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									School Libraries as Knowledge Spaces:
             Connections and Actions;
               Outcomes and Evidence
                             DR ROSS TODD
                         Associate Professor
                  Department of Library and
                         Information science
                Rutgers, The State University
                               of New Jersey

                       SLAV CONFERENCE
                    “Assessing the Evidence
                    Assessing the Learning”
Age school:
 Get it right
Hallmarks of Victorian School Libraries

  CONNECTIONS:    Intellectual / information
                  scaffolds for learning
       ACTIONS:   Inquiry approaches to
                  teaching and learning
    OUTCOMES:     Making a real difference to
                  student learning
     EVIDENCE:    Charting the outcomes;
                  demonstrating the role and
                  power of the school library

         The Hole Truth
Consider the Drill
         The Hole Truth
Consider the Drill

People don't buy a 1.0 cm drill bit
because they want 1.0 cm drill bit, they
buy a 1.0 cm drill bit because they want
to create a 1.0 cm hole.
         The Hole Truth
Consider the school Library:

School administrators and teachers aren't
interested in a good library because they
want good libraries or good teacher-
librarians. They're interested in libraries
because they want students to read better,
to research effectively, to discover new
ideas, learn more, and to improve
             The Hole Truth
•   Buying the drill is an expense
•   Creating the hole is an investment
•   Drills are boring: the infrastructure
•   The focus is the hole; the space
•   The school library: from infrastructure
    and information to knowledge; from
    place to space
       What is your focus?
• The Drill:
  the place? the infrastructure? the
  collection? the technology? the role? the

• The Hole:
• student achievement? student learning
  outcomes? student engagement with
  information? knowledge and
    Hallmarks of a Victorian
        School Library
Not                       But
•   Collections           • Knowledge construction and
•   Systems                 human understanding,
•   Technology              implemented through a
•   Staffing, Positions     constructivist, inquiry-based
•   & Image                 framework
•   Buildings &           • Actions and evidences that
    Infrastructure          show that it makes a
                            difference to student
                        From: collections, position
                        and advocacy

                        Through: connections,
                        actions and evidence-based
                        practice centering on a shared
                        philosophy and process of
                        inquiry learning

      Developing     To: making a real difference to
    knowledge and    student learning outcomes
A thinking community
  "If we always see as
we've always seen, we'll
   always be as we've
always been, and always
   do as we've always
      (Author unknown)
       School Libraries:
    3 Fundamental Beliefs
• Information makes a difference to people.
• Making a difference does not happen by
  chance: Teaching-learning role is the
  central dimension of the professional role
  of teacher-librarians
• Learning outcomes matter: belief that all
  students can learn, and develop new
  understandings, and demonstrate
1. Information Makes a Difference to People

• “Effects” conception of information
• Move from a focus on “thing” and its
  management to “effect” = outcome
• Posits that people engage actively / highly
  selectively with information that surrounds
  them to some effect – a person‟s existing
  knowledge is changed or transformed in some
• “Effects” orientation: faithful to Greek / Latin
  roots of “information”: in = within; formere = to
  shape or form; that is, information‟s effect is
  inward forming.
     2. Teaching-learning role is the central
  dimension of the professional role of teacher-
• IFLA / UNESCO Manifesto for School Libraries: The core
  school library services center on “supporting and enhancing
  educational goals as outlined in the school's mission and

• Collaboration with individual teachers in designing authentic
  learning tasks and assessments and integrating the
  information and communication abilities required to meet
  subject matter goals and standards

• Provide learning experiences that encourage students and
  others to become discriminating consumers and skilled
  creators of knowledge.
                    The reality

                   Survey of Principals 2002
•   80% of principals believe that the school library and
    teacher-librarian play a key role in the school
•   99% of principals believe that despite the growth of the
    Internet, school libraries will remain important in the
•   97% of principals believe that the school library plays a
    positive role in the overall value of the school
•   94% of principals believe that there is a direct
    correlation between the strength and effectiveness of
    the school library and an increase in student
                 The reality

