Online resources

During this time, there are many lists being shared 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 are collating a page of links to resources, guides and useful information HERE for ease of access. We will continue to update this page as we find new resources to share.

 

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.

Primary sources and the ANZACS

WWI propoganda

The commemoration of the centenary of the Gallipoli Landing during World War I has stimulated an explosion in the digital content available online. Photos from family and institution collections contribute to a comprehensive overview of the period from the images on the battlefront through to the homeland and everyday life.

These images make possible a range of rich learning activities that can extend a student’s understanding of the experience of individuals and expose them to resources to explore further in their own time, for example:

  1. Use Ergo, State Library of Victoria – Australia and World War I to study topics such as enlistment, conscription, the homefront and propaganda supported by primary source artefacts including diaries.
  2. Document analysis worksheets designed and developed by the education staff of the [US] National Archives and Records Administration are an excellent resource for use with primary sources. These worksheets are not new and have been refined over time. They’re in a convenient .pdf format for use either online or as printed hardcopies. Worksheets are available for the analysis of a printed document, photograph, cartoon, poster, map, artefact, motion picture and sound recording. Highly recommended.
  3. It’s not news to any teacher to say that students love Google Images. A lesson in the Advanced Search function of Google Images is an opportunity to experiment with various search terms; with learning how to separate World War I from World War II images; how to isolate propaganda images; locate images relating to women; find images of a particular colour or from the region ‘Australia’ only. Use with Google Search Education lesson plans to enhance your own search skills and those of your students.
  4. The number of public institutions uploading resources to Flickr: The Commons has grown steadily over the years. As Creative Commons resources, students have a wealth of resources to work with. Once again, using a range of key terms such as ANZAC, Gallipoli, World War I, WWI, students can become familiar with this constantly developing database of original images.

This centenary year can be a launching point that introduces students to an authentic range of resources they can revisit time and time again……. now they know they exist.  Explore!

Reading and curating – Flipboard, Zite, ScoopIt

As we relax and catch our breath over the holiday period, it’s an opportunity to explore some tools and see how they can work for us both personally and professionally. Curation tools that can be customised to filter and manage the information have developed to become magazine style products that enable you pull together information on specific interests from a broad range of sources. They’re easy to manage and a pleasure to read. Here are just three:

flipboardFlipboard: Summed up in one word – Flipboard is ‘extensive’ and it would be safe to say, it’s the most popular magazine style curation tool on the web. Flipboard’s strength is that it enables you to bring all your social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc into the one platform and combine it with news and information from your choice of sources. There are thousands to choose from. With Flipboard’s ‘magazine’ feature you can curate your own topics for sharing with others, or read and curate from other people’s magazines. Access Flipboard at www.flipboard.com where you can read magazines, edit your own and be directed to the Chrome store for the bookmarklet so you can bookmark items into Flipboard when on your PC.  For the best experience download the app from iTunes App or Google Play, Microsoft or Blackberry. Free.

ziteZite is a much simpler curation tool. Having recently been acquired by Flipboard, one wonders about its lifespan, however, I continue to use it as I like its simplicity. Use the search option to locate a specific topic and build your ‘Quicklist’, then with the ‘like’ option, select which of the resources presented most suit your needs. Over time the associated algorithm learns your preference and you’ll find the incoming information to be increasingly relevant to your interests. Zite makes it very easy to forward resources to other tools such as Evernote, Pocket, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook etc for aggregation or sharing with others. Access Zite via the iTunes App Store or Google Playwww.zite.com. Free.

scoopitScoopIt is a curation tool that promotes you as a curator and enables to share your ‘Scoops’, follow others and comment. Resources aggregate from Google sources, an RSS feed or keywords. Set up your own topics, add articles and annotate them with your own insight and opinion on the topic. This feature makes ScoopIt applicable to the classroom where students could gather a series of articles and annotate them within a curated collection. The algorithm model also works on ScoopIt in that over time, it gets to know your preferences. ScoopIt is a freemium product. Set up 4 Scoops for free, then pay for any extras. Access Scoopit via your PC or via the iTunes App Store or Google Playwww.scoop.it

While these three curation tools are similar, they are also offer different features which will influence your use. I recommend trying them all and making a decision on what suits you best bearing in mind the value in being a producer of content rather than a passive user. The value for students, apart from access to information, is that it introduces them to a digital literacy skill that they can put to use for themselves.

