in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Archive for April, 2013

Thoughts on: Evidence-Based Practice in SchLibs

This week, our professor offered us two different discussion prompts/ideas/guiding questions on Evidence Based Practice.
I reproduce them below, but understand that my thoughts don’t necessarily align with either question, but rather the practice of EBP in school libraries on the whole. My brain decided that’s how it wanted to function today.

What are some of the issues or concerns that might hinder school librarians from engaging in EBP and, in your opinion, are they valid, insurmountable, etc.? What are potential evidence-based strategies that you might use in your school library? (For example, Ross Todd mentions rubrics, checklists, portfolios, etc.)

First, a few statements that may sound a bit harsh:

  • If one’s understanding of EBP is that it is librarian-focused, not student-focused, one needs open up to the greater possibilities.
  • If the thought of implementing EBP is overwhelming, rest assured it’s entirely possible to do so in pieces, and necessary.
  • If you believe school libraries and learning are important, please continue reading! 🙂

What is evidence-based practice? I’ll allow Ross Todd to explain that, in this quote from The Evidence-Based Manifesto for School Librarians which can be accessed here on the School Library Journal website.

“School libraries need to systematically collect evidence that shows how their practices impact student achievement; the development of deep knowledge and understanding; and the competencies and skills for thinking, living, and working. This holistic approach to evidence-based practice in school libraries involves three dimensions: evidence for practice, evidence in practice, and evidence of practice.”

Here’s the beauty of evidence-based practice: it won’t look at the same at school 1, school B, or school 3. The three components that Todd speaks of work together to take in the big picture, apply it to the local picture, and create a local picture. The end result is the ability to say,

This school in particular has been affected/changed/transformed/improved through X, Y, and Z initiatives, which were developed based on this needs assessment based on our local learning community. This team of persons implemented these initiatives and we have witnessed outcomes 1, 2, 3. Our students learned how to do this, that, and the other and successfully reached the learning objectives that were designed to meet their particular needs. These initiatives were developed based on research of best practices, and then applied in specific ways to the needs our learning community presented.”

Wouldn’t you love to be able to say all of that about the projects and learning going on in your school library?!

Perhaps it sounds overwhelming – I can appreciate that. One step at a time! What can you implement into the library program that will turn towards a culture of evidence-based practice, and help incorporate it consistently? Maybe starting with rubrics for projects – and having students help you create those rubrics and engage in their own learning. What about adding in reflective practice on the part of students – starting small with a discussion-style “wrap up” of the project with ideas on what went right, what went wrong, and what went awesome?

The first step to moving towards EBP is to start moving towards EBP. 🙂 Start with analyzing your students needs and determining learning goals. In what ways can you gather evidence to support teaching to meet those goals? In what ways can you gather evidence that the learning goals are being met effectively through both teaching and learning? I firmly believe that simply starting to think about how to incorporate evidence-based practice is the first step to making the transition smooth.

I liked this short summary of areas from which to gain evidence in your practice, from the School Library Media Specialist Eduscapes page.

This means gather evidence from various perspectives (Loertscher & Woolls, 2003):

  • learner level – student gains (i.e., achievement test scores, rubrics, portfolios, attitude scales, checklists, reflections)
  • teaching unit level – lessons and learning (i.e., checklists, collaboration rubrics, evaluation forms, timelines, log sheets)
  • organization level – library output (i.e., center statistics, hardware and software data)

As someone who is about to enter the school library world, I have one more request to make – please share your evidence! Share the successes; share those that didn’t meet expectations; share how you’ve revised; share what you’ve learned; share what your students have learned and how learning outcomes have changed along the way; share how your role as a library media specialist has changed as you’ve learned more; share.

And now, a statement that hopefully wraps up my ramblings coherently and gives us all hope and motivation for the future, that comes to you via Ross Todd (again, from the Evidence-Based Manifesto for School Librarians):

“EBP is not about scrambling to find additional time. It’s about establishing priorities and making choices based on your beliefs about the importance of school libraries and learning.”

