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.

Partipation through a Virtual Learning Commons

virtual-learning-commons

Delegates at the School Library Association of Victoria Conference last Friday, 8 August, designed and imagined possibilities for the creation of a virtual learning commons that encourages participation by the whole school community.

Lead by Dr David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin, the conference theme Virtual Learning Commons: Building a Participatory School Culture recognises that the school library has a new role. The physical space must change.  It must be flexible – ‘if it doesn’t move it doesn’t belong in the school library’. The book collection needs to be fresh and inviting and the learning situation should control the space.  Furthermore, a well planned and developed virtual library space can be a place of involvement for the school community.

Thanks to delegates who tweeted with #slavconf. This Storify is a compilation of those tweets providing an overview of the conference and resources shared.

Upcoming conference – School Learning Commons

school-learning-comons
On Friday, 8 August, the School Library Association of Victoria will host a one day conference on the theme of the ‘Learning Commons’ model of school libraries – The Virtual Learning Commons: Building a Participatory School Learning Community.  Great excitement surrounds this conference as key presenters will be school library professionals and champions of the Learning Commons model for school libraries, Dr David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin who are making a rare trip to Australia.  During their brief visit, school library professionals will have the opportunity to attend the conference and special workshop days to develop the model more fully according to their own needs.

Dr David Loertscher, Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University (USA) and Carol Koechlin, staff development leader and instructor for Educational Librarianship courses for York University and University of Toronto (Canada) are synonomous with  school library leadership, instruction and information literacy skills development.  They are well know for publications such as Ban those Bird Units and a series of books on the Learning Commons model.

Resources to support school libraries as Learning Commons, can be seen on The School Learning Commons Knowledge Building Center website.  David and Carol also discuss the concept in detail in their article Climbing to Excellence: Defining characteristics of successful learning commons.

Their publications include: The Virtual Learning Commons | The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win | Building a Learning Commons: A Guide for School Administrators and Learning Leadership Teams but are really too numerous to list fully.

This conference will focus particularly on the Virtual Learning Commons (VLC).  As schools move to 1:1 technology and easily accessible online resources, the VLC becomes a valuable tool for teachers and library staff alike in organising resources and guiding instruction.  Delegates will be provided with a framework for developing an online resource to support information literacy skills instruction and guided inquiry.  This really is a ‘can’t miss’ professional learning opportunity for school library professionals.

Full conference details and registration are available on the SLAV website.

School libraries as Learning Commons – physical & virtual

learningcommonsa

In recent years school libraries worldwide have undergone a period of re-evaluating their role and innovating into a new future.  The changing nature of both education and resources, accompanied by easy online access to information and 1:1 computing, have all been part of this change.

Next month School Library Assoc of Victoria will welcome to Melbourne two renowned library professionals who have played a significant role in leading the change worldwide, Dr David V Loertscher and Carol Koechlin.  David and Carol are library educators well known for information literacy skills development and for providing practical support for rethinking and re-imagining school libraries.

Their work on developing the model of school libraries as Learning Commons, can be seen on The School Learning Commons Knowledge Building Center website.  It is discussed in their article Climbing to Excellence: Defining characteristics of successful learning commons. This article is also available in the latest edition of SLAV’s online professional journal Synergy.

To quote David and Carol:

The focus of the transformed traditional library should be on learning in its many manifestations, whether formal or informal, and the word “commons” could reflect a shift from a top-down organisational structure to the flat networked world where the clients, both teachers and students, consider themselves to be in command of knowledge building.

We have proposed that the learning commons serve a unique purpose in the school as a bridge between educational philosophy being practiced and the real world.  As such, the learning commons serves school curriculum but also is known as a place for experimenting, playing, making, doing, thinking, collaborating, and growing.  A series of Learning Commons books have been produced to support this journey.

Recently they’ve been involved in the development of Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada, 2014 which presents a model for the development and implementation of the school library as a library learning commons, providing educators with a common set of standards of practice for moving forward.

Teacher librarians will be familiar with some of their practical and popular information literacy books published in collaboration with Sandi Swaan:

David and Carol will teach and inspire Australian library professionals at the SLAV Conference, Friday 8 August with a follow-up full day workshop early the next week. See the SLAV website for full details and registration.

Education podcasts with an Australian touch

TER_image

School holidays are a good time to slow down and catch up on what others are doing in the world of education.  Podcasts are an important component of my PLN, they’re easy to access via iTunes and are available for anywhere/anytime listening.  The podcasts to which I subscribe are a broad range of international presenters and topics ranging from education to history, literature and contemporary debates (Intelligence Squared being a favourite in this regard).  Your personal options are unlimited.  Here today, are three specifically Australian education podcasts for your interest.