Horizon Report 2014 K-12 edition – an outline

horizon-trim

The Horizon Report 2014 K-12 edition is now available.  Developed by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), this is the sixth annual K-12 edition.  It describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project,  an ongoing, collaborative research activity designed to identify trends and describe emerging technologies that are likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.

A number of editions specific to different sectors are produced.  This edition addresses primary and secondary schools.   Another is the NMC Horizon Report: Higher Ed edition which addresses higher education, whilst the NMC Technology Outlook – 2014 Australian Tertiary Education is a Horizon Project regional report related to Australian higher education.

The Horizon Report is appreciated by educational technology leaders as a tool that is used to inform teachers and school administrators in future decision making.  Follow the Horizon Discussion Wiki for links and active engagement in discussion.

You will notice that technology such as ebooks and cloud computing is not listed as forthcoming trends.  This is because they are already here.  They are not a forecast.  It is interesting this year to note a move away from the description of devices and technology infrastructure, to the discussion of outcomes and the effect of technology on schools, teachers and pedagogy.  The Horizon Report is important reading within all schools.

Access and download the full report

An overview of topics addressed in the report.

Key Trends Accelerating K-12 Ed Tech Adoption

  • Fast Trends: Driving ed tech adoption in schools over the next one to two years
    • Rethinking the Roles of Teachers
    • Shift to Deep Learning Approaches
  • Mid-Range Trends: Driving ed tech adoption in schools within three to five years
    • Increasing Focus on Open Content
    • Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs
  • Long-Range Trends: Driving ed tech adoption in schools in five or more years
    • Rapid Acceleration of Intuitive Technology
    • Rethinking How Schools Work

Significant Challenges Impeding K-12 Ed Tech Adoption

  • Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve
    • Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities
    • Integrating Personalised Learning
  • Difficult Challenges: Those that we understand but for which solutions are elusive
    • Complex Thinking and Communication
    • Increased Privacy Concerns
  • Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
    • Competition from New Models of Education
    • Keeping Formal Education Relevant

Important Developments in Technology for K-12 Education

  •  Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
    • BYOD
    • Cloud Computing
  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
    • Games and Gamification
    • Learning Analytics
  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
    • The Internet of Things
    • Wearable Technology

Do you have any comments to make about the Horizon Report?  Is it an accurate indicator?  Does it present a global perspective?  Your opinion is invited.

Mind tools – What does it mean to be literate in the age of Google?

With the holidays here, we thought we could share a longer video with you, particularly given it’s one of the best videos I’ve watched about information literacy. It’s comprehensive, current, and logical in its flow. I thought I knew a lot about information literacy – now I know a lot more.

The presentation comes from Dr. Daniel Russell, research scientist at Google and took place in March this year at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina.

He begins by calling a library a mind tool that ‘amplifies your cognition’. Wonderful stuff.

We hope you have a happy, safe, chocolate filled holiday and we’ll see you next term.

 

 

World War I centenary resources

With the centenary of the First World War set to begin in July this year, many institutions will be launching new sites, programs and resources for schools. But there’s already a lot out there to explore.

Locally, the Australian War Memorial is a key institution when looking at the Great War and the history of ANZAC. They also have an education blog which includes mystery objects, details of new resources, acquisitions and personal stories from the collection. The ANZAC Centenary website from the Victorian Government and the existing ANZAC website from the Department of Veteran Affairs are also great resources looking at the Australian experience of WWI.

For a different perspective, the BBC’s Schools WWI site is a wonderful resource to explore Britain’s involvement and includes relevant media from their archive. The British Library’s WWI site has over 500 primary sources and articles from experts and academics looking at what life was like at the time. The British Library is also a contributor to the Eurpeana 1914-1918 site which provides collection materials, commentary and perspectives from different collections all over Europe. The National Archives UK WWI website is also a beautiful resource including personal diaries and an extensive collection of digitised material.

The American broadcaster PBS also has an interesting website from their documentary series The Great War  and the Shaping of the 20th Century.

These resources are just a taste of what is currently available and many more resources, digitising projects, programs and events are likely to begin mid 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Text to speech – supporting online information access

There are a growing number of online tools to support students in need of literacy support. As part of a new series on web based literacy aids, this post from Catherine Hainstock talks about how text-to-speech programs can support students’ reading online.

Implementation of the Australian Curriculum  is in full swing across the nation and as a result schools are committing more resources towards their Literacy programs. The demands and opportunities for TL’s to support this literacy focus may vary, but as information specialists our core business is to ensure our students can effectively find and interact with information.

