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.

ClassAct 50 Task Challenge for digital citizenship

The ClassAct 50 Task Challenge, a digital literacy challenge sponsored by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.  ClassAct consists of 50 challenges that schools are encouraged to work through with students to develop a culture of respect and positive interaction in their online and offline worlds and to develop digital citizenship skills.  

How you and your school completes the Challenge is flexible.   The 50 tasks consist of a mix of quick, daily tasks designed to help children take control of their online safety, prompt thinking around respectful relationships and to know where to go to find support if things go wrong.

Each task relates to one or more of the categories:

  1. eSecurity—privacy, protecting personal information
  2. eSafety—managing screen-time, digital footprint, reputation
  3. Help and support
  4. Respect and relationships
  5. Cyberbullying

You may decide to commit to completing one task every day for a whole term, or perhaps to do one a week for a whole year… regardless of how you commit, the intention is to make digital intelligence part of your regular conversation with students to help increase digital safety, reduce negative behaviours like cyberbullying and to make time online as positive and enjoyable as possible.

At the school of the author of this blog, we’re presenting one challenge per school day via the student daily bulletin which is read in homeroom each morning.  The list of challenges are also being shared with parents via the school newsletter.  Not every challenge will appeal to every student but with the support of our student technology team, we’re promoting the ClassAct 50 Task Challenge across our school community, creating conversations and raising awareness.

To give you an idea of the content, here are the first 8 challenges (numbers at the end of each challenge reflect the categories above):

  1. Make a list of all the online accounts you have. Delete those you don’t use. (1,2)
  2. Choose one account that you have and update the password today. (1)
  3. Identify five trusted adults in your world who you would turn to if you had trouble online. (3,4)
  4. Kids Helpline offers webchat counselling. Check out their website to find out what hours it’s available. (3)
  5. Discuss: can you still be lonely if you have lots of friends online? (3, 4)
  6. Take the cyberbullying interactive quiz  (5)
  7. Where can Australian children under the age of 18 go to report cyberbullying? (3, 5)
  8. Research what two factor authentication is. Enable it on at least one of your social media accounts and/or emails. (1)

Plus 42 more….

The Challenge is recommended for students aged 10 – 14 years but is well suited to involving the whole family.

HINT:  I contacted enquiries@esafety.gov.au for an easy to manage .pdf of the 50 challenges.

Top Tools for Learning 2015

webtoolsLast week Jane Hart, founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies released the 2015 Top 10 Tools for Learning.  Now in its ninth year, this list is a creditable indicator of trends in the top online learning tools used worldwide.  It has been compiled from the votes of over 2,000 individuals from 63 countries, working in different roles in education and workplace learning.

For the 7th consecutive year, Twitter is the most popular learning tool but it is now closely followed by Youtube.  The closing of this gap is not surprising as students will tell you, if they want to learn how to do something they head for Youtube.  Statistics indicate that the number of people watching YouTube each day has increased by 40% y/y since March 2014.

Top of the list are Twitter, Youtube, Google Search, Google Docs/Drive, Powerpoint and Dropbox.  Screencast-O-Matic has returned to the Top 100 at 27th place after last appearing in 2011 at position 82.  This is perhaps a reflection of its popularity as a video creating tool for Flipped Learning and assessment feedback in the classroom.

Amongst the tools moving off the list in 2015 are: Hootsuite, Zite, Voicethread, Flickr, Storify, Glogster Edu, Tumblr, Wikispaces, Pearltrees, Voki and Paperli.

It’s surprising that Flipboard has not yet made the list but its time will come, no doubt.  Check out Jane’s presentation with the full run down of the Top 10 Tools for Learning 2015 and associated resources yourself for a wealth of popular learning tools.

Source: Image

 

VCE English: Encountering Conflict

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ABC Radio is renowned for its podcasts, with most ABC broadcasting now available for anywhere/anytime listening.  The full list of programs and listening option can be found on the ABC podcasting page.

For a number of years, local Melbourne ABC 774 broadcaster Libbi Gorr has presented a gem of a program on Sundays appropriately entitled Sunday School.  It’s a must for VCE English students, as Libbi joins with English teachers in discussion and commentary on texts, exam preparation support and topics relating to the subject.

In this sample broadcast of Sunday School: Encountering Conflict, Christine Lambrianidis, English Learning Leader at Point Cook Senior Secondary College, joined Libbi to discuss ‘how human trafficking and slavery can affect Australians through the food we eat, clothing we wear and the services we engage.’

Christine related these key issues back to the VCE theme ‘Encountering Conflict’ and also extracted examples from the film ‘A Separation’ directed by Asghar Farhadi which is one of the optional VCE English texts.

