Too much information

Well firstly I’m really excited because while I’ve been in the Philippines I’ve got quite a few more hits on this blog. Not sure who reads it or if anyone finds it useful but it makes me feel positive when I see the hits counter increase. I’m hardly a blogging superstar but nearly 2000 isn’t to be sniffed at.
So to the assignment. Well plenty of research done and words written. Too much in fact. I think I’ve wandered from the plan and will need to rearrange the info and the slides but I think I’m almost there. I’ve particularly enjoyed learning about this as I knew nothing before and i have to say I was a nay sayer. My son can’t believe that I now think games have some value and that some should be utilised within the classroom.
Just read a great article by Waelchli Playing with process: video game choice as a model of behavior. A really interesting read, especially as it relates to librarians and the research cycle. In essence he is saying that librarians should use games with learners and then demonstrate how gaming and research are similar. This would enable our learners to make connects and frame research skills and information literacy in a positive light. Watch this great video by Paul Walchli. A brief summary from my notes is as follows…

Our digital citizens are required to be able to plan their inquiries, locate and analyse information and evaluate information. (ISTE 2007) Waelchli (2010. p. 380 ) argues that games require players to search out information, organise it, evaluate its usefulness and make decisions based on it’s value. This imitates the research cycle we expect our students to follow.
When gamers are actively engaged they need to make decision based on the information available. These decisions, or choices, are where information literacy skills are used. To be successful, players must be able to collect, evaluate, organise and apply information within the context of the game. These skills alone are enough to provide justification for using games with our learners. (Waelchli, 2010. p. 383) Even when playing action games, which are renown for their fighting and shooting, the most successful players need to assess the situation, consider resources and tools and make a plan of action, just as successful researchers do. (Waelchli ,2010. p. 386) As with the other ISTE standards, games are used not for their educational content but for the educational processes players use when engaged in the game.
Persistence is also a virtue that needs to be developed within our learners. Learners who look for a quick way through the research cycle will not be rewarded with rich and deep understandings; this is mirrored by players who will be unsuccessful with only one single game play. Research, like gaming, is not a one hit wonder, many engagements are necessary in order to gain a more focused end product or a higher ranking. (Waelchli, 2010. p. 385)

WAELCHLI, P. (2010). Playing with Process: Video Game Choice as a Model of Behavior. Public Services Quarterly, 6(4), 380-388. doi:10.1080/15228959.2010.521091


Leading from the library

So the new assignment has got me thinking. The group have come up with some great ideas but I’ve thrown a spanner in the works and am now looking forward to what hearing what they all think. The group is working well and we are being supportive, co-operative and being collaborating but after initially agreeing we are now starting to question each other more…a sign of trust perhaps? I worry I don’t know enough and yet again I’m going through the Kulthau’s ISP.

One of my suggestions is about leading from the middle and recognising the power and potential of the TL.
TLs are in a great position of power, one in which they can influence much of what happens in the classroom beyond. How?

1. Teacher Librarians provide resources. This has great implications for the learning community and the learning outcomes of the community. This is not always recognised, Winzenreid (2010) p16, but is important non the less. By providing materials that the students want and those that support the curriculum the TL impacts learning. provide the ‘right’ resources and the community benefit, provide the wrong ones and learning can not be supported.

2. Teacher librarians promote learning through technology, literacy and collaboration; each of which provides ample opportunities for leadership. As an instructional partner the TL is able to teach and learn simultaneously, building up a sense of trust and community. They are able to model good practice and provide materials to support this. They can inspire and provide guidance as to what is the most important to the education of their students or/and to members of their professional community. Much is this is achieved by expert power; demonstrating skills, co-operative planning and administrating and managing of the learning resources within school. Burdenuk (1992) Leadership and the teacher librarian. School libraries in Canada, 12(2) pp.16-27 This develops the respect of people within school giving the TL support and thus more power.

3, Referent power is gained through support, endorsement and the backing of the staff and community. Burdenuk (1992) Leadership and the teacher librarian. School libraries in Canada, 12(2) pp.16-27 This is dependent upon inter personal skills and a positive enthusiastic personality on the part of the TL.

Skills needed….
Ability to deal with change.
Understand how adults learn as well as students.
What effective learning looks like…sleep, eat and breathe it.
How to deal with conflict
How to build a team
How to build a positive culture of trust and mutual respect
Be able to create a vision and verbalise it
Persevere…Roman wasn’t built in a day
Maintain integrity
Learn; co-operatively, independently, collaboratively
Know your limitations, build on strengths and understand your sphere of influence
Take risks… seek forgiveness not permission! (Burdenuk 1992)
Celebrate the good things
Network and learn from others
Learn to say no sometimes
Think big, start small (Burdenuk 1992)

Book week is nearly here. The extreme reading pictures are beginning to come in. Jamie made these fantastic posters to promote book week. There are a whole series of them and they are all causing much hilarity with staff and students alike.

Role of the TL. Ideas gathered.

