Leu’s literacy – it’s brand new all over again

Once again in my readings this week, I was struck by my skepticism regarding claims of “new” literacies (Leu, et al., 2011; Leu, Forzani, Timbral, & Maykel, 2015). In the 2011 article, David Leu and company refer to the “new” literacies required for online reading comprehension, then goes on to enumerate a set of skills that have been part of research and information-gathering reading comprehension throughout the print age. I would argue that the majority of the skills that he listed may be modified somewhat in their context or in some aspect of their quality or quantity required in an online environment, but that they are hardly new. I suspect that I am not the first person to take issue with his characterisation as I note that by the time he co-authored the second article included in the module (Leu, et al., 2015) the skill under discussion was re-named “online research and comprehension” (Leu, et al., 2015, title).

I responded to a discussion forum post by Stojana Popovska (2018)  on this topic, and have copied that response here:

Do you really believe Leu et al.’s (2011) claim that online reading comprehesion represents a significantly new literacy? I found most of the factors that he described as “new” literacies of reading comprehension to be rather tried and true skills, perhaps modified somewhat in degree or format by the online medium, of non-fiction reading comprehension in a research or inquiry context. In fact, I found it quite illuminating that four years down the track, Leu, Forzani, Timbrell and Maykel (2015) were now referring to this supposedly “new” literacy as ‘online research and comprehension’ (pp. 139-140).

The factors described by Leu’s team (2011), including identifying important questions, locating important information, critically evaluating information, synthesising information and communicating information are all skills that are employed when conducting a research inquiry using traditional print materials. They hardly qualify as novel skills.

I would argue that their argument for new skills being required was most believable when related to locating information. Computer-based skills such as navigating hyperlinks effectively and employing keyword and boolean search strategies in search engines and using menus and submenus to navigate through website information are specific to online reading and research (Leu et al., 2011, p. 7). However, these do have analogues in the skills used to find print and microfiche materials in card catalogues and using tables of contents, chapter and section headings and indices to locate specific relevant information in large, complex print documents.

I feel that researchers who are quick to proclaim the overwhelming novelty of the literacies involved with current technologies actually do more of a disservice than a service with the alarms they raise. To my mind, a more useful and accurate approach would be to recognise the areas of overlap between skills needed to comprehend and synthesize traditional and online materials. After that identifying the specific computer-based skills needed to navigate and search for online information or highlighting the different degrees of care needed in areas such as establishing authority and credibility could be done. This would capitalise on the existing skills and knowledge of experienced educators rather than presenting findings in a manner that suggests they need to go back to the drawing board and completely re-invent reading instruction.

References

Leu, D. J., McVerry, J. G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., . . . Forzani, E. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1), 5-14. Doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

Leu, D. J, Forzani, E., Timbrell, N., & Maykel, C. (2015). Seeing the forest, not the trees: Essential technologies for literacy in the primary-grade and upper elementary-grade classroom. Reading Teacher, 69(2), 139-145.

Popovska, S. (2018, July 3). Digital narratives [Online discussion comment]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125929_1&message_id=_1877671_1&nav=discussion_board_entry

Copyright: Qualms and Content Management Systems

Copyright Qualms

The information presented in Module 4 of ETL503 on copyright (Combes, Fitzgerald, & Croft, 2018) was mostly a review for me. It did however, raise some qualms for me as I browsed through material on the Smartcopy website. Questions regarding the showing of films to students, especially for recreational purposes like for wet weather lunch, and the manner in which you do that made me realise that some of my habits as a teacher may not fall under best practices. While I will endeavour to find out whether the schools I work at are subscribed to the Co-Curricular license (National Copyright Unit, n.d.b, paras. 4 – 12), it is difficult as a casual teacher to know this information when you are suddenly allocated to a wet weather duty. With different technological provision in different schools, it can also become confusing to figure out how to ethically fulfil your duties with the technology available.

Content Management Systems

I found the reading on Content Management Systems in Schools (National Copyright Unit, n.d.a) to be quite interesting. The notion that copyright material will be judged to be reloaded (and if applicable, a new fee charged) annually if left on the system. That is a good motivation for weeding the virtual collection!

References

Combes, B., Fitzgerald, L.,& Croft, T. (2018). Copyright. In Legal and ethical issues on collections [ETL503 Modules: Module Four]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_30013_1&content_id=_1990549_1

National Copyright Unit. (n.d.a). Copyright implications of content management systems: schools. In Smartcopying. Retrieved May 31, 2018 from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/

National Copyright Unit. (n.d.b). Playing films, television and radio in schools. In Smartcopying. Retrieved May 31, 2018 from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/

Reflection on reflecting

I have recently finished my final assessment tasks for both ETL401 and ETL503, my first two subjects in the MEdTL course. Both subjects mentioned the need to maintain a reflective journal throughout the subject on our blogs. However, very little guidance was given on how to go about doing so. Having completed the reflection tasks in each final assessment, I wish that I had done more. I can see how more frequent, small reflections on readings and on each topic would have given me more to comment on in the reflection. If in the final subject we need to reflect on our growth throughout the journey, I see a gap in my record of experiences for this first session.

