Tag Archives: 21st century skills

Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens

I just came across this excellent article published by THE Journal which explores a number of issues regarding students’ development of digital literacies and the need for curriculum reform that embeds more explicit teaching of digital citizenship. The article also provides some great leads to recent research in this area including the work of Michael Wesch. The three short video clips of this playlist captures key take-home message of the difference between knowledgeable and knowledge-able and the need for education to move beyond this, given that we live in such a mediated world where different technologies do actually ‘mediate’ how we interact with them and our capacity to engage with content and people, Wesch expands the meaning of being ‘savvy’:

I particularly like his take on this:

“The newer, more interesting questions that are, I think, unique to the digital world revolve around things like algorithms… When my students are freshmen, I try to get them familiar with the digital space in a new way, to begin to give them a sense that what they’re seeing on the screen is encoded. By the time they’re seniors, my hope is that they not only see those structures, but start to manipulate them and put things together in new ways.”

“Understanding that what a person sees on a screen is a construct created by somebody–perhaps even oneself–is part of “building a scaffold toward digital citizenship,” Wesch says, and the next step beyond critical thinking, information literacy, and creative thinking.

“Our lives are so entwined with the digital–so incredibly enmeshed in the digital,” he concludes, “that, if you’re going to be a good citizen, period, you have to be a good digital citizen.”

A must read and essential viewing for teachers and teacher librarians.

Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams manifesto

It is absolutely pouring with rain here in Canberra. We have had about 18mm in the past hour and for a summer’s day, it’s cold! But I don’t mind, today I downloaded Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams, and over a couple of glasses of red wine this evening I am going to devour every word of his 30,000 manifesto.


I’ve already read the first few sections and I am hooked! Section 5 really grabbed my attention:

and from what I have scanned his argument about traditional schooling being based on obedience and control captures what what we have been struggling with for the past 2 decades (at least), especially now we are living in a digitally driven, socially networked world… the ways we live and work are constantly changing, however many schools have not even shifted beyond first gear in terms of technology provision and networked access to online information and services. Not to mention a school curriculum based on critical and creative inquiry, collaborative learning, transliteracy, digital citizenship, personal learning environments, mobile learning, 3D virtual worlds as authentic learning environments, just to name a few.

Sections of Godin’s manifesto can easily be used to support professional learning activities. I can’t wait to see some of Seth’s ideas being discussed in tweet streams of edu hashtags such as #edchat and #tlchat in the near future!

I’d be interested to hear from others how Seth’s manifesto is being used to support professional learning in their school, district or PLN.

School Libraries Cultivate Digital Literacy

At David C. Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Ga., media specialist Andy Plemmons works with two students to learn how to use the technology they need for the Barrow Oral History Project.

Via Scoop.itStudent Learning through School Libraries

This converge article features a number of TL practitioners in the state of Georgia and explores how school library staff can work with teachers to integrate digital literacy into the  curriculum.

The article presents 5 digital literacy challenges:

1. Access to technology
2. Filtering
3. Sharing the importance of digital literacy
4. Instructional time
5. Teaching young children

with advice from TL practitioners on how to overcome them.

The article concludes:

“At these three libraries in Georgia — and in libraries across the country — library staff overcome challenges to teach students the digital literacy skills they need”,

with a final quote from one of our fave TL ambassadors in the US, Buffy Hamilton who sums up the work of the TL:

“At the end of the day, our emphasis is on learning and providing learning experiences and access to information in as many formats as possible.”

This article provides evidence of a range of ways that teacher librarians support students’ development as digital citizens who are content creators as well as critical users of information.

Note this article also features in Converge Magazine’s Top 10 K-12 Stories of 2011. If you are interested in technology integration, introduction of iPads in schools, bring your own device (BYOD) programs and flipped classrooms, these stories are well worth checking out.

Via www.convergemag.com

Looking Toward the Future: Competences for 21st-Century Teacher-Librarians | Alberta Journal of Educational Research

Via Scoop.itStudent Learning through School Libraries
This article reports on a study by Joanne de Groot and Jennifer Branch that explored what core competencies are required by teacher librarians for developing exemplary school library programs in 21st centurt schools, based on the experiences and attitudes of graduates from the TL Masters program at the University of Alberta. Key findings from this study indicate that technology and leadership issues are the most pressing needs of TLs. These graduates also indicated that their “traditional roles and responsibilities” are changing as they are responsible for promoting new literacies and evaluating, selecting, organising, and managing diverse learning resources. The best way of getting your hands on this article is via EBSCOhost’s Education Research Complete unless your organisation subscribes directly to the Alberta Journal of Educational Research (AJER).
Via ajer.synergiesprairies.ca

Emily Rodda, Lu Rees Archives & literary learning

OK, so I’m a day late with this news because I have just finished reading the hard copy version of yesterday’s Canberra Times newspaper, but I was really taken by this full page feature on Australian children’s author, Emily Rodda‘s visit to Canberra this week to address the launch of a special exhibition and project managed by the Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children’s Literature at the University of Canberra.

Emily Rodda believes it is "vitally important that children have a smorgasboard of the absolute best stories from every culture to choose from."

In April 2010, the Lu Rees Archives began a project to catalogue 462 Australian children’s books, DVDs, puzzles and games published in 32 languages. The Lu Rees Archives had to employ CAVAL, the professional cataloguing company to  gain access to the language expertise required to catalogue these resources  using specialist translators for languages such as Icelandic, Tetum from East Timor, and Zulu! A number of embassies also joined forces to sponsor the project. This represents the breadth of coverage across countries and languages that the works of many Australian children’s authors now have. The Lu Rees Archives now holds 659 items of Rodda’s work which makes it the largest collection in Australia.

