Bright Ideas http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:44:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://global2.vic.edu.au/?v=3.8.1.1 Upcoming conference – School Learning Commons http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/28/14997/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/28/14997/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:41:32 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14997 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.

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History timelines as visual learning http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/24/history-timelines-as-visual-learning/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/24/history-timelines-as-visual-learning/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:38:30 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14992 british-history

Timeline.tv is a British educational website focussing mostly of the history of Great Britain but also including Seven Journeys in the American West and an extensive coverage of the history of Smallpox Through Time,  1045BC to 2010.  The History of Britain section is divided into categories dealing with lives of the people, rulers and government and the Empire.

This is a content-rich site with a mix of short videos  (7-12 minutes) with external links to quality related sites.  The videos present historical subjects in a variety of ways with associated primary artifacts, such as drawings, documents and artwork along with contemporary footage of the locations, buildings and historical landmarks.  The narrator also makes the link between historical and contemporary times in an easy explanatory tone.

Timeline.tv is easy to negotiate and ideally suited to individual or small group student work.  The association between events is assisted by their placement in the timeline across the bottom to the screen.  So visually supportive!  Students could create their own time lines from the content.  This educational resource award winner from 2010 is certainly worth revisiting if it has slipped off your radar, or exploring as a new discovery.

There are many timeline tools.  A couple of my favourites are: Time Rime | Timetoast
See also tools mentioned in the previous post Timeline Generators

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EdTechCrew podcast says ‘Farewell’ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/20/edtechcrew-podcast-says-farewell/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/20/edtechcrew-podcast-says-farewell/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:55:40 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14987 edtechcrew

Since their first podcast as the EdTechCrew seven years ago, Tony Richards (@itmadesimple) and Darrel Branson (@ictguy) have opened the eyes of educators to the possibilities of ICT integration into the classroom.  I say ‘educators’ and not ‘Victorian educators’ because over the course of the 250 episodes of EdTechCrew, Tony and Darrel have woven together a worldwide network of listeners, collaborators and conversations from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada as well as Australia-wide and places in between.

Having mentioned them in a recent post on recommended Australian education podcasts, it is now disappointing to report that EdTechCrew Podcast 250 was the farewell presentation from this great team.  Darrel and Tony have a chemistry that many would envy in their ability to share news, ideas and discussions in such an easy going manner.  Their individual expertise has not been worn as a badge of honour but has been used to build a community of learners who are now better able to bring about the transition to technology integration in the classroom.

Over the past seven years we’ve listened to the rain on the roof of Darrel’s Mildura shed-studio, felt the summer heat and listened to the crickets while hearing of his growing family and his changes of career along the way.  Tony has also shared the growth of his family, moved house and been stuck with dodgy internet.  He now resides in beautiful Ocean Grove but clocks up numerous air-miles consulting around the country, most recently with the support of his number on trialer, Patrick.  In the meantime the weekly podcasts have rarely skipped a beat.

Straddling both the primary and secondary sectors, with no discrimination between Government, Catholic or Independent schools, Tony and Darrel have been an example of what can be achieved through an open approach to education.  Distance was no barrier as they used the technology available to create a podcast from their locations at opposite ends of the state.

School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) members are familiar with Tony through his involvement in the Web Elements Engaged Project and presentations at numerous conferences.  The EdTechCrew Diigo Group, through which the community have shared recommended resources will remain active.

Thank you Tony (@itmadesimple) and Darrel (@ictguy) and good luck with the activities that are now demanding your closer attention.  You’ve left a rich resource of 250 podcasts.  I encourage every educator to take time and listen, you’ll learn to much.

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Mindmap integration in Google Docs http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/17/mindmap-integration-in-google-docs/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/17/mindmap-integration-in-google-docs/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 20:44:49 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14980 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.

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School libraries as Learning Commons – physical & virtual http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/11/school-libraries-as-learning-commons-physical-virtual/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/11/school-libraries-as-learning-commons-physical-virtual/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 07:36:08 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14976 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.

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Education podcasts with an Australian touch http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/01/education-podcasts-with-an-australian-touch/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/01/education-podcasts-with-an-australian-touch/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 00:23:29 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14971 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.

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Horizon Report 2014 K-12 edition – an outline http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/27/horizon-report-2014-k-12-edition-an-outline/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/27/horizon-report-2014-k-12-edition-an-outline/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 05:09:07 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14958 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.

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Library Management Systems – online discussion http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/23/library-management-systems-online-discussion/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/23/library-management-systems-online-discussion/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 01:07:17 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14949 Google-hangouts-634x240 Last Saturday the School Library Association of Victoria conducted its first member discussion via Google Hangouts.  While trialing it for some time, this was the first event involving members who had registered an expression of interest in being involved.  It was a great success and will be a valuable platform for future member discussions.

The topic on Saturday was Library Management Systems (LMS).   It was not a vendor event but rather a demonstration of the system from the user’s point of view.  Members who are actually using the systems demonstrated them to Hangout participants and discussed their use and value to them.   The discussion had the valuable support of Renate Beilhartz, Library Studies teacher from Box Hill Institute.  Renate would be familiar to many through her presentation of RDA courses on behalf of SLAV.

Library Management Systems discussed were:

  • OCLC Worldshare by Camilla Elliott (Mazenod College)
  • Destiny  by Miffy Farquarson (Mentone Grammar)
  • Infiniti by Pam Saunders (Melbourne High School)

SLAV will hold fortnightly Hangouts with more indepth discussions on a full range of  LMS options during Term 3, commencing Thursday, 24 July – 4.00 pm.  Every library has its own needs.  This is an opportunity for you to be informed by colleagues who are satisfied users of their LMS and are happy to discuss it with SLAV members.  Full details on how to register your interest in being involved will be available on the the SLAV website.