After giving a brief demonstration on advanced Google searching to our school’s Literacy Support teacher, I wondered about other ways to improve access to online information for students who may be struggling. Many of the mainstream tools students use for accessing information such as Google Search and Wikipedia do not support students with literacy needs as well as they could. There are a number of ways we can help improve this experience. First I turned my attention to browsers; I found they offered very different experiences and levels of assistance. Text-to-Speech support is available on most browsers (you can read about the options here). When I tried them I found:

  • Bing relies on Microsoft Window’s software being installed on your computer. The system was complicated and required a lot of reading to work out. The version we had installed on our computers used a very robotic voice
  • Firefox’s add-on Text to Voice app plays MP3’s of selected text so it’s very slow. Any words it doesn’t recognise, it spells out. Again it was a very robotic voice
  • Google’s Chrome Speak app (available from the Web Store) was easy to install and provided options for varying the rate, pitch and volume but once again the voice sounded very robotic
  • Once I added Google’s US English Female Text-to-speech voice extension to Chrome (available from the Web Store) and activated it in Chrome Speak’s options (found under Chrome Settings – Extensions – see image below), the voice offered pleasant web reading support.

It’s important to note different schools run different versions of software, different implementation programs and have preferred devices including mobile devices and BYOD programs. In mycase, I used desktop computers in a school library for testing. Every school is unique so it’s important to investigate and experiment with your own equipment.

Many schools in Victoria are also restricted to only one browser, usually Internet Explorer. As information specialists, it is vital that we recommend and push for technical decisions to be based on educational criteria, so explore browser tools and lobby for programs if you think they will benefit staff and students.

In the next instalment I’ll look at improving access via search engine tools and options.

Image credit: Chinese children in class with Australian kids at Carlton State School, H2002.199/1074,  State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection

 

Mining the treasures of Trove

It’s sometimes easy to forget how lucky we are to have so many digitised items freely available online. Institutions from around the world are making their collections open to people who could never have previously accessed these items. When this is combined with user uploaded content that is being added to sites like Flickr, the amount of digital content can almost become overwhelming.

Given this, it’s no surprise that educators see the importance of developing strong search skills in students. We’ve often written about choosing the right search term, filtering results and honing in on what we want. That’s great, but there are also some interesting ways to discover new items, or even items that we didn’t know existed. Here we’re going to take a quick look at three tools that tap into the incredible range of collections in the National Library of Australia’s Trove site. If you’re not familiar with Trove, prepare to spend the rest of your day there! It’s a unified search of items from many libraries across Australia, including books, newspapers, manuscripts, pictures and more.

Trove has a pretty familiar (yet very powerful) search feature. Make sure you go there and have a play. But for now, let’s look at three other tools that harness the amazingly open nature of the site. All of these tools are still quite experimental, so you may see some bugs or glitches, but they are well worth an explore.

The first of these is Trove Mosaic, built by Mitchell Whitelaw. This site lets you enter a search term and then displays a mosaic of images, which can be sorted by collections, titles or decade. Clicking on an item will take you to the record on the respective library’s website. It’s a brilliant way to explore the amazing digitised pictures available from across Australia.

Trove Mosaic displays images in a lovely sortable mosaic. Here we’ve sorted our search for ‘rabbits’ by decade.

The second tool for exploration of Trove is QueryPic  This tool  searches for terms within Trove’s digitised historical newspapers collection, and displays a graph showing the number of results for that term per year. You can add multiple terms and searches to a graph. In this way you can see the patterns of usage of a particular term over time. Clicking on a particular year in the graph will show you the related articles, and this then leads you directly to each digitised article.

QueryPic works on a similar principle to Google’s Ngram viewer, which searches and displays the usage of phrases in digitised books over time. Of course, it is important to remember that not every newspaper from the time has been digitised, but it’s definitely an interesting tool for analysing the frequency of phrases, like in our example below where use of the term ‘bushrangers’ peaks in the mid 19th century,  whilst use of the term ‘theft’ steadily rises.

Our search for theft (in red) and bushrangers (in blue) shows some interesting trends

The final site is a brand new tool built by the One Week, One Tool team. This team of coders are aiming to build a new tool each week, and one of their first projects is a seredipity site called Serenidip-o-matic. Paste in some text (such as a bibliography, essay, blurb) and then see what is returned based on keywords from your passage. The site searches sources like Flickr, Europeana & the Digital Public Library of America. It now also includes Trove (thanks to the work of Tim Sherratt at NLA). As you’d expect from a serendipity machine, results aren’t always completely relevant, but they are certainly interesting.