• 76% of principals identified that their teacher-
  librarian worked with classroom teachers as
• 50% of principals saw their teacher-librarians
  working in the classroom
• 52% of principals saw the role of the teacher-
  librarian to be that of “caretaker” of the library
 Focus on the Hole instead of the Drill
     What Concerns School Librarians?
          Australian Survey 2001
• Impact of technology on     • Not able to do the job I
  library and role              want to
• Perceived lack of           • Perceived low status
  understanding of nature
  and dimensions of role      • Advocacy for position
• Perceived lack of value,    • Funding
  importance and              • Professional
  appreciation                  development
• Negative perceptions of     • Student learning-
  image                         processes and
• Perceived lack of support     outcomes
  for role
• Integration of information literacy and
  information technology into curriculum
  units: development of conceptual, technical,
  and evaluative processes / scaffolds that
  underpin inquiry learning
• Constructivist, inquiry-based approaches to
  learning: building knowledge and
• Evidence-based practice: demonstrating and
  documenting how the school library program
  makes a difference to student learning
  The Research Evidence
• Macro-Research: Eg. In USA by Keith
  Curry Lance and colleagues – focus on
  broad relationship of various library
  dimensions to student achievement
• Micro-Research: International: Seeks
  to identify student’s use of information,
  information skills development, reading
         Lance: USA Findings
    State test scores increase as teacher-
    librarians specifically spend more time:
•   planning cooperatively with teachers
•   identifying materials for teachers
•   teaching information literacy to students
•   providing in-service training to teachers
•   managing a computer network through which
    library‟s learning program reaches beyond its
    own walls to classrooms, labs and offices
 The Micro-Research Evidence

• Teaching information skills results in improved
  curriculum performance
• A process approach results in students with more
  positive attitudes to learning, increased engagement
  in the learning environment, and more positive
  perceptions of themselves as constructive learners.
• Teaching information skills is most effective when it is
  integrated into flexibly delivered classroom
  instruction at the point of need.
• Teaching information skills is most effective when
  embedded in a constructivist, inquiry approach
   Other Research Evidence
• Active reading programs foster higher levels of
  reading, comprehension, vocabulary development and
  language skills.
• There are benefits to students when school and public
  libraries communicate and co-operate more effectively.
• Successful school library programs gather meaningful
  and systematic feedback on program impacts.
• School leaders tend to be more supportive when they
  can see the library actively engaged in the teaching
  and learning process, and they see the difference this
            The Research evidence – I.T.
  Significant student learning dilemmas:

• Getting a focus on their search and structuring an appropriate
  search strategy (conceptual processes)
• Working with search engines (technical processes)
• Critiquing web sites and making quality assessments of the
  information (evaluative processes)
• Moving from relevant web sites to pertinent web sites
• Constructing personal responses that demonstrate development of
  understanding (conceptual processes)
• Expectation of technology to make up for student weaknesses
• Information management issues: managing search process, time,
  workloads, deadlines
       The Research evidence – I.T.

Every research study published 1996-2002
that focuses on the integration of information
technology into learning highlights one key
implication: the development of the
intellectual and technical scaffolds for
engaging with information:
pedagogical intervention and the
development of a community of thinkers
   Can we believe what we see?
     From Information Literacy to
       Knowledge Construction
                  Information literacy
                  instruction is part of making
                  actionable all the information
                  and knowledge that a school
                  possesses or can access.


From Information Literacy to
  Knowledge Construction
            Information literacy
            instruction is part of making
            actionable all the information
            and knowledge that a school
            possesses or can access.

            „DOING‟ information skills is
            not the answer.
            The development of an
            information literate student is
            integral to BECOMING and
By developing information literacy
 skills, what do we want students
            to become?
• The destination is not an information literature
  student, but rather, the development of a
  knowledgeable and knowing person, one who is
  able to engage effectively with a rich and complex
  information world, and who is able to develop
  new understandings, insights and ideas.
• The development and use of human knowing, the
  construction of understanding and meaning is
  what learning is all about, and that defines the
  central purpose of the school library
 Empowerment, connectivity,
 engagement, and interactivity
define the actions and practices
 of the school library, and their
     outcome is knowledge
 construction: new meanings,
   new understandings, new
The Library
    as a
Space, not
Focuses on the process of thinking that builds
understandings by engaging students in
stimulating encounters with information and
Students learn by constructing their own
understandings of these experiences by
building on what they already know to form a
personal perspective of the world.
The process of construction is an active
ongoing process of learning that continues
throughout life.
    Characteristics of Inquiry-Based
• Students motivated to know
• Students able to raise the focus questions that lead to
  new knowledge: “I need to know more”
• Students own the search process and its outcome –
  they know why they are in the library
• Supported by information skills that provide scaffolds
  for connecting and engaging with information
• Conversation and sharing of ideas throughout the
  searching process
• Construction of personal understanding from diverse
  perspectives: another part of their world has been
Challenges of Inquiry-Based Learning
• Moving beyond “doing information skills” or treating
  “information skills” as a laundry list
• The critical role of “exploration” and “formulation” in
  the search process: making provision for situations
  that build background knowledge and promote
  seeking a focus during a search
• Developing formal interventions which enable students
  to stay focused and not wander away from the learning
• Engaging students who perceive task of searching as
  primarily one of gathering information to a task of
  forming a focused perspective from the information
              Model of the Information Search Process

