A new year and some new projects for 2013 in the library! We don’t start back to school for a couple of weeks yet, but that doesn’t mean teachers aren’t hard at work. I been running across excellent resources for my new projects and get them organised before I forget.
This year our school is launching their 1:1 iPad program, beginning with the Year 7 classes. Each student supplies their own iPad and while IT will get everyone set up on the devices in the first week, the school library will be offering an iPad Cafe every 3 weeks so students and staff can come and learn more about how to use them, find/share apps and just generally get comfortable with iPad technology for learning.
I’ve got a small team of students (3 so far) who have ‘applied’ for the position of iPad Genius and will be available on the set day after school for an hour to pass on their knowledge We can’t pay them as such but have arranged to present an honorarium to them and provide a letter of recommendation if they do well in the position
Photo shared by: hammerhead 27 via Flickr cc
For the short hiring interview, I asked them to come prepared to impress me with some tips or tricks. It was interesting that while they knew a few things,they all knew the same things and were not as ‘savvy’ as I’d hoped. So I’m now busy skilling myself up further and gathering ideas to up-skill my genius’s as well. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a Tumblr site keep tips on and decided to go ahead with it. This could be great for the school community — they can go back, review, check it out on their own time and become familiar with a new Web tool (well that would be mostly for the adults).
So here is the new Tumblr site, not much on it just yet, but will be wonderful soon. http://vscipad.tumblr.com/
Our high school’s digital citizenship website is now up and running! Please check out Get eSmart VSC
We were meant to have a launch on the Cybersafety information evening and so we did of sorts. Unfortunately it was ‘a dark and stormy night” on June 21st — it bucketed down and there were rumours of snow up on the mountain so we were pleased that even 25 – 30 people made the effort to come out. The speakers from ‘Think U Know” were good but as often is the case things ran overtime so we were only able to show our site at the end to a crowd who wanted to be on their way home. So not exactly how I’d envisaged it but it got me thinking that like having a baby or planning a wedding, it’s not all over on the ‘big day’. There is much to do afterwards if you want your site/child/marriage to be a success.
So now we’ve been putting our heads together in the Library to continue our plans for promoting the website to the community.
- One of the early plans I made was to choose a blog site that allowed us to collect statistics. Its really important to be able to see if /what people are looking at on the site and how often they are visiting.
- I also got my talented son to tweak the header of the page as I wasn’t 100% happy with it. We’ve had a lot of compliments on the new lean, clean look.
- We had a quick print place run off a batch of postcards (500) with the same pic/wording on the front as the site’s header with the URL. We’ve been giving them out to the teachers at school, talking to them one-by-one, highlighting the benefits for them and asking for suggestions for additions.
- We’ll be promoting the site to the students as well. We want to have student input on the site and I’ve just set up Poll Daddy so we can have short polls running in the sidebar. Interaction is something we really want to build upon.
- The primary schools in the area have also been notified of the site (several of the people at the Cybersafety site were from the primary school). We’ve created a page for them and have let them know that we’re happy to include items from them too. Our Head of Library will take more promotional cards with her to the cluster meetings and continue to promote the site.
- We’ve had links to the webpage added to the newsletter, the school’s website and the school’s Moodle page.
We’ll continue to add items and tips to the front page, and I am currently thinking about the optimal frequency at which this should happen. Too often and it can overwhelm people, not often enough and they will forget about the site.
Future Lab just emailed their latest newsletter and I’ve been exploring one of their resources called Vision Mapper. This site is an Aladdin’s cave of resources, activities and tools to assist schools (or a school library) to exercise their ‘what if’ skills.
There is so much happening on the educational reform front in Australia that it seems hard to lift our heads from the paperwork at the best of times but when we do get that chance then what? How do we clear our heads to vision forward, what should we focus on? Well this site offers many directions. I’ve been particularly looking from a TLs point of view and thought the Future Day activity could be a powerful one for collaboratively rethinking the school library. It encourages the participants to ‘ build new ideas and identify new practices and resources’ by focussing on current routines then re-imagining routines for an ideal typical day.
Imagine your library staff undertaking this exercise together, thinking though changes and ‘play[ing] out’ decisions to see how they might affect typical days’. The chance to stand back and look at what you’re doing on a really basic level could open up missed opportunities of all kinds – services, resources, environmental aspects.
Vision Mapping offers much to explore and to share with your principal and colleagues, I’ll definitely be bookmarking this site.
Photo: Visions by Jerry Leandera from flickr
Quality management is a very large concept to get your head around. While I understand the general idea, it is the principles and the terminology that takes a bit to get the brain around. But I recognize it’s importance. It is what is often missing – the ‘umbrellic’ process that turns visions into reality. It’s the idea of working on the system to improve the service.
The question the ETL504 – “Teacher Librarian as Leader” course asks of us is this:
After reading, explain how the QM model could be used to enhance the management of information services (LRC) provision in a school.
Our first article about TQM (total quality management) was written by Myron Tribus and is the first time I’ve seen someone connected with management speak ‘our language’ — ie. make the distinctions between industry and the education sector. We’ve had presidents/treasurers on school council try to apply some of the TQM principles to our school plans i the past and it just didn’t work. Our school is not a business, it’s not meant to turn a profit (we’re a non-profit organisation), its meant to be viable but more importantly its meant to be successful. The economic success formula just didn’t work. The success of students is even more difficult to measure when you are not interested in test score success, our philosophy is more holistic, dealing with character as well as academic success.
Again this is where the planning process starting with vision is imperative. We need to define what we are aiming for, beyond a mission statement and philosophy. We (our school community) need to look back at the vision we created years ago.
As far as the TL and Information Services in a school are concerned. Our vision for the LRC must marry with the school’s visions and aims. A TL needs to be in touch with the overall principles, aims and objectives and have ones for the Resource Centre. I guess we’ll be experts and leaders in this because we’ll have to go through the process twice – once for school and again for the LRC. We are like a service within a service.
Photo from flickr courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikkilynn07/88613509/