School libraries in South Australia 2019 Census

International Literacy Day 2020 marked the launch of the first ever comprehensive study of school library resourcing and staffing in South Australia. Commissioned by the School Library Association of SA (SLASA), the School Libraries in South Australia 2019 Census surveyed South Australia’s public, private and Catholic schools to better understand the links between library programs and critical skills including reading, digital and information literacy.

The independent study was prompted by the findings of a Parliamentary Inquiry in 2011, which highlighted a ‘fundamental need’ for hard data on school library staffing and the link between school library programs and literacy, with a particular focus on digital literacy.

“SLASA commissioned this study to commence answering that fundamental national need,” Mrs Molloy said. “Our objective was to gather that evidence for South Australia and to also now encourage other states to replicate the survey, so that the models and contribution of school library programs to supporting students to develop these essential skills is clearly understood at the national level.”

The census was undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research and surveyed school leaders on the various models of library program delivery, staffing, funding and school culture in all schools in South Australia. “We now know that effective delivery of critical literacy and inquiry skills in South Australian schools is influenced by factors such as a culture of support as well as facilities, collections, access and funding as well as staffing,” Mrs Molloy said.

“The census provides us with a clearer picture of the current resourcing levels of South Australian school libraries, including that 94% of schools have someone to manage their library collection but the burden of managing resources and providing appropriate support to teachers and students to develop literacy and inquiry skills is now falling on staff who have neither teaching nor library qualifications in just over a third of our schools. Just over half of the staff managing school library services in South Australian schools are not library-qualified and only 23% of schools have a qualified teacher librarian on their staff. The census results give us the hard data to now work towards implementing strategies that will support schools to address the disruptions of COVID-19 and ensure our school students are fully equipped to deal with the challenges of a digital world.”

Information, the Executive Summary and full Report are available HERE
The Fact Sheet is available HERE
You can follow the release on the SLASA social media platforms, and like and share the information widely.

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

Forecasting the Future of Education Technology

Today’s post comes from regular contributor Catherine Hainstock (M.Ed TL) of Vermont Secondary College.

Many Bright Ideas readers will be aware of the Horizon Report released by the New Media Consortium. These reports are invaluable to educators and schools planning for change.

Now there is another excellent forward planning resource, a visualisation created by Envisioning Technology. They describe Envisioning the Future of Education Technology as:

… a concise overview of technologies that have the potential to disrupt and improve teaching on all levels.

This visualisation comprehensively maps out 6 key trends, puts the emerging technologies into educational context and projects it forward on a 30 year timeline. It can be downloaded as a pdf or high resolution png image.

Envisioning the Future of Education Technology

It is also well worth exploring this trend-forecasting firm’s website if you have students looking at themes such as future careers or envisioning the future. There is an amazing visualisation on Emerging Technologies highlighting areas of STEM with some truly extraordinary predictions. Envisioning Tech’s blog is currently featuring “Sci-fi Scaffolds”, scenarios situated in the near future and based on emerging technologies. Spend a bit of time on this site and I guarantee you will be thinking about the future in a whole new way.

Ten meta-trends from the Horizon Project

The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international community of experts on technology in education who produce an annual report known as The Horizon Report.

Horizon reports highlight key trends in technology and education for the year to come, with an emphasis on innovation and adoption of new devices into schools and higher education.

In commemoration of the tenth year of the project, the NMC will issue a report highlighting key meta-trends in technology and education. The top ten trends have been released:

  1. The world of work is increasingly global and increasingly collaborative.
  2. People expect to work, learn, socialize, and play whenever and wherever they want to.
  3. The Internet is becoming a global mobile network — and already is at its edges.
  4. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based and delivered over utility networks, facilitating the rapid growth of online videos and rich media.
  5. Openness — concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information — is moving from a trend to a value for much of the world.
  6. Legal notions of ownership and privacy lag behind the practices common in society.
  7. Real challenges of access, efficiency, and scale are redefining what we mean by quality and success.
  8. The Internet is constantly challenging us to rethink learning and education, while refining our notion of literacy.
  9. There is a rise in informal learning as individual needs are redefining schools, universities and training.
  10. Business models across the education ecosystem are changing.


The NBN & education

A couple of weeks ago, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications tabled its report on the inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN) entitled Broadening the debate.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the paper includes a discussion about the role and potential of the NBN in a number of areas, including education.

You can download the education section of the report here (in PDF).

