BLOG TASK 3: Information Literacy is more than a Set of Skills

Information Literacy is so much more than a set of skills. Information Literacy involves a process. It is a means of developing skills in critical thinking and in problem solving, it is the means of developing a life long process of learning. Abilock (2004) further reiterates this idea, by stating that information literacy is “a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes”(p.1).
It is easy to get bogged down in the huge amount of definitions of Information Literacy. Obviously it is not an easy term to define. A definition of Information Literacy that I have found which is concise and covers the major ideas is from The Stanford University website. The website defines Information Literacy as forming “the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning”. The terms in this definition that appeal are the sense that it is common to all disciplines& environments and is the basis of lifelong learning.
The terms “set of skills” conjures up definitions of skills achieved and set outcomes. Information Literacy is more than that, it is about moving through a process which involves a beginning, but the student may not come to a scheduled ‘end’. Information Literacy appears to require revising and reassessing information, selecting and discarding, as well as being able to produce a reflection of this process. But that process may not end there – for someone who is information literate, the process continues.
According to Eisenberg, Information Literacy requires structures that develop relevance and transferability in students learning. We see this transferability referred to in the Stanford University definition which states that the process is common to all disciplines, learning environments and education levels. Someone who is Information Literate can take the same skills they use to research one subject, into another. From one level of education into the next.
The NSW DET model shows this transferability by illustrating the model in a circular diagram with double ended arrows, meaning one can travel backwards and forwards throughout the process. Although the NSW DET model does provide a set of objectives – these objectives do not refer to the final product. They are merely a way teachers can assess that a student is actually moving through the process.
In conclusion, information literacy is not just a set of skills to be acquired, it is a continual process of acquiring experiences that allow for a development of skills, attitudes and behaviours. This development of skills will lead to a process of life long learning that can cross a multitude of situations.

REFERENCES
Abilock, D. (2004) Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. NoodleTools. Retrieved from: http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Eisenberg, M.B.(2008) Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), pp.39-47.

NSW DET (2007) The Information Process. Retrieved from: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/index.htm

Stanford University (2013) Definition of Information Literacy. Retrieved from: http://skil.stanford.edu/intro/research.html

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Blog Assignment 2

3D Character and Question MarkIMPLEMENTING A GUIDED INQUIRY APPROACH

Guided Inquiry is a planned and supervised process which aims to guide students through curriculum based inquiry units that build deep knowledge and deep understanding of a curriculum topic, and gradually lead towards independent learning (Kuhlthau & Todd).
Guided Inquiry is grounded in the constructivist approach to learning and is based on extensive studies of the Information Search Process (ISP) developed by Kuhlthau in 1985. (Kuhlthau & Maniotes, 2010)
Guided Inquiry, which has been described as a journey by Scheffers, is a process that allows students to learn to think for themselves, make decisions and develop the skills and expertise that they will be able to use in further situations within their lives. It allows students the opportunity to become actively engaged in their own learning.
Examples of Guided inquiry in practice in schools like Broughton Anglican College (Sheerman, 2011) and Caddies Creek Public School (Sheffers, 2008), provide evidence of the positive results that can be achieved through this process.
Guided Inquiry involves 7 key stages of learning that are used to guide students through the researching process. These are Initiation, Selection, Exploration, Formulation, Collection, Presentation and Assessment.
A key component leading to the success of such a program (and further proven through the examples written about by Sheerman and Sheffers) is the importance of collaboration. These positive results were only possible due to the collaboration of a team of teachers working together to assist the students involved. For Guided Inquiry to work effectively there is a need to advocate for a whole school change, where all staff are involved, and providing a whole team approach to learning. The vital role of the teacher librarian as an active member in the teaching and learning team was also apparent. Kuhlthau (2010) describes Guided Inquiry as providing scope for a ‘synergy of ideas’ (p.19) as it allows teaching team members to share their expertise, and share planning, teaching and supervisory roles.
Collaboration can also include individuals outside the school with the possibilities of community members and other experts who can offer students even further information (Kuhlthau, 2010, p19). This allows for the learning experiences to be real, allowing links to the ‘wider world’ and making this approach a more significant experience for students.
What is the role of the Teacher Librarian in regards to Guided Inquiry? The ISP model allows the Teacher Librarian to be both a teacher and resourcer of the curriculum. By working with the teaching team, classroom teachers may learn more about Information Literacy from the Teacher Librarian (therefore fulfilling the role of TL as school leader) and the Teacher lIbrarian will also be able to assess student’s on their information literacy skills (Kuhlthau and Maniotes p20).
Collaboration, being so important in the Guided Inquiry approach, may mean TL’s are required to put in the ‘hard yards’ in order for every one within the school to see that the approach is of benefit to students. In schools, where teacher directed learning is the norm, it may be difficult to change some teacher’s opinions and allow them to lose some control typical of teacher directed instruction. The evidence shows that Guided Inquiry is a beneficial approach for most students, allowing for even lower ability students to achieve (Sheerman, Little & Breward, 2011,p 4).

References
Kuhlthau, C. & Todd, R. accessed icwc.wikispaces.com/file/view/Guided+Inquiry.doc
•Kuhlthau, C. & Maniotes, L. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18-21.
•Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry: A learning journey. Scan, 27(4), 34-42.
•Sheerman, A. (2011). Accepting the challenge: Evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(2), 24-33.
•Sheerman, A., Little, J., & Breward, N. (2011). iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Guided Inquiry at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(1), 4-5.

MY THOUGHTS ON EVIDENCE GATHERING, BEING A PRO-ACTIVE RESEARCHER AND AN ADVOCATE.