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‘Synergy’ school library journal – open access http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/20/synergy-school-library-journal-open-access/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/20/synergy-school-library-journal-open-access/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 19:08:20 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14946 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.

 

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Blogging in the classroom – resources by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/11/blogging-in-the-classroom-resources-by-silvia-rosenthal-tolisano/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/11/blogging-in-the-classroom-resources-by-silvia-rosenthal-tolisano/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 01:03:00 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14931 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.

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ANZAC commemoration – family stories http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/10/anzac-commemoration-family-stories/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/10/anzac-commemoration-family-stories/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 22:00:53 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14924 anzac_logo

Over the past week we have witnessed news reports of Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and war service veterans attending the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing in Normandy.  The largest seaborne invasion in history.   Our attention has been drawn to the veterans as they relive and recount the impact of the war years on their lives.  Over the next year, as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of Anzac, we will be encouraged to reflect on the efforts of all Australians during wartime.  We are fortunate to have access to a growing range of quality online resources that document the people and events involved in defending Australia.  This commemoration is an opportunity to harness the creativity of our students and involve them in revisiting, and perhaps even discovering, their own family history.  These World War I sites are some that will adapt well to the classroom.

100 Years of Anzac is the official website of the Australian Anzac Centenary commemorations.  The Centenary is planned to be a time remember not only the original Anzacs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by all Australian servicemen and women.  It encompasses all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved. This site includes links to many relevant resources.

Gallipoli and the Anzacs  Created by the Australian Government, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, this site contains a wealth of information about Gallipoli, the landing, individual accounts, photographs, diaries and the Gallipoli Peninsula today.  Ideas and resources available support the study of Gallipoli for many different approaches.

World War I Diaries – Our Stories, Your Stories is a commemorative project of State Library of NSW. Through 2014 to 2019 the Library will take its collections on site, on tour and online to tell our stories, and to listen to your stories. At the heart of the commemorations is the collection which includes some 1140 volumes of diaries written by over 500 servicemen and women, supported by newspapers, photographs, maps and ephemera.   Diaries will be completely digitised, transcribed and available on line. The library is inviting the public to contribute their own stories.  See also World War I and Australia Research Guide

Researching Australians in World War I Research Guide  developed by staff of the State Library of Victoria focuses on Australians serving in World War 1. It also includes some information relevant to Great Britain, Commonwealth nations and other combatant nations. Included is a section on nurses and women’s war occupations.  This guide is a digital roadmap for any war service researcher old or young.  It provides links into library records and collections with tips on how to construct a successful search and where to look for particular information.

Mapping our ANZACs by the National Archives of Australia has been available for a number of years and continues to grow in richness as people build their own scrapbooks and add family photographs.  It provides an accessible interface for searching veteran war records.  The interactivity of this site is an ideal teaching opportunity as students trace their own family members and then potentially, contribute to the collection.  It’s a site that can stimulate family conversations and potentially lead to the revealing of family stories.  A reminder about War & Identity- Education, a website of the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee.  This site has also been available for some time but the interactive resources are well worth a reminder as schools introduce 1:1 computing devices.  

Finally, Lives of the First World War - is a UK First World War Centenary project.   Presently in its infancy, the Imperial War Museum is creating this project to bring material from museums, libraries, archives and family collections from across the world together in one place.  They hope to inspire people of all ages to explore, reveal and share the life stories of those who served in uniform and worked on the home front.  Australians are invited to contribute their family stories to help build this Commonwealth resource.

This is not an exhaustive list of Australian World War I resources.  It is a sample of the material available for students to develop their own content, contribute their own stories and develop a greater understanding of their place in history.

Do you have a resource to recommend?  Please share your knowledge via the comments option.

 

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What was there – historical photos and Google Maps http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/05/what-was-there/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/05/what-was-there/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 03:25:43 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14806 What was there uses historical images and Google Maps to look at how places have changed overtime. You can add photos to specific locations and then using Google Street View, overlay images from the past and present.

what was there 3

A particularly nice feature of the interface is the option to fade between photographs and the street view image. Anyone over 13 can register with the service and add images, tag by location and year, save locations, and position images to overlay with street view.

There are some great examples of cities that have thousands of photographs pinned to different locations, including New York which has around 2000 images. Closer to home, the Victorian regional town of Bairnsdale has around 60 historical images pinned to shops and community buildings.

What was there 1

With so many cultural institutions digitising collections and making images freely available online, tools like What Was There give students and teachers the opportunity to connect to local history in new ways. The State Library of Victoria has thousands of out of copyright images of regional towns around Victoria that can be used freely for educational purposes.

Imagine students finding images of their town or suburb’s main street a hundred years ago and comparing it to today? Or even their own house or school? Try searching for your town or suburb name in the SLV catalogue and see what you can find.

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Library tours on Historypin http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/04/library-tours-on-historypin/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/04/library-tours-on-historypin/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 01:45:58 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14881 We recently came a across a great application of Historypin, a tool which lets you attach media to specific locations on a map.

Judith Way has created a virtual tour of Australian (and a few international) school libraries showcasing different approaches to library design and function. It’s a great example of how we can use tools like Historypin to share our learning and expertise with colleagues.

Tools like Pinterest could also be used to showcase library spaces and displays online.

virtual tours 2

You can look at individual libraries, view by location or follow the tour.

virtual tours 3

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Unconference and Teachmeet models explained http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/04/unconference-and-teachmeet-models-explained/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/06/04/unconference-and-teachmeet-models-explained/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:34:10 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14915 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.

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Your library, your career – SLAV / SLV forum http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/05/27/your-library-your-career-slav-slv-forum/ http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/05/27/your-library-your-career-slav-slv-forum/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 00:18:17 +0000 http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/?p=14860 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.

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