Online resources

At this time there are many lists appearing that can help you find quality resources to support online learning in your school.  We look for institutions that we know produce reliable and authentic information, and have collated some of them here in this post for ease of access. We will continue to update this as we find new resources to share.

Our wonderful Melbourne Museums have all created online access portals:

Google has developed a comprehensive website providing resources and tools to assist teachers, parents and carers with teaching from home.

A FUSE learning from home page has been established to support school and early childhood leaders, teachers, students, children and parents access digital resources that can be used to support learning at home. Resources include sets of self-directed learning activities that can be provided to students in the form of a Word document or as a printed workbook, and activities parents can do with younger children.

Penguin Random House is permitting teachers, librarians and booksellers to create and share story time and read-aloud videos and live events.

Joyce Valenza is a highly respected commentator in the field of school librarianship. Last week she created a great blog post about learning from home.

The World Digital Library is curated by the Library of Congress in the USA. It includes almost 20,000 items from 193 countries.

The International Children’s Digital Library has over 4600 titles in 59 languages freely available.

Global Storybooks is a free multilingual literacy resource for children and youth worldwide.

Google Arts & Culture features content from over 1200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s most famous museums and libraries into your home.

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community.

Audible have made their children’s platform freely available.

Allen & Unwin has a large range of Teachers’ Notes and Teachers’ Tips that are free to download and should provide you with invaluable ideas for teaching and facilitating engaging discussions of individual titles. Teaching resources can be accessed by clicking HERE.

On the Resources page, you will find tabs for Teachers’ Notes (Teachers’ Tips are available in this tab, too), Activities, Catalogues and other useful material. Materials are added according to the date of release of the book, hence more recent titles will be higher up than older. Simply scroll down to find what you are looking for. Alternatively, if you want to see if a particular title has resources available, just type the name of that title in the search bar on the Homepage or click HERE, go to the title’s product page and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Allen and Unwin Guidelines on Virtual Read-Alouds

Teachers or librarians wishing to create virtual read-alouds are permitted to do so at no charge within a closed platform for your use only, for non-commercial use only, and as long as the video is removed after a limited time (30 days) and you acknowledge the author and publisher, Allen & Unwin. Unfortunately, we cannot grant permission for these videos to be posted publicly to YouTube at this time. Please confirm this is agreeable by sending an email HERE with your email address, role, the book you will be reading, and what platform you plan to do the reading on.

Jacaranda have activated a special offer for schools providing remote learning, you can learn more HERE

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation have collated some fantastic resources HERE

CommonSense media also have a brilliant list HERE

ABC Education have some great resources for media literacy studies HERE

This curated list of resources is to assist you to ethically share children’s and young adult literature online.

Mo Willems invites you into his studio every day for his LUNCH DOODLE. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks.

Please continue to share ideas of great sites via our various social media platforms.

Professional Learning Resource Round Up

As we all respond to the directives and guidelines in relation to COVID – 19 our association is working hard to ensure we are doing all we can to support our members.

With some schools needing to close for indefinite periods of time there may be a need for your school library staff to indicate ways they are exploring professional learning during a period of school closure or changed operations.

To assist, we have created this post, listing a range of professional learning opportunities made available to members.

A range of presentations from past Professional Learning Events can be accessed via the SLAV Member Login page HERE.

Over the past two years we have created podcasts of all of our Reading Forum events as well recording a selection of presentations given at our major conferences. These podcasts are available to anyone online and can be accessed HERE.

Synergy is our online, research based, journal. The most recent edition of the journal is closed to members only but all other editions of the journal are made freely available in light of the Associations interest in being collegiate and supportive of the wider professional community. We encourage you to explore the wealth of information from current and past editions HERE. 

Digital issues of our publication – FYI – can be accessed HERE. 

As a SLAV member, you also have access to resources from the International Association of School Librarianship through our partner membership status. There are some wonderful resources to be accessed on the IASL website and we encourage you to find time to explore them. Login details are available on our Member Login page.

Finally, a word on our 2020 Professional Learning Calendar. As we advised in our most recent newsletter we are doing all we can to ensure we are keeping our members and presenters safe, and are responding to guidelines and directives accordingly.

Events – cancellations and postponements

Our March 23 conference has been cancelled.

The IB workshop to be held in conjunction with DATTA Vic at Kardinia College on April 16 has been cancelled.

Our May Masterclass in conjunction with LMERC – Powering Learning: Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives has been moved to September 4.

