Tag Archives: digital technology

Final Reflection on My Library Learning

This TEDx talk sums up what people need to know; a library is more than just a collection of books.  It is the distribution of ideas and information that is important, not the medium (Bennett, 2014).  In the beginning, when I told people that I had decided to study to become a teacher-librarian, they were surprised to find out I would have to take 10 courses to receive my Diploma.  As I admitted in my first blog post, that was my reaction too.  I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know.  A teacher-librarian does much more than build and maintain a collection of resources, and on this journey I have learned that it is important for a teacher-librarian to:

  • be a leader in the school community
  • advocate for the library program
  • create a space, both physical and virtual, that meets the needs of all its users
  • teach a wide range of literacies including information literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy, literacies across the content areas as well as reading and writing strategies
  • facilitate collaboration among the staff to provide more learning opportunities that will ensure student success

A library website can encompass all these ideals.  So, in reflecting on the creation of my final vision, I can’t help but reflect on the entire process of working toward my Diploma, as so much of what I put into my website I learned from other courses.  This course has allowed me to create a platform using digital technology to share that learning, as well as create something I can use professionally.  Even though I have made a “fake” website, I did visualize a real school when creating it; the one where I realized I had found my niche, and that started me on this new journey.  So, depending on what school I end up at, some information contained in my website will have to change, but much of what I have created I will be able to use anywhere.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 8.17.18 PMThe challenges I faced were frustrating, but overcome as I took advantage of the expertise available online.  Of course my website will continue to be a work in progress.  Most pages are incomplete, but they do provide an idea of what I want to accomplish.  By providing professional development opportunities on the Teacher page for my staff, I can help develop my role as leader within the school community.  Using my website to showcase resources and services that are essential to the success of students will help me advocate for my library program.  By creating a blog that highlights school community events, as well as pages for students, teachers and parents, I can ensure that my library can meet the needs of all its users.  By providing lessons for both students (Research Tools page) and teachers (Teacher page), I can help improve multi-literacy competency for all learners.  Having a space for teachers on the Teacher page to highlight their library projects will help me facilitate collaboration.

Though it is a difficult time for teacher-librarians, it is also an exciting one as we reinvent ourselves for the digital generation.  Though our core values remain the same, and I am certainly not ready to give up books just yet, digital technology allows us to engage learners outside the physical space of the library.  It lets us share our ideas, knowledge, creativity and imagination with those outside our local community as well as receive others’ ideas and knowledge for use by us; helping us to create life-long learners within ourselves, our colleagues and our students.  So though I don’t think there is anything that will replace the joy I feel of turning the pages of a good book, I am ready to embrace this new medium as an added dimension to my role as teacher-librarian.

pinned by Barbara Schmid

 

 

 Works Consulted

Bennett, C. (2014). The library is not a collection of books: Charlie Bennett at TEDx Telfair street.  Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFGCB51xb6U

Image Citation:

Bradley, P. (2014). Flickr. Pinned by Ashley Louden at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/155233518380680576/

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My Library Website: Technology Used

As I update my own library website, I continue to review websites on the School Library Websites wiki.  In Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 9.13.49 AMaddition to looking for their targeted audience, I also focussed on the platform used in creating the websites to see if I may want to change from WordPress.  Dr. Charles Best Secondary library uses a blog format
wAcadia Library typohich I quite liked. Instead of having separate pages, the sidebars contain links to the resources students need.  Many of the library websites, like the Acadia Library/Learning Commons, are wikis which allow collaboration and the addition Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 10.58.05 AM
of as much information as you want.  However, I found that the format makes it unclear where to find specific information.  Horseheads High School’s Library Media Centre acts as an online catalogue for library resources, but I want my website to offer more than that.

For my own website, I decided to stick with WordPress, not only because it will save me from having to completely reinvent it, but I like the format.  I like having a blog to highlight things happening in the library, as well as pages for more permanent information.  I find pages make it easier to organize that information for easy retrieval.

Changes I have made to my website:

  • The theme – I switched from the Coralline theme to the Adventure Journal theme.  I find the new theme more visually appealing and complementary to my vision for my website.
  • Blog page – I figured out how to embed my Animoto video into the page instead of just having the link.  I added a Twitter feed, and Goodreads to showcase recommended books.
  • About Your Library page – I made an iMovie of the original pictures, created a Vimeo account to upload the movie and then embed it into WordPress.
  • Research Tools – I included links (with graphics) for the Works Consulted page, and Publishing Your Work page.  For Wikipedia 101 I learned how to create an instructional video using Quicktime Player, which I then uploaded to Vimeo and embedded it on the page.  I linked the Plagiarism page to an online tutorial.  I shortened the Five Ws (and one H) of Cyberspace and linked to some websites as a starting point for creating a lesson for students.
  • EAL Resources – I created a Parents and Students page with some useful links for resources outside the school community.
  • Teachers – I added a Visual Literacy page with a link to my Evernote notebook listing picture books that can be used to support content at the high school level.  This list was my final project for LLED 446.

