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Saturday, 22 April 2017

A school librarian’s view on LILAC 2017

I was privileged to be this year’s recipient of the school library bursary to attend the LILAC conference. I urge school librarians, who have a keen interest in information literacy, to apply next year. The application took just a couple of hours to complete and I was rewarded with the most enjoyable and enriching few days to learn from other library and information professionals.

Why did I apply?
·         To increase my confidence in delivering an information literacy curriculum for our pupils
·         To learn from the experiences of other professionals outside of the school library sector
·         To develop knowledge of digital literacy as our school inspection report identified a need to provide increased opportunities for pupils to use ICT across the curriculum
I’m going to pick three sessions to outline here and discuss what I took away from each one. The LILAC conference archive is being updated with speakers’ presentations, so you can explore those in more depth at your leisure.

1.      Sheila Corrall and Alison Pickard. Advancing the reflective conversation in information literacy.
As a practitioner, I value reflection as an activity. My journey to and from work is often spent reflecting on the information literacy sessions I deliver or the conversations I have with students and teaching staff. It’s the time I use to make decisions about how to improve the services we offer or to work out why a session didn’t go as I had planned. Part of studying PGCE is about becoming a reflective teacher and even though I didn’t complete my teacher training all those years ago, I left the experience as a reflective practitioner. In this session Sheila and Alison introduced to us three scaffolds for reflection which could be used with different types of learner:
·         Question prompts
·         Sentence starters
·         Visual grid
Each prompt aided the learner in reflecting on an experience. In groups, we discussed the value of each style and considered which would work best in our context. In a primary school library, I felt a combination of the visual approach with sentence starters would help young learners begin to become reflective. We also discussed the barriers to reflection: time, attitude, curriculum constraints. Having spent some time thinking about these barriers after the session, I believe strongly that learners need an opportunity to reflect individually but also with their peers. I think it is valuable to give students this time to consider their learning and allow them to learn lessons from each other. It’s in the communal process of reflecting, by seeing an issue from different angles, that a learner can come to a new understanding. I think this peer reflection time is vital not just for students but for teaching staff also.
Target 1: Build time into schemes of work to allow students to reflect on their learning.

2.     Josie Fraser. The library is open: librarians and information professionals as open practitioners. Presentation slides available here.
Josie was a LILAC keynote speaker and before this talk I thought I understood what constituted an open educational resource. But it’s not just a case of being online and free. An open educational resource requires more than just free access. To be a truly open educational resource and useful to educators, the resources need to be editable. They need to be able to: adapt them, differentiate them, embed them etc. Prior to this talk I had considered publisher made resources for book groups OERs but now I know that they don’t fulfil the criteria. If they come in PDF form, then they are not designed for educators to use them in the way they want to.
Josie shared David Wiley’s 5Rs of Openness. Here they are:
·         ‘Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
·         Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
·         Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
·         Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
·         Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)’.
Wiley, D. 2014. ‘The Access Compromise and the 5th R’. Available at: https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221 Accessed 17 April 2017.
Josie noted that TED talks are open resources and you can use them any which way that suits. (I’ve used Austin Kleon’s newspaper blackout poetry TED talk many times with students).
Target 2: Encourage SMT to develop a policy which allows staff to share their resources with fellow educators without infringing copyright. Make sure when I share a resource online, I assign an appropriate CC license and give others the flexibility to use the resource as they see best.

3.     Emily Hurt and Alison McLoughlin. Facilitating research amongst radiographers through information literacy workshops.
Emily’s session was a 30-minute overview of her ILG funded practitioner researcher project which aimed to increase the research output of radiographers in her workplace. I chose to go to this session as my MA LIS has awoken a passion for evidence-based practice and practitioner research.
There were three things which I took from Emily’s session:
1.       Emily selected radiographers as a group of Allied Health Professionals because there is a clear gap in research output and the professional body for radiographers was keen to see this developed. She strategically targeted a professional group which would benefit from the IL workshops and who were currently not being supported by the library beyond literature searching.
2.      Emily took a bottom up approach to her research. After applying for funding and reading the academic literature, she invited radiographers to an initial session where they could identify the types of information literacy sessions which they would benefit from. Rather than imposing on them a series of sessions which may not have been helpful, she sought to find out what they felt they would need. I think this approach is more likely to engage the participants as they are shaping the content.
3.      The collaborative relationship between Emily and Alison was fundamental to the success of the project as Emily had an experienced researcher to help develop the project from the initial proposal to the analysis of results.
Target 3: Consider some of my ideas for a practitioner research project and begin with some preparatory reading of the academic literature.

