Australian School Library Review – wow!

Australian Teacher Librarians and school libraries,  received some good (awesome!)  news today from Australian House of Representatives Liaison & Projects Office.

The media alert outlines the preliminary details:

School libraries review relaunched

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment has been asked by the Federal Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP, to complete an inquiry into the role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools, that was begun in the previous Parliament.

The Terms of Reference require that the Committee specifically focus on:

  • the impact of recent policies and investments on school libraries and their activities;
  • the future potential of school libraries and librarians to contribute to improved educational and community outcomes, especially literacy;
  • the factors influencing recruitment and development of school librarians;
  • the role of different levels of government and local communities and other institutions in partnering with and supporting school librarians; and
  • the impact and potential of digital technologies to enhance and support the roles of school libraries and librarians

Announcing the inquiry, Committee Chair Ms Amanda Rishworth, MP, said, “The Committee is very pleased that this matter will be revisited by the new Education Committee. Teacher librarians make a significant contribution in our schools and we look forward to sharing our findings on how to enhance this valuable community resource. ”

The Committee will have reference to all the written submissions and evidence gathered at public hearings conducted by the former Education Committee in the previous Parliament.

Learning in a changing world series is out!

It’s been rather slow in the making, but finally the new series commissioned by ALIA and ASLA is available to order from the ACER shop online.

The Learning in a Changing World series addresses how the process of learning is evolving – including the array of resources available in the digital age, changing curriculum, and the different teaching strategies needed in order to use new media and technologies.

The Learning in a Changing World series presents the core areas for teacher librarians and school leaders to consider for 21st century learning: the digital world, virtual worlds, curriculum integration, resourcing, and the physical environment. All are essential elements to enable and empower our students to be lifelong learners and active participants in our society.

I was lucky to work on the first two books in the series with my good friend Dean Groom.  Books like the two we worked on can never stay completely current – but then they are not ‘how to’ guides so much as ‘why you should’  and ‘why you can’ guides. There is enough thought provoking information for readers to leverage and  help innovation and change in their own schools.

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate

Our students are involved in an ‘architecture of participation’ – creating, adapting and sharing content. While for them this learning is a comfortable multimodal conversation, for us this change is revolutionary. Schools and school libraries have many challenges to address to create a renewal of pedagogy and technology work practices. As we begin to understand the importance of these seismic shifts, we come to the realisation that we are being challenged to un-learn and re-learn in order to grant students access to 21st century learning.

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate is written to provide the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to get you started.

Many thanks go to  Michael Stephens for generously  contributing the Forward to this work.

Virtual Worlds

Each year there are more and more avatars in rich virtual environments. These immersive worlds – where the world within the screen becomes both the object and the site of interaction – are on the increase, matching the promise of technology with the creative minds of our students. Educators, keen to incorporate the evolving literacy and information needs of 21st century learners, will want to understand the opportunities provided by MUVEs, MMORPGs and 3D immersive worlds, so as to be able to create more interactive library, educational and cultural projects. The challenge is to accept that these interactive environments are here to stay and that schools can, and should, embrace learning in virtual worlds.

Virtual worlds will provide the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to get you started.

Many thanks to Peggy Sheehy for generously contributing the Forward to this work.

Join us in the Second Classroom: Educators Learning in Virtual Worlds and share your virtual learning journey!

Others in the series

Other volumes in the series include Curriculum Integration , Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation, and Designing the Learning Environment.

Enjoy!

The book is dead – long live the book

So much is said and written about the ‘demise’ of the book these days. However, amongst the media hype and one-eyed negativism that sometimes abounds – there are also rational evangelists who focus on knowledge, culture and the role of digitised text in extending the possibilities for humanity.

At a recent conference hosted by the Association of Independent Schools, I encountered just such an evangelist. Sherman Young, who writes The Book is Dead blog as a companion to his book by the same title (download the first chapter), tantalized the audience with his presentation ‘The Book is Dead’.

Sherman kept the BOOK right in perspective – both past forms and future possibilities were discussed.

