Bridget Schaumann is always keen to try new technology and explains how Web 2.0 tools are turning the library into a hub of digital literacy.
At King’s High School we’re in the third year of an ICT PD programme. As our staff have become more skilful in using technology, utilising more software and integrating it more frequently into their teaching, the library has become a place of much more than books and encyclopaedias in book form, it is also a hub of digital literacy.
The library blog
We have had a huge increase in reading here at King’s in recent years (last year our issues were up 32 per cent and the trend looks set to continue) and our blog (thekingslibraryblog.blogspot.com) is an ideal place for the students to go and check out what’s hot, what’s new, who’s reading what, and get ideas of what they might want to read next. The site is also great for parents and people in our community who want to connect with the library. Homework sites and online tools are regularly featured on the blog, particularly the Epic Databases (more on them later). I try to put a variety of information on the blog, from student reviews and teacher reading, to useful sites and general information that I think people will connect with, and also fun sites and video.
Bibliographies with BibMe
The ways that ICT can be used in the library are myriad but we’ve been trying one new tool in particular with Year 13 English students. It’s a common problem that students either do bibliographies badly or do them very well … but spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to get them right! There is help. We’ve been using BibMe (bibme.org), an excellent online tool for making bibliographies. “It is as easy as MS” was the comment most often passed when a recent class visited. Using real examples of websites, articles and books and projecting the process onto a screen, the students are able to have a go at making a citation for a website, a book and an article. We’ve used BibMe with Year 10 drama classes at the beginning of a research assignment with similar success.
Encouraging students to use the Epic Databases, which all schools have access to via TKI, has been challenging. It takes several steps to get into the databases and they need to know the school’s password. Once there, however, Epic provides a wonderful array of databases that most school libraries would never be able to afford access to.
There are specialised science, economics, history, art and music databases, to name just a few, all of very high quality and with more being added to the list yearly. The ones we use the most are the Biography Resource Centre and the Literature Resource Centre. For senior students heading to tertiary courses, using databases is something they need to do often, familiarity with using this kind of resource is vital for them.
Projector and screen
For us at King’s, having a data projector and screen permanently based in the library is a huge bonus. Speakers often use it and meetings often require one after school hours. Students can learn interactively and use it as an embedded part of a lesson where they can practise on the screen in front of the class and then head off to the library resources and computers while the information is fresh in their minds or still up on the screen to refer back to. It’s also used for staff ICT sessions trying out blogging, wikis, social bookmarking tools and more. These are periodically held after school in the library and staff can bring along their laptops and try out new skills in a relaxed atmosphere, where the pressure is off and where hands-on trial and error is encouraged. We’ve had several of these sessions and more are planned using tools such as Wallwisher and Prezi.
The library is the hub of information in our school, all subject areas are catered for in school libraries and with ICT as an inherent part of our curriculums the library shouldn’t be out of the ICT loop and indeed should be right in there catering to the diverse needs of the school.
Bridget Schaumann is Librarian and Careers Advisor at King’s High School in Dunedin.
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