry skills, which could be adapted throughout the curriculum. Lupton (2014) correctly surmised that inquiry strands are only currently within science, history and geography KLAs.  Whereas Bonanno & Fitzgerald (2014) try to extend those skills in different areas of the curriculum. This is definitely possible as these ‘skills’ are transferable and there is no reason why one can pose a question in History that leads to an insightful understanding of the unit, but cannot do the same in math.  

In summary, GI units of work are designed with the student in mind. They are student centred and place the onus of learning upon the student rather than the teacher.  This is a seismic shift in pedagogy from a behaviourist to constructivist perspective. Students will engage with content if it is in their third space.  They will commit to a task if they have a vested interest in the outcomes. They will learn more in collaborative groups. Mostly, they will work at their level of cognition and thus achieve a sense of accomplishment when the task is completed.  We talk a great deal about student centred learning, about making the student the centre of the pedagogy. Well… lets just do it then.


Bonanno, K. with Fitzgerald, L. (2014) F-10 inquiry skills scope and sequence, and F-10 core skills and tools. Eduwebinar Pty Ltd.

David,  L., (2014) “Identity Status Theory (Marcia),” in Learning Theories.  Retrieved from


Garrison, K., and FitzGerald, L., (2016) ‘It’s like stickers in your brain’: Using the guided inquiry process to support lifelong learning skills in an Australian school library.  A school library built for the digital age.


Kuhlthau, C., and Maniotes, L., (2010) Building guided inquiry teams for 21st century learners. ZZ School library monthly.  Volume 26: 5.

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L. & Caspari, A. (2012) Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhthau, C., Maniotes, L., and Caspari, A., (2015) Guided inquiry: learning in the 21st century. 2nd Edition. Libraries unlimited, USA.

Maniotes, L., and Kuhlthau, C., (2014) Making the shift. Volume 43:2.

Lupton, M.(2014)  Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum v6, Access, November

Maniotes, L., (2019) Guided Inquiry Design: Creating curious inquirers. SYBA Academy workshop. Sydney

Walton, G., Cleland, J., (2016) Information literacy. Empowerment or reproduction in practice? A discourse analysis approach. Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 Issue: 4, pp.582-594,

Digital literacy and its impact on pedagogy and the role of a TL.

The world’s economy has evolved with the transfer from production lines to one structured upon the creation and dissemination of information.  This era has been revolutionised by the ubiquitous presence of the internet and the speed in which it is generated. Combined with rapidly evolving technology; access, use and production of information is easier.  The education sector has been particularly affected by this insurgence of documentation and the skill sets required to seek, harness and use information successfully. This essay will define digital literacy and its pivotal role in information seeking behaviour trend of adolescents, its impact on educational practices and the role of the teacher librarian in this knowledge society.

Literacy has evolved from simply being able to read and write in text form into something more dynamic.  ACARA (2016a) has expanded the definition to include; the ability to interact with, engage and use language across modalities for a variety of purposes and a diversity of contexts.  In this knowledge rich society, information is available in multiple formats and can be often simultaneously engaged with (Jacobson et al., 2018). Therefore, digital literacy (DL) is the ability to appreciate the need for; the expertise to access; the capacity to evaluate, use and integrate information within the school environment and in general society (Lofton, 2016).   Thomas et al. (2018) acknowledge, even though access is widespread, individuals are grappling with the ability to use the new technologies in all areas of life (p.12).

The modern student is heavily reliant upon the internet for both information seeking and retrieval due to the widespread availability of mobile devices (McGrew et al., 2018, Mussell & Croft, 2013, Lanning & Mallek, 2017 and Mills & Angnakoon, 2015).   Teachers are often frustrated at student’s poor information seeking behaviour (ISB) and vexed by their blind dedication to Google and Wikipedia, despite a lifetime exposure to technology (Saunders et al., 2017).  The exasperation tends to peak at the student’s inability to successfully identify relevant and reliable resources online.  Unlike a library, where the librarian acts like a gatekeeper, the internet and thus everything on there, including unsubstantiated and vitriolic materials, are freely accessible.  Search engines are the most common starting point as students are familiar with their visual design, their mechanism and are viewed as fast and reliable (Lanning & Mallek, 2017; Qayyum & Smith, 2018 and Mussell & Croft, 2013).  Adolescents often base their entire study upon the virtue of Wikipedia and Google (Ricautre, 2016 and Qayyum & Smith 2018).  Wikipedia, as Ricautre (2016) elaborates, is built upon the concept of crowd-sourcing, as the public is encouraged to contribute information.  Whilst understandably these parameters allow for open dialogue and the precept of an open learning environment, it brings validity and accuracy of information presented into disrepute.

