Final Vision Project

Final Vision Project Introduction

For my Final Vision Project in LIBE 477, I put together a Digital Citizenship Pilot Program at my school for a group of grade 8 students. So far I have recruited a volunteer teacher/class, created a unit plan for 5 lessons that caters to the needs and interests of the pilot group, and completed two of the lessons with the students; however, I am only about half way through the program. I have posted my Final Vision Project at the end of this blog post, including the lesson plans, PowerPoint slides, handouts, and survey.

To make the Digital Citizenship Unit more engaging and hands on, I incorporated interactive modules from MediaSmart’s internet literacy program called Passport to the Internet. My district subscribes to this program through our ERAC bundle housed in Learn Now BC. I also created my own online survey to gather data on grade 8 internet use, PowerPoint slides to accompany the lessons, and student handouts.

Connecting to the Purpose & Rationale

The need for digital citizenship education became apparent in my literature search during the exploration phase of the course. Two of the articles that I found referenced a recent Canadian research study called Young Canadians in a Wired World that “highlighted the gap between what teachers and parents thought children were doing online and what actually were doing” (McRae, 2012, para. 2). To start the Digital Citizenship Unit, I surveyed the students to get a clearer picture of their current behavior and activity online. I was surprised to see that several of the students reported taking risks online by talking to strangers, posting inappropriate photos, using vulgar language, or being bullied online (see the full list of survey results in the unit plan link below). Johnson’s (2012) article advocates for teaching digital literacy stating, “Today’s students are not just users of digital media, they are citizens of the online world; young Canadians need to learn digital literacy and digital citizenship in their schools, and librarians and teachers need to be provided with the tools, support and learning opportunities to be ready to teach them those skills” (p. 22). As the librarian and 21st Century Technology Teacher Coordinator at my school, I would like to help bring a digital citizenship program to my secondary school, starting small with a group of grade 8s and perhaps growing from there to include all grade 8s or even other grades. After surveying the pilot group, the specific goals of the unit this year will include teaching students how to manage their online safety and privacy, how to behave ethically online, and how to recognize and decode online advertising.

Technology Challenges

So far there have been several technology speed bumps in the planning and implementing process. As explained in the previous post, I had to get my computer lab updated and repaired to be able to run the interactive models and play sound on the headphones. I also had to create student accounts to access the program in Learn Now BC. In general, I find access to accounts to be a big issue- the more usernames and passwords we give our students and staff, the less we all remember! There is always someone who cannot get into the program despite pre-screening accounts, hardware, and software! I also had trouble exporting the results from my online survey, but in the end I figured out my mistake and will be sure to correct it for next year.

Extending the Vision in the Future

The other constraint on this project has been time. The volunteer teacher and pilot class could only fit in 5 sessions before I go off on maternity leave in May. In my reading review, other digital citizenship units were 12 weeks long and covered a wide range of topics. During my introduction lesson, I had the students vote on the three modules that they would like to complete, leaving the fifth session for reflecting, summarizing, and gathering final feedback. The students chose the following modules: MyFace (where students will build mock Facebook profiles and learn about privacy management), Instant Pigeon (where students will engage in a series of interactive online chats to learn about ethical relationships online and dealing with stranger contact and cyberbullying), and Co-Co’s Choco Match (where students will encounter online advertising and learn to read between the lines). If the feedback on these modules is positive, we could expand the program next year to include Study Spaces (where students learn how to effectively search and evaluate the information they find online) and Web Café (where students learn to recognize whether a Web site is relevant and appropriate). In Ribble’s article (2008), he reminds us that “beginning the discussion on digital citizenship in our schools and providing a process for implementing it is a good start, but there is a missing component to this equation. We need to bring parents and community members into this discussion as well” (p. 17). In my initial survey of 43 grade 8 students at my school, 20.9% reported having never talked with their parents/guardians about online safety and respectful behaviour, 37.2% reported having no rules at home regarding using the internet/mobile devices, and 31% have social media accounts that they keep secret from the family & friends. In the future, reaching out to parents could be an important part of digital citizenship education at our school.

Key Learnings from the Course

There is a lot of room to grow from this Digital Citizenship Pilot Program; however, I am pleased with the key learnings and progress that I have made throughout this course. I found the keyword brainstorm and literature search/reading review very helpful for exploring my topic, narrowing down definitions, and finding resources and evidence of relevancy for Canadian youth today. During the inquiry phase of the course I was able to focus on other areas of my personal development, such as promoting a reading culture at my school with 21st Century Book Talks, expanding my ICT skills and personal learning network through social media and technology, supporting professional development by being a resource personal in my school, and exploring literacy projects at home with the Write 2 Read Project and in other countries through the African Storybook Project. Many of the goals that I set for myself during this phase of the course related to technology, which further emphasizes the importance of digital literacy and citizenship for everyone. In Richardson’s (2012) book, Why School? How Education Must Change when Learning and Information are Everywhere, he discusses how education in the 21st Century is changing rapidly with technology. He reminds us that “what’s needed for reading and writing literacy is evolving far beyond traditional definitions…In large measure, the professional and, to some extent, personal lives of our kids will be lived online in transparent, public ways that are vastly different from the much more private spaces most of us grew up in…This changes just about everything when it comes to being “educated”” (Richardson, 2012, “The challenge”, para. 1). My vision or hope is that by incorporating digital literacy skills into our curriculum and practices in the library, students will become better digital citizens of the online world we are living in today and in the future.

