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

Posts tagged ‘learning’

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.”

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!

Intellectual Freedom & Online Safety

From “Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” – ALA

“Prohibiting children and young adults from using social networking sites does not teach safe behavior and leaves youth without the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their privacy or engage in responsible speech.  Instead of restricting or denying access to the Internet, librarians and teachers should educate minors to participate responsibly, ethically, and safely.”

This statement, I feel, was the clearest and most undramatic that emerged from this week’s IST 611 readings. I particularly appreciate the effort ALA makes to ensure that their guidelines and suggestions apply to librarians and teachers while preserving the right of parents to make the best choice for their child.

One of the questions posed to use this week is:
How important should / will the teacher-librarian be in providing the additional educational component required of CIPA?

The educational component referred to is as such, “The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act directs E-rate applicants to also certify that their CIPA-required Internet safety policies provide for the education of students regarding appropriate online behavior including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and regarding cyberbullying awareness and response.” More information on this revision is available via the Federal Communication Commission 11-125 Report.

What do I conclude based on the above two readings (and numerous others which I shan’t direct you to)? Not only should we be educating our students, as school librarians, in how to act and conduct ourselves on social media, social networks, chat rooms, and other corners of the wide Internet space, but we must do so.

Classroom teachers are often strapped to get through the curriculum within the school year. The additional burden of the Common Core standards implementation is time-consuming and most likely to be a long process for many teachers. In the meantime, and continuing through, we have an opportunity to teach students (as demanded above) in conjunction with our belief in intellectual freedom, our knowledge of information fluency skills and societal demands upon today’s students, and the immediacy with which we must approach our students and begin teaching not only appropriate behavior, but appropriate and useful applications.

What do you think? Do we have time in our school day to accomplish this? Will we be supported if we do? I, personally, think we’re in a great position to take on this role – assuming we find the time to do so.

Quick Thoughts on: EBooks/Print Books for Students

I’m reading through this blogpost/article/web-hosted-thing-of-words that discusses the implications of a recent study on students preferences when it comes to reading text, print or digital. I thought others might appreciate it. There’s a link to download the study which the author refers to, for further research, if you’re interested.

I’m finding myself very conflicted (unsurprisingly) on the whole debate, between what I think I need versus what my students need. Additionally, there’s this whole “projecting our own needs or ideas onto our students and presuming that’s what they want” mentality that I’ve run into a few times (and I’m certainly not a fan of it). So! Here’s the link, if you’re interested.

I think this potentially affects all of us, regardless of what age level we teach. I know the high school I’m currently at is straddling this divide and still figuring out what direction to go… what do you think?

A Few Thoughts On: Digital Footprints

We all know digital footprints exist. We all have one. Whether you’re reading this blog from your phone, or from a public access computer in a library, you have a digital footprint. That’s not the question.

Here’s the question:
what image does your digital footprint create of you? Think of each link, image, post, etc., that’s linked to your name… does it make an accurate representation of you? Does it disguise who you really are? If you want people to find certain things — are they? If you don’t want people to find certain things — do they?

So often the focus of discussions on digital footprint focuses on, hide the bad stuff, highlight the good stuff, and hope it all ends up seemingly neutral! Excuse me for a moment, but… how absolutely ridiculous. The internet doesn’t care if you look good, bad, ugly, or neutral. How you appear is partly your responsibility… and partly the work of search engine optimization and different search terms.

I’m teaching a few classes this week on digital citizenship, particularly in regards to creating and curating a digital footprint. Don’t let IT create YOU. Our focus is going to be on ways that we can creative a positive footprint. What do I mean by that? I mean, leaving imprints in places we want to be imprinted.

Create a blog. Share your work with an audience outside your classmates. Share your photography on Flickr, and learn about different licensing agreements and how you can share (or not share!) and remix (or not remix)! Set up a GoogleSite for yourself, or build a portfolio. The list goes on. And so there’s a sneak peek into my week!

Some Honest Thoughts: Post-Elem Practicum!

I still can’t believe this was my last week at my elementary practicum. Wow, how time flies when you’re incredibly busy, and we were. I’m incredibly grateful for the experience! A few things I’d like to note:

  1. My teaching skills have come a LONG way in a short time. I grew to feel really comfortable in front of the room and speaking with the students while instructing them. I recommend everyone try to teach a “pretty full” week, or if you can’t do that, teach an entire day (5 or 6 classes, different grade levels). The constant need to adapt, redirect, change, etc., will really help you in terms of gaining confidence teaching. (Not saying it isn’t difficult…but it’s well worth it!)
  2.  As almost a necessary result, my behavior management skills improved exponentially over just a week. At one point I wrote in my notes, “Don’t be afraid to STOP and REDIRECT”. It can be frustrating when you think “I need to teach X and Y, we need to do activity Z, and they’ve got to find new books in 35 minutes”. But, when behavioral issues mean the entire class is distracted, it’s okay to stop, redirect, refocus, and come back to the lesson, even if it eats into the time. Otherwise, you’re simply continuing the lesson so you can feel successful, when really it’s more about making sure your students are successful at the end — even if it’s not quite up to what your expectations were when you were planning. That was a lesson I needed to learn, but I learned it quickly!
  3. My experience after school with the Tech Club really helped me gain an understanding of my students, because I saw them three times a week- twice in tech afterschool, once during the school day. Because I’m not a “digital native” and can actually be a bit of a Luddite, it was great for me to see how ten year olds approach digital work, creation, production, and just general computer skills.There’s a huge difference, for the record, between students who may be in the same grade but have vastly different skill sets and experience with tech. While I was at the school, we learned/reviewed/made projects/created using Wordle/Tagxedo, Animoto, and Make Belief Comix, and I did a tutorial on how to create using Prezi. This week we started discussing Popplet as a mind-mapping tool but also a presentation tool.

By the time I left today, with 129.5 hours under my belt, I felt really good about how this whole rapid-paced experience went. Considering I went into (school name) feeling like the elementary level was going to be incredibly difficult and “out of my comfort zone”, I emerged feeling like I could really make a difference working with the younger students in our school system. That’s probably the best feeling one can have after student teaching…. right?