ETL503 Resourcing the Curriculum : Collection Measurement (Forum 3.2)

Reflecting on collection measurement, there is no “one size fits all” technique as all schools and collections are very different.  Even collection measurement on size itself is rather flawed.  I further maintain that there are no effective techniques that recognise e-resources and other resources outside of the library.  This is a quandary.  How do you measure resources that are not accessioned or kept outside of the library, such as online resources and licensing that may be a responsibility outside of the Library collection and budget?  A “client-centred technique” of measurement would need to be adopted to provide a clearer overview of the collection (National Library of Australia) but this may not include all resources within the school.

Realistically budgets are extremely difficult to estimate at the best of times as so many presumptions are needed to be made at the beginning of a year to meet the needs and demands of the school throughout the coming year.  However, as budget decisions are made at school level, the Library often has very limited funds with which to work.  Priorities have to be made and original budget allowances are often relocated and funds need to stretch as far as possible.

Budgets based on output measures are more realistic than input measures, as they provide a clearer picture of the resource value.  However, as technology and resources are developing constantly and rapidly, you cannot always base your budget requirements on the previous year.  Budgets based on input measures are unrealistic as the size of your current collection has very little to do with current resources.  Itemised budgets giving precise and accurate costings hold more weight than generalisations.  Finally, in schools where funds are limited, planning to replace 10% of your current collection annually (Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resources Centres, 2007) is extremely unrealistic.

It is also noted that the majority of readings on collection measurement make assumptions that are many “members of the library staff” (Bishop, 2007, p. 155) to conduct collection mapping so the scenarios provided are not very realistic to a solitary TL working part-time in a small rural school.

References

A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resources Centres. (2007). ALIA Schools and Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. Chp 3: Budgeting Policies and Procedures, pp. 12-17.

Bishop (2007) p. 155.

National Library of Australia, Australian Libraries Gateway. Outline of the Collection Assessment Process. http://www.nla.gov.au/libraries/help/guide.html”>http://www.nla.gov.au/libraries/help/guide.html.

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ETL401 Assignment 2 : Portfolio – Part B : Critical Reflection

Reflecting on how my view of the Teacher Librarian’s (TL’s) role has changed during this subject is overwhelming.  My head is literally brimming with new information and ideas that I have accumulated.  Although I always believed the role of the TL to be distinct and multi-faceted, I truly had no idea how complex, how vast and how influential the role truly is (or can be).

This subject has completely changed my understanding of who a TL is and what a TL can achieve.  Disappointingly, my earlier view of a TL was more as an “appendage” to the school and that somehow classroom teachers had a more important role.  Through participation in this subject and engaging with the resources and readings, I now understand that a TL’s role is essentially critical as an information specialist within the school (and not less important to a classroom teacher).  I now perceive the TL’s role to be one of professional leadership within the school community and this is very empowering (Mitchell, 2011, p.13).

In particular, through the assessment tasks, forums and compulsory blogs in this subject, my views have changed dramatically in understanding not only the role of the TL but also in relation to accountability, collaboration, principal support, information literacy and inquiry learning models, guided inquiry and ISP approaches to teaching and learning.  These concepts have all been relatively unfamiliar to me before this subject so it has been an enormous learning experience.

For example, having worked in isolation and avoiding contact with others, I now realise that a TL cannot exist within a vacuum and that collaboration and principal support is critical (Everhart, 2006 & Farmer, 2007).  I further understand that a TL needs to be proactive and a visible presence in the school environment rather than remaining on the periphery.  I have been guilty of this in the past as I have been unsure how to begin to instigate change.  In addition, to maximise opportunities and gain support I realise I must become an effective communicator and ensure I am involved in school decisions and planning days (Oberg, 2006, p.16).

Another example of how my view of the TL’s role has changed is through my changing ideas on information literacy and its varied definitions.  Previously I believed information literacy to be a set of skills, however, I now realise that it is a combination of different skills, knowledge, practices, processes, concepts, strategies and applications and that a common understanding of the term is really important within the school (Herring, 2011).   Moreover, I understand that a school-wide guided inquiry ISP approach (such as Kuhlthau’s ISP) is essential to meet today’s learning needs and so that we prepare our students for the real world  (Eisenberg, 2008) and this is both exciting and challenging.  Currently, information skills are taught in isolation and so I am looking forward to future opportunities for change.