Google is an omnipresent search engine in modern society. Its pervasive presence has led to ‘google it’ often replacing ‘search for it’ in modern jargon.   Regrettably, as McGrew et al., (2018) point out, students determine the usefulness of a website based upon superficial points, such as the hierarchy of results displayed by Google.  Students fail to comprehend that Google, a corporation, controls results based upon an algorithm determined by the user’s own personal digital history (Ricautre, 2016).  In this way, Google ensures that the search results match closely to the user’s state of mind, previous search parameters and thus is more likely to be accepted (Ricautre 2016).  Some students do not even open up the individual sources but rather just peruse the content on the main search page and accept the information as correct without understanding context (Russell & Callegaro, 2019).   Other students rarely venture away from the initial website due to insufficient DL skills, so they accept information without verifying authenticity and or bias (McGrew et al., 2018). This creates a moral dilemma as they are willingly restricting access to information simply because it is easier.

The problems with students’ ISB are numerous.  Firstly, their techniques used to seek information are based most often on predetermined algorithms, ineffective search terms and minimum effort expended.  In order to cope with the overload of information available, students covertly reduce their search techniques so as to minimize the amount they are presented with (Qayyum & Smith, 2018).  Russell & Callegaro, (2019) point out correctly, that students place the whole query into the search bar and expect a complete response instantly, as there is an unwillingness to construct a bank of knowledge (Mussell & Croft 2013).  Qayyum & Smith (2018) corroborate, by suggesting that the speed in which the internet produces results prevents reflection of content. The DL skills of skimming and scanning cannot keep up with the flow of information and sources are rejected if not exactly correct.

Kobayashi (2018) found that whilst students preferred engaging with technology, they are unwilling to use advanced software and hardware, as they are unable to troubleshoot.  This self-censorship is due to an inability to interpret multimodal sources with a rich media presence (Head et al., 2018, p.4, Jacobson et al 2018; Kobayashi, 2018). This is especially true for students, who already have low literacy, as they often get overwhelmed by embedded multimedia, slowing comprehension (Kobayashi, 2018).  Other students find the layering of sources distracting which also slows cognition down. The majority of adolescents are unable to use search terms properly and when faced with an overwhelming number of sources, they simply use the first few and disregard the rest, despite the possibility of their importance (Mussell & Croft, 2013).  Their ability to navigate the internet is hampered by a lack of literacy and critical thinking skills.

Once students have managed to find sources they understand, they are unable to determine veracity.  McGrew et al., (2018), in their study, concluded that the pattern in which students investigate the reliability of a website is mainly determined by the visual appeal and seemingly professional appearance, whilst often disregarding the bias and or dubious authorship.  Jacobson et al (2018) argued that students are receptive to emotive language and the presence of speculative data was used as evidence of reliability (McGrew et al 2018). Students will also accept the reliability of sources if they subconsciously agree with the information and disregard sources that they disagree with, due to the challenges this new data imposes upon them (Jacobson et al 2018 and Russell & Callegaro 2019).   Even when presented with alternate sources, like databases, many preferred search engines due to the visual appeal and navigation ease (Lanning & Mallek, 2017, and Mussell & Croft, 2013). Shenton (2018) attributes this literacy to, in that students with lower literacy are often unable to decode more complex text and use familiarity of structure to determine reliability and rationality. In terms of DL, this ISB highlights a lack of critical thinking skills, as accessibility is preferred over validity, which is a significant issue for education and beyond.

The presence of the internet has forever changed how public policy and societal issues are addressed, and it is imperative that students are proficient at ISB so that they can do the same hereafter (McGrew et al., 2018 and Thomas et al., 2018).  DL is a citizenship issue and true democratic societies require the voter to be able to find reliable information, evaluate multiple perspectives and communicate their ideas on current issues (McGrew et al., 2018; Jacobson et al., 2018). If students are incapable of DL at school when investigating tasks simple and direct, then their ability to navigate for information on more controversial topics is hampered (McGrew et al., 2018).  This is particularly evident in an election year when society is bombarded multi-modally in an effort to persuade the voter. If one is unable to filter, understand and evaluate the information effectively, then the scope of information is greatly narrowed. One only has to look at the media about the upcoming federal election to realise how important DL is within society.