Rapidly LiveBlogged: “Staff Training: Experiments & Experience” at #CILDC

E304 – Staff Training: Experiments & Experiences
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Leah L White, Reader Services Librarian, Northbrook Public Library
Gwyneth Stupar, Adult Services Librarian, Barrington Area Library
Pamela Carson, Web Services Librarian, Concordia University Libraries
Michael P Sauers, Technology Innovation Librarian, Technology & Access Services, Nebraska Library Commission

Let’s face it – I started in Track E today, it roooooooocked, and so I’ve stuck around all day. Consistency, kids. (Good in UX and life choices).

Presenting together, Leah and Gwyneth:

The best way to serve patrons/users/members: through staff training. Empower the staff – remove the fear!

Simplify your service points — you can’t have the “oh, that guys does THAT, I don’t even know what you’re talking about” thing going on constantly. If you remove the fear, you remove the need for that sort of interaction to occur. Encourage the mindset of “we’re all in this together, and must learn from each other”!

Staff training tips:

  • add the idea of “training” to a routine that’s already happening — or, total opposite idea — make an entirely new event/series specifically for staff to learn new things (GetGlue! Pinterest! Wheeeee!)
  • allow your staff to have opportunities to play and figure out how the heck stuff works
  • Create a team that wants to learn and wants to encourage others to learn
  • Get the positive people on your team first — work on the resistant or more negative folks over time 🙂
  • Workbooks, whee! If you have training materials for your patrons — why don’t you have any for your staff? Make it yourself.
  • Pilot your program with your creative, positive team!
  • If you’re going to make your program mandatory – and you probably will want to do so – offer multiple points of entry and formats for the learning environment. Not everyone likes workbooks (note to self!) but they may be willing to learn through other formats!

What to do after? Promote your highly trained staff to the public! Get outside the library building, meet people where they are, and help them however you best can.

And now… “Lifelong Learning, Informal Learning, & IT” with Pamela Carson (from Montreal!)

You can’t give up on learning. But, to empower lifelong learning and make it an enjoyable experience — look to informal learning — where the process, location, purpose, and content are determined and controlled by the learner.

You don’t have to go back to school to learn things. That’s where informal learning comes in.

2010 study: 90% of adults participate in informal learning activities. This is a facet of the knowledge economy in which we’re living.

Researchers tend to think that “lurking” really is a “legitimate peripheral participants” — the concept of ‘learning from the sidelines’.

How do we foster lifelong learning?

  • capacity building — enable the choice to persevere through the struggles
  • organizational supports — examples: a list-serv for new employees that allows them to lurk on the conversations that are happening; weekly progress reports on projects allows a ‘rookie’ to shadow and follow along with their development

Newsflash: you, right now, reading this blog, are an informal learner. Celebrate it! Embrace it. Seek out more informal learning opportunities that will benefit you – and you’ll be a model to others.

And now… Michael Sauers with “23 Things”

The original program (learning 2.0) was done with staff in 2008, and ran over about 16 weeks. It was successful enough to expand!

The second interation “Nebraska Learns 2.0” was available for fifteen CE credits — there was over a 50% completion rate, which is remarkably high for this type of self-directed learning. Partial completion didn’t earn partial credit, but did up-boost continued participation.

Evaluation remarks said ‘do more of this’, ‘keep going’, so the third iteration was born and started with “Thing 24”. They are currently on thing 66! The topics have gone all sorts of directions. They’re also doing a “BookThing” program – this month’s book is You Are Not A Gadget. They’re trying to foster collaboration by putting a sort of ‘time stamp’ where you need to complete XYZ within period 123 to get # of CE credits.

Statistics:
Look, it’s gonna happen – people sign up before understanding it and then drop off if you don’t keep telling them what’s going on. Constant promotion is necessary – the new thing is up! Go learn it!” – and it needs to be promoted across the board.

TL;DR: awesome session; excellent choice.