This embedded file is from Soundcloud, however, it can just as easily be downloaded via iTunes.  Check with your VCE students to ensure they’re not missing out on this supportive resource.

https://soundcloud.com/774-abc-melbourne/sunday-school-encountering-conflict-theme

Learning professionally with Google+ Communities

google-communities
Google educator Kimberley Hall recently presented a full day workshop for School Library Assoc of Victoria. For some delegates it was a glimpse into the possibilities of the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) tool-base, for others it was an opportunity to enhance their existing knowledge with the leadership of a dynamic trainer.

Educational institutions, from primary to secondary schools, through to universities, are now using GAFE, so skill in managing the range of tools such as Google Docs, Tables, Presentations and the indispensable Google Forms with confidence is essential. The value lies in streamlining and managing workflows and documentation within the library, plus the ability to be a learning support resource for students.

Ample support material is available online and Google for Education is a good place to start.  The sites of trainers such as KimberleyChris Betcher and Jim Sill are just a few of the training sites bursting with tutorials and ideas.

Google tools range from Docs, to search strategies, to Google maps, Youtube videos and the new Google Photos. However, learning is a social process and occurs readily through active engagement with peers.  Learning, for all of us, is about collaboration and the boundaries preventing this from happening have disintegrated.  Joining Google Communities is recommended as a collaborative learning space that will put you in touch with like-minded professionals.

Teacher librarian, Heather Bailie, in her recent blog post Get connected with Google+ – a digital artefact presented a video profile of a ‘connected educator’ that includes instructions on how to get started with Google Communities. Whilst mailing lists have been used as professional points of exchange for many years, it’s time to consider moving onto tools such as Google+ Communities.
Some groups are private but most are public and open to all comers.

We are presently trialling Google Communities as an alternative option from Facebook discussion groups for senior students.  The interface is much less distracting than Facebook and I believe it’s is only a matter of time before Google Communities becomes a common learning tool as schools extend their use of the GAFE suite.   Here’s an opportunity to put yourself ahead of the curve – be courageous and move on from mailing lists!

GAFE-umbrella

Conference report: Process of change

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During 2014, School Library Assoc of Victoria has presented a full calendar of professional learning.  This post reflects on the conference School Library Roles: a Process of change held on 31 October at the Catholic Leadership Centre, East Melbourne.  The gathering of over 120 delegates reflected on the impact that change has in school library staff job descriptions, tasks and responsibilities and how it is to be managed.

Head of Library at Whitefriars Catholic College, Rhonda Powling, laid out the tone of the conference in her opening keynote.   Karen Malbon provides a thoughtful reflection on the presentation in her blog Infinite Possibilities where she says:

So often we hear gloom and doom stories about school libraries. Rhonda is optimistic for the future and drew our attention to the futuristic thinking of Mark Pesce and the 2013 ALIA discussion paper, Library and Information Services: the future of the profession themes and scenarios 2025.The three themes identified were convergence, connection and the golden age of information. Convergence generally means fewer jobs but require skills, connection is a library strength and the golden age of information is full of possibilities for libraries.
Libraries will flourish with professional expertise, connectedness, by building relationships with the community and by empowering clients. It is time to let go and move on. School library staff need to be open to challenges, creative, team based, collaborative and focused on the needs of community……. Read all of Karen’s reflection…

 

One of the aims of the day was to provide the conditions for delegates to discuss the variations between the roles of library staff and the impact on library team members’ situations.  Personal input and discussion, followed by presentations from a panel of library staff who spoke positively about their jobs and the students they encounter daily was encouragement for everyone to go back to school and look closely at their roles and the documentation supporting it.  Resources to support an analysis of roles and preparation for an annual review meeting can be found here.

There’s an increased emphasis at SLAV conferences to allow delegates time to try out new skills, discuss what works and simply swap ideas.  The ‘sand pit’ session facilitated by Glenda Morris, teacher librarian, was hands-on time covering a range of topics from web tools to makerspaces and search engines.  Comments from these sessions and more covered in the conference are captured in the Storify below.

SLAV conferences are increasingly about raising issues and building knowledge through the community.  School libraries are being challenged, as Rhonda pointed out in her keynote, yet the future is potentially very bright.   It does, however, require rethinking, reskilling and a good understanding of your role.

Blogging – Revisiting VicPLN Course tools and support

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When you’ve been connected online for some time, it’s possible to lose sight of the perspective of staff new to the professional online environment.  Library staff in particular can come into the profession via a route that hasn’t involved interacting online other than in the personal social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram. In joining the school library workforce, however, they must be, or become, digitally literate.  Every member of staff in a school library must be actively digital, it’s the very nature of today’s libraries.

Being ‘digitally literate’ involves knowing how to use digital tools and, most specifically, knowing how to apply them to a specific task.  In recent years hundreds of people have participated in and completed, to various degrees, the VicPLN Course  (Personal Learning Network) conducted by the State Library of Victoria learning team in conjunction with the School Library Assoc of Victoria.  It’s amazing, however, that I constantly encounter people who ‘never really got their head around the PLN tools’, ‘don’t have a use for them’ or feel, ‘they don’t apply to the library role’.