Modern pedagogy is shifting to a digital interface and it’s important that the DL skills are taught so that students and their teachers engage successfully (Jacobson et al., 2018 and Qayyum and Smith, 2018, p257).  As each generation learns to use, transfer and create knowledge in schools, it is logical that in schools, effort should be placed in establishing digital literacy and efficacious use of technology (Ricautre, 2016, McGrew et al., 2018; Berg, 2018).   A liberal attitude to DL by educational authorities will lead to an ineffectuality for critical thinking and targets for scammers such as the Nigerian scam that has played havoc within numerous households across Australia (ACCC, n.d.). It is evident that digital literacy is important in ISB beyond the classroom.

The dramatic change in ISB and budgetary squeeze has added pressure onto teacher librarians (TL) to adapt their roles to ensure their viability in the school context (Lamb, 2011, p.27).  This adaptation has redefined the role of the TL from an archivist and curator of knowledge, into facilitators of knowledge or information specialists, curriculum leaders, information management leaders (CC, ALIA & ASLA, 2016).  This facilitation ranges from the acquisition of materials that build a school collection, text and digital, and the implicit and explicit teaching of life long skills. From their central position within the library, a TL is able to view the school as a whole and identify and analyze learning holistically (ACT Directorate, n.d.).  As the information specialist and curator of knowledge, a TL is able to assist in building positive ISB by embedding DL through the curriculum (McGrew et al., 2018; Berg, 2018). In the instructional partner role, a TL can instigate various pedagogical practices to support teaching and learning via implicit and explicit actions. Implicit methods could be characterised by the presence of maker spaces within the library, embedding of skills into curriculum units, the inclusion of carefully curated resources that support learning, and explicitly via direct instruction and assessment of skills in tasks.  

Educators need to realise that DL is not independently discovered during research tasks but rather they need to be explicitly taught and then assessed to evaluate understanding (McGrew et al., 2018).  Explicitly teaching DL in collaboration with other staff, TL can assist students in improving their ISB across the school (Shenton, 2018). As technology is an augmentation of learning, regular pedagogy on DL can increase the confidence of students in their ability to use media rich resources for example Google Docs, OneDrive and Endnote (Ricautre, 201; Berg, 2018).  This increase in digital self-efficacy will allow students to engage with more diverse sources and improve their ability to troubleshoot any potential challenges (Kobayashi, 2017).   Makerspaces are an alternative, as they encourage students to be creative, collaborate, problem solve, research and experiment and challenge the student into higher order thinking (Lofton, 2016, p.18; Berg, 2018).  A TL is an ideal person to facilitate these activities, as they are curriculum leaders, and the information expert in the school (CC, ALIA & ASLA, 2016). They can support all forms of inquiry learning and research, by either explicitly teaching correct ISB, and or implicitly, by assisting colleagues in creating coursework and assessments with supporting resources and technology.

Another method is to teach alternate methods of ISB, such as the use of the library catalogue and databases (El-Khayat, 2016).  Mussell & Croft, (2013) determined that many students were unaware of the presence of catalogue and often made it synonymous with a database search. Saunders et al., (2017) and Qayyum & Smith, (2018 p259) advocate that the explicit teaching of search terms, synonyms, and key words is the most fundamental skill, as it is the underpinning concept that illustrates critical thinking and evaluation.  Shenton (2018) interestingly noted that whilst students can often be persuaded to use databases for educational goals, this does not extend elsewhere. There appears to be a dichotomy when it comes to obtaining information. This bears thought of where do these adolescents go to access information for personal or professional reasons? Unfortunately, Google and Wikipedia continue to be the main tools of information seeking, which in itself is fraught with complications.  McGrew et al., (2018) and Lanning & Mallek (2018) both propose that DL be a course that is explicitly taught and formally assessed as a unit of work.   Lanning & Mallek (2017) counsels DL in standardised tests to monitor student progress and the recent move by NAPLAN to online testing could be a step in the right direction in assessing DL skills as DL is pivotal to academic success (ACARA 2016a; ACARA 2016b). Lanning & Mallek (2018) surmises that this is due to the student’s reluctance to learn skills unless there is an assessment attached,  which is just an unfortunate testament to the current education system’ assessment focused approach.

