Monthly Archives: August 2013

ETL504 Assessment Item 1: Critical Reflection


At the beginning of this subject I had a limited awareness of leadership theories. The readings that I have down up to this point of time on leadership has been enlightening. I have become more conscious of what a significant impact leadership can have on the success of student learning and how different styles of leadership affect everyone within the school community. I am beginning to understand how teacher librarians (TLs) can be leaders in a school context and really make a difference to the learning and teaching that occurs. TLs have many opportunities to influence positive change and create innovation in how the school library is used by the school community. TLs can lead the way in developing teaching strategies for the incorporation of information literacy into the curriculum across the all levels of the school learning community.

I am not currently working in a school, so it is hard for me to comment on how I practice leadership in a school context. On completing the concept map and narrative for this assessment I feel excited about the future prospect of being able to put into practice many of the leadership concepts and ideas that have inspired me from my reading so far.

 In particular, I was inspired by Don Tapscott’s (2012, June) video on the four principles for the open world and how this relates to leadership and leading change. The four principles are collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment. The first principle of collaboration was one of the key concepts used in my concept map. Initiating and participating in collaboration with classroom teachers, principles and students is one way that TLs can practice leadership in schools. Collaboration is vital if the TL is to be instrumental in integrating information literacy into the curriculum and being a leader in curriculum design (Walker, 2013). On the completion of my concept map it became apparent to me that the principle of sharing can include a shared vision and shared leadership which can be fostered in a collaborative environment. Collaboration also fosters and environment where team members can feel a sense of a shared purpose and empowerment (Aguilar, 2012, para. 4 – 5). The transparency principle that Tapscott talks about can be practiced by TLs that continually communicate with the school community about what is going on in the school library, what is new and what are the plans for the future. TLs can use different modes of communication to do this, traditional and technological. Some ideas include contributing to the school newsletter, creating a library website and a library blog. Pinterest is a useful tool to keep the school community up to date about what is new in the library (Walker, 2013). Talking to teachers, students, parents and other members of the school community enables the TL to practice communication skills and active listening. Active listening can help the TL to get feedback and ideas from the school community (Rubenstein, Miles & Bassi, 2009, p. 46). Effective communication skills can aid the TL to gain a deeper understanding of the school context and its learning and teaching needs.

It will be interesting to see how my thoughts and understanding on leadership develop over the course of this subject. It is exciting that a TL has so many opportunities to be a leader in their school and make a real difference to the learning experiences of students.


         Aguilar, E. (2012, November 28). Effective teams: The key to transforming schools? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Rubenstein, H., Miles, F. M., & Bassi, L. J. (2009). Leadership development for educators. Retrieved from EBook Library.

TEDGlobal. (2012, June). Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world [Video file]. Retrieved from

Walker, M. (2013, July 29). ETL504 module 2: Don Tapscott’s 4 principles of an open world [Blog post]. Retrieved from


ETL501 – Topic 4: Searching


This was a very interesting and eye opening topic.

Activity 2 – using Noodle Tools

  • Selected Sweet search (from I need background on possible topics) – 20 results very relevant, excellent websites for teachers wanting to teach about volcanoes
  • Selected National Science Digital Library (NSDL) (from I need science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) research or sources) – search by grade level, subjects and resource format. Like this one . You could learn more about the resource: summary (subjects, education level, resource types, resource format, creator, language and publisher. Rights and restrictions for use (COPYRIGHT). What collection(s) it is found in

Activity 3
Using Google features

I already use Google advanced search and Google scholar. Yes this information does make a big difference to how I will search in the future

Activity 4
Judy O’Connell’s Knowledge 2.0 Livebinder

Visual thesaurus – excellent concept (presented in an interesting, unique way, easy to understand (great for visual learners like myself) 14 day free trial – to try before buy

Activity 5
I am guilty of not knowing how many search engines are available and using Google only. My eyes have been well and truly opened.

Activity 6
The Seven Habits site could be very useful for teaching students in secondary and probably upper primary (create a unit of work around these 7 habits)

Activity 7

  • Search engine: Kids Click / Keywords: discovery of gold in NSW / Hits: 0 / Not useful / disappointing
  • Search engine: AskKids / Keywords: discovery of gold in NSW / Hits: hundreds / very useful / some great sites for Year 6
  • Search engine: AskKids / Keywords: gold and NSW / Hits: hundreds / extremely useful / changing the keywords gave much better results
  • Search engine: Yahoo Kids / Keywords: discovery of gold in NSW / Hits: hundreds / fairly useful / a couple of useful sites for Year 6

I will be doing more research on this topic when I get the chance!

ETL501- Topic 3: Website Evaluation


Educational Criteria

Evaluate Cyberguide ratings – as tool / guide to assessing educational value of a site:

  • I like that it asks you to state the purpose for looking at a site: this provides a focus for a teacher or TL to clearly define the purpose that the site is required for and focuses on the suitability of the site
  • Noting possible uses for a site also focuses on the suitability for your purpose
  • Overall a useful & thorough tool for assessing the educational value of a site

Criteria that I might add:

  1. Does the site support “relevance  to the current or future curriculum”? How does it connect to the curriculum?
  2. Do materials overlap? Does the site provide a better/different perspective than resources already available in the library (Lamb & Johnson, 2010, Needs Connection section)
  3. Readability is very important to consider and the age appropriateness of the site (accommodating different reading levels)

Websites – reliability criteria
List of questions that TLs might consider in relation to reliability criteria

  • Is the author clearly identified?
  • Can you find out more about their credentials?
  • Do they have any authority on the topic?
  • Is bias clearly identifiable?
  • Is the site trying to sell you something?
  • Do you need to register to use site? Is the site collecting information about the users?
  • Is it sponsored by some type of organisation?
  • Is the purpose of the site clear?
  • Is the date it was created clearly identified?
  • Is the date last updated included?
  • Are any links provided appropriate for age of students?
  • Is it easy to get back to original page?
  • Does the site have acceptable readability?
  • Is this site stable? Will it be there when you go back to use?

Websites – technical criteria

  • Need to consider if the bandwidth is capable of supporting site?
  • Do all images / graphics load when you open site?
  • Does it work properly with your internet browser?

Other Commentary on the readings in Topic 3

  • Johnson and Lamb (2007) provide a great example of a simple and effective web evaluation tool for primary school aged children (Web Evaluation Tools section).
  • Barcalow’s (2003) CARS checklist provides a clear and effective evaluation criteria to use with students of all ages. I think it would be particularly appropriate for young children. I would adapt and use this.
  • In the article by Harris (2010) he discusses how a site may show unfairness or bias by the language and tone that is used. The tone may be highly emotional. Harris states that “angry, hateful, critical, spiteful tones often betray an irrational and unfair attack underway rather than a reasoned argument.” (2010, Fairness section). This made me think that maybe this could be a good place to start teaching younger children about bias, as they may be able to understand and identify some of these emotions / tones in the writing.


Barcalow, T. (2003). CARS: Evaluating websites.Retrieved from

Harris, R. (2010). Evaluating Internet research resources. Retrieved from

Johnson, L. & Lamb, A. (2007). Evaluating internet resources. Retrieved from

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010). Information access and delivery: Materials review and selection. In The school library media specialist. Retrieved from