ETL523 – Assignment 2: Part b Reflection

The ability to read, write, interact and share across a range of platforms, tools and media (O’Connell, 2012; Stripling, 2010) represent the essential skills necessary to succeed into the future. Teaching and learning in the digital age involves a change in emphasis towards participation, creating and sharing; more active learning rather than passive consumption of content delivered in a static manner (Wheeler, 2015). Assignment two forced me to look at my school’s current situation in regards to the digital learning environment. It became clear to me that my school is not currently harnessing technology for 21st century learning or preparing our students with future skills. Staff professional development, in particular, is needed to rectify low digital literacy standards amongst staff to work towards rectifying this.

The most important I have learned during this unit is that integrating technology into our pedagogy and learning should be viewed and taught in a positive way with the emphasis on the unlimited opportunities that are presented when we connect outside of our classroom. This shift in attitude requires a re-think about how we deliver the curriculum, new modes of teaching learning, creation of a personalized PLNs and a re-focus on how we preparing students for the future where digital fluency is a necessary skill to succeed.

Previous to this unit my understanding of what digital citizenship was mainly consisted of what students should not do and punitive policies that discipline those who plagiarise or aren’t using Creative Commons correctly. What I have learned is digital citizenship consists of a broad range of skills, habits and attitudes, and effectively utilising the digital learning environment in an ethical and productive way should be part of our everyday practice. We should be teaching by doing (Lindsay, 2016b), being models of digital citizenship in our everyday digital lives by integrating technology into our practice and habits, and connecting globally to expand our learning networks.

In an earlier blog post I reflected on the challenge of working collaboratively to achieve a group wiki. This was an excellent reminder of how our students feel when set such tasks and the difficulties they face using new digital tools and applications. Assignment one required me to learn new ways to communicate and to learn a range of new Web 2.0 applications. These skills have been immediately relevant to my practice in that I have shared with students through my library blog and when assisting students with organising their own work, new ways to connect and showcase their learning.   Students have responded well and are now recognising that I, and the library staff as a whole, are valuable resources in their learning, a small shift but nevertheless important for ongoing change. I am also evaluating how I can leverage my PLN to curate more effectively for my school community (Valenza, 2012) and for this to be one way I can demonstrate good digital citizenships skills by doing.

As in other units I have completed, the theme of leadership and the integral role of the TL to influence and lead change is apparent in this unit. I resonated with Lindsay (2016a) with the term ‘teacherpreneur’, a teacher who leads and achieves change by being relentless in their quest for the best student outcomes, perhaps in ways that may be considered disruptive.

Reflecting on my own practice, I realise that I need to be more focused on elevating my educational practice in terms of my ICT skills, understanding of the curriculum and ways to innovate its delivery, nurturing my PLN to forge connections with likeminded educators, and being able to lead others to share my vision. I am still a ‘work in progress’ for confidently leading by example, but this unit, and the course in general, is helping me to become the ‘outlier’ I would like to be.

References

Lindsay, J. (2016a). The global education leader. In The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education.

Lindsay, J. (2016b, July 19). How to encourage and model global citizenship in the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2016/07/how_to_encourage_and_model_global_citizenship_in_the_classroom.html

O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4–7.

Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching students to think in the digital environment: Digital literacy and digital inquiry. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 16–19.

Valenza, J. K. (2012). Curation. School Library Monthly, 29(1), 20.

Wheeler, S. (2015). Learning with “e”s: Educational theory and practice in the digital age. United Kingdom: Crown House Pub Ltd.

Assignment 2 Part B – Reflective critical analysis

In my initial thoughts on leadership (Harcourt, March 9, 2015) I lamented that I had been so preoccupied with library management, that I had not even thought about my role in terms of leadership in my school. After nearly completing this unit I have made the mental shift to understanding I have huge potential to become a leader in my school and to have a great impact on my students learning through developing literacy programs, developing a collaborative culture in the school to embed twenty first century skills into the curriculum and working towards transforming my library physical space to align with modern pedagogy requirements.

As mentioned in my blog post (Harcourt, May 11, 2015) as I am new to the library I identify with the contribution of Adrienne Matteson in School Libraries: What’s now, what’s next, what comes after (2011) titled ‘New’. She writes that she is observing, collecting information about her colleagues and library procedures. She is making note of how the students access the collection and what is popular and where there are holes in resources. I feel that this is what I have been doing, and in particular focusing on the manual labour of shelving, covering, acquiring new titles and weeding. This unit has shaped my understanding of what my role in the school should be. I realise that I need to create opportunities to be in classrooms, working with teachers and students to navigate the information they have have at their fingertips, and to be introducing new technology tools that facilitate learning.

In order to be a leader I know I must be a life-long learner who reflects on my practice and commits to ongoing personal professional development. As stated in MacBeath & Dempster (2009, p.32) , “Leaders need to learn and leaders learn as they lead”. As mentioned in my blog post (Harcourt, April 13, 2015) the revising of prominent learning theories was instantly beneficial to my teaching. In addition to this I have found inspiration in the readings particularly in relation to my developing understanding of how technology plays such a role in defining the TL position and responsibilities, and how the web 2.0 is changing pedagogy and the future possibilities.