Final Vision Project Links:

Please note that I have uploaded the documents in Word and PowerPoint instead of PDF format so that other librarians can edit them for their schools. If the documents do not load properly for you, feel free to contact me.

Digital Citizenship Unit Lesson Plans

Digital Citizenship Introduction PowerPoint

My Technology Inventory Worksheet

Digital Citizenship Online Survey

Digital Citizenship Module 1 Cocos Choco Match PowerPoint

Digital Citizenship Reflections Worksheet

Digital Citizenship Reflections Answer Key

Digital Citizenship Module 2 Instant Pigeon PowerPoint

Digital Citizenship Module 3 MyFace PowerPoint

Digital Citizenship Recap PowerPoint

My Digital Citizenship Program Feedback Form

References

Asselin, M. (2010). African Storybook: Marlene Asselin [Web log interview]. Retrieved from http://research.africanstorybook.org/?page_id=103

Johnson, M. (2012). Shaping Digital Citizens: preparing students to work and play in the online world. School Libraries In Canada (17108535), 30(3), 19-22

McCarthy, M. (2015, February 13). Telus joins W2R as another key partner [Web log post]. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://writetoreadproject.org/

McRae, P. (2012, March 27). Digital citizenship, firewalls and the moral compass. ATA News, 46(14), 4. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from CBCA Complete.

Passport to the Internet Teacher’s Guide [PDF]. (2014). Ottawa: MediaSmarts.

Ribble, M. (2008). Passport to Digital Citizenship: Journey Toward Appropriate Technology Use at School and at Home. Learning & Leading With Technology, 36(4), 14-17.

Richardson, W. (2012). Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere. TED Conferences Publishing. [EBOOK]

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Final Vision Blog Post 3: Project Contents & Technology

So far in the planning phase for my final project I have discussed the project scope and rationale. Here is a quick summary of the project as I have it planned to date:

Final Vision Project Contents Overview

Project Title Digital Citizenship Program
Rationale We live in an increasingly technological world where we are spending more and more time online interacting with each other, sharing, creating, learning, communicating, shopping, and accessing information. Young Canadians need help to become better digital citizens of this digital world by exploring technology and taking risks in a safe environment to learn about issues such as online privacy, safety, ethical relationships, appropriate use of technology, cyber bullying, evaluating information, decoding online advertising, etc.
Target Audience A class of grade 8 students at the secondary level who will pilot the program with the teacher-librarian, and provide feedback for the possibility of extension to rest of grade 8’s next year
Unit Time Constraints Five sessions, one hour each in the library computer lab
Format of Delivery Teacher-Librarian lead workshops on digital citizenship with introduction PowerPoint or hook activity, pre-activity class discussion of topic & individual brainstorm, online interactive modules, summary discussion & individual feedback (journal reflection or anonymous online survey)
Project Scope 1.       IntroductionDigital Citizenship intro, My Technology Inventory, vote on modules, baseline survey

2.       Interactive Module 1: Instant Pigeon (online chatting simulation, ethical relationships, stranger contact, cyber bullying)

3.       Interactive Module 2: MyFace (mock Facebook profile, privacy management, social media audit)

4.       Interactive Module 3: Co-Co’s Choco Match (decoding online advertising)

5.       Conclusion– summary, reflection, & feedback survey (to improve program for next year)

Resources & Technology Library computer lab, projector & speakers, Microsoft PowerPoint & Word (teacher materials & student handouts), Learn Now BC student accounts (access point to School District subscriptions & resources), Passport to the Internet (paid license program through School District No 58 to Media Smart`s Internet Literacy Program grades 4-8), headphones for interactive modules, printer (to print passport as students complete each module), Fluid Survey account (tool to create online anonymous surveys to gather feedback), Digital Citizenship student journals to keep unit materials & reflections over several weeks
Final Vision Project Submission Lesson plans for a digital citizenship pilot program with learning objectives, student handouts, introduction PowerPoint, & online survey questions. These materials are intended for other librarians, grade 8 teachers, LIBE 477 instructor, and my school administrator (as part of my 5 year growth plan)

What struggles and challenges have you run into so far, and what do you anticipate having to face still?

