Library Orientation – the essential Welcome!


Summer holidays are becoming a distant memory as we settle into a new school year. A new batch of students has been welcomed and they’re beginning that somewhat daunting task of finding their way around and mastering the new environment.

Last week, with the assistance of Year 7 class teachers, I introduced over 250 students to the complexities of setting up network passwords and establishing their presence on the college network. This learning space will be very familiar to them in no time, but for now, it is one of the essential orientation activities for new students. In the meantime my teacher librarian colleague Jessica Bishop, is launching the reading program and introducing students to the physical space. They are acclimatising quickly and already making enquiries about Lego and Minecraft.

Teacher librarian at Genazzano FCJ College, Catherine Farrell, shared details of her Year 7 library orientation in SLAV’s journal Synergy last year. In the article entitled QR Codes and Orientation she describes how students use a passport sized booklet with information and questions, to discover different areas and services within the library. QR codes provide easy access to supporting videos and other online information relating to the use of the library.

Read Catherine’s article and you will gain an appreciation of how this type of task becomes a learning activity for everybody involved. Students learn about the library and the library staff gain experience in using new and innovative ways of tackling a routine task such as new student orientation.

Also, in a previous post on this blog teacher librarian, Rachel Fidock, wrote a post Revamping your school library orientation in which she presented a number of novel approaches to library familiarisation. For example, have current students create a promo video about what they thought the library was going to be like, what it actually has to offer, and what they think the students will like about their library. Student voice is often so much more engaging than the library staff delivering the message. Check Rachel’s post for a number of good ideas.

The library can be a safe haven in the sometimes stormy sea of a new school. Orientation aside, library staff who are visible, open and welcoming play a critical role at the commencement of a new school year. Made welcome and ‘at home’, students soon become the life of the library. They are the chess players, the homework students, the readers and the one’s who are familiar with libraries and know the treasures that can lie within. Every school library has its own unique character and this is the time of year that character has a profound influence on a whole new generation of students entering the school for the first time.

Rachel reminds us in her blog not to ‘reinvent the wheel’. So, share ideas with colleagues and most importantly start the year off by showing that your school library is a vital player in the culture of the school. Enjoy!

Social Media:  Explore Library Orientation on Pinterest  or @AnitaBK on Twitter – Flip your library orientation



We love learning – feature blog

Classroom teacher Nicole McMahon at St Luke the Evangelist School in Blackburn has developed a blog for her Prep class.

It would be great to make connections with others through our blog. In the Prep Classroom, we have commenced a blog sharing our learning in the classroom.

Screen shot 2010-12-06 at 8.42.00 AM

At the moment it is in its very beginning phase but the goal is to have children using this class blog as a tool to reflect on their learning – not quite an individual PLN but rather a class learning network to make connections with the outside world. Being that the children are 5 or 6 years old, the content of our blog reflects this in its colour and creativity.

Nicole has set up blogging guidelines for her students and parents to ensure safety and respect for every student and parent. What a great space Nicole has created for sharing the work and learning of students. A bright and inviting space that showcases and celebrates learning. Congratulations Nicole!


Hamish Curry, the Education and Onsite Learning Manager of the State Library of Victoria has kindly sent the following information:

HI warmly invite you to join me at the groundbreaking Listen2Learners event.


The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the State Library of Victoria, together with the UK’s Professor Stephen Heppell, are staging Listen2Learnersto enable you to meet students who are learning with technology and demonstrate how they are shaping their digital learning world.

Listen2Learners is a chance to understand the types of skills, expertise and enthusiasms which young people have, and to hear about it from the students themselves.  Creative primary and secondary students from across Australia will tell their own stories about how they are using technology to overcome barriers, meet personal challenges and access learning in the 21st century.

Professor Heppell, will be on hand to tell you what other systems are achieving by listening to their learners.

The event will be held on Monday 11 October 2010 in Experimedia at the State Library of Victoria.

Please visit any time between 10am and 2.30pm to speak with the students, meet Professor Heppell and network with like minded people from across the education sector and beyond.   Light refreshments will be provided.

Register your attendance here.

For a glimpse of what you can expect to discover at the Listen2Learners event, please visit the website and follow the event on Twitter # Listen2Learners.

I know you will value this opportunity to see the kinds of things students are doing with technology, driven by their own passions and interests.

I look forward to catching up with you at Listen2Learners.

