Information Literacy: Essential skills for the information age

Acacia Wilson
IL
Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39.
Summary: This article discusses The Big6 process for information literacy. The process has six steps: (1) Task definition, (2) information seeking strategies, (3) location and access, (4) use of information, (5) synthesis, and (6) evaluation. Students have to understand the task before they can begin the process, they then move into information seeking strategies, which may include selection of possible sources and how to find the most appropriate/reliable sources. Next, is the actual location of sources, followed by using the information from the sources and determining how to do that. Then students will synthesize sources to determine how to organize and present them. Last, students will evaluate the process and the results to determine effectiveness and efficiency. He also discusses how to integrate and teach technology during the information process and the importance of embedding information literacy instruction into real units, instead of creating units simply to teach information literacy.

Review: This article does a great job of breaking down the information process and giving tips for how to teach it effectively. The break-down is easy to understand and the author gives clear steps to follow. A few seem to overlap and seem similar. Mostly step two and three, which sound the same and are a bit difficult to distinguish between. From what I understand step two must be teaching information seeking strategies, where step three is actually seeking the information. Overall, I recommend it as a helpful article for breaking down the process and giving a good overview of information literacy and how to go about teaching it. 

Series Reading

Taylor, Andrea
ET, CA, IL
Series Reading Program: Creating a Culture of Reading. (2016, February 16). Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/practice/series-reading-program-creating-culture-reading

Summary: Walter Bracken STEAM Academy Elementary school is a Title 1 magnet school in Las Vegas, Nevada. They have found a way to help students be two and a half years above their grade level on their STAR reading assessments by fifth grade. They have done this by implementing Series Reading in all of the grades, supplementing curriculum. The school deciding to make a change from what they had been doing years ago when they realize that the students were not finishing the books they brought home. Series Reading is meant to help the students develop a connection to the books’ characters, have a better idea of what book to read next, and increase their reading time and comprehension.

To accomplish Series Reading, each staff member at the school chooses their favorite book series. The series are then purchased and stored in the classrooms and staff offices. Six of every book is purchased so that multiple students can read the same book at the same time. The books have colored dots on their spines to indicate what reading level the series is. They also comes with a Series Bookmark that is a bookmark showing the title and covers of the books in that series. The school then uses the Accelerated Reader program to test each student on the book that they read. Next, when a student finishes an entire series they are rewarded with items such as dog tags, a charm to add to a necklace, a rubber duck, or a trophy. The school explains that as the students age it becomes less about the rewards and more about the excitement to read. Students receive a face bookmark in order to check out the books; this is done for the staff to know what books are out and need collected and it helps students know how much reading they have done.

Review: I think this is a terrific idea, although a school would have to have a substantial budget in order to get started. Not all schools would be able to incorporate this for that reason alone.  The series would cost a great deal of money, but so would continually buying incentives and prizes. The fifth graders are encouraged to donate their trinkets back, which would lower some cost, but not eliminate it altogether. Also, the article (and accompanying video) did not explain how the school accommodates students with learning disabilities. Perhaps the biggest issue with this is the lack of mention of a library! It seems that there is no library media center for students to go to.

Serving the underserved students; low-income and technology

Taylor, Andrea
CA, IL, ET
Zielezinski, M. B. (2016, May 19). What a Decade of Education Research Tells Us About Technology in the Hands of Underserved Students. Retrieved from: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-05-19-what-a-decade-of-education-research-tells-us-about-technology-in-the-hands-of-underserved-students

Summary: This article is about how to use the influx of hardware and software in schools to better serve underserved students. The sad truth is that there is an alarming number of low-income, minority, and special education students that are not  graduating from high school. In a study of edtech, it was found that access to internet sources was not enough; technology could not be used for remediation and drills and benefit these students. It is a problem when privileged students use technology for so much more, while underserved students are limited to drills. It is from this issue that five tips are provided.

The first tip is to not use technology for remediation. This means rather than using technology to drill kids into learning the standards for their grade level, schools should use technology to bring the students in. The goal should be to engage students in relevant ways, teaching them communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, not to just have kids memorize facts and equations.

The second tip is to have the students get creative by having them design their own digital content. Examples of this is how students can create their own film documentaries or use social media as a way to teach and learn. The biggest benefit to this is that students will create ongoing portfolios that they can add to for years to come.

