Working collaboratively via Skype on assignments…

I have just experienced my first group conference call on Skype to work on the proposal for the group work assignment. I am glad I bought the group conferencing ability because it meant that I could talk to all of the group at the same time and they could talk to each other. We had problems with the video in that 1 person could not get it working, 1 person’s video froze and the other member of the group worked just fine.

At times, I wished we had a virtual conch so that we know who was meant to be talking. Sometimes we had multiple people talking all at the same time. I kept having to try and elicit the opinions of a member of the group who kept on the fence of issues or agreed with the consensus of the majority of the group.

In 2 and a half hours we had the whole proposal written, sent to our lecturer and set due dates for completing the steps of the assignment.

I enjoyed my first Skype group call. It is a pity that it is not available at school so that we can work on the assignment during school time. I found it useful to use 2 laptops- 1 for Skype and the other to take notes in OneNote and the group wiki.

Miss H

Developing a wiki for group work assignment

One of the most unusual aspects of my Teacher Librarian university degree is doing one of the assignments via groupwork. To add to the challenge, the group members are spread across the whole state so we are unable to come together in the same place.

To help the group plan and write the assignment, I developed a wetpaint wiki tlasleaderassignment.wetpaint.com. The advantage of using a wiki is that group members can contribute to the writing at their convenience.

I also used what I have recently learned about embedding and widgets to put YouTube videos about Life after death by PowerPoint and I used a website called doc stoc to embed examples of PowerPoints related to the assignment.

My group members seem to be liking what I have created for the group. One team member called me a champion because I was able to give him explicit instructions on how to access and edit the wiki.

Miss H

Creating a display for Bookweek 2011

The theme for this year’s book week is One World, Many Stories. With such an open theme, I found it very challenging to come up with a display idea for the Library I work in.

The windows at the front of the library before their transformation

The windows at the front of the library before their transformation

When I recently recieved a new puppet from Vietnam for my collection of puppets- I was inspired! Before books, puppets were used to tell stories. What if I used my collection of puppets from around the world as my display. I could also use the windows at the front of the library similar to department store windows and put the puppets in them.

I wanted to try and make each window like a puppet theatre so it needs a curtain and a banner celebrating the theme. I found the curtains image on the internet at http://www.myvbay.com/2011/06/one-enchanted-eveing-musical-review.html, and I found the banner/ ribbon in MS Publisher 2007 clipart.

To make the curtains fit the window, I measured the windows and transferred those measurements to MS Publisher 2007. I then resized the curtains to fit, printed it out on multiple sheets of A3 paper, glued the pages together and cut out the opening to see the puppets. I then used sticky tape to ‘hang’ the curtains in the window.

This is my puppet Lachlan Macquarie representing Muppets

This is my puppet Lachlan Macquarie representing Muppets

Punch and Judy Puppets holding book week books

Punch and Judy Puppets holding book week books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The backgrounds behind the puppets are 3 panel folding display boards with black fabric draped over the top. All of the puppets except my Vietnamese Water Puppets are holding scaled copies of book week nominated titles. I could not attach copies of the book week books to the puppet’s hands without damaging the paintwork on the puppet.

Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppets Holding more bookweek titles.

Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppets Holding more bookweek titles.

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Vietnamese Water Puppets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been a wonderful opportunity to blend my passion for puppets with my role as the Teacher Librarian as well as creating a talking point around the school. Many teachers have suggested that I design animated windows for Christmas just like some of the major department stores here in Australia… we’ll see when Christmas comes around.

Book week will be held this year from August 20 to 26th.

Window sized poster of the Book Week book covers

Window sized poster of the Book Week book covers

 

Another window sized poster of Book Week titles

Another window sized poster of Book Week titles

For more information about book week, visit the Children’s Book Council of Australia at http://cbca.org.au/bookweek.htm
Happy reading,
Miss H

Evaluating website evaluation criteria…

I have been reading about different methods for evaluating websites as useful sources of information for my first uni assignment this semester. It is my opinion that for a criteria to be an effective tool for students and teachers to use it must be easy to remember, age appropriate and have a pedagogical application (ie be able to be used in a secondary education context)

In general, what I have discovered is that most of the scholarly papers on the subject do not take into account the needs of children in their criteria and that their criterion require children to have a background knowledge of the topic they are researching to be able to recognise the reliability of the information. My response to that is- children may be finding out information on a topic for the very first time- how are they supposed to have background information?

Students can be provided with basic background information through quality teaching and quality marking criteria but if the student is encountering the topic for the first time- their background information will be limited.

Evaluating the Readings…

In all my reading, Robert Harris is consistently referred to and cited as an authority on Website evaluation criterion. Harris (2010) developed the criteria known as the CARS Checklist

Credibility- is the author an expert in the field? What are their credentials? What sort of organisation is hosting the site?

Accuracy- How recent is the information? ” event though a very credible writer said something was correct twenty years ago, it may not be correct today.” (paragraph 24)

Reasonableness- “examining the information for fairness, objectivity, moderateness, and consistency.” (paragraph 32)

Support- Is the same information found on other sites? Are there links to other credible sites of information? Has documentation been supplied to verify the information?

