Posted in C21st Learners, CSU, Digital Citizenship, Digital learning space, Digital Literacy, INF537, Library service, Teaching and Learning, Technology in Education, website design

5 reasons a school library needs a website


As we continue to travel along the path of re-visioning our iCentre virtual spaces, we have been investigating what a website, Library Management System (LMS) and social media can offer school library services.  Our research has been interesting and we easily agreed that the LMS and social media are vital virtual spaces for our services.  The Library Management Systems we have investigated are web-based, learner-centred, sophisticated and interactive and as such, we have been challenged to consider the question: is an iCentre Website necessary?  Our conclusion is a resounding YES and here are the reasons why:

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-26-pmWe model the literacy of participation

Jenkins et al. argue that the digital divide between those who will succeed in twenty-first (21st) century futures and those that will be left behind is determined not by access to technology but by access to opportunities to participate and develop the cultural competencies and social skills necessary in new media landscapes (2006, p.3).  Crockett, Jukes and Chruches (2011, p.14), O’Leary (2012, para.18), and Seely Brown (2012, p.15) are also among those advocating the necessity of educating for participation because individuals who find themselves lacking such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace. Many of the skills and mindsets outlined by these authors, require schools to transition from a scholarship practice that uses technology as a tool to enhance research to a social scholarship practice “in which the use of social tools is an integral part of the research and publishing process and is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision” (Pearce et al. & Cohen as cited in Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.767).  The iCentre website models this literacy of participation through publishing blogs, connecting with social media, and the open sharing of learning.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-39-pmWe serve a community not just students & teachers

The college community served by the iCentre is broader than the students and teachers on campus.  In particular, parents, as the primary educators, are an important part of our community.  One of the roles of the iCentre is to provide leadership in digital citizenship.  The website regularly curates and publishes information on how parents can assist their children to develop the capacity to build a positive digital footprint that showcases their learning interests, talents, and successes, and enables them to build social skills and cultural competencies.  This content also includes resources that will assist the community to use information and technology safely, legally and ethically.  To this end, an icentre website is a valuable tool because it provides learning experiences that enable the community to engage in positive digital practices that are relevant and timely.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-50-pmWe value networks

Technological shifts have changed the culture of learning to one in which the classroom is now global and provides learners with access to “nearly unlimited resources and incredible instruments while connecting with one another at the same time” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 2011, loc.55).  In this new culture, learning resides in the ability to form networks and learning how to learn, what to learn, who to learn with and when to learn is more important than the mastery of content (Olsen, 2011, p.22).  It is argued that understanding both digital competencies and new ways of learning in order to model digital citizenship become possible when educators take on the responsibility of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p.10).  The iCentre website is one of the tools we use to connect with our colleagues in education – it is part of our learning network.  We have had many instances of professionals from other school libraries making suggestions for our website, contributing content to our website, and contacting us through the website in order to visit and share knowledge.  Such connections have been invaluable to the service we offer our community.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-59-pmWe value Open Scholarship

A trend that has been identified in 21st Century scholarship is an “openness” resultant from developing digital communication and networked technologies (Pearce et al., 2010, p.37).  According to Katz, this trend towards open content, knowledge and learning will offer great opportunities for scholars (2010, p.6).  The Creative Commons movement, which has opened up access to licensed creative content and also allows individuals to license work for others to share, is one example of how openness can lower barriers and democratize learning.  By sharing resources and learning through the iCentre website, we too are participating in a form of open scholarship.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-44-09-pmWe want to share our story

At this year’s Edutech Conference in Brisbane, both Kate Tormey, CEO of the State Library of Victoria and Dr Ross J. Todd, associate professor at Rutgers University, Department of Library and Information Sciences, stressed to delegates of the Future Libraries stream that if libraries are to thrive, then they must share their story.  The capacity of the Teacher-Librarians to share their story both within the college and beyond has valuable outcomes and the iCentre website has proved a powerful way to share our story.


Crockett, L.,Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. [Epub]. Kelowna, B:C: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robinson, A., J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from

Olsen, R. (2011). Understanding virtual pedagogies for contemporary teaching & learning (pp. 1-32, Rep.). Victoria: IdeasLAB.

Pearce, N.,Weller, M., Scanlon, E., & Ashleigh, M. (2010). Digital scholarship considered: How new technologies could transform academic work. In Education, 16(1), 33-44.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin, Cictoria: Solution Tree Press.

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No. 4 in Singapore: Learning in and for the 21st Century Singapore. Retrieved from

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58,, 766-774. Retrieved from http://10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001




Posted in C21st Learners, Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, Teaching and Learning

A student guide to using images

Teaching students to be ethical users of the creative and intellectual property of others is an important part of our Job as Teacher-Librarians.  I developed this guide for our students to refer to when using images.

Images @MTAInfographic

Posted in Digital Citizenship, Social Media, Technology in Education

Teens, social media and wellbeing:  5 statistics parents & teachers should be aware of

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 8.41.11 pm

Australian teens spend a significant amount of time on electronic devices and screen time is something many parents raise as a concern.  Because of the increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology, more and more activities are being carried out on devices and when teenages are online, it is possible that they are watching TV, videos or Youtube, reading, listening to music, gaming, using social media, talking to friends via messaging or video chat or doing school work and homework.  A large scale study by Common Sense Media, a US-based organisation dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology revealed that “on any given day, American teenagers (13- to 18-year-olds) average about nine hours (8:56) of entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or for homework. [American] tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) use an average of about six hours’ (5:55) worth of entertainment media daily” (2015, p.15).

While no such study has yet been undertaken in Australia, the Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015, conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS), included a number of questions for teenagers about their social media experiences. The findings from these questions (summarised in the infographic below) are of interest to those of us concerned about issues of digital health and wellness.  As outlined by Ribble, this is one element of digital citizenship that needs to be taught to young people so that they can protect their physical and psychological well-being in a digital world (2011, para.8).

social media (1)


Australian Psychological Society. (2015, November 8). The nation’s distressed turning to risky behaviours for stress management [Press release]. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from

Common Sense. (2015). The Common Sense census: Media use by teens and tweens (Rep.). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from Common Sense Media Organisation website:

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools : Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2nd Edition). Eugene, OR, USA: ISTE. Retrieved from

Posted in C21st Learners, CSU, Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, INF533, Library service, Social Media, Social networking for informational professionals, Teaching and Learning, Technology in Education

Considering copyright in digital environments


This post was completed for INF533- Literature in Digital Environments as part of my Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) studies

As teacher librarians we are charged with the stewardship of school libraries and the resources within them. This stewardship translates to the task of ensuring the conservation, organisation and responsible use of information, cultural and physical resources. One core responsibility that falls under the umbrella of stewardship is understanding, protecting and teaching copyright. The Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, stipulate excellent teacher librarians will do this by: applying information management practices and systems that are consistent with national standards (Australian School Library Association [ASLA], 2004, standard 2.3); and modelling the sharing of knowledge within their community (ASLA, 2004, standard 3.4).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds that “everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” (United Nations, 2015, Article 27). Robert Levine argues that such protection of creators’ rights is well provided for by copyright (2013, 7min45sec). However, managing copyright in the digital age has become a very complicated and confusing arena that requires careful consideration for creators and consumers alike (Levine, 2013, 13min27sec). Issues facing teacher librarians in this area include copyright legislation, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and licensing agreements (Fitzgerald, 2015, para.1). In my school library, tasks impacted by copyright and digital platforms include the loaning of eBooks and audiobooks, the use of digital textbooks, digital video resources, software use, publishing content on the library website and social media accounts and educating teachers about fair use for resources uploaded to Moodle, the Learning Management System (LMS) used by our school.


While the stewardship of resources is important, most teacher librarians would consider the student and their learning as the primary focus of all that we do. For our students, copyright is something we need to teach if we are preparing them for successful futures, particularly as the workforce they are entering will require them to produce and publish content on websites and via social media. In these environments, it is essential that students understand their ethical and legal responsibilities when using the work of others. It is also important that they know what rights they have to their own creative content. One method of applying this knowledge to the classroom is requiring students to publish online because this carries attribution expectations beyond a bibliography. When students are required to find images and media licensed for reuse or create and license their own media, they begin to appreciate intellectual property and creative rights and the implications of copyright infringement. We have found that accessing resources that can be reused, shared or remixed via Creative Commons has been an essential skill. We also advocate students use the Creative Commons licensing tool to exercise control of their own creations. This, I believe, is a key literacy for the 21st century and only students are allowed to participate in digital environments, do they understand the connotations of ethical use.

Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from
Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Literature in Digital Environments [INF533 Module 6.1]. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website:…
Levine, R. (Director). (2013, January 31). Rovert Levine on copyright, content and the digital economy [Video file]. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from
United Nations. (2015). The universal declaration of human rights. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from

Image Attribution

Geralt, Email Keyboard Computer Copyright Author, CC0 Public Domain

Progressor, Creative Commons Licenses Icons By Sa Nc Nd, CC0 Public Domain

Posted in Library service, Professional Conversation, Social Media, Teaching and Learning, Technology in Education

Engaging with our Professional Learning Community across the Tasman


Technology currently allows us wonderful opportunities to connect with experts and like-minded colleagues from around the world when we build online PLCs (professional learning communities). Recently, I had the chance to merge my digital practice with face-to-face engagement when I was invited to attend From the ground up, the School Library Association of New Zealand (SLANZA) 2015 conference. This was a great conference providing much traditional learning through keynote lectures and workshops. However, even more powerful learning and social dynamics occurred through integrated networking in which those we met in person, conversed with us and shared ideas, experiences and resources via Twitter and Instagram during lectures and workshops and in the hours beyond the program.

These connections with new friends and colleagues have continued since the close of conference and will do so into the future benefiting the school communities we serve in both Australia and New Zealand.

My summary of the learning I experienced can be viewed in the Storify that follows. This Storify also exemplifies an online PLC in action.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.21.32 pm

Image Attribution

OpenClipartVectors, Continent Map Oceania Australia New Zealand, CC0 Public Domain

Posted in Teaching and Learning

21st century networking for teachers

C21 PLNs social media professional learning network

In the 20th century, networks were created locally. When teachers sought professional growth, they may have looked to an experienced colleague on staff, or joined a professional association, undertaken a course, attended a conference, or read from professional journals.  Access to such networks and professional support was limited by who you knew, what courses and experts were available locally and the cost and subsequent affordability of any learning opportunities on offer.

In the 21st century networks have become both local AND global. When the Internet reached the Web 2.0 phase, social networks came onto the scene.  People started to share ideas via tools such as blogs, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Diigo, Pinterest, Instagram and so on.  These new forms of communication allowed people to talk to, and collaborate with, people anywhere, at anytime, about any topic that interested them. These networks are called Personal Learning Networks (PLNs).

But what does this mean for teachers?

With a PLN, teachers can access the professional development they are seeking when they need it and stay up-to-date on best practice for the classroom. No longer reliant on what is on offer in their local area, teachers with a PLN, gain access to instant support from colleagues around the world whom they can learn from, talk to, seek advice and feedback, problem solve with and even work together on collaborative projects.  At the same time, these teachers are also modelling the benefits of digital citizenship and lifelong learning to their students.

Posted in Teaching and Learning

Book review: Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman

BacklashBacklash by Sarah Darer Littman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a cautionary tale that delves into the very topical issue of cyberbullying. It is the story of Lara, who befriends a boy she doesn’t know personally. Full of insecurities, Lara is very flattered when this “hot” boy from a nearby school asks to be her friend on Facebook. His attention increases, and Lara finds herself fantasising about meeting him until he rejects her in a very public post and many of the kids at Lara’s school ‘like’ the post.

The repercussions of inappropriate online behaviour and relationships are widespread and these are explored throughout the novel. The consequence is that Lara’s life spirals out of control and this affects her health and emotional wellbeing. The further implications for Lara’s friends and families are also significant.

The storyline is structured in four parts: Part 1 – now (the present); Part 2 – two months earlier; Part 3 – now; and Epilogue – twelve months later. This structure allows readers to appreciate how such events can come about.

The strength of this novel lays in the characterisation and the reader can relate to the feelings and actions of the teenagers in the book. None of the characters are perfect and the flaws of teens and adults alike are realistic and thought provoking. The message in this book is very powerful and it will appeal to many young teenagers who are living the reality of social media and digital lives.

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