Rapidly Live-Blogged: “Rethinking Digital Literacy for All Ages” at #CILDC

Michele Farrell, Senior Library Program Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Enid Costley, Children’s and Youth Services Consultant, Library of Virginia
Matt Montgomery, Technical Services Librarian, Mechanics’ Institute
Jeremy Snell, Web Librarian, Mechanics’ Institute

Here are my notes, largely unedited – I can only type so fast, after all. Sigh, human limitations. ::sips coffee::

Michele and Enid:

Most libraries today have a children’s room, but that’s a “new” thing – as in, circa 1890 – so literacy in libraries is not a recent trend

“Storytime” isn’t what you think it is (my note: so stop stereotyping children’s librarians, please, thanks) – we’re engaging in children’s social, emotional, physical development – we’re branching out and creating new partnerships with the community to advance literacy

What’s the federal role?
Majorly comes out of support from the Inst of Museum and Library Services – their goals are to promote literacy, education, and lifelong learning – and the “early literacy” focus means working toward these goals before kids can read and write
other goals: build healthy communities; support and empower parents; create possibilities for more things libraries can do through partnerships — IMLS partners with a lot of different organizations all under the umbrella of leading to children’s success
At the end of May: IMLS will be issuing a report on early learning – stay tuned!

Digital Literacy:
what does it mean? –> “skills associated with using technology to enable users to find, organize, evaluate, create, communicate information”

Programs in existence that may be of interest:
Rhode Island’s Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Utah’s Getting Ready to Read program
StoryBlocks: collection of 30-60 second videos to model songs/rhymes/finger plays for young children & enhance ‘early literacy’
DaybyDay: every day there is a song to sing/activity to do that’s high in creativity, along with a TumbleBooks – family literacy project –there is a bid underway to translate the entire thing into Spanish
Colorin Colorado!: helping children read and succeed – a bilingual site for English language learners
Project ENABLE: training sessions for gaining skill and understanding in creating and delivering effective library/information services to students of ALL abilities (my note: I’ve done the training, and it is highly useful. Recommended.)

Current national ad campaign: “3 2 1 Everyone On” – aims to promote digital literacy at multiple skill levels, searchable by zip code for programs in your area that may fits your digital literacy needs

Matt and Jeremy:

(My note: I hate when I accidentally +1 something on Google+ when I’m on a different website! ^_^)

Their work has focused on a population that tends to lack digital skills. They needed a way to serve this population better than they had been – one barrier was that the reference desk is in the middle of the library space, so approaching with questions wasn’t nearly as comfortable as it should be. SO they set out to fix that.

Change the setting and set the mood:
using an upper space in the library and having “open office hours” to provide one-on-one service – one hour, each day, for an entire week. You could set up a 15min appointment or just walk in for help. Fifteen minutes is not enough time to do anything and there were very few walkin/dropins.

They tried it again – and instead of the previous setup, it was a six-hour shift with 30minute appointments. There were more drop ins and overall, a more effective approach to solving problems and teaching digital skills.

How’d they promote it?
The usual – website, posters, print newspaper, etc – they had a few prompts on what they could do – “help with eReaders, the library catalog, general technology questions” – and one staff member was tasked to set up all the appointments so that the patrons had just one person to meet with via phone/email. (My note: the thought of not shuffling between staff members on the phone makes me smile!)

What happened as a result?
They’ve assisted 69 people over 38 “staff hours” in a 6 month period. This isn’t something that only older library users are attending! Basic email/computer questions are what they handle – but they do a number of things from formatting eBook formats to building a WordPress blog for professional uses – it keeps the library staff “on their toes” as well. 🙂

The library members are appreciative of the service – and the library staff have been able to learn more about the needs of their community and thus, respond more effectively to those community needs.

