Event: How to Survive the Apocalypse

apocalypse

The Centre for Youth Literature (State Library Victoria) is planning a fantastic Young Adult event.  Learn how to build and destroy characters and worlds in a day of workshops with favourite Young Adult authors Jay Kristoff and Lili Wilkinson!

Event Date:  2 July 2016 – 12:00-6:00 pm
Author Presenters: Lili Wilkinson and Jay Kristoff
Cost:  Free event – Bookings required

Author workshops*.  Venue: Conference Centre, 12-2pm

Workshop 1 – Jay Kristoff: How to build and destory worlds
Workshop 2 – Lili Wilkinson: How to build and destroy characters

* These workshops are designed for a teen audience, aged between 12 and 20. Proof of age will be required on the day. Workshops are a parent-free zone!  Tickets to the workshops are limited to only 30 places per workshop.

If you miss out on the workshops, there are plenty of tickets available to attend the panel and film screening (capacity 200), open to all ages.

The panel discussion and audience Q&A with Jay Kristoff and Lili Wilkinson will be held in the Village Roadshow Theatrette, 2.30-3.30pm.

Finally,  in the Village Roadshow Theatrette, 4.00-6.00pm
The Maze Runner film screening with audience participation, 4-6pm. The Maze Runner is rated M for a mature audience.

Slow Reading: the Power to Transform

IMG_5232a

Reading programs and the support of a culture of reading is a common commitment in school libraries.  As teacher librarians, and librarians, we promote reading for enjoyment as a means of raising literacy levels through activities such as reading classes; engaging children in the Premiers’ Reading Challenge; running Book Clubs or supporting English teachers. To this end, the Synergy article Slow Reading: The Power to Transform by Dr Pam Macintyre, Senior Lecturer in Portfolio of Design and Social Context in the School of Education at RMIT is of particular interest.

In this article Pam says it’s logical to state, ‘greater understanding produces greater pleasure when reading’.  To fully understand and learn the skill of reading she encourages us to take time and to give students time, through a process of ‘slow reading’ saying:

Students need us to slow the reading, to model and facilitate the enjoyment of contemplation and the sharing of responses and interpretations. We need to share our enjoyment of language, and the delight in the places reading can take us well beyond the physical, geographical, emotional, intellectual boundaries of our daily lives. We also need to share our knowledge and pleasure about the how of what is said, not only the what.

Pam mentions the Australian research, the Children and Reading literature review which reports a 4% drop in the number of children reading for pleasure between 2003 and 2012.  As a passionate advocate of adolescent reading, she notes the opportunities for further research in this field as reading formats change from hard copy to digital.

In promoting a reading culture Pam quotes Terry Eagleton’s, How to Read Literature (2013)  and urges us to encourage in students a peculiarly vigilant type of reading, ‘one which is alert to tone, mood, pace, genre, syntax, grammar, texture, rhythm, narrative structure, punctuation, ambiguity’ (2013, p. 2).

This article, published in SLAV’s professional journal Synergy, provides teacher librarians and educators involved in raising literacy levels through a formal reading program, with a thoughtful approach to developing skilled readers.  Synergy is published bi-annually and is freely accessible online, apart from the two most recent editions.  It is a valuable source of research relating to school libraries.

Redesigning thinking in school libraries

notosh

As school libraries forge a new future, it’s clearly apparent that no two libraries are the same.  Whilst we can exchange ideas and hold discussions on ‘what works’ for us, defining the role of a school library is an exercise in knowing what is best for our own community.

Last week, at the SLAV workshop Redesigning thinking in Libraries, Hamish Curry of NoTosh guided library staff through a design thinking approach to exploring the future possibilities for their libraries and schools.  With an explicit focus on the areas of Mindset, Skillset, and Toolset, delegates were led through a critical and creative process learning to think deeply and constructively.  They thought through the current position of their school library and explored possibilities from different angles and through various lenses.

The room buzzed with energy as throughout the day they used words such as ‘and’, rather than ‘but’, to shake off the limitations we often place on our own thinking.  Delegates learnt about ‘ideation’ and ‘actions’ and the ‘7 spaces’ concept.  By the end of the day new ideas had been formed along with the conviction to put them into practice.

Hamish is an old friend of SLAV, having previously collaborated through his role in the Education Team at State Library of Victoria.  The new knowledge he brought from No Tosh is timely inspiration and guidance for school library staff charged with the responsibility of re-envisaging the traditional school library service.

This Storify captures some of the Twitter feed shared via #slavconf.  Thanks to delegates who tweeted from the workshop enabling the capture of this valuable record.

The new Victorian Curriculum

vic-curriculum1

As has been the practice for a number of years, the first SLAV conference for 2016 focussed on the role of teacher librarians and school library staff in the learning and teaching program.

The 18 March SLAV Conference entitled Student Centred, Curriculum Centred: Exploring the new Victorian Curriculum, was launched with keynote David Howes, Executive Director, Curriculum Division, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).  David introduced the new Victorian Curriculum  to delegates, explaining similarities, differences and integration with the Australian Curriculum (ACARA).  He emphasised that the new Victorian Curriculum supports the Victorian State Government’s goals for education which has as its aims:

Over the next 5 years:

  • 25% more Year 5 students will reach the highest levels of achievement in reading and maths.

Over the next 10 years:

  • 25% more Year 9 students will reach the highest levels of achievement in reading and maths.

  • 33% more 15 year olds will reach the highest levels of achievement in science.

  • More students will reach the highest levels of achievement in the arts.

  • More students will reach the highest levels of achievement in critical and creative thinking.

David also introduced the  Teaching and Learning Toolkit which is an ‘accessible summary of educational research’ designed to support quality learning and teaching.  Its layout is based on the research of Prof John Hattie, where from a series of explicit goals you delve into the site to discover research and practice to support the topic.  This will be an excellent professional learning tool for teachers.

Rhonda Powling captured the Twitter stream from the Conference to create this Storify which includes tweets relating to David’s presentation and others on the day (more about them to come).

SLAV delegates appreciated the depth of analysis and explanation provided by David who appreciates the role of the school library that is actively working with teachers and curriculum leaders to provide the best possible outcomes for students.  His full presentation is available on the Member’s section of the SLAV website.

Melbourne Mini Maker Faire in March

minimakerfaire1

A Mini Maker Faire is an event created by Make magazine to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset” (Wikipedia).  3D printing, arduino electronics, coding and Maker activities have come a long way in the three years since the first Melbourne Mini Maker Faire was held at Swinburne University in 2012.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) has entered the curriculum, the Hour of Code has been adopted worldwide and 3D printers have transitioned from being items of awe to common items in many schools, both primary and secondary.  These new tools are providing students with opportunities for hands-on application of science and technology as authentic tools for learning and Makerspaces in schools and libraries have become new spaces for learning.

It’s with great excitement, therefore, that we greet the announcement of 2016 Melbourne Mini Maker Faire!

Date: Saturday 19 March, 10am – 4pm

Location: KIOSC @ Swinburne University of Technology, 369 Stud Road, Wantirna 3152

Cost: Gold Coin Donation‌

The Victorian Department of Education and Training in association with the Knox Innovation Opportunity and Sustainability Centre (KIOSC) and Swinburne University of Technology are planning this exciting experience by providing a snapshot of what our future may look like.

The program will include: workshops by inventors and makers, demonstrations of cutting edge technologies, hands on activities for children and adults, nutritious food vendors and musical entertainment

Register as a Maker, Volunteer, Sponsor or an Attendee, today!
For information please visit the Melbourne Maker Faire website.

This video by Mat Bettinson of the 2012 Melbourne Mini Maker Faire provides you with an idea of what to expect at a Maker Faire.
Use these links to stimulate your imagination and begin an exploration of Maker Faires worldwide.

 

New Australian STEM resources hub

abc-splash-stem

ABC Splash is a source of high-quality digital educational content specifically developed for the Australian learning community.  This week they launched the Splash STEM Hub which addresses “Science, Technology, Education and Maths” learning for students in Years Prep/Foundation to Year 10.  The site contains experiments, teaching ideas, and interviews with scientists, engineers in partnership with organisations such as CSIRO, RiAus and the Australian National University.  It brings real world science and people working in science and technology fields into the classroom.

To celebrate the launch of the new STEM hub, ABC Splash is conducting a prize draw that you enter by simply subscribing to the new STEM newsletter.  Two great prizes for the winners are three sphero rolling robots, one prize for primary and one for secondary.  What a marvellous incentive to sign up to receive what is a great prize in itself – regular science education news and updates!

All ABC Splash resources are free to watch and play at home and in school and are guaranteed to spark discussion and promote curiosity. The Splash portal is a world-class education experience for Australian students, and is packed with thousands of videos, audio clips, games and interactive tools.  Teachers and teacher librarians are especially encouraged to sign up for the primary, secondary and now the STEM newsletters.  Promote them to your students and their families, they’ll love them.

eBooks & eResources – sharing experience

brightIdeasImage

As we commence the new school year, it’s timely to share this guest post from SLAV Council Member Julie Pagliaro.  In this post Julie, teacher librarian at St Kevin’s College, Waterford Library, reflects on the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Workshop – eBooks and eResources held last term.  The management of digital resources is a complex matter for school libraries, made easier by sharing successful examples of practice through workshops such as this.