So far my struggles have been centered on technology and time constraints. The first hurdle was finding resources for a digital citizenship program. It would be very boring for the grade 8s to sit and listen to me lecture about online safety. In my reading review (blog post 2) I found lots of free and paid resources to teach digital citizenship; however, digital citizenship is a huge umbrella term that covers a lot of possible topics. Narrowing down what to use and what to cover was a huge challenge. With so many options, I felt paralyzed with indecision. I did some digging to see what resources my school district already has. I was pleased to discover that we pay for licensed access to MediaSmart`s Passport to the Internet, an online resource  for grades 4 to 8 that teaches digital literacy through a series of interactive games and videos that simulate difference online environments to present students with challenges and test their digital literacy skills. To access all of our school district resources, including Passport to the Internet, students need accounts in Learn Now BC. I approached the grade 8 team to find a volunteer teacher and class to pilot this program. Then, using the class list I set up accounts one by one in Learn Now BC following the instructions for usernames and passwords from my District Technology Coordinator. I had two students who were new to the school, so I had to access Learn Now BC`s help line to sort out their accounts using birthdays, school district emails, and student numbers (information which I got from our school secretary). I had my library teacher assistants help me to make a digital citizenship journal for each student with their username and password recorded on the inside cover.

Once I had the access issue solved, I went into my library computer lab to test out the program for myself. I discovered that the graphics would not load in Explorer and Mozilla. After some troubleshooting, I was able to get the program to run in Chrome, which seemed to be the most up to date of my internet browsers in the computer lab. I went through all 5 modules (each take about 45 minutes) making note of any possible roadblocks that students will face, such as how to navigate the program, creating usernames for Passport to the Internet (yet another access point), selecting the avatar, making sure to select the senior student level (not junior), and making sure to fully complete the module to get a stamp in their passport that they can print for their Digital Citizenship journal. If students do not use the same username (case sensitive) each time they log in to Passport to the Internet, then they will lose their work. I will have students use the same usernames as their Learn Now BC accounts. If they exit the program before completion or select the junior level, they will have to start over! I will be sure to demonstrate how to log in and continue through to completion.

I also realized that students will need headphones to hear the audio. Upon inspection of my class set of library headsets, I found that only about half are working. I will overcome this hurdle by having students bring their own headphones. I will need to look at ordering a few extras for next year. I also had my library teacher assistants test out the headphone jacks for all 26 computers in the Library lab. They found two computers/jacks that were broken, so I put in a work order to have those computers repaired. The pilot class has about 30 students, so I will have to sign out a few extra laptops from the library cart to make a full computer lab for each session.

Furthermore, I want to do a social media audit activity with the students where they leave the safe environment of the online simulated modules, and check their actual privacy settings in their own accounts. However, some programs, like Facebook for example, are blocked by the proxy server in the school, so I put in a work order to allow access in my lab.

The final and biggest technology roadblock so far was the online surveys that I have planned to use at the beginning and end of the program to gather data and feedback on the program. I have used Fluid Surveys in the past to survey the entire school on their Silent Reading habits, so I decided to use the same program for my Digital Citizenship Survey. The survey was easy to create since I already had an account with Fluid Surveys and knew the program. I posted the survey link on my school and library webpages and started collecting results. However, when I went to create a report of the results and export the data, I was not able to export. I did some troubleshooting on their website and discovered that free accounts need to be upgrade to a paid subscriptions in order to export data reports. I remembered having to do this last year for my Silent Reading project. I checked my receipts from last year`s library budget and saw that I was able to upgrade to a monthly account ($30) for one month to export the results and then return to a free subscription. However, when I went to do this again this year, I was directed to a yearly subscription for close to $300! I clicked on the monthly plan options at the bottom of the screen, which took me to their partner company, Survey Monkey. I clicked on the button that said upgrade your account and entered my library credit card details for a monthly account. This was definitely a mistake because when I went to export my data, it still would not let me! I immediately tried to look up the help line, but phone support is not available to monthly account holders. I found an email address on the website and emailed for help. Fluid Surveys told me they have cancelled their monthly account service and partnered with Survey Monkey to provide this service, however, I would have to re-create the survey in my Survey Monkey account or pay for a whole year with Fluid Surveys! I contacted Survey Monkey to export the survey results to their monthly service (not possible) and/or get a refund (also not possible). I was advised that my only option was to re-enter all 43 students’ results for all of the survey questions by hand into Survey Monkey- crazy! I was very frustrated! In the end I had to suck up the $30 mistake.

