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.

AITSL research project – VicPLN reflection

Last year, some of you completed a survey for us exploring your experiences of the Victorian Personal Learning Network (VicPLN) courses. In this post, we’d like to share our findings.

The team at the State Library of Victoria applied to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to research the impact of our professional learning approaches, in particular the impact of networked learning in the VicPLN program.

We undertook surveys and case studies with questions based on Stephen Heppell’s framework for effective learning.

Our hypothesis:

That the online delivery of the Victorian Personal Learning Network course (VicPLN) through guided collaborative learning encourages sustained change in professional practice in schools and school libraries.

Despite considerable positive feedback over the years, we weren’t anticipating the profound impact the PLN had on many participants, their attitudes to learning and confidence with peers.

Truly it transformed me or maybe it turned me inside out […] – it allowed me to develop professionally with like-minded people. It allowed me to share with those people and beyond. It allowed me to find serendipitously things that I needed and that gave me more ideas.

[…it has changed the] way I think about trying to solve problems – so if I need something – I don’t know what I used to do, but now […] I’ll go on Twitter and I’ll ask or I’ll use a certain network of people […] you don’t Google it – you Twitter it.

Key trends – Case studies

Importance of sharing – Participants who took part with colleagues from their school or library found the shared experience made the learning more meaningful and immediately applicable in the workplace.

And in terms of the library I think it’s been profound as well, in the sense that we have restructured our library, we’re aware of the way libraries are changing and I think the PLN has given us confidence to move forward and I think, a little bit out of the box in terms of our approach.

Power of networks and the idea of an authentic audience for learning – For some participants networked learning was completely transformative, changing their entire approach to teaching and learning. It enabled them to become advocates for change in their schools and the broader professional community.

[…] what the PLN did for me was to see – was to give me a bridge to what I think all education should do […] almost a subversive bridge for the children, for the students out into the world […] – I was with true colleagues. […] It gave me and it affirmed that this is what a great teacher aims to be, out in the world, thinking, making connections, making possibilities, realising possibilities.

Key trends – Survey

The first place people share is with their colleagues, with 98.5% of participants indicating they shared their professional learning with colleagues and school staff.

It makes sense that educators, as part of deeply collegiate profession, look to peers before looking out to the broader online community. It also highlights the importance of PLNs in all their forms, be they local, international or something in between. The power is in connecting with others around a shared goal.

[The PLN is] probably the first time I’ve shared my professional thinking with anybody […] in schools, you might at a staff meeting or something, but that’s probably the biggest change in my mindset, the kind of thing that I try and get other people to do now is to realise that when you’re sharing you’re not showing off, you’re … trying to get reactions to help you learn more.

72% of participants surveyed indicated that the course gave them the confidence to share with peers. Developing the confidence and shared language to engage in professional discussions with peers is core to being an advocate for change in schools and libraries. Getting issues out in the open for debate supports organisational transparency and cultural change.

The PLN has given me a language to talk to other people […] although I tend to take ideas from it rather than give online, I do share those ideas with other staff. […] look it’s really worth everyone being encouraged to do it […] it is life-changing. In the sense that my teaching practice is different.

I feel as though I have the vocabulary now to ask the right questions, whereas before I did the PLN I didn’t even know what questions I should ask.

The PLN, for me, provided a space in which to explore possibilities […] it changed my relationship [with staff and students], it changed how I operate, that I became a more effective change agent.

The project was a wonderful opportunity for the PLN team and past participants to reflect on our practice and the impact the course has had on individuals and broader networks. One of the most interesting results for us was how sharing often begins with local PLNs including colleagues in schools and communities close by.

Our networks begin close to home and then with growing confidence and success, reach out into world.

 For information on our online courses, visit the State Library of Victoria website.

Image credit

PLN Plus reflection – community in the making

In this guest post from Sue Osborne, Head of Library Service, Haileybury College, Brighton, she shares her experience of the recent PLN Plus course.

I was interested to do the PLN+ because I had participated in several PLN courses (two 23 things, PLN research tool kit) and I was interested in taking the things I had learned the next level. I was also interested in the idea of project work and finding other library professionals who were interested in developing similar ideas in their schools.

I found the course to be quite different from my past experience of the PLN. Firstly, it was a shorter course – only four weeks long, but it was filled with new ideas, so in terms of content it still delivered. There was also a less formal approach, with four stages rather than particular products or apps to focus on. It was more about the process of starting and growing networks, rather than specific, measurable outcomes. I found this approach disconcerting at first, but once we all started talking about our areas of interest, I took to it well.

I enjoyed the relaxed approach, self-driven learning, connecting with like-minded colleagues who wanted to be instruments of change within their organisations as well as a huge pool of ideas and tools to think about and try. I will be exploring the tools for at least the next month or so! I’ve listed my three favourite tools below.

1/ Mightybell – the platform the PLN was based in has been fantastic. It is easy to use, looks great and has greatly enhanced the learning and sharing for this course. Far superior to Edmodo, which was used in the last course. I love it. Not sure how I might use it in my work, except perhaps to set up a project group of my own down the track (not on the cards just yet)

2/ Shadow Puppet – this iPad app allowed me to take photographs and then record a narration track over a slide show. I decide when each photo comes up. It is intuitive and dead easy to use (as easy as Animoto, which I use almost constantly at work now). I am planning to use Shadow Puppet with my newly formed Middle School Library Committee. We are going to make short how-to presentations about the library catalogue, searching and so on for classes to view before they come to the Library to do research

3/ Padlet – this product let’s you set up a wall, send the link to people you want to have participate in the project/discussion and you all post ideas (a bit like post-it notes) so you can collaborate and brainstorm together. I am already using this regularly with other staff to talk about planning information literacy sessions and trying to develop a reading culture within the school

I guess the number one thing I am taking from the course is a sense of community – that we are all part of something bigger, something that can help us achieve great (or small) things. The openness of the participants has been fantastic and I think many of us will stay in touch by following each other on Twitter, or continuing to build on our Padlets or other collaborative tools.

I will also take a renewed sense of purpose in what I do, and the knowledge that I have skills and experience that other people appreciate and value, just as I value their experience and skills. The rise in my professional (and as a result, personal) self-esteem was an unexpected bonus.

Finally I plan to implement some programs in my school and document them, with the objective of sharing them via Bright Ideas, or perhaps even FYI, so that others can see what I am doing, and perhaps be inspired to try something different. I have the confidence to push myself forward and try harder, which is probably the most valuable thing of all.

Image credit: Toban Black on flickr

You can follow Sue on Twitter at @LibraryMonitor and her reviewing blog Worth Reading, Worth Sharing.

 

PLN Plus – be the change you want to see

Kelly Gardiner, Online Learning Manager at the State Library of Victoria, is a well-known voice in the VicPLN community, particularly in relation to professional learning for educators and librarians. This post introduces the guiding questions that underpin the new PLN+ course, beginning on the 11th March.

We’ve been wondering: what’s the next logical step for people who’ve done the VicPLN course?

Last year, we found out. With support from AITSL, we carried out some research into impacts of the VicPLN courses. Many of you participated in that. The thing is that a startling number of people report that the course changes their practice. And once that’s happened, what do they do?

They – you  – start to enact whatever changes seem most needed in your immediate world or beyond. It might be changes to the way you do your work, the way you collaborate with colleagues, the interactions with students, simple process or system fixes, big initiatives.

It’s about leading change.

Now, we’re not all Joan of Arc.

But it seemed clear to us that after the initial PLN courses, people then need the skills, tools and resources to enable them to enact the kinds of change they want to see – in their workplace, in their classroom or library, in the wider school community, in professional networks, in disciplines, or the broader systems and structures.

How do you become an advocate for literacy or simply for more resources? How do you collaborate to create new professional networks or share ideas or raise funds? How do you involve the wider community in learning? How do you create programs that pass on what you’ve learned to students?

How do you define what you want to do, attract support, design and manage projects?

How do you keep on learning, when you have so much to do already?

And what does that mean about our VicPLN network – what do you need from it now?

We can’t promise to answer all of those huge questions in a few weeks. But let’s make a start, shall we?

If you’d like to take part in the course (and maybe change the world just a bit) you can find out more here or email learning@slv.vic.gov.au  to book a place.

PLN Plus March 2014

In March the State Library of Victoria will begin a new kind of PLN program, PLN Plus.

PLN Plus is designed for teacher librarians and educators who want to find out how to effect change in their schools and learning communities. The program will run for four weeks and will involve a group project where participants work with like minded people on a passion project – what is the one thing you would change if you could? It could be a practical endeavour like getting your school blogging, or look beyond to setting up TeachMeet-style programs and community building.

Each week participants will be introduced to relevant new tools and online environments and also have the opportunity to engage with inspiring educators and librarians who have made change happen in their schools and broader communities. We will also discuss theories and research that inform the concept of networked learning and key trends in education looking to the future.

You can register to take part in this course, but numbers are limited. For more information visit the State Library of Victoria website, PLN Plus page.

