SLAV and ALIA collaborate on Bendigo conference

The newly refurbished Bendigo Branch Library of the Goldfields Library Services was recently the venue for a joint conference of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV).  See Rhonda’s Flickr album for further images.

Held on 1 May, the conference entitled Together we are stronger in building communities, was an opportunity for regional library professionals to participate in professional learning within their own community with presenters and topics largely related to the local region.

Use of the #slavconf Twitter hashtag which has become familiar to SLAV professional learning events, was embraced by delegates who used it to share ideas and resources with the broader community of followers. Some of the significant tweets from the conference provided a shapshot into the day.

The opening of the conference

Collaboration and resource sharing including the changing nature of libraries

Tania Berry’s presentation on Makerspaces

Digital Citizenship from the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation

The day was evidence of successful collaboration between school and public library sectors and augers well for future partnerships to benefit regional members in particular.

Presenters notes will be available online when the new SLAV website is launched at the next professional learning event, a SLAV/State Library of Victoria seminar, on 16 May.

 

A groundswell of playfulness

Hamish Curry, Education Manager at the State Library of Victoria reflects on gaming and playfulness after recently taking part in conferences in Auckland and Melbourne.

Games and playful thinking have been popping up a lot for me recently, more so than usual.

There seems to be a shift in the discussion from the games people play to how games both reflect and add to the culture of our workplaces and public spaces. School libraries can potentially be a hub for this kind of discussion enabling the exploration of games and apps that contribute to our understanding of digital literacy, deep reading and game elements.

In digging deeper I headed along to the inaugural Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) from July 19-21. Here more than 40,000 gamers descended on the Melbourne Show grounds to indulge in games from all kinds of mediums: card games, board games, video games, and talks about games. The scale was overwhelming. It was a powerful physical reminder of just how ubiquitous and diverse games are, as well as how rich the networks and local game development scene are too. I spoke on a panel about The Playful Library exploring the ways in which library spaces can be designed and co-programmed to support games culture. If libraries are keen to engage with the community, then games become a powerful way to bring playfulness and partnerships into their spaces.

Speaking of spaces, I was New Zealand bound the following day to participate in the Auckland City Council’s Hui ‘New Rules of Engagement: Future Directions for Children’s and Youth Services at Auckland Libraries’. This two-day event explored the ‘serious business of being playful’ and brought about 180 staff together to discuss how library spaces can be revitalised, redesigned and reprogrammed to better support families and youth services. There was a strong sense of community driven perspectives coming through the sessions, which also included a workshop on building bridges with newspaper whilst being shot at with Nerf guns! Clearly the play potential of libraries was a key focus, and the energy of the room suggested that the tenacity and eagerness of staff was certainly there.

The themes of risk, innovation, and opportunity kept surfacing. Something that also surfaced during this Hui was an article I’d written for the Schools Catalogue Information Service on Games and learning. In it I explore the ways in which games complement and contrast with education, and how control is always shifting.

Being playful reminds us all that control is at once a state of mind and an opportunity to do things differently.

Image credit: Steam punk nerf guns at Auckland Libraries Hui – librarians vs children!

What’s Technology For, Anyway?

In this guest post, Kristin Fontichiaro, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, School of Information highlights key ideas from her upcoming presentation at SLAV’s, Transliteracy, multiliteracy, makerspaces: how can I participate? on Friday, 16th August.

The other day, I heard a story. A parent of young children heard that the oldest children in the school – ages 9 and 10 – were going to be having an end-of-year technology celebration to which everyone in the building was invited.  Eager to hear what her kids would be experiencing in a few years, she dropped by. The students filed in front of the assembly and, without a word, held up an A4  printout of a presentation slide.

That was it.

The whole school had been pulled out of class to gaze at small pieces of paper dozens of feet away.

Ahem.

Now, I have no doubt that the educators behind that project had great intentions and worked hard. (Anyone who has ever tried to get an entire primary school class to print out a project without mixing up whose is whose knows what a feat it is that each kid actually ended up with anything.)

But how did a tool meant to serve as an illuminated backdrop for public speaking end up as a small paper rectangle held up by a silent child? How did a faculty make a decision that seeing these faraway papers merited pulling every other child out of class? What was this project supposed to accomplish?

It’s hard to know. Maybe the technology curriculum focuses on the acquisition of specific skills and behaviours (“the learner will print from software,” “the learner will format a presentation slide”). Maybe the educators were pressed for time. Maybe something else.

I would argue that the crux of the issue is this: there were not clear, aspirational expectations for how technology could transform, extend, and deepen student learning. I would bet that this faculty did not have a clear understanding of what it meant to teach and learn with technology and how to use technology as a game-changer. I have a hunch that the administration pushed for its staff to use technology without talking about how and why to use it.

I quote an extreme example, but (I fear) it probably resonated within the realm of possibility for you. In this madcap Web 2.0 world, where there are endless “creative” tools, just waiting for you to type in a few words and pick a template, how do we move the conversation from “teachers need to use technology, period,” to, “technology needs to transform the teaching and learning and take students further than they could go without technology.”