For last week`s LIBE 477 post (Blog Post 2: Project Rationale), I shared the initial survey results. I had to type out the results into Word instead of exporting the nice colour bar graphs and summary tables. However, when I created the bullet list of the results in Word Press, it cut off the first two digits of my data, so a stat such as “53.4% (23) of grade 8 students surveyed are online more than 21 hours per week” was published as only 4%! I did not realize this mistake until this morning. Needless to say the survey issue has been a bit of headache- especially for something that when done properly can be so easy! Lesson learned- next time I will use Survey Monkey to build my survey and save myself a lot of time and money!

While I hope that this is the end of the technology roadblocks, I do have my second session with the grade 8s when I get back from Spring Break and I anticipate some internet, computer, or log in issues- resiliency! To solve the problem of time constraints (the volunteer teacher could only give me 5 hours of class time), I had the students vote on the 3 modules that they would like to do. As this is only a pilot program, there is lots of room to expand this project to more topics, resources, activities, and more students in the future!

Wish me luck:)

Final Vision Blog Post 2: Project Rationale

To formalize my rationale for wanting to integrate a digital citizenship program into the grade 8 program at my school, I revisited the literature review that I did for blog posts 2 and 3 in this course. All of the articles that I read provided solid evidence to support the need for digital citizenship education in schools. Two of the articles that I found referenced a recent Canadian research study called Young Canadians in a Wired World that “highlighted the gap between what teachers and parents thought children were doing online and what actually were doing” (McRae, 2012, para. 2). Technology use has increased a lot in the last few decades. I would argue that parents, students, and educators struggle to keep up with the issues that arise in the digital world, such as cyber-bullying, sexting, online advertising, hate sites, appropriate use of technology, the ethical ramifications of what we do online, safety, privacy, etc. Johnson’s (2012) article advocates for teaching digital literacy stating, “Today’s students are not just users of digital media, they are citizens of the online world; young Canadians need to learn digital literacy and digital citizenship in their schools, and librarians and teachers need to be provided with the tools, support and learning opportunities to be ready to teach them those skills” (p. 22). Johnson (2012) points out how teachers and parents often “mistake fluency for literacy. While it’s true that young people are avid consumers of media and often display a tremendous degree of comfort with digital technology, this does not necessarily translate to a critical understanding of what they read, see, and hear, or to their being skilled in using the Internet ethically and effectively” ( p. 19).

Clearly, there is a growing body of evidence to support why we need to teach our students digital citizenship, but who should be teaching these skills, when, and how? McRae’s (2012) article discusses the five road blocks to teaching digital citizenship in schools, including the pressure to teach technology skills rather than digital literacy, drill and kill teaching methods, the potential for disruptions in the classroom, a shortage of PD opportunities for teachers to learn about technology, and strict internet filters, bans, and firewalls that prevent students and staff from accessing the internet. I think that many educators and administrators are aware of their students’ digital citizenship needs, however, lack the resources, time, or materials to make it happen. Johnson (2012) points out how many “librarians have taken a lead in promoting digital and media literacy by disseminating our materials to teachers, parents, and youth as well as acting as mentors to students and colleagues” (p. 19).

As the librarian and 21st Century Technology Teacher Coordinator at my school, I would like to help bring a digital citizenship program to my secondary school, starting small with a group of grade 8s and perhaps growing from there to include all grade 8s. Several of the articles discussed resources provided by a Canadian not-for-profit group called MediaSmarts (formerly Media Awareness Network) that focuses on digital and media literacy (Johnson, 2012; McRae, 2012). Their online resource called Passport to the Internet for grades 4 to 8 teaches digital literacy through a series of interactive games and videos that simulate difference online environments to present students with challenges to test their internet literacy skills. I plan to pilot this program on a group of grade 8 students. I will develop handouts, surveys, lesson plans, etc as I cater the program to the students’ and their teacher’s needs and time constraints. I plan to share this unit plan resource with other librarians in LIBE 477, the other teachers in the grade 8 team at my school (with the hopes of expanding the program to all grade 8s next year), and my administrator (as part of my 5 year growth plan).

To gather initial feedback, I had a group of grade 8s at my school complete an online survey of their digital citizenship. Here are some of the results from the survey that further support the need for digital citizenship education in our school:

Of the 42-43 grade 8 students from my school that were surveyed anonymously:

