Tag Archives: resources

Shopping for libraries – Melbourne University libraries and the Library at the Dock

The most dangerous behaviour for librarians of any sort (public, school, technicians, teacher librarians) is to sit in their library and not go anywhere. Actually, I would say the same for teachers in their classrooms. Staying ‘home’  in a time of change in education and economic life can lead to redundancy.  Going out to visit libraries has been on our agenda recently for several reasons – mainly to take a look at innovative spaces and their functions and to enter into discussion about what we have in common with public and tertiary librarians, specifically the support of crucial literacies for young people.

Recently our library team enjoyed visits to several libraries – the very new Library at the Dock (in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne), 3 libraries at the University of Melbourne, and the University College Library (University of Melbourne). Apart from the sheer pleasure of seeing beautifully designed new library and community spaces, we loved the conversations and connection with librarians. Taking a look at how similar institutions do things differently is without doubt the most fantastic way to spark conversation which leads to evaluation and review of the way we currently do things with a view to an improved future.

The Library at the Dock

From the City of Melbourne website:

Library at The Dock is a three-storey building, 55.3 metres long by 18.1 metres wide, and is made from engineered timber and reclaimed hardwood.

Read about the building’s sustainability features (PDF, 600kb).

As well as a traditional library collection, the library and community centre offers an interactive learning environment and a state-of-the-art digital collection, multi-purpose community spaces and a performance venue that holds 120 people. Connections to Docklands’ rich maritime and Aboriginal heritage is embraced and celebrated with facilities to support local historical research and educational experiences.

This is a beautifully designed library in a fantastic location with gorgeous views. From what we observed, people living and working in the precinct happily use the library and its spaces in a variety of ways. I’m surprised that this exemplary project was funded, to be honest.

The Melbourne University libraries

The first library we visited on the Melbourne University campus was the newly refurbished Giblin Eunson Library. The first port of call was the newly redesigned library and IT help desk. Whereas the old desk was a traditional design where the desk formed a barrier between the librarian and the client, with the computer facing away from the student, the new desk was an irregular shape with the person on duty standing beside the student client and working through solutions with both people looking at the computer screen.

 There is so much we can learn from an ongoing relationship with university librarians in terms of library spaces and design for optimal student support, and in particular, in terms of our role in preparing our students for tertiary academic life (search/research skills, independent learning, navigation of online resources, bibliographies/in-text citations and more). This is particularly important for MHS because most of our cohort will end up at university. We have already developed a partnership in terms of shared online content for research – the Melbourne Uni librarians have kindly allowed us to use and modify their excellent Research Libguide.
In turn, we have shared our Libguides resources for ipad apps with the Melb Uni librarians –
libguideapps
The visit confirmed for us the importance of revisiting the integrating research skills into all assignments at MHS – something which is always a struggle with the overcrowded curriculum and emphasis on content delivery within the VCE.
Of course, we have also greatly benefited from our relationship with Carolyn Brown (CJ), who has worked with us in between her job as College Librarian at University College library. CJ has provided a wealth of expertise, a link to tertiary academia, and to the role teacher librarians play in preparing our students for university.
We all agreed that our visit to the Melbourne University libraries (and our visit to The Library at the Docks before that) were an invaluable form of PD for us all – rich, relevant, ongoing and inspiring.
We will be unpacking what we’ve learned throughout the year, and collaboratively informing our practice and our future directions so that we can best support students and teachers at Melbourne High School.
I’ve included photos of our visit to Melbourne University libraries here, and photos of our visit to the Library at the Dock here.

 

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No more razzamatazz – Libguides go light

After an initial leap into Libguides a couple of years ago (inspired by Joyce Valenza’s passion and inspirational examples) when we crammed our guides as tightly as we could with fantastic content, images and videos, I’ve decided to go the other way and start stripping my pages down in favour of user-friendliness. Of course, in the teacher librarian world, we delight in our bounty of wonderful websites, infographics, and the such, and we want the world to see and marvel. But we must eventually admit that the world is not always marvelling because they are running away in fear – isn’t it overkill? and doesn’t it stop people from doing what we really want them to do – FIND stuff?

