Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In the Forefront for School Libraries

The VSB Summer Institute:
The Changing Landscape of School Libraries

August 25 and 26, Byng Secondary School

How smart am I! I invited Val Hamilton. So here's her blog: VSB Summer Institute where you can find links, content, and photos of our learning about The Changing Landscape of School Libraries.

Information Literacy and Learning

Can I believe my ears? James Henri, president of all the world's teacher-librarians, suggested on the first morning ... before the first coffee break ... that we need to re-engineer our thinking about our role as teacher-librarians to serve teachers instead of students. This change made, we will be at the beginning of the revolution. If the teachers love learning and understand what it means to be information literate, then the students will too. This is the only way to have influence in the school. And what are we doing for the principal? how can we make ourselves indispensible to both? We took the wrong direction when we implemented our programs to serve students.

Stephen Heppell, say James, is THE MAN. Check his blog for think-aheads! To address the high drop-out rate in the UK, Stephen was approached to create for online learning where students were connected to learning by mobile phone. Within four years, students of Notschool were achieving better results than regular school students.

Are the Learning Paradigms in which we find ourselves working to advance learning or do they simply sustain teacher comfort? When re-thinking curriculum, how about throwing it out, putting in learning, letting the learners make the curriculum, and then analyzing whether the learning is happening? That is, put the process to the front and the discipline or content to the back; hire or re-locate learning specialists, not content-area teachers; that is, make the curriculum.

If a TL is to be an Information Leader, what will be important in the school? Information Literacy, Knowledge Building, Knowledge Management, and Information Policy -- on these can be built the platform to launch the changes that will meet the learning needs of our 21st century students and teachers. What are the roadblocks to the path of change? Politicians, a closed infrastructure, teacher recruitment, teacher training, testing, our sustained love affair with content!

James moves forward fearlessly telling us that we need to be prepared to be afraid! We followed ... interestingly we can see the danger of what lies ahead on the path to change but not the inherent dangers of where we are at present. Yet we must hook onto the journey ... teacher-librarians are important for leadership in schools and have a vision to share. The role of the teacher-librarian includes teaching & learning, leadership, curriculum involvement, management, literature promotion, and services to the school community. Two of these target teachers ... leadership and curriculum involvement ... so we need to "hang out there"! Stay with services and teaching & learning because teachers are there too and they will implement change they are convinced of. Start with curriculum: re-focus as content-on-process, assessing where you are, where you want to go, and what tools you have to get there.

And so it begins ...

Web 2.0 and New Directions for Learning

Sandra Lee has arrived on Tuesday to put some practical tools into our hands, the tools that we can employ to engage our students in the work of creating and sharing learning. First went the novices to learn about Web 2.0 ... everyone wanted to be a novice, so new is the set of tools to teachers. (See Val Hamilton's vsbsummer blog for the links). Laptops and computers flashed in and out of the new open source software option as teachers and teacher-librarians tried out skype, audacity, flickr, picassa, voicethread, igoogle, and more. We will need more of Sandra; half a day was not nearly enough!

And James worked out the solutions with the other half of our group. He draws on the work of UPEI professor Ray Doiron (see IASL summary for more on Ray) and his wiki that introduced some of us teacher-librarians as well as public, academic, and special librarians to the concept of lifelong/lifewide libraries,. Ray set the pace for on-going discussions in this talk as the keynote speaker at the Fall 2007 BCLibrary 2020 Symposium. We are asked to consider whether the school library is a place, a concept, a function, or a learning commons; could we re-vision school as something happening within library? We think about the leadership role of the teacher-librarian and consider the Australian model. This year, as SLRCCC (Vancouver's school library consultative committee) re-visits its own Role statement, we have another model to compare it with. We assessed our own educational contexts as information literate school communities, using the Henri, Hay, and Oberg rubric.

And we planned for the future: what's next? Stay tuned. We are in the planning stages for an online conference in late February. This group that came together this summer, each teacher and teacher-librarian on his or her own time, left connected, thinking, and "wired" for the upcoming year. The dialogue has been rich and sometimes challenging. No one has left believing the journey will be easy; but it is right and mostly it is right for kids.

Some comments and possibilities have begun to appear on the blog ... check these out. Add your own ideas.

No comments: