ETL 401 – Blog Task 3

14 May

‘Information Literacy is more than a set of skills’.

There is a great debate on what information literacy actually means. The meaning of information literacy appears to have an ever changing continuum that often confuses teachers, learners and society in general. Information literacy encompasses more than the basic set of skills.

Traditionally, information literacy was closely linked with information research skills which often took place in the library and taught by the teacher librarian. Students learnt the basic skills of locating resources, general bibliographical techniques, reading and summation of information required when completing school projects.

In today’s learning environment, information availability has expanded exponentially and has complicated the issue of information literacy. Many academics have stated that information literacy goes beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic of the past. There are more complex issues involved in being information literate in today’s society (Langford, L. 1998). There are many definitions given to information literacy, however it appears that these definitions are determined by the context and by societal interpretation of this concept.

Schools are in the business of developing literate and numerate citizens of the future, who can contribute efficiently and effectively to society. To be information literate, Bundy (2004) suggests that it encompasses a set of elements that are interlinked. These elements include the topic, discipline, the generic and information skills required and the personal values and beliefs structure that are infused into learning. Abilock (2004) reiterates this concept by suggesting that information literacy is a transformational process where the learner finds, understands, evaluates and uses information in various forms to create meaning for personal, social and global purposes.

In order to achieve information literacy, it is no longer the sole responsibility of the Teacher Librarian of the school. The Teacher Librarian can offer the skills set of searching and locating resources within the library setting. To further develop student skills in order to become lifelong learners, the Teacher Librarian needs to actively collaborate with teachers when planning the curriculum. By using collaboration as a partnership between the Teacher Librarian and the classroom teacher, it enables the opportunity for the development of appropriate learning materials which guides students in becoming more active in their learning. This also optimises information literacy skills as students can relate learning to real life experiences.

Eisenberg (2008) highlights the importance of this through the use of the ‘Big 6 Model’. This information process model provides a broad, logical skill set that can be used to problem solve across the curriculum framework. By empowering students to take responsibility for their learning within a guided framework, students are able to see the connection between learning and their own lives and this is what enhances their overall learning and information literacy skills.

The Teacher Librarian plays an important role in assisting students achieve information literacy through ongoing collaboration and planning with the school community. They provide a specialist service of resources and facilities, which can provide students with frequent opportunities to learn and practice these skills. The Teacher Librarian helps in the facilitation of developing practical and metacognitive skills that students require in becoming lifelong learners of the 21st Century.

References

Abilock, D (2004) Information Literacy. Building Blocks of Research: an Overview of Design, Process and Outcomes. Retrieved 25 April 2013, from
http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Eisenberg, M.B. (2008). Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library and Information Technology, 28(2), pp 39-47.

Langford, L. (1998). Information Literacy: a Clarification. Retrieved 25 April 2013, from
http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html

ETL 401 Blog Task Two

29 Apr

The traditional role of the Teacher Librarian has, for a long time, been associated with a misconceived stereotype that does not reflect the current role. These misconceived ideas do not portray a true reflection of the importance of the Teacher Librarian within the school community. As Hartzell (2002) suggests, societal and media images of librarians of the past, have contributed to this negative perception of the Teacher Librarian.

The teaching profession does not have a clear understanding of the role of the Teacher Librarian and this hinders the efforts of the Teacher Librarian to effectively and efficiently contribute to the school community to optimise teaching and learning. Pertinent to redefining and clarifying the role of the Teacher Librarian within the school environment is the support of the Principal. Dianne Oberg quotes Winifred B. Linderman who stated ‘The principal’s support of the library as a vital part of the educational system is extremely important’. This statement was written in 1944, however its relevance still rings true in today’s school environment.

The Principal as a leader and role model needs to positively promote the library and the role of the Teacher Librarian. By encouraging teachers and the Teacher Librarian to work collaboratively, the role of the Teacher Librarian gains a respected understanding by colleagues. When Principals do not support the library, the nature of the Teacher Librarians role of empowering others, affects the Teacher Librarian’s visibility in determining their contributions to the school community (Oberg, 2006 and Hartzell 2002). The Teacher Librarian’s contribution to the teaching and learning outcomes are often absorbed by the classroom teacher’s success. Another factor that contributes to the invisibility is the ‘physical isolation in the library and by scheduling’ (Oberg, D. 2006, p14). The Principal needs to be committed to promoting a clear understanding of the Teacher Librarian’s role and actively encouraging and allowing time friendly schedules which enable the ability to collaborate with staff members.

