Tag Archives: professional development

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 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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My Takeaway From Our Inquiry

I have enjoyed delving into all the topics we have looked at in this inquiry phase of the course.  Though some I had already covered in previous courses, such as creating a reading culture and developing leadership skills in the area of professional development, I still expanded my knowledge with my own continued research or through insight from others’ posts.  Researching libraries in the developing world and learning how mobile technology can play an important role in their construction and use has helped expand my world view, beyond my own District.  However, I think my main takeaway from this inquiry is how to develop a personal learning network through current information and communication technology.  In other words, how I can use social media to expand my professional development opportunities.

I took this course because I wanted to learn more ways of using digital technology in my practice as a teacher-librarian because my knowledge is lacking in this area.  I know other digital immigrants have embraced social media in both their personal and professional lives, but I have yet to feel comfortable doing that.  I am not sure what is holding me back.

people-texting1

1. We are being social.

Maybe it is the bias I have against being inundated with the minutiae of people’s day, or the ease of mobile devices in creating social interactions online instead of face to face.

social-media-overwhelm2

2. It’s too much!

 

 

Or it might be that I am often overwhelmed by the shear mass of information I receive with the few subscriptions to social media sites I have.

The-Four-Headed-Monster-The-Anti-Social-Media

3. The Four Headed Monster

 

 

Or maybe it is because I am a very private person and am not yet comfortable “sharing” my ideas with others in cyberspace.

 

 

This inquiry has helped me see the positive aspects of using social media and how important its use is for teachers and teacher-librarians to collaborate, share, and stay informed about educational issues.  After all, I tell my students that technology can be used as a tool to help them become more successful in school, so I should be modelling this behaviour, showing how I can use technology in my teaching practice to extend my knowledge and learning.

The ideas in Lia’s blog post, Expanding My Personal Learning Network, inspired me.  In it, she lists ways she uses social media, like bookmarking, pinning, and networking, in her teaching practice along with further goals for using these technologies.   Though I do get inspired by others’ ideas, as a TOC I have few opportunities to directly implement many of them in my own teaching practice.  So my collection of digital resources sit in my computer bookmarks or Evernote notebooks, awaiting the day I can use them in my own classroom or library.  However, I have come to realize through this inquiry that establishing a personal learning network online offers more than just resources.  It provides access to a group of professionals that will be there when I need them for ideas, answering questions, collaboration or simply an understanding of the problems I may face as a teacher-librarian.  By utilizing digital technology, I will be able to take more control of my professional development.  So a logical place to start is with Twitter; learning how to use it more effectively as part of my personal learning network.  I have been following the #libe477 tweets, and added a couple of my own, but I haven’t really explored this tool to its fullest.  I know that once I embrace the value of using Twitter professionally, it will be easier to branch out into other social media platforms to widen my PLN.  I am hopeful that soon I can move my comfort zone from……

vintage-social-networking

McLLLq8ca

wordlezimmer

 

 

Image Citations:

1. When is the best time to post on social media (2014) http://theagencyonline.co.uk/2014/03/when-is-the-best-time-to-post-on-social-media/

2. Tips to effectively manage your social media sites. (2014) http://meetadrianacasanova.com/tips-effectively-manage-social-media-sites/

3.There is no such thing as privacy on social networks (2011)  http://theantisocialmedia.com/there-is-no-such-thing-as-privacy-on-social-networks/

Vintage Social Networking – University of Leeds (2014) Social Media http://www.sddu.leeds.ac.uk/sddu-social-media.html

21st-Century Teacher Tools Wordle – A guide for newbie social educators (2011) http://judyoconnell.com/2011/01/17/a-guide-for-newbie-social-educators/

 

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Teacher-Librarians as Leaders

leadership

In one of the first courses I took on this journey, I learned that an important role of a teacher-librarian is as a leader (Toor and Weisburg, 2007).  Toor and Weisburg state that this can be difficult because a teacher-librarian will not be given any authority.  However, taking on a position as leader within a school is important for the welfare of a library program (p. 93).  I knew right away that this would be a challenge for me as I tend to let others take the lead.  Though definitions of leadership can vary, what is universal is that a good leader “know(s) how to achieve goals and inspire people along the way” (Helmrich, 2015).  I prefer to think of leadership, not as taking control or directing a group, but as creating good partnerships with my colleagues so we can collaborate and “inspire” each other.  Now, in my last course, I am more comfortable acting as a leader in this capacity.

Something that I have been concerned with throughout my studies, is the lack of training for teachers about the benefits of a strong library program.  Admittedly, I completed my PDP many years ago, but talking more recently with student teachers it seems that not much has changed.  Therefore, one way in which I plan to take on the mantle of leadership when I have my own library, is by offering professional development to the staff at my school.  A few ideas I have come up with include:

1. Offer a session for new/student teachers in the school to showcase the library program and encourage collaboration.

2. Provide professional development on local (school) inservice days to highlight new resources, technology, inquiry, book talks, creative commons, reliable websites or whatever other information literacy/technology topics teachers are interested in learning more about.

3. Attend department meetings to offer my help and support for inquiry projects as well as learn the needs of the teachers and what they see as important for the library program.

In addition to offering staff formal professional development, it is also important to educate staff on an informal basis throughout the year (Eby, 2013).  For example, by having library blocks for students with the teacher present, learning along with them about information and digital literacy, classroom teachers will begin to understand the role and expertise of the teacher-librarian (Eby, 2013).  As well, I would like to create a virtual space teachers can go to for ideas, resources, technology information, etc.  This could be through the library website or social media platforms like blogging or Twitter.   By taking advantage of teachable moments, Eby found that providing informal education could transform how classroom teachers view teacher-librarians, shifting from an old-school view as keepers of information to equal partners in 21st Century learning (p. 232).

Where I begin in terms of staff professional development will depend on the school environment where I work.  With a school that is used to a dynamic library program I may be able to jump right in offering professional development on a more formal basis.  However, at a school where the classroom teachers are not used to learning from or collaborating with the teacher-librarian, I may have to start more slowly, building relationships through informal education, creating a base from which to start professional development for the staff.  In either case, my ability to take on a leadership role is needed to ensure success at sharing my knowledge and expertise with the rest of the school community.

 

Works Consulted

Eby, H. (2013).  Professional development with a qualified teacher-librarian. In Becoming and being: reflections on teacher-librarianship. Branch-Mueller, J., De Groot, J. & Salerno, K. (eds)  Edmonton, AB: Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning. p. 231-241.  eBook. Downloaded from https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/becoming-and-being/home

Helmrich, B. (23 Jan. 2015). 30 Ways to Define Leadership. Business News Daily.  Retrieved from <http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3647-leadership-definition.html>.

Toor, R. and H. K. Weisburg. (2007). New on the job: A school library media specialist’s guide to success. Chicago: American Library Association.

 

Image uploaded from: https://www.avanoo.com/landing/454/Leadership

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