Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Fifth rung - EER500 Introduction to Educational Research

In order to promote quality and purposeful outcomes for students, educators must provide engaging teaching and learning opportunities across all key learning areas that integrate the active use of innovative technologies. To be able to do this, teachers require professional development but unfortunately, there are not enough highly-skilled support systems in place within schools to cater for the ever-growing technology and the growth of teacher capability in digital pedagogy.

Is the role of an ICT Mentor effective in increasing teacher capacity in primary schools?

According to the Assessing Progress of the DER and Potential Future Directions Final Report (Deparment of Education, 2013) there are four strands relating to what is required to effectively use technology in education. These strands are infrastructure, leadership, teacher capability and learning resources. DandoloPartners was commissioned to undertake this mid-program review in order to answer the following fundamental question: Has the DER been a catalyst for positive change that establishes the foundations for improved use of ICT in education? Whilst the strand of Infrastructure has mostly been achieved or has seen significant change; areas such as leadership, teacher capability and learning resources have measures with indicators that have only made small gains. Whilst hardware and software have been a successful implementation, the question arising is to whether the other areas would have success, longevity and sustainability if an ICT Mentor was to be a part of the DER process. (http://education.gov.au/technology-schools?resource=)

Journal Articles
Seemann (2003) emphasises the importance of basic principals in holistic technology in education. He suggests that a holistic approach allows for better informed technical and design decision in a wider range of settings. If ICT Mentors have the skills to understand a particular that is technology, and Seemann (2003) corresponds this with understanding its relation to the whole – it is conducive to suggest that ICT Mentors may be responsible for rich teaching and learning activities implemented by teachers. Technology is identified as a ‘know why’ learning experience rather than a ‘know how’ which has the ability to be supported by ICT Mentors, in particular with the new NSW Syllabus for the Australian English Curriculum.
Prestridge (2012) suggests that beliefs and attitudes of educators may in fact influence classroom practices. Her findings indicated that teacher beliefs have implications for ICT Professional development. It is interesting to speculate that if ICT Mentors have the ability to change teacher competency levels then in turn, it may improve digital pedagogy.
Broadley (2010) has been developing research over many years relating directly to the DER Report (Deparment of Education, 2013). Her focuses are namely around the Digital Education Revolution, learning communities and ICT in rural education. She identifies that some areas are facing significant challenges gaining access to professional learning/development. The provision of ICT Mentors may or may not see the challenges of technology in rural areas altered.
(Hammond, et al., 2009) conducted research on teacher preparedness and factors around support given in school-based training. While results concluded that student-teachers are heavily influenced by mentors there is little evidence in the wider context on how ICT teacher training affects student teacher practice.
As an ICT Mentor and Teacher/Librarian providing support and professional development/training to teachers in a rural primary school, the value and practical importance of this research will be beneficial for teachers, students and the wider professional body to learn and understand how an ICT Mentor may or may not be able to promote well developed ICT frameworks with holistic approaches to best classroom practice through building teacher capacity.

Broadley, T. (2010). Digital revolution or digital divide: will rural teachers get a piece of the professional development pie? Education in Rural Australia , 63-76.
Department of Education. (2013). DER MID PROGRAM REVIEW Assessing Progress of the DER and Potential Future Directions Final Report. Australia: DandoloPartners.

Hammond, M., Croson, S., Fragkouli, E., Ingram, J., Johnston-Wilder, S., Johnston-Wilder, P., et al. (2009). Why do some student teachers make very good use of ICT? An exploratory case study. Technology, Pedagogy and Education , 59-73.

Prestridge, S. (2012). Computers and Education. The beliefs behind the teacher that influences their ICT practices , 449-458.

Seemann, K. (2003). Basic Principles in Holistic Technology Education. Journal of Technology Education, 14(2). 28-39. Retrieved from


Friday, 17 October 2014

Fourth rung - ETL501 - Reflection - Pathfinder

My pathfinder was designed to accommodate grade 9 students studying the History subject “The Making of the Modern World - World War I (1914-1918)” the students topic question is ‘Discuss the difficulties of trench warfare for Australians at Gallipoli and the Western Front?.’
As 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1, the investigation of this unit of work is appropriate in regards to the information that will be presented to them by the media with the impending commemorations.
Included in this critical analysis are the learning outcomes achieved by students as well as the method used to acquire the selected resources.
Incorporated in this reflection are the benefits of how such a pathfinder will enhance students’ information literacy skills, as well as a critical analysis of my detailing my learning during the process of creating the Pathfinder.

Students are to examine specific aspects of Australian’s involvement and experiences in World War I. As they navigate and read texts from the presented sources, it is expected that they will achieve literacy learning outcomes through their interpretation and analyzing the information they find.  The students will evaluate and compare information from various sources for suitability. They will use ICT skills to locate, document and convey their findings to others. Students will also appreciate the concept of intellectual property of others through the creation of a bibliography (ACARA, 2013).

