School Libraries Worldwide - Volume 14 Number 2, July 2008

Welcome to a special edition of School Libraries WorldWide (SLW). The theme for this edition (Volume 14, Number 2) is New Learners, New Literacies, New Libraries.

The goal of this issue is to explore some of the current research and emerging notions of School Libraries 2.0. By this we mean implications for libraries of Web 2.0, or “the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology, social software and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users”(Wikipedia, ¶ 1). Library 2.0 entails “both physical and mindset changes that are occurring within libraries to make our spaces and services more user-centric and inviting” (Wikipedia, ¶ 1). We are publishing this issue in blog and wiki formats to reflect new ways to publish and share information and to allow viewers/readers to add their responses and comments to the content presented. Thus the journal itself is a living example of socially constructing knowledge with Web 2.0 tools.

We have gathered an eclectic set of articles all of which are linked to a variety of web-based resources which support and extend the content in the articles. The authors have varied perspectives and experiences and present a wide variety of issues related to the challenges facing the worldwide school library community. The idea is to present the core set of articles for all to share and then have viewers explore beyond that core in order to build their own understanding of Web 2.0 and the influence it continues to have on emerging notions of new school libraries (what some are calling school libraries 2.0).

While the influences of Web 2.0 may vary in regions around the world, there can be little doubt that the challenges raised by new technologies must be addressed by the entire school library community. Without facing the new realities of how people use information and communication or digital learning technologies, we risk a real danger of becoming isolated as print-only learning environments. We need to draw on our traditional leadership in building collaborative teaching and learning activities in order to engage students in new learning environments which harness their innate interests in new technologies and connect their in-school and out-of-school literacy practices.

While these challenges seem daunting on many levels including providing adequate and equitable access, improving teacher and teacher-librarian education, and developing curriculum aligned with current notions of literacy and learning, we hope this issue will foster an international conversation about how school libraries can show leadership and create compelling models for school libraries in the 21st century.

Guest Editors: Marlene Asselin & Ray Doiron

Table of Contents

School Libraries Worldwide
Volume 13, Number 2, July 2008

New Learners, New Literacies, New Libraries

Editor: Dianne Oberg, University of Alberta, Canada

Guest Co-Editors:
Marlene Asselin, University of British Columbia, Canada
Ray Doiron, University of Prince Edward Island Canada

Critical Concepts
Towards a Transformative Pedagogy for School Libraries
Marlene Asselin & Ray Doiron

Youth and their Virtual Networked Worlds: Research Findings and Implications for School Libraries
Ross Todd

Open Access and the Open Journal Systems: Making Sense All Over
Rick Kopak

Shaping Global Criticality with School Libraries
Keith McPherson

Diverse Contexts
Popular Culture in the School Library: Enhancing Literacies Traditional and New
Elizabeth E. G. Friese

Videogames in the Library? What is the World Coming To?
Kathy Sanford

Immersive Learning Environments in Parallel Universes: Learning through Second Life
Jeremy W. Kemp & Ken Haycock

Towards School Library 2.0: An Overview of Social Software Tools for Teacher-Librarians
Jo-Anne Naslund & Dean Giustini

Creative Expressions
New Learners, New Literacies, New Libraries - a wiki
Marlene Asselin & Ray Doiron

School Library Mash-Up
Lillian Trousdell & Sharon Doyle

Technology in our Lives- Voices of Two Learners
Kaitlyn & Allen

Young People Talk about Libraries - A Video
Maryam Moayeri

Abstracts and Links to the Articles

Included below are the abstracts and links to all the articles in this special issue of School Libraries Worldwide.
You are invited to read any and all of the articles and add your comments at the link below each abstract.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Article 3: Shaping Global Criticality with School Libraries

Keith McPherson

This article reviews the unique online learning contexts and content in which Net Generation students are currently engaging, and challenges school libraries to take a different approach to literacy instruction. More specifically, it explores the role that school libraries can play in developing information literacy curriculum that enables students to cope with rapid changes in multimodal forms of communication, while fostering critical thinking skills that offset students’ risky online surfing behaviours. Current research supporting the incorporation of a multiliteracies pedagogy in school library curriculum is examined and practical activities are described.

View the full article.


Jo-Anne said...

The Quality Information Checklist, suggested by Keith, is something that I have used over the past five years. I think it is an excellent resource because of its reading level and straight-forward presentation. I have presented it to students but getting them to use it effectively and on a regular basis has proved to be a challenge. While they all agree that the checklist is valuable and they seem to understand the premises presented, applying the criteria to various web sites is a different issue. The bogus web sites that I have used with students, are so obviously fake that they seem to think that they wouldn’t be fooled by them, in the first place. I would like to do more work in this area but the Quality Information Checklist is definitely of value.

I also find many of the lessons at Read/Write/Think to be useful and to be reflective of the new literacies. I am interested in trying the one that Keith suggested on junk mail. The Media Awareness site is another resource that I have used in the past - Jo Cool or Jo Fool was a popular acitivity with the students a few years ago. I used the activity that Keith suggested on critical analysis of popular television a few years ago, with relative success although I think many teens now spend more time on their computers than they do watching television programs.

Activity 4 in Keith’s examples is an interesting idea but it would be more meaningful for the students if the content was not so obviously American. Since we just came through the election, students do recognize those politicians but how much better it would be if we could incorporate pictures reflecting our own country. Sometimes, tracking down resources that are useful can be a very time consuming process.