Another significant reflection is how my view of the TL’s role has changed with regard to supporting student learning outcomes.  Previously, I inappropriately believed that student learning outcomes were the responsibility of the classroom teacher.  I now have an understanding of the positive influence a TL’s involvement can make across the school to student learning outcomes (Farmer, 2007, p. 61).  I believe I will become more involved in planning opportunities to offer expertise and collaborate in organising effective programs that embeds information literacy and evolving technologies across the curriculum.

However, although my views on the TL’s role have changed completely for the better, I am also somewhat anxious about implementation and change, particularly in relation to support, time constraints and cost.  I presume these are all issues that will affect any future decisions and changes.  I am realistic enough to understand that problems and resistance can occur when attempting to convert theory into practice.  This subject, however, has given me some useful strategies about accountability and professionalism.  Through this, I believe I have developed confidence as to how I will approach particular issues in the future and the subject has reminded me that change will not happen overnight.

Finally, this subject has taught me not to be complacent; to be proactive and not be afraid to learn new technologies.  I intend to embrace all that the TL role has to offer.  The world is constantly evolving and so too must the TL.  I now feel confident being “strapped in” for the 21st Century rollercoaster ride I am embarking on and consider myself to be very lucky to be involved in such a dynamic profession.

References

Eisenberg, M.B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), pp. 39-47.

Everhart, N. (2006). Principals’ evaluation of school librarians: A study of strategic and nonstrategic evidence-based approaches. School Libraries Worldwide, 12(2), 38-51.

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56-65.

Herring, J. (2011). Assumptions, Information Literacy and transfer in high schools. Teacher Librarian, 38(3).

Mitchell, P. (2011). Resourcing 21st Century online Australian curriculum: The role of school
libraries.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18. ProQuest Central.

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Blog 3 – ETL401 Teacher Librarianship – Topic: Information literacy is more than a set of skills

Reflecting on the subject matter and readings, this blog will argue that information literacy (“IL”) is fundamentally much more than a set of skills, particularly from a practical viewpoint of the role of a Teacher Librarian (“TL”).

IL “is the set of skills and knowledge that allows us to find, evaluate, and use the information we need, as well as to filter out the information we don’t need (Eisenberg, 2008, p. 39).  In contrast, James Herring (2011) maintains that IL is “a practice, rather than a set of skills” and it is through practice and application that IL can be understood.  Likewise, IL has also been defined as “a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes” (Information Literacy: Building Blocks of Research Overview).  As there as so many definitions of what IL actually it, it is extremely important that the school staff decide together on a common understanding of the term so that everybody is aware of the complexities (Herring, 2011).

In fact, out of the seven attributes embodied in the Statement on IL provided by the Australian Library and Information Association (“ALIA”), only one mentions “skills”.  It states that IL contributes to … “learning for life; the creation of new knowledge; acquisition of skills; personal, vocational, corporate and organisational empowerment, social inclusion, participative citizenship; and innovation and enterprise” (ALIA, Statement on Information Literacy).  IL embodies a combination of competences that cannot be achieved in isolation.

Therefore, IL is much more than a set of skills.  It is a combination of different skills, knowledge, practices, processes, concepts, strategies and applications vital for the 21st Century.  From a practical viewpoint of the role of the TL, TLs are well placed to contribute significantly to the development of these proficiencies from an “interdisciplinary perspective” as they teach across all stages (Mitchell, p.13).  Furthermore, Herring argues that IL is a practice where “students engage in a range of information-related learning activities, with a focus on gaining new knowledge, and that students are reflective practitioners” (2011) and this is critical for students in the 21st Century.  Again, TLs are in a valuable position to assist students in a variety of different ways due to their position in the school.  Herring argues that the challenge is to support students to become active IL experts rather than just “users of a narrow range of skills” (2011) and this is ultimately what TLs need to focus on.  That is, to support students in being able to transfer their IL competences to real life situations and incorporating IL cross-curriculum. 