I will set a goal for next term to not only respond to module-based prompts in my blog (and separate them rather than aggregating them in collections as I did sometimes in this session) but also create weekly reflections and overall module-end reflections. Hopefully that will set me up with more to glean from for my end-of-session reflective tasks.

Reflections on Collections – ETL503 Assessment 2 Part B

In this subject I have learned that establishing balance in a collection requires consideration of the school context. It also entails balancing content considerations, such as the distribution between fiction and non-fiction, the representation of various subject areas, topics, and diverse backgrounds. Finally, it involves balancing technical matters such as format types (considering student preferences, as well as convenience and price, as discussed on Forum 1.1 (Simon, 2018a)), methods of supply and acquisition, and accessibility by people with various disabilities.

My developing understanding of the selection process highlighted the importance of having clear, documented selection criteria and informative and reliable selection aids to guide that process. For example, to ensure that local and national curriculum requirements are considered, selection criteria should be based on existing recommendations, such as those from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Schools and Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians (2018). These should be modified to take into account specific school context and priorities, perhaps via a library committee with representation including executive, faculty, students and even parents (NSW Department of Education, 2015, p. 5). Electronic resources raise additional selection issues, most notably: acceptable licensing terms, preferences for access vs ownership, accessibility preferences and steps to ensure compliance with applicable copyright restrictions (Gregory, 2011). Continue reading “Reflections on Collections – ETL503 Assessment 2 Part B”

Accession, acquisition and budgeting out of context

Module 3 in ETL503 is all about acquisition, accession and budgeting. While it was somewhat interesting to go through the readings and suggestions and note the types of thinking and planning that will be necessary as a TL, it is incredibly difficult to apply out of context. The practical application questions frequently referenced “your school” and “your collection”. As a student who is currently NOT working as a TL, just aspiring to the role in the future, I found this quite difficult. I am thankful that the final assessment is situated in a shared external context – annotating an existing policy for a school. I think it would be beneficial for students in my position if some of the exercises gave a case-study type exercise. These could always have an either/or option for applying within your own context if you are currently employed as a TL.

For the moment, I am mainly filing the information away in my brain (and saving the module pdfs to my computer) for future reference when I have a context in which to apply it.

ETL503 Module 2.5 and 2.6 Selected Reflections and Activities

Due to my schedule, I skimmed some of these sections in my preparation for the first assessment task and did not thoroughly work through the activities. The sheer amount of time and effort involved in completing both the annotated bibliography and the assessment task for ETL401 ended up putting me somewhat behind schedule. I am working on catching up now and, while I see the benefit of some of these practical exercises, I think they will be more relevant with more of a particular context. I am putting off completion of some of them until I have more time and will continue to make progress with the modules so that I will be prepared for the final assessment task.

Continue reading “ETL503 Module 2.5 and 2.6 Selected Reflections and Activities”

ETL503 Module 2.4 Activities and Reflections

Activity
Select a curriculum topic of interest.
Select one of the online communities or resource sharing services listed in this section, and spend some time searching for tags, hashtags, lists or communities of relevance to your topic.
Share a link to a relevant online resource found from that community in Forum 2.5 and discuss the pros and cons of this community as a recommendation source.
You might also like to browse some other curation tools to see which best suit your needs.

Curriculum area/topic: Technologies –

Online community: OZ_TLNet

Search process:
* put “technologies” into search bar
* Did not get much of any use
* Put in “computational thinking”
* Got one hit for a PD course
* Put in “food technology”
* Got nothing
* Gave up

Continue reading “ETL503 Module 2.4 Activities and Reflections”

ETL503 Module 2.3 Activities and Reflections

Explore
If you are new to Scootle, watch the promotional video produced for a non-teacher audience.
Register and access Scootle:
  • Teachers within Australia should register for and access Scootle using their school email address.
  • If you do not have a school email address, you can register as a Charles Sturt University student.
  • Scootle is not available outside Australia. Can you identify an equivalent education repository from your jurisdiction?
Search Scootle for a resource related to critical thinking. In Forum 2.4 share the strategies you used to refine your search results.