Our May 29 Conference – School Libraries: Powering Primary has been moved to September 14.

The National Education Summit on August 28 and 29 at MCEC, a strand of which we are a partner in providing, has been postponed to a later date yet to be announced.

All other Reading Forums, Workshops and Masterclasses

The remainder of our program are events that are to be held in school venues. At present we are continuing to plan and offer these events on the understanding that a decision will be made a month to two weeks out from each as to whether they are to go ahead. As it is very difficult to know exactly where we will be in two months’ time this approach is hopefully the best response in unknown times.

If you have any queries about this, please contact the SLAV office on 0477 439 593 or email slav@slav.org.au

We encourage all members to stay in touch with each other in these challenging times. Our branch structure is an excellent source of local support.  We encourage you to reach out and offer collegiate advice wherever you can and to ask if you need help or assistance. Our social media platforms can also be a source of connection. Please do reach out, we are open to assisting you in any way we can.

eBooks & eResources – sharing experience

brightIdeasImage

As we commence the new school year, it’s timely to share this guest post from SLAV Council Member Julie Pagliaro.  In this post Julie, teacher librarian at St Kevin’s College, Waterford Library, reflects on the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Workshop – eBooks and eResources held last term.  The management of digital resources is a complex matter for school libraries, made easier by sharing successful examples of practice through workshops such as this.

From Julie:

The School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Workshop – eBooks and eResources was an engaging day with everything that you have ever wondered about eBooks and eResources being addressed. David Feigham, Information and Library Services Manager from Mentone Girls’ Grammar School, set the scene, with his inspiring knowledge and experience on how to implement best practice strategies in this area of our library collections. Practical ideas followed on how to incorporate Kindles, how to promote ebooks and the importance of keeping usage records. Julia Petrov from St Patrick’s College, Ballarat emphasised that eresources should always be no more than three clicks away and we must make it easy for our users. The provision of ebooks and eresources requires flexible and creative thinking on the part of library staff.  By working together, we will be in a stronger position to know what works and how to achieve the best deal for our schools.

Presentations and notes from the conference will be available via the member’s area of the SLAV website.

General Points

  • Advantages of eBooks and eResources – they’re private, can’t be lost, instant, great for when a book is in high demand and you don’t want to buy multiple copies of it, content can often be differentiated according to different learning standards e.g., Online Britannica has low, medium and high levels
  • People still want print books over eBooks
  • EBook usage seems to be higher than NF. When we chose to introduce fiction eBooks first did we have the order wrong?
  • Provision of eBooks and eResources is higher in the Independent and Catholic sectors. It is concerning, that government schools are falling behind in this area.
  • One often repeated view, was that as a profession, we need to work together with our vendors in order to ensure we meet the needs of our students and staff.
  • Sometimes it is unwise to purchase outright. Consider more flexible options such as leasing.
  • Publishers are not the same and they often and do change their eBook licensing agreements. We must learn to manage this.
  • Don’t expect one provider to meet all of your eLearning needs.
  • Know your usage of eResources and examine whether you are meeting your school’s needs.
  • Access to your resources should be no more than three clicks.

You are invited to share your knowledge of ebooks and eresources via a ‘comment’.

Image source: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tribehut/8091234505

Shift Alt Story – how we tell stories online

Whether it’s ebooks, gaming or graphic novels, we’ve all encountered new forms of storytelling.

The Centre for Youth Literature’s new online course, Shift Alt Story explores how stories have changed (and stayed the same) as they’ve collided with new media in all its forms.

Shift Alt Story is a four week online course, delivered in a similar way to the Victorian Personal Learning Network (VicPLN). Each week participants explore different aspects of story and how they work and change in different online platforms. With a weekly toolkit of handy web tools, professional resources and guest speakers, Shift Alt Story connects your passion for reading to the exciting new world of digital storytelling and transmedia.

Here’s a excerpt from the first unit of the course.

Sometimes it can feel like storytelling and publishing are changing at break-neck speed: we wanted to create a safe space where we could explore these changes together, to play and discuss the challenges and possibilities of digital storytelling with teenagers and children. This course will be a shared experience. We know that young people are playing in this space, and so can we. It’s an opportunity for teachers, librarians, creators and young readers to learn from each other in a new environment.

The course starts on the 1st September. For more information or to book your place in the course, visit the Shift Alt Story page on the State Library of Victoria’s website.