 

Rapidly LiveBlogged: “Open Education Resources & The School Librarian” at #CILDC

Session presenters:

Heather Braum, Digital and Technical Services Librarian, Northeast Kansas Library System
Gary Price, Co-Founder, INFODocket & FullTextReports

I came to this session and thus, had the pleasure of bookending my sessions for the day with Heather Braum of the Northeast Kansas Library System! Here are my notes from Heather’s presentation, unedited:

Open Source Software — Open Access Journal — Open Ed Resources

Apparently we should all go watch this video on OER — http://goo.gl/uxWER — but not ’til after

Open Ed Resources – The Verbs:

REUSABLE without violating a copyright
REWORK/REVISE to meet your needs
REMIX and combine it with something else
REDISTRIBUTE it so that others can do the same thing to your resource
CREATE new content and give it back to the community

You have to cede some of the control you may want to enter into the idea of open education resources!

Why the heck should YOU, of all people, care about open ed resources?
-find new perspectives
-share knowledge

OER comes in ALL FORMATS – anything that can be in a curriculum can be an OER. Lectures, videos, quizzes, podcasts, etc!

Long list of links that were mentioned during the talk:

www.oercommons.org – topics organized by subject and grade levels

www.cnx.org – different materials that are shared and may make up components of your courses – THERE FOR YOUR USE! Yay!

Project Gutenberg – www.gutenberg.org – is an open ed resource. Are you using it with your students?

OER Livebinder: http://goo.gl/D2yGI – divided up into subjects, has lesson plans

Khan Academy – controversial, but it IS a source – vet it! www.khanacademy.org

TedEd: education.ted.com – doesn’t quite fit the definition of OER, but you can use it as a reference – turning TED talks into lessons/components

Art history resources that aren’t copyrighted? smarthistory.khanacademy.org – organized by periods/times

eTexts/curriculum – organized by Joyce Valenza – LOTS of resources here – http://www.only2clicks.com/pages/joycevalenza/350887

And it was right around then that we started having an open discussion (quickly) about how we might use OER.

I had to bail out of the session at this point. My apologies for only getting half the fabulous session on the blog!

Notes from #CILDC: Innovation “Sunrise” Session

I’m up and at ’em early this morning! Arrived before 8 AM, armed myself with a mug ..well, you get the picture. But in case you don’t:

Note: just because #coffeewithmarie is a theme doesn't mean I look bright-eyed and super psyched at 7:45AM. I'm working on it. Stay tuned...

Note: just because #coffeewithmarie is a theme doesn’t mean I look bright-eyed and super psyched at 7:45AM. I’m working on it. Stay tuned…

James King, Information Architect, NIH Library, National Institutes of Health and Past President, DC Chapter of SLA
Jill Hurst-Wahl, Associate Professor of Practice, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
Heather Braum, Digital and Technical Services Librarian, Northeast Kansas Library System

James King:

Things are shifting – a lot of things are moving to “a self-service mindset”
Those who we serve want to/are able to do it themselves, but our library message HASN’T changed, which is problematic
“The skills that librarians/information professionals bring to the table are more valuable than ever”
question the status quo, everything, in your organization – “Realistic and honest strategic planning”
willingness to experiment is a necessary skill – craziest ideas can –> best ideas (selling shoes online?! CRAZY. except not.)

Heather Braum:

regional library system – in KS; 1 state, 7 rgl, 365 library buildings
the libraries are very independent from each other, but they collaborate in order to become better
they are vastly different from each other (size, budget, etc) – collaborate or die
some of them run an open source ILS
UK in Lawrence – works actively with open source initiative

And then we brainstormed as many “crazy ideas” as we could. Here are a few tweets from that…check the #cilsun tag for more!

 

Rockstar Session #CILDC: “Learning 2.0 and 23 Things in Schools”

This session was awesome. Seriously. I had a feeling it might be.

Speakers:
Polly-Alida Farrington
, Consultant & Trainer, PA Farrington Associates
Sarah Ludwig, Library Department Chair & Academic Technology Coordinator, Hamden Hall Country Day School
Sara Kelley-Mudie, Library Director and Educational Technology Facilitator, The Forman School

First up was Polly-Alida Farrington! Here are the highlights from her “10 minutes of fame” (with my interpretative spin, of course):

  • The 23 Things program started at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library, but was licensed under Creative Commons (librarian win!) and has become quite “the thing”, interpreted in different ways by different people!
  • There was a “read the lesson, do the activity, respond on your own blog type of system” in place. One of the first “things” in the program was to create a blog, so that information could be shared by participants throughout the program.
  • It’s mostly likely difficult and unsustainable to build the program as a “come, watch, do” – hence the idea of building on a blog/online platform –  but you can (and should!) encourage your participants to build a learning community among themselves and use it for support as they learn.

