a) Evaluative Statement
(headings link to OLJ tasks; text links to Inf506 (2011/2012) course objectives)
This subject has been a huge learning experience for me. To combat information overload I have tried to explore the modules, add entries to my OLJ and complete the first assignment with particular reference to the primary school environment within which I teach. The following tasks and the posting of them to the OLJ blog demonstrate the development of my learning over the course of this subject.
OLJ Task 1 A-Z of Social Networking for Libraries
This task was a great introduction for someone relatively new to social media and gave me a chance to explore a range of social networking tools while considering their relevance in the context of a primary school library.
Evaluating the school’s library blog led me to investigate a range of social media sites such asEdublogs and WordPress to assess their suitability as an alternative which would better meet the student’s information needs.
Investigation of Ning opened my eyes to the possibilities of using social networking platforms in primary schools not just for library blogs but for a whole range of collaborative learning opportunities. It also threw up the question of the use of such sites by children under 13 and sent me in quest of social networking platforms that were designed for this age group and also for schools in Australia that were already using them. I was amazed at what was already happening worldwide and interested to note that Australia was only just beginning to trial such platforms as SuperClubsPLUS in schools. (DEECD, 2010)
The task also introduced me to the need for consideration of the purpose of using social media in schools, the necessity for considering first and foremost the wants and needs of users, and also the ethical considerations of use by children under 13. This would later inform my inquiry into the use of social networking platforms in primary schools and the need for a marketing strategy and social media policy.
OLJ Task 2 Primary School Marketing Strategy
The small school where I teach is very conservative in their views of the use of social media with younger children, concerned, quite rightly, with the implications for privacy, online safety and digital citizenship. The school has no social media policy and individual teachers have little knowledge and experience of social media. The children however are using it everyday. The school’s one nod at social networking is an internal library blog which illustrates the hesitancy the school has in plunging into the social media pool. Kagan’s (2011) slidehare presentation brought home to me the enormity of the impact of social media worldwide and spurred me to complete this task with the ulterior motive of learning how to market it to the school.
I was able explore the educational, ethical and social value of primary schools engaging in social media. I discovered the importance of creating the means for establishing a dialogue between the library and its patrons so that their needs and wants can be supported (Burkhardt, 2009).
Having a clear vision for the library is crucial and as long as the school has nothing in writing it is hard to see how individual teachers/librarians can instigate anything that will endure past their own tenure. Brown’s blog post (2009) emphasizes the value of detailing a marketing strategy and the task of drafting a marketing plan for the school gave me a good understanding of what will be needed to convince the school that social media can be instrumental in providing the information needs and collaborative learning experiences for all school library patrons.
OLJ Task3 Social Media Policy (in Primary Schools)
I chose this task to try to discover the best way to justify the use of social media in primary schools. It was fairly difficult to find articles and policies online specific to primary schools, giving me ample opportunity to hone my search skills, but the task was rewarding in that I was able to identify the issues that concern them.
I feel that the 5 resources I found and annotated will be useful references when, hopefully, my school is ready to formulate their own social media policy. Giffards Primary School(2011) and Masseni (2010) clearly outline where schools’ main concerns lie. The NSW DET (2011) Social Media Policy is a good reference for staff, Varlas (2011) puts the case for having clear guidelines and Kroski (2009) provides a list of what to include in a policy.
Creating a stack in Deliciousand sharing these resources with other members of sissocialmedia was also a worthwhile experience. It illustrated the value of using social bookmarking sites to store, organize and share resources. Using Delicious over the course of this subject has allowed me to discover and share a great many links to resources that will be of great use, not just in this course, but in my future as a school librarian. Sharing on Delicious has given me the opportunity to be a contributor not just a collector.
b) Reflective Statement
In my first Online Learning Journal (OLJ) entry I expressed the aim of becoming more experienced and confident in the online environment using web 2.0 tools and also of better understanding the applications of social networking in primary schools. I feel I have been able to achieve these aims as well as identify areas that I need to investigate more in the future in order to further my development as an information professional.
One of the first major revelations for me in this course was the potential for social networking to empower people to make a difference in the world. People who, up until now, had very little voice are suddenly being heard, instantly, en masse, all around the world (Bernhoff & Li, 2008; Zandt 2010)Previously the importance of contributing to this global communication had escaped me. On Bernhoff’s (2009) ladder of social networking usage my feet were firmly stuck on the spectator rung. Now I am reaching towards the conversationalists and creators, though I still feel I have a long way to go.
Having had some experience of such social networking tools as Twitter, Flickr, Delicous, YouTube, Second Life and Facebook I began to understand the educational advantages for a school becoming a networked community of learners (Lee & Finger, 2010; Notley, 2008). I began our first assignment with some regrets that I had not been able to participate in a more practical task, such as setting up a social networking platform for my school. However, in the end, I was pleased to be able to delve more deeply into the literature surrounding the topic and came to understand the importance of determining a school’s aims and objectives before plunging into using social media tools simply because they are amazing and fun (Brown, 2010; Farkas, 2008).
