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Critical Synthesis on Reflections for ETL401

My journey through ETL401, the introductory unit in Charles Sturt Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) has been one of learning, challenges, discovery and reflection. I was motivated to study Teacher Librarianship by my desire to open more doors in my career, enhance my portfolio and, above all else: face my fear of technology.

My opening blog post is a perfect summary of where I started in this journey, as far as my own technological fluency was concerned.  I feared technology, whilst knowing the reality of the career I have committed to. As a casual teacher I have seen the roll out of interactive whiteboards, laptops, and now, even iPads – for every classroom. My memories of the school library were reflected on in my blog midway through ETL401, in a post titled ‘Where did I come from?’. 

The role of the Teacher librarian as I perceive it now is broad beyond words. Assignment one demanded extensive research into the roles and definition of the teacher librarian. My readings on this vast topic were insightful, whilst also being formidable. As my understanding of the teacher librarian role developed and matured, the complex nature of assignment one became apparent.

My experience with teacher librarians was limited to that of my own primary and high school experiences. Prior to beginning my studies in ETL401 I thought the teacher librarian’s role consisted of relieving teachers for RFF and teaching research skills, whilst functioning as a librarian in an isolated, small library environment.

Since commencing my studies I have begun to undertake an informal work experience placement in my local state school’s library. This role has opened channels for observation, practice, conversation and insight. I reflected on one discussion with the teacher librarian in the ETL401 forums (Topic 3, March 30), in relation to support of the teacher librarian role within the school and funding.

Being in the school library environment and working with a practising teacher librarian, has provided a practical insight into the topics covered in the modules.

In reflection, ETL401 provided me with supported learning of unfamiliar and complex topics. I have had the opportunity to explore wordles (wordle.net) , online mind mapping, prezi presentations, delicious (online social bookmarking), iCloud, and many other technological innovations which were, to me, non-existent 12 weeks ago.

My present understanding of the teacher librarian role will continue to evolve as I further my studies. I am increasing my awareness of the librarian’s position within not only the library, but also the school, and the online presence that the school library can adopt.

The ETL401 forums have provided a space for the learning community to share links, thoughts, and questions, along with discussing the module topics and creating new meanings together. Admittedly I was not comfortable with posting to the forums, initially. Regularly reading the forums and replying to other student’s posts enabled me to increase my confidence. I believe that differences in learning styles influence the approach we take to studying.  I appreciate the forums provided through CSU interact, but I have a tendency to lurk as opposed to beginning new threads. I have made an effort to reply to the posts of others when the topic has been something of interest or that I have identified a link to teacher librarian or information literacy literature.

The requirement to maintain a Blog throughout ETL401 has been a beneficial reflective practice and I believe this is a valuable tool in my professional learning journey. Blogging was unfamiliar and foreign originally, however, I now am able to confidently state that I enjoy the process and gain satisfaction from logging my thoughts and tracking my learning experience. ETL401 has introduced concepts which are at the forefront of education in the digital age and provided me with a strong foundation upon which to build my understanding, pertinent to my development as a teacher librarian.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Testing my “skills” with links..

Here is a link to the assessment 2 forum, for ETL401

Testing, testing, blog blog blog

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Wordle: information literacy

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Defining Information Literacy

I like things defined. I tend to be creative and disorganised in my actuality. Therefore, I am drawn to things being clearly defined and orgnised in order to calm my thoughts and understandings into something that can be processed and packaged neatly into a far corner of my mind for future reference. 

This brings me to Doyle (1994) and her definition of information literacy. 

“Information Literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources.” p.6. 

Tightly packaged and neatly presented. Succinct, yet serviceable. This definition could describe information literacy as is in 2012, just as it was in 1994. While purpose is not mentioned, I believe this is an assumed factor. The punchiness of this definition may well be criticized for being too brief and perhaps vague – but I see it as inclusive and encompassing of information literacy, and all that attributes to this term. 

Doyle, C. (1994) Information Literacy in an information society: a concept for the information age, ERIC Clearing House in Information Technology, Sayracuse, N.Y. 

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=ED372763

 

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Assessment one… Confidence that I needed

I must admit that I had my concerns about assessment one. It was the first piece of academic writing that I have completed in 6 years, and the first at postgraduate level. The last time I clicked submit on something.. no, wait, I believe I sent it in a yellow distance education envelope, I was pregnant with my first child. He is now 5 and his siblings’ 3 and 1.. life is busy. Study is the only aspect of my life that I consider to be self-indulgent.. and that in itself is reasonably disturbing! 

