Sunday, May 28, 2017

LLED 469: Evaluating resources and curation

Reflecting on Module 5 and the selection and appropriate use of print resources is both exciting and a little overwhelming. When there are so many options to pick from, it seems like a challenge to assess and choose the resources that will best fit your users’ needs. However, I feel hopeful when I think of the collaborative community of teacher-librarians and reviewers who share their knowledge. ERAC’s K-12 Resource Collection is a particularly helpful tool as it evaluates resources based on connections to the BC curriculum. I was able find a review of Louis Sachar’s “Holes” and saw that it is a recommended resource. 

Reading “Copyright Matters!” and “Copyright Considerations” helped me further my knowledge of how to respect copyright in a school setting. I was happy to read that information that is freely available online can be used when properly cited. It seems that fair dealing covers most educational situations, so I am confident that I have been following the rules with print materials. I have some questions about the use of music and videos in schools. It seems that you need to pay licensing fees to play music in the background when it doesn’t have a specific educational purpose.  I’m curious if my district or school pays any fees to SOCAN or Re:Sound, as I know I’ve heard music in the background while students work. I wonder how carefully teachers follow these rules and am pondering how I’ll address potential infractions in future. I’m glad to have read these documents about copyright and will endeavour to keep current with any changes in copyright law, as I believe the teacher-librarian is often the go-to person for copyright issues in a school. I found an infographic about Copyright Compliance and Your Copyright Go-To Person (http://www.cmec.ca/docs/copyright/GoToPerson_EN.pdf) on the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada website and it seemed logical to me that the TL would be the person in the know.

The Hay and Foley article had many ideas for school libraries as centres of 21st century learning and I appreciated how they see the role of the teacher-librarian as an advocate, leader, and change agent. Some of the suggestions they included for how teacher-librarians can build capacity were to share websites of interest, to give talks on how to use online databases, and demo how to use technology and Web 2.0 apps. Hay and Foley stated, “the future is here and there is no turning back” and I agree. This means that I will always be learning and incorporating new ideas in my library. I haven’t found a way to do this yet with my one day a week temporary contract in a library, but I will bring my desire to be a life-long learner to more permanent roles in future. I have a blog where I keep my learning logs in this course so I can reflect back on them when I’m in a position to put all these ideas into action.

In Module 6, we were looking at digital resources and curation.  I enjoyed Bromann-Bender’s “You Can’t Fool Me” article on website evaluation that detailed a way to teach students to evaluate websites they were using for research. Her evaluation form hit on the key elements to consider when looking at a source such as currency, credibility, bias, accuracy, and appearance.  Bromann-Bender stated, “The idea is that, after filling the form out a few times, they will begin to internalize the criteria and think about what makes a good website each time they are searching, even when the librarian is not there.” I think this is an admirable goal that will be a useful life skill for these students.

Several of the readings in Module 6 focussed on encouraging students to use online databases. The ERAC video gave many reasons why databases are excellent resources and the students in the video understood that it was easier to work with pre-vetted articles rather than doing a Google search.  Badke wrote in “The Convenience Factor” that the main problem with getting students and faculty to use databases was that they viewed them as inconvenient. He went on to describe a demonstration that showed how quickly he could find relevant, peer-reviewed articles using a database compared to Google or even Google Scholar.  He felt that once students were familiar with these resources, they would see how convenient they were. I have been working to increase awareness of databases as a teacher on call and I believe that if students are introduced to these resources in the primary grades, they will become comfortable with them and will be in the habit of using them when they move on to secondary school and university.

I was interested to read about curation as I can see how it would be an important role for a teacher-librarian. I have taught classes who were doing research projects starting by starting at a curated library website with links to information and videos and images. Valenza in “Curation” said that digital curators filter online resources and prevent the firehose effect. I liked the concept mentioned in that article of “informed playlists”. Valenza mentioned that one of the benefits of digital curation is that it is available to students 24/7. As I work with elementary school students, I feel that it is even more important to provide curation services before sending the students off to research online. I enjoyed Johnson and Marsh’s Content Curation YouTube video and appreciated their analysis that curation saves time and helps us make sense of information we get. The quick synopses of various curation apps were interesting and I would like to give Symbaloo a try. I have been using Pinterest for curation of my personal bookmarks for years and I’m interested to see the benefits of different apps. I can see many uses for curation, both as a teacher-librarian, as a tool for students as they develop personal learning environments, and as a repository of professional learning.