Evaluation of CARS for secondary educational use– CARS is very much a tertiary education evaluation tool as it requires users to have an understanding of the meaning of different kinds of credentials in order to make an informed judgement of the accuracy of the website. Harris (2010) did discuss the value of pre- evaluation of the reasons why the user needs to do web searching. Harris (2010) said “Take a minute to ask yourself what exactly are you looking for. Do you want facts, opinions, reasoned arguments, statistics, narratives, eyewitness reports, descriptions?” (paragraph 4) the CARS criteria is tool is not appropriate for most levels of secondary education but the pre evaluation step has value in the secondary classroom as it requires the student to stop and reflect before diving head first into the ocean of the Internet.

SPIDER- A strategy for Evaluating Websites

Johnson’s (2011) criteria for evaluating websites agrees with my original statement that website evaluation criterion need to be a simple strategy. His criteria is based on the acronym SPIDER.

Source- Who is the author of the information

Purpose- why was this website created for the world to see?

Information- is the information current

Domain- what type of website is the source?

Educational: is this information appropriate for the task and the ability of the students. This particular criteria is of use to teachers planning research tasks so that they have a criteria to evaluate the suitability of the site. Herring (2011) agrees with a need for this kind of criteria.

Reliability: is the same information available on other sites?

Evaluation of SPIDER for secondary educational use- This acronym is a useful mnemonic to remembering the steps in the process for students. It has incorporated a step for evaluating a website from a pedagogical viewpoint. I think it might be a useful strategy for my assignment.

The Good, the bad & the ugly- strategy for Evaluating Websites

Beck’s  Evaluation Criteria from “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It’s a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources”. Beck’s (2009) criteria is based on 5 parts of Authority, Accuracy, Objectivity, Currency and Coverage. Like Harris (2010) this criteria is designed for use in a tertiary education context but the guiding questions of this model are succinct and expressed in terms that secondary students could understand with some support from the teacher. This particular criteria would work in a secondary context if the guiding questions were used in conjunction with a model such as SPIDER to develop student’s critical evaluation skills and deepen their knowledge.

The criteria developed by Beck (2009) also provides a number of websites in which to practise applying the criteria to. This would be a useful way of training staff and students in using a website evaluation criteria once one is developed for my particular school.

A purpose designed, Secondary School criteria for Evaluating Websites

My reading of  Johnson and Lamb (2007) has brought me to a website evaluation criteria that is designed for the secondary school environment. Designed by the University of California, Berkeley, this set of criteria has a one page checklist that focuses on guiding the students through a simple series of higher order thinking questions. It even comes with a 1 page pdf checklist for students to use.

The criteria is broken down into the following steps

Looking at the URL- what type of site is it?

Establishing the credentials of the author

What do other people say about the page

Purpose of the site?

The language used in the Berkeley (2011) criteria guide sheet is suitable for high school students with minor scaffolding required by the teacher and it also explains how to use tools like Google to perform checks using directories and meta-data. I think I am going to use this criteria to evaluate the websites set for the assignment.

 References

Beck, S. E. (2009, April 27). Evaluation Criteria from “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It’s a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources”. New Mexico State University Library. Retrieved July 16, 2011, from http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask. (2011, May 25). The Library-University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved July 17, 2011, from http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib

Harris, R. (2010, November 22). Evaluating Internet Research Sources. Retrieved from http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

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

Johnson, L., & Lamb, A. (2007). Evaluating Internet Resources. eduScapes: A Site for Life-long Learners. Retrieved July 17, 2011, from http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic32 

Johnson, T. (2011). S.P.I.D.E.R. A Strategy for Evaluating Websites. Library Media Connection, 29(6), 58-59. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Web Page Evaluation Checklist. (2011, May 25). The Library-University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved July 17, 2011, from http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/EvalForm_General.pdf

Two viewpoints on using criteria to evaluate websites…

 

This is the textbook for this semester. I like how practical it is.

This is the textbook for this semester. I like how practical it is.

My first assignment for this semester is a critical evaluation of 2 website evaluation criterion and how effective they are when applied to 4 websites related to a topic in the curriculum.

My textbook (pictured left) by James Herring (2011) outlines 2 different criteria for evaluating the usefulness of websites. The first criteria is by Kathy Schrock which breaks down the criteria into the 5 W’s of Website Evaluation (2009)

Who: Who wrote the pages and are they an expert?

What: What does the author say is the purpose of the site?

When: When was the site created? When was it last updated?

Where Where does this information come from?

Why: Why is this information useful for my purpose? (p.38)

Schrock’s criteria is easy to remember for both teachers and students as it is a mnemonic used regularly in both English and History curriculum.