Book culture is too often confused with reading culture  – and it is this reading culture that Sherman explained as ‘long-form’ text. A book is a process – it requires time  to write and time to read. A book makes premium  demands of authors and readers: a writer can reflect and dig deeper into ideas, subtly constructing reality, thereby encouraging analysis, thought, reflection. In fact,  in a book the creation of a new reality is delegated to the reader.

Sherman reminded us that in fact BOOKS HAVE BEEN DIGITAL FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS!!

Eureka!  Of course books have been digital – once we got rid of hot metal presses, and moved to typesetting then desktop publishing, all books were digital first, then adapted to be printed.

Now the digital books are getting sophisticated and devices have emerged that make them easy to read. In addition, books are being digitised the world over to share, and to facilitate learning and research. Take a look at the Rare Book Room, and think about the value of this type of easy access to our literary and knowledge heritage.

In an online world we can and have to ensure that books remain – it’s about what books have done that counts. Even Google books are a way of ensuring that books survive.

Of course we also have text that is about communication in short form and speed. Text is everywhere online.

According to Sherman,

books are people thinking; online text, like Twitter, are people talking.

We need books. Even in the 21st century we need places and spaces to slow down, and books to read as ‘long text’.

I wound up the conference with my presentation. It was great to conclude an exciting day that, incidentally, kicked off with a fantastic skyed presentation from Will Richardson on transforming learning in education. Will’s a bit of a star at getting people sitting on the edge of their seats, and so people were pretty much buzzing making  it  easy for me to do a wrap that followed his vision, and also bounced off the exciting ideas that Sherman shared.

As ‘one of their own’ it was my job to try and challenge all the teacher-librarians to go on back to school and work hard at ‘keeping up with every(E)thing.  Oh, and my view is that the book is not dead – it’s just adapting!

School libraries: Designed for Learning

This video aims to contribute to the design and development of visually stunning, fit-for-purpose libraries with learning spaces that support 21st century learning in extended school settings. It shows the contribution an effective library can make to the educational, creative, emotional & reading development of children and young people, and the aspects of design that can enable this.

Where is the one place in the school, where people come together, to share and exchange and swap, but do so with an expectation of academic ambition? It’s the library!   Stephen Heppell

The school library is seen as the central space in the school for creativity, imagination and learning to be released.

Features Stephen Heppell with excellent contributions from schools around the UK.  A very comprehensive rationale and presentation funded by CILIP School Libraries Group and MLA (Museums Libraries and Archives Council).

Though this video/DVD is not new, it is very relevant as we visit and revisit our future directions.

Also at Designed for Learning: School Libraries

Mobiles changing social media?

Have you ever wondered about the relationship between mobile phones and social media? The mobile web is growing at an exponential rate, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. This graphic illustrates the rates at which people access the mobile, social web, as well as what they do once they are connected.

Book bonanza – buy online and save

Lot’s of people still buy books – interesting books! There are so many to choose from, but sometimes our local store/s may not have what we want – or we may just want to shop from home.

My friend Gary Molloy @chemedlinks is always on the lookout for an online bargain. Darcy Moore is also always on the lookout for an interesting read, and his latest purchase according to his FB status  is Tokyo Vice.  I should put those two into the same room!!

Perhaps Darcy  purchased this book for his Kindle.  That’s a whole different ball-game! But anyway – what if you do need to buy a book and want to same a few dollars too?

Gary pointed me to Booko ages ago for price comparisons  – and I have to vouch for the value of this service. http://www.booko.com.au

I rarely need to shop at Amazon any more.  Best service for me so far has been with the Book Depository.  Books arrive quickly, and are often cheaper than Amazon – postage is included in the cost! Gary tells me that the UK and US online stores are the same source, but often better pricing from the US.com site.

You can even visit Book Depository Live – and watch the  stream of books being purchased from countries around the world.

Of course, I still love to shop in a good book-store – that will never change!  I also borrow books from my local library and my school library. But I also enjoy  being able to get the book I want, delivered to my door, is good value.

Check it out next time you’re shopping around for that special book. There are also other good sites, which I have lost track of.   If you have any more to recommend, please share the sites you know  in the comments.