As many of you know, I have a keen interest in the area of human rights and the Holocaust. The website created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a huge repository of information with learning opportunities for students and teachers which incorporate new literacies.

The new web site being used, or at least introduced, by health teachers at the grades 7-12 level is Career Cruising. It is a wonderful example of new literacies which will impact students’ lives in a positive way. This site encourages students to actively reflect upon and question any number of career choices open to them. Each student creates a portfolio which they will work on for five years - access is guaranteed even if they move from one school to another. Many provinces and districts in Canada are using it so a move to another area of Canada does not negate its use either. I wish that my children had been able to utilize this resource as they were navigating their way through the education system.

A recent addition by the Department of Education has been the addition of Nettrekker which allows all students access at home and at school. I have introduced this resource to several classes. As well some teachers have embraced it while others have not shown much interest. Time is at such a premium, and I don’t think we can underestimate that. We are continually being asked to do more and more, in the same amount of time. If new resources are being provided, and new literacies encouraged, somehow time has to be allotted so that teachers can see the value in new resources and new ways of learning. Otherwise they may just feel that they have “one more thing” on their plates.

Kim M said...

Jo-Anne as always you have given me new insights on the topics at hand.

I think Marlene introduced Read/Write/Think to me. I have found many good lessons on critical thinking and other topics from this site as well.

It is reassuring to see others using the same sites and techniques.

I really liked the idea of the quality information checklist. I haven't used it yet but I am going to incorporate this site with my grade 6 students. It is hard for the students and ourselves to transfer this knowledge to real situations. But your students have been introduced to the necessary skills. We can all work together to continue to develop them. As I tell my students when I introduce something "this is one way not the right way. You have to take the responsibility to continue to practice and learn from each other to determine what works best for you."

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Mel C said...

I would like to thank Keith for this well-written and "very relevant to my proposal" article. I have been reading article after article on inquiry-based learning, the information-search process, and new literacies, etc to find out what exactly is my 'burning itch'. This article is sort of like a glue that is holding all of my ideas together or let's say the icing on the cake. I think that in order to reach what Keith calls, "Global Criticality", amongst our learners, school libraries must take a different approach to literacy instruction. Reading and writing are still very important literacy components but not in the exact same way as I knew it. We need to take on a leadership role at demonstrating the multi and critical literacy skills necessary to participate effectively in today's information=rich environment. Therefore it is important that we all as learners today, have these skills to nuture this 'global learning'. Thanks Keith for helping clear things up for me...

Mel C

Kim M said...

Hi Mel C.

I think critical literacy hit home with me this summer when Keith shared the video of the model before all the makeup and airbrushing etc.

There is so much information coming at our students in all different directions it is a hard task to know what is relevant, authentic, up to date, and useful for their work.

We have a difficult but rewarding task of helping our students and ourselves develop the skills that are necessary to effectively and efficiently navigate the information highway.


Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Therese responding!

Firstly, I want to thank Rosemary for sending me hard copies of the articles so that I didn’t have to read them on-line (I don’t have Word, therefore couldn’t print them off myself). Secondly, I want to apologize to Kim M. for getting this last response in so late. I just couldn’t get everything done on time.
Just as in the course we took with Keith MacPherson this summer, his article really got me extremely interested in learning more about how to teach critical literacies and use multiliteracies with my students. These are very important skills for our children (and ourselves) to have as we embrace this globally connected information world. I understand and support the notion that teacher librarians can become (if they are not already) leaders in their schools in teaching these things.
I have used a few of the activities that Keith spoke of, but not so very recently and not so much centred on the Internet. It has only been through this masters course that I have become more comfortable with on-line resources. Multi-literacies is something I have begun. At my previous school I was a leader in getting students to learn how to use the Smartboard. I did teacher training as well. At my new school we are beginning to explore various literacies that are non-traditional. These include slide presentations, Animoto (of course) and graphic novels.
In terms of Critical literacies; a few years ago I developed a unit on Child Labour that used multi-literacies and critical literacies, however, now it is somewhat out of date and needs to be re-vamped to include more from the Internet. Several years ago I also used critical literacy activities to help students deconstruct magazines and other print media. However, I have yet to do this on the Internet. I feel that if I could just get settled in one school long enough, then I would have time to do these things. I have been at three different schools over the last four years and this year I am in a school that does not have allotted time for a TL. I am the library contact, however, and I intend to try to bring some of these vital multi-literacies and critical literacies into play.
What I wish was clearer from Keith’s article is where to find all of these activities on-line. He mentions their names but does not tell us which websites are the best for this. Please let me know if I’m missing something here. Maybe he does include these things and I’m missing it–always a possibility for me.
Thank you for giving us such stimulating articles to read. It has been a pleasure to participate in your webinar.

Kim M said...

Hi Therese

You had the week to do your response and you did so. You need not send regrets.

I too have come a long way with my technology and critical literacy use.

I agree that it is hard to find the time to learn a new skill and implement it. But, since we are still putting our best foot forward and incorporating what we can, we need to commend our efforts however small we may view them. We are our own worst enemies and are usually too hard on ourselves. From your response you are engaging your staff and students in very meaningful learning experiences.

Since you had a hard copy of the article you could not access the links that were embedded in the article online. Each of the topics and suggestions Keith explained had a link for you to explore. Something you can investigate in your leisure at a later time.

I am glad you found meaning in our webinar. Thank you for your contributions.

With your work ethic and desire for knowledge you will surely reach all your goals and dreams.