Concentrating on social networking in schools taught me a great deal that will benefit my future as a teacher librarian, especially in the areas of social media marketing and policy. However there are parts of the course I know I need to develop further, particularly in the area of my Professional Learning Network (PLN). In Utech’s (2008) stages of PLN adoption I am still only at the immersion and evaluation stage. I have joined networks through Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Diigo, LinkedIn and Pinterest and have begun to evaluate these as to which of these are most useful to me. I still don’t feel the urge to “know it all” and am hoping that as I gain more experience with these tools my PLN will take on the perspective and balance to which Utech refers (2008).
The other area that I didn’t investigate thoroughly is the virtual world of Second Life. I found it difficult to justify using Second Life in primary schools given the concerns of staff and parents for online safety for young children but because of my narrow focus I don’t feel I explored the area enough to make this judgement myself. Helmer’s (2007) paper clarified the way in which virtual worlds can provide organizational and educational training and elucidated the benefits of Second Life as a learning environment, encouraging me to continue, in the future, to explore its use with younger children and also for my own professional development.
As an information professional I feel I have come a long way. There are still many areas in which I am inexperienced but I am determined to experiment with them in a school library environment in order to improve collaborative learning for students and staff. I have discovered the value of podcasting (Kreider Eash, 2006) and would love to explore the uses of QR codes (Walsh, 2009). I am also itching to set up a library website, inspired byMathews (2009) list of essential ingredients and I am sure these are things I will accomplish in time.
Participation in this subject, particularly via Facebook, Second Life and Delicious, has taught me one overarching lesson. Up until now I have tended to see learning (including my own) as a one-way process of imparting knowledge – with technology being the next great tool to use. Participation, I realise now, is an active rather than passive term. Education is a two-way exchange with the purpose of developing wisdom and with the acquisition of wisdom comes the ability to create change (Wheeler, 2012). I have often felt, like so many others, that I have no voice, no chance to make a difference to the world, except perhaps at the ballot box. I understand the significance of sharing information , I am gaining confidence to join in the conversation and I am excited about the challenges not only for my own future but for the entire future of the information profession.
Bernhoff, J. (2010, January 19). Social technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder [Web log post]. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists-get-onto-the-ladder.html
Bernhoff, J., & Li, C. (2008). Excerpt. In Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Retrieved from http://www.forrester.com/groundswell/book.html
Brown, A. (2009, July 30). Developing an effective social media marketing strategy [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/social-media-in-salt-lake-city/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy
Brown, A. (2010, 29 January 2011). A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries. http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2010/01/22/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/.
Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons libraries should be on social media [Web log post]. Retrieved January 27, 2012, from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/
Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2010). Teaching and learning with web 2.0 technologies. Retrieved December 11, 2011, from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/teachlearn/innovation/technology/web2report.pdf
Edublogs – Education Blogs for Teachers, Students and Institutions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://edublogs.org/
Facebook. (n.d.). Welcome to Facebook – Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/facebook
Farkas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of library 2.0? [Web log post]. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/
Giffards Primary School. (2011). Giffards Primary School social networking policy. Giffard Primary School. Retrieved from http://www.giffardsprimary.thurrock.sch.uk/PDFs/396/social%20networking%20policy.pdf
Hay, L. (2011). Social networking for information professionals : Course outline. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Interact website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201190_W_D/page/620ba643-c836-4a5f-8027-0419e9ea27ea
Helmer, J. (2007, October). Second Life and virtual worlds [White paper]. Retrieved from http://www.norfolkelearningforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/virtual-worlds_ll_oct_2007.pdf
Kagan, M., (2008). What is social media now? [Slideshow]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan/what-is-social-media-now-4747765
Kreider Eash, E. (2006). Podcasting 101 for K-12 librarians. Computers in Libraries, 26(4). Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/apr06/Eash.shtml
Kroski, E. (2009). Should your library have a social media policy? School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6699104.html
Lee, M., & Finger, G. (2010). Developing a networked school community: A guide to realising the vision. Victoria, Australia: ACER.
Masseni, D. (2010). Why schools are spooked by social media (Rep.). Retrieved December 29, 2011, from http://www.sponsor-ed.com.au/text/white_paper_-_why_schools_are_spooked_by_social_media_avcy.htm
Mathews, B. (2009). Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6634712.html?industryid=47126
Ning – Create a Social Networking Site with Ning, the Best Social Site Platform. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://uk.ning.com/
Notley, T. M. (2008). Online network use in schools: Social and educational opportunities. Youth Studies Australia, 27(3), 20-29. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/14997/1/14997.pdf
NSW Department of Education and Training. (2011, March15). Social Media Policy. Retrieved 2012, fromhttps://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/technology/communication/PD20110418.shtml
Twitter. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/
Utech, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption [Web log post]. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption
Varlas, L. (2011). Can social media and school policies be “friends”? ASCD. Retrieved 2012, from http://tinyurl.com/6ss7p99
Virtual Worlds, Avatars, Free 3D Chat, Online Meetings – Second Life Official Site. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://secondlife.com/
Walsh, A. (2009). Quick response codes and libraries. doi: 10.1108/07419050910985255
Welcome to Flickr – Photo Sharing. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/
Wheeler, S. (2012, January 30). Digital learning futures. Learning with ‘e’s. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://www.slideshare.net/timbuckteeth
WordPress.com — Get a Free Blog Here. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://wordpress.com/
YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/