Tag Archives: student learning

ALA Presidential Task Force: Focus on School Libraries 2012

Via Scoop.itStudent Learning through School Libraries

In the March 2012 issue of the journal ‘School Library Monthly‘ (Vol XXVIII, No 6), Susan D. Ballard (AASL President-Elect and Co-Chair of the ALA School Library Task Force) summarises the current state of school libraries in the United States, and details the focus of the ALA School Library Task Force, which “is charged with “leading a campaign addressing the urgent need for advocacy for school libraries, as well as the impact of the de-professionalization and curtailment of school library instructional programs on students and student achievement” (ALA 2011).

Photo: ‘Science in the stacks‘ by SpecialKRB on Flickr
 

This article outlines the 5 goals of the Task Force and the strategies and tactics devised to achieve each goal. The final section on the ‘Tipping Point’ details the implications for students and society if school age children do not have access to school libraries and school librarians based on ‘what we know’ from research regarding school libraries and student achievement.

Many of the recommended readings and points made can be utilised by the school library profession in other countries to support their own advocacy campaigns. This article is also useful reading for our new students entering CSU’s Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) course as they are exposed to school librarianship issues and trends in Australia and worldwide in the subject ETL401 Teacher Librarianship.

If you find any recent research evidence on the impact of school libraries on student learning, please recommend journal articles, research reports and websites to my curation site on Scoop It! http://www.scoop.it/t/student-learning-through-school-libraries. The more evidence we can collect and disseminate regarding the important and essential role of school libraries in school life, the better!

Learner Voices | Services to Schools – National Library of NZ

Via Scoop.itStudent Learning through School Libraries

Some of my Student Learning project findings are featured on the National Library of New Zealand’s Services to Schools website in section on the Learner Voices.  It states:

“Listening to our students and incorporating learner voices into the many layers of data that informs our practice, ensures that we are delivering the best possible service. Tuning in to learner voices ensures that the school library is responsive and relevant to student needs…

What are students telling us about school libraries? …over 99% of students reported that their school libraries had helped them with their learning in some way.  In analysing the qualitative data in the Australian research, Hay found the following were key factors:  

* seamless integration of ICT between home and school

* access to databases and production software

* access to the library before, after and during school hours  

The top three areas that students identified as most helpful in the closed question area of the study were:  

* help defining a topic

* planning their research

* finding resources.”

Further reading on this study which was the largest Australian survey of school students about how school libraries support their learning, can be found in these articles:

Hay, L. (2006). Student learning through Australian school libraries. Part 2: What students define and value as school library support. [Refereed]. Synergy, 4(2), 27-38.

Hay, L. (2006). School libraries as flexible and dynamic learning laboratories… that’s what Aussie kids want. [Refereed]. Scan, 25(2), 18-27.

Hay, L. (2005). Student learning through Australian school libraries. Part 1: A statistical analysis of student perceptions. [Refereed]. Synergy, 3(2), 17-30.

Hay, L. (2005). Hallmarks of school library programs to support student learning. Connections, Issue No. 55, Term 4, 5-6.

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 🙂

Do School Libraries Need Books?

This is a question that always fuels heated debate between stakeholders, and recently the NY Times decided to re-ignite the debate. This time we have a school principal, a school library media specialist,  an English professor, and two authors weighing in with their opinions.

Given recent concerns about cuts to US funding to school libraries, this debate could either support or crucify one’s argument.

It’s certainly gained much attention across teacher librarianship circles worldwide as well as the broader information and education communities – just do a Google search for starters! And after this latest tussle dies down, it will be re-fuelled again, so best you get your arguments for/against developed so you can be prepared for the next wave!

I think this argument is particularly pertinent for our new MEdTL and GradCertTL students at CSU who are studying ETL401 and ETL503. Please feel free to share your opinions on this debate here.

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.

Death of online encyclopedias?

Below is an extract of an article from the Sydney Morning Herald of April 2 2009. 

“Microsoft plans to close its Encarta online encyclopedia, which competes in an arena dominated by communally-crafted free internet reference source Wikipedia.

The US software colossus said that on October 31 it would turn off all its Encarta websites everywhere except in Japan, with that service to be terminated on the last day of December.

“The category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed,” Microsoft said in an online message at its Encarta website on Monday.

“People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past.”

Encarta was launched in 1993 as competition for traditional reference books such as those offered by Encyclopedia Britannica.

Encarta was originally available for purchase as a multimedia computer resource in DVD-ROM or CD-ROM formats and eventually became available online on a subscription basis.

Encarta’s popularity faded after the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation launched Wikipedia online in 2001.

While Wikipedia lets users continually update or refine entries, improvements suggested to Encarta must pass muster with editors before eventually being incorporated into the data base.”

This raises a number of issues that are of importance to teacher librarians.  Wikipedia is a tool and can have a place in locating information but it is information that cannot be relied upon.  The content is created by people of unknown authority and anyone can edit the information.  This has lead to inorrect and misleading information being posted on Wikipedia and there have been famous incidents of this being reported in news media.  Usually it has surrounded information on politicians being changed during election times.

So where does Wikipedia fit in the teaching process?  This is something that TLs must consider carefully.  Is it to be used as a site to gain some general information about a subject?  Is it to be used at all?  Do students and teachers understand what Wikipedia actually is or do they think it is as good and as authorative as Encyclopedia Britannica?

Now that Encarta is being closed down, where else can schools go online to find an authorative encyclopedia?

If you use another online encyclopedic source, please comment here and let us know why you use it.  If you use Wikipedia, how and why do you use it?  Do you think it is a resource has a place in schools or should we ‘exclude’ it as not being a useful resource?

School libraries: The power of student voice

School students know what they want from their school library. Just ask 11 year old Jamaican student, Daniella who wrote a letter outlining why her school library needed to be the winner of a $100,000 donation from a local bank. This story is a great example of the use of ‘student voice’ as advocates of change with regard to the resourcing of school libraries to support student learning.

This is supported by recent research such as the Ohio Study (by Todd & Kuhlthau (2004) and the Australian replication of this study by Hay (2006). Based on over 6, 700 student responses to the Australian School Libraries Supporting Student Learning survey from 46 primary and secondary schools, my article in Scan (Vol 25, No 2 – May 2006) presents the findings of this research project, and concludes that students want their school libraries to be “flexible and dynamic learning laboratories”. 

This Jamaican newspaper item demonstrates that Jamaican kids (just like Aussie kids) also have a vision of how their school library can contribute to their learning. School Libraries Work (3rd ed, 2008) states, “A school library program that is adequately staffed, resourced, and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socioeconomic or educational levels of the community.” (p.10). We look forward to hearing more stories about students who become advocates of change for their school library and student communities.