The third tip is to use digital tools that incorporate interactivity. The best programs/apps are ones that allow students to come to their own conclusions and understandings, allowing them to see real life situations, and be able to use many forms of media.

The fourth tip is to view the students as experts and have them share their “expertise” with a real audience. This is shown to improve the quality of their work, encouraging creativity and ingenuity. Rather than write a small paper for the teacher, they have the opportunity to create a film for an entire community of people.

The fifth tip is to find the perfect blend of teacher and technology. The two must go hand in hand, and in order for digital learning to be effective the teacher plays an important role.

Review: I really liked this article because it went beyond the claim that low-income students have no access to technology or the internet. It realized that even with access there needs to be further steps taken to help these students thrive and utilize the technology appropriately. Any research done to help underserved students is a must, and I think this article does a great job highlighting five easy to achieve steps.

Open Educational Resources: big opportunities in small towns

Taylor, Andrea
CA
Schwartz, K. (2016, July 11). How Teacher-Created Free Online Resources Are Changing the Classroom. Retrieved from: http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/07/11/how-teacher-created-free-online-resources-are-changing-the-classroom/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FnHAK+%28MindShift%29.

Summary: This is an amazing article explaining the benefits that can be reaped when a school is dedicated to Open Educational Resources (OER). It is centered around Discovery Middle School in Liberty, Missouri, and the drive that social studies teacher, Eric Langhorst, has to develop new and engaging learning materials. One of the most common complaints that kids in school have is that school is boring and they hate the material. Well that cry has been heard, and the past few years school districts all over the country have begun to develop new lesson plans. These plans no longer rely on the texbook, rather they use any OERs necessary to help their kids interact, engage, and thrive throughout the entirety of the curriculum. Districts all over the country work together to grow the movement and allow their kids to work together across the country.

Review: This is  great article to read if you are new to the concept of Open Educational Resources. It explains the benefits as well as includes an inspiring video that shows the benefits they can have on the students. This article also showcases the difficulties that come into play as well. Teachers develop new and amazing lesson plans, but struggle with whether or not to share it with others because (1) they do not own the materials included, and (2) they are many times not compensated for all of their hard work. Some schools realize the work that teachers put into the new curriculum and compensate them for their contributions, while other teachers continue to do this for the sake of the kids’ education. I think it is an incredible concept, one that I wish was in place when I was in high school. I love that they teach kids to utilize technology positively.

School libraries shift toward innovation areas, but librarians fear for what’s lost

Mierop, Kerrie

Z

Montgomery, R. (2016, June 24). School libraries shift towards innovation areas, but librarians fear for what’s lost. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved from:

Summary:

     In this article, Montgomery writes about how school districts are incorporating MakerSpaces into their school libraries, however, instead of hiring credential librarians, the districts are now hiring “innovation specialist” or individuals with teaching credentials. As school librarians retire, the districts are hiring credential teachers to run the newly revamp library that has fewer books, but more “making” materials. The districts are less concerned with story time, age-appropriate reading materials, and having students read books in the library, instead, they want the libraries to be innovated spaces with students reading books on digital sources. However, a few librarians in the Shawnee Mission School District have stepped forward to articulate that school librarians are needed, stories need to be read, and that school librarians can run both a MakerSpace and the library.

Review:

     This article reviews what many school librarians are facing today. Many districts are hiring “innovative specialist” or “media technicians” as the library environment includes technology and MakerSpaces. This article captures the feelings of district leaders as one says, “that grade schools haven’t much need anymore for the libraries of 20 years ago–when they stocked books, gave research help, suggested age-appropriate literature and provided a cozy corner in which kids could turn pages”. This article shows how leaders are not incorporating the new technology and creative spaces in the new library spaces, but replacing both the library spaces and librarians with what the newest trend is, without thinking about the consequences that will affect the students and their intellectual growth.

A look at the new SAT

Bradshaw, Trina


CA
IL


Summary:
Long describes the recent changes to the SAT test, an important assessment tool for students that are planning on going to college. The first observation is that the SAT has adopted some of the popular feature of the ACT test, the SAT competitor for measuring student readiness for college. The first is that test takers are not penalized for wrong answers as they were previously, making it less likely that students will leave answers blank. Additionally, they reduced the number of answer choices from five to four. To accommodate for these changes, the testing time has also been reduced, with an optional essay question making up the change in time. The material being tested has been adjusted so that it focuses on real knowledge that connects to learning in school and the real world, rather than on a student’s mastery of test-taking tricks. There has also been an increase in the use of vocabulary in context rather than in isolation. The writing section has been shifted so that students are asked to analyze a provided text rather than write on a self-selected topic. In addition, the scale has been minimized, with a report being provided on subcategories as well as an overall score. The article ends by giving valuable resources that have been updated to address the changes in the SAT including practice exams, databases of college admission requirements, financial aid support, career exploration tools, and resources for students with special needs.     