If you work in a school library today you need to be using social media, blogging, curating resources and actively building your own Personal Learning Network (PLN).  Building a PLN according to personal interests, fosters enthusiasm and reveals relevance as you increase your involvement.  This doesn’t mean that everyone must be tweeting, skyping and Google+ing, however, it does mean that they must be looking outside the walls of their library for ideas and inspiration.

Blogging is a good place to start.  Read other people’s blogs, comment and contribute where possible.  The emphasis on blogging has changed since the introduction of curation tools such as ScoopIT and Flipboard but they’re for another post.  Today we’re talking blogging because blogs are a powerful tool in schools, both at the learning and resourcing levels.

Blogging tools recommended:

The VicPLN Team at the State Library created a fabulous resource to support participants of the online VicPLN Web 2.0 Course.  The course material was refined over a number of years and VicPLN Unit 1: Start your blog is the recommended place to start your blogging journey.  In addition to finding recommended resources and blogs to follow, you’ll find tips, tutorials and a wealth of support material.

A note to Library Managers:  Creating a blog for library staff use only is a great place to start.  Use it as a communication and professional ‘sandpit’ learning tool within the library team.  Use your library blog to:

  • Share library staff news and events
  • Record meeting notes, ideas and suggestions
  • Link to professional learning
  • Learn by actively participating

Once confidence is built, start blogging:

  • Book reviews and recommended reading blog
  • Travel blogs for school trips, camps etc
  • Support classroom teachers in using blogs
  • Library news and updates blog

The message cannot be overstated.  Library staff build your skills.  Review your practices, put aside the time-consuming busy work, book displays etc and become an indispensable, digitally skilled workforce.  Blogging is a good place to start.

Bright Ideas will revisit the tutorials and support resources of the VicPLN Team in future posts.  You’re invited to come on board with a commitment to personal skills growth and the development of your own Personal Learning Network (doc will download).

Comments and feedback is welcome as always.

 

 

 

Google Forms – new look, versatile tool

Google-Apps-640x350Forms are one of the most useful tools in the Google toolkit. For some time, however, users have been looking for more functionality and an improved appearance in the product.  It’s finally here with the recent announcement that Google Forms has a range of new themes and options, including the ability to customise the theme with your own image.  These changes have really lifted the appearance and make them a great deal more appealing.

New to Google Forms?  This Tour of Google Forms is prior to the themes upgrade but gives a clear introduction of the main features for the uninitiated.

Forms have a multitude of uses from data gathering, questionnaires, competitions, analysis of an embedded video, surveys, self-graded tests, short story competitions … the list is endless.  Google educator Molly Schroeder’s examples of Using Google Forms is a source of inspiration, although once you start using them you won’t be short of ideas yourself.

At the recent Melbourne Google Summit the professional conversations around the use of Google tools was inspiring.  With so many schools now using Google Apps for Education, the Summit was an ideal place to pick up practical tips that could immediately be applied to the classroom.   In this video Chris Betcher, another leading Google educator and generous sharer of knowledge, explains some of the lesser known, innovative features in Google Forms.  Chris’s Google Summit resources site is packed with ideas and assistance.

A colleague who attended the Google Summit with me has been ‘set on fire’ with the functionality of Chrome extensions Doctopus and Goobric, using them to manage the workload of senior Maths and Accounting classes. It is certainly worth exploring Google Apps for Education and tapping into the resources of the many knowledgeable educators associated with it.

Put the Google Drive Blog in your RSS feed reader to keep posted on the constant improvements.  The Google Educast podcast on the Edreach Network is also a favourite of mine for keeping in touch with Google Apps for Education news, ideas and application to the classroom.  So much to learn, thank goodness for our Personal Learning Networks!

Header image: http://frankbennett.co.uk/

 

Mindmap integration in Google Docs

thinking Many schools, including my own, use Google Apps for Education (GAFE).  As such, I was interested to discover the new partnership between one of my favourite mindmapping tools Mindmeister and GAFE.  With the new MindMeister add-on, (accessible via the add-on tab within a Google Doc) users can turn any bullet-point list into a MindMeister mindmap and automatically inserts it into their document. The mindmap adopts the exact hierarchical structure used in the list and adds a visually appealing graphic to the document.  It’s free and doesn’t require a MindMeister account.  The map created is not editable so students need to do the thinking and planning before they convert it to a mindmap.  Nothing lost however, as they can always delete and re-do if they need more details.  As we are basically visual learners, this is a useful, easily accessible learning support tool. There are many, many online, collaborative mindmapping tools available.  A couple of other favourites are:

  • Bubble .us – ‘Freemium’ model also with full access but limit of 3 maps.  Good collaborative interface.
  • Wisemapping – Free, open source, collaborative and able to be embedded into websites.
  • iThoughts – very popular IOS tool for iPad and iPhone

Comments and suggestions for other recommended options are welcome.