  • 53.4% (23) are online more than 21 hours per week
  • 76.7% (33) have a mobile device that can access the internet
  • 75% (30) have Facebook accounts, 75% (30) have Instagram accounts, and 70% (28) have Snap Chat accounts
  • 76.2% (32) use the internet regularly to text/online chat, 54.8% (23) find information for school, 45.2% (19) share photos/video of themselves, 40.5% (17) find information for personal use, and only 16.7% (7) use email regularly.
  • 31% (13) have social media accounts that they keep secret from the family & friends
  • 46.5% (20) send more than 30 text messages per day
  • 23.8% (10) report being bullied, harassed, or shamed online
  • 23.8% (10) report interacting with strangers online every week or more
  • 18.6% (8) have tried “sexting
  • 26.8% (11) have used a credit card online
  • 20.9% (9) report having never talked with their parents/guardians about online safety and respectful behaviour
  • 37.2% (16) report having no rules at home regarding using the internet/mobile devices
  • 76% (19) report having used vulgar or inappropriate language (swear words, racial insults, homophobic comments, etc) in public spaces online (spaces other than a personal email or messages)
  • 24% (6) report having used the internet to insult, embarrass, or shame someone
  • 12% (3) report that others have shared or posted images or video of themselves engaging in illegal, sexual, or inappropriate behaviour
  • 12% (3) report that they have shared or posted images or video of friends engaging in illegal, sexual, or inappropriate behaviour
  • 25.6% (11) believe that they are 100% safe and respectful online, 53.5% (23) believe that they are safe and respectful online most of the time , 11.6% (5) say they sometimes take risks or are not respectful online, and 1 students stated I am NOT safe and respectful online, 3 students said I do not know if I am being safe and respectful online

In Ribble’s (2008) article about digital citizenship, he points out that “following awareness activities, educators need to provide their students with opportunities to use technology in an atmosphere where exploration and risk taking are promoted…The school needs to become a place where students can investigate with technologies they use every day” (p.16). My hope is that by using a combination of interactive games, online simulations, discussion, brainstorming worksheets, and feedback surveys, students will have the opportunity to learn and share about their digital citizenship, take risks, and explore technology in a safe and guided environment.

References

Johnson, M. (2012). Shaping Digital Citizens: preparing students to work and play in the online world. School Libraries In Canada (17108535), 30(3), 19-22

McRae, P. (2012, March 27). Digital citizenship, firewalls and the moral compass. ATA News, 46(14), 4. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from CBCA Complete.

Ribble, M. (2008). Passport to Digital Citizenship: Journey Toward Appropriate Technology Use at School and at Home. Learning & Leading With Technology, 36(4), 14-17.

Final Vision Blog Post 1: Project Scope

For my final vision project in LIBE 477 I will be putting together and piloting a Digital Citizenship Program for a group of grade 8 students at my school. I plan to use Media Smart’s  internet literacy program called Passport to the Internet, as discovered during my Research Review (Blog Post 3) of Johnson’s (2012) article Shaping Digital Citizens: preparing students to work and play in the online world. My district subscribes to this program through our ERAC bundle housed in Learn Now BC. Johnson (2012) argues that teachers and parents often “mistake fluency for literacy. While it’s true that young people are avid consumers of media and often display a tremendous degree of comfort with digital technology, this does not necessarily translate to a critical understanding of what they read, see, and hear, or to their being skilled in using the Internet ethically and effectively” (p. 19). The goals of the Digital Citizenship Program will be to teach students how to manage their online safety and privacy, behave ethically online, and recognize and decode online advertising.

digital_citizenship word cloudPhoto Source: http://dcp.lbpsb.qc.ca/dcpinaction/

To get the ball rolling on my Final Vision Project, I approached our Grade 8 teaching team to recruit a teacher and class to pilot the program. I want test the program out on a smaller group and gather feedback before we roll it out to all of the grade 8s next year. Luckily, I had one teacher offer to give me 5 hours of class time between now and my maternity leave in May. I plan to meet with this group of students five times for an hour on Monday mornings. During the first meeting this week, I introduced Digital Citizenship using definitions that I collected from various sources in my Research Review from Blog Post 3 in this course. Then I asked the students to do a My Technology Inventory of the devices, apps, websites, accounts, etc that they use daily. The inventory included mapping out how much time they spend online per week. I wanted the students to do some brainstorming about how and when they use technology in their daily lives. Students shared their answers anonymously using stick-it notes.

total hours onlinefav tech

In order to gather some baseline data for planning out of the rest of the Digital Citizenship Program, I had the students do an online survey of their current Digital Citizenship using Fluid Surveys. I also did a quick demo of how Passport to the Internet works by showing the students how to access the program, pick their avatar, and explore the various simulated online environments where they will practice and learn about improving their Digital Citizenship. In Ribble’s (2008) article about digital citizenship, he points out that “following awareness activities, educators need to provide their students with opportunities to use technology in an atmosphere where exploration and risk taking are promoted…The school needs to become a place where students can investigate the technologies they use every day” (p.16).