In response I have opened a Twitter account and started to follow leaders in the field and institutions recommended to me, I have begun to experiment with ScoopIt in curating materials, with help from my ICT technician my library now has Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram accounts, and I have ambitions to create some Library Guides in the near future to create an online presence in our school for the library and its services and resources. I have been using Diigo and thinking about ways that I can incorporate wikispaces to foster collaboration with my students. Suddenly I feel I am starting to get connected to the 21st century – and am feeling positive that I am on the right track to make my library relevant and recognised as the centre of school learning in the school.

While creating accounts is fun and feeling connected is good – I realise that I still need to focus my energies on HOW these tools can help me to connect with my students and HOW they enhance student learning. For now these advancements play a role in my personal learning journey and continuous learning and development of digital literacy, applications to learning will come with time as I become my competent.

I also understand that part of my role is to bridge the gap between student experience of digital media and literacy at home and in school in order to become more relevant and authentic. As O’Connell (O’Connell, 2012, p. 5) states school libraries have a role to play in modern interactive knowledge environments and if they adapt to the digital needs of their students they can successfully provide ‘motivation, differentiation, collaboration and connections necessary for 21st learning’. The library collection is no longer defined by its physical space – I must work towards creating a library presence that is portable and accessible anytime, anywhere. This could also enable a collaborative approach to collection development where students become stakeholders in the process – application such as Shelfari and Goodreads are on my radar. This unit has also reaffirmed my understanding that is it my job to guide my students to be responsible and valuable digital contributors by understanding their digital footprint and other aspects to digital citizenry.

I really like the quote: ‘collaborate; advocate; educate; innovate’ from the youtube clip School Library Leadership: Leading Libraries into the Future (MansfieldUniveristy, 2011). It does encompass my growing understanding of the TL role and how I can make my teaching practice matter and successfully lead change through building and maintaining relationships, as this is the key factor that determines how successful a leader will be in leading change (Winzenried, 2010, p. 45).

This unit has refined my definition of what a leader is. I love the idea of ‘Leading from the middle’ as described in Coatney (Coatney, 2010). This style of leadership using social influence, where leadership is not a position but a process sits well with me. While my ideas on the ideal transformational leader in my first blog post (Harcourt, March 9, 2015) have not really changed, what has changed is that now I think it can apply to me.

References

Coatney, S. (2010). Leadership from the middle: Building influence for change. The many faces of school library leadership (pp. 1-12). Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

Harcourt, C. (April 13, 2015). Assignment 1 part b: reflective critical anlaysis [Blog post]. from https://harcourtc.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/assignment-1-part-b-reflective-critical-analysis/

Harcourt, C. (March 9, 2015). My initial thoughts on leadership [Blog post]. from https://harcourtc.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/blog-post-1-my-thoughts-on-leadership/

Harcourt, C. (May 11, 2015). Reflection on Module 6-7 – Learning without frontiers…[Blog post]. from https://harcourtc.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/reflection-on-module-6-7-learning-without-frontiers/

MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London: Routledge.

Mansfield Univeristy (Producer). (2011, 18 October). School library leadership: Leading libraries into the future. [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RzmrhDmjeQ&feature=youtu.be

O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4-7.

School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come (2011). K. Fontichiaro, & Hamilton, B (Ed.) Retrieved from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96705

Winzenried, A. (2010). Visionary leaders for information. Towards an organisational theory for information professionals. (pp. 1-58). Wagga Wagga NSW: Centre for Information Studies: Charles Sturt University.

Reflection on Module 6-7 – Learning without frontiers…

Reading the material in Module 6 and 7 in recent days and preparing for the final assignment in this unit has contributed to me feeling very overwhelmed by the task of becoming a teacher librarian! I have found the readings very interesting and inspiring, particularly in relation to my developing understanding of how technology plays such a role in defining the TL position and responsibilities, and how the web 2.0 is changing pedagogy and the future possibilities.

What has become obvious to me as my understanding of the TL leadership role is being clarified is that I must move from being a library manager to a facilitator of learning using collaboration with students and teachers as a vehicle to embed all forms of literacy in the curriculum.

I identified with the contribution of Adrienne Matteson in School Libraries: What’s now, what’s next, what comes after (2011) titled ‘New’. She writes that she is observing, collecting information about her colleagues and library procedures. She is making note of how the students access the collection and what is popular and where there are holes in resources. As I too am new to the library this year, I feel that this is what I have been doing, and in particular focusing on the manual labour of shelving, covering, acquiring new titles and weeding. I realise that I need to create opportunities to be in classrooms, working with teachers and students to navigate the information they have have at their fingertips, and to be introducing new technology tools that facilitate learning.

This post itself reflects that my thinking is not yet clear, however, this unit is defining what my role should be and what I should aspire to.

References

School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come (2011). K. Fontichiaro, & Hamilton, B (Ed.) Retrieved from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96705