The Lu Rees Archives has become one of the special libraries included on the itinerary of the Canberra Study Visit as part of the School of Information Studiesprofessional experience program, and in the past few years we have found the visit to Lu Rees Archives hosted by Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman is always a favourite of students, especially those students studying in the Bachelor of Information Studies, Master of Information Studies and Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) who are working as children’s librarians and teacher librarians.

Belle is the Collections Development Manager at the Lu Rees Archives and has worked tirelessly in maintaining this unique collection of works and artefacts on Australian children's literature.

Belle has also hosted a number of CSU students as part of our SIS Professional Library Placement program. This is where our students are provided with the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge practically in an information-based workplace, with emphasis being placed on the acquisition of knowledge and the performance of professional activities. As a small special library, students can gain excellent individual attention and hands-on experience in information work, while contributing to special projects and being surrounded by some of Australia’s greatest literary treasures. All the new records for this recent Lu Rees project of translated works are available via Libraries Australia hosted by the National Library of Australia. This way, as Belle states: ‘The world then knows these books exist and are publicly available… ‘Most importantly, such translations demonstrate the importance of children’s stories and their ability to link people of all cultures through common stories.’

In this interview Emily Rodda also makes a distinction between ‘books’ and ‘stories’, particularly now as our world becomes more and more digitally-enhanced. She believes it is important to continue supporting an appreciation of literature and reading of stories, no matter the format (whether as an ebook or printed book), and compares this to listening/viewing ‘story’ portrayed via film or video/online games:

”It’s very, very important we go on reading because there is a logic and a rationality to even the most fantastic story, and a complexity and an understanding of how people work things out, which doesn’t appear in film because it’s all visual.

Things might happen in a logical order in a film but you don’t get that rational explanation of why things happen.

If we want our future citizens to be able to reason and to see propaganda for what it is, for example, or work their way through people trying to persuade them to do something by appealing to their emotions, it’s important, in their childhood, that they’ve learnt about rational argument and I think that’s one thing books do.”

I think this final statement sums up the power of literary learning and why it must remain fundamental to a 21st century education. School libraries are central to building a reading and literary learning culture within a school. As part of the NSWDET 21C school library futures project Envisioning School Libraries in 2009, Ross Todd and I devised a set of eight (8) principles underpinning 21C school library design as an instructional zone within and beyond the school emerged, one of which was:

A centre that supports literary learning, where students become immersed in imaginary worlds, explore personal reading interests, develop sustained voluntary reading practices, develops reading for meaning and independence as critically-capable readers. (Hay & Todd, 2010, p. 16)

I think this reflects what Emily Rodda has emphasised in this Canberra Times feature.

A detailed presentation on these principles of 21C school library design can be viewed in my presentation at the Cairns Diocese Curriculum Conference:

How school libraries can support pre-service teachers

I am really impressed with this new series of YouTube videos What your teacher librarian can do for you! created by the Southern Cross University Library team to support pre-service teachers going out into schools on practicum. These are featured as part of their Professional Experience / Pedagogy in Practice libguide which provides students on practicum with loads of resources to support their prac teaching experiences.

These clips provide lots of great advice from experienced teachers, TLs and principals about how to prepare for practicum visits and introduces the important role of the school library and the teacher librarian as an information specialist and teaching partner in schools.

I really like the following ‘Words of Advice’ clip which features primary and high school principals’ advice to pre-service teachers when visiting their schools on practicums on how to get the best out of the school library. These principals are clearly advocates for school libraries supporting the professional needs of teachers and the learning needs of students.

Another favourite is Something special about OUR school libraries where the principals and TLs discuss what is great about their school library as a flexible learning centre, and mention is made of the importance of collaborative planning & teaching with teacher/TL teams and how a flexible schedule maximises the impact of the TL in supporting student learning. There is also a video introducing how public libraries can help pre-service teachers and the libguide provides advice on the services provided by state libraries and the national library for teachers.

Well done to the school communities from the Coffs Harbour district in regional (mid-north coast) NSW who present a very positive and proactive stance with regard to school libraries and teacher librarians as essential components of the school education equation. It’s also great to see a couple of CSU TLship graduates in this local group of TLs 🙂

Life Matters interview – “Teacher librarians are a dying breed”

Well done to Mary Manning (Executive Officer, School Library Association of Victoria) for educating Radio National’s Life Matters community this morning about the contribution teacher librarians make to school libraries and student learning. With primary school libraries being targeted as part of the Rudd Government’s Building the Education Revolution, the message that teacher librarian positions have been substantially diminished across some states and territories is certainly a major concern for both the TL profession and the future of schooling in Australia.

With the $12.4 billion investment in libraries and multi-purpose facilities in primary schools, special schools and K-12 schools as part of the nation’s  ‘Primary Schools for the 21st Century’ program, it is timely to ask state and territory governments how they are going to ‘match’ this investment in school libraries, by ‘installing’ qualified teacher librarians into these facilities to help schools transform ‘bricks & mortar’ into a fully functional, dynamic and dynamic learning laboratory that supports the demands placed on students as information and ICT users, both at school and when they are working independently from home.

There has recently been some discussion on the future of school libraries in Australia on the School Libraries 21C blog hosted by the School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit, NSW Department of Education and Training. Discussion has been extended to July 30, so please consider adding your vision for the future of school libraries in Australia as well as your stories about the contributions teacher librarians make in preparing Australia’s young people as engaged and informed digital citizens. Also check out this recent Scan article ‘ School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21C’ which has been published to support this discussion.