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by Diane GallowaySolowan
Where to start! In a publication world that travels at the speed of light, keeping track of digital and print resources could be a full time job for teachers/teacher-librarians. I hope this blog will shed some light on current and emerging K-12 electronic resources that will help keep your finger on this pulsating universe.
But first, here are 4 critical points I hope you will carefully consider when making digital purchasing decisions:
Audience: Simply put, audience/patrons/users whatever term you use are a diverse lot and your bottom line. Although we all seem digitally crazed these days, there remain many students and teachers who prefer print resources. Word is, elementary kids seem more interested in reading digital fiction books but older teens show some resistance. It is important to carefully consider how important this factor may be to your particular situation and how you might prepare to make a budget case for either/or.
Balance: 30 years ago I walked into a college library that had no books. Its collection consisted of hundreds of magazines, newspapers and peer reviewed journals. Databases were only a glimmer in the eyes of school libraries then. Things have changed. Radical thinking about resource collections is more commonplace these days as we look to the e-revolution in publishing. Questions arise such as “Do we really need class sets of print atlases anymore?” Sweeping statements about being able to save space in a school library by only purchasing electronic resources is something I hear quite a bit and I wonder at the wisdom of that simplicity. I think a cautionary note when budgeting for electronic resources is in order: be careful about throwing the baby out with the bathwater even in 2012.
Policy: Ask yourself if you are purchasing school library resources by the seat of your pants or do you actually have a collection/acquisition policy to guide your decisions? My guess is you might have to dig around in a dusty drawer for that, or you likely may not have one at all. When a ship sets sail, there have to be some strategies in place just in case you encounter stormy weather. Elizabeth Prevost’s article, Collaborative Development of Online Collections in Elementary School Libraries in the ASLC’s journal, Learning, Literacies and Libraries provides a thorough discussion of this idea with an emphasis on electronic resources. You can find an example to guide you in the process of developing such a policy at this link : COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA PROGRAMS. The bells and whistles of digital resources are tempting. It is wise to be thinking ahead of the game.
Technology: Alberta schools are lucky! Generally, we have bandwidth and it makes a big difference to the way digital resources perform. But there are vagaries to that too and we had best be aware that our networks, browsers, etc. can handle the delivery of digital content seamlessly. Can your students and staff access the full range of functionality of amazing new electronic resources, for example interactivity with Web 2.0 applications? When you know your system well, you can be more confident in pushing the envelope.
I believe the overall crux of the matter lies in framing a guiding question to inform our purchase decisions. As we move closer to guided inquiry and project based learning in our daily practice I encourage you to try this one suggested by Jamie McKenzie: “Will this (digital/print resource) genuinely enhance my ability (and that of my students) to live at the upper end of Bloom’s Taxonomy?”
Your comments/suggestions are welcome in this discussion. Perhaps you already have a guiding question of your own that is driving your purchase decisions. If you do, then please share. I look forward to hearing about what you are doing in your school.
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Conducting Action Research to Evaluate Your School Library
How should teacher librarians or instructional leaders engage in action research to improve their school library and benefit students' learning? This book provides the answers.Teacher librarians need to get directly involved with the research process in the learning commons in order to create actions and strategies that will enhance student learning—and benefit their own professional development as well as demonstrate accountability through their action research efforts. This book provides practical tips and work spaces for educators at the local, state, and national levels, clearly modeling and explaining the process and the tools for conducting action research in a school library setting that will identify the program's strengths and weaknesses. The author coalesces current expert opinions on the topic of action research in the school library environment and highlighting what other teacher librarians in the field have identified as the pros and cons of using the process. Readers are directed to focus on mitigating the "cons" through the use of specific working pages and templates and by initially exploring "five favorite" links, thereby encouraging those who are new to action research to try what might otherwise seem a daunting process. School principals K–12 who read this book will be better equipped to support their teacher librarians and teachers in this important professional process.
• Supplies invaluable insights from experts and practitioners on the subject of action research
• Provides a clear model of the process in action
• Directs readers to additional resources that facilitate effective action research and timely topics for school library research, such as time management and technology in learning
Students create digital projects with images, music, videos, and websites to win an iPad Mini or annual subscription to one of Rosen Digital's online databases
New York (Feb 27, 2013) -- Help your students harness their creative energies while putting their 21st-century skills to use with a new contest from ThingLink and Rosen Digital. Students in grades K-12 can create Interactive ThingLink images, providing the opportunity to explore their interests and passions, connect multiple resources into a cohesive presentation, and share their projects with a large community. Visit ThingLinkContest.com for more information.
ThingLink allows students to connect audio, video, images, websites, and text into one interactive image presentation. Projects deepen learning as students delve into content through research to present knowledge and ideas as they learn while practicing digital literacy skills of image creation and selection, content curation, tagging, and sharing.
"ThingLink is o ne of my favorite and most frequently used tools because it supports active student participation and requires users to construct ideas as they create," says Susan Oxnevad, Instructional Technology Facilitator and educator for 26 years. "The tool can be very useful for designing and implementing the types of deep learning experiences required by the Common Core and it is also an effective way to help students develop digital literacy skills. ThingLink is fun, flexible, and intuitive!"
Eligibility: All students K-12 are eligible to enter. Teachers and parents may enter an image on a student's behalf.
Submission Deadline: Images may be submitted through May 1, 2013. Enter images at ThingLinkContest.com.
Winners will be announced on May 15, 2013.
Categories: There are 10 categories:
My Favorite Books or Authors
Science -- Think Like a Scientist!
Health & Well-being -- You, Your Family, Your Friends
Environment -- The World Around Us
Community -- Volunteering & Making a Difference
Money Smarts -- Earning, Saving, Spending
Art & Music -- Express Yourself!
Sports -- Game On!
History & Social Studies -- From Yesterday to Today
Animals -- Furry, Friendly, & Fierce
Students can enter as many images as they like. All entries are viewable on ThingLink.com.
Voting: Friends and family can vote on their favorite images by using a "touch" icon on a ThingLink image. The most "touches" counts for a portion of the score. A team of educational advisors will review entries and determine winners.
Prizes: One iPad Mini will be awarded to the top winner in each category. The winning school in each category will also receive one Rosen database subscription for a year (Teen Health & Wellness, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, or the PowerKnowledge Science Suite). Certificates will be awarded to second and third place winners in each category.