Occasionally, teachers do forget that students can be ignorant of digital practice such as search terms or database availability (Qayyum & Smith, 2018, p259; Miller, 2018).  This is very common in schools with a transient student population. Instead of exhibiting frustration, a TL can use this opportunity as a refresher activity, to explicitly teach that particular skill to the entire cohort in collaboration with colleagues (Qayyum & Smith 2018 p259).  Teaching suggestions include rewording search terms into keywords, keeping extra tabs open in order to read broadly , and realising that the perfect answer rarely comes up within the first few responses (Russell & Callegaro, 2019; Berg, 2018). Head et al., (2018) suggests that teachers and teacher librarians are trusted to provide access to reliable sources by students even if they may not be (p27).  Consequently, teachers themselves need to be digitally literate in order to assist their students in their learning, which is why the presence of a qualified TL is paramount.

Budgetary constraints and a lack of understanding of digital literacy have led to many schools dispensing with a qualified TL and or the library itself (Wood, 2017).  This poses a great problem for students and their ability to engage with the digital world (Berg et al., 2018). Some argue that digital resources and new seeking software is so instinctive that it compensates for student inadequacies and librarians are unnecessary (Saunders et al., 2017).  But it seems impractical to depend on an algorithm and its superficial limitation of results. This is just censorship under an alias. Others suggest the pervasive mobile device does not warrant the cost of outfitting hardware. This is a fallacy, as mobile only users, individuals with a disability and ethnic minorities are sub sections of society who are digitally disadvantaged (Thomas et al., 2018, p.16).  Mobile only users in particular are reluctant to engage in media rich practices as their device often does not have the speed and data allowance (Thomas et al., 2018 p.16). Considering the diversity within schools, the lack of a school library and TL is a clear affront to educational needs.

Students with low DL will have poor decision making skills due to an inability to filter, evaluate and critically analyse information (Berg 2018, Wood, 2017; Kachel, 2016).  This inefficacy with DL is further pronounced in lower socio-economic households where there are already hurdles due to lack of access, generational disadvantage and disability (DIIS, 2016; Thomas et al., 2018). The removal of libraries and teacher librarians infringe upon the freedom and right to access information (OIAC, N.D; UN, 1948).  Libraries seek to provide equity of access to students, and teacher librarians seek to provide self-efficacy in digital literacy to both students and teachers, for the successful navigation in this current knowledge society. The irony is that under legislation, prisons must have a library and a qualified librarian, but not schools (Kechel 2015, ALIA 2015; Bevan, 1984).

Digital literacy is essential and plays a vital role in ISB as the behaviour practiced in school is repeated in adulthood.  There is a strong correlation between low DL and poor ISB, which impacts pedagogical practices. The role of the TL in this changing information landscape, is to ensure that all students have access to information and have the ability to seek, use and share that information in a variety of formats.   In a world where there is a constant barrage of information, fake news interspersed with real news, a digitally illiterate citizen will be isolated, vulnerable and unable to self-advocate. They will be unable to participate wholly with this new society as an economic contributant. Access to the digital world is a necessity in modern times, as is the ability to navigate this information age.


ACARA (2016a) National literacy learning continuum. Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from

ACARA (2016b) NAPLAN online. National Assessment Program. Retrieved from

ACCC (N.D) Nigerian Scams. Scamwatch. Retrieved from

ACT Government (n.d.) School Libraries: The heart of 21st century learning. Education Directorate.   Retrieved from

ALIA (2015) Australian Library and Information Association Minimum Standard Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners

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ALIA and ASLA (2016) Statement on Teacher Librarians in Australia. Retrieved from

Berg, C., Malvey, D., and Donohue, M., (2018) Without foundations, we can’t build: Information literacy and the need for strong library programs. In the Library with the Lead pipe.  Retrieved from

Bevan, C., (1984) Minimum standard guidelines for Australian prisons 1978 (Editor), Australian Institute of Criminology. Retrieved from

