frustrations 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, November 10th, 2011 by | No Comments

i attended a meeting after school today that had to do with ICT in the PYP classroom. I work in a school that uses the IBO inquiry based curr. I am in a new role this year as the teacher of information literacy. I asked, at the meeting, how many people worked with a trained teacher librarian. Several people raised their hands. But, I wondered why the teacher librarians weren’t at this meeting? If we are not able to connect these two distinct yet inextribly( i know this word is spelled wrong) linked disicplines, we aren’t getting very far. We aren’t seeing the future clearly. We aren’t using our resources wisely, we aren’t tapping the potential available in the T/L’s.
This year, I find myself drowning in a sea of technological jargon and expectations, but even in schools where a T’/L exists, the ICT teacher remains isolated, disconnected, unaware of the team member hiding in the library. Why? How do we change this? How can a T/L truly be the media specialist if they don’t even collaborate with the ICT teachers in their schools?

mind wanderings and wonderings 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, September 8th, 2011 by | No Comments

I am in the middle of my second course for my MEdTL and have begun a new academic year in a brand new position as a teacher of information literacy!

I have found the course work challenging due to an online presentation that I had to create with a group which didn’t go as I had expected or hoped.  the parameters of the presentation were very strict and limited.  The prof was specific and detailed in his direction.  I ended up feeling left out of the project as my fellow members weren’t great communicators and didn’t indicate when they were going to work again, so I missed the meeting.  Despite my best efforts to clarify, ask again ” is Thurs good?”  I wonder if revealing my age was used against me in a prejudicial way.  The other members were quite rude and full of themselves.  “I like it!” was a constant refrain given after that person’s own ideas.

I consciously tried to invite feedback, modifications, and accepted other’s ideas, but didnt’ feel that the same courtesy was extended to me. Normal conversational norms do NOT exist while in cyber space and the absence of body language and being able to hear the others also creates a vacuum without the standards and practices we have grown up with when conversing with others.  Studying long distance is lonely.  I have been frustrated by the lack of a context for those I have to work with and their unwillingness to open up, share and develop as a normal team does. 

I keep wondering how all this connection inside the internet is going to impact relationships and norms and how we work. 

I was confused by our mark as well.  We rec’d a mark in the 70′s and in his podcast, the prof said it was fabulous!  But I wouldn’t call that mark fabulous!  It is satisfactory.  Possibly good, but fabulous?  How does he describe a mark in the mid 80′s then?  Exceptional?  I can’t get used to this Australian scale.  I am disappointed as I am accustomed to receiving A’s.

I am applying what I am learning everyday in my work and that is a bonus that I didn’t expect.  I taught a colleague how to set up his own wiki today after school and I know that I have reduced his work load, increased the level of communication in the school and given him ideas and skills that are going to encourage him to continue to approach technology more openly.

Leading from the middle is about listening and really caring enough to find solutions to the issues that concern those around you.  I am discovering that one of my strongest strengths is communicating.  I am building bridges between groups of people in the school who were isolated last year and disconnected.  It gives me great pleasure to be able to do that.  Teacher librarians must develop good communcation skills and that will be their biggest asset.

on line collaboration 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Monday, August 15th, 2011 by | No Comments

Since I last posted, my group has met 3 more times.  Each time has been different and revealing.  Overall, it is awkward and difficult to collaborate with complete strangers!  I guess this is what is meant by ‘forming’ as a team as indicated in the literature. My group didn’t have time or take time to form.  Only one member introduced herself on the forum, so I have no context to put them in.  One thing I did learn is that I graduated when one of them was born!  As a result, I think they viewed me as old and I often felt disregarded.  My comments would go unheeded.

We chose to use a chat room to conduct our conversations which worked alright, but as I posted previously, receiving no non-verbal cues makes communciation more difficult.  However, I was surprised by what people wrote and that we could see, as there is a record of previous conversations available.  I didn’t like reading “we’ve done more than our fair share”   and “I hope someone doesn’t mind me messing with their stuff” ( that someone was me and now I don’t even recognise my own work within our powerpoint!  I was the only one who had put anything onto the document, it was rude not to call me by my name).  do manners just go out the window when we can’t see the other person?

