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

Posts tagged ‘library science’

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.”

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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.

 

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!

The iSchoolSU heads to #CILDC!

I’m writing this to you from the main ballroom of the Washington Hilton near Dupont Circle.

Did you know this is the hotel where President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr? Well, now you do.

I’m sitting with a group of fellow iSchoolSU students. We’ve gotten muffins, bagels, and bananas, and are armed with some hot java to get through the morning. The keynote speakers, Brent Leary of CRM Essentials, and Rebecca Jones of Dysart & Jones Associates, will take the stage soon. Apparently it’s going to be an interview-style keynote. The topic?

Evolving Community Engagement: What Would Amazon & Google Do?

I’m psyched for this conference, can you tell? It’s a picture of me with a coffee mug!

In keeping with tradition, I have a coffee mug in m hand. :)

In keeping with tradition, I have a coffee mug in m hand. 🙂

That’s about ten minutes from now, and then things kick off for the rest of the day. Until then, I’ve got a bit more coffee to drink 🙂 and some decent music piping through the speakers to sing along to. Happy conferencing, y’all!

Yes, I’m talking about books and reading. Deal.

Nothing overly complicated to see here, folks. It’s just that I love reading for the sake of reading and many times, we talk about the things we enjoy most. Oh, I know, it’s a walking cliche for a wannabe rockstar school librarian to love reading, right? But here’s the thing — it shouldn’t be. You know why? Because we’re models for the students we encounter, the children we see on a regular basis, the infant who simply loves the sound of voice.

Logan, Medford, & Hughes have recently researched the effect of  intrinsic motivation on readers of all levels. They found (unsurprisingly) that “academic success for children is usually founded on their ability to read proficiently, as most subjects across the school curriculum rely, to varying extents, on reading skill.” (2011, p.124) The American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007) further stresses, “The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats (e.g., picture, video, print) and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life.”*

And that’s the thing — reading isn’t just for school. I read constantly for my job – task lists from my supervisor, documentation on how to order services at a conference (the comprehension level required for such documents feel astronomical at times), reading between the lines of an email to find what someone’s really asking. And that’s a life skill. A necessary one. Some jobs may seem to require less reading, and that’s fine: I know quite a few people who, I’m certain, were meant to work with their hands. (Farmers, among others, you rock). But I dare you to make it through a day – no, that’s ridiculous – I dare you to make it through five minutes without reading something. (Staring at the ceiling does not count, but that’s currently the only thing I can come up with that might work).

None of this is mind blowing, is it? I didn’t think so. But it was last night, when I wrapped up several hours of working on various graduate school assignments, and eagerly picked up the book I just started** as a form of mental relaxation and entertainment, that I realized for the gazillionth*** time just how fortunate I am. I grew up in a family that found value in reading for both work and for pleasure; my mother willingly took me the public library about once a week so I always had fresh reading material; I had teachers that encouraged using free time to read; I undertook an undergraduate degree that allowed me to research fascinating topics****. And now, I want my actions to further encourage young people to develop that intrinsic love of learning, of the written word, of the joys hidden within – and that’s why I do this. That is why I do all this. And it’s a good reminder.

Footnotes:
* – taken from a recent collaborative assignment, focused on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
** – “The Wild Queen: The days and nights of Mary, Queen of Scots” – Carolyn Meyer. (Fictionalized history).
*** -Not a real number.
**** – My senior history thesis was on the presidency of Warren G. Harding, last president to come from the Great State of Ohio. By the time it was done, I referred to him as Warren G.
***** – Note this was written at an incredibly early time of the morning, before I’d consumed my usual coffee intake. Excuse the rambling.

Year 2, Day 1: Quick Reflections of a Library School Schmedian.

Dear goodness. This day came upon me way too quickly. Or perhaps quickly enough. Either way… I can’t believe it. Starting year 2 of grad school. A year from now I’ll be… well, hopefully I’ll be, although where or doing what remains to be seen.

A few quick thoughts, because I don’t have time for a proper reflection (shame, shame):

  • This year will be harder and more labor-intensive than last year. Oh gracious… I’ll try not to think about that. But in addition to 5 more classes, I have 50h of elementary fieldwork, 240h of practicum, and a bevy of tests and training sessions and other required hoopla for certification.
  • We students often talk about our ‘learning style’, and then there is the ongoing, never settled debate of “how do you prefer to learn?” when it comes to on-campus/online styles. Myself, I’ve come to prefer online if a flipped classroom approach can be successfully integrated and used. It’s not always possible or likely. At this point, however, I have no choice, as my remaining classes (save one) are offered only in an online format. It made me wonder – what do our professors prefer? Some of them, without doubt, aren’t given a choice either… hmm.
  • I think there must be a mathematical equation for determining stress in grad school. It goes something like…
    Start with number of classes. Multiply by number of projectsMultiply by number of group projects (because they count extra). Multiply by number of group members, total. Stare at total. Gape at total. 
    Divide by number of weeks in a semester. Stare at total. Gape at total. Realize that work is never spaced evenly throughout the semester. Continue staring and gaping. Close eyes, breathe deeply, #facepalm. Open eyes, multiply by Planck’s constant to prove your brain is intact, ignore total. Close eyes again, breathe deeply, and get your calendar and multicolored pens out…
  • I may or may not have already completed the above assignment. On the first day of classes. Yes, that’s a sign of something…

Good luck, fellow library school-ers and fellow schmedians. Carry on, keep the faith, and remember that December isn’t TOO far away. If that sounds too stressful, remember – the Mayans said it’s all over in 2012, so go out with your bells on and projects done!