Curriculum Corporation, Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association (2001). Learning for the future : developing information services in schools (2nd ed). Curriculum Corporation, Carlton South, Vic. pp60-62

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (2016). Australia’s digital economy update. Retrieved from

El-Khayat, Y (2016) Librarians help high school students improve research skills. Journal of Medical Library Association. 104:3. DOI 10.3163/1536-5050.104.3.009

Head, A., Wihbey, J., Metaxas, P., MacMillan, M., and Cohen, D., (2018) How students engage with news. Five takeaways for educators, journalists and librarians.  Project Information Literacy Research Institute. Retrieved from

Jacobsen, R., Halvorsen, A., Frasier, A., Schmitt, A., Crocco, M., and Segall, A., (2018) Thinking deeply, thinking emotionally; how high school students make sense of evidence. Theory & Research in Social Education. I46:232-276. DOI 10.1080/00933104.2018.1425170

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends : Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.

Lanning, S,. and Mallek, J., (2017) Factors influencing information literacy competency of college students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 43: 443-450.  DOI: 10.10.16/j.acalib.2017.07.005

Lofton, J., (2016) Students are makers! Building information literacy skills through makerspace programs. CSLA Journal. 40 (2). Retrieved from

Kachel, D., (2015) The calamity of the disappearing school libraries. {Blog Post} Retrieved from

Kobayashi, M., (2017) Student’s media preferences in online learning. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education. 18:3. ISSN 1302-6488. Retrieved from

McGrew, S., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., Smith, M., and Wineburg, S., (2018) Can students evaluate online sources? Learning from assessments of civic online reasoning. Theory & Research in Social Education. 46: 165-193. DOI 10.1080/00933104.2017.1416320

Miller, S., (2018) Diving dee; Reflective questions for identifying tacit disciplinary information literacy knowledge practices, dispositions and values through the ACRL framework for information literacy. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 44: 412-418.  DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2018.02.014


Mills, L., and Angnakoon, P., (2015) How do high school students prefer to learn? CELDA 2015. Retrieved from

Mussell, J., and Croft, R., (2013) Discovery layers and the distance student: online search habits of students. Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Learning.  7:1-2, 18-39, DOI 10.1080/1533290X.2012.705561

Nickpour, F., (2017) Information Behaviour in design; a conceptual framework. Design, User Experience, and Usability: Theory, Methodology, and Management.  pp 152-162.   DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-88634-2_12

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Qayyum, M., and Smith, David., (2018) Changing research behaviours of university students with progression through a course. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association. Vol 67: 3 pp256-277 DOI: 10.1080/24750158.2018.1502243

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Russell, D,. and Callegaro, M., (2019, March 26) How to be a better web searcher: secrets from Google scientists. Scientific American Retrieved from

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Shenton, A., (2018) Reading in information behaviour and information literacy frameworks. Collection and Curation. 37:2. Pp6-64. DOI 10.1108/CC-04-2017-0013

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Wood, P., (2017) School libraries disappearing as as the digital age is over. ABC News.  Retrieved from

Information Literacy – 21st Century skills

The fact we live in an information society will come to no surprise to anyone.  Our lives are constantly bombarded with information, some real, some fake, most of it tainted.  Active and informed citizens need to be literate in this information society in order to be able to differentiate between the facts and fallacies.  They need to be able to seek, identify, use, evaluate and create information in all formats; for economic, social, vocational and recreational purposes.  Governments and in turn education sectors, seek to ensure that the current and future generations of youth are equipped to deal with this information overload in the present and in the future (Kaplowitz, 2014; Kong, 2015).   Information literacy is the phrase used to describe this skill set.

Information literacy within education as described by Lloyd (2010) is often viewed as literacy in a digital format, with close association to searching, analysing and evaluation skill with information.  Kong (2015) describes it as a “mastery of necessary knowledge to identify a need for; seek, use, interpret and synthesise information” (p.2). But before we can progress too far, we need to clarify what information is?  Information is a separate entity and that it needs to be discoverable by an individual (Lloyd, 2010). Its format can vary from text, audio, oral and visual images; but the result is it is absorbed by the brain and converted to information.  These groupings of data, now identified as information, are available to be discovered and made sense of by an individual’s cognition power. The process in which information is identified, collated, synthesised and comprehended can be assessed using benchmarks as a guide.  These benchmarks are most commonly known as rubrics, which place results on a continuum of learning.