All of these sites show the possibilities presented by digital collections when they are built with open architecture. Trove’s open API means that tools can harvest the collection and present items in very different ways. We’re lucky to not only have such amazing collections, but also people who want to work with them to build these wonderful tools.

Making the most of what you find

So far in our workflow series we’ve looked at ways to stay organised and keep track of valuable resources we find online. We’ve managed to triage our reading, made sure we have somewhere to store important resources forever and whipped our bookmarks into order. In this final post of our workflow series, we’re going to look at the last stage of our workflow process, reflection.

Reflect

The act of filtering information, saving for later and sharing within our network are important steps in organising ourselves and helping others. But for all of these tasks to be really valuable it’s important to now use what you have read and collected to reflect on the thoughts of others and share your own ideas.

Just as a teacher wouldn’t accept a list of links from a student as an assignment, actively reflecting on what we collect helps crystallise our thoughts and contextualises the resources you share. Whether you are giving a speech about a topic, writing course materials or putting up a post on your blog, reflecting and sharing adds value for you and others.

One of the best ways to reflect on what you find is in a blog post. Blogs are a flexible and relatively easy way of publishing online, and the advantage of a blog for reflection is that it allows you to hyperlink to any online resources. In that way your blog not only becomes a way for you to collect and curate links, but also a way for you to tie them together and add your own reflections as well.

How to get started with blogging

  • Choose a blogging platform. Victorian educators (in State and Catholic schools) can get a free blog through Global2 -this is the platform that Bright Ideas uses. For all other educators Edublogs is a great option, and the wonderful team at Edublogs provide great technical support and are on hand to help you.  Of course, you could use other blogging alternatives like WordPress, Tumblr & Blogger. But if you’re looking to create a professional blog or are planning on blogging with students as well then then Edublogs and Global2 are the best options, as they handle comment moderation really well.
  • Have a look at the fabulous resources at the Edublogs Kick start your blogging page to learn about posting on your blog, adding pages and adding media or links to posts
  • Include an About Me page describing who you are and your interests. It will help you connect with other educators.
  • Aim to regularly post on your blog. It’s a great record of professional reading and learning, so get in the habit of reflecting on your blog and including links to the resources you’ve accessed. Remember that you must own anything that you post on your site, so don’t upload copyrighted material. But linking is great!
  • When you make a new post, be sure to share it on social media or via social bookmarking. You might think no one wants to read your posts, but sharing is important and we’re sure that people will be interested in what you have to say.
  • Keep an eye on comments that appear on your blog. You will have to moderate them- this means you can approve them before they appear on your blog, or delete them if they are inappropriate.
  • Follow other interesting blogs using an RSS reader. This brings all of your followed blogs together in one place and makes it easy to see new posts. It will also be the way that other people can follow your blog. Feedly is a very nice RSS reader that works in all browsers and includes some great mobile apps. It also integrates really well with tools like Pocket, Evernote, Twitter and Diigo.

 

An extra step- tying everything together

So now you’re set up with some great tools that will help you through the five stages of workflow. You have places to organise your reading, collect and share links, store resources, and reflect on what you’ve found. Most of the tools that we have explored tend to integrate well with each other, so for example you can send an interesting article directly from Feedly to Pocket. Once you’ve read that article in Pocket you could tweet about it or bookmark it in Diigo. Or you could save it to your Evernote account.

Sometimes these options aren’t available, so you may need to explore an automation tool like If This Then That. This service lets you connect up your online accounts and then create recipes that will automate tasks. As an example, you could tell If This Then That to make a new bookmark in Diigo whenever you archive an item in Pocket. Or you could set it up so that whenever you publish a new post on your blog, that post is also saved into your Evernote account.

If This Then That lets you create recipes that will automate actions between two accounts. This recipe creates a bookmark in Diigo from your Pocket account.

It’s a bit hard to explain, and the best way to learn how it all works is to get in and have a bit of a play. But here’s a guide to setting up an If This Then That recipe.

So that brings us to the end of the worflow series, and hopefully it’s helped you think about how best to stay organised online. The tools we’ve explored are just some of the options available andthere are lots of other fabulous tools that are available online that help you gather, present, share and reflect on what is on the web. Whatever services you decide to use, remember to have a clearly defined set of rules that will help you put that resource in the right spot. Then you’ll be well on your way to feeling just that little bit more organised.

Image credit: J. W. Lindt (1880) New Wallan deep lead gold mine, Vict., State Library of Victoria