“If anything, I can say that I have my doubts about this one, in all honesty.” – Taken from my blog post after submitting my work, with fear of my potential failure. I struggled with that assignment and felt extreme agony in wrapping my thoughts around the content and the readings. I am unsure whether it has anything to do with my mark, or if indeed assessment two is more straight forward, but in my preparation and reading I am feeling quietly calmer about this one. 

In addition to learning how to reference a blog post (see above for a likely mistake!) I also wish to master the art of working with readings from the screen. I am a printer! I didn’t want to be, and started the semester off using OneNote. I felt quite comfortable with it working through the modules, but when it comes to really developing deep understandings of the content, I am relying on paper sprawled across my desk and highlighter in hand. 

I will conquer this … maybe next unit! 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The TL, ISP’s, IL, IT and Acronyms that are designed to help (ATADTH)

The language in the reading for assignment two is complex, yet practical. This is one of those areas where I suspect that my reading will remain important throughout my journey to teacher librarianship and beyond. At the moment I am deep in literature on information literacy models, and am sifting through whilst keeping an open eye for some form of definition that may come close to defining what I think is information literacy. All sources so far indicate that this is an unachievable task in itself, and make a rough attempt to outline a definition, whilst opening door upon door to information which contributes to an understanding of what exactly constitutes information literacy. No short, succinct or complete definition exists.

Is this, in fact, part of the definition ? I am thinking so..

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Wordle: TL

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Worldle and I

As my last post has attempted to display, I have had a play with wordle.net and added yet another little trick to my hat as a developing teacher librarian. So many terms, just like “wordle” have been introduced in and through my studies so far, and I’m proud to say that instead of shying from the subject and the language, I am embracing it and throwing myself in.. even excitedly. 

The main motivator for me beginning my masters in Teacher Librarianship was my complete lag in technology. I stepped out of high school in 2001, and never increased my skills in information and technology past those that I required for distance education in my teaching degree. My undergraduate course required me to email, contribute to forums, and listen to podcasts (which I am sure were called purely mp.3’s!) I have had experience in the classroom on interactive whiteboards, but with no formal training I have been left feeling like I am winging it- and I do not like being forced out of my comfort zone. So… like my earliest post discussed, I have chosen to exit my comfort zone and plunge deeply into this degree. Not only am I learning about the role of the TL and all its facets – I am also gradually increasing my own skills in the sector that I was once hiding from, shamefully. 

The role of the TL is enormous. I could extend on my wordle tenfold (if not for one toddler in the middle of a tantrum behind me, a 5 year old demanding we do his home reader right now, and a baby whose been in the playpen for about 17 1/2 minutes too long.)

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Wordle: Teacher Librarian

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Where did I come from?

Now well on my journey in ETL401, I am feeling a little like I am beginning to be a part of something.. I feel that at this stage I should reflect on where I have come from. The day I applied to study this course, I knew nothing at all about teacher librarians, outside of my own schooling memories of Mrs. Streeter at my primary school, and the cranky ones from high school who never really assisted me in anything other than motivating me with fear to return my overdue loans. 

I worked in a public council operated library in my local area after leaving school, and whilst completing my education degree. I was a customer service operator/library assistant. Our branch library was staffed by myself, and the librarian. It provided me insight into library work which focused very heavily on clerical roles. Checkins and loans, branch cataloging, deselection, book repairs, and fines management. That was the part where I learnt the art of backdating! 

My view of the TL was very, very narrow. I came into this with a passion for books, reading and learning; and with a desire to open more avenues for employment. I had suspected that this degree would focus heavily on information literacy and technology but I really couldn’t have known the actual extent to which it does. I felt very lacking in my own information technology skills, and saw this degree as a way of committing to changing this about myself. I am well aware of the role of technology in teaching and working with todays students. I know my weaknesses, and I am seeking to gain employment in the next few years, on a full time basis. I want to know that once my children are in school, and I am ready for that first job interview, that I will go in with 100% confidence in my ability to be a valued team member of any school. I want to fit this degree in before I am working full time, and while this has challenges as far as time management and family life are concerned, I know that it will make me employable. Thats why I’m here. 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Uncategorized