During the pathfinders's construction I concentrated on searching for appropriate resources from various formats using my library catalogue, databases, bBooks and metasearch engines through subject, keyword and Boolean search terms.
Prior knowledge of how students learn, the age groups involved and their different levels of ability, was advantageous in the selection of suitable resources.

Presenting students with Metasearch alternatives to ‘Google’ or ‘Wikipedia’, is essential, conversely most were too technical for grade 9 students. I used ‘Dogpile’ coupled with the use of Boolean search phrases to build upon the students known (suspected) information literacy knowledge. The majority of sites presented when searching within this topic are ‘gov’ or ‘org’ sites, as these were generaly created with school education as their purpose, only a minority returned inappropriate results, surprisingly, World Book encyclopedia [online] produced the best results for students with a choice of advanced or simple search options (Devine & Egger-Sider, 2009).

It is apparent that the use of annotated curriclum related resources, such as Pathfinders, can assist in directly guiding students to access, evaluate, analyse and integrate information from the various formats provided. When these resources are provided it cuts through the ‘Data smog’ that students perceive and allows them to focus on more realistic expectations of web searching through the presented sources fostering information literacy skills, rather than squandering time and enthusiasm n searching unsuitable websites (ACRL, 2014; DeLano Davis, 2013; Thibault, 2013).

I am fully aware of frustrating it can be when sites promise relevant information for students, but include links that ares unsuitable (such as online web dating in a page on World War 1) or distracting to unfocused students. This reinforced to me the positive qualities a pathfinder can provide for students as a start point in the selection of information. 

The purpose of the Pathfinder is to shepherd students to age and ability appropriate resources, through an annotative directory. The students themselves must consider critically, through the use of effective search stratigies, the usefulness of the resource against the assignment requirements and their information needs. My conception is that the students are being shepherded into becoming web users and developing as web learners through developing effective search stratigies (Hemmig, 2004; Herring, 2011; Kuntz, 2003).

I had to control my inclination and guide students to, rather than provide students with resources to enhance their learning. The layout went through a number of trials, until the creation of a simple and uncluttered model emerged built around essential links to resources.
This project gave me an insight in evaluating the use of search engines and websites for the operation of staff and students. I found considerable difficulty in presenting the information on a level acceptable to grade nine students, this may be a result of working with mature age students for a number of years (O’Connell, 2012).

Using my own Libraries Pathfinder/StudyGuide format, required my adhering to preset structure and style, the uniformity of this presentation is an advantage students by creating a cohesive ‘McDonalds’ repetitiveness to each guide where students studying different subjects will not need to learn new navigation with a different subject guide as each guide follows a similar structure.
The creation of further Pathfinders will be easier and of greater use to students, because I now understand the rules of design and how they can support all student access to the web regardless of individual abilities (Ahnmed, 2013; Herring, 2011; lamb & Johnson, 2007).

I now consider that the establishment and implementation of pathfinders to be one of the most effective skills I could develop as a TL, as it positions the library as an essential part of the classroom lesson, they can be an instrumental tool of TL's by augmenting teaching and learning quality through providing assistance to a variety of learning styles at a point of need to both staff and students.


Association of College & research Libraries (ACRL), (2014). Introduction to
information literacy. Retrieved from www.ala.org/acrl/issues/infolit/overview/intro

Ahmed, N. H. (2013). Design: why is it important to get it right. In Dobbs, A.
W., Sitter, R. L. & Cook, D. (Eds.), Using libguides to enhance library services. (pp. 23-41). Chicago, ALA TechSource

DeLano Davis, S. (2013). Making the case campus-wide for purchasing libguides.
In Dobbs, A. W., Sitter, R. L. & Cook, D. (Eds.), Using libguides to enhance library services. (pp. 23-41). Chicago, ALA TechSource

Devine, J. & Egger-Sider, F. (2009). Going beyond Google: the invisible web in
learning and teaching. London: Facet publishing.

Hayes, D. (2011). Pathfinders: life in the library. Retrieved from

Hemmig, W. (2004). Online pathfinders: Toward an experience-centred model.
Reference Services Review, 33(1), 66-87.
doi: 10.1108/00907320510581397

Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A
guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Kuiper, E., Volman, M. and Terwel, J. (2008) Students’ use of web literacy skills
and strategies: searching, reading and evaluating web information. Information Research 13(3).

Mao, J. (2014). Social media for learning: A mixed methods study on high school
students' technology affordances and perspectives. Teacher Librarian, 40(4).

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

Kuntz, K. (2003). Pathfinders: helping students find paths to information.
Multimedia Schools. 10(3), Retrieved from: 

Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2007). An information skills workout: wikis and
collaborative writing. Teacher Librarian, 34(5), 57. Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Thibault, M. (2013). The student pathfinder. Learn NC. Retrieved from

Monday, 26 May 2014

Third rung - ETL504 - Reflective Journal

This subject has been a learning curve from day one, first concept map, first formal report, first individual vision statement even through I have sat through a number of committees involved in their creation; it was thought-provoking to plan the direction of a library, even one of my own imagination. 

