Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

The other FaceTime: being visible as a TL September 18, 2013

ETL 501 topic 7 – Information services to staff and students

Teachers in a school have a range of information needs which can be met by the teacher librarian. These needs include:

  • information on curriculum planning;
  • information on a specific subject area (to keep up to date);
  • information on current developments in teaching;
  • information on the use of ICT in the curriculum;
  • information on information literacy;
  • information on relevant print and electronic resources for learning and teaching in their subject area; and
  • information on what the teacher librarian can do for them.

Three key factors a TL needs to take into account before offering information services in a primary school:

  1. What information does the teacher/grade level already have at their disposal for their teaching and professional/personal learning?
  • check their planners
  • check existing resource lists
  • find out how the Tech Integrator’s role is/should be different from the role of the TL
  • find out from grade level leaders and PYP coordinator/principal about Personal Learning Network (PLN) groups and current readings/tasks/projects

2. What are the expected communication norms or Essential Agreements for teacher collaboration?

  • are specialists included in planning meetings?
  • is email the best way to communicate or individual face to face meetings better?
  • how much information/email is too much?

3. What level of classroom teaching involvement does the Educational Admin team expect of the TL and how can that level be scaled up/down?



504: Module 1, leadership March 14, 2012

Required reading

Cheng, Y. C. (2002). Leadership and strategy. In T. Bush & L. Bell (Eds.), The principles and practice of educational management (pp. 51-69). London : Paul Chapman Publishing. 

Reading response
Leadership is often broken into two parts: 1) influencing people’s behaviour and 2) working to develop and achieve goals.
My ideas about this statement:
1) make people feel important, valued and necessary
2) have a clear vision, be extremely transparent by outlining the process and the progress of the process
Bolman and Deal (1997)’s four leadership functions: human resources leadership, structural leadership, political leadership and symbolic leadership.
Sergiovanni: human, technical, educational, symbolic, cultural leadership
I can see how our new leadership team at my school is *trying* to show these leaderships but I’m not convinced they are working well yet. When I read the descriptors, I can relate them to some action taken by the new team but the dust had not settled and people are still not feeling great about the changes taking place. I think the “human” element is missing. Not enough sharing of the process maybe? Or just not the faith that it the new leaders actually have our best interests at heart, only looking at the dollar sign…
These 5 facets really help me understand how the leadership role can be broken into parts to see where the strengths and areas of improvement lie for my own leading.
As a visual learner, tables help me understand complex ideas much better and this table is a great example of how leaders can help facilitate quality education.

Required reading

Saskatchewan Education n.d., Adaptive leadership

Reading response

“Adaptive leadership includes a number of key elements that assist in achieving this end:

1. Developing a clear mission and vision (do it, live it, believe it)

2. Developing a culture of equity (all kids deserve the best education possible)

3. Building capacity for a learning community (personal, interpersonal, organisational)

4. Developing collaborative and distributed leadership (sharing leadership with many, everyone has the possibility to lead)

5. Fostering change and renewal (action research – get the data and then take action on it: plan-act-observe-reflect)

6. Enhancing staff growth (staff helping staff, not just outside PD)

7. Building bridges and networks (deliberate, conscious, structured collaboration)” p.1

Required reading

Henri (1994)

Henri, J. (1994, Summer). Thinking Leadership: What Place Vision? School Libraries in Canada, 14, 12-14.

Reading response

“Leadership is an art that focuses upon problem solving.” para 3

“Type 4 power has received considerable press coverage under the banner of transformational leadership. Leaders are transformative when they are able to shape and focus the motives and goals of group members. Such leadership is particularly attractive because it results in personal growth through the enhancement of individual and group problem solving capacities. Transformational leadership involves a strong element of risk taking because it enables group members to demonstrate leadership and because its adoption is likely to be culture changing. The transformational leader is likely to be seen towards the rear of the band as s/he ‘pushes’ band members ever onward and upward.” para 9

This description by Henri really resonates with me as I love the idea of leadership simply (?!) being the force that facilitates others WANTING to make changes and empowering them to do so. I don’t have a clear idea of how that actually works right now, but I’m hoping it will firm up for me as this subject progresses.

“Leaders need to get out of ‘home base’ and witness what is happening in other ‘games’. Leaders need to share their knowledge and observe their peers in action. Leaders need to trade swamps.” A’ha, I think this is where our school is sinking… new leadership who are NOT in the swamp, who do NOT know what is happening in other games.

Required reading

Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. (2003), Sustaining leadership. Phi Delta Kappan, 84 (9) 693

Reading response

Some excellent examples of real schools and how they made long term, sustainable changes based on sharing leadership and giving all staff a stake in what their school said, did and believed.