Next Friday, we’ll gather to talk about this phenomenon. We’ll look at a possible vocabulary and framework for planning and discussing student work, and we’ll draw inspiration from Alan Liu’s Transliteracies Project as we collaborate to articulate what it means to do robust “reading” and “writing” in multimedia. At the end of the day, we’ll dip quickly into two alternative ways to use technology with kids: digital badging to track learning in formal and informal spaces and the makerspace movement. Come roll up your sleeves and dig in with us!

Image credit : cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Brad Flickinger

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.

Be in control: participate in the new age of school libraries

On May 24th, SLAV hosted ‘Be in control: participate in the new age of school libraries’, a conference for library teams. In this post Cindy Tschernitz, SLAV Executive Officer, reflects on the day. The Bright Ideas team also interviewed delegates at the conference and you can listen to the recording here.

What a fantastic day for all delegates. We embraced the year’s theme of ‘Participate, engage, shine – you, me, us’ with a great level of engagement, interaction and enthusiasm. Delegates don’t want to be passive receptors of information and we need to engage, challenge and involve which we did at this conference. It was particularly heartening to see and hear from library team members who learnt from each other and spread the word beyond Melbourne Park through Twitter.

You can see a Camilla Elliott’s Storify of tweets from the day here.

Speakers were outstanding. James Laussen Principal of Overnewton Anglican Community College and Joy Whiteside, Head of Library (a very active SLAV member and John Ward Award winner) did an excellent job setting the scene for the day. Jim gave us an overview of where education is going and Joy followed with her well researched paper on where school libraries are going. She told it as it is, no holds barred and really allowed all to reflect on their role in the school library and greater school community. We had a solid basis for the rest of the day.

Michael Jongen discussed the issues around how we can best provide access to all types of digital content. What struck me was the complexity of improving access and the more Michael spoke, the more issues were raised. As many of the delegates were involved in technical aspects of school libraries, like cataloguing, there were many many questions raised. To some degree it appears that the new cataloguing rules, RDA (Resource Description and Access) will need ongoing revision and adaptation to keep pace with digital content.

From the feedback we received, the concurrent sessions were very engaging. Thank you to Joyce, Michael and Renate and the one I attended, Management 101 presented by Janet Blackwell. Janet spoke with experience, wisdom and honesty. Telling it like it is should have been the theme for the day. Janet led us through her toolbox, showed us the tactics that she has used to ensure that the school library she is responsible for gets the credit and dollars that it  deserves by making it an indispensable part of the school community. Jane gave us some fantastic quotes which I would encourage all to look at via the days Twitter hashtag #SLAVconf.

The partnership between SLAV and the State Library of Victoria was highlighted by the afternoon’s session led by Kelly Gardiner and Cameron Hocking. The panel discussion of PLN participants and stakeholders gave some insight into the value of the PLN. It was great for those of us who are PLN dropouts to know we’re not alone and even more importantly that there are ways we can improve our time management strategies to help complete the course next time. The hands-on demonstrations exploring search strategies, curation, social media and workflow were also excellent. Next conference we will make sure that we have more time so people can attend more than one practical session.

To finish the day and highlight the importance of SLAV’s partnerships with both ALIA and other state school library associations in the Australian arena, Sue McKerracher spoke about a number of initiatives particularly the The Future of the Profession project and the 13 Project. These projects bring together government, school library associations and other agencies in an initiative that will support the school community but will also provide an important platform for advocacy for school libraries.

If I had only one word to describe the conference it would be ‘invigorating’. I am looking forward to the next one on August 15 Transliteracy: who do you ask and how can you participate? which features Professor Kristin Fontichiaro, University of Michigan, School of Information in her first Australian visit. Hope to see you there.

Splash: multimedia resources, games and online events from the ABC

Splash is a new educational initiative developed in partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Commission and Education Services Australia. The site includes a large library of media clips, audio, games and activities for teachers and students mapped against the Australian Curriculum.

The multimedia library provides access to the ABC’s impressive archive, including age-appropriate notes and questions. There is also information for parents, including a brief guide to the Australian Curriculum. All resources are free and can be accessed from any device.

In addition to resources, Splash is also the hub for live national events facilitated through online conferencing, connecting students to experts and each other.

This brief introductory video provides background to the project and highlights key resources.

Untangling the Web with Aleks Krotoski

Aleks Krotoski is an academic,  psychologist and journalist who writes about the impact of technology on our lives. Aleks’ upcoming book Untangling the Web: What the Internet is Doing to You, explores the ways the web can influence our relationships and change our perceptions of ourselves and others.

