ETL402 – My ideas on the future of children’s literature


Do you have a vision for the future of children’s literature? Who will be the drivers of change?

As I worked through the readings in Module 1.2 about the history of children’s literature and the history of ideas of what childhood has meant in society, I have clearer ideas about my vision for the future of children’s literature and who will be the drivers of change.

My vision for the future of children’s literature encompasses narratives that help children to understand the world and the society they live in, it offers different perspectives, it helps them discover self-identity, it challenges them, it produces more questions, it ignites their imagination and fundamentally gives them enjoyment. My vision for children’s literature is that it embraces and utilises both traditional print books and books in the digital environment, a partnership that enhances, offers choice and supports each other to offer a rich reading experience for children.

In today’s world children are surrounded by digital technology and they seem to embrace it with much enthusiasm. The digital environment offers children much more power about what they want to read and explore (McLean, 2013, p. 25). Due to this fact, I believe that children will be the drivers for change in the future of children’s literature. In saying that I do believe as educators and parents we will always have an important role in helping, guiding and posing questions for children’s reading journeys.


McLean, K. (2013). The future of children’s books in five trends [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from


ETL507 Final Reflective Portfolio


During my Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) studies there have been many critical points in my learning that have impacted my views, knowledge and understanding of the work of a teacher librarian (TL). These critical learning points have given me a deeper understanding of how a TL can be a responsive and effective leader in the school learning community. The following points influenced my learning significantly.

6967240653_f005576ecd_z“Digital Citizenship” by Dan Callahan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Critical Learning Point # 1: Good digital citizenship is an important part of information literacy

Gaining a deeper understanding of digital citizenship was a critical point in my learning about information literacy and the fundamental role a TL plays in teaching the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary for students to be ethical users of information. This critical point in my learning came during analysis of the question: Is information literacy more than just a set of skills? I critically analysed this question in Blog Task # 3 ( set in ETL401 – Introduction to Teacher Librarianship.

In the process of analysing issues and perspectives surrounding this question, it became clear that good digital citizenship is linked to the communicating and synthesizing steps of information literacy (Abilock, 2014, Communicating, synthesizing section, para. 3). In the 21st century, to be information literate students must learn to communicate their ideas effectively using current technologies (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014, Communicating with ICT section, para. 1). Learning to participate in online spaces offers students new information experiences and opportunities to learn skills necessary to be effective and ethical users of information.

The impact of my learning is a deeper understanding and knowledge of the ethical issues that students encounter as they participate in the online community. These ethical issues include:

  • Appropriately expressing ideas and feelings whilst maintaining a strong sense of personal identity
  • Awareness and management of online privacy
  • Understanding the importance and responsibility of authorship
  • Understanding the importance of personal and information credibility
  • Civil and socially responsible participation in online communities (Waters, 2012, Social media 101 section, para. 7).

To address these ethical issues students will need to gain a variety of skills, knowledge, values and attitudes. It is the TLs role to teach students skills for personal safety practices and the values and attitudes necessary to behave in a civil manner in online spaces. The TL can guide and teach students to use information wisely and ethically and behave in a socially responsible manner when participating in the online community. Information literate students understand how their behaviour affects others in online spaces (Bundy, 2004, p. 11).

Introducing and creating new information experiences for students is an excellent way for a TL to be a leader in the school learning community. TLs can utilise current technologies that allow students to publish their work online using a variety of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Wikis and digital storytelling.

An article by John K. Waters titled ‘Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens’ was central to my learning about digital citizenship. This article also included a series of videos by Michael Wesch at FETC 2012, which were also instrumental to my learning.

Having gained a deeper understanding of rapidly changing technologies and online communities available to educators and students has highlighted the need for continuing professional development to support my future learning needs in this area. Regularly attending conferences like FETC, for educators interested in new ways to use technologies to enhance learning outcomes is one of my goals. As a non-practicing TL, in the future I intend to create learning experiences for students that require them to assess the credibility of information, research and find different viewpoints about issues and publish their work online (Waters, 2012, Day-to-day skill set section, para. 5).

254126209_e34a70abcc_o“Web 2.0 Tools” by circulating is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Critical Learning Point # 2 – The educational potential of Web 2.0 tools

In ETL501 – Information Environment, I experienced a number of critical learning points; one of the most valuable was gaining deeper understanding and knowledge about the educational potential of Web 2.0 tools in the work of a TL. As part of this subject we explored key aspects of Web 2.0 tools and considered their likely impact on education in today’s schools. In a blog post for this subject I highlighted some ideas on the educational potential of Web 2.0 tools (

A fundamental role of the TL is to support the capability of students in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Web 2.0 learning and teaching tools support the ICT capabilities described in the Australian Curriculum v7.1. Web 2.0 tools offer TLs the opportunity to utilise new and dynamic ways to engage students and improve information literacy skills (O’Connell, 2008, p. 53). The TL can create a school library service that is appropriate for the changing information environment, offering students diverse and meaningful experiences using ICTs and Web 2.0 tools for information seeking, sharing and communication purposes (O’Connell, 2008, p. 52).

Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Wikis and podcasts create flexible teaching and learning environments. Teaching and learning is not confined within the four walls of the library space. A TL can be responsive to the real learning needs unique to their students by using Web 2.0 tools to create personal student projects and class projects. Web 2.0 tools offer exciting new ways for students to publish their work. The TL can design pathfinders for specific grade learning areas that:

  • support curriculum learning outcomes
  • embed information literacy skills at the point of need
  • are tailored to the students’ learning needs

This learning experience has impacted my understanding and knowledge of how a TL can create opportunities for creativity with technology. My understanding and knowledge of diverse ways in which Web 2.0 tools can be utilised in the classroom and to collaborate with the professional educational community (Hauser, 2007, p. 7) has deepened significantly.

My learning was impacted by a chapter in an edited book titled “Information literacy meets Library 2.0”. The chapter was written by Judy O’Connell (2008) and titled, “School library 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures”. This chapter highlighted the importance for the TL to embrace and utilise Web 2.0 learning and teaching tools. These tools can help students to become successful researchers, independent learners, and effective users of information for sharing, collaborating, interacting and participating in the global online community (pp. 54-60).

A video by Allanah King (2007), titled “One woman’s wanderings with Web 2.0” was inspirational and impacted my learning about Web 2.0 tools. This video gave practical examples of how to use Web 2.0 tools in the classroom in meaningful and engaging ways. It provided me with a deeper understanding and knowledge of how blogs, podcasts, social booking tools and Skye could be used for classroom projects, as reflective tools, for communication, information sharing, interactivity and collaboration amongst students and teachers. It was inspiring to see how the students at the school in this video had class blogs that linked with other classes blogs and that the students used these blogs to share interesting things that their class were doing.

My understanding of the importance for TLs to keep up to date with the newest and best Web 2.0 teaching and learning tools has deepened considerably. As suggested by King (2007), I will continue to practice using Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, Wikis and podcasts to become competent in using the technology. As an effective TL it is essential to remain aware of and competent with Web 2.0 tools in order to teach the school learning community how to use them. Reading other TL’s blogs and journal articles is a practice that I intend to do in the future. An article by Joyce Valenza on the School Library Journal website is an excellent example of the information available about the best teaching and learning tools Web 2.0 has to offer ( Another excellent website on the best and most current Web 2.0 teaching and learning tools is Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything: Bloomin’ Apps. As a non-practicing TL, I feel excited about the future prospect of being a leader in the school community by introducing new and engaging information experiences necessary for 21st century learning.

Cloud 3(use)“Vision Statement” by Marie-Lee Walker Created with

Critical Learning Point # 3 – Creating a vision statement for the school library

Gaining understanding and knowledge about what a vision statement is and how to create one for a school library was a critical learning point. I gained a deeper understanding of how the TL can be an effective leader in the school community by creating a vision statement as an essential part of a strategic framework for the future of a school library (Jisc, 2014, What is a vision statement section, para. 1). A vision statement allows the TL to articulate aspirational goals for school library service and demonstrates its key function of supporting students to become successful researchers and users of information (Crowley, 2011, p. 26).

A vision statement is strategic in nature (Johnson, 2010; Walter & Weisberg, 2011, p. 18). It provides the school community with a clear direction for guiding the change process necessary to meet the changing needs of the school learning community. It is essential the school community understands the goals for the future of the school library, as it takes the effort of many to achieve these goals (Jisc, 2014, Why do you need a vision statement section, para. 1-2).

In ETL504 – Teacher Librarian as Leader, I was introduced to the acronym SMART, an effective tool to measure the success of a vision statement (used for Assessment 2). SMART deepened my knowledge and understanding of following guidelines when writing a vision statement. The following is an explanation of this acronym:

S – Simple: Use language that is simple and easy to understand for all members of the school community. Do not use teacher librarian jargon (Jisc, 2014, A good vision statement section, para. 8).

M – Measurable: Goals need to be measurable (Jisc, 2014, A good vision statement section, para. 5). For example, increasing online resources by 25% to meet curriculum learning outcomes.

A – Achievable: Goals need to be achieved. The TL needs to be realistic about what can be achieved. It is important that the school community sees success (Jisc, 2014, A good vision statement section, para. 5).

R – Reasonable: Be reasonable about what can be achieved; break larger tasks into small tasks so they are not overwhelming. Prioritise what can be done over a specified period of time (Jisc, 2014, A good vision statement section, para. 5).

T – Timeframe: Have a specified period of time to achieve the goals. Reviewing a vision statement every 3 – 5 years is important (Jisc, 2014, How far should you look ahead section, para. 3). It is important to set targets for each year of the specified time.

This learning experience has impacted my understanding and knowledge of how important it is for a TL to develop a vision for the future of the school library service. It has impacted my understanding of how the TL can be a leader in driving and communicating a vision. This learning experience has deepened my understanding of how a school library vision statement is necessary to create ongoing improvement of the library services. In particular, I have new understanding of how a vision statement for a school library in the 21st century must incorporate the significant role of technology as a tool for teaching information literacy skills and to support curriculum learning outcomes.

A video by Virtualstrategist (2008, July 9) titled “How to write a vision statement that inspires”, was essential to my understanding of the important characteristics of a vision statement and how to begin creating one.

A website by Jisc (2014) included a section titled “Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values”. The information in this resource impacted on my understanding and knowledge of what makes a good vision statement.

In my future practice as a TL, I intend to ensure that any school library I work in has a vision statement as part of a strategic framework for the future of the school library service. If one does exist I will ascertain how long ago this statement was created and decide if it needs to be reviewed and updated.

Library Space3

“Library Space” by Marie-Lee Walker Created with

Critical Learning Point # 4 – The creative use of space in libraries: Meeting the needs of the community