TL Ponderings

Reflective Statement

Progression through this course has involved a huge learning curve for me (and the teachers at my school who have taken up the new wiki I have set up). It has been a journey of discovery concerning the progressing world of social media and networking and the amazing contribution web 2.0 technologies can make to a new and improved participatory library. In particular I have experienced much serendipitous learning that I have been able to transfer from web 2.0 tool to tool such as the ease of use of the wikis (two years ago I toyed with starting one up but found it too daunting and the time needed to develop my skills too great). Furthermore I have made some deep seated changes within the way I work, habitual change, I now scan my RSS feeds daily, although I don’t let it rule my day and many more of the solutions I come up with for the teachers involve social networking tools rather than ramdon links and photocopies. As the evolution of change that started in the 1970’s surrounding the placement of the user at the centre of library services continues to progress through to best practice for today, being those information institutions who seek the contributions and feedback of users through online mobile devices, my outlook for the future appears exciting, challenging, encouraging and enjoyable.

The areas I have found particularly interesting throughout the modules have been the overwhelming dominance of digital technology amongst a majority of users in the western world (OCLC Report, 2007). I was aware of the prevalence of such technology for the .com generation but was surprised at the rate of uptake for others in our community. The growing power of the behind the scenes mechanics of Internet giants such as Google and Facebook in gathering information about you and filtering your searches according to some algorithm, challenge of finding authentic information on the web and the issues surrounding security, privacy and identity have all certainly intrigued me. I have become a much more discerning user of the internet and in my role as a Teacher Librarian have begun to inform my peers, through small information bites on email (my personal tweets to them), my schools preferred online communication method, although over the next months the wiki will be further developed to include a general school communication page. By educating primary aged students early enough about their digital footprints I hope to ensure that as they become teenagers and enter the workforce they will not have ghosts in the wires that follow them around.  I have been pleasantly surprised at the ease and effectiveness of using Facebook for this subject and my adventures into secondlife although, unfortunately I can’t see them being used in my primary setting for many years to come – although I am happy to say I will be ready when the time comes and am looking for an alternative in the meantime.

Areas I have found most useful for my everyday work has definitely been the recognition and development of my online social networking, my PLN. My involvement is changing making my memberships of online networks more into communities of practice where I now find myself asking, and once or twice, answering queries particularly in regards to my involvement on a Teacher Librarian listserve as opposed to hovering.  I certainly harness the web 2.0 tool of RSS feeds much more effectively (again contributing to my PLN) – my understanding and appreciation of this online tool has grown and I regularly follow a variety of tweets, (although I am yet to activate any of these facilities on my mobile device as I am still worry about falling into stage 3 of PLN adoption where I lose perspective). I love my wiki, I love the way many of the teachers in my school have embraced it and of course I look forward to learning from the students as they take it up and run with it. Slow and steady in introducing library 2.0, I have 6 months to plan for new furniture in the library and therefore six months to convince our leadership of the benefits of a monitor to display student’s social media and to play interactive virtual games resulting in transference of knowledge. The need to educate both teachers and students to be critical about authentic information and information literacies, including  transliteracies,  will be written into my programs from term 3 on.

Areas I have found most challenging – incorporating web 2.0 technologies in a meaningful way, not just for the sake of technology. The urgent need for revamped policies and procedures surround library 2.0 in particular how to monitor its effectiveness. Finally, I have begun to develop a library page for my school, one that fosters community, communication, collaboration, creativity and crowdsourcing, through the embedding of web 2.0 tools into its platform.

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available


Critical Synthesis

Posted in Uncategorized by sarahcook3 on May 28, 2010

In rereading my initial ponderings as a TL, I find that what I thought was a busy job is really only a part of it. The standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians have opened my eyes.

After reading the Haycock article on resource based learning (RBL) I wondered at how education, like fashion, often resurfaces years down the track. Our school is changing to open/agile learning spaces (which i believe they tried in the 70’s but reverted back when it didn’t work), the difference i think this time is the training that is being offered to support the teachers in the move. The same can be said about RBL.

With collaboration, not cooperation, the TL can educated the class teacher as to the value of RBL to improve student outcomes by providing intrinsic motivation for the student resulting in higher order thinking and deep knowledge creation (QTF).  I have come to realize that we are teachers first with specialist library based skills. At the beginning of this subject I saw the role more as equal. Not anymore. The library is not about the resources it’s about giving the student the tools and skills needed to become an independent, lifelong learner.

I loved the Herring (2007) article on the role of the TL and felt that it portrayed TL’s as essential to providing ‘learning opportunities’ that are challenging for the student, beyond any other role we have, this subject has made me reprioritise my approach to being a TL – improving student outcomes is what it is all about.  While the Haycock article describing the crisis in Canada introduced the concept of gathering evidence of the impact the TL can have, Todd (2007) reinforced this role to the extent that I have begun surveying several classes on their learning experiences with the view to eventually (when time and priority permit) measuring the impact of information literacy on student learning outcomes.