From a TL’ perspective, the teaching and learning of IL needs to be reviewed throughout the whole school to ensure that it is reinforced across all subjects and levels (Herring, 2011, p. 7).  TLs must collaborate to support students in fostering IL practices across the curriculum.  A proactive approach by a TL would be extremely beneficial to students in meeting learning outcomes and becoming proficient in IL.

References

Australian Library and Information Association. Information literacy for all Australians.

Statement on information literacy for all Australians. http://www.alia.org.au /policies/information.literacy.html.

Eisenberg, M.B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age.

DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), pp. 39-47.

Herring, J. (2011). Assumptions, Information Literacy and transfer in high schools. Teacher Librarian, 38(3).

Information Literacy: Building Blocks of Research: Overview. What is Information Literacy?http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html.

Mitchell, P. (2011). Resourcing 21st Century online Australian curriculum: The role of school libraries.

Thomas, N.P., Crow, S.R. & Franklin, L.L. (2011). Information literacy and information skills instruction. Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library (3rd ed.).

(Word count without reference list = 506)

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Blog 2 – ETL401 Teacher Librarianship – Topic: Assessing Information Literacy and Inquiry Learning

Reflecting on the subject matter and readings to date, my understanding of the role of the Teacher Librarian (“TL”) in assessing information literacy (“IL”) and inquiry learning is set out below.

Information Literacy

There is some conjecture as to what IL actually is and how it is defined. Michael Eisenberg argues that IL “is the set of skills and knowledge that allows us to find, evaluate, and use the information we need, as well as to filter out the information we don’t need (2008, p. 39) and this is why it is difficult to assess. Nevertheless, however it is defined; IL is a vital 21st Century skill where “information and technology affects every person in every possible setting” (Eisenberg, 2008, p. 39) so being able to identify strengths and weaknesses is imperative. Assessing these skills are challenging because they are difficult to effectively measure (Mueller, 2008, p. 18). Assessing analytical skills rather than actual knowledge requires planning and TL’s play a pivotal, collaborative role in this regard.

Inquiry Learning

Similarly, “inquiry learning is about using students existing knowledge, skills and values as the basis for further learning. Students are encouraged to reflect on their issues and concerns, to generate their own questions and use these questions to guide the investigation” (Phillips, 2004). Again, it can be difficult to assess these skills and concepts without observable standards as they are not tangible skills that are as easily recognised as in a standard test paper (Muller, 2008, p. 18) and the input of the TL is imperative in the compilation of observable standards.

Accordingly, in order to asses IL and inquiry learning specific observable and measurable standards and authentic assessment tasks are necessary (Mueller, 2005, p. 14 & Mueller, 2008, p. 18) and ideally these should be shaped by the TL and classroom teachers collaboratively working together. Students must also have authentic opportunities to prove their skill proficiencies across of a number of different tasks to show that these skills can be applied across a range of different situations (Mueller, 2008, p. 19). Furthermore, Barbara Stripling maintains that students must not only know these skills but be able to apply them to other situations and tasks and this is why three types of assessments are necessary. Diagnostic, formative and summative authentic assessments are much more effective than isolated evaluations (Stripling, 2007, p. 26) as students may demonstrate their proficiency in different ways (Mueller, 2005, p. 16). Furthermore, Mueller describes authentic assessment where students have opportunities to complete authentic tasks that demonstrate “meaningful application” (2005, p. 14).

***

In conclusion, IL and inquiry learning can and should be assessed through developing meaningful goals and standards (Mueller, 2005, p. 15) and providing authentic situations within which students can demonstrate the application of these skills and knowledge. TLs and teachers working collaboratively to set observable standards and building evaluation rubrics together is an effective process to evidence IL and inquiry learning outcomes (Brown, 2008, pp. 16-17) so it is crucial that TL’s have a role in the construction of observable standards.

