Monthly Archives: September 2012

Information Services to staff and students


Staff Information Needs

Three factors to take into consideration before providing information services to teachers

  • Time release for collaboration & planning
  • Willingness and cooperation of staff
  • ICT & information skill levels

Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki … (Valenza, 2010)

Valenza (2010) states that Wiki pathfinders allow you to link with ease and upload all forms of content but most importantly she maintains that they are collaborative documents that can be built and contributed to by all members of the learning & teaching community. Teachers can use pathfinders to set up groups, upload Assignment tasks and assessment guides, host or link to presentations and showcase student work. Students can share their work, thoughts or ideas.

5 Key areas of effective information services in order of importance

Looking at both SLASA & ASLA recommendations, I consider the following to be the most important areas of information services

  • to ensure that the library resource centre is multi-functional and a focal point for student learning
  • to select resources to support the information needs of the school community (learning/teaching needs)
  • to ensure the  maximum use and access of resources (Information literacy support / Promotion/Reference interview)
  • to manage the organization, storage and circulation of resources (Access)
  • to provide the availability and use of information and communication technology (ICT) (Access)

Student information needs

The more information a TL can gather about the school community the more effectively they are able to provide pertinent and purposeful information services. Clearly understanding your user/community needs is crucial to resource selection and collection development. I like the School Community Profile Template because it considers all areas of importance.

  • Characteristics – Age, gender, religion, language, interests
  • reading/cognitive level
  • social development level – individual needs
  • socio-economic background – ethnicity, ESL, Access to internet and technology/devices
  • Curriculum trends
  • Attitudes & skills of teachers

What methods can a TL use to provide students with reminders of the information skills process?

  • Posters on display such as, the information literacy model (followed by the school), website evaluation criteria, Boolean Operatives, Student friendly search engines
  • Provide a variety of Step by step instructional guides – Use Prezi or moviemaker, create podcasts or brochures to engage students as well as guide them to search the library catalogue or web, databases and directories, to create mind maps etc…

Valenza, J. (2010). Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki. Retrieved from


Improving students’ web use


Summary of Herring’s Chapter 6 (2011, pp. 78-89)

Students waste time in fruitless searching. Teach students to be web learners (not web users) i.e. reflective and effective web users. Guide students to think about what they are searching for and why they are searching before sending them off to search the web.

Clearly define the purpose of the task.

  • Concept mapping – as a tool for students to think about information needs and topic before searching / to revisit and change after searching
  • Question forming – brainstorming topics to develop essential Guiding questions (Who, What, What if, How, Should, Why, Which one?)

Guide students on how to search the web. Explain why they need a search strategy.

  • Brainstorm & concept map “How to be a good web searcher”

Reflect on why you need a search strategy. Teach/guide how to structure a good search engine query (Boolean searching, advance search) see Fig 6.4 page 82.

There are many web site evaluation guides. As above, Explain why the need for website evaluation and guide how to effectively evaluate websites.

  • Students produce a concept map on the “benefits of website evaluation”
  • Reflect
  • Compare different guides
  • Create own guides based on reflections (ownership)

Developing a personal model for web use

Herring (p.87) Students do not transfer skills and abilities in web use across subject or time. There are many Information   literacy models. Students create, develop and use their own information literacy model to help with transference.

Module activities: Planning for web searching

What is the best way to teach year 7 students to develop a concept/mind map?

  • Demonstrate & Explain – Show examples, you tube “how to clips”, brainstorm and create one with class on IWB or try or Apps like Simplemind+/mindmeister
  • Discuss the benefits of using mind maps to clarify task, define purpose, organise thoughts and ideas

What is the best way to teach year 7 students to develop their own questions?

Reading for information: Apply website evaluation criteria to sites when reading. Ensuring that students are capable of effectively evaluating websites will develop reading for information skills. Provide appropriate website evaluation criteria (suitable for the user) or help students develop their own set of criteria (in their own language) to support this learning.

Reflecting on web use: Self-evaluation I agree with Herring (2011, p.86) that reflecting on the search process should be integral to the assignment. Regular or habitual self-assessment (rubrics, checklists, question lists, De Bono’s thinking hats) can support skill development & goal setting, develop personal understanding of search process/learning (metacognition) and demonstrate student achievement. Importance of Metacognitive questions ; Reflective questions.

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

Web 2.0 in school libraries


From the readings I have come to understood that using Web 2.0 technology can simplify online interaction. Web 2.0 tools facilitate participation, communication and collaboration between students, teachers and others in the school community. Sharing (ideas, learning and information), participation and connectivity are key aspects of web 2.0 and the tools provide opportunity for students to become engaged, adept and comfortable with emerging technologies.

Herring (2011, p. 49) describes web 2.0 as “a range of tools which can be used to improve information literacy, provide access to mediated resources, allow creative participation on the web and encourage collaboration.”

Web 2.0 tools provide opportunities for TL’s to:

  • Organise, share and communicate information by creating meaningful mediated content (content curation)
  • Encourage participation via feedback, discussion, collaboration
  • Engage our digital learners, enrich their learning.
  • Connect the learning and teaching community
  • Facilitate online education – digital literacy

I believe that Librarians who are committed to facilitating and supporting teaching and learning in schools today cannot ignore Web 2.0 tools.

Blogs are great for sharing thoughts and ideas, new resources, library news, links and other multimedia (YouTube clips, book trailers) and generating discussions with others in the school.
Wiki’s are useful, particularly when online group collaboration is required. Wiki’s can be set up for specific classroom projects where teachers (and/or librarians) can post links to resources, notes, homework etc., students can contribute to the content, communicate and share ideas.
Social bookmarking can be used in schools to share useful online resources between librarians and teachers or students. Diigo allows you to create private or public lists of online bookmarks that can be accessed from any device connected to the internet. Private lists can be shared with others by providing a URL link to the list. I’m not sure whether privacy is such an issue if you are careful managing your account however site closure would be problematic.

New term learned “collect the web” Some Web 2.0 tools are useful for content curation (Wikispaces, Weebly, Pinterest Scoop it, Live binders, Pod Out etc). Benefits of collecting the web, as described by Herring (2011, p. 55), “ having mediated resources available for students enables them to focus more on their topics and waste less time in fruitless searching”

Issues to consider: time to develop & manage such tools, training and professional development, firewalls, copyright

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