A Tale of Two Classes: Information Literacy Skills Matter in Geography

This is a fantastic description from a teacher perspective of why ILS is so important, and why the explicit teaching and making of those connections for students enables them to work more independently.

Information Literacy Spaces

Actually, in 2018, it was more like a tale of two and a half Geography classes. Timetable clashes with Chemistry and Digital Technology meant that six of my top Geography students from 2017 couldn’t take the subject at Level 2 in regular class time. Three of these students had achieved Level 1 Merit Endorsement in Geography and one had gained a Level 1 Excellence Endorsement.

I reluctantly agreed to have one student (‘A’) take Geography in my mixed Level 2/3 Tourism class, 4 students (‘The Nomads’) take Geography in the Level 2 History class, and one (‘B’) in his study period every week on a Wednesday; hence the ‘half’. This was in addition to my regular Level 2 class, so as you might imagine, the situation was fraught with potential problems.

‘A’ was an independent learner. She was happy to study Geography in the tourism class as she had taken…

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News travels fast

Information Literacy Spaces

tragic day

(ABC News: Nick Drake)

It was a hot, Indian summer’s afternoon, and I was sitting in a stuffy room in a committee meeting, when a news item from an English newspaper flashed up on my phone: there was a shooter in Christchurch. Other people glanced at their phones. But we carried on, and I noted for that moment the oddity that I had heard about something happening in New Zealand from the UK Guardian.

Bad news carries fast. For the next few hours, we waited as the news unfolded on national and international media sites. My workmates gathered in our corridor to process the horror. A colleague from Christchurch ran to her phone when she heard the street where her brother lived was under fire. I anxiously awaited texts from my children who live in the city under lockdown. As the day progressed, the whole country –…

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The room of requirement – really?

Lisa Emerson, Project Director of the Information Literacy Spaces has kicked off our project for the year by posing some questions about the purpose and perceptions of libraries. If you’re reading this, you will no doubt have and opinion, so please share it. We want this research to truly effect change – the right change! Please be heard!

Information Literacy Spaces

We are now two thirds of the way through our research on teacher-librarian partnerships, and over the summer I’ve been reflecting back on these last two years and all we have learned. It has been a truly joyous project. For me, the greatest highlights have come at our annual hui, when I listened to our school librarians delighting in the new role they’re playing as they partner with teachers in the classroom.

But I’m also sitting with a Really Big Question. And I must apologise in advance for the length and convolutedness of this blog post: this is my attempt to grapple with my question, to speculate a little, and to invite a conversation with others.

Here’s my problem

As I’ve read policy documents (from a range of countries) on library services, one clear idea comes through: academic libraries in schools and universities are vitally important – for information literacy…

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Call me an optimist but I think the worm is turning

Information Literacy Spaces

As the 2018 school year ends, two reports – one about the durability of NCEA and the other about school management and governance – were released for public submissions. Their analyses identify the weaknesses inherent in a pervasively outcomes-based system, a market modeled competitive educational culture, and a singular focus on measurement to assess school effectiveness. The processes of quality learning and teaching – the craft of the job – have taken a back seat to highly regulated workplaces, the pressure for continuous improvement, intensified workloads, and poor conditions for highly skilled work few it seems to see any future in. This has cumulatively generated the very ‘outcomes’ reforms since 1990 aimed to challenge:  plateauing achievement, growing educational inequalities, teacher shortages, and ineffective national and local school management structures.  In these two latest reports, I detect a discernible shift away from manufactured achievement, towards the promotion of learning as a…

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Better researchers make better coaches; introducing information literacy skills to a PE class.

An excellent account of strategies for PE teachers to work with their librarians and make IL skills more visible in their student’s learning.

Information Literacy Spaces

coach-ed-2015-16--2

With Physical Education (PE) having written components at all levels, especially levels
two and three, it has become increasingly important for students to be able to
reflect on the research process they have been working on, in the context of their PE
learning. It comes down to students being able to support their experience and reflection with evidence, tackling the theoretical component of their work by drawing on our subject’s academic literature. The unit I will focus on relates to students planning either a coaching experience or an activity involving themselves and/or their group.

Being part of the Information Literacy Spaces project has helped me unpack the research process, starting from an initial research question right through to students submitting work underpinned by a strong literature base. Each part of the process needs to be overtly taught and, so far, I have observed a considerable difference to the overall quality of…

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Sharing the effort to get the reward: the librarian, my students, and I

Another fantastic example of teachers and librarians working together, and playing to their strengths.

Information Literacy Spaces

When I first started teaching research skills I noticed that students, who were supposedly digital natives, did not know how to find information, and when they did find any they did not know how to tell if it was any good. It was as if they had no reference point to tell the good from the bad. So I took it upon myself to teach them; after all, I am a teacher.

UnfortuImage result for building independent learners quotesnately, for them and me, I do not come from a research background. Like them, my knowledge of where to find information started and ended with a Google search; unsurprising really considering I come from a generation that used Encyclopedia Britannica when I wanted accurate information. I would spend lessons talking to students, Googling their topics and suggesting websites where they could find information; basically I was doing their research for them. This approach got minimal results…

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