ETL503 – Part C: Reflection

This assignment and unit has been essential for me to understand the importance of managing, developing and refining the school collection, for my specific school community. The idea of a ‘learner-centred’ collection (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005) has been cemented, a concept which I had up till now not even considered. This lack of knowledge has definitely contributed to me struggling with collection development in my current role. As stated in the Professional Standards For Teacher Librarians (Australian Library and Information Association, 2004) an effective teacher librarian steers the learning community towards rich resources chosen for their specific requirements and ensures that they are implemented, managed and utilised with optimum results. I have begun to hone my skills of analysis to enable me to achieve this.

The need for the collection to be consistently reviewed and evaluated to reflect the needs of the school community requires a plan and collaboration. In terms of a practical system, the CREW guidelines (Larson, 2012) are an invaluable new revelation to me and I plan to implement a program based on this in my library. Making collection development a shared process where stakeholders’ contributions are welcomed is imperative, and this includes de-selection decisions also (National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools, 2012) to be truly inclusive. During this unit I have informed my Principal of the library policy regarding de-selection and consulted with teaching staff more closely. This has resulted in an improved relationship with staff and a start to a more efficient and targeted weeding process.

The role of the teacher librarian and expertise necessary to be effective just keeps becoming more complex as I learn more in this course. Particularly in this unit I have been made aware of how important it is to be an expert in curriculum, learning styles, format preferences and reading levels, and be at the cutting edge of new technologies. Resourcing the curriculum for learning and developing information literacy skills is the key aspect of the teacher librarian role. As the curriculum changes and technology continues to influence preferences of information formats, learning styles and communication methods, the teacher librarian must adapt to serve those needs. This includes the need to balance collections with a proportion of digital resources, despite the associated implications of licencing, copyright and management concerns.

Assignment one confirmed to me the time consuming nature and complexity of the selection process. In my earlier blog post, I did note that many hours were taken to carefully select and evaluate resources based on my newly created Selection Criteria. As stated in the ALIA Statement On Free Access To Information (Australian Library and Information Association, 2015) and the School Library Bill of Rights (Australian School Library Association, 2014) the teacher librarian has a duty to provide balanced and free access to all forms of information. Adhering to selection criteria combats censorship issues, particularly self-censorship and preferences for particular formats and ensures resources are evaluated on their own merits and in the context of the collection as a whole (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005; Johnson, 2009; Kennedy, 2006).

The usefulness of the selection criteria to inform de-selection also can not be understated, and the literature surrounding the negative nature of keeping out-dated and irrelevant resources (Beilharz, 2007; Larson, 2012) has given me confidence to attack my shelves with more authority. The notions that the best items in the collection are the ones being used, and that a good library is not necessarily the largest one, are my two take away messages regarding weeding.

This course has immediately impacted my practice in a positive way. I am more confident that I will be able to implement procedures to improve the current collection and respond to the needs of my school.

References

Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/standards-professional-excellence-teacher-librarians

Australian Library and Information Association. (2015). Statement on free access to information. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/statement-free-access-information

Australian School Library Association. (2014). Policy statement – School library bill of rights. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/bill-of-rights.aspx

Beilharz, R. (2007). Secret library business – part 2. Connections, (63), 10–12. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/conn_page.html

Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

Johnson, P. (2009). Developing collections. In Fundamentals of collection development and management (2nd ed, pp. 103–108). Chicago: American Library Association.

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection management: a concise introduction (Rev. ed). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Larson, J. (2012). CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Austen, TX: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved from https://www.tsl.texas.gov/sites/default/files/public/tslac/ld/ld/pubs/crew/crewmethod12.pdf

National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. (2012). Weeding guide. Retrieved from http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/school-libraries/building-and-managing-collection/weeding-guide

 

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Priorities & Issues: Resourcing

This assignment has reinforced for me how integral the role of resourcing the curriculum is for the teacher librarian, and how methodical and meticulous one must be to do this job well. As stated in the ALIA professional standards (2004) an effective teacher librarian steers the learning community towards rich resources chosen for their specific requirements and ensures that they are implemented, managed and utilised with optimum results.

When selecting and acquiring materials the premise that the needs of teachers and students drive the decision making process is of utmost importance. This assignment has cemented for me the importance of catering for specific needs and when necessary altering selection criteria or other priorities to fulfill a ‘just in time, not just in case’ approach (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p. 43). Again, this task has highlighted the essential skill of collaboration, to effectively work with all stakeholders to assess, select and evaluate to ensure resources meet the needs of all.

Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005, p.36) argue that the teacher librarian must have a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum, the students and their specific needs and the status of current library resources in order to create a learner-centered collection. This assignment has resulted in me starting to reconsider the context for my own library, how well I know the existing collection, and how I might better gather this data from staff and students to accurately assess their learning needs.

The process of resourcing my chosen unit of work, made it very clear the importance of adhering to selection criteria to objectively assess the relevance and worth of resources, on their own merits and then in context of the whole collection (Johnson, 2009, p.112), to combat censorship and personal bias. This is applicable also for format selection in order to effectively respond to the need of a balanced collection to cater for varied learning styles.

As summarised in SCIS Connections (Kennedy, 2014), the School Library Collections Survey 2013 clearly showed one of the main concerns for school libraries is the collection being underused by both students and teachers. Promotion of available resources, both in print and digital format, needs to be relentless in order to penetrate the consciousness of the school community.

Taking advantage of the plethora of free websites available is a cost friendly way to add e-resources to the collection and ensures an engaging and contemporary collection. However, these resources also require a rigorous evaluation, curation, and promotion, in order for them to be appropriate and accessed easily. Thought must be given to how all formats will be stored, shelved, displayed and accessed in order to be beneficial. This has provoked me to ensure all e-resources have SCIS records and added to the catalogue in my own library for easier discovery, and a more rigorous approach to using our school LMS to promote the collection.

The selection and acquisition process must take into consideration the collection as a whole in terms of budget constraints, physical space and technology infrastructure limitations, and strive to maintain a balance of resources available. How best to acquire resources, through subscriptions, bundles, patron requests etc. and which suppliers are best in terms of efficiency and cost, needs consideration.

My understanding that it is the responsibility of the teacher librarian to demonstrate and provide accountability has increased. Money spent on the collection must be relevant and cost-effective. Debowski (2001) argues that a careful needs analysis of the collection and learners can aid budget management, and collection building, by pinpointing where money should be spent. This year in the interest of transparency I will endeavor to prepare an annual report, as advocated by McKenzie (2009) to maintain transparency of where money has been spent.

Finally, time management is an aspect to the resourcing process that has been a revelation to me while completing this assignment. The amount of time needed to accurately understand the curriculum, units of work, skills needed and teacher and students’ needs far exceeded my expectations. Further, a considerable amount of time was needed to consider possible resources, apply selection criteria and make note of them. I am aware that in the real world collaboration, the acquisition process and then finally promoting resources would require even more time! Making and managing time is a skill I need to keep working on.

REFERENCES

Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/standards-professional-excellence-teacher-librarians

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection program funding management. In Dillon, K., Henri, J., & McGregor, J. (Eds.), Providing more with less: Collection management for school libraries (2nd ed., pp. 299–326). Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

Johnson, P. (2009). Developing collections. In Fundamentals of collection development and management (2nd ed, pp. 103–108). Chicago: American Library Association.

Kennedy, C. (2014). School library collections survey 2013. SCIS Connections, (88). Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_88_2014/articles/school_library_collections_survey_2013.html

Mckenzie, D. (2009, June 27). Library grits: Importance of creating an annual report [Blog]. Retrieved from http://librarygrits.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/importance-of-creating-annual-report.html

Annotated Resource List – assignment 1 (part b)

Selection Criteria

The resources selected for this unit of study have been selected carefully based on criteria derived from models by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005), Australian Library and Information Association & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians (2007) and the Western Australian School Library Association (2010). Reference has also been made to American Library Association (2015) and Mclachlan (2002) for specific criteria for web resources.

 The following general criteria applied to all format types have been considered for each resource: relevancy, appropriateness, authority, accuracy, currency, format and presentation and cost.

In addition, specific criteria have been considered for particular resource types as per below:

Non-fiction – Information quality, Illustration quality, Bias

Audio Visual – Sound/Picture quality, Accompanying materials

Digital & e-resources – Accessibility & Usability, Security & Safety

Resources encompass a variety of formats to suit varied learning purposes, styles and cater for student interests and needs. All resources have been considered in relation to the curriculum topic and assessments, the potential to improve content knowledge, information and digital literacy skills and the required historical skills specified on the syllabus. They are listed in priority order.

Selection Aids

 The following selection aids were used when locating resources for this unit of work and are listed in order of usefulness and priority:

  • SCIS
  • Scootle
  • SBS Website
  • FUSE
  • Publisher website / Publisher catalogue
  • LinksPlus database [subscription]
  • Booktopia

 The selection aids selected proved valuable in terms of being able to identify appropriate resources by topic, year level and/or curriculum area. Most provided review material, evaluation of resources, suggested age range and ratings, which enabled selection criteria to be applied.