Listen2Learners sounds like a brilliant initiative and Stephen Heppell is an inspiring speaker.

Students as Documentary Makers with Mitzi Goldman

Victorian teachers are invited to participate in this free professional learning session.

Students as Documentary Makers with Mitzi Goldman

Throughout this session teachers will find out how media is a deeply engaging tool when students use it to express their learning about the real world.

When: Monday 31st August 2009, 4pm. Sign up here –

Where: Online in Elluminate. This event is free but you need to sign up –

Who: Mitzi Goldman has spent 25 years as a film maker and educator in the Australian film industry. She has directed and produced over ten documentaries for television including international co-productions. Mitzi was Head of Documentary at the Australian Film and Television School for six years and is now executive director of the Documentary Australia Foundation. Mitzi is now focussing on sharing her educational vision of students as documentary makers.

What: In this online conference with Mitzi Goldman, teachers will find out how media is a deeply engaging tool when students use it to express their learning about the real world. Mitzi will engage participants in a discussion about the educational and social benefits of using media to produce documentaries. Teachers will learn the basics of documentary making and how they can get started in their classrooms. They will find out how media can be used as a tool to express the learning that takes place when students are given the tools to deconstruct, analyse and understand the information they encounter all around them.

This event is free but you need to sign up –

For more information email


Jabbster is a free online tool that enables you to keep in touch with and share items with family and friends and only family and friends.


The website explains its features:

Jabbster Features

  •  Share photos of all your experiences,
    knowing they will stay private and safe.
  •  Let everyone know when and where you’ll be,
    by adding your trip to the event calendar.
  •  Share up to date contact & birthday info,
    knowing everyone who can view it can be trusted.
  •  Plus much, much more!
    We roll out new features every chance we get!
  •  Everything you add is completely private,
    so the rest of the internet doesn’t know it exists.
  •  Keep in touch through group discussions,
    and allow everyone in your group to participate.

As well as personal/family uses, Jabbster could be useful for parent/teacher/student/class communication and student learning networks.


edmodo is a communication platform specifically designed for students and teachers. Being designed specifically for this audience, privacy of students was a main concern for developers.  

My Edmodo Homepage

My edmodo Homepage (no link as page is private)

As the edmodo blog states:

  • ‘What is edmodo? edmodo is a private microblogging platform that teachers and students can use to send notes, links, files, alerts, assignments, and events to each other.
  • How does it work? Teachers sign up for accounts, and then create groups. Each group has a unique code which is distributed by the teacher to the class. Students then sign up (no email address required) and join the group using the code.
  • What is the locker? All users can add any post or reply to their locker. After posts have been added to a user’s locker, they can be organized and filtered using tags. Posts can also be sent directly to a user’s own locker.
  • What are the edmodo and supportgroups? During the initial stages of edmodo, when a teacher signs up they are automatically added to the edmodo and support groups in order to give all early-adopters a chance to connect and report bugs.’

edmodo has the facility for teachers to upload assignments and also for students to click on the ‘turn in assignment’ button which uploads their responses. Teachers can even send their assessment and feedback to students via edmodo. edmodo developers are keen to hear from users about this idea and how it has worked (or not worked well) with classes.

edmodo also provides comprehensive ‘how to’ documents in the form of a wiki. There are currently four guides; a how to for teachers, a how to for students, posting to edmodo and uploading an avatar. A how to use edmodo video can be accessed here.

edmodo seems to be a very interesting and potentially valuable tool for classroom teachers and students. A bonus is that students do not need an email address to use edmodo.


An interesting Web 2.0 resource that could be useful for the beginning of the school year is thisMoment.

thisMoment is a type of digital portfolio that can chronicle events in a person’s life. As with all of the best Web 2.0 tools that can be used for educational purposes, thisMoment has privacy settings so that students’ work can be shared only with selected people.

‘Moments’ appear in the form of a timeline, with the ability for you to upload photos or videos alongside the text that you write; a description of what the moment is and how it made you feel. Getting students to create their own moments could be a great way of getting to know them at the beginning of the year. If thisMoment was introduced to year 6 students on orientation day, they could collect moments over the Christmas holidays ready to upload and share with their new school mates and teachers. For those schools with pets, accounts for pets can be created and (for example) the life cycle of a pet could be chronicled. This type of activity has applications for VELS areas such as Science, English, Humanities, ICT and Personal Learning

There are lots of social networking tools that users can tweak to add to their thisMoment experience.