Bookemon – on-demand publishing

Bookemon is a service that allows you to easily create and publish books online and print high quality hard copies on demand. Bookemon has an edCenter that lets educators create a space where students can work on group and individual projects. One teacher librarian making the most of this online tool is Pam Rajapakse. Pam is the teacher librarian at Prairievale Public School, Bossley Park, NSW. In a school where the majority of students speak English as a second language, Pam is using this tool to engage students in literacy and reading. In this guest post, Pam shares her experiences with Bookemon.

Prairievale Public School (PPS) has just over 420 students and the majority have Assyrian heritage. English is a second language for over 90% of families. New arrivals are often enrolled at the school throughout the year. The socio economic level of the community is not the highest and hence the parents are challenged to prioritise needs and wants on a regular basis. So it’s not surprising that reading and writing are school priorities with comprehension skills targeted across stages.

In such an environment, my focus is to support children and teachers with work in the classroom. As research shows, there is a direct correlation between academic achievement and staff and student involvement with the school library.

Reading is one of the most important interventions in breaking through language barriers and children need to enjoy reading for them to read. If someone likes an activity, they are most likely to continue with it. The decision to Bookemon for publishing with students was based on this idea.

At the beginning of the year, I introduced the concepts of Five Ws to Stage 1 classes and continued to refer to this strategy when we engaged in reading and research activities during the year. The Bookemon publishing process started with students returning to the Five Ws, creating characters, settings and events based on a plot created by the class. We negotiated names, places, settings, changed characters and descriptions to suit the evolving plots, we laughed, debated and agreed to disagree on many things along the way. Every child in every class was allocated a page to illustrate and one child was selected to illustrate the front cover.

Illustrating the stories acted as a great leveller and a confidence builder – some were keen to draw, some were not whilst others did not want their work published. So it was essential to applaud and appreciate individual efforts by each and every child along the way as it proved that whilst not all of us are gifted with the paint brush, beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder. It was such a buzz towards the end of the process because teachers and students could see how the book was coming together and could not wait to see the finished product.

Read_A_Wolf_comes_to_Peaceful_Town___Storybook_Preview___Bookemon_com

While the students gained some insight into how a story is constructed and what’s involved in the process of publishing, I think what I value most was their increased appreciation of how language works. The process of combining words to form beautiful ideas and depicting what the words don’t tell you in their drawings has begun to build my students’ confidence and motivation to read.

I am hoping that these activities and the outcomes we’ve seen aren’t limited to the library space and teachers at PPS engage with similar ideas in their classrooms. Bookemon provided the perfect platform for the stories to be published. As a school, I have had to register and create an account, free of charge. Once I scanned and uploaded the illustrations, the formatting templates were very easy to navigate with the entire palette of editing tools ready at hand. I received the books I ordered in two weeks in very good condition, confirmed and posted from the US via ordinary post. I am hoping to repeat the activity with other stages gradually in the next year as many teachers have already expressed their interest. Teachers’ feedback on the program shows me activities like this in the library are making a positive impact on not only students, but teachers too.

Thank you, Pam, for sharing your learning and teaching with us. Visit Pam’s page on Bookemon to view more books written and illustrated by PPS students.

Ebooks at the State Library of Victoria

Libraries in all sectors are working to provide access to ebooks. Vicki Nelson, Redmond Barry Collection Librarian at the State Library of Victoria, describes the process from the perspective of a collecting institution with millions of items. She talks about developing processes around acquiring ebooks on a large scale.

The State Library of Victoria (SLV) has been working hard to increase access to our collections so Victorians can use material from anywhere, not just within the building. This in part comes from the ongoing process of digitisation, as over 600 000 heritage pictures, newspapers, manuscripts and out of copyright Victorian books are now available online. We also provide home access to subscription databases for Victorian registered users and have moved many of our print serials online, so ebooks was a logical next step.

Initially we ran an ebook trial in 2012 where patrons selected books for acquisition. The success of this trial fed into a working group which identified suppliers and streamlined selection, acquisition and cataloguing processes. As a result, SLV made ebooks available for general use in July 2013.

We made the decision to use two suppliers as it gave us the opportunity to choose from a greater range of books.  SLV currently uses EBL and EBSCOHost as our ebook providers.  Both link to our normal overseas book supplier’s selection and acquisition process.  Both are for a single user, although EBL does have the flexibility of multiple users viewing the same book at the same time, but limits the overall number of times a book can be looked at in a year.