Required reading

Lambert, L. (1998). What is leadership capacity? In Building leadership capacity in schools (pp. 1-9). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Reading response

I love the reminder that EVERYONE can be responsible for school change, not just the people in the paid leadership positions. Too often I enter a staff room full of bitching people who complain about the powers-that-be, not truly understanding that every single teacher has the *possibility* of being a change agent. The notion that all the power sits with one or two people in a school is simply not true. Of course, some paid leaders have no wish to listen to their staff and will carry on with their decisions regardless but why not at least TRY to have your voice heard? You CANNOT complain unless you have first tried to make a difference. As Lambert says on p5, shared leadership implies a shared responsibility for a shared purpose. A school’s purpose is the betterment of student’s and there is no teacher that I know who would say that they personally believe the school principal is the only one responsible for student learning.


Forum activity

What do leaders do? (in terms of observable activities)

Solicit, value and take action based on others’ ideas; facilitate teacher learning; plan-act-observe-reflect; champion their staff by believing in them, listening to them, defending them, quietly and personally challenging them.

What behaviours do they exhibit? (when leading change or responding to change)

Ability to activity listen and then take action.

What personal qualities do they possess? (inate qualities as well as those learnt through study and/or experience)

Charisma, likability, respectability, empathy, compassion, technical knowledge, being able to actively listen, the willingness to say what they do and do what they say.


Assignment 2: evaluative and reflective statement February 2, 2012

A) An evaluative statement using three (3) experiences documented in your OLJ as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject

The OLJ tasks that best represent my understanding of social networking (SN) technologies are the ones in which I discuss how teacher librarians (TLs) can assist teachers to use RSS feeds to better themselves both as educators and as well rounded people, and my exploration of the strengths and areas of improvement of delicious. Above and beyond that, however, is the ‘off topic’ work I participated in during January. The exploration of FriendFeed (incorporating my burgeoning use of Twitter) and delicious, along with the creation of a new Facebook page on educational technology showed that I could competently navigate SN for my own purposes. This personalisation of SN will serve me well in transfering my new skill set into the school environment. The whole concept of using SN for the creation of my professional learning network (PLN) is exciting me beyond expectation and I am proudly flying my computer geek flag!

The Library 2.0 concept is so stimulating and the meme map included in one of my module response posts really helped me understand the concept more clearly. To my mind, the whole point of Library 2.0 is to use emerging and existing technology to better meet the information needs of my school. Library 2.0 and participatory library service is NOT about having the latest tool that does the coolest  new thing, faster and with a better interface than ever before. If it’s not relevant, if it doesn’t get users excited and pushing for more, then no matter how ‘cool’ a SN tool is, it will be a waste of time and effort and my teachers will simply turn their nose up at it. Knowing what your teachers need and when, then differentiating content and training for them based on those needs, is absolutely the best way to immerse schools into the concepts, theories and practices of Library 2.0 without instilling fear of change. I believe that the underlying principles of Web 2.0 can, and should be, mirrored by effective Library 2.0 TLs: education can only be better if we engage in collaboration, conversation, community and content creation (or co-creation). These practices must be part of the exploration process.  If teachers are creators, users who collaborate and converse in virtual and real life communities, then they are far more likely to use SN tools critically and for authentic purposes, not just because they are interesting or ‘the latest thing’. These values are reflected in my questioning and ruminations on how teachers can be part of best practice dialogue and action using RSS, delicious and other SN tools like FriendFeed. Bernoff and Li’s (2010) ladder concept was hugely influential in my understanding of how SN is both perceived and used.

To effectively scaffold my interpretation of Library 2.0, I must evaluate and know the features and functionality of any social networking reliant information tool or software and how that tool can best be used to meet the needs of their staff and students. I demonstrated that knowledge through my critical examination of delicious. This was especially evident when I highlighted how different aspects of the social bookmarking tool can be a help or hindrance when collecting information for units of inquiry. Additionally, in my RSS OLJ task, I clearly pointed out there were issues that needed to be solved in how teachers could authentically gather information that was personally relevant to them in one place. I also made clear in my marketing strategy post that professional developing in the SN area must be differentiated if the tools and training itself is to be on any use. 

Participating in SN means being cognizant of the inherent social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world. In my experience and opinion, these include, but are not limited to, privacy, cyber bullying, access to technology in and out of school, funding for staff and hardware/software, bias (in programming and in content), confidence levels and attitude, gender and age stereotypes, censorship and intellectual property. There is no bigger arena for these issues than when students and teachers are creators within the SN world. Collaborating and  communicating within a community, perhaps using a SN tool itself, such as delicious to discuss, analyse, evaluate and overcome these issues is paramount.

B) Reflective statement on your development as a social networker as a result of studying INF506, and the implications for your development as an information professional.

Funnily enough, the spark that ignited the flame of interest in social networking (SN) came right at the beginning of the subject but not necessarily as part of the subject! I was researching blogging in late November with the view that I would use it as the basis of my first assignment both in this subject and in EER500. I stumbled across a Sydney Morning  Herald article by Haesler (2011) which referenced the notion of personal learning networks (PLNs).The concept came at exactly the right time for me and drove my learning from then on.