 

1. Immigration Nation – The secret history of us (Documentary and interactive website)

SBS. (2011). Immigration nation. Retrieved from http://www.sbs.com.au/immigrationnation/

SBS. (2011). Immigration nation: the secret history of us. Australia: Renegade Films.

 Immigration Nation is an up-to-date interactive documentary and accompanying website exploring the stories of immigrants and multicultural Australia.  This resource meets all general and specific criteria.

There are three video episodes focusing on different periods of history, which are directly related to the curriculum content, particularly the effects of government policies that restricted immigration before World War 2. In addition to the videos, the website provides a relevant accompanying interactive resource detailing immigrant contributions to Australian development and biographical information about successful migrants.

There is also a resource page that consists of primary and secondary sources, historical images, timelines, profiles of key figures and countries, links to relevant newspaper articles and links to SBS archival material. This provides excellent extension materials and background information for teachers and students.

While not developed specifically for students the level of detail and language is at an appropriate level and caters for different learning styles by providing visual and audio elements. The videos are rated PG and therefore appropriate for the age group. The resource provides accurate historical information and is produced by a reputable production company and organisation. The format is engaging, dynamic and easily read, navigated and accessed. There is no advertising on the site and links are to reliable sources. The site also does not require personal information to access. This cost effective resource can be viewed online for free. It can also be purchased through the SBS shop on DVD is available for digital download through the iTunes store at reasonable prices.

The SBS website is an excellent selection aid, particularly for audiovisual materials. The search function allows searching by genre and provides related search keywords and links, excellent for student research and inquiry learning. The content has currency and provides engaging and highly relevant materials for students and teachers.

 

2. Cultural Diversity in Australia. Reflection a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census (Report)

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Cultural diversity in Australia. Reflecting a nation: Stories from the 2011 census. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2071.0main+features902012-2013

This resource is a recommendation from a unit of work by the Human Rights Commission <The globalising World; Changing policies and Australian identity>, found using Scootle. It is a summary from the 2011 census detailing immigration and population statistics over time, using graphs, charts and explanatory text under headings.

It provides a rich and authentic method to analyse data, make comparisons, and demonstrate proficiency in a range of literacies. It would be a challenging resource to support the understanding of waves of immigration and historical population distribution.

This site meets all selection criteria as a reputable, up-to-date resource with accurate and well-presented information that is easily accessed and appropriate for classroom and assessment tasks. Consideration of language level for some students would be necessary.

Scootle provides units of work for teachers that are listed with educational details, links to the Australian Curriculum and reviews. This can be of use to classroom teachers and teacher librarians when construction units of work collaboratively. Copyright and licence details would need to be considered when adapting units.

 

3.The global refugee crisis (vol 404) (Curated Reference)

 Justin Healey [Ed.]. (2016). The global refugee crisis (Vol. 404). Balmain, N.S.W.: Spinney Press.

 This book explores global refugee trends and contains a range of sources discussing Australia’s response to the plight of refuges and asylum seekers and migration of peoples internationally. This resource meets all general and non-fiction specific criteria. It directly relates to the curriculum and would be useful to resource discussions and assessment tasks, in particular the written newspaper task and the culminating presentation.

 This book forms part of the Spinney Press ‘Issues in Society’ series, which is created specifically for high school students to engage with current affairs. It offers current, diverse information, about important issues from an Australian perspective. The book presents accurate information from a range of primary and secondary sources, deliberately comprised of facts and opinions. It provides an excellent resource to develop critical analysis and evaluation of bias or agenda.

 The format and presentation is attractive, clear and easily navigated. It contains an index, table of contents and glossary. There are numerous, clearly referenced, tables, graphs and data sources. Reliable web links are present, providing an avenue for further research. At the back of the book there is a section containing a range of worksheets, discussion questions and research topics and multiple choice tests which would be a great resource for teachers.

 The book can be obtained as part of a subscription or as a single purchase in print or e-book. The digital edition is an interactive PDF that comes with a full Site Licence. This allows multiple users to simultaneously use the book in a range of settings, a very cost effective method to resource this unit.

 This resource was found from the publishers catalogue and website. The school library has a current subscription to this series, and therefore was an obvious point of call to check for relevant materials.   Subscriptions of this kind can be very useful if topics presented match current units and the curriculum. However, the cost can become a burden for libraries on limited budgets, and if the resource is not marketed well to staff and students, can be under utilised as editions are added to the catalogue with no clear request from department areas.