VicPLN list of online tools

As part of Unit 4 – Teaching and learning tools in the Victorian Personal Learning Network (PLN), our team has collated a list of online tools for participants to test drive and review.

The list has been collated  in a Google doc – Tools.

Tools are tagged using the following categories (with a few examples):

If you’re more of a visual type, we have also built a list in a Springpad notebook. You can sort by tags using the Filter option (this may not display properly in some browsers, so if it doesn’t just use the Google Document instead).

We will be posting regularly to #vicpln with links to people’s reviews and examples.

Image credit: Helmut Newton, (1953) Construction of 36-mile oil pipeline at Corio, State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection

New approaches for VicPLN in 2013

For a few years now, the Victorian Personal Learning Network (PLN) course has provided professional development for school library staff and educators. The twelve-week course was presented online by the State Library of Victoria and the School Library Association of Victoria, and hundreds of people have participated in the course over the years.

Through the Personal Learning Network participants can:

  • Engage in personalised professional development with educators across Victoria and beyond
  • Build their own personal learning network through a self-paced online learning system
  • Connect with hundreds of colleagues who share resources and support their learning
  • Use the web in innovative ways to enrich their teaching and learning experience.

VicPLN alumni have gone on to create a thriving online community – a PLN in action – which provides support, resources, inspiration and great ideas throughout the year.

2013 sees a slight change in approach for the online courses, in response to feedback from participants and our sense that it’s time to move beyond focus on “shiny new tools”. Following last year’s trial of a short course on research skills and tools, the 2013 program offers a range of shorter courses for people at different stages of their PLN experience:

  • Personal Learning Network introductory courses are now a more achievable seven units: the first course in this format begins March 12. Course materials focus on concepts and skills and a core set of web tools that we all need in our toolkit
  • PLNPlus is a four-unit “advanced” PLN experience, based on a more collaborative online learning model – presented for the first time from July 15
  • The Research Toolkit is a four-unit course focused on research tools and skills, offered this year from 14 October.
  • Shorter modules are in planning on topics such as digital storytelling.

We’ll keep you posted about course opportunities in the coming months and we’d also love to hear your ideas or feedback on past – or future – PLN courses. Leave us a comment here or tweet us via #VicPLN.

 

Mapping your PLN

In 2010, I read David Warlick’s Gardener’s Approach to Learning: Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network and was inspired to map out my PLN (personal learning network). I’m glad I did because it gave me a different perspective of my learning landscape. I saw how I was connecting with colleagues and professionals, what places were most productive for me, and I was able to identify gaps worth exploring for future growth and weed out connections no longer meeting my needs. Growing my PLN became more purposeful.

Remapping my PLN a couple of years later, gave me further insight; I became aware of how the tools were shaping me, how they were shaping my online relationships and that I was growing from being a consumer towards being a collaborative, creative producer in my network. The activity was inspiring, rewarding and produced concrete evidence of professional growth. The map is a highly visual artefact that can be used in professional development plans and performance review conversations.

If you have never mapped your PLN before you may want to start simply with:

  • Face-to-face associations – eg. Teaching faculties, school/organisation learning teams, professional organisations you meet with in person.
  • Online associations – eg. nings, online organisations, Twitter hashtags you follow like #vicpln, groups on social media sites like Facebook
  • Access/aggregation – places you go to for learning and things you subscribe to eg. blogs, newsletters, curation tools like Diigo

Concentrate on your cohorts and the types of connections you have developed, don’t worry about naming individuals.

Once you are confident mapping your own PLN, why not take it a step further and have your students try mapping theirs? Most young people already have informal networks for learning, especially those involved in online gaming. Mapping then discussing as a group places they go to obtain information could help them to see connections between informal and academic learning. It might also be a great way of introducing them to a broader range of resources and ways that cultivating their PLN can help them achieve at school.

What it takes to be a DIY Learner

Maria Anderson on Free Range Learning

With so much educational content now online for free, many educators are turning to DIY or free-range learning to support their professional development. It’s a great idea, but having limitless information at your fingertips does not equal learning. And simply consuming content does not mean that skills or knowledge will develop.

In this illuminating TED Talk, “Recipe for Free Range Learning”, Maria Anderson takes the audience through conditions and elements vital for successful self-directed learning.  Participating in online programs such as the Personal Learning Network can help learners meet many of the conditions Maria speaks about in her TED Talk. You can check out details of the next PLN course here.

Maria also highlights some of the common pitfalls in managing one’s learning such as info-whelm, decision fatigue and optimism bias.

This video could also be well worth viewing and discussing with students, perhaps as a springboard for further talks on time management, learning habits or future pathways learning.