Final thoughts:
There is so much we can learn by sharing our ideas and experiences with others outside our sector. A new perspective can help you see things differently. I was overwhelmed by the number of librarians who spoke to me and wanted to know what our role as school librarians involves in relation to information literacy. So please, if you are doing interesting work with IL, write a case study for the Information Literacy group website: http://www.informationliteracy.org.uk/contribute/#squelch-taas-accordion-shortcode-content-6
Investigate 23 Things for Digital Knowledge by Stephanie (Charlie) Farley (Open Education Resources Advisor, University of Edinburgh). This resource won the CREDO award it looks like a fantastic way to explore digital resources and develop your knowledge.
Try Mentimeter.com for embedding student voting and questioning into library sessions.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

SLA16: Notes from the book blogging panel

Good morning All,

I promised I would post links to things I mentioned in the panel discussions yesterday at SLA2016.

National Literacy Trust Research

Clark, C. (2016). Children's and Young People's Reading in 2015. London: National Literacy Trust. [pdf]. Available at: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/research/nlt_research/7163_childrens_and_young_peoples_reading_in_2015
I recommend reading the whole report but see pages 12-20 for the references to technology, social media and blogging.

Clark, C., & Teravainen, A. (2015). Teachers and Literacy: Their perceptions, understanding,
confidence and awareness. London: National Literacy Trust. [pdf]. Available at: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/research/nlt_research/6904_teachers_and_literacy_their_perceptions_understanding_confidence_and_awareness
This report provides a useful insight into teachers and literacy. Read this for an overview but I also recommend reading:

UKLA Funded Research

Cremin, T., Mottram, M., Collins, F. M., Powell, S., & Safford, K. (2014).  Building communities of engaged readers : Reading for pleasure. Oxon: Routledge. http://oro.open.ac.uk/40475/
It discusses a reading for pleasure pedagogy, the gaps in teacher's children's literature knowledge and the need for a professional dialogue between teachers and librarians.

Impact studies

The seminal study by Keith Curry Lance can be found here:
Lance, K. C. Welborn, L., Hamilton-Pennell, Christine. (1993). The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement. Castle Rock, Colorado: Hi Willow Research and Publishing. [pdf]. Available at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED353989.pdf

Research that has built on Lance can be found at the Library Research Service: https://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies/

Scholastic have also collated lots of research in a document: School Libraries Work 2016: http://www.scholastic.com/SLW2016/ You'll need to register to download it but its a useful advocacy tool.

ALA School Library Research
The journal - School Library Research - of the American Association of School Librarians is open access and has lots of interesting articles.

Blogging - the basics

Blog platforms: Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr.

Social media: Twitter you can find me @the_bookette Lucy Powrie @lucythereader Lucy Richardson @bookbellreads
Tweetdeck to manage those online Twitter chats
I forgot to mention that there's #uklibchat - the next one is 6.30 on Tuesday 5th July and the topic is librarianship across borders
Lucy's next #ukyachat is Wednesday 6th July at 8pm - topic National Novel Writing Month

Something else I meant to mention but forgot was Canva.com which I use to design the graphics at the top of the  blog posts. In fact I use Canva to design lots of my work including all the slides for my lessons. It takes a while to get the hang of it but the results are great.