 

4. Virtual Reading Room (VRROOM)  (Archival Records Database)

National Archives of Australia. (2015). Vrroom – Virtual reading room. Retrieved from http://vrroom.naa.gov.au

 Vrroom is an education resource that provides students and teachers with digital copies of records from the National Archives collection.   Developed for the target audience, it provides a scaffold resource for students to develop research skills and find, analyse and evaluate primary and secondary historical documents, without getting lost in the perhaps overwhelming full National Archives site.

The site provides a rich collection of learning content aligned with curriculum areas for Year 9-12, with many records containing a concise description and background information pitched at an appropriate level. There is a browse function by topic and records are tagged with keywords that make it easy to search. There are grouped records based on topics, such as immigration and multiculturalism, and the Vietnam War, and as such is relevant to this unit of work and assessment tasks, and the development of historical analysis and information skills.

Vrroom was located using Scootle while searching for applicable resources in ‘Overview of the modern world and Australia’ section. Scootle can require a little luck to stumble upon the best resources, as in this case the site was found while looking at resources for the Cold War.

 

5. The White Australia Policy (Digital Book)

 Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC Splash). (2012). The white Australia policy. Retrieved from #!/digibook/613054/the-white-australia-policy

This resource from ABC Splash is a digital book providing a basic introduction the White Australia Policy. It meets all general and specific criteria. The digital book uses primary sources to explain key aspects of the policy and the consequences of it.   The content is aimed at the target audience, the reading level is suitable for low-level readers and does not have copious amounts of text, catering for reluctant readers.

The site is easily navigated and is presented in a logical manner. The font and colours are easy to read and the site does not contain advertising. There are links to further resources that can be selected based on related keywords, topics and year level. In particular there are links to interactive immigration statistics and settlement patterns.

The ABC Splash site has a search function by topic, year level, learning area and media type. It is an excellent source of relevant resources suitable for a range of abilities and learning styles.

This ABC Splash digital book was located through Scootle using the ‘Browse by Australian Curriculum’ option and refining the results by module and keywords. This is a fantastic way to find relevant resources in varying formats that are aligned with specific syllabuses and modules. This style of searching can be time consuming and requires careful analysis of resources for the specific conditions of the school, teacher and group of students.

 

6. Go back to where you came from (Documentary series and interactive website)

O’Mahoney, I. (Director). (2015). Go back to where you came from [Television Series/Series 3]. Australia: SBS.

SBS. (2015). Go back to where you came from. Retrieved from http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/go-back-to-where-you-came-from

 Go back to where you came from is a 3-part documentary series where participants retrace footsteps of refugees and asylum seekers and experience journeys to Australia first hand. It is a controversial program that seeks to spark debate about Australia’s current response to migration and refugees. It is a useful tool to encourage discussion in the classroom and challenge stereotypes prejudices and personal opinions, Process and synthesise information from a range of sources and analyse historical perspectives.

The accompanying website is jam packed with related material that could be used to support this unit of work and a range of learning styles, including links to related news articles, opinion pieces, quizzes, and teacher resource downloads. There is an interesting graphic novel about Vietnamese boat people, interactive maps and graphs and links to images, with only teacher creativity restricting the use of such materials. All links work, and online videos load quickly and text is in a font easily read.

This resource is engaging, easy to navigate and access and up-to-date and meets all general and specific criteria. The criterion of appropriateness needs some sensitivity. The videos are rated M (mature themes and course language), and are recommended for those aged 15 and over. In conjunction with the class teacher an assessment would need to be made if parent consent or notification would be necessary.

This resource was found through a SCIS search with the keyword ‘migration’ and constraining results to ‘videorecordings’.   The ability of SCIS to filter resources by dates, format and location allow a targeted approach to sourcing and meeting the requests of class teachers. Results give a description with enough detail to ascertain if worth pursuing further and subject heading links conveniently allow browsing to further related resources.

 

7. Who can be Australian? (Website)

 Together for Humanity Foundation Ltd. (n.d.). Who can be Australian? [Teaching Resource] Retrieved from http://www.differencedifferently.edu.au/who_can_be_australian/

The Difference Differently website, a federal government funded initiative, explores the challenges and opportunities created by diversity and has been created with relevance to the General Capabilities, particularly intercultural understanding, in the Australian Curriculum. It is suitable for the target audience in terms of relevancy and reading and cognitive level, and meets all other general and specific criteria.

The Who can be Australian unit explores government policies relating to immigration and citizenship since 1901. It uses clearly referenced primary sources such as cartoons and Hansard, interactive activities, and simple text to describe and explain the White Australia policy, the Immigration Act and the Dictation Test. This resource would be an excellent resource to supplement the text, support differentiation in the classroom and to cater for a range of learning styles.

