School libraries leading learning

I am currently attending an excellent conference on School Libraries and their various roles in leading learning. The conference is co-hosted by the Australian School Library Association (NSW) and the NSW Department of Education and Training. Congratulations to both organisations for an excellent two-day program.

This biennial event provides a ‘shot in the arm’ for teacher librarians wishing to keep abreast of the exciting developments in librarianship including Library 2.0.

Perhaps the Keynote speakers should be able to better model this type of engagement to teacher librarians? Ross Todd from CISSL at Rutgers University (exponent of Guided Enquiry) gave a brilliant keynote presentation – as he always does. Ross speaks well, and provides a superb approach to guided inquiry and evidence-based practice. Thank you Ross!

I was glad of his reference to social networking tools and sites, but not his demonstration of personal/professional use of Web 2.0 tools. The time has come for those who talk about Web 2.0 to BE Web 2.0 themselves in order to model Learning 2.0 or Library 2.0. I would like Ross to lead us in this journey too.

On the other hand, Jon Callow, from Sydney University, gave a lively and engaging presentation on Literacy through digital stories. Jon’s statistics on youth engagement online were current and he used some fun quizz techniques to make the point about the immersive nature of online environments. Underpinning his presentation was the vital message – that digital literacy is with us, here to stay, and therefore we must harness these learner generated contexts for higher order skills of problem solving, communication, team works and technology skills.

[Oh! I also noticed that Jon provided attributions for images used in his presentation! and music, explaining the use of Creative Commons through-out his presentation. Ross did not attribute his images! or provide a link to the source of Web 2.0 images he used.]

I was fortunate to take part in the end of day panel discussing the shape of Library 2.0 – but unfortunately the topic seems a little ahead for most attendees as we had no pertinent questions from the floor.My cameo comment focussed on the need for teacher librarians to embrace Web 2.0 and social networking in order to develop a strong professional learning community to help take school libraries forward. There are far to few Teacher Librarians active in this area in Australia – and there is certainly little scope for professional dialogue amongst them via Web 2.0 tools. The notion of collaboration and communication is still very much embedded in the era of email and listservs – very Library 1.0.

So the challenge is ahead for them as a professional group. An issue for me is the lack of a strong professional community to help each person develop their knowledge and skills. Even where I see people stepping into the Web 2.0 world (and lead by consultants in some instances) those doing the training are such ‘newbies’ that they haven’t understood which key steps to model, which tools to highlight, which techniques to adopt to streamline Web 2.0 use. So overall we have a big bit of learning still to do! quite a bit! – while our students stream ahead and leave us knocking on the doors of Facebook, Myspace and the like.

My minor keynote presentation focussed on my favourite topic of multi-modal learning – in the context of school libraries.

Learning is a global multi-modal conversation and it is [r]evolutionary. Choice, co-creation, and information access are changing what it means to be a net-savvy teacher. As we pour our own words, tags, sounds, images, and multimedia into the ever-increasing global knowledge and information pool, we have to become adept at patterns of connectivity in these learning environments. If students think of the internet as a virtual locker, backpack, notebook, diary, and communication tool, then we must create flexible learnign environments which are transfored by this multi-modal focus. More than ever flexibility and personalization are at the core of re-purposing our libraries and learning environments in a Web 2.0 world. Are you up for the challenge?

Photo: La Caverne aux Liveres

11 thoughts on “School libraries leading learning

  1. Hello Judy
    I’m interested in your comments on the NSW conference and I agree that one really needs the personal experience of dabbling to be able to promote the emerging technologies. There are so many variables that must be experienced personally if you are to instill confidence in others.

    I appreciate the leadership that comes through your blog and podcasts such as “Women of Web 2.0” and others. Yes, we have moved away from listservs but boy, you need to pipe a very persistent tune to bring everyone along. I’m also presenting at the SLAV May 12 conference and am keen to hear what Will Richardson has to say. I attended his session on blogging at NECC 2005 and was inspired by the spirit of generosity that filled that small room. Blogging has certainly taken off since then, although at that time Philadelphia had free wifi in much of the inner city.

    A voice from Australian teacher-librarians within the Web 2.0 environment is well needed. Looking forward to the return visit to NECC with the ACCE study tour in June. Cheers, Camilla

  2. Hi Judy,
    I would like to agree whole heartedly with your heading that libraries are leading learning especially in the emerging technologies environment. I teach information technology and am a member of two information technology and computer groups at the state level.
    When I started using web2.0, I found little on the topic from either of these associations and journeyed off on my own, finding it quite difficult to do solo. However, our school librarian attended a librarian conference in Melbourne in June last year and listened to Heather Blakey speak on blogging. Heather was invited to speak to the staff in our school and from there I was able to more confidently approach this wonderful tool
    Since then I have watched with interest the seminars, conferences and experiences that the Victorian School Librarians Association runs and am amazed at their degree of focus on web 2.0 tools and emerging technologies, and their embracement of such. Keep up this great work, as the library is the hub and educational centre of the school.

  3. As always, great thoughts Ian. I agree with your comments about twitter entirely – and don’t count twitter as a form of live blogging at all. Your summary and coverage of an event in the evening is a fabulous way to go, or actually writing notes during the conference to a blog or similar is also good. Taking notes on a computer is never bad etiquette – it’s just using technology to take notes ๐Ÿ™‚ What I was referring to was more the organisation about reporting the great things at a conference that I have seen happen so successfully – everyone reflecting and sharing information, and using an agreed tag to post so that anyone in the world could benefit from the good knowledge and information shared. We are certainly in a changing world, and the more we experiment, the more interesting we will make our own professional learning community.

  4. Hi Jude,

    As yet I’m not convinced about Twitter – although I’m also assuming the NSW DET firewall would block it as another form of social networking. At home I often have MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger on, and dash off messages to friends when I notice them come online but, from samples I’ve seen of Twitter, it doesn’t seem all that different. I fear the temptation for me to keep Twittering every few minutes would mean I’d never get any other work done. I procrastinate enough as it is.

    As for “no live blogging of the workshops”, I think we are waiting for etiquette to catch up with the (revised rules?) Netiquette – in that Twittering means doing more than two things at once but still pretending to give full attention to the speaker. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I, for one, had made a point of turning off my mobile phone at the start of each talk at the conference, lest I be distracted or curious (as usual) about any incoming messages. And yet there you were asking the audience why no one was mobile blogging!

    I could have been there with my (borrowed) laptop or my mobile phone and live blogging, but I made do with nightly summaries to my blog – which meant that I was able to have at least some synthesis in my posts. Raw Twittered reactions to speakers during the speech might not be as useful. Depends on what you think people might want, I guess.

  5. Hi Judy

    thanks for your inspiring and challenging presentation – was the highlight of my conference. My take away was: stop making excuses – what am I really afraid of!!!

    Since, I’ve been reflecting on your point ‘wikipedia is now the core textbook for all syllabus learning in Australia’, and the implications for us here at powerhouse museum.

    Which leads me to re-read a study about researchers of the future “Any barrier to access: be that additional log-ins, payment or hard copy, are too high for most consumers and information behind those barries will be increasingly ignored.”

    Also about wikip’s approach – trusting the world of contributors. I’m thinking it’s a useful future vision for the education beaurocracies, which must eventually (surely) abandon their efforts to (fire)wall out web 2.0 sites and behaviours.



  6. Hi Jenny, great to hear that you are also going to be working with Will Richardson. What a fabulously lucky opportunity we have to be meeting with and hearing from such a passionate educator. I hope that after his tour more of our TLs will be willing to ‘move forward’ into the collaborative environment that is Web 2.0 and Library 2.0.

    It’s worth reading the comment from Lee to my Twitter post which referenced another energetic teacher in the UK – Tom Barrett.

    He’s been building a Twitter_EdTech/ mashup that’s a great model for TLs…..just one idea amongst so many great ideas! Hereโ€™s how it works:

  7. Great post Judy. You’ve hit the nail on the head about the state of Teacher-Librarianship today. I find the list-serv almost annoying now that I network differently. Hopefully Teacher-Librarians in this country will read this post and make some moves towards finding out about Web 2.0 and realising that we should be leading the charge in our schools. I’m sure your presentation with Will Richardson will be well attended and may be the wake up call that is needed. Excellent slides – thanks for sharing them. I too liked what Kim Cofino was saying in her Peanut Butter and Jelly post. I’m presenting at the SLAV conference in victoria with Will Richardson – I hope I can deliver the message as well as you do. Well done.
    Jenny Luca.

  8. Hi Linda! We’ll know because we’ll be networking and in touch with each other via tools such as FaceBook, Twitter, Ning, Google Talk, Skype, Flashmeeting, and more. I am dying for the day when I see my fellow TL’s online, sharing information and asking questions in real time – but particularly having pedagogical debate that leads us into new and exciting multimodal spaces. It was a surprise to me that we weren’t busy discussing VoiceThread, Twitter, Podcasting, and all those wonderful online tools like flickr, delicious and more. A mistake – I am used to this from the teacher networks that I live in! We will never know when we are there…but we will know that we are on the way when we are effectively collaborating, sharing and inspiring each other. It is very strange for me to come home from a conference about leading learning, after having had no live blogging of the workshops by anyone or to have no follow-up conversations in any online spaces as a result. All the great TLs who are working with Web 2.0 tools just need to jump into social networking to create a fabulous and strong TL community here in Australia.

  9. Hi Jude

    Just wondering what evidence you will be looking for that TLs “embrace Web 2.0 and social networking in order to develop a strong professional learning community to help take school libraries forward”? How will we know when we get there?

  10. Judy, I was fascinated by your post (particularly as I was taken aback by the criticism of Ross’s presentation mode and lack of Web 2.0 tools!) Ross has been for a long time held in such esteem for his forward thinking & support of the ideal- exemplary practice for Teacher Librarians. I also know Ross’s mantra- ‘to walk the talk’ so am surprised that his presentation lacked such crucial components.

    I was also intrigued by your observations of ‘the need for teacher librarians to embrace Web 2.0 and social networking in order to develop a strong professional learning community to help take school libraries forward’.

    I agree that we need to embrace a networking solution that is based on Web 2.0. I have noticed a growing isolation developing in my role as TL in a Primary School and know that it is becoming more and more impossible for networks to meet in a physical sense. I constantly rely on my listservs and emails & blogs to ‘feed me’ information as to what’s happening. Yet there is no real networking, no collaboration. It is an isolated activity that is promoting further isolation. A web 2.0 solution is a realistic answer but it takes ‘us isolated individuals’ to take the step & make the connections. I have read about ‘Jokaydia’ and other social networking opportunities for TL’s & teachers…..I think now is the time to get involved.’Us individuals’ need to ‘walk the talk’!! Thanks for jolting at least one TL into action!

  11. Pingback: Semantic Cataloguing / “Teach” ICT to Net Generation « Alan Poon’s Blog

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