Finally, I had the students vote on the three modules that they would like to complete over the next few weeks, leaving the fifth session together for reflecting, summarizing, and gathering final feedback. The students chose MyFace (where students will build mock Facebook profiles and learn about privacy management), Instant Pigeon (where students will engage in a series of interactive online chats to learn about ethical relationships online and dealing with stranger contact and cyber bullying), and Co-Co’s Choco Match (where students will encounter online advertising and learn to read between the lines). This will be the scope of my Final Vision for the pilot program. If the feedback on these modules is positive, we could expand the program next year to include Study Spaces (where students learn how to effectively search and evaluate the information they find online) and Web Café (where students learn to recognize whether a Web site is relevant and appropriate).
Next week I will share out results of the initial survey and provide more detail on why Digital Citizenship is needed at my school. My Final Vision Project will include my lesson plans, worksheets, PowerPoints, surveys, and results from the initial survey. Unfortunately, LIBE 477 will end before I finish piloting my program, but I will post the final results at the end of April on this blog. Stay tuned…
References
Johnson, M. (2012). Shaping Digital Citizens: preparing students to work and play in the online world. School Libraries In Canada (17108535), 30(3), 19-22
Ribble, M. (2008). Passport to Digital Citizenship: Journey Toward Appropriate Technology Use at School and at Home. Learning & Leading With Technology, 36(4), 14-17.

Inquiry Blog Post 5: Reflection & Direction for Phase 2

Taking a look back over the last 4 inquiry topics for Phase 2 of LIBE 477, I have set many goals to improve my library program and practice as a teacher-librarian. Collating all of the goals and avenues for development, I can see that I need more than 2 months (I plan on taking Maternity Leave in May 2015) to tackle many of these skills and programs. Thus, I have added dates to the goals below to set some realistic timelines. Many of the technology applications introduced in the course are tools that I have already started to use. I have marked these goals as “ongoing” as they continue to be integrated further into my everyday personal and professional practice.

My key takeaways from Phase 2 of LIBE 477 are centered on the use of technology to expand my personal and professional development in the library, classroom, school, district, province, and global learning network. For example, to foster more of a reading culture in my school, I explored 21st Century Book Talks using various Web 2.0 tools. In my second inquiry post, I looked at various social networking tools, websites, eBooks, and blogs in order to develop my own ICT skills. Further, to better support the on-going professional development of staff at my school, I discussed the role of the teacher-librarian as a technology leader. Finally, in the last blog post I focused my research on a provincial initiative called the Write To Read Project that has partnered with Telus and the Merritt Rotary Club to build a library on a local rural First Nations reserve, recognizing the power of joining literacy and technology to share culturally relevant stories and provide access to information both in print and online.

As I continue in my career, I hope to use the goals and explorations of this course to build a stronger Personal Learning Network that utilizes technology to reach out beyond my local community and improve my practice as a teacher-librarian.

In summary, here is a list of the goals I posted over  Phase 2 of the course:

Topic 1: Fostering Reading Culture in Our School

Goal (before May 2015): I would like to take our book talks and book advertising one step further to help promote reading at MSS. I plan to enlist their help to create 21st Century Book Talks and trailers using our library iPad minis following “The Process” outlined on the 21st Century Book Talks graphic. The trailers and book talks can be uploaded onto our library webpage, school twitter account @MSSpanthers, and Facebook page Merritt Secondary School. We can also generate QR codes for the trailers/book talks and place them next to the book on the shelf using our shelf labels

Topic 2: Developing My Own ICT Skills and PLN

Social BookmarkingDelicious  Goal (Ongoing): During one of our course Google Hangouts our instructor, Aaron, showed us how to automatically add any links that you favourite in Twitter to your Delicious account using a website called If This Then That . I plan to set up this feature and be more social on Delicious by adding other educational professionals so that I can see what they are bookmarking. I will also spend some time adding my bookmarks bar on my laptop to my Delicious account for easier access and use.

Social Pinning –Pinterest Goal (Ongoing): I would like to contribute photos of my own library displays to share with the Pinterest community of librarians. I feel that sharing what I am doing as I progress along in my career is an important part of creating a learning network.

Professional Reading Goal (2015): I plan to read another book by Will Richardson titled Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. I have read several reviews that recommend this book to educators who want to expand their own learning communities.

Social Networking-Twitter Goal (2015): I have started a twitter account for my school @MSSpanthers and plan to create a list for educators at my school to follow, as demonstrated by Aaron during one of our Google Hangouts. I am more confident tweeting out on this account about school events and pics, but I plan to start using my own twitter account @lia_larson to share my own learning journey instead of just re-tweeting useful links and resources!

Online Courses Goal (2016): I plan to complete my UBC TL diploma by 2016!

My School- Teacher Talk Goal (May 2015): This year I would like to put forward Richardson’s book Why School? for our book study to further explore the issues discussed in LIBE477.

My Library Programming- Learning@Lunch Goal (Ongoing): We have not hosted any sessions this year as our District Technology Coordinator moved out of district. I would like to revive this program with our new coordinator and perhaps be a presenter myself on Learn Now BC.

My District:SD58 Connect  Goal (2016): The blog was suspended while the District searched for a new Technology coordinator, but I would like to push myself to post on the blog this year when it is back up and running. I could share teaching resources and advocate for our libraries!