References

Brown, C.A. (2008). Building rubrics: A step-by-step process. Library Media Connection.

Eisenberg, M.B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age.
DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28( 2), pp. 39-47.

Harada, Dr. V.H. (2004). Action research: How teacher-librarians can build evidence of
student learning. SCAN. 23(1).

Mueller, J. (2008). Assessing skill development. Library Media Connection.

Mueller, J. (2005). Authentic assessment in the classroom … and the library media center.
Library Media Connection.

Phillips, B. (2004). Teaching for learning and curriculum continuity, Teaching for learning
in SOSE, Studies of Societies and Environment.

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency gathering evidence of student learning.
School Library Media Activities Monthly, 23(8).

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BLOG 1 – ETL401 Teacher Librarianship – Topic: Principal Support

Topic:  Principal Support

Reflecting on the subject matter and readings to date, my understanding of the role of the Teacher Librarian (“TL”) fundamentally relies on principal support for a variety of reasons.

Effective Programs

Principals are critical to the role of the TL as without their support programs can easily disintegrate (Everhart, 2006, p. 38). There is strong evidence that shows TLs and programs emphatically prosper with principal support (Everhart, 2006, p. 38). However, it is acknowledged that not all principals respect and support library programs. The TL’s role can be misunderstood by principals who see TLs are merely “service providers” (Oberg, 2006, p. 14). Dianne Oberg further argues that principals need to trust the TL’s “knowledge and expertise” but that this can be an arduous and lengthy task (2006, p. 15).

Collaboration

The TL does not exist within a vacuum and the role is totally dependent on collaboration with the wider school community. However, successful collaboration is entirely dependent upon the attitude of the principal, where they “have the power … to make or break collaborative efforts” (Farmer, 2007, p. 59). Positive expectations of collaboration originate with the principal who values and promotes the important role of the TL. In addition, the TL needs to be able to communicate efficiently with the principal to gain respect and support and be proactive in maximising opportunities as and when they arise (Oberg, 2006, p.16).

Student Outcomes & Achievements

Effective TLs focus on student outcomes and student achievement and ultimately this is also the focus of principals (Farmer, 2007, p. 61). Oberg argues that TLs are valued by principals if “working to advance school goals” (2006, p. 15). Evidence demonstrates that where a principal is not supportive, or does not value the role of the TL, the TL is unable to attribute productively towards student outcomes or achievement. Principals who value and promote library programs benefits the overall school environment (Morris & Packard, 2007, p. 37) and student learning outcomes. The principal’s support is also pivotal when considerations are being made for funding, resources, professional development and other major decisions which will ultimately benefit the school.

Proactive and Visible Presence

Morris and Packard argue that “the principal plays a key role” in successful school libraries (2007, p. 38) and that principals need to ensure they are involved and frequent their school libraries regularly. However, TLs also need to ensure they are a visible presence in the school environment as well and not allow the “physical isolation” of the school library be detrimental to their role (Oberg, 2006, p. 15). Walter and Weisberg maintain that TLs should find opportunities to promote teaching and learning in the library by inviting principals to observe “particularly interesting or unusual lessons” (2011, p. 58) and this contributes to principal support.

In conclusion, Walter & Weisberg state that a TL’s success is absolutely critical upon the relationship they have with their principal (2011, p. 58). This may take some effort but perseverance will be beneficial and rewarding in the long term and will ultimately improve student outcomes and achievements.

References

Everhart, N. (2006). Principals’ evaluation of school librarians: A study of strategic and
nonstrategic evidence-based approaches. School Libraries Worldwide, 12(2), 38-51.

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide,
13(1), 56-65.

Morris, B.J. (2007). Principal support for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1),
23-24.

Morris, B.J. & Packard, A. (2007). The principal’s support of classroom teacher-media
specialist collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide. 13(1), 36-55.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher
Librarian, 33(3), 13-18. ProQuest Central.

Walter, V.A. & Weisberg H.K. (2011). Being indispensable: A school librarian’s guide to
becoming an invaluable leader.

(Word count without reference list : 508)

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