A information literate person would have competency due to their cognitive approach.  This approach ensures that competency is achieved in knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes; which correlate to literacy standards (Lloyd, 2010).  As competency is achieved through multiple applications, the assumption is that once students are unconsciously competent in information literacy, they are able to transfer those skills outside the classroom.  This need for literacy to be transferable to life outside school means that information literacy needs to be embedded across the curriculum and year levels. It cannot be the outcome of a single subject or taught in an ad hoc manner as this is a cumulative process.


The other important aspect of information literacy is that it is collaborative (Lloyd, 2010).  Many educators would agree that learning is a social construct, as the collaborative gain of ideas far outweigh a single person’s cognitive strength.  This need to collaborate means that students are learning interpersonal and communicative skills at the same time as they are investigating. This holistic style of learning seeks to fulfil the emotional affect and cognitive strength of an individual.  


Kaplowitz, J., (2014) Designing information literacy instruction: the teaching tripod approach. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN : 9780810885851. Retrieved from

Llyod, A., (2010) Chapter: 6 Landscapes of information literacy. Information literacy landscapes. Elseview.  DOI:

Analysis of Lupton (2014) paper – Module 5.3a

Edwin01 / Pixabay
Late to the ball


We live in an information rich society.  Our world is quickly adapting from industrial to one based upon the creation and dissemination of information.  This economic revolution needs a society that is fluent in information literacy.  Unfortunately, the education sector is resembling Cinderella with their late arrival to the information literacy ball.  Even though the national curriculum was designed with the goal of active and informed citizens, it has failed to meet the task at hand.

Lupton (2014) points out succinctly that there is no information literacy embedded within the Australian curriculum in her analysis.   It does seem fairly obvious that inquiry skill strands are the place to look for the elements that then link back to IL. A teacher librarian is ideally the perfect person to identify these elements and create the links due to their knowledge of the curriculum and holistic view of the learning and teaching within a school.  Unfortunately, we also know that there are many schools that there is no teacher librarian and thus there is no one to make these links in an effective manner. Consequently, teachers and students are often unable to have a planned learning sequence that builds upon prior knowledge. This inability to construct new knowledge upon prior knowledge, is a direct contradiction to the constructivist theory of guided inquiry.

As Lupton (2014) surmises, there is an inquiry focus within the national curriculum in three KLAs; science, history and geography.  Each of these areas addresses inquiry skills with slightly different applications. These mannerisms illustrate the strength and weaknesses of the curriculum to address IL.  Unfortunately, these subjects are not equally structured with respect to IL and thus, the embedding of these skills are inconsistent.

geralt / Pixabay

This variance between KLA’s has lead to science being the weakest of the three in regards to information literacy.  Whilst the research process is vigorous, the data is just gathered with the role of interpretation insufficient. The inquiry skills aspect is aligned only to the experimental procedure and there is limited correlation between the strands.  There is also a lack of consideration of the social, cultural, economic context of the investigation. This lack of social context means that the investigation is often difficult for students to apply newly gained information to real world applications which in turn defeats the ‘action’ part of the process.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

History KLA has strong IL embedded into its curriculum.  The nature of the strands mean that both the questioning and information seeking behaviour are important.  The strong dependence on primary and secondary sources means that students are constantly utilising skills in information seeking and using.  There is appropriate scaffolding within the curriculum that promotes independent learners. Geography, according to Lupton (2014) has the strongest in IL because; the questioning is stronger and varied, action is required in some form and lastly, it promotes personal and social growth and that the tasks are multidisciplinary.  As questioning is the cornerstone of inquiry, the Geography KLA allows for different perspectives of the same question as well as it forces the student to consider the views of the audience. It is clearly the most sophisticated and comprehensive inquiry skills based subject within the curriculum.

The problem with the Australian curriculum is that IL is not embedded within and across the curriculum in all KLAs.  Information literacy is cumulative. To have an IL education, sustainable development is required across all years and areas of study.  It is should be part of the content, structure and sequence of learning; and definitely not the outcome of a single subject.


Bundy, A. (Ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy.