Tasks            Initiation           Selection Exploration Formulation Collection Presentation

Feelings uncertainly                     optimism           confusion              clarity                 sense of   satisfaction or
(affective)                                                 frustration                                    direction/ disappointment
                                             doubt                                                         confidence

Thoughts                        vague-------------------------------------→focused
(cognitive)                                                               -----------------------------------------------→
                                                                                 increased interest

Actions    seeking relevant information----------------------------→seeking pertinent information
(physical)   exploring                                                documenting

                                     Professor Carol Kuhlthau
School Libraries Empowering
  Learning: The Evidence
• Making concrete the links between library
  and learning
• Making concrete the links between
  information access and provision and growth
  of knowledge
• Practices that demonstrate tangible power of
  our contribution to school’s learning goals
• Local, immediate evidence: local successes,
  local improvements
Practice (EBP)
           Origins of EBP
• New paradigm for professional service
• 1990s – Medicine and Health Care fields
• “Duty of Care”, “Informed Decision Making”
  “Optimal Outcomes”
• Commitment to making a tangible difference
  to the lives of people
• Concept now strong in professional arenas
  such as education, social work, law
    Evidence-Based Practice
        Two Key aspects

•   Conscientious, explicit and judicious use of
    current best research findings in making
    decisions about the performance of your role
    and understanding the learning needs of your
    Combining professional expertise, insight,
    experience and leadership with ability to collect,
    interpret, and integrate valid research evidence
    to ensure significant outcomes
Teacher-Librarians and Research
• Librarians’ use of research is low (McClure &
  Bishop, 1989, Turner, 2002).
• Applied research that seeks to resolve
  operational concerns is most widely used.
• Research is not consulted because it is
  perceived to inadequately address the real
  concerns of practice.
• Research not presented in ways that foster
  understanding and application.
• To busy to read research.
    Teacher-Librarians and
  research: Principal’s study
• 33% of principals said that the school
  librarian made them familiar with current
  research of library programs and
  student achievement
• 35% of principals were made familiar
  with current research on library
  programs and reading development
Not Engaging in the Research of
        our Profession
• Devalues both the profession as a thinking
  and informed profession;
• Cuts off the profession from advances in
  knowledge which shape sound practice;
• A profession without reflective practitioners
  willing to learn about the advances in
  research in the field is a blinkered profession,
  one that is disconnected from opportunities
  for constructing best practice the school
  library as central to the learning process.
 Research in Teacher-Librarianship :
        Prof. Ken Haycock

  “Learn from our research and build on its
   precept in order to become the force for
excellence that is within our grasp. We have
    evidence that we can make a difference
 through cooperative program planning and
  team teaching and flexible scheduling; we
      have the principles for the effective
         initiation, implementation and
         institutionalization of change.
            Now we need only do it”.
    The Research Challenge
• Urgent need to analyse and synthesise the emerging
  body of information-learning research into meaningful
  generalizations with practical utility for the whole
• teacher-librarians, as the information literate experts
  (with information literacy competencies centring on
  the ability to analyse, organize, synthesise and
  evaluate information, and especially the information
  of their discipline) can surely play a central role here,
  bringing insights as the reflective practitioners to the
  research and its outcomes for practice.
Evidence-Based Practice
  Two Key aspects 2
 Ensuring that your daily efforts put some
 focus on learning outcomes evaluation
 that gathers meaningful and systematic
 evidence on dimensions of teaching and
 learning that matter to the school and its
 support community

 = Evidences that clearly convey that
 learning outcomes of your school are
 continuing to improve
Outcomes-Based Education
• Emphasis given to specifying learning outcomes,
  establishing measurable indicators of these
  outcomes, providing feedback on achievement of
• “Method of teaching that focuses on what
  students can do after they are actually
  taught”(Lorenzen, 1999)
• “Learner-centered, results-oriented system
  founded on belief that all individuals can learn”
  (Towers, 1996)
• “Clear, observable demonstrations of student
  learning that occur after a significant sent of
  learning experiences” (Spady & Marshall, 1996)
  Evidence-Based Practice
 Gathering evidence in YOUR local school
You are able to provide convincing evidence
       that answers these questions:

 “What differences do my school library
   and its learning initiatives make to
      student learning outcomes?
 “What are the differences, the tangible
learning outcomes and learning benefits
         of my school library”?
EBP – Issues and Concerns
• Accountability: Taking responsibility for
  the performance of students on
  achievement measures or other types of
  educational outcomes
• Threat to professional authority and autonomy; it
  questions authority and curtails professional
• Perception that roles and responsibilities are
  immune from accountability calls
• Fear of exposing what isn‟t happening when
  matched against role and responsibility
• “Proving our worth”: Push to get rid of teacher-
  librarians by publicly showing that their
  involvement in collaborative curriculum initiatives
  is quite low
ACCOUNTABILITY   A professional
And Teacher-      guarantee of
Librarians       information as
 • EBP demands precision in identifying
   learning outcomes, establishing
   indicators, analysing and synthesising
   evidence to establish specific
   achievements in learning outcomes