My friend and (now distance-) colleague, Dawn, helped me see the light but not without some time passing, during which I remained in denial, and stubbornly held on to my bursting boxes in our libguides, my pages which had to be scrolled and scrolled and scrolled. Oh, and how could I forget my tabs – crowded clusters of them, but wait! under these tabs I also had more pages.

Enough!

At some point I have had to accept the unpleasant truth – that I’ve been carried away with sharing with the world my resplendent array of finds (every day – from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Diigo, Feedly, and similar places). I’ve had to admit with a heavy heart that it’s been more about ME (look what I can do!) and less about my readers – students, teachers, others. Sigh.

So, it’s going to be a long, hard slog, but I will get there, and my online resources will be easy to find, logically organised, selected with restraint.

I promise.

See, the library webpage is much neater and more inviting.

libraryfrontpage

Currently I’m working on English. Got rid of 5 tabs today; moved the pages into the body of the guide as hyperlinks.

englishlibguide

What do you think?

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Filed under Teacher librarians, Uncategorized

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Just found a quotation supported by an image in the group Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary through a tweet by Darren Kuropatwa (@dkuropatwa). Love the group. A rich store of inspirational images and graphics, which can be used either for a presentation or to spark conversation and ideas, or even as a poster.

seeingthings

The photo was uploaded by flickr member colemama

global

No wallmaps or globes was uploaded by Scott McLeod and genemac110. I’ve been finding Flickr to be much more than a collection of images. This group is an example of the rich resources which can be collaboratively shared. The more I browse Flickr, the more surprising groups and sets I come across. Images are sometimes supplemented by information, links and, as in this case, heated discussion through a link to Scott’s blog.

flickrpool

I’m going to add some recent Flickr finds:

Art:21 connected to Art:21 PBS.

Smarthistory flickr group

Please help us make art more accessible.
The Smarthistory flickr group gathers pictures of artworks on location to enrich the information on smarthistory.org. Smarthistory is a multi-media website that serves as an enhancement or replacement for the traditional art history textbook.

Look at www.smarthistory.org/Red-Studio.html for an example.

Vintage dictionary and encyclopedia pages

Vintage science illustrations

I’m finding the extraordinary in the ordinary online on a daily basis, and the reason for this possibility is the sharing of images and information which I wouldn’t otherwise come across. It’s just a matter of finding the time to browse this incredible, growing resource, and also the time to put into practice the ideas for education that spring from this.

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, flickr, internet, networking, photos, Web 2.0

4 Rs meme: favourite posts

I almost forgot to say this, so I’m editing postscript. Paul C. tagged me in a meme in his blog post. I have to admit that while some people find memes annoying, I love them, as long as they contain something worth reading. Memes are a great way to pool people, their views and resources. This one about favourite posts is like getting people to skim the cream of their thinking and writing. I hope you’ll enjoy mine and go on to read others, including Paul’s.

‘Meme rules:1. Scan your posts for your own personal favorites.
2. Choose one post in any/each of the four categories:

  • Rants
  • Resources
  • Reflections
  • Revelations

I leave it to you folks to define these terms, but my instinct is that we could treat these loosely. You are welcome to suggest new categories if these don’t fit.

3. In a blog post, list those posts and very briefly describe

  • why it was important,
  • why it had lasting value or impact,
  • how you would update it for today.

4. Select five (or so) other bloggers to tap with this meme.

5. Tag all of your post with #postsofthepast ‘

Rants – Don’t bag technology – ask what it means first –  I rave quite a lot. In fact, most of my posts are raves. In this post I express my frustration with the negativity with the wall you sometimes come face to face with when you talk to people about technology in education. The conclusion of this post centres on what I think is the transforming aspect of Web 2.0 tools, and that is the conversation and connection with a larger audience. As frustrating as it is to believe so much in what Web 2.0 platforms offer for engaged and connected learning and teaching, and to feel like Sisyphus pushing the massive boulder up the impossibly steep mountain, I have gained so much from my own connection with a personal learning network, and I intend to keep offering and suggesting, sharing and collaborating, even if that means moving small steps with few people. I live in hope.

Resources – Shift into overdrive – As I say in the post, Web 2.0 technologies have opened up new ways of opening up and creating new experiences for teachers. This post is a fairly comprehensive collection of Web 2.0 resources – not so much a collection of resources as a list of the amazing people who have created them.