Next up was Sarah Ludwig. Again, my notes:

  • She built her 19 things program using a free wordpress blog and had about 30 participants out of 60 teachers — but they were NOT the “expected” teachers/staff. You never know who may be interested in your program!
  • Promotion of the program? Done mostly through personal conversation & interaction and “talking it up”.
  • Have incentives for your participants/those who complete the program – whether it’s an award, a completion certificate, continuing ed/PE credits, coffee shop gift cards, etc!
  • Group your tools/things together by theme — this aids understanding and adds purpose to the whole process (examples: productivity, presentations, learning, writing/sharing, online life) –then  wrap up with a few lessons on continuing learning and how to keep in touch with the prof dev community.

The final speaker was Sara Kelley-Mudie! A few comments:

  • She used a free Blogspot blog, “14 Things to Tame” – designed as a self directed, self paced online learning community – with the addition of a weekly email.
  • She had a tracking spreadsheet so that participants could see their progress along with other, and it was updated incredibly frequently.
  • A lovely side-effect/result: the people who finished it became the evangelists for the program!

#CILDC: Day 1, Part 1, Wheeee! (9am – 1pm)

Here’s the breakdown of the first half of the day!

There was a keynote. It was decent, but admittedly my coffee hadn’t kicked in to great effect, and I was trying to get in my inaugural blogpost before it happened. Here’s my interpretation of what happened, though:

  • the speaker discussed that Amazon just bought Goodreads. I barely use Amazon because I have no extra money, and I’ve never once liked Goodreads, so I’m not nearly as outraged as many librarians are. (Note: not all librarians are outraged; but some are. That was the general feel of the room to me.)
  • Customer relationship — even if they’re not necessarily buying a product — is important. Learn how to do it. Train yourself; train others; treat people incredibly well.
  • “A 1% change in website satisfaction can predict a 14% change in revenues generated on the web” was a statement that generated conversation.

Session 1: “To Flip Or Not to Flip” – internet @ schools track
Speakers:
Kari Arfstrom, Executive Director, Flipped Learning Network
Pat Semple, Upper School Librarian, Bullis School and Metropolitan Washington Independent School Librarians Association

  • “What is the best use of your face-to-face class time?” <–the #1 question you need to ask yourself
  • The idea of lecture as homework, project as classwork is the general idea, but we want to broaden that idea — that’s the “flipped classroom” idea, but we want to look at flipped learning itself
  • “A lot of the reason to flip library instruction is to be more efficient” with my time — Pat Semple
  • One of Pat’s comments was that transitioning to a flipped environment means that your physical environment will necessarily change. There needed to be more space for tables, chairs, places for “meeting of the minds” — and as such, shelves were condensed and the physical facility had to change to meet the needs of the students. Keep your users in mind was obviously the driving force behind that.

Session 2: “The Seven Deadly Sins of Websites” – Web Presence track
Speakers:
Casey Schacher, Resource Discovery Librarian, University of Wiscosin – Madison, Memorial Library
Paige Mano, Web Communications and Social Media Coordinator, University of Wisconsin – Parkside Library
Tony Aponte, Science & Engineering Librarian, UCLA Science & Engineering Library

Here are the highlights.

  • Your website is acting as a librarian. It needs to be good.
  • Consistency is highly valued. If a page is PART of your website, it should LOOK like it’s part of your website — don’t get fancy with every single page. Make them look uniform!
  • Use analytics on your website to figure out where your users are clicking, and what they’re looking for. Then prioritize those items.

Sidenote: this tweet came out of that session…unrelatedly, I should probably fill that prescription for new contacts!

And here’s your drinking-coffee picture from the second session! SO EXCITED.

second session with my mug!