Blogging Goal (Ongoing): I would like to post more regularly to my library blog and add more educators to my Diigo RSS blog  feed to stay connected to what is happening in education on a national and international level. I need to make my library page more interactive and allow students and staff to engage with the site, instead of just posting upcoming events.

Useful WebsitesTeachBC Goal (2016): I plan to share some library resources on this site and check out what other librarians have contributed. If this site takes off it could be a wealth of information for educators in our province.

Topic 3: Supporting Teachers’ On-going Professional Development

Goals (Ongoing): Here are some ways in which I have seen excellent TLs supporting other teachers with technology in my brief time as a new TL. While I have not mastered everything on the list so far, I am constantly working towards being a technology leader.

  • Advocate for more technology in your school
  • Provide access to technology for students and staff in your library
  • Offer to host teacher pro-D events in the library to make the Library Learning Commons the hub of teaching and learning
  • Be the Yes Person in your school. When someone needs help with their projector, a missing cord, a forgotten password, the photocopier, embedding a You Tube video, or whatever the technology road block may be, be the personal who helps by Googling it on You Tube or lending a helping hand
  • Provide learning opportunities for staff on using School District subscriptions and resources for learning, including online research databases, video streaming sites, etc.
  • Support your school based Professional Development Chairperson by advertising staff pro-D events on your website and social media, providing space for functions in your library, or lending a helping hand

Topic 4: Library Projects and Mobile Devices in Developing and Developed Nations

Library Club Student Goals (2016): So how can students at our school get involved with helping library projects in developed and developing nations? I posed this question to my Library Club this week. After a little research the students came up with the following ideas:

  • Volunteer to help set up the Nooiatch library through the Write To Read Project this April (2015)
  • Send book donations to Better World Books
  • Lend a micro-loan to individuals on Kiva who need money for literacy, education, or access to technology for education

Now, onto Phase 3 of the course:)

 

Inquiry Blog Post 4: Library Projects and Mobile Devices in Developing and Developed Nations

I found it very interesting to read about the various international projects Marlene Asselin, Associate Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, is working on to help promote literacy and access to information in developing nations. In an interview on the African Storybook Project (ASP) blog, Asslein (2010) states, “I am concerned about the quality and authenticity of early reading materials that are available to Ethiopian children, which is directly connected to the aims of ASP. In Ethiopia, there are a paltry number of texts completely insufficient to meet the immense need. The majority of those available are either donated from the West, or if in mother tongue, revised/translated and published outside the country. There is urgent need for texts that children and mothers/families can relate to, and the resources and vision to build an Ethiopian culture of writers, illustrators and editors… I am working with Code Ethiopia to help guide development of meaningful early reading materials, but most importantly, working with the community librarians to find innovative ways of bringing children and families into the libraries to share the digital texts and stimulate the generation of meaningful stories/poems/information from the community itself” (para. 5). Access to mobile devices and internet access is key to allowing libraries to expand past limited print materials and create materials in the various languages and traditions practiced in Ethiopia (Asslein, 2010).

Searching for different technology and literacy projects in developing nations for this weeks’ post, I started thinking: How many students in my own school have internet access or books at home? I live in a small town with several rural properties and remote First Nations Reservations. Many of the students at our secondary school have smart phones, but they do not have data plans, wireless internet access, or laptop computers at home. In our Library Learning Commons we have 8 laptops, 25 desktop computers, free guest WiFi, and 10 iPad minis for student use. All of our mobile devices have high circulation. While we still sign out book s for research and reading, the majority of the sources students use for research projects come from the Web. As a librarian, I work closely with students to evaluate the information they find online. If funding for public and school libraries is declining, what impact will this have on access to information and information literacy for our rural and lower socioeconomic communities in Canada?

According to an article by Michael Geist (2013), the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, there is a growing “digital divide” for internet use in Canada between the rich and the poor. Based on data from a Statistics Canada survey, Geist (2013) states, “Given the digital divide, it is unsurprising that poorer Canadians rely more heavily on public access points such as libraries to use the Internet. The biggest user of library Internet access are Canadians aged 16 to 24, where 21.5 per cent used Internet library access in 2012…If the government is serious about ensuring that all Canadians can benefit from the Internet, the Statscan data confirms that it must focus on finding solutions to provide affordable access to lower income Canadians” (para. 8). So to address this week’s inquiry topic, I do feel that libraries and mobile devices have a strong role to play around the world and in Canada to ensure that all people have access to information.

library mobile devicesThe biggest user of library Internet access are Canadians aged 16 to 24, where 21.5 per cent used Internet library access in 2012 (the overall figure for Canadians was 9.7 per cent). TORONTO STAR .Photo & Caption Source: (Geist, 2013)

Researching local literacy and technology projects further, I connected with Andrea Inwards from the Merritt Rotary Club who told me about the Write To Read Project (W2R), which partners with different groups to organize donations of books, computers, high-speed broadband connections, and portable trailers to create libraries that serve as gathering places and provide access to information for various First Nations communities in Canada.