I am happy with the changes I have made so far, and think I have a pretty good start on what I eventually want my library website to look like.

Technological Challenges

There have been many challenges the last couple of weeks as I have updated my website.  The first being just getting used to using WordPress again to create/edit a website.  Because I switched themes I had to reorganize a few things, and I figured out how to reorder my pages to create a menu I liked, not just the default, alphabetical one WordPress put them in.  Another challenge was embedding my Vimeo videos onto my pages.  The instructions on WordPress didn’t work for me, but looking online I found other instructions that helped.  However, I have to say my biggest challenge with technology was making my Wikipedia tutorial.

Creating the tutorial took me outside my comfort zone as I have never done one before and though I am comfortable teaching in front of a class, I have never really listened to myself speak.  Plus the information I originally had on the page from Media Smarts seemed outdated, so I spent some time on the Wikipedia site, searching different topics and creating my own lesson of how to evaluate one of its pages.  Once I figured out what I wanted to say, I searched the Internet for advice on making an instructional video and found a tutorial  describing how to make screen recordings using QuickTime Player.  As I have this on my computer I decided to try it first.  After many hours I finally had my tutorial completed to my satisfaction (not completely happy, but satisfied).  I lost track of how many screen recordings I attempted, though on the positive side I certainly got used to hearing my own voice.

The more I use technology, the more I realize that it is not as intimidating to use as I once thought.  Online platforms make it easy to create and share your work and ideas, and if there are challenges, there is a lot of online help available.  My own website will remain a work in progress, and I look forward to discovering new digital technologies to enhance the virtual space of my library.

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My Future Vision

299665_10151332165023844_1830350541_nWhat can I create to highlight the vision I have of my future as a teacher-librarian?  The question comes at an appropriate time as this will be my last project for my last course for my Teacher-Librarian Diploma.   Reflecting back on this course, as well as the others I have taken, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a teacher-librarian in the 21st century.  I think the main thing I have learned is that leadership is a big part of a teacher-librarian’s role; leadership in literacy, professional development, advocacy, information literacy, digital literacy skills and the ability to create a welcoming place for all within the school community.

As a TTOC my future is uncertain.  I don’t know where or when I will have my own library.  On deciding what platform to use to showcase my vision I need to think about my goals as a new teacher-librarian.  Initially I would want to create a welcoming space for staff and students, highlighting the library services my program can offer them.  In terms of digital technology, to me this means creating a library website.  A website gives library users access to library services 24/7, while highlighting what the library has to offer both virtually and physically.  However, for one of my courses last year, LIBE 465, I created a library website as my final project, but I took a look at it this week and realized that there is a lot I could do with it for this course.  When I created it, the goal of the assignment was to focus on information architecture not content.  Consequently, it is pretty bare bones with little digital content I created myself.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.31.43 PM

It’s Your Library Website @https://itsyourlibrarywebsite.wordpress.com

There are some pages listed as “under construction” with ideas about what I would like to do with the space.  Others are pretty text heavy, but I wasn’t sure at the time how I wanted to convey the information.  You can read about my reflections on the process I went through on my blog.

 

 

I can now think of a number of ways I would like to update the content using digital technology, creating an artifact that I could use once I get my own library.

  • About Your Library page: my purpose for this page was “to link the physical and virtual spaces of the library.”  Instead of static pictures I think it would be more effective as a slideshow or movie to highlight what users can expect from the physical space.
  • Research tools page: these pages are text heavy and offer a good opportunity for me to create an instructional video which I have never done before.
  • Teachers page: as this page states, I plan on having resources for teachers concentrated here.  I could maybe start with something about visual literacy (the topic for my reading review).  Perhaps creating something to showcase ideas for using picture books in the classroom.
  • Homepage: I would like to keep this page as a blog to highlight events happening in the school and wider community.  I don’t really like the set up as it is, and it seems like a good space to add more social media components.