 • intellectual skills required to undertake
   evidence-based practice are not formal
   quantitative and qualitative research
   methodologies and complex statistical
Evidence-Based Practice is …
• Examining and identifying specific student
  learning goals and needs
• Selecting appropriate learning outcomes
• Identifying indicators of these outcomes
• Establishing systematic approaches to
  locating and gathering evidence of
  achieving learning outcomes
• Analysing and synthesising the evidence
• Presenting and celebrating the learning
• Evidence-based practice is about
  INFORMATION. The information process that
  has guided the information literacy initiatives
  of school libraries and which has been the
  espoused educational platform for almost two
  decades is the very process of evidence-based

• Evidence-based practice is thus a call for
  teacher- librarians to be pedagogical
  exemplars of their rhetoric – to practice what
  they preach.
• “Our goal is lifelong learning, so how can
  we identify outcomes”?
• Lifelong learning is not some distant,
  elusive endpoint, but a process made up
  of multiple moments in time, from now till
• Providing learners with explicit feedback
  on how they are learning in their formative
  years is fundamental to effective teaching
  and learning
• Concerns about limited staff, budget
• Not able to get my job done as it is, without taking
  on board EBP
• This begs TWO questions:
       What is my job?
       What are the potential implications and
       outcomes of not engaging in EBP?
  If there is no personal motivation to engage in in
  professional initiatives that enable the profession
  to construct its preferred future, then we need to
  consider why we are in it, and what we might be
  better of doing
               Benefits of EBP
• Articulates concrete links between library‟s initiatives
  and learning outcomes
• Shows how library can play a key role in shaping
  attitudes, values, and development of self-concept
• Models information process to teaching colleagues
• Basis for targeting time, energies and scarce resources
• Helps you not to do things that do not work or that do
  not matter
• Reflective, iterative process of informing instructional
  process: it informs, not misleads or detracts from day-
  to-day practice
• Job satisfaction and confidence in the central role that
  library plays in the school
         Benefits of EBP
• Provides evidence at local school level
  that the school library program makes a
  difference to student learning outcomes
• Moves beyond anecdotal, guess work,
  hunches,advocacy, touting research
  findings not connected to local actions
• Takes away the uncertainty surrounding
  role, value and position
  Seeing is Believing
 “Many people, including educators, are
suspicious of research and researchers.
 Research conducted closer to home is
more likely to be considered and perhaps
       to be viewed as trustworthy”

         (Oberg, Access, 2001)
But the Principal
 Won’t Listen!!!
But the Principal
 Won’t Listen!!!

    Then tell
  someone who
What is the finger print
  of your library on
        Collecting the Evidence
• Identify specific learning outcomes
• Establish indicators of outcomes
• Gather evidence: through assessment: test,
  assignment, project scores; checklists, rubrics,
  journals, portfolios; library data, system wide test
  scores; other data collection instruments used by
• Systematic analysis and synthesis of evidence
• Establish clear statements of outcomes
• Inform school community – and celebrate
• Reflect on evidence to improve teaching
• Not a cook book approach
• Will vary from school to school
• Acknowledges and integrates local
  processes, ways of doing
• Not just assessment; it is analyses and
  syntheses of assessment to create learning
  outcomes profiles, and articulate differences
  and impacts
• Building strategies into collaborative
  initiatives that enable you to show the impact
  / outcomes
   Alternatives to Evidence
• Beating around the bush   • Jumping on the
• Jumping to conclusions      bandwagon
• Throwing my weight        • Running around in
  around                      circles
• Dragging my heals         • Mouthing on
• Pushing my luck           • Pulling out the stops
• Making mountains out
  of molehills              • Adding fuel to the fire
• Bending over              • Going over the edge
  backwards                 • Picking up the pieces
                  My Vision for Librarians and
                       School Libraries

• Inquiry learning is the central philosophy
  and practice of school library
• The school library an open invitation for
  mystery, intrigue, discovery - an invitation
  to dance the “knowledge dance”
• Some focus on measuring student
• Strong evidence that we make a difference
  to student learning outcomes
 Leadership      formational
is action, not   transformational
   position      informational
Björk “New Worlds” in
 “Selmasongs” album

            “If living is seeing
         I’m holding my breath
          In wonder – I wonder
          What happens next?
           A new world, a new
                 day to see”

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