The Heart of the Bubble by Trace Balla

Some very exciting news today!

Trace Balla, the much loved author and illustrator of Rivertime, Rockhopping and Landing with Wings, has published a brand new book called The Heart of the Bubble. A touching tale of a family’s awakening to what really matters, set in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. There are also free comprehensive teaching notes available.

Available now as a PDF or paperback from Traces’ website HERE

 

Online resources

During this time, there are many lists being shared that can help you find quality resources to support online learning in your school.  We look for institutions that we know produce reliable and authentic information, and are collating a page of links to resources, guides and useful information HERE for ease of access. We will continue to update this page as we find new resources to share.

 

Professional Learning Resource Round Up

As we all respond to the directives and guidelines in relation to COVID – 19 our association is working hard to ensure we are doing all we can to support our members.

With some schools needing to close for indefinite periods of time there may be a need for your school library staff to indicate ways they are exploring professional learning during a period of school closure or changed operations.

To assist, we have created this post, listing a range of professional learning opportunities made available to members.

A range of presentations from past Professional Learning Events can be accessed via the SLAV Member Login page HERE.

Over the past two years we have created podcasts of all of our Reading Forum events as well recording a selection of presentations given at our major conferences. These podcasts are available to anyone online and can be accessed HERE.

Synergy is our online, research based, journal. The most recent edition of the journal is closed to members only but all other editions of the journal are made freely available in light of the Associations interest in being collegiate and supportive of the wider professional community. We encourage you to explore the wealth of information from current and past editions HERE. 

Digital issues of our publication – FYI – can be accessed HERE. 

As a SLAV member, you also have access to resources from the International Association of School Librarianship through our partner membership status. There are some wonderful resources to be accessed on the IASL website and we encourage you to find time to explore them. Login details are available on our Member Login page.

Finally, a word on our 2020 Professional Learning Calendar. As we advised in our most recent newsletter we are doing all we can to ensure we are keeping our members and presenters safe, and are responding to guidelines and directives accordingly.

Events – cancellations and postponements

Our March 23 conference has been cancelled.

The IB workshop to be held in conjunction with DATTA Vic at Kardinia College on April 16 has been cancelled.

Our May Masterclass in conjunction with LMERC – Powering Learning: Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives has been moved to September 4.

Our May 29 Conference – School Libraries: Powering Primary has been moved to September 14.

The National Education Summit on August 28 and 29 at MCEC, a strand of which we are a partner in providing, has been postponed to a later date yet to be announced.

All other Reading Forums, Workshops and Masterclasses

The remainder of our program are events that are to be held in school venues. At present we are continuing to plan and offer these events on the understanding that a decision will be made a month to two weeks out from each as to whether they are to go ahead. As it is very difficult to know exactly where we will be in two months’ time this approach is hopefully the best response in unknown times.

If you have any queries about this, please contact the SLAV office on 0477 439 593 or email slav@slav.org.au

We encourage all members to stay in touch with each other in these challenging times. Our branch structure is an excellent source of local support.  We encourage you to reach out and offer collegiate advice wherever you can and to ask if you need help or assistance. Our social media platforms can also be a source of connection. Please do reach out, we are open to assisting you in any way we can.

Citizen Science – involving students in real world activities

Involving students in active projects during the closing weeks of the school year is not only a productive use of the closing weeks, it’s also an opportunity to introduce students to Citizen Science and kindle a fire of enthusiasm they can follow up further over the summer holidays.  Citizen science  enables members of the public to participate in scientific research in collaboration with scientists and scientific organisations.  It’s open to individuals or groups and is easily accessible online.

In August, Kristin Fontichiaro of Michigan University, USA, introduced the concept to SLAV conference delegates in the course of exploring data literacy and the ways in which data permeates every aspect of our lives.  A partner in the 2 year project, Creating Data Literate Students,  Kristin introduced real world projects that could be brought into the classroom.

Potential Citizen Science projects (scientific and historical) are:

The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.  Involving hundreds of thousands of volunteer researchers worldwide, topics range from environmental projects, wildlife observation, climate, history and biology, just to name a few.

Weddell Seal Count (on Zooniverse) involves counting the number of Weddell seals in the Ross Sea area of Antarctica to establish if they are being threatened by fishing practices in the region.

SeaBirdWatch (on Zooniverse) aims to address the worldwide decline of seabirds.  Action is dependent on the gathering of huge about of data relating to birds, their location, flying patterns etc.  Identify and count birds from your computer at home.

BushBlitz Australia’s largest nature discovery project – a unique multi-million dollar partnership between the Australian Government through Parks Australia and the Australian Biological Resources StudyBHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia to document plants and animals across Australia.  It’s in our backyard!

Measuring the ANZACs (on Zooniverse) is a New Zealand project transcribing the personnel files of individuals who served in World War I and the South African Wars.

Operation War Diary is another wartime historical project, this time of the British Army on the Western Front during World War I and involving analysis of 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries.

Atlas of Living Australia is a collaborative, national project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it freely available and usable online.  Students can both contribute and  use data on the site to learn about the distribution of Australian flora and fauna.

Citizen science is becoming so popular and participation so easy, new projects are launching regularly.  For example the news article ‘Urgent rescue mission’ to save Australia’s frogs using smartphone app.  That app is FrogID, the tool being distributed to the public by the the Australian Museum to collect frog calls from across Australia.

As you consider embarking on a Citizen Science project for the classroom, some tips for consideration from Kristin and her colleagues.

  • How much training of volunteers is offered?
  • Has this project worked with high school students before?
  • Are there videos, online tutorials, and other teaching resources available?
  • What is the role of the lead scientists? Do they have an outreach or instructional team member who is available for questions or assistance?
  • Can you discern political or social perspectives, and are you comfortable discussing these?
  • Is there an obvious educational goal, or are objectives primarily related to “doing science” or service learning work?
  • How social is the team with its citizen scientists? Do they use Twitter, email newsletters, tagging within online platforms etc to communicate?
  • Are their communications and platforms compatible with your school’s policies?
    (Smith, Abilock, and Williams (in press))
As authentic assessment, rather than it being a simple observe and count exercise, Kristin and her team recommend:
  • Process journals/blogs
  • Reflective work
  • Oral presentation

This post has barely touched on the possibilities for involvement in Citizen Science, readers are welcome to share their experiences via Comments.  SLAV members check Kristin’s presentation on the SLAV member portal.

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Header adapted from image http://www.greeniacs.com/GreeniacsArticles/Education/Citizen-Science.html

Making a Nation & Federation: Australia

Federation

With the tension of the Federal Election behind us, parliament has reconvened and it’s that time of the year when study of Australia as a nation enters the curriculum.  Students study various aspects of Australia’s nationhood, identity and history particularly in Year 6 to Year 9 with the support of sites such as the Parliamentary Education Office.  This post contains a range of resources to further assist that study.

Federation Referendums – is a collection of 13 digital curriculum resources focusing on the rounds of referendums held in Australian colonies to decide whether they would federate to form a nation. It is organised into four categories – the referendums in overview; the 1898 referendums; the 1899 referendums; and the 1900 referendum in Western Australia. The collection includes interactive learning objects, photographs, artefacts and cartoons.

The Federal Parliament History Timeline is an interactive timeline that enables students to gain a perspective of the sequence of events surrounding Australia’s nationhood. It is easy to navigate and links to resources for further investigation.

Federation resource by History Teachers’ Assoc of Australia (HTAA) is an Australian Curriculum lesson plan directed at Yr 6 students. It is a full unit of work with links to resources.

Making a Nation by the Australian Electoral Commission are inquiry-based interactive modules designed for students studying the history of Australia’s democratic system at Year 9 and 10 levels. There is a wealth of information on the site and links to teacher resources

National Archives of Australia – Your Story, Our Story continues to develop as a resource and has two particularly good resources on the Constitution and Federation – Creating a Nation and Constitution for a Nation

BI vrroom browse topicAlso recommended is the Virtual Reading Room (VRROOM) of the National Archives. Step 1) Choose the topic ‘Our Democracy’ 2) Refine it to Constitution or Federation using the drop down options 3) Click ‘browse’. Register on the site (free) and login to save these primary resource files to your personal folder. This site is an excellent resource for student exploration.

ABC Splash presents Sir Henry Parkes’s Tenterfield Oration, a re-enactment and discussion of the speech at Tenterfied in 1889 which laid the foundations of the movement towards Federation. 14 minutes in length, it provides background to this historical event. Also from ABC Splash is Federation of Australia

National Film and Sound Archive is a site that takes time to explore but contains short historical clips that provide context and an historical perspective. See The Founding of Canberra for a reminder that in the early years of Federation, Melbourne was the national capital.

The Trove database of the National Library of Australia is a rapidly expanding historical resource containing primary source material such as books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more. In researching a topic such as Australia’s early days of nationhood, it provides access to newspapers of the day, and images that put meaning to an event.  To find resources: Select topic, refine by selecting sub-topic – browse.

Parliamentary Education Office provides an excellent range of videos about Federation and how the parliament works.Units of work Getting it together: From Colonies to Federation were developed by the Museum of Australian Democracy and split the topic into two parts, the Victorian story Victoria: Road to Federation and and the national story The National Story: Road to Federation.  Life at the Time of Federation is another unit of work that could easily be adapted to the classroom.

Federation Referendums – a collection of 13 digital curriculum resources focusing on the rounds of referendums held in Australian colonies to decide whether they would federate to form a nation. It’s organised into four categories – 1) referendums in overview; 2) 1898 referendums; 3) 1899 referendums; 4) 1900 referendum in Western Australia. The collection includes interactive learning objects, photographs, artefacts and cartoons.

A search of Federation on the National Museum of Australia site returns a very useful range of resources from the Citizen’s Arch and the story of William Farrer and Federation wheat

Road to Federation – is an easily accessible interactive telling the Federation story.  It’s suitable for student use.

Centenary of Federation is the story of Victoria’s role in the process of Federation and Australia’s early years as a nation. The site is no longer being maintained so there are some dead link, however, it is still a useful resource.

The resources on Federation Gateway are no longer being maintained. While there is still valuable information on the site, it’s recommended that at search of the Trove database will return a better result.

Image: The ‘Secret Premiers’ conference captured for the record. In order to secure the agreement of all the colonies to the Constitution Bill, urgent changes were made at this meeting of the six Premiers at Parliament House, Melbourne, from 29 January to 2 February in 1899.  Source: National Archives of Australia  [A1200, L16930]

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