I don’t know if I will be able to accomplish all these changes for this project, but I am looking forward to doing what I can.  Even though this is a “fake” library website, I am confident I can create content that I will be able to transfer and use once I am running my own library program.

1386147945_digital_banner

 

 

Image Citations:

Springer LibraryZone’s Photos (2013). Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151332165023844=pb.59229643843.-2207520000.1359667560=3

Vaidyaratnam (2013). Digital Library. Retrieved from http://www.vaidyaratnammooss.com/pages.php?menu_id=6

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Libraries: A Global Perspective

“Should libraries in developing nations rely on donations and weeded books from developed nations?”  This statement in this week’s module reminded me of a discussion in another course about what to do with weeded books.  I am sure many teacher-librarians are like me and don’t like throwing anything out, but I think it is demeaning to expect that developing countries should be grateful for or rely upon our out-of-date, old, discarded books.  This discussion also reminded me of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author who grew up reading American and British children’s books.  Her views question whether or not it is appropriate for developed countries to simply provide new books to developing nations.

“At about the age of seven … I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading: All my characters were white and blue-eyed, they played in the snow, they ate apples, and they talked a lot about the weather: how lovely it was that the sun had come out. This despite the fact that I lived in Nigeria; we didn’t have snow, we ate mangoes, and we never talked about the weather, because there was no need to.”

– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story, TEDGlobal 2009.

The first 3 minutes of her TED Talk brings up the fact that though she enjoyed the foreign stories she read, the “unintended consequence” was that growing up she did not know that people like her could be in a story.  (Though the rest of her talk is not related to our discussion, I highly recommend watching it if you have the time.)

 

Consequently, my online search focussed on how organizations support libraries and literacy in developing nations.  Is it mostly through donations of books and materials from developed countries?  Or do they work closely with countries to make sure their cultures are well represented in their own libraries?

The first organization I looked at was Room to Read.  Room to Read was started by John Wood, ex-Microsoft executive, in  1998.  The organization soon realized that “one of the greatest challenges to early adoption of the habit of reading in developing countries is a lack of high-quality, age-appropriate children’s books in the local language.”  So in 2003 it started publishing books in the countries where it works.  Of course, publishing takes longer than simply buying and donating, and to date, though about 14.5 million books have been distributed ,  just over 1000 have been published.  A low ratio, but I think they are on the right track.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.03.21 PM

Room to Read statistics, 2013. (screenshot from http://www.roomtoread.org/OurPrograms)

 

Another organization I found was Librarians Without Borders, working in Ghana and Guatemala.  I was intrigued by this organization because I hadn’t heard of it before.  It was started in 2005 by a group of librarians who wanted to do something about “the vast information resource inequity existing between different regions of the world.”   Though its website has no statistics about their work, the values of LWB state that they “do not draw cultural or linguistic boundaries – diversity is embraced; we will work with our partners in their own cultural context and in their own languages.”   Membership is free in Canada and gives individuals the opportunity to partner with community organizations to help in areas of need.  I would like to look at this organization in more detail.  I think it would be a great way to showcase in my own library how librarians are supporting literacy on a global scale, giving a way for my school community to support others.

Though digital technology has become an essential part of libraries in Canada, I couldn’t find information that these two organizations help provide it as part of their donations.  Room to Read did not mention technology at all on their website (ironic from an ex-Microsoft executive?) and though LWB does provide access to digital content, it is unclear if donations help support the purchase of associated technology.  I assume it does as technology is such an important part of library services.  In reference to mobile technology, it makes sense that some areas in developing nations are bypassing traditional computers and opting for going mobile.  It would be cheaper to install, allowing people in poorer areas without infrastructure in place, access to information, broadening their knowledge base, as well as providing them a voice on the global stage.

Group of Human Arms Raised with Speech Bubble

 

 

With my studies I have been mostly concerned with how I, as a teacher-librarian, can work with and be involved in my school community.  Thinking about how I can contribute to others on a global scale had not become part of my dialogue yet.  However, I appreciate the opportunity to broaden my perspective and find out how literacies are being supported around the world.

 

Works Consulted

 Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi (2009). The Danger of a Single Story. TEDTalks. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

Librarians Without Borders (n.d.) About Us. Retrieved from http://lwb-online.org/about-us/

Room to Read (2013). Quality reading materials: A life-long love of reading starts with great children’s books.  Retrieved from http://www.roomtoread.org/page.aspx?pid=463

 

Image citation:

Librarians Without Borders (n.d.) Events. Retrieved from http://lwb-online.org/category/events/

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