Lupton, M.(2014)  Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum v6, Access, November


Module 2 – online access

geralt / Pixabay


Owned resources belong to the library.  Positives include that bar accidental mishap, the library will always have access to the resource.  It can be borrowed multiple times, though often not by multiple users. The cost is usually upfront and no further money is required to maintain access to it. Unfortunately, the resources also becomes outdated from the moment of publication.  Obviously for fiction and some aspects of non-fiction this is not too much of a dilemma but for cutting edge non fiction such as nanotechnology, science, engineering and law as well as journal articles, access to new information is important.

Content via online access has its benefits through universal access, multiformat capability and presence of new material.  The challenges it presents though, can be quite critical for libraries. Tillack (2014) says that “libraries have transformed from owners to renters of increasingly larger and larger proportions of their collections”.  The summary of this, is that the budget previously kept for the acquisition of resources is now allocated to their rental. But it is not a lifetime rental. Most licences do not confirm indefinite access to materials for indefinite periods of time and this means that access to these materials can be easily cut off or priced out of most library budgets.  It is obvious to me that online access benefits the publisher and retailer more than the consumer.

The presence of online access to resources is a major budgetary concern to most libraries.  By committing to the cost of online journals or eBooks via Wheelers, the library is not only proportioning money this year BUT every year.  With budgets constantly under pressure from school boards and department authorities, is it wise to commit a large chunk of funds to a resource that you have not guarantee to?

Tillack, T., (2014) Pressures, opportunities and costs facing research library acquisitions budgets: an Australian perspective. The Australian Law Journal. 63 (3) p206-219 .  DOI: 10.1080/00049670.2014.915498.

Module 1 – Publishers to Perish!

rawpixel / Pixabay


The lure of a bookstore is a siren call to many including myself.  Shelves filled with stories and adventures beckoning you forward with teasing front covers and titles.  Brightly coloured displays featuring best sellers line the walls to show the world what is popular and what is not. They beguile and tempt readers both adult and child. 

Today bookstores are shrinking.  Both in quantity of stores and in the quantity of products on the shelves.  The advent of Amazon and its incestuous relationship with Google, Facebook and Apple have forever changed the way readers pick up a book.  Gone are the days of browsing shelves to discover new authors and titles as Shatzkin (2016) points out. Instead the modern citizen tends to use social media ie Facebook, search engines ie Google and online merchandising as reference points.  Compared to previous times where book reviewers, book store buyers and collection developers were the ones that promoted books to the public (Shatzkin, 2016).

 The advent of ebooks and audio books (text to hear) have also had their impact on the bookstore.  The vicious cycle of purchases online only leads to lower sales in bookstores and then the inevitable reduction of shelf space and then the buyer heads online to find their elusive title.  With reduced shelf space Shatzkin (2013) points out that publishes lose out on the ability to market to their readers. The death noll is tolling for many publishing houses across the world as its more efficient for authors to self publish and market their own books than wade through publishing house red tape (Shatzkin 2013).

But what does this change mean?  To put it bluntly, the evidence is pointing to a grim future for the humble book.  Amazon currently has over half the sales of books whether they be online or physical as Esposito (2014) points out.  This is only going to get larger with the steady increase in ebook sales. Such a monopoly on an industry is ominous.  With their strength, one could predict Amazon placing pressure on publishers to print books that they deem ‘viable’. Smaller publishing houses will struggle to ‘muscle’ their way into this industry as the margins are ever shrinking (Shatzkin 2013). Combined with the aforementioned entangled relationship between Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple, the publishing market is being strangled slowly.

 The undertone of this monopoly is evident.  Since the profit margins from ebooks is significantly higher than print editions, Amazon can in actuality force the consumer from physical to electronic resources.  This has wider implications on readers, both recreational and academic. This isn’t just “the death of a bookstore, but the slow succumbing death of the book itself” ( 2011)

 The Shatzkin files paint a dismal picture for the local school library.  The demise of publishing houses will only lead to a few print copies that are unsuitable for ebooks. Libraries, should they still exist, will now be hosting a larger ebook collection compared to print copies. This change in resources means that more effort must be made to equip students with digital literacy in order to engage with suitable material.  Reading digitally or using audiobooks requires more from the reader to be vigilant from distractions and lacks the sensory satisfaction a book can give (Copyright Agency, 2017 and Schaub 2016).



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