Often the Teacher Librarian is seen as a service provider responding to student and teacher requests rather than a proactive leader and educator. Oberg (2006), states that Principals have four key roles in supporting the Teacher Librarian and the school library. The key roles are:
1. ‘That as a supervisor working directly with teachers.
2. That as a model demonstrating personal commitment.
3. That as a manager enabling the program and
4. That as a mentor providing visibility and importance.’ (Oberg, 2006, p14)
The support of the Principal is essential in promoting a positive view of the Teacher Librarian’s role within the school community. However, in saying so, it is also of great importance for the Teacher Librarian to be a proactive leader and positively self promote contributions to the school community in order to make the role visible.

References

Hartzell, G. (2002). What’s it Take. Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved 08 April 2013 from http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the Respect and Support of School Administrators. Teacher Librarian; Feb 2006; 33, 3, pp 13-18. Retrieved 09 April 2013 from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/224879111/fulltextPDF

ETL 401 Blog Task One

25 Mar

It has become apparent that the role of the Teacher Librarian is an ever changing one due to the constant new developments and changes within society. The school library is no longer the quiet building that warehouses books (Purcell, 2010, p. 30). Instead it is a central learning hub for the school community. One aspect of our role as Teacher Librarian is that of a facilitator in the convergence of literacy in the 21st century.

Herring (2004) and Lamb (2011) both suggest that it is part of a Teacher Librarian’s role to assist in equipping students with the skills to become lifelong learners. This involves proactively embracing new technologies and integrating them in the school community. Some may perceive the introduction of technology as a threat to the role of the Teacher Librarian; however it should not be seen this way. New technologies can assist Teacher Librarians in becoming leaders in bridging the digital divide that exists between the perceived library of the past and the library of the future.

Technology is changing the physical and information landscape of the library. The Teacher Librarian must be at the forefront of these changes, constantly adapting to the fluid environment created. Lamb (2011, p. 27) states that ‘the potential is present for the transformation of school media programs into a new kind of environment that combines the best of the physical and virtual worlds of learning’. This entails equipping teachers with the necessary skills of integrating technology into their instructional practice whilst meeting the curriculum requirements. It also involves teaching students the skills to locate, assess, evaluate, organise and apply this digital information efficiently and effectively. This allows students to develop the necessary life and career skills for use beyond the school boundaries.

With the increasing use of mobile technology, a Teacher Librarian must ensure that the library is a resource centre that combines the physical print world with that of the virtual world. It is essential to consider and cater for the various learning styles and abilities of students. Therefore, it is essential to provide students with media rich resources (Valenza, 2010). Many young students are using the various technologies available; however they still need guidance in building the skills to effectively use them (Lamb, 2011, p. 32). The Teacher Librarian can create a safe and comfortable learning environment where students can make the connection between the technological skills required and the relevance to their lifelong learning.

Communication and collaboration is essential to optimising learning opportunities in this changing learning environment. The changes in technology can be a useful tool in ensuring that students, teachers and the community remain connected. Herring (2004), suggests that a library web page acts as a second entrance to the library centre. It is up to the Teacher Librarian to create active pathways to link the inside and outside worlds of the school community and to ensure that the communication lines remain openly accessible.

How we use these technological tools has the greatest impact on learning rather than the technology itself. We must extend ourselves into the virtual spaces our students occupy, as these provide a social and collaborative manner of learning. It is in these virtual spaces that students actively participate and engage in optimum learning (Lamb, 2011, p. 31). Hence, as Teacher Librarian’s we must actively model the use of technology to encourage skills in lifelong learning.

References
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries
in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42).

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette. Tech Trends: Linking Research to Improve Learning, 55 (4) (pp. 27-36).

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist, Library Media Collection, 29 (3) (pp. 30-33).

Valenza, J (2010). Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

First Blog

17 Mar

Hi, here it goes my first blog. Setting up the site wasn’t as hard as it first seemed. But then again I haven’t quite seen what this post will look like at the end … so there is still times to say ‘aaarrgghhh’. We’ll just see how this goes and work from there!

To start with, I took a look at other blog providers and some blogs set up by my fellow students. I chose wordpress becuase it just had a nice sound to it for an address. Afterall blogging involves words and publishing them online … so why not? Some fellow students, who obviously know their way around blogging have some fantastic sites … something I can aspire to.

So I suppose this will be the start of the many more blogs to come from me. As I learn to navigate my site, I am sure there will be many more changes to come.

Now lets see how this looks!