When I put some material onto the powerpoint, I  indicated that I welcomed input and suggestions.  I didn’t find that  the other members reciprocated that.  That made it scary for me to offer suggestions or to change even grammatical/spelling errors.  How is that collaboration?

Up until the 4th meeting, we usually ended up hitting a brick wall as there was unwillingness to listen or change wording or ideas by some members.  Suddenly, there was an improved attitude towards being flexible and more openness to suggestions and  to change.  The presentation is coming together. 

My husband and some friends I have shared this experience think that one of the members is a plant-meaning, being difficult on purpose and possibly the professor in disguise.  I am not sure I believe them, but there is the possibility I suppose.  Afterall, the second part of this assignment is reflecting on how the process went and how we felt throughout it.  Hmmm…

I have often felt isolated and ignored.  My ideas weren’t well -received.  I felt old and disregarded many times, but not always.  I did a major amount of reading and no one said thank you or commented on my notes.  Oh well, there’s not much I can do.  I tried to be open, to remain connected and to listen.  I tried to be encouraging and upbeat. 

Collaborating over time and distance isn’t easy.

 

Team building 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 by | No Comments

The course is in full swing and I just met with my group yesterday.  I had to get up very early and they had to stay up late in order to bridge the time difference.  Already, I feel glad that they accomodated me.  I have been reading lots about how teams form and the roles people take on within it.  It was interesting to see how that played out on-line.  

 The facilitator was selected by our professor..she has been the one to communicate and set up the wiki.  I have sort have given her the title of leader without question, I am sitting back trying to let her make the decisions.  Someone has to do it!   But, is that good?  Is she the best leader of this project?  Do the others see her that way?  We are 3 girls and one guy-the gender thing is definitely there!

I really liked that there were no interruptions, we all had to wait for the others to finish typing before we could reply.  Interestingly, there were still misunderstandings usually due to an inacurate reading of someone’s comment.   I like being able to re-read comments and having time to be more considered in my response instead of reactive.  It’s also a perfect record of the meeting that can be re-checked and references in the future.  Not true with those casual conversations we have on the fly but that do impact our lives.  No more minutes required!  Just click on the history of the meeting on-line. 

Humor was utilized – one member was hilarous (to me)  and I can see how this is a part of the ‘forming’ that a team has to do.   We had some trouble reaching a consensus as all the topics were appealing to us, but we managed to figure it out.

It is quite sterile and clinical on-line, I miss be able to see the facial expressions and body language…I wonder if my impressions of these people are correct.  What do they think of me?

I am being careful with the words group and team.  I have found the discussions on said words in the articles fascinating.  It is amazing how word choice really does make a difference.  That will be important in the wording on the powerpoint and in any vision statement we create.

The commencement of 504 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 by | No Comments

I have just begun this course and it is called Visionary Leadership.  The professor has indicated that it is his favourite course to teach which is good.  If a teacher likes what they teach then they always do a better job than with something they don’t like to teach.

The text so far has been describing several forms of leadership within organizations and then stresses the need for moral purpose, understanding change, relationships, knowledge building and coherence.  The comparison between charismatic leadership theory and transformational leadership was interesting.

As a classroom teacher, I have been immersed with young children for so many years and have seen a lot of transformations both in the students and myself and have rarely considered the type of leadership within the school.  I have been mostly concerned with my classroom.

I wonder what kind of  leader I am.  I wonder how a leader can change their style of leadership and how many are committed to that process for the good of the organization.

Schools are not the same as other organizations and as a classroom teacher I have always been frustrated by the suggestions placed upon us by business models and have wondered how administrators have lost sight of how irrelevant some of the suggestions are in terms of classroom.  How could they forget what it is like?

Yet, education is big business (especially in Hong Kong) and there is definitely an organization that needs managing, accountability and leaders.

It will be interesting to explore visionary leadership within this course.

I have a new job! 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Saturday, June 25th, 2011 by | No Comments

I just received word last night, before our staff party, that I have been appointed to a new position in our school as the teacher of information literacy!!!  I am over the moon!  and very exctied by all the possibilities this new role will bring.  As of yet, it is largely undefined and is a work in progress, but will involve developing a school wide understanding and definition of IL and create a plan to cultivate students from years 1-6 into more informationally literate students.