Information is accurate, uncluttered and can be accessed for free with no registration required. The site is backed by a reputable entity and does not contain advertising or interfering pop-ups. To take the dictation test you need a Quicktime plug-in, this would have to be managed in conjunction with the ICT department.

 This resource was found using Scootle, searching matching resources by module. It was also recommended on the LinksPlus subscription service, using a ‘White Australia’ keyword search. The LinksPlus website provides curated web links evaluated for use in schools based on reliability, relevancy to the curriculum, accuracy and format quality. It provides a first point-of-call for teachers, teacher librarians and students to find a more refined set of sources for research, and as such is a good selection aid, albeit still requiring application of the set selection criteria. The cost and integration with existing OPAC of this subscription are elements that would need to considered.

 

8. Immigration (Audio-visual)

 Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Generator). (2015). Snapshots of Australian history – immigration. Retrieved from http://generator.acmi.net.au/education-themes/snapshots-australian-history/immigration

 Snapshots of Australian History is an online collection of videos curated around a range of education themes produced by ACMI. There are sections on immigration, and the Vietnam War, which are immediately relevant to the unit. The videos aim to provide stimulus to answer key questions, such as:

  • What risks do some people take to migrate?
  • What was the experience of migrants upon arriving in Australia?
  • What traits does successful migration require?

The videos highlight a range of different experiences and nationalities and provide an authentic resource for students to understand hardships faced by migrants, with real migrants telling their own stories. It is an excellent resource for students to process and synthesise information, and caters for those preferring audio-visual resources. There are teacher notes to guide class teachers with suitable discussion questions, background information and further reliable links.

 This resource is easily accessed with no restrictions and videos load quickly. Text is well-presented and there headings and tags to help students locate useful resources with ease. The content is appropriate for the target group in terms of detail and topics and provides a contemporary reflection on the issue of migration.

FUSE, a Department of Education & Training (Victoria, Australia) digital repository and sharing space, was used to locate this resource using a keyword search and refining for year level and subject. This is an excellent resourcing tool, similar to Scootle containing website, images, video, audio and interactive resources suitable for and aligned with the curriculum.   Access to this site is not restricted for basic searches and remains a good selection tool for those not in the Victorian school system.

 

9. Australia and the Vietnam War (Teacher resource kit + Website)

 Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commemoration’s Group. (2007). Australia and the Vietnam war [Kit]. Woden, A.C.T.: Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Retrieved from http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/students/resources#

This resource comprises of a teacher guidebook (sections also available online in PDF format), a CD-ROM containing image and film and interactive activities, and a DVD of Episode 7 (The Vietnam War) of the Australians At War documentary series. It provides teachers and students with classroom-ready materials and teaching strategies, and covers background historical information using a variety of primary source documents.

The print materials are targeted at the required age group and reading level. The text detail is appropriate and concise, easily navigated and is produced from a reputable author. This resource would be useful to provide a historical context and to supplement the text for the class teacher. It meets all general and non-fiction specific criteria with the possible exception of currency. The CD-ROM may be out-dated due to the upgrade of computers in the school and the absence of a CD drive in some.

As the teacher print resources are available online these are easily accessed and can be used with no copyright infringement. Acquiring the whole kit may be problematic due to it being out of print. Despite this, the resource remains a quality resource for teacher support.

This resource was discovered using SCIS while searching ‘Vietnam War’, and then refining the search for study and teaching materials. The link to the Anzac Portal was very helpful as it unveiled a huge range of other quality resources developed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This site has full units of work available for teachers to adapt, and allows searching by conflict, year level and type of resource. In this way SCIS is an effective search tool.

 

10. We are here – Cat Thao Nguyen (Biography)

Nguyen, C. T. (2015). We are here. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.

This resource links to the topic of the contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity and the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It meets all general criteria.

It provides a candid first hand account of the immigrant experience, and a unique perspective on what it is like to come to Australia as a refugee. This is an ideal, up-to-date resource for analysing different historical perspectives.

The book is suitable for the student group in terms of reading level and content. The book is not too long to prevent reluctant readers from engaging with it. Alternatively, excerpts could be used by the class teacher as appropriate.

 This resource was initially found through SCIS using the keyword ‘Vietnam War’.   The publishers website catalogue and Booktopia were also consulted to refer to the author credentials, content and cost. Searching the SCIS catalogue was a good way to discover resources based on key words and topics. This style of searching can take time and provide too many choices that require evaluation and analysis. The publisher website allows searching filtered by format, genre and topic.   Search results give a content description, author information and allows online purchase if desired.   Online booksellers like Booktopia provide a quick way to find resources aligned with curriculum areas. Booktopia provides target audience, list of contents, review and ratings, all helpful when the physical resource is not available for analysis.