Caveman-ResearchMy thoughts on evidence gathering and my role as a pro-active researcher and advocate –hmmmm?- first initial thought? – It sounds like lots of work! (I know that’s not the type of attitude to have, I think it’s stemming from the end of week 9 blues!).

According to Todd (2007) “The hallmark of a twenty first century school library will be actions that show that it makes a real difference to student learning” (p62). The reasoning behind evidence gathering is highlighted through the readings this week, and through other Masters students experiences shared on the forum also. Through this, it becomes clear that school teacher librarians are having to prove their worth in order to keep their jobs. Reading this, and thinking back to a school I previously taught in where the teacher librarian did lose her job due to cost cutting, it did concern me a little and to be honest, had me thinking whether I was doing the right thing by doing this course. I questioned whether I want to spend my future career trying to prove that my position should exist. It makes me question whether I should stick with my art teaching – at least then, my worth is there, physically, for all to see in the form of a student’s beautiful artwork!

In terms of research and advocating, the benefits are benefits for our students. All the research suggests links between student achievement and a well run library. However, how do we create a well run library? – with research on what works, why it works and considering why it should continue or why it should be changed.

Oberg (2002) states that collecting evidence to show school libraries make a difference is part of the Teacher Librarian’s professional role and that they need to be working on two areas – 1) knowing and communicating research that relates to the library role and, 2) generate their own research – as research closer to home may be more likely considered to be more trustworthy. This is really simple commonsense for if one is to show a professional awareness of the goings on of their line of work, it is only going to heighten the respect they have from others. Advocating is the next step – showing you truly believe in the role you are undertaking and the benefits you are having on the students may just rub off on others. However, you will always have more power with your advocacy, if you have the proof to back it up. This will be in the evidence and how the students are actually benefitting from the library and its services, and this evidence needs to be physically shown to others so that it is known about. This is vital – how to physically show the school community that the TL and the school library is vital to students learning. It is here that Evidence Based Practice and Oberg’s second point for a TL (generate own research) shows its importance.

On a closing note, I love Hay’s (2006) referral to the library as a ‘learning laboratory’; not only is it fantastic alliteration, but it does sum up the changes to the library environment, especially in regards to ICT! It draws me to consider whether we need to change what we call a library in order to change other’s perceptions regarding its role and its importance?

References

Oberg, D. (2002). Looking for the evidence: Do school libraries improve student achievement?, School Libraries in Canada, 22(2), 10-14.

Hay, L. (2006). School libraries as flexible and dynamic learning laboratories? That’s what Aussie kids want. Scan, 25(2), 18.27.

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.), School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited, available through CSU Library eReserve

 

The Role of the Teacher Librarian – reflection on Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza

ASSESSMENT BLOG TASK 1
In terms of the role of the TL, and reading through the views of Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza, it is obvious the role is indeed ‘multi-faceted’. A Teacher Librarian is a wearer of many hats!

I took note of the quote from Osler within the Purcell (2010) reading. Osler stated, over 100 years ago “The librarian of today, and it will be more of the librarian of tomorrow, are not fiery dragons interposed between the people and the books. They are useful public servants, who manage libraries in the interest of the public”(pg31). This quote appeals to me due to the mention of people and within the readings, whether referred to as patrons, students, teachers or the public, it is the people that dictate what our role should be.

Indeed the role of the librarian has changed, just as the library has changed from only a place filled with “people and books” as referred to by Osler. It is important for TL’s to teach people how to find information, assess it and use it appropriately in a safe environment. Information literacy is a term which continually comes up and a definite role for the TL is to provide tuition on how to understand the changing information environment. It is also obvious that the role of the TL is to keep up to date regarding information technology and ongoing professional development is paramount. Jenkins (2012), within his 30 second Are School Librarians an endangered Species clip, mentioned that young people require a mentor to help them navigate the online landscape. I think this is such an important role for TL’s in terms of the changing information environment.

Within the Youtube clip from the Michegan Media Centre, it was mentioned numerous times about the correlation between a strong library program and strong academic achievement. I believe in Herring’s statement about Teacher Librarians collaborating with teachers and principals an important one in terms of increasing student achievement. So the TL role should definitely include this type of collaboration for the benefit of the students, teachers and the school overall.

It is obvious from the readings that the views regarding the role of the TL is diverse. Purcell’s suggestion of creating time study observation sheets is a notable one. Just like teaching staff keep teaching plans regarding their day to day lessons, this idea allows the TL not only to reflect on what they are doing throughout the day, but would also be good evidence for any discrepancies with principals, regarding your role.

Valenza’s Manifesto (2010) provides a good, practical list for librarians to work towards and I think it highlights the extent of a TL’s role as one that is broad and that an excellent librarian will not just appear overnight, but is a role that requires and individual to consistently work at, in order to achieve a myriad of goals. Purcell (2010) states that all the roles she mentions are interconnected and that one role cannot be performed without the support of the others.   Also, the environment in which one has been employed will greatly affect the role you have as a Teacher Librarian, for instance, how many staff you have to help you carry out the managerial and administration tasks will affect how many man hours you can dedicate to actual ‘teaching’.

Overall, however, the patrons of the library and their needs, need to be at the core of the role of the TL and the TL should work in any way they can to provide the best service possible in this regard.

References

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp.27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33. Available from http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/lmc/

Valenza, J. (2010, December 3). A revised manifesto [Blog post]. In School Library Journal. Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) (2012, Jan/Feb) 30 Second Thought Leadership: Insights from Leaders in the School Library Community “Are school librarians an endangered species?”  Retrieved from:  http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/aboutkq/30second_JanFeb12