I have been forced to ask myself have I been promoting information literacy through RBL throughout my school?  In reality, have I been doing my job as a TL as recommended by the standards? Still ringing in my ears is the phrase “the standards are something to aspire to”. The examination of various information literacy models served to improve my overall knowledge within this field. There are posters around the school of the NSW information skills process that I referred to regularly with primary classes to varying degrees of success. I now realize that not one model fits all. I want to introduce the students to various models and have them determine which steps and language suit them, much like we do with graphic organizers. I am still pondering how this will become a reality. Teach the basics and encourage the students to use what suits them. Expert instruction and student evaluation at the end of the project (the final step in most models), the development of an information literate school community, a stronger focus on project based learning using the QTF and RBL will give more opportunities for using information literacy models. Small steps with targeted ‘friends of the library’ class teachers (read teachers I already have a working collaboration with, open to change).

I will continue to gain principal support in implementing a true information literate school community and established reciprocal collaboration with the class teachers by continuing with shared leadership opportunities that focus on implementing change (Crotty, 2010). Along with continuing to promote literacy, increasing the online resources available to the students and maintaining a user centred library space – my days will be kept full.

It has been a tremendous ‘eye-opener’ to read the forums and make more time for the Australian Teacher Librarian Network (OZTL_NET). Using both of these discussion facilitators has helped clarify the role of the TL for me particularly in reference to the Gillard inquiry on OZTL_NET and the discussion surrounding principal support, collaboration and the curriculum of module 3. What I have learnt is that I must promote my work and my role as a TL, I must be proactive and be seen as such. The wealth of experience and sharing of valuable, refereed resources has certainly made my job easier.

Finally I will look to the TL standards at regular intervals in my year and determine to continue striving to be the best TL I can be. Although I knew of the standards prior to starting this course, I saw them as daunting and unrealistic, I don’t anymore.


Australian School Library Association [ASLA] & Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA]. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Canberra: ASLA.

Crotty, R. (2010) RE: [Module 1 – Sheridan Oborn] Question Roy- colloboration. Message posted to ETL401 Module 1 forum.

Haycock, C.A. (1991). Resource-based learning: A Shift in the roles of teacher, learner. NASSP Bulletin, 75(535), 15-22.

Haycock, K. (2003) The Crisis in Canada’s school libraries: The Case for reform and re-investment. Toronto: Association of Canadian Publishers.

Todd, R.J. (2007) Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassall & V.H. Harada (Eds.). School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-58). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited

Ponderings from the last month!

Posted in ETL401,Uncategorized by sarahcook3 on April 23, 2010
Tags: , , ,

(Not in any particular order – references are for my own purposes to be able to retrace my learning)

My focus has always been on the user, not the system. So far the biggest shift in my role as a TL is to focus more on re education of the teacher, then the student(Haycock 05…….). Where the TL places priority on their role will impact on the influence that is exerted on creating an ILSC (Haycock).

I see know i have started at the wrong end ie the bottom – working with students supporting excellent reading habits and providing relevant, timely resources and promoting IL within library time – this seemed the attainable, measurable thing to do – to start at the top with principal support to influence the teachers then the skills will flow down to the students. Where the TL places priority on their role will impact on the influence that is exerted on creating an ILSC (Haycock). The focus should be on teaching how to learn rather then content.

Hendrix   (2010) – Will libraries become more like experiences, the creation of relationship and interpersonal interactions? (p. 12). Libraries = portals that provide guidance and service to the 1. digital road and 2. the physical door – integrating new and old technologies that focus on information and ideas not the delivery channel (Haycock 2003)

Although i feel i have always taught IL it has never been a policy, there has never been a checklist for example that the students can be measured as achieving.  I have introduced the PLUS model to years 3 & 4 for this term and have included self evaluations to try and gain evidence of its success or otherwise. This experience will then drive next term with other willing grades.

The sense of community (ILSC) including the world outside the school walls – how do i bring them into the school – website, media releases, guest speakers, rbl that requires info from the area, Lions club,

Library no longer the technical hub of the school (Skrzecznski, 1999)- i am currently considering the space in our library and wondering if the 18 laptop bank would be better distributed to the classrooms who then bring them to library lessons (safer OHS as currently when not in use for library lessons classrooms book them out and teachers send students to collect them). This would free up a large section of the library and make the space more flexible as we are wireless so laptops could and are used throughout the lib. I’m not sure how the library will be perceived though if it is not the storeroom for the technology – but to make ILSC possible it should over arch all learning and as such each classroom can become resource based – the collaborative space of the library could be promoted – (just pondering). Haycock challenges us to look at what an ILSC might look like, space, interaction, curriculum, evaluation, assessment, planning, timetable (p.3).  Bruce (    )talks about partnerships with curriculum design, policy development, staff dev, research and classroom teaching to bring about change to an ILSC and critical componants.

I loved Haycock (Chapter 15) when he talks about the teachers themselves being constantly challenged about their IL (I include myself here) and it reminds me of my teacher training 20 odd years ago where they told us not to pretend you know the answer when you didn’t but to say “i’ll get back to you”. Students need to realise that teachers don’t know the answer to everything but with IL skills they can find the answer out themselves or we can do it together.

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by sarahcook3 on March 4, 2010

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