Reflections – How have you changed as a writer because of online spaces? – It seems that my posts have a dominant theme: one of connections with people. I realised at the outset of the post that I have become a writer since starting a blog, and how much I missed writing since finishing secondary school. I’m convinced that having readers and commenters gives me a supportive, rich community to feed from and into.

Revelations – Teach the child – Sometimes the most powerful revelations are the ones which manifest themselves beyond words. This video of children singing moved me deeply and reminded me what is wonderful and sometimes hidden in each child. I like to come back to this video to remind myself that children are not just empty vessels to pour curriculum into.

I tag:

Steve Shann- Birds fly, fish swim; Susan Carter Morgan scmorgan ; Jennifer Clark Evans – My continuing education; Sean Nash – Nashworld; Marie Salinger – Just in time; Paul Stewart – Contemporary learning.

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Filed under 21st century learning, blogging

Educational resources in The New York Times

The New York Times has a ‘Teacher Connections’ section which is updated daily. Just browsing here today and saw some great stuff, so I thought I’d share.
There’s a Daily Lesson Plan and a Daily Lesson Plan archive, which has amongst its categories Civics, Global History, American History (of course), Fine Arts, Geography, Language Arts, Mathematics, Media Studies, and more.

I’ve copied one of the Fine Arts lessons into my art wiki: Art happens: investigating the modern art of Robert Rauschenberg. The overview states:

Students investigate the work of American Modernist Robert Rauschenberg by responding to his art and reading about his life and ideas. They then individually create a work of their own that pays homage to a Rauschenberg to demonstrate an understanding of his aesthetic sensibility.

The lesson is well planned, and includes objectives, resources/materials, background, activities/procedures, including homework, further questions for discussion, evaluation/assessment, vocabulary, extension activities, interdisciplinary connections, references and other information on the web. There is a feedback option at the end of the lesson.

The News Snapshot is an excellent idea for students to interact with the latest news:

Every Monday through Friday, News Snapshot features a newsworthy and provocative photo from The New York Times, along with the basic set of questions answered by journalists when relaying the news– who, what, where, when, why and how.

This section includes student handout, teacher’s page, suggested activities, and the questions.

Issues in depth is subtitled ‘Teaching with the times’ and includes curricular materials, news specials, and issues in depth. Each page provides a wealth of resources: lesson plans, Times articles, multimedia, archival materials, quizzes, crosswords, related Web sites and more. This section is designed to help students make connections between course material and issues and events in the news. There’s are wide variety of topics here, including the election, Iraq; and also material on literature, including specific books, poetry, Shakespeare, journalism, and more.

‘Science and Health’ includes topics, such as teen health, global warming, hurricanes, and more.

There’s more here – eg. crossword puzzles for the different curricular areas, ‘on this day in history’,etc., and I won’t go into detail for all of it; you’ll just have to look for yourselves. Actually, I do want to mention ‘Campus weblines’ where you can learn about how to produce a quality online newspaper from the student editors themselves. This is informative and detailed.

I recommend you give this section of The New York Times a squiz, and then dart over to Student Connections which ‘Science questions and answers’ and letters to the editor amongst other things.

But wait, there’s more! Parent Connections includes things like ‘coversation starters’ (they have thought of everything!) and a family movie guide.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the educational section of The New York Times from now on.

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Filed under Education, media, Teacher librarians, Web 2.0

The web will never replace human interaction


Restoration… Hagia Sophia scaffolding

Originally uploaded by annpar

Every day I’m reminded of the importance of the human presence behind the use of technology in teaching and learning. We need the good old-fashioned teacher to support the resource-based and student-centred learning more than ever. Before, during and after the research or learning process, we need, more than ever, the educator to explain, inspire, moderate, explain, encourage, supplement, support, explain …   Otherwise the joy and understanding will go right out of the student’s assignment and the student will loathe the assignment and loathe learning. These are my thoughts as a teacher, teacher-librarian and parent.

Here’s what someone else had to say  – scroll down to the halfway point.

It’s not a dichotomy – the old fashioned teacher and the 21 century teacher – it’s the same teacher.

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Filed under Education, Teacher librarians, Uncategorized, Web 2.0