So you think they can learn?

Perhaps the answer to that question is obvious to you? Or perhaps you are wondering what exactly it is that you should wish your students  to learn?

I know that teachers are passionate people, who are committed to providing students with rich learning experiences and diverse opportunities to rise to the challenges that our world provides. But this passion needs to be nurtured, and is best nurtured by drawing on the quality experiences of our peer practitioners, and quality research that is being undertaken in schools.

In speaking to a group of new post graduate students this evening, I explained that one of the avenues for supporting your own ‘passion’ is to subscribe to a new online journal for educators called SCAN (which – for my money – has always been one of the best-value journals around in print form).

What does SCAN offer?

Scan is a leading refereed journal that focuses on the interaction between information in a digital age and effective student learning. Scan offers engaging professional support for all educators.

What’s in Scan?

Articles, school stories and resources about:

  • quality learning and connected curriculum
  • teaching ideas for digital age literacies
  • inquiry learning and evidence based practice
  • multimodal resources for exciting learning
  • research and emerging trends
  • extensive e-resource, website and other reviews
  • dynamic school libraries

The new online issue of SCAN carries the article  So you think they can learn? in which I urge SCAN readers to make learning visible by re-envisioning information literacy for today’s learners.

Do take the time to visit SCAN and experience the new interactive capabilities that will surely make this journal a continued leader in the field in the digital era.

Image: cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery

The busy trap and change

Almost everyone I know is busy. Almost everywhere you go people seem busy. Now, the media is even talking about being busy. The ‘busy trap‘ is pretty well covered in the opinion piece from the NYTimes, which highlights the point that there is busy, and then there is busy! There is essential work and there is the other stuff – packed agendas to ‘keep busy’, which is a very different thing.

Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups.

As the Times article says:

The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it.

There’s the rub – when it comes to being busy, no question –  I’m to blame. And as of July, the situation is going to get worse.

Why?

Starting this week I’ve started a new chapter in my work at Charles Sturt University as I take on the role of Courses Director in the Teacher Librarianship strand of the School of Information Studies, in which the main degree program is the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship).

This is going to be exciting, challenging, and definitely a busy trap!

Image: cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Éole

Content curation is the new black

Content curation crops up over and over again – so a whole issue on the topic from the wonderful school librarians in New Zealand is worth a read! Tossing ideas around, and finding ways to harness tools to our purpose is part of the daily challenge.

So here is the latest issue of their Collected Magazine, free for the taking! It’s all about content curation or “articles to help you add to your collection development bag of tricks!”I I was lucky to be invited to write a lead article title..you guessed it..Content curation is the new black!

You will find articles about the following:

Curating content for creative reuse (Ester Casey)
Content curation as a marketing tool (Peter Murgatroyd)
Exploring Scoop.it (Hillary Greenebaum)
Using LiveBinders (Senga White)
and more…

By the way, what a great use of an online magazine publishing tool – your organisation, school or library can put out good digital publications for information, promotion, or sharing. Your students can get involved too.

Visit ISSUU at http://issuu.com/miriamtuohy/docs/may2012/1 if you want to subscribe to their magazine on a regular basis or to learn more about the product.

Joining Pandora – Australia’s web archive

The National Library of Australia aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to ensure that Australians have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future.

The National Library is an amazing organisation. The theme promoted on the homepage says it all: Thinkers Wanted  – Take a fresh look at the National Library. Remarkable.

You should stop by and discover Australia’s Collections: Trove; Picture Australia, Pandora, Music Australia, Australia Dancing and Australian Newspapers.

The one that I am excited about today is PANDORA – Australia’s Web Archive.

PANDORA was set up by the Library in 1996 to enable the archiving and provision of long-term access to online Australian publications. Since then they have been identifying and archiving online publications that meet their collecting scope and priorities.

Imagine my excitement to receive a request to include this blog in the  PANDORA Archive. I have now granted permission under the Copyright Act 1968, to copy Heyjude into the Archive and to provide online public access to them via the Internet. This means that the Library has permission to retain the published blog in the Archive and to provide public access  in perpetuity. How cool is that?

Access is then facilitated in two ways:  via the Library’s online catalogue and via subject and title lists maintained on the PANDORA home page .

I am delighted to be added to the collection! I know others have been granted this privilege long before me, but I’m amazed non-the-less.

Now my digital musings are no longer floating free on the internet, and I have one of the best back-up systems in the world.

Image: Laptop Floating on a Digital Sea from Bigstock

United we stand – or do we?

When it comes to school libraries in the 21st century, there are many challenges that need to be addressed by teacher librarians and school administration teams. There is abundant research evidence that good school librarians and good libraries make a difference – a radical difference in the learning  lives of our students.