EdTechCrew
http://www.edtechcrew.net
Australian educators have tuned into the EdTechCrew podcast hosted by educators Darrel Branson (ICTGuy) and Tony Richards (ITMadeSimple) as they’ve discussed all things digital in education since 3 May, 2007. WOW! Such dedication.  If this is news to you, don’t miss out any longer, go to their website The Ed Tech Crew Podcast for links to all their podcasts and associated show notes.

The EdTechCrew podcast also has community of supporters who contribute links and ideas through the EdTechCrew Diigo Group.

EdPod
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/edpod/
Presented on ABC Radio National by Antony Funnell, EdPod updates on the first Friday of each month.  It is a selection of education stories from early childhood to Year 12 that have aired on Radio National in the previous month.  The range of topics are broad as can be seen from this selection for June:

Teachers Education Review
http://terpodcast.com/
Hosted by Cameron Malcher and Corinne Campbell, this fortnightly podcast has a strong focus on educational practice.  It presents teachers from primary and secondary schools who explore the implications of educational policies, teaching practices, and international events that impact on teaching and learning in Australian classrooms.
Included in each fortnightly podcast are the topics:

An interesting conversation on a recent episode was a discussion with  Ewan McIntosh from Scotland (and NoTosh.com) about the origin of Teachmeets, the professional learning model that has now spread worldwide.  He encourages teachers to join local teachmeets but also to collaborate with teachers in different countries under the ‘teachmeet’ banner.  Adopt a teachmeet that’s not your own and create a global connection.

Show notes provide links to conversations and associated resources.  I like to download podcasts via iTunes and listen while commuting but you can also access TERPodcast online at Soundcloud.  Have a listen.

If you have other Australian education podcasts you would like to share, please let us know via the comments option.

‘Synergy’ school library journal – open access

synergy

The journal Synergy, published by the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) began life as a paper journal in 2003. It is a partially refereed professional journal with a focus on the wider world of education and best practice in school librarianship. Edited by Dr Susan La Marca, it is published twice a year.

In 2009 Synergy moved online, but was closed, only accessible to members of the association.  But this year brings change – as of May 27th the back issues of the journal have been made available to anyone. The current issue remains for members only (you can see the contents) and it will be moved to open access as each new edition is published.  SLAV has made the decision to open access to back issues of Synergy because it believes in a culture of collegiality and knowledge dissemination.

Synergy website is http://www.slav.vic.edu.au/synergy/

Synergy has published some wonderful articles during its 10 year history.  They largely reflect Australian school library research and practice written by experienced practitioners, but also include a global perspective.   Professor Ross Todd and Dr Carol Gordon – Rutgers University, USA have been generous contributors over the years, sharing best practice and innovative ideas.

A sample of articles now available online are:

Synergy also reviews professional publications in the field of school librarianship in a dedicated reviews section in each edition.

School Library Association of Victoria leaders hope making Synergy accessible is useful to the broader community of school librarianship. They welcome your feedback on the journal and the move to open access. Contributions of future content are always welcome.

 

Blogging in the classroom – resources by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

If you have ever thought about introducing blogs into your classroom or school library, it’s well worth looking at Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog Langwitches (@langwitches on Twitter).

Recent posts look at how blogging is fundamentally different to simply writing using a computer and how visible thinking routines can get students to reflect and develop metacognitive skills.

blogging-as-pedagogy

Here are a few posts providing strategies and resources for using blogs with students:

To read more great posts about engaging students in blogging, follow the tag ‘Blogging’ on her site.

Unconference and Teachmeet models explained

Participation in social media whether it be via FacebookTwitter, sharing photos through Flickr or one of the many other forms of online collaboration, has provided new opportunities for meeting, learning and sharing professionally.  As online collaboration develops, we see it beginning to influence our learning behaviours.  A new vocabulary and model of socialised professional learning is emerging.  Words such as unconference and meetup are becoming common terms when discussing professional learning. But what do they mean?

Delegates at the recent SLAV conference had the opportunity to participate in the trial of an unconference style workshop.  An unconference can generally be described as a professional learning day (or part day) where people meet with the intention of learning together.  The content of the day is relatively unstructured but is driven by the participants who nominate what they would like to learn about, or alternatively, offer to share their own knowledge on a topic.  While there may be an overall theme, the schedule for the day is loose and is determined by those attending on the day.

Here’s how it happened at the recent SLAV conference:

  • At the conclusion of the morning session delegates were invited to write on a post-it note, a topic they would like to know more about.
  • Over lunch the notes were sorted into categories such as: ebooks, library management, team building, makerspaces and others.
  • At the time of the session, delegates moved into their interest group to discuss and share ideas.
  • Each group was chaired by an experienced librarian or teacher librarian who supported the discussion.

Informality and openness are the key features of an unconference.  While each group has a leader, everyone is encouraged to contribute to the discussion.  Ideally notes are taken and shared via social media e.g. Twitter.

One significant benefit of an unconference session or day is the opportunity to network more closely with colleagues.  The lecture model of traditional conferences is evolving into a more participatory experience.

Teachmeets are another popular form of ‘ground up’ professional learning.  They particularly relate to educators and are also supported by social media.  Many groups have adopted the meetup model as you can see by visiting the site MeetupCelia Coffa wrote a comprehensive post What is a Teachmeet last year.  She is one of the driving forces behind Teachmeet Melbourne, a very successful local learning group.

Teachmeets differ from unconferences in that participants nominate to make a presentation of either 2 or 7 minutes.  It may be the sharing of proven classroom practice or perhaps a favourite learning and teaching tool.  Timing is precise and has the effect of building excitement and tension. Dug Hall explains all about Teachmeet.

We are seeing the sociability of human nature emerge to take advantage of social media as increasing numbers of teachers and other professionals move from the digital social media to arrange to meet in person around a common interest in education, or some other topic. The strength of the concept is that teachers learn from each other within a self organised environment.

Both the Teachmeet and Unconference model are an excellent way to build your professional learning network.  They can be successfully applied to inschool training or subject association branch meetings and have the appeal of giving people a voice and tapping into talent that often remains hidden.

Your library, your career – SLAV / SLV forum

On Friday 16 May, School library Association of Victoria, in conjunction with the State Library of Victoria, held a forum to explore the role of individuals working in a school libraries and the importance of their personal approaches to the position.  Entitled Your Library, Your Career : Manage, advocate and create change for a dynamic school library and fulfilling career, over 100 delegates ranging from teacher-librarians and librarians to technicians attended, once again indicating the diverse range of professionals working in school libraries. This Storify captures the #slavconf Twitter feed of the day, capturing conversations and knowledge sharing made possible beyond the actual forum venue through social media.

Three keynotes addressed the topic: Advocacy, vision, community and personal responsibility in the management of the emerging model of school libraries Justine Hyde, Director Library Services & Experience Directorate, spoke from a State Library of Victoria perspective on The Library as the centre of the community.  Justine outlined the transformation that has occurred in recent years as the result of research, planning and innovation to produce a 95% increase in use of the library by the public.  The journey continues for the State Library as they transform services to include more public involvement with an eye to new inclusive technologies through their website and programs.

Christine McAllister, Acting Manager Libraries & Learning, Brimbank Libraries shared the experience of Building a Learning Community.  Christine discussed Brimbank’s ‘Programs Framework’; a tool the library service uses to ensure programs are strategically targeted to support the community’s learning, leisure and lifestyle needs and enhance social and economic outcomes.  She illustrated the importance of designing specifically targeted services and building the skill capacity of staff.  This advice resonated with school library staff especially those who have participated in the SLV PLN (Personal Learning Network) program.

Library Teams 2.0: leveraging your Personal Learning Network for growth and innovation, presented by Camilla Elliott, Head of Library/eLearning Coordinator Mazenod College, focussed on the role of the individual within the library team.  It explored the necessary components and the ability to gain value by leveraging the tools, community and ideas within an environment that develops ownership, a sense of belonging and the confidence to act.  Success relates directly to individual attitudes however, leadership and a vision are essential.

Dr Carol Gordon, recently retired library educator of Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, challenged delegates to consider the today’s important challenges for school libraries by exploring the School Library as a Model for Educational Reform.  Carol emphasised equity of instruction and sustainability as critical criteria for the conceptualisation of viable school libraries.  Ranging from inquiry-based learning to reading and literacy programs, she also reminded us of the vigour required within school library programs, the need for tracking of programs to ensure equal access for all students.  Carol had a busy week while here in Victoria, conducting workshops at SLAV branches in Mafra and Wangaratta, and at John Fawkner College.

Suzette Boyd, also recently retired, gained a reputation for innovation and leadership throughout her career as a secondary teacher librarian.  Through Your Library, Your Career: a Case Study, Suzette challenged delegates to aim to be the cultural and educational hub of the school.  She provided a reflection toolkit to support this journey and shared a case study of her own career to inspire those present to reinvent and rebrand the library and its staff.  Suzette emphasised the need to know your team and its capabilities, the importance of building connections and trust with students and teachers and, most importantly, the principal.

The forum rounded off with the SLAV/SLV team moving into experimental territory and trialing an unconference session.  Ever conscious of the value of peer sharing, the unconference model invites delegates to write onto a ‘sticky note’, a topic they would like to know more about.  They are then put together in teams of like-minded individuals for discussion and information exchange.  The experiment was a success and delegates can look forward to more opportunities for informal learning at future SLAV events. Finally, two important and exciting initiatives launched at the forum were:

  • The new SLAV website www.slav.org.au introduced by website manager Joy Whiteside.
  • The SLAV mentoring program, introduced by Dr Susan La Marca, which will involve experienced members in providing support and advice to newly qualified SLAV library professionals.  Details will be available through the ‘members’ section of the SLAV website.

Please note: Presenters papers and presentations will be available shortly in the Professional Learning section of the new SLAV website.

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.