Simulating real life experiences with the use of an virtual interactive environment provides a safe way for students to learn by investigation through inquiry learning. .

International Schools and ICT

Jamshid Beheshti (2012) Teens, Virtual Environments and Information Literacy, Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 38, Issue 3

As digital natives, the vast majority of teens are used to cellphones, text messaging, social networking sites and other forms of electronic communications and technologies. Though rooted in the digital world for many of their daily activities, teens lack basic information literacy skills for academic tasks and other demands. Specific instruction through the educational system may not be feasible, but it may be possible to build teens’ information competence through interactive virtual learning environments. Game-style virtual environments are highly motivating and engaging, providing opportunities for repeated practice and reward for persistence and achieving goals. A virtual reality library, VRLibrary, was constructed, collaboratively designed by young teens and adults, based on the metaphor of a physical library. Teens could wander the virtual space and browse links to age-appropriate websites presented…

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NASA creating video games?

Welcome to Sector 33!
– A new air traffic control mobile game for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Image of game Sector33_610x407

A screenshot from Sector 33, a new game from NASA--and one of many the U.S. space agency has created or commissioned.→→→→→→→→→→→More.......

The list of games NASA has worked on is quite long. Among other things, it’s created space station and space shuttle titles, it’s given players a virtual walk on the moon, and it’s put users in charge of space flight communications.

Games technology is a simulation of real life experiences by interacting with the virtual environment. This allows us to learn through inquiry investigation and construct ones knowledge and understanding by participating in the experience it offers.

Policy (role of teacher librarian) Statement IASL

The IASL (international association of school librarianship) mandates into its policy statement Principle 7 of the United Nations declaration on the Rights of the Child.

They encompasses the following areas of expertise into its framework which off course roles and responsibilities can be formulated for the teacher librarians.

  1. Functions:informational, educational, cultural and recreational.
  2. Materials: appropriateness
  3. Facilities
  4. Personnel: IASL advocates that all school librarians should be qualified teachers who have in addition completed professional studies in librarianship.

The IASL policy statement can be found at the following link: http://www.iasl-online.org/about/handbook/policysl.html. The IFLA/UNESCO 2002 school library guidelines PDF: http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s11/pubs/sguide02.pdf. The IFLA (international federation of library associations and institutions) and UNESCO the school library manifesto: http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s11/pubs/manifest.htm

The local, national and international statements on the roles of the teacher librarian advocate similarly responsibilities in the areas of education, information literacy, information services, ICT and  facilities management of libraries.

Role (statement) of a teacher librarian!

The role of a teacher librarian encompasses into its framework six expertise areas:

  1. Teaching and Learning
  2. Leadership
  3. Curriculum Involvement
  4. Management
  5. Literature Promotion
  6. Services

SLSA (school library association of South Australia) advocates a role statement that includes the six above expertise areas within its framework. The following link directs you to their site: http://www.slasa.asn.au/Advocacy/rolestatement.html. A link to a downloadable PDF version of this statement can be found at: http://www.slasa.asn.au/Advocacy/docs/rolestatementslasa.pdf. The SLSA role statement is of course the full level of responsibilities of a Teacher Librarian. This statement can be tailored to suit their current level of responsibilities.  A tailored role statement would still encompass a fair few of the points. The teacher librarian would have to be skilled in allocating the right amount of time managing all the necessary responsibilities depending on the demands of their individual library.

Statement on teacher librarian qualifications

The importance of a teacher librarian credentialed with the appropriate qualifications is to ensure a high standard of personnel engagement in the provision of information and to foster their professional interests and aspirations. ASLA (Australian School Library Association) address this with their mandated objectives to establish, review and maintain national standards and guidelines for school library resource services. Teacher librarian with qualifications in teaching and librarianship will have the appropriate prerequisite knowledge and skills to promote an understanding of the aims, needs and educational significance of the school library resource services. Teacher librarians with dual qualification as a teacher and a librarian would able to develop suitable teaching programs because of their deep understanding of applicable pedagogies applied to students’ with different learning styles. Teacher Librarian would be able to guide teachers with curriculum implementation through collaborative practice. They would be able to improve students’ learning outcomes by developing information strategies that would enhance students’ information literacy skills. Evaluating student learning in relation to library programs and information services would be an essential requirement to improve their own and other teachers’ professional practice.

 At my last high school the teacher librarian was more concerned in trying to make sure students did not walk away with the resources, being a disciplinarian during recess and lunch and an expert in doing odd jobs for the principal and staff. He was not interested in collaborative practice and was not very enthusiastic to offer any suggestions. He had a very grumpy demeanour.

The full statement on teacher librarian qualifications can be found by following the below link: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/teacher.librarian.qualifications.htm

Statement on library and information services in schools

The statement on library and information services in schools has been endorsed by ASLA and ALIA. ASLA and ALIA purpose with this statement is to advocate for library and information resources, programs and services in schools. This will promote the free flow of information, ideas and to improve the services provided by all kinds of libraries and information agencies. This statement is very important as an advocacy to maintain the awareness of Government bodies of the educational significance of providing library resource services. The most important of these services is to educate student in information literacy. This will also enhance their collaboration, researching and informal learning skills further.

In school libraries the person responsible for leading and managing it must be a qualified teacher librarian. The teacher librarian has a role in the planning, implementation and evaluation of educational policies, curricula, outcome and programs, with particular importance in development of the information literacy skills of the students. A qualified information specialist without the qualifications of teacher would not have the specific knowledge or skills to be able to design programs differentiating the curriculum to cater to all ability levels and learning styles.

Information providing further inforamtion about this statement can be located at ASLA website URL   http://www.asla.org.au/policy/teacher.librarian.qualifications.htm

Australian standards for professional excellence for teachers

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) endorse and promote this statement of standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. This statement describes the professional knowledge, skills and commitment demonstrated by teacher librarians working at a level of excellence. It represents the goals to which all Australian teacher librarians should aspire, and provides inspiration for quality teaching and ongoing professional practice.

The PDF version of the standard for professional excellence for teacher librarians can be downloaded from:http://www.asla.org.au/policy/TLstandards.pdf. This is found on the ASLA site at: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.htm.

The standards of excellence for teacher librarians in Australian schools is a goal set in order to improve teacher librarians’ professional practice and enhance  student learning outcomes. I agree in having a standard to maintain best professional practice for teacher librarians although there must be a common sense assessment approach when considering their performance against indicators. The library is usually a resource that has a restricted budget and providing all the media for this to be accomplished can sometimes be difficult. Budget cuts in the area of staffing, buying new resources, access to ICT can sometimes be a problem. The standards are structured within the broad framework of professional knowledge, professional practice and professional commitment. There are 12 standards that encapsulate the quality of the tasks undertaken by teacher librarian.