But the evidence is of little value unless school librarians and/or teacher librarians  also work together to empower their own learning and forge new pathways for integrating into the learning needs of students.

Sadly, in Australia, I would suggest that teacher librarians are their own worst enemies. We do not present a united voice – rather the tensions that abound between various teacher librarian groups who choose  NOT to work together with a national voice is to me particularly alarming. No matter how good your local group or state group is – it is the national voice that influences government and other national organizations. What has your local or state group done to promote the national needs of teacher librarians? Are they supporting the work of ASLA national –  actively, courageously, generously, and relentlessly?  Our own national organization has done so much to ensure the past, present and future of school libraries across the nation.

So how could you not be excited by the upcoming opportunity in October in sunny Sydney? If you have not as yet registered to attend the XXII national bi-biennial conference of the Australian  School Library Association  please do not miss this chance to collaborate with your peers from Australia. Registrations close this week!

It is more important than ever to put regional and sectional interests behind us. Just this week our own national listserv is replete with stories yet again of school principals who are removing teacher librarians from their school library. Others, secure in their own jobs, forget to take a national view on preserving and promoting the profession. It’s not enough to attend local events. It’s not enough to take out membership of a regional or state group – if in doing so you are cut off from national action and do not lend your voice to national collaboration.

I want to personally thank  ASLA national for providing us with national publications, national standards, national events, and for taking national responsibility for our profession.  Let’s never forget – there is no other school library organization that  can do this for us!

Think local and act national – this is the only way to ensure the future of good school libraries across our nation.

Come to the conference!

Report on school libraries and teacher librarians


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Enokson

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment  released a report on school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools. The report released on Monday 23 2011  investigates the issues of role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia.  The full report is available at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ee/schoollibraries/report.htm

The report focuses on the impact of government policies and investments on school libraries, the potential of school libraries and teacher librarians to contribute to improved educational outcomes, and the recruitment and development of teacher librarians. The 163-page report also looks at partnering and supporting school libraries and teacher librarians with other libraries. It is a positive report in that it is clearly supportive of school libraries and the role of the teacher librarian.

When it comes to school libraries and teacher librarians, we are in a much better position than some countries at the moment!  Our school librarians and our teacher librarians are considered worthy of  national discussion!  Nevertheless, while there are many instances of great school libraries staff with excellent teacher librarians, and adequate levels of professional support staffing, there are also many cases where this is not the case.  This report may go some way to helping to redress the imbalance, and also ensure that continuation of a strong teacher librarian academic programs in Australia.

The report was tabled to coincide with Library and Information Week 2011.

List of 11 recommendations in the report.

Impact of recent Commonwealth Government policies and investments on school libraries

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government partner with all education authorities to fund the provision of a core set
of online database resources, which are made available to all Australian schools.

Recommendation 2
The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government work with the states and territories to develop a discrete national policy statement that defines the importance of digital and information literacy for learning in the 21st century, which can be used as a guide by teachers and principals.

Potential of school libraries and librarians to contribute to improved educational and community outcomes

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority include statistical information about the breakdown of all specialist teachers, including teacher librarians, on the My School website.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government support additional initiatives to promote reading, such as a National Year of Reading. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations should collaborate with the Australian School Library Association, Australian Libraries and Information Association and other education stakeholders in developing these initiatives.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government initiate an Australian-based longitudinal study into the links between library programs, literacy (including digital literacy) and student achievement, including their impact on improving outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government support promotional activities undertaken by ASLA and ALIA that demonstrate to the school community the valuable work that teacher librarians are doing in respect of e-learning in their schools, including those that highlight their leadership capacity.

Recruitment and development of teacher librarians

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the rollout of the new national curriculum, which is to be made available online, include a component of training for teacher librarians.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government commission a thorough workforce gap analysis of teacher librarians across Australian schools.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs, establish a national dialogue, including with tertiary providers, on the role of teacher librarians today in schools and into the future. The dialogue should include an examination of the adequacy of the pathways into the profession and ongoing training requirements.

Partnering and supporting school libraries and teacher librarians

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government, through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood and Youth Affairs, discuss ways to enhance partnerships with state and
territory and local levels of government to support school libraries and teacher librarians.

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government partner with ASLA and ALIA to produce a document that showcases some of the successful partnerships and programs between school libraries and other libraries, and joint-use libraries. The document should be made available to government and non-government education authorities and school principals.

The Committee hopes that this report goes some way toward highlighting teacher librarians’ concerns; showcases their valuable contributions to educational outcomes in Australian schools; and starts to examine their evolving role and place in Australia’s education system.