TL Ponderings

Second Life

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
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Although many gen x’s and baby boomers have embraced Virtual Worlds and gaming, the statistics show that 11 – 15 year olds (.com gen) are the biggest participants (Jo Kay, 2010. Exploring the Metaverse; Kids, Tweens and Teens), these are my students and where my students are heading. The article by Dede, Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning (2009) identifies three ways virtual engagement can enhance educational opportunities; multiple perspectives; situated learning; and transfer, studies showing that students are performing better on tests within this environment then in standardised testing. Being a primary school TL, I think that the use of SL in primary education is a long way off. The use of Virtual Worlds in education will require an attitudinal shift in the user. Currently the vast majority of these tools are being used for fun, to  communicate socially, for escapism. I’m sure that there is unconscious learning taking place – better use of technology, netiquette, online collaboration, self-examination and reflection, multi-tasking. But the learning curve, commitment and  time needed to make any real time online Virtual World an effective educational tool, coupled with the need for further research into its benefits in the classroom will make this avenue a distant project for my students.

I viewed my time in Second Life as an opportunity to explore something different, I discovered that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined and realised that I was able to transfer knowledge into the mechanics of this experience, making the using of it seem more common sense. Although I do think that I already have trouble keeping up with my friends in the real world so on a personal note wouldn’t have time for new friends in a virtual world. Moreover, the ability to be anyone you want online makes me sceptical about who you meet, they may not necessarily be who they say they are, a fact that I will be expressing regularly to my own teen and tween children.


Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning, Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from;323/5910/66.pdf



My homepage on each computer is iGoogle where I have many RSS feeds. Not surprisingly, the page is getting longer and longer as I come across more ‘authors’ to follow. I try to scan my homepage on a regular basis – daily, weekly although Sometimes its fortnightly, and I’m confident that the time spent scanning each heading and summary is keeping me abreast of current trends, good practice, social media tools and research. In searching for sites to subscribe to, to see RSS in action, I decided to set up and add feeds to my Google Reader rather than my iGoogle page (maybe keep my very favourites on the iGoogle and all the rest on Google Reader). It will mean remembering to check the reader regularly.

I subscribed to Ted Talks using Bookmarks Toolbar, although I can see that only a few feeds could be linked there otherwise it would become too busy, the same problem as iGoogle. I looked at the NSW State Library to subscribe to; they have quite specific categories, nicely catering to the needs of the user and so chose to be alerted to new titles. I also went to ALIA and discovered what ‘subscribe using Google Feeds’ is (a tab in your favourite button), I subsequently added a few more feeds that way. So I currently have four places my subscriptions feed into – iGoogle, Google Reader, Google Feeds and Bookmarks Toolbar (do I need Netvibes). I shall discover over the course of the next couple of months which platform best suits my online activities.

RSS feeds are currently meeting some/most of my work related information needs although i can see that one needs to be careful not to link to too many sites, possibly be selective otherwise i see myself getting bogged down in keeping up.

Some Ponderings

Posted in INF 506 by sarahcook3 on April 19, 2011
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Tagging/folksonomy for user – generated content allows everyday jargon as access points thus opening up databases without specific training. I think my library mind may need retraining. meaning is shared. Like minded people can access each others content – maybe if you’re not in that group you can’t find that stuff, is that what some people want? A degree of privacy and elitism?

i need to sort this out, its a password/signin/login/account nightmare. yahoo is linked to flickr is linked to igoogle is all different usernames and passwords arrrggghhh, i have begun an excel – i need to tidy up!!!

Ok i have rediscovered my flickr account – when did flickr get advertising? Very disappointing but i suppose an indication of the way things are going. It was never going to remain free!

Have closed some windows to see i have a yahoo pulse account – don’t remember doing that one – nevertheless to the excel i go!

Social Media and Business

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on April 2, 2011
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Nodalities – Charlene Li – online 09, Social Networking

Word of mouth through social media for businesses is powerful. You can be there but u can’t buy your way in it must be relational, it makes me think this is a backlash to the recorded messages that we get on help desks all the time, people are chosing a more personal experience.

From the view of business is the sense of giving up control – must talk to customers ARRHHGG the customer talks back and we don’t have control of that. So too in the classroom, students learning is moving out of the teachers control, through the technology being used and the abundance of information available that not one person can know. Teachers must provide scaffolds and criteria to enable students and guide them to become independent learners and problem solvers or lose credibility and authority. Finally to share what has been done, whether it is your feelings and frustrations, joy and successes or the new way you have created something seems to be paramount to a sense of achievement.

INF506 ponderings

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on April 2, 2011
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New and evolving social applications and the way they are pervading our lives (ubiquity) has the ability to turn us all into knowledge creators. No longer the written essay but the movie with sound, image and commentary, not passive but active.

Explaining Web 2.0 by explaining computers reinforced these notions by categorising them into interpersonal computing, web services and saas (software as a service). I often marvel at how experts analysis and compartmentalise our behaviour and actions when the ordinary user usually just reacts, we experiment and play with what is on offer without a thought to the how or why we do.

 Not only how we learn but how we relate to each other is evolving. social media revolution (socialnomics, 2009) reinforces this by commenting on social media as being a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. I certainly see this with my own children and the students at the bus stop each morning with ear phones in or texting the person next to them or all huddled around a handheld screen sharing the lastest music video or gossip. I do love the view of Kevin Kelly that we are defined by the technology that we don’t use rather then by what we do.

OLJ first entry 506

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on March 10, 2011
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How can you define social networking when it is evolving so fast? From basic instant messaging to reconnecting you with people you had long forgotten to introducing you to people with similar interests, whether they are social or academic. One thing i have observed is that social networking is highly motivating and rather addictive.  To have internet access is to potentially be socially networked, it is a worldwide phenomenom that is growing exponentially and one that allows the user to be whoever they want to be – yourself and someone else. Essentially it is a communication tool that can break down barriers and create records/bibliographies of lives, and knowledge.

I currently use facebook mainly populated with nieces and nephews (who it feels like stalk as i watch and worry about they lives) and now as a member of INF504 group. I blog, am a member of some nings, run a delicious for the teachers at school, have joined second life for this course but am yet to embrace it, skype regularly, have created a wiki, used both google docs and prezi and use flickr occasionally for school.

I can sense that already I am experiencing a paradign shift (love that expression) in my thinking with regards to the use of social networking sites, especially facebook and second life. Although these may have originated socially and for escapism, they are now graduating into knowledge sharing and creating tools able to be harnessed by the education sector. I am looking for guided experience in using these and other similar tools in the education sector so that i may in turn share my knowledge with teachers and enable the learning of my students.

New Subject 506 – Social Networking for Information Professionals

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on March 1, 2011

Time to get motivated again. I know there will be a lot of new experiences in this subject, hope i can keep up!

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
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(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.


As a school we are implementing

  • QTF
  • Agile learning spaces with open years and share teaching (Henri 05 through Cooper and Boyd talks about teachers not seeing each other teach, p12)
  • Kagan cooperative learning styles
  • filling the gaps identified by our naplan results

Can i make IL taught via RBL and over riding umbrella – it certain fits into QTF and Kagan.

But how will the teachers respond when they already have so much change occurring? How will the students respond? In my experience students need to learn/be conditioned to the new L & T methods before blanket wide results are achieve (ie some students take longer to adapt then others).

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