SLV has chosen wherever possible to purchase rather than rent ebooks, so they are permanently accessible. Of the titles we select, there are still only about 40% of overseas books available to us as ebooks.  Australian publishing is even less ebook ready – we purchase books as they are published and the ebook version may not be available for months after this date. At this stage we are not ready to move to an Australian ebook selection process, so we will monitor the Australian situation until there is a change.

One of the main reasons we moved to ebooks was so that we could make them available to our Victorian registered users. Ereaders require you to download free software onto the device but once that is done an ebook can be downloaded and used for up to 7 days.  We have created a guide to help new users access ebooks from our collections and there is a link to this on every ebook record in the catalogue.

If you want to find out which ebooks we have available, the quickest way is to search for a topic and add the word ‘ebooks’, eg ‘History ebooks’ and then refine your search using the filters on the left hand side.

history ebook

You can also filter your search by ‘Genre’ and select ‘Electronic resources’.

genre

Like print books, the general model is one person at a time but this varies depending on where we purchased the ebook.  For example, EBL ebooks allow more than one person to access the same item at the same time, but limits the total number of times the ebook can be looked at during the year.

Whatever the number of ebooks in your collection, the process for selecting a provider is the same – trial as many as you can, test the platforms based on your needs and make a checklist of  titles you want and see which companies provide them. If you can, test systems with your users and see how books work on their equipment.

Even though ebooks cost more to provide, there are a number of advantages for patrons. Ebooks can be used immediately by users inside your library and from anywhere they have web access. Ebooks are also ready to use as soon as they are purchased without the need for processing or shelving.

SLV has over a million print books and is continuing to add to this collection. Not all books are available as ebooks or on the platforms that the library is using.  So at this stage, the State Library of Victoria will continue to be a hybrid library of print and electronic resources.

eCOGSS – a collaborative ebook project

Rachel Fidock reports on an innovative ebook service developed by four secondary schools in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria.

Many school libraries across Australia are choosing to create ebook libraries – online libraries where students are able to borrow and read ebooks on their own devices. But how easy is it to create an ebook library, and would our students prefer physical books?

In the Goulburn Valley of Victoria, teacher librarian Helen Taylor, formerly of Shepparton High School, took up the challenge of creating an ebook library with a difference. The result is eCOGSS (eBooks City Of Greater Shepparton Schools) ebook lending facility, an online service that caters to not one, but four secondary schools in the region. Of the six secondary schools approached to be involved, Goulburn Valley Grammar SchoolMooroopna Secondary College, Shepparton High School and Wanganui Park Secondary College chose to take part (one non-government and three government schools).

Accommodating the needs of four schools in one service may seem like a daunting task, but as a consortium, the combined experience and ideas of the group proved to be a great advantage.

In the development stage, according to Helen Taylor, Library Managers from each school took the idea back to their administrators and IT departments as the project’s success depended on these groups. The project group chose Wheelers to provide the ebook lending platform due to their competitive pricing and willingness to accommodate their needs. Meetings on Skype with representatives from Wheelers, Library Managers and school administrators gave everyone the chance to discuss ideas and refine the group’s requirements.

Taylor believes that the model they developed – where each school has their own account, chooses their own books and pays for them – made the process of sharing a common elibrary highly successful. And by sharing resources, the schools were able to create a service where all ebooks are now available to all students, regardless of the school that paid for them – improving access and value for money. In March 2013, the eCOGSS ebook lending facility opened for business, with 8% of enrolled patrons borrowing more then one ebook.

Given the success of the project in terms of the schools involved, what do the students think of eCOGSS?

In early December 2013, Bright Ideas conducted a survey of 24 students ranging from years seven to nine, from Shepparton High and Mooroopna Secondary College, to determine if the students were using eCOGSS, if they preferred ebooks to physical books and what they thought the future of school libraries might be.

The survey results show that 54% of the students borrow from the eCOGSS ebook lending facility, while 13% prefer to get their ebooks elsewhere (Wattpad is a popular choice, especially given the amount of self-publishing which occurs on this platform).

54% of students preferred not to get their books online (17% were undecided). Some of their comments included:

  • I like paper books because you can find more out about them before you borrow.
  • I prefer books to technology.
  • The books in the library I can take home but the books online I can’t access at home.
  •  I find it really annoying having to set up your laptop and etc. just to read a book. I hate reading off a computer. It can’t be good for your eyes. And I like reading a paper book that you can take anywhere and is easy.