* Scootle main search box used term: critical thinking
* On sidebar, deselected all but K-2 -> 53 results
* Deselected Teacher resource, Assessment Resource and Dataset, -> 6 results

Resource found:
Exploring traditional and contemporary Aboriginal Visual Arts – TLF ID M019567

http://www.artsedge.dca.wa.gov.au/resources/Pages/Visual-Arts.aspx DoE collection of links to resources

https://japingkaaboriginalart.com/education/ (a specific resource link)

I chose that resource as strengthening my resource base and skills in incorporating the Cross Curriculum priority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Histories and Cultures is something I would like to focus on in my personal development goals for this year.

An interesting side-note to be cautious about, though, is that the resource I found did not really focus on K-2 as I had requested in my search limitations.

Continue reading “ETL503 Module 2.3 Activities and Reflections”

ETL503 Module 2.2 Activities and Reflections

2.2 The balanced collection
Content vs container
Read
“Developing collections” by Peggy Johnson (Chapter 4 in Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management).
This provides an overview of the broad range of resources published and how different libraries categorise these resources to facilitate selection and management.

Think about which categories are most relevant to school libraries now and in the future.

I think that the useful categories for school librarians to think about in terms of selection are: format, fiction/non-fiction, diversity of subjects and appropriate diversity of age levels. I think that looking at open source digital collaborations will be key to the school library going forward.

Read
“E-book acquisitions and devices” by Sue C. Kimmel (Chapter 7 in Developing collections to empower learners)

There were a number of good points raised by this chapter, but also much that was frustrating. I felt that the introduction was misleading in how it presented eResources – benefits were stated in a way that was not balanced or reflective of reality. For instance, the assertions that multiple people can access eBooks simultaneously and that free eBooks exist are not universally true. In the detailed sections later in the chapter, she does provide a more balanced view of these assertions, but encountering the bald assertions in the introduction had shaken my confidence in her credibility. The other assertion from the introduction that was never really addressed was her statement regarding the miraculous lack of wear and tear on eBooks. From my understanding, a major issue in current library and archival future-proofing concerns is the preservation of born digital resources. (Neal, 2015) The State Library New South Wales (SLNSW) suggests that degradation and corruption of digital materials can be a greater problem than with paper and ink materials. (SLNSW, 2015) Later in the chapter, when she argues for the consideration of eReader devices, she has a flawed argument. She equates the cost of devices to the cost of printed reference materials and mentions the reluctance of librarians to then circulate the devices. She argues for treating the devices like a circulating hardcover book because damage to the device only requires replacing the device, not the content. This argument avoids reality because reference books – and therefore devices – are typically more expensive than a standard hardcover book. Many libraries do not, in fact, circulate reference materials so her reasoning is flawed.

References

Neal, J. G. (2015, May 28). Preserving the born digital record: More questions than Answers [Blog post]. Retrieved from American Libraries Magazine The Scoop blog website: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2015/05/28/preserving-the-born-digital-record/

State Library New South Wales. (2015, June 24) Digital preservation [Webpage]. Retrieved from State Library New South Wales website: http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/public-library-services/digital-practice-guidelines-public-libraries/digital-preservation

Continue reading “ETL503 Module 2.2 Activities and Reflections”

Review of Pymble Ladies College’s LibGuide

I was hoping to find an example of an Australian primary school library on LibGuides. Most of the libraries I found were private secondary schools, I suppose because most (if not all) NSW government primary schools use the Oliver System which gives similar functionality through the school portal.

I found Pymble Ladies College at http://pymblelc.libguides.com/condelibrary. The site has a lot of interesting features. There are many suggestion lists, relating to genres, authors and specific titles. There are feeds that show what others are reading. I was pleased to see links from the home page to other libraries, such as NLA, SLNSW and various public libraries in the local area. There are also subject and other specialty pages. I investigated the Year 6 set of pages as I was particularly interested in how this was being used at the primary level.

The home page for the Year 6 classes could have been utilised more effectively as it was completely blank. It merely provided access to the various Year 6 class tabs and the static sidebar options of “Quick Links” to the library catalogue, database and eBook catalogues and “About the Library” with basic contact and opening hours information. Two separate teachers had linked to a Year 6 Book recommendation pamphlet which I believe would have made a good home page display.

The various class tabs reflected a range of curation ideas. At least one teacher had nothing on the class page. Several had book recommendations with cover displays, reviews and links to the catalogue. Several teachers also had class-created content, such as review quotes, library search tips or class survey results linked to their class page.

I can see from my limited exploration of the main library site and more detailed exploration of the Year 6 sub-pages that LibGuides has a lot of potential as a curation site. It provides a way to share crowd-sourced and interest-based recommendation information and patron-created content as well as providing direct links to the library catalogue for accessibility – all key factors for a 21st century information management platform.

As a selection aid resource for external TLs there are limitations as some features require password access.

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