Aleks is in Australia as the inaugural speaker for the Digital Society series at the State Library of Victoria (tickets are still available for both free events on May 20 & May 21). We were lucky enough to speak to Aleks about her work. You can listen to the full interview below, as Aleks explores the importance of cultivating an online persona,  the tension that exists between our private and public selves and the importance of information literacy. She also shares her ambition to own a full set of the 1974 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

 


Portrait of ASeks Krotoski © Kevin MeredithShow notes and links:

Aleks’ online reporter’s notebook for Untangling the Web

Aleks Krotoski on Twitter

Aleks’ Tech Weekly podcast series

Aleks interviews T. Mills Kelly on Lying about the past

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger (Amazon)

Google’s Eric Schmidt: The Internet needs a delete button  

 

 

New writers in residence on Inside a Dog

Jordi Kerr, Learning Programs Officer at the Centre for Youth Literature talks about upcoming writers in residence on insideadog.

Ever wanted to break into a writer’s mind and find out the true story – how do they do it? What makes them tick? Where did that idea come from? Welcome to insideadog’s Residence blog.

insideadog hosts a different YA writer each month – they hang around the kennel, and write posts that give an insight into their lives and writing process. It’s a unique opportunity for students, regardless of their geographical location, to pick the brains of an author. By commenting on the blog posts, students can interact with professional writers, and have their questions about reading and writing answered.

In March, debut author Myke Bartlett provided candid and humorous explorations of his background and process, as well as exclusive glimpses at some of his unpublished work, and his upcoming sequel to Fire in the Sea.  (You can easily access all of Myke’s posts here.)

Myke has also aptly demonstrated that blog writing is an art form in its own right. In the classroom the Residence blog can be used as a launch pad to discuss and explore how writing for an online audience is different to writing for print. What makes a good blog? How is blog success measured? How can readers be encouraged to become involved?

In April, American graphic novelist (artist and writer) Raina Telgemeier was at the helm. (You may have heard of her multi-award winning book Smile?) If you’ve ever been uncertain about how to introduce graphic novels into your classroom, this is your chance. Raina’s got some great posts from how a graphic novel is born (and raised), advice for budding cartoonists and graphic novel recommendations for young readers. You can access all her posts here.

Insideadog endeavours to publish the names of upcoming resident authors ahead of time, to give teachers the opportunity to prepare and plan. Students can familiarise themselves with the author’s books, and research them online. There is also a blogging worksheet included in the site’s teacher resources, which you can use or adapt to foster discussion.

You may notice that over the next few months the writers hosted on insideadog are also involved in our Reading Matters Student Day program. For those students lucky enough to be attending Reading Matters, the residence blog gives them a chance to get to know the authors beforehand.

TeachMeet Time Machine

Hamish Curry, Education Manager at the State Library of Victoria, reflects on the evolution of Teachmeets and the next one coming up at the Library on May 16.

Teachmeet Time Machine

Thursday 16 May

What’s the one thing all teachers would ask for if the impossible was possible? Yep that’s right, a time machine. I’m sure every teacher would use it a little differently, and funnily enough it was an item that children thought the State Library of Victoria should get their hands on too. When the Library conducted public surveys in late 2012 around the ‘Your Library, Your Say’ initiative for exploring how the Library might grow, school children were among the respondents. Their feedback included all sorts of creative ideas on how the Library could ‘jazz things up’, and one of those included a request that the Library get a time machine.

While a time machine could take us a while to source or build, there is no stopping us tapping into the wisdom of educators to get some insights on how time can be measured, experienced, and used. With the next Teachmeet Melbourne coming up at the State Library of Victoria on Thursday 16 May (4:30 – 7pm)  and with such an array of interesting and networked educators presenting and attending, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to see how creatively educators could address the theme of a ‘time machine’.

Teachmeets in Australia have been one of the most exciting aspects of the growth in educators sharing expertise. They are free professional learning events with self-nominated or crowd-sourced presentations ranging from 2-7 minutes long. Talks might be about web tools or equipment, learning programs, or new approaches to teaching. They are essentially an ‘unconference’ event, an opportunity for teachers to share and compare ideas. There is certainly a technology focus to the events, but that should be no surprise given that a Teachmeet is only one letter more than a ‘Techmeet’.

We’re excited by the opportunity to host the next Teachmeet Melbourne. We’re even more excited to see how the ‘time machine’ theme creates some playful presentations. After all, there is no time like the present to join a network and see where the future takes you.

Sign up for the May 16 Teachmeet as either a presenter or an attendee and find out more about other Teachmeet Melbourne events. The May 16 event will begin at 5.00pm, but there is also a chance to get a behind the scenes tour of the State Library of Victoria from 4.30pm. 

 

Reading Matters 2013

The schedule for Reading Matters 2013 is now available, boasting an impressive line up of emerging and established authors from across Australia and the world.

One of the themes explored this year is story told through different mediums with speakers including poet Tim Sinclair, games developer Paul Callaghan and American graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier.

The conference will also explore adults and teens within the YA context and gatekeeping – who decides what teens can, can’t and should read?

International guests include:

Libba Bray (UK), author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and Going Bovine

Gayle Forman (US), author of If I stay and sequel, Where she went

Keith Gray (UK), author of Creepers.

To find out more about the program and how to book visit the State Library of Victoria website or contact the Centre for Youth Literature on 8664 7014 or email youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au.