Thinking back over the subject in general, I see leadership in schools much differently than I initially did, my first post referred, that as I was not in a (official) leadership position my influence would be minimal and limited to that of the library. Currently I view my style as ‘shared leadership’ by means of ‘guiding from the middle’. This involves my instigating meaningful communication among participants, while providing a ‘safe hub’ that supports staff and students to broaden their idea of what they can achieve and then encourage them to go beyond.

I still feel that my leadership style incorporates diverse approaches and theories as required, adapting to varying roles as the need arises and the circumstances presents themselves, however my leadership is still on a learning curve that has yet to peak or even start to feel comfortable.
In the online tutorial I stated that one interpretation of leadership is that of a salesman, where the leader is selling an idea to the individual or group, steering them into the direction the leader wants them to go, ‘selling’ them on the benefits of the vision until they ‘buy’ into the product and make it ‘theirs’. This observation is extremely undeveloped, but as an ex-shoe salesman it provided me with a foundation to work upon in developing my personal leadership style, however I believe that the goal of transformational leadership is still an aspiration for future implementation (Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005).

I had an uncomplicated perception of the role of the TL being restricted to managing their own staff, being an advisor to teaching staff and as a guide and mentor to the students through the establishment of information literacy assignments that, (hopefully) will enlighten students to become information users.
I have since realized that leadership emanates from an array of forms and is an acquired skill, to be explained and enhanced through use, and that all staff have the potential to be leaders if empowered from above, and sometimes even if not empowered. 

The information deluge is changing Libraries from a static repository of limited information to a conduit transmitting vastly more information than could ever be stored in a physical library or interacted successfully with by unguided students. To enable this era of mobile information within schools, we as TLs are required to be leaders supporting the innovation and change required to exist in 21st century learning.

The TL, in regards to new technologies, involves a perspective that is not ‘just’ librarian but is ‘also’ a teacher. By developing our own knowledge and proficiencies in new technologies, to match those of our ‘digital native’ students, we are better placed to accept technology, mobile or otherwise is a primary ingredient in how our students receive and process information. As we cannot ignore it or hope it will go away, I intend as a TL (ultimately) to embrace the new and be a leader of innovation and change, calaborating and educating teachers to integrate 2.0 tools into the curriculum rather than include them as an add-on (Pfundstein, 2003).

I now know that the role of the TL, as a leader within the school environs is broader than I had previously imagined. The scope of the TL role is limited only by the interactions created through negotiation, communication and collaboration with my peers; through advocacy we can produce achievements that surpass the individual results of each of us (Dubrin & Dalglish, 2003).
While not yet in my desired position of Teacher Librarian within a school, I believe that when I achieve these goals I will be able to influence change by ‘leading from the middle’. By using what I have learned within ETL504, I have the ability to lead and inspire others from the library and throughout the school (Cawthorne, 2010).

If I have accepted any concept through studying ETL504, it is the fact that change only comes through communication with others, and change is the factor that presents us as TLs with the new and the improved. The concept that is inciting our careers is the change to the “perceived image of the role of the teacher-librarian, from that of keeper of the books to that of a learning-centered curriculum expert” (Miller, 2005,). As Teacher Librarians we must continue to support and more often than not lead the drive for advancements and improvements within and beyond our disciplines, in order to support the future learning of our students into the 21st century.

The fifth law of Ranganathan’s five laws of library science states, “The Library Is a Growing Organism”. This statement reinforces my awareness that a Library and the Teacher Librarians within it must be part of a transformative organisation constantly adapting to new social conditions, technological developments, and the changing needs of our clientele (Mitchell, 2007).


Cawthorne, J. (2010). Leading from the middle of the organization: An examination of
shared leadership in academic libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(2), 151-157. Retrieved from http://citeulike.org/artical/6724719
Dubrin, A. J. & Dalglish, C. (2003). Leadership, an Australian focus. Milton, QLD.: John
Wiley and Sons Australia

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on
leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved  from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

Miller, K. (2005). Novice Teachers' Perceptions of the Role of the Teacher-librarian in
Information Literacy. School Libraries in Canada (17108535), 24(3), 1.
Retrieved from Ebscohost

 Mitchell, W. B. (2007). Reflections on Academic Libraries in the 21st Century. Journal of
Access Services. 5(1/2), 1-9. Doi: 10.1080/15367960802197509

Pfundstein, T. E. (2003). The use of technology that affect how teachers teach and

students learn. In A. D. Sheekey (Ed.) How to ensure Ed/tech is not oversold and underused. (pp. 73-94). Oxford: Scarecrow Education.