Browsing the planning room shelves my eyes lit upon an author who seems to be cropping up quite frequently in the Information Literacy circles…Carol Kuhlthau. Her book Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st Century has a couple of pages on the role of the TL that I thought might be interesting. ( Kuhlthau, C. et al( 2007) Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st Century, Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.) Hmmm trying to learn how to reference again is going to be a challenge!

” The school librarian is a necessary member of every Guided Inquiry team.” pg 57

She highlights 3 main roles; resources specialist, information literacy teacher and collaboration gatekeeper.

Resource specialist… developing the school library resources, providing internet resources and contacts with community resources.

Information literacy teacher… teaching concepts for information access, evaluation and use, maintaining long-term relationships with students from year to year and fostering a guided inquiry environment (constructivist learning)

Collaboration gatekeeper…coordinating the guided Inquiry team, keeping communication open, using flexible managerial skills and communicates with the community. (See figure 4.3 Roles of the School Librarian, pg 57)

I had sort of thought about the first 2 roles, obviously not as in-depth but hadn’t really seen it as my role to bring in resources from outside in the community. I can see why it is vital but had thought it was more a job for our team leaders.  In taking on this aspect of the job I need to foster more communication between our community and ensure that we can access experts, knowledge and materials to the maximum effect. This means being visible, not just within school but through all modes of communication. marketing the LC as something very important and getting our community to recognise that and the role that they need to play within that….. not an easy task!

Half a day left of the school term! Everything is packed and I’m ready to move into the LC. My children all know that I am moving to the LC but are obviously confused about what the role is. ” Is tomorrow your last day of teaching?” was one question I was asked at the end of today. The children do not see their time in the LC as learning time. It is viewed as something separate where they chose a book, browse and chat with their friends. Now there’s nothing wrong with browsing or chatting but we need to get them to understand that our time in the LC is for learning and that we are going to be developing skills that will help us with our inquiries and turn us into life long learners. I’m not sure how easy that is going to be but by providing a curriculum rich in interesting, authentic and engaging experiences that give them the skills they need to question and locate the information they need, should take us someway along the line.

Bring on the holidays!


I think that’s what I’m basically feeling at the moment, confused. I’m trying to organise how I’m going to go about the work and attempting to get my head round Blogs and Wikis. I’ve just created a Wiki account but need to sit and play with it to work out its full potential.
Last week I had a chat with my headteacher and the SLT about how they perceive the role of the TL. It is the first time the school will have employed anyone to take the job on. They seems very excited about it and saw my role as working with other members of staff to develop information literacy skills across the school.  However I’m not sure if they are really very clear in their own minds what my role will be.  They see me working very closely with the ICT coordinator and the PYP coordinator …almost an inquiry team. However as my knowledge is so basic at the moment I’m not sure if I’m going to be of much help to the other 2 who both have vast amounts of experience in their fields.  I will be working across the school, team teaching with each class every week. On top of that I will be working with specific year groups to help support their Units. I’ve never been out of class before and as my heart has always been in class I’m a little concerned that I’m going to find the whole timetable and moving between groups a challenge. It was suggested that I focused on one year group per day just to make my life a little easier.
I’ve been so lucky as one of the other school librarians is about half way through the CSU course and has been really helpful. I visited her library and she shared her ideas, thoughts and materials. Just seeing where she had come from and the development that had taken place was inspiring. Great stuff Annette!

What’s with the image?

My friends all think it is quite amusing that I’m going to train to be a librarian. As you can imagine there are lots of jokes about twin sets and pearls, and half-moon glasses. I go along with it and have a laugh but I didn’t really realise that the role was so stereotyped. When I was given the job people came up to me and actually said ” What a waste! You’re a good teacher.”  They seemed to think that I would be stamping books all day and doing basically nothing.  Even my nearest and dearest felt it was a bad move and commented that I would be bored because there wouldn’t be enough to do. 

So what’s with the image? Why do people still imagine librarians to be old maids who stamp books and say “Shhhh” a lot? Librarian’s need to stand up for themselves and shout out about what they do. If they don’t do it, who will?

I’ve also started a few readings and done a little surfing on the web as I’m trying to get ahead. I realise that this is going to be a lot of work especially combined with a new job and a Learning centre that is in need of a complete overhaul.

I found an interesting article in the e-library yesterday when I was trying to teach myself how to use it. Watts, J.s. 1999 Ch 3 The Librarian past and present: a literature review, pp29-42 In The Information literate school community: best practice, J.Henri.

As someone who has yet to start as a TL in our school Learning Centre it was really positive to see that so much emphasis was placed on collaboration and leadership. In the chapter it notes that Head Teachers should see teacher librarians as whole school contributors and as individuals who can empower teachers and students as effective learners. Therefore TLs  need to be VISIBLY leading curriculum initiatives and development across the school.  We need to be able to communicate our ideas and motivate those around us to see change as a challenge that we can all rise to, and bring about, to positively effect teaching and learning.

Hong Kong, for many people, is all about high rise buildings. They forget that the whole island is a series of large hills and country parks. That means steps everywhere and constant hills to climb.

I’m beginning to wonder if the route I’ve chosen might be a little too steep.