I will be able to apply on a daily basis the new learning I am absorbing from my Master’s course and within the next two years I will have a hand in designing, developing and producing a school library at a brand new school. (we are undergoing a massive re-development project)  I work in a large primary school in Hong Kong that teaches the IBO PYP curriculum.  Wehave 5 forms of entry for each year level and 900 students total.

I am grateful for this opportunity and really looking forward to it!  I do wonder though, how much I will miss the classroom?  Many fellow colleagues asked me last night where I will be working out of and I don’t even know yet!  It doesnt’ matter!  I hope to spend some time in the library, the computer lab and various classrooms.  The journey continues…

Personal Reflection 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Saturday, May 28th, 2011 by | No Comments

When I began this course of study (ETL 401) I thought that being a teacher-librarian was merely reading quality literature to children, maintaining a collection and offering suggested titles to teachers that would support their teaching.   See blog post dated Mar. 1 “My description of a teacher-librarian”. I realize now just how ignorant I was and how narrow my perspective.  Perhaps, that is because I have worked in situations in the absence of a qualified librarian. I simply had no awareness of what a teacher-librarian has to offer a school!  

Throughout the first part of this course, so much emphasis seemed to be on the function of the teacher-librarian being the media specialist and that idea/requirement/expectation almost caused me to drop out as I believe that I will never be able to become well-informed, skilled or anywhere near an expert with technology.  However, as I have continued with this course, I can see that I am becoming more adept, familiar and above all, more willing to continue learning.  See “Wondering” blog post Mar. 8. I do believe that this is what learning does to us and my own feelings have shown how important life-long learning is.  I can feel my mind becoming more flexible and open, instead of rigid and closed.

 In my entry dated Mar. 29, I express the surprise I have, at how much like I have felt like a yo-yo since beginning this course!  These sentiments haven’t changed very much up to now. 

Some other similes that come to mind when I try to describe how I have felt throughout this process, I feel like a seed re-awakening from dormancy, filled with energy and new life. I am hopeful, alert and interested but apprehensive too.  What will the future hold? What will I become?  Where will this take me? OR, I feel like a hiker on my way to the top of a mountain nearly to the top when suddenly a higher, more challenging vista appears on the horizon and I am looking forward to the challenge it will present but also daunted by the effort and energy that it will take to conquer it.  I wonder if I have the skills, stamina or strength required.

My understanding of what a teacher-librarian does has definitely expanded and deepened.  I have begun to ask myself more important questions, especially regarding those who have access to information and technology and those who do not, and what my part in this world-wide issue could be. See forum post in Topic 3 under Emma Wundersitz’s entry on Mar. 25, 2011.  I have begun to grasp the breadth of the information tidal wave that exists and we are riding on, whether we like it or not, and the best way to capitalize on it rather than be afraid or unaware.

I have a new appreciation for my fellow students throughout the world and have enjoyed reading their blogs and forum entries.  This collaboration has opened up my eyes to the global networking possibilities that I again, wasn’t aware of.  My current use of social networking consists mostly of keeping up with my adult children and my relatives. However, reading the very informative and engaging blog entries of the Unquiet Librarian  (Hamilton, 2011) and Hey Jude’s (O’Connell, 2011) I am inspired by the possibilities there are in this role and how to communicate effectively through blog posts.

If I apply Kuhlthau’s (1991) model of the information search process to myself within this situation, I can see how my feelings, thoughts and actions have exactly followed along her continuums.  I have moved from uncertainty to satisfaction.  My thoughts were vague and are now of heightened interest and my actions have become more focused and specific.   

Considering the essential reading by Joyce Valenza (2010), in her manifesto for 21st Century school librarians and those described by the professional standards in Australia (Bogel, 2009),  I am filled with fear and awe as I see such incredibly high standards portrayed.  It seems impossible that I could ever even come close to attaining that level of competence, creativity and excellence.

Mostly, I feel like a tadpole must feel when transforming into a four legged air breathing frog.  That’s metamorphosis!  I teach my class a song with this title by Charlotte Diamond. http://www.songsforteaching.com/charlottediamond/metamorphosis.htm (taught within our unit on how the world works with the central idea that living things grow and change.)