Herring also provides his criteria for evaluating websites. The criteria is different to Schrock’s in that it is not designed for use by students rather by teachers preparing lessons and research tasks. Herring’s criteria for evaluating websites is

Educational Criteria: Is this site useful for this group of students, with this range of reading levels, studying this particular topic? (p.39)

Reliability Criteria: There are 3 main criteria for validating information: reliability, accuracy and currency. (p.41)

Technical Criteria:The quality and value of a site should not be exclusively judged on its design unless it is too slow to load or the links are broken. Does the site meet the needs of students with specific learning needs eg interfacing with a screen reader? (p.42-44)

References:

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

Schrock, K (2009) The 5 Ws of Website Evaluation, http://kathyschrock.net/abceval/5ws.pdf

Envisioning a Library of the Future…

I have spent all day talking to my Personal Learning Network about a vision for the future of Libraries.

I am concerned with making the Library I manage a relevant place for my students by engaging them in the planning or as Winzenried (2010) describes it- clearly responsive to client needs (pg. 9).

I found this concept on youtube while I was looking up information to help me with Citations (see my posting on the useful ideas for later page). I like the concept of Mindspot in that the stakeholders have a say in the vision of the library and planning is directly aimed at their needs and wants.

Cookies in the Library

Another discussion in the Winzenried (2010) book was the golden rule about no food in libraries even though bookshops are dedicating valuable floor space to coffee shops.

I then thought about this youtube clip about Cookie Monster visiting a Library and asking for a box of cookies. It occurs to me- how come the Librarian wasn’t trying to meet the needs of Cookie? He was not asking any probing questions, just repeating the line- we don’t have any cookies! is not meeting the information needs of this ‘client’.

I don’t allow food in my Library because it is school policy not to allow eating in teaching and learning spaces. I personally love to read with a hot cup of tea beside me and it is a mark of a good book if the tea goes cold because I am so absorbed in my reading.

so… the Librarian in the clip needs to consider how is he meeting the needs of his clients and that he should allow cookies in the library otherwise, what reason has Cookie Monster got for coming back to the Library in the future if his information needs are not being met?

What will Libraries in the 24th Century look like?

I have just finished reading the introduction to Arthur Winzenried’s book Visionary Leaders for Information. What struck me most was his discussion on the five keys to surviving and thriving into the future as a school library.  The five keys suggested by Winzenried (2010) are:

key_lock-animated 1. What is the moral purpose of the Library?

2. Do I have a clear plan for the Library?

3. Am I being responsive to the needs of my users?

4. Am I developing a working relationship with my users?

5. Have I developed a stronger product focus? Is there a reason for the user to come and use the Library again? (Pages 8-10)

Having been very unwell this past week and needing to ‘rest’ I decided to watch some Star Trek episodes. It has been years since I watched Star Trek Voyager- so I pulled season1 DVD off the shelf. Lo and behold- the episode titled “Prime Factors” the crew wanted to exchange the entire Federation Library of stories for technology to get them home. The some total of thousands of  alien races’ stories were stored on a few sticks of plastic that were downloaded from a database! No libraries here! This got me thinking- does the future envisioned by Star Trek have a place for a physical Library- how does this affect the planning I am doing now for the next three years of the library I manage?

I know that Libraries have featured in some Star Trek Episodes. I decided to ask my Professional Learning Network to see if they could list them- and this is what happened

Star Trek: Original Series “All Our Yesterdays” and the Librarian was called Mr Atoz (A to Z)

Star Trek: Original Series “The Lights of Zetar” the sum total of the Federation’s Knowledge stored in a facility called Memory Alpha

Star Trek: Innsurrection: Riker and Troi in the Ship’s Library (In the outtakes on the DVD- a female matronly Librarian is Shushhing them when they start to flirt)

There were also discussions about all the books that have appeared in Star Trek Episodes, the role of Shakespeare in the stories of Star Trek. The discussion then moved into how Libraries are represented in Science Fiction and then we were off again! People mentioned a Librarian in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, the very scary Library in Dr Who season 4 episode 8 “Silence in the Library” and its conclusion in episode 9 “Forest of the Dead”

Another of my colleages gave me this link to an article on Libraries in Science Fiction: http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/library.htm

To top it all off- check out this video (and my first attempt at embedding things)!

Time to talk about me and puppets.

Anyone who has met me, has usually met 1 or 2 of my puppets. I have always been fascinated by puppets. I grew up on Sesame Street (my favourite characters were Ernie, Big Bird and Oscar) and re-runs of the Muppet Show but I was taken by my mother and grandparents to see a wide variety of puppet performances as a child.

I have always wanted to learn how to build puppets but as a kinesthetic learner and very little information on the web and in books on how they are built, I needed a puppeteer to show me. Purely by accident at Canberra’s wonderful Bus Depot Markets, I met my teacher Marie Martine Ferrari of Ferrari Puppets. It was the one and only time she had a stall at the markets to promote her puppet making workshops.

She taught me how to make latex rod puppets, large latex hand puppets and Muppet style puppets using patterns given to her from a masterclass she attended run by the creator of the muppets- Jim Henson!

My teacher is now retired and I am continuing the tradition through teaching the skills of building and basic performance to children and adults. The tradition of Western puppetry is that a master puppet builder and puppeteer passes their skills to an apprentice.

I have just started building a new puppet out of foam and I will blog about it soon!