Andrea informed me that the Rotary Club of Merritt and W2R plan to build a library on the Nooiatch First Nations Reserve near Merritt this spring. On the Write To Read Project Blog, it was announced that Telus has recently teamed up with W2R by offering to help connect First Nations Communities to the internet. McCarthy (2014) explains, “This means that W2R libraries are becoming truly the hub and gathering place envisioned in earlier planning. Our implementation team are now working hard to set up our newest library, Nooiatch. We are calling this library W2R Version 3.1 because Nooiatch will become our template for future libraries. Each will contain a computer lab, a tablet lab, video conferencing, and a fully stocked Aboriginal library along with other books” (para. 3).

W2RWrite To Read Project map of proposed and established library projects. Photo Source: (McCarthy, 2015)

So how can students at our school get involved with helping to promote literacy in developed and developing nations? I posed this question to my Library Club this week. After a little research the students came up with the following ideas:

  • Volunteer to help set up the Nooiatch library this April
  • Send book donations to Better World Books
  • Lend a micro-loan to individuals on Kiva who need money for literacy, education, or access to technology for education

kiva

Regardless of the country we live in, all children need access to culturally relevant stories through print and digital texts. I feel strongly that libraries are the places that span the divide of the rich and the poor, rural and urban, and the majority and minorities to provide equal access to information both in print and online.

Sources

Asselin, M. (2010). African Storybook: Marlene Asselin [Web log interview]. Retrieved from http://research.africanstorybook.org/?page_id=103

Geist, M. (2013, November 1). Statscan data points to Canada’s growing digital divide. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://www.thestar.com/business/tech_news/2013/11/01/statscan_data_points_to_canadas_growing_digital_divide_geist.html

McCarthy, M. (2015, February 13). Telus joins W2R as another key partner [Web log post]. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://writetoreadproject.org/

Inquiry Post 3: Supporting the Ongoing Professional Development of Teachers

How can Teacher Librarians (TLs) support the ongoing professional development (pro-D) of other teachers?

Researching this week’s post, I came across an article from 2005 by Carol Harvey that outlined the role of a TL for other teachers. It is interesting to look over the various expectations of a “Library Media Specialist” from ten years ago. Basically the document states that a librarian is a teacher, collaborator, resource locator, literature lover, staff developer, innovator, manager, helper, team player, lifelong learner, and is flexible and technology literate. Sound about right?

What should a teacher expectSource: Harvey, C. A. (2005, February). What Should a Teacher Expect a School Library Media Specialist to Be? [PDF]. Library Media Connection Linworth Publishing.

 

Many of the expectations on this list are still true for TLs working in Learning Commons Libraries today; however, I would argue that in order to better support 21st Century teaching and learning, a TL cannot simply be technology literate. Rather, we must strive to be technology leaders. It is often within this role that other teachers look to us to help with ongoing professional development. TLs cannot possibly know everything there is to know about technology, but it is our responsibility to collaborate with others in our district, such as District Technology Coordinators and other tech-savvy staff members, to help teachers integrate technology into our classrooms in a meaningful way.

Here are some ways in which I have seen excellent TLs supporting other teachers with technology in my brief time as a new TL:

  • Advocate for more technology in our schools
  • Provide access to technology for our students and staff in the library
  • Offer to host teacher pro-D events in the library to make the Library Learning Commons the hub of teaching and learning
  • Be the Yes Person in our schools. When someone needs help with their projector, a missing cord, a forgotten password, the photocopier, embedding a You Tube video, or whatever the technology road block may be, be the person who helps
  • Provide learning opportunities for staff on using school district subscriptions and resources for learning, including online research databases, video streaming sites, etc.
  • Support the school based Professional Development Chairperson by advertising staff pro-D events on our websites and social media, providing space for functions in the library, or lending a helping hand
  • Be a lifelong learner of technology ourselves! Attend pro-D workshops on technology and then share with other staff members. Use social media, such as Twitter, and blogs to read about how technology is being used successfully in  education  and share it!  Finally…when in doubt, find the answer to tech questions on You Tube!

While I have not mastered everything on the list so far, I am constantly working towards being a technology leader. Tomorrow happens to be a pro-D day and I will travelling to Princeton with the other librarians in my district for a mini-librarian conference. I will be presenting to the group on how to access and use our online school district subscriptions through Learn Now BC and highlighting various free citation makers, such as Easy Bib. The goal is to help train the other TLs in our district to be technology leaders and resource people who can help the other teachers in our schools to help enhance learning for the students in our classrooms. Wish me luck!