Review:
Knowledge of the new SAT is essential for educators and librarians since it is the primary tool used to measure college readiness. With the impending announcement of how the state will calculate the Academic Performance Index (API), and the suggestion that SAT scores will be an important qualifier, we want to prepare our students to be able to meet these new demands and succeed. As a classroom teacher, I have yet to receive any training or information on the new SAT. Thus, the resources mentioned at the end will be invaluable for my own edification and for sharing with colleagues.   

A win for all

Bradshaw, Trina


CA
Z



Summary:
In this article, Miller describes the transformation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These important pieces of legislation guide how schools operate and in some cases can determine funding and staffing. One extremely important addition is the inclusion of libraries, validating the important contribution they make to student learning and enabling funding to support their development. The article also discusses how this could have a positive impact on public and academic libraries as well. Public librarians are often left attempting to aid students when their is no school librarian on staff to help them. They often don’t have the necessary skills and resources needed to truly help. This support of school librarians will help lessen this burden. In addition, academic librarians will benefit from having more students that are well trained in library use in the lower grades. Finally, the author acknowledges the hard work by stakeholder groups in making sure that libraries were adequately represented in this important legislation, including the American Library Association (ALA), the American Library Association Washington (ALAWASH), and library advocates at all levels. This success truly shows what can be attained through the political process when there is the patience required to move something forward over time and maintain commitment.


Review:

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was a hovering threat that caused many changes in many schools across the nation. After years of backlash, it is satisfying to know that the call for change has finally been answered. Though this article talks about many of the benefits and successes, it does not go into detail about the language of the actual legislation or how it may affect accountability measures. It would be beneficial to include some of those details so that librarians can spread the information to the decision makers in their schools and districts.  

American girls: Social media and the secret lives of teenagers

Bradshaw, Trina


IL


Sales, N.J. 2016. American girls: Social media and the secret lives of teenagers. New York: Random House.


Summary:
The author of this book travelled across the country and interviewed teenagers to figure out how they use social media. Armed with plenty of research to legitimize what she hears, she gives the nitty, gritty, ugly truth about how Instagram, Whisper, Yik Yak, Vine, YouTube, Kik, Ask.fm, and Tinder have changed how teens (especially girls) interact with each other. She describes how social media stars have changed how girls grow up. She describes how teens idolizing figures like Kim Kardashian, who has made millions off promoting her own nudity online, has normalized this dangerous type of behavior. In addition, the many, many makeup tutorial stars on youtube have ensured that even preteens have the tools needed to look flawless, a necessity in social media platforms that encourage instant judgment. In fact, this pressure to look flawless all of the time has done much to harm the self esteem and image of today’s young girls. She talks about how dating has changed, with more and more interactions taking place online in an environment in which consequences are easier to ignore and risks are easier to take. With pornography being so easily accessible, the teenage culture has become hypersexualized, struggling between extreme sexism and feminism. Lastly, bullying has been much more pervasive in the lives of modern teens, since they are constantly connected in the online world. Much of what she reports proved to be consistent across race, geography, and socioeconomic status. She ends with a call to action; we as adults must be aware and make legislative changes in order to help our teens navigate the new challenges that they face in our evolving world.


Review:

This was a compelling read; I could barely put the book down. Even people who have teenagers and work with teenagers don’t know the extent of the depravity of the expected behavior being pushed by social media, modern celebrities, and the accessibility of adult content online. If libraries are going to stay relevant in the modern age, we must understand the world that our patrons live in. I hear often that we need to engage the community on social media so it is of paramount important that we understand how it is currently being used so that we can either fit in the landscape or be a part of the change to advance the human condition.