I can feel a passion arising within me especially when I think about how I could work with the teachers on discovering new web tools to use in our classroom practice.  I wake up with ideas for professional development and whole-school curriculum that will help the professionals I work with deliver a more meaningful and rich programme to the children we teach.  Then, I know that I have made a good choice.  I am learning and developing and that settles it for me.  I want to become a teacher-librarian. Upon completing this assignment, I have come to the conclusion that the biggest obstacle for teacher-librarians is the teacher-librarian themselves!!!

need a lifepreserver! 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 by | No Comments

I feel as though I am ‘drowning in a pool of information’ as stated in Lorenzo’s article Catalysts for Change… in our topic 4 readings.  I have to search for articles that support or analyze the definition of IL I choose, grasp which aspects of IL we should be looking at, find articles to support that, and my professor kept saying, choose aspects where there is literature to support…that means I have to find it first!!!! 

My confidence to search properly and effectively is wavering…then I have to read it all, and then I have to assimilate it into a coherent paper on the subject.  Very soon!  Oh dear!

I finally did send off my first paper and I received more than a pass and I am pleased with that result.  I worked hard and I learned a lot.  I am glad I could communicate that in an organized and appropriate manner.

A library postion has opened up in my school, I am wondering if I should apply for it…I wonder how I can in the midst of moving into a new school and having to set up my classroom again, writing reports, working on my Master’s assignment, professional management/evaluations, and having a birthday!!!

Maybe I should go to the public library nearby and ask for help searching for appropriate materials.  I wonder if they will know how to help me?  I wish that I was on campus right now and able to walk into the library at CSU and ask for help there!

Considering my feelings on this topic, I am again surprised by the highs and the lows I am experiencing.  A few days ago, I was so excited by the ideas I am getting about how to improve the library at my school, ways that I could collaborate with the teachers and create wonderful learning experiences for the students and today, I want to throw up my hands in despair as I just don’t know what to do first, second, which words to use to search for adequate and appropriate articles!

on the precipice 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Saturday, April 9th, 2011 by | No Comments
should I or shouldn't I?

should I or shouldn't I?

I am on the edge of the precipice which means I am either:

going to jump out of the window due to the stress of this paper!

give up

press the send button in order to sumbit my assignment

I actually shouldn’t joke about my options here, I value the life I’ve been given to throw it away but sometimes….

It’s been interesting to re-read my posts over the past few months.  I keep questioning my choice to enter this Master’s program. But how will I know it is right for me or worth it I wonder?!  Will it be based soley on the marks I acheive on the assignments?  I think that’s a bit pathetic as that means I am letting someone else’s opinion of me determine my future, my pleasure in doing what I am doing and I think that is silly.  Will my judgement be reserved for when (or if) I obtain a job in this field and my subsequent enjoyment from that ?  If so, I have a long time to wait for validity then. 

No! I need to somehow have this settled in my mind and heart soon.  I no longer want to discuss this issue. 

I have enjoyed the readings and I am learning and yes, that feels good-invigorating, challenging, interesting. 

My perspective on my school is changing, my own classroom practice too (I have gone to the library more frequently for instance), I am thinking about other ways to incorporate technology, use library services, and search for other resources.

I am developing an appreciation for my fellow students and the power of the human connection, networking, technology to bring all of us together and allow us to share in ways never beofer possible.  That’s exciting!  Who knew reading  forum posts could be so interesting?!

I think I am answering my own question and that my heart and mind actually are settled. 

I am going to wait one more day before I push the button.  teeter totter!

my wrist hurts! 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Monday, April 4th, 2011 by | No Comments

I am writing and reading and then re-writing…sigh…I am enjoying the progress and the process, but feel like I am losing the plot.  Thankfully, I have a 4 day weekend in order to pump out this assignment.  What if I didn’t have the time?  The answer to that question sends a shiver down my spine!

Recently on my Facebook profile, I asked why I didn’t choose the sport’s car as the solution to this mid-life crisis?!  I believe it would have been less costly, more fun and less stressful if I had.  My husband has chosen both! 

Think I need to take a break…