Information Literacy

Not something that came up in the blogging session but over lunch was how to measure impact of IL sessions. I talked about using TRAILS (developed by Kent State University Libraries) a free to use assessment tool which can be found here: http://www.trails-9.org/index.php

If there's anything else I mentioned which I haven't included in the posts, leave a comment and I'll do my best to update this for you.

P.S. A couple of people mentioned how much they'd like to read my dissertation (thank you). I promise I will write it up as research and post a link to wherever it is published here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

4 books for fans of contemporary YA

My fiction reading may not be at the pace of my pre-masters lifestyle but I am still reading. I just hardly ever have time to write about it.

I've read four contemporary young adults novels in the past few months and they were all really rewarding reads.

1) Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Parker Santé hasn't spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching (and sometimes stealing from) the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he'll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

My thoughts:
This was bitter-sweet. I didn't cry when I read it. And I can't say that it was a sweeping off your feet romance. It was deeper and I suppose more troubling than that. But I found it enthralling. I think this book will appeal to both genders. It didn't find it sentimental.

2) Rebel Geek Bully Pariah by Erin Lange

The truth is that jail is a place where you can still hold on to hope - hope you'll be bailed out, hope you'll be found innocent, hope you'll get a second chance.
Four teenagers, never destined to be friends - one rebel, one bully, one geek and one pariah, find themselves on the run from corrupt police officers in a stolen police car. How can you prove your innocence when the people who are supposed to protect you are the ones out to get you?
A beautiful, thrilling story of rebellion, and of friendship triumphing against all odds.

My thoughts:
I read Dead Ends last year and I really enjoyed it. So I was keen to read this as soon as I bought it. Lange didn't disappoint. It was daft in places but I liked it all the more for that. The twist at the end didn't come as a surprise but it was an entirely satisfying read. It was about friendship, difference and finding yourself. I really enjoyed it.

3) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Before Ardor, we let ourselves be defined by labels - the athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But then we all looked up and everything changed. They said the asteroid would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we'd been, something that would last even after the end. Two months to really live.

My thoughts:
After reading Thanks for the Trouble, I knew I had to give this a go. (Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy. They sent it ages ago!).

This book is a dark and brooding contemporary read. The potential end of the world doesn't always bring out the best in humanity. But in fact, this book made me laugh at times. It was the dialogue. There were some great one liners! I liked the ambiguity in the plot too.

4) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Andie has a plan and she always sticks to the plan.
Future? A top tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid as much as possible (which isn't that hard considering he's a Congressman and never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby - pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one's worth more than three weeks.
So it's no surprise she's got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal cancels her summer pre-med internship, and lands both her and Dad back in the same house for the first time in years. Suddenly she's doing things that aren't Andie at all - working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark in closer than expected. Palmer, Bri and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but here's the thing ... can she?

My thoughts:
Well thank goodness I have read all Morgan Matson's other books because with a cover like that, I would not have bought this book otherwise. I know that's judgmental but it is the truth. I can't help but think I'm not really the target audience for this book but I loved it. My favourite out of each of these titles (and they were all great in their own way). It was hopelessly romantic. A total page-turner. I couldn't wait to get home from work to finish it.


I highly recommend all four of these contemporary reads. I could with some summer contemporary suggestions for the holiday. Any ideas?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

School libraries: Research

Right now, I'm working on my master's dissertation and it is great because I get to read all the school library research.

The American Association of School Librarian's scholarly journal: School Library Research is entirely open access which makes it a really useful tool to narrow the gap between research and practice. My favourite article is this one:

Small, Ruth V., Shanahan, Kathryn A. and Stasak, Megan. (2010) "The Impact of New York's School Libraries on Student Achievement and Motivation: Phase III." School Library Media Research Vol. 13.

It gives a really clear picture of the role of the school librarian in the 'elementary school'.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

School libraries: Online mini-conference

Libraries 2.0: the future of libraries in the digital age have recently organised an online conference and it's all available to watch online. Just follow this link: http://www.library20.com/page/classroom-recordings

The theme is Libraries as Classroom. David V. Loertscher's session on Open Educational Resources at the Junction of Library and Classroom is must-watch!