From Julie:

The School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Workshop – eBooks and eResources was an engaging day with everything that you have ever wondered about eBooks and eResources being addressed. David Feigham, Information and Library Services Manager from Mentone Girls’ Grammar School, set the scene, with his inspiring knowledge and experience on how to implement best practice strategies in this area of our library collections. Practical ideas followed on how to incorporate Kindles, how to promote ebooks and the importance of keeping usage records. Julia Petrov from St Patrick’s College, Ballarat emphasised that eresources should always be no more than three clicks away and we must make it easy for our users. The provision of ebooks and eresources requires flexible and creative thinking on the part of library staff.  By working together, we will be in a stronger position to know what works and how to achieve the best deal for our schools.

Presentations and notes from the conference will be available via the member’s area of the SLAV website.

General Points

  • Advantages of eBooks and eResources – they’re private, can’t be lost, instant, great for when a book is in high demand and you don’t want to buy multiple copies of it, content can often be differentiated according to different learning standards e.g., Online Britannica has low, medium and high levels
  • People still want print books over eBooks
  • EBook usage seems to be higher than NF. When we chose to introduce fiction eBooks first did we have the order wrong?
  • Provision of eBooks and eResources is higher in the Independent and Catholic sectors. It is concerning, that government schools are falling behind in this area.
  • One often repeated view, was that as a profession, we need to work together with our vendors in order to ensure we meet the needs of our students and staff.
  • Sometimes it is unwise to purchase outright. Consider more flexible options such as leasing.
  • Publishers are not the same and they often and do change their eBook licensing agreements. We must learn to manage this.
  • Don’t expect one provider to meet all of your eLearning needs.
  • Know your usage of eResources and examine whether you are meeting your school’s needs.
  • Access to your resources should be no more than three clicks.

You are invited to share your knowledge of ebooks and eresources via a ‘comment’.

Image source: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tribehut/8091234505

Social media and reputation preservation!

esafety

This week Victorian media has been alive with the news of AFL (Australian Football League) recruit, Jake Carlisle, shown in a social media video where he appears to be snorting a line of white powder.  Leaked to the general media a day after he’d been signed to a new football club, this video actually came from the footballer’s own mobile phone and was distributed via his own SnapChat account.  A thoughtless action that has exposed his behaviour to the world and tarnished his reputation forever.

This is just one of the incidents our Year 9 Coordinator and I discussed today as we planned a digital citizenship program for Year 9 boys.  It’s essential that students have the opportunity to learn these skills.  To be effective, however, lessons should not be solely instruction or a one-off presentation from a visiting speaker, but should include time for students to have conversations with their peers.  They need time to exchange experiences and to clarify their own held beliefs if the message is to ‘stick’.

Enhancing Online Safety is the new website of the Australian Government – Office of the eSafety Commissioner.  It replaces the very popular ACMA Cyber[Smart] website and includes all the materials from that site.  This is an excellent resource for teaching digital citizenship to students at any year level.  Lesson plans and resources are organised in age-appropriate categories with videos and linked descriptions.

For example, the page Games, apps and social media: quick guide to social media sites and apps has links to 50+ sites popular with young people.  Knowledge and open discussion is easier when backed by quality information and this new site is a wealth of information.  Voluntary teacher certification is also available and will appeal to teachers who wish to build their own skills for teaching a digital citizenship program.

Enhancing Online Safety is a highly recommended resource.  The site is extensive and growing.  I suggest using the site map to support your exploration.  Students need to hear this message often and from many different angles if they are to become responsible in their online communications.  Digital citizenship instruction doesn’t address their behaviour but at least it may give them the chance to save their reputation for the time when they have matured and have their behaviour under control.

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

 

Virtual reality fieldtrips with Google Expeditions – register

cardboardThe Google Cardboard virtual reality (VR) headset was launched onto the market in July 2014.  At the time the headsets only worked with Android phones and there were a limited number of apps available.  From these humble beginnings they have grown into a range of different headsets that support most mobile phones and offer a growing choice of apps.

This week the humble headset has made a giant leap into the classroom with the announcement of Google Expeditions, the virtual reality teaching tool built with Google Cardboard. With Google Expeditions, teachers will be able to to choose from 100+ virtual fieldtrips to places like Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China.

To facilitate the introduction of Expeditions, Google will be visiting thousands of schools around the world with the kit of required equipment for teachers to use in their classes for the day.  Australia is one of the first countries to be offered this exciting opportunity with visits available during September and October. If you are interested in a visit for your school, register via the Expeditions Pioneer Program.