Connection + Collaboration = Successful integration of technology in a large high school

Bradshaw, Trina

CO
IL

Lankau, L. 2015. Connection + Collaboration = Successful integration of technology in a large high school. Knowledge Quest, 44(2), p. 66-73. Retrieved from: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=llf&AN=110493163&site=ehost-live

Summary
Lankau starts her article by setting the scene; the reader is a high functioning librarian in a optimal library setting, but he or she does not feel as though all teachers are being reached.  She then gives a formula that has worked at her school of 2,500 students and 170 teachers that involves making a connection with school leaders, who in turn can assist in connecting to new teachers. The suggested leaders include administrators, instructional coaches, department chairs, and returning teachers who have already experience the value of collaborating with a librarian. She suggests that the librarian set up meetings and ask these leaders to observe some of the collaborative lessons that are already going on in the Learning Commons. Have them preview a presentation illustrating the value of the library and collaboration between teachers and the librarian. The next step is the follow up with leaders and bring your presentation out to the wider audience of teachers through staff meetings or department meetings. Get feedback during these meetings so that follow up will be easy. Make sure that a follow up resource addressing teacher needs is accessible so that teachers can begin to utilize what the librarian has to offer. Before you move to another department, reflect on what went well and what teachers liked, revise and begin creating something for the next department and keep repeating the process. She ends by giving 10 lessons that she has learned for successful collaboration and integration of technology that she has learned during her 35 years of experience:  

1. Show rather than talk about how to integrate technology.
2. In the beginning, plan to do the lion’s share of the work while prepping for collaborative lessons.
3. Remember that “new” teachers on your staff are not always teachers new to the profession. Be patient and positive.
4. Don’t always expect teachers to come to you in the library. Travel to their classrooms or school computer labs. Make yourself accessible.
5. Study benchmarks and course content. Remember that we are not expected to be a content expert in every area but should know how to locate state- and district-required benchmarks.
6. Be on the lookout for new technology tools so that you can continually present new ideas at meetings.
7. Get to know your students! They are a great source of information about what is going on in the classroom.
8. Don’t assume that all teachers understand the value of subscription databases or that students understand the importance of evaluating websites.
9. Make the library the printing capital of your school. This service is not only a source of revenue for the library, but it can provide you with an ongoing bird’s eye view of the curriculum.
10. Recognize teachers who use the library: shout-outs at faculty meetings, pictures in newsletters, fun awards given for whatever you can think of: most check-outs, most library time, most-creative projects, etc.

Review
This article presents an extremely practical approach for librarians hoping to collaborate with teachers with a goal of infusing more technology into the curriculum. Though the process of creating and presenting seems immense and somewhat daunting, the steps that she gives are definitely doable in small chunks. In addition, the resources that are mentioned are ones that have been mentioned in several of my MLIS classes, so most certified librarians will be comfortable (or at least familiar enough) to ease any fears about presenting on how to use them. I think that it is a good idea to start with the department chair so that there is an ally when approaching the rest of the teachers. If the leader is well respected, then the teachers will take their recommendation to work with the librarian seriously.    
It is important to note that this process comes after having already established a relationship with some of the teachers and having a well functioning library with adequate technology and other resources. In many places, libraries are still recovering after years of budget and staffing cuts. So, there is much work to do in organizing the collection, acquiring  materials and updated technology, and reinvesting the community before any collaboration can take place.

Doing the Impossible: Motivating Middle School Students

Esling, Kathleen

ET

Davis, A., & Forbes, L. (2016). Doing the impossible: Motivating middle school students. Voices from the Middle, 23(4).

This was an article from the Voices from the Middle publication. It talks about the dreaded task of trying to motivate a middle-schooler … a task that is sometimes more difficult that it seems it should be! Rather than using incentives, the authors argue, teachers should instead rely on communication as a way for middle schoolers to tap into their own motivation. Organizing classrooms in such a way as to facilitate discussion in-class and keep kids face-to-face with one another is Davis and Forbes’s preferred method of “tapping” into existing motivation.

I really enjoyed some of this article, but as an introvert, I did not see where introverted students would get the support that they need. Communication in a classroom is great, but constant groupwork and partner discussion is tiring. Having worked in open-offices, I know that it can get very exhausting very quickly if someone is an introvert. I actually felt a little bit validated in my experiences when I read Susan Cain’s Quiet. (And yes, while introverts do need to learn how to “deal” with being socially exhausted, it sometimes begins to feel like the decks are stacked against us when every new office or school layout is open-air!) I wish that the authors had included an insight into that population in the classroom as pods and circles do not make every student feel most at-ease and ready to work in class.