For those students who did prefer getting books online in the form of ebooks, some reasons were:

  • There is a wider range of books
  • It’s easier than going to a public library
  • It’s easier then carrying [books] around the school
  • You don’t have to carry them around and there are books here that are not in the library

Students were asked what they thought about the future of libraries and school libraries. Some of their comments are featured below:

  • There will be fancy scrolls that when you open them you can flick through pages like an ipad and everything will be stored on them (every thing!!!). [Student doesn’t use eCOGSS but reads Google Books]
  • I think libraries will be using technology and ebooks more than they do now. [Student doesn’t use eCOGSS but prefers to get books online
  • I think libraries will die out because of the internet and online reading. [Student doesn’t borrow from eCOGSS. Reads ebooks from Wattpad]
  • In all honesty I don’t think that libraries will change that much because there will always be people who like paper books.
  • I think they should stay the same. Maybe you can put in an order on-line to borrow it but then go pick it up and read a book not a text on a screen.
  • They won’t have libraries if people always use online.
  • Please continue helping us, finding books. Thank you. [Student doesn’t borrow ebooks]
  • I think it’s a great opportunities for readers to get a chance to do what they like. [Student doesn’t borrow ebooks]
  • Have a library and ebooks. [Student borrows ebooks from eCOGSS]
  • While it’s a good idea that books are easily obtained and read, nothing really beats a good old book. Though I do enjoy ebooks very much. [Student borrows ebooks from eCOGSS]

While it’s interesting to see the opinions of this group of students, only a small number were surveyed, so it would be interesting to see whether students in the broader community use their school elibraries in the same way. It’s also important to note that students’ like or dislike of elibraries ebooks often depends on their exposure to and abililty to access them. The evidence from this survey suggests that there are students using eCOGSS and some students prefer reading ebooks. However, the results also suggest many students prefer to read physical books.

It’s clear to see that eCOGSS ebook lending facility is a great example of how collaboration and partnership between schools and teacher librarians can lead to better library services across school communities and large geographical areas.

Ned Kelly app from the State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria recently launched a new app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices – Ned Kelly at the State Library of Victoria.

The app explores Ned Kelly’s early life and family, events leading up to his capture at the siege of Glenrowan, his trial and legacy.

Over 220 images from the Library’s collections are included, letting you zoom in on documents, newspaper illustrations, photos and original artworks from the time. There are also a number of videos including one with Peter Carey discussing his work, The True History of the Kelly Gang.

This resource is an invaluable starting point for research into Ned Kelly with detailed information on key events in his life.

You can access the app on iTunes or Google play.

 

eBooks and Online Content Trade Expo

Access and management of digital resources became a good deal clearer for the large group of school library professionals attending the School Library Association of Victoria eBooks and Online Content Trade Expo at Melbourne Girls Grammar on Saturday 27 July.

The aim of the Expo was to demystify the concept of ebooks and online digital content.  It was a fast moving day of presentations from providers of free and subscription-based content for schools through digital content management systems, some of which we already subscribe to but could use more fully, others that opened up ideas for future development.  Presenters included:

  • Soltlink – Overdrive
  • Oxford University Press
  • Read Plus/Links Plus
  • Access-It Software
  • Follett eBooks
  • Jacaranda
  • OCLC Worldshare
  • Wheelers Books
  • EBSCO
  • Bolinda Digital

Links to resources from the Expo are available at SLAVConnects.  Exploring the options available in this rapidly developing field can be bewildering, however, this list provides a starting place for exploring online services even if you were not able to attend on the day.

Scanner turns books into touch screen devices

As e-books, e-readers and tablets become more prevalent, it’s been fashionable to argue that technology will spell the end of the traditional printed book. Just as the printing press changed the way books were made, and digital distribution has lead to physical copies of music being less popular, it is easy to think that the printed book will slowly fade away. But a recent prototype by Fujitsu Laboratories suggests that maybe the printed page and technology can coexist.

The video below demonstrates an early prototype of a gesture driven book scanner. Images can be overlaid on the page with a projector and a camera tracks the user’s finger and hand gestures. Users can select text and images and other media can be laid over the page.

It’s an interesting demonstration of the possibilities that come from combining books with technology. Hopefully developments like this mean that readers will still be able to experience the lovely feeling that comes from opening up a book, whilst also being able to make use of the convenience of digital technologies.

Image credit: Screengrab from Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds, Diginfonews