School libraries and teacher-librarians in 21st century Australia

The Report of the Australian Parliament, House of Representatives, Education and Employment Committee’s Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher-librarians in 21st century Australia was tabled on 23 May 2011. SLAV welcomes the recommendations and is working in collaboration with the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to formulate follow-up strategies at the state and national level.

The full text of School Libraries and Teacher-librarians in 21st century Australia can be found at
The SLAV Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry can be found at (submission 114)
Be involved!

SLAV has established a Parliamentary Inquiry Reference Group that will provide input and support for its representatives in national discussions and also to identify and implement practical strategies that will ensure that what has come out of the national Parliamentary Inquiry will have a positive impact here in Victoria.

All SLAV members are invited to express interest in becoming a member of this Reference Group.
To express interest, please send an email as follows:
Subject: Parliamentary Inquiry Reference Group
Please indicate your name, school and SLAV membership number
Briefly indicate how you would like to be involved – for example: attending meetings, collaborative online comments and discussion, skype hook-up, ….

SLAV needs input from as broad a range of members as possible!

Tell your good news stories!

To help build the evidence base regarding the positive impact of school libraries, members are encouraged to place their comments, stories and feedback on the following sites.

Facebook – What a difference a school library makes

Wiki – What a difference a school library makes

Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills

This document, from the United States’ Institute of Museum and Library Services (“the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas”) provides important information about helping library users develop 21st century skills.

Although primarily developed for public libraries, there is much that can be transferred to school libraries. The website explains:

The Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills initiative underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.

And the following items seem to be exactly what many schools need to address:

Specifically, this work aims to help library and
museum leaders:
• Envision the library/museum’s role in providing
lifelong learning experiences, specifically around
21st century skills;
• Inventory the 21st century skills and practices
currently in use by the library/museum;
• Identify goals for future operation and program
• Build awareness among policymakers and the
public about the unique value these institutions
provide to the nation’s learning systems.
  • Envision the library/museum’s role in providing lifelong learning experiences, specifically around 21st century skills;
  • Inventory the 21st century skills and practices currently in use by the library/museum;
  • Identify goals for future operation and program improvements;
  • Build awareness among policymakers and the public about the unique value these institutions provide to the nation’s learning systems.
  • A notable point from the document applies to all schools:

    The need to enhance 21st century skills is a compelling national imperative. Built on a foundation of deep content mastery, these skills are the new workforce requirements for maintaining U.S. global competitiveness and ensuring each person’s personal and professional success.

    If you are addressing, or wanting your school to address the development of 21st century skills, this document is a good starting point.

    Keeping Young Australians Reading

    A very interesting and useful report from the Centre for Youth Literature on the state of reading at the young adult level has been released. Updating the 2001 report Young Australians Reading, Keeping Young Australians Reading addresses the landscape and data of, you guessed it, young adults reading in 2009.

    Paula Kelly, the Reader Development and Onsite Learning Manager (inc. Centre for Youth Literature) Learning Services at the State Library of Victoria highlights the following points from the new report:

    • that young people area reading – perhaps more than ever!
    • why it is vital to promote reading and the positive outcomes it affects
    • what the barriers are to reading and how to overcome them
    • trends in young people’s reading environments and challenges in addressing these
    • how it is we all can put, and keep, books in the hands of young people

    The State Library and the Centre for Youth Literature are also to be congratulated on the following achievements:

    •  a doubling of the youth audience in partnership with others in the Centre for Youth Literature program delivery
    • the distribution of almost 100,000th free picture books for Victorian 2 year olds in the Young Readers Program
    • the development of an online primary age audience partnership with SuperClubs Plus Australia
      (for which an Arts Victoria Leadership Award was presented)
    • the launch of another adult Summer Read program in partnership with the Public Libraries of Victoria
    • the support of the establishment of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance.

    Well done to everyone involved. The 2001 report Young Australians Reading was a vital and much quoted report. The 2009 Keeping Young Australians Reading is also a must-read for anyone interested in young adult education. Anyone on the ground in school or public libraries know exactly what is happening in their own institution, but it is imperative that we see the bigger picture of the culture of reading Australia-wide. It is also very useful to be able to access up-to-date statistics to add evidence to any budget or grant applications.

    Annual report on emerging technologies – planning for change

    The annual report on emerging technologies – planning for change has been published. has released the report, which is part of the Strategic ICT Advisory Service, funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

    The 102 page report may not be accessible to everyone in terms of taking the time to read it, so here are some salient points:

    The Horizon Report identifies a number of meta-trends in ICT in education:

    • the evolving approaches to communication between humans and machines

    • the collective sharing and generation of knowledge

    • computing in three dimensions

    • connecting people via the network

    • games as pedagogical platforms

    • the shifting of content production to users

    • the evolution of an ubiquitous platform.

     The challenges for policy makers20 listed below are summarised from the discussions at the ICT in Learning Symposium and, along with the other references used, have helped shape this report’s recommendations. The challenges are:

    • to provide a flexible framework that supports information sharing and reduces duplication through fragmentation of effort

    • to choose where to invest in research, tools and systems that support integration

    • to address the barriers to scaling innovative and transformative practice

    • to monitor performance of the system against key outcomes that are learner focussed

    • the development of a flexible national curriculum for schools and assessment so it is responsive to the potential of technologies to engage, enhance and improve learning outcomes for a 21st century economy

    • the provision of tools, mechanisms and systems that encourage the development and sharing of content and of good teaching practice

    • the development of policy frameworks that encourage widespread use of new technologies through a shared risk management approach the instigation and support of transformational professional learning programs across all sectors that effectively engage educators in incorporating the use of ICT to improve learner outcomes

    • the provision of spaces and mechanisms for trial and evaluation of new ICTs and for sharing of good practice across sectors, between organisations, and across jurisdictions

    • the development of a management, maintenance and governance model for managing a complex distributed and connected environment for all stakeholders

    • the development of decision making frameworks that describe minimum standards for interoperability to encourage national integration of tools and services while allowing for local flexibility

    • the provision of sandpit spaces for trial and evaluation of new technologies

    • the promotion of frameworks and systems to encourage sharing of content and best practice in teaching and learning.

     This report makes eight recommendations, each accompanied by suggested strategies to support the achievement of those recommendations. The recommendations are listed here, but should be read in concert with the strategies.

    The recommendations are:

    SICTAS: Planning for Change 10

    • Implement an ICT in teaching and learning continuum so that learners’ new media literacyskills and abilities are augmented as they move through the education sectors.

    • Task a national body to support national collaborative partnerships to reduce fragmentation of effort, and make best use of the existing and future investments made in ICT.

    • Research and establish mechanisms to enable the more rapid adoption of innovative practice in the use of ICT across the teaching and learning workforce.

    • Commit to providing ongoing resourcing and funding to maintain, sustain and enhance a technology rich environment for the education and training sector.

    • Develop and implement a national approach to software infrastructure that minimises the barriers to effective use and sharing of resources, and maximises access.

    • Address the complications of Australian copyright law in a way that encourages sharing and exchange of resources in the education and training sector, including the implementation of Creative Commons across Australian education and training.

    • That the Australian Government takes a leadership role in collaboration with jurisdictions, sectors and educational institutions to develop a national professional learning strategy based on sound research into good practice.

    • The Australian Government takes a leadership role, in partnership with other education authorities and entities, in implementing and maintaining the ICT competency framework for teachers as described in the ‘Raising the Standards’ report, but look to apply this to teachers in each of the education sectors. A key component of the described framework is teacher standards. The Government should undertake to task AICTEC, through its advisory bodies to develop teacher ICT standards for:

    o Pre-service teachers

    o Practicing teachers

    o School leaders

    o Teacher educators

    o VET teachers

    o University teachers

    The report also provides a set of possible actions that could be taken to help position Australia to manage constant change in ICT in the education and training sector. A primary issue is delegation of responsibility: who will take responsibility for managing and implementing the range of actions, strategies and recommendations?

    The current system of dispersed responsibility and fragmentation of effort does not enable strategic implementation ensuring equitable access to quality ICT in education for learners across jurisdictions and sectors regardless of where a learner or teacher is in the system.

    Some of the Actions that are suggested in different areas are the same and therefore vital: 

    • Embed new media literacy skills in teaching and learning at all levels and in all sectors to enable learners to manage identity and privacy issues and empower students, teacher and leaders as digital citizens.

    • Include online and collaborative learning pedagogies, online facilitation skills, new media literacy skills161 and appropriate assessment regimes and ICT tools in teacher education as part of the standard curricula

    • Include new media literacy skills in professional learning programs (as defined in the SICTAS Collaboration in Teaching and Learning report162).

    • Regularly review and (re)align professional learning programs to shifts in learning theory, pedagogical approaches and assessment regimes.

    Having such a respected organisation reinforce many of the things that we all believe is powerful. Perhaps Principals and other leaders would like to read the report and implement some of the suggestions?