Admittedly, my learning through this subject has come in fits and spurts, depending on the information need I had at any given time. Of course, I learnt a great deal through the modules, with regular a’ha moments steering me off on tangents of excitement. However, the real learning came when I could use the new SN tools I was exploring for real world purposes, in situations where my blood was really pumping and I pushed myself to go further, test the technologies more so that I could get the result I wanted. This was especially obvious in my delicious Stacks on positive parenting. Whilst, admittedly, this was not 100% work related, as a primary teacher, we are also surrogate parents so I guess it could come under the banner of parent education! I’m part of many parenting communities online, mostly consisting of members who are constantly in need of more information to inform and affirm their parenting. I loved having a tangible community service purpose for my own reading. Knowing my use of social bookmarking could potentially help another parent overcome hurdles is exhilarating and very gratifying. I am now looking ahead and planning how I can harness this energy and apply it to my professional life. The most obvious is helping teachers and grade levels organise their online resources into curriculum areas.

Blogging has always been my favourite use of social networking technologies, even before starting this course. When my husband and I started our lives as international vagabonds, we began a travel blog that allowed our families and friends to share our travels. This blogging experience helped me feel enthused about using an OLJ to record my learning in my M.Ed (TL) across many subjects, including this one.  My interest in blogging now goes beyond the personal. As witnessed in my first assignment for this subject, the benefits of educational blogging for primary aged students are huge. I am so excited to share my study with the school involved and be an active participant in seeing my recommendations a reality.

Facebook is another SN tool that has been enhanced through my involvement in this subject. I’ve been an avid facebooker for many years on a personal level, using it as another way to connect with distant loved ones. However, the innovative and, for me, game-changing use of facebook for educational purposes demonstrated in this course has helped me see how I can harness it’s power. I love the idea of teachers using the page I created – virtually schools – as a lead in to their own learning; a place where they can discuss and share ideas. I am planning on offering my services as ‘PLN facilitator’ to the teachers involved in my blogging case study and will use my facebook page as its beginning platform because I know all the teachers on the team are already comfortable with the tool.

One frustration I have experienced over the course of this subject has been the difficulty in relating much of what we are learning about to the primary school student. I’ve started a post collating relevant articles, information and ideas expressly for this purpose. I will add these to my Virtually School FB page for others to benefit from.

My own intense engagement with SN in both personal and professional contexts over the past six or seven weeks has made very clear to me, over and over again, how essential personal relevance is to the implementation of SN in schools. Teachers simply will not use a tool for a tool’s sake; they must see how it can be used to better their teaching and to make them a more efficient educator with the little time they have. My mission and catch cry going forward: personally relevant, educationally effective.


Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2010, January 19). Empowered. Forrester Blogs | Making Leaders Successful Every Day. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from

Haesler, D. (2011, November 14). For today’s learners, it just clicks. The Sydney Morning Herald. pastedGraphic.pdf


OLJ: develop a draft marketing strategy for your organisation February 1, 2012

Outline (in 350 words) how you can apply these ideas to develop a draft marketing strategy for your organisation.

First, let’s be very clear about what a marketing strategy would look like when your ‘product’ is an educational experience, not a physical artifact or object. To my mind,  my client base is the teachers I collaborate with and my goal is to get those teachers using a variety of SN tools to more effectively engage their students in the information literacy journey.

As with any big project, one first find out the needs and wants of the target audience. So, in my case, there are some key questions that must be answered before any marketing strategy is devised.

  • What do the teachers want and need from their use of social media when using it with their students?
  • Knowing that people will most likely only ever start from where they are comfortable, what skills and experience do the teachers already have with various social networking tools?
  • What do *I* have to learn before I can effectively facilitate the learning of others?

Next comes the synthesis and evaluation of the data to find out who needs and wants what. Further questions to help guide this section of the process could be:

  • How can I differentiate both the tools and the instruction for individual teachers?
  • What is the purpose behind the use of each tool that I propose to use?
  • How is this purpose backed by current research/practice in like schools?
  • What are the ways I can help teachers find ways to translate their personal SN use and knowledge to the classroom?
  • Teachers are already super busy – how can I outline the benefits of using SN without adding to their ‘to do’ list?

I know most teachers at my school would be fit into multiple rungs of Bernoff and Li’s ladder, especially  as conversationalists and spectators. There is a small percentage that are strong creators (along with 100% of our Grade 3-5 student blog creators). I am going to go out on a fairly strong limb and say that due to our school’s heavy emphasis on educational technology, NONE of my client base are ‘inactive’.  What a wonderful place to continue the journey to SN use in education!


Josh Bernoff & Charlene Li’s Groundswell excerpt, followed by their post Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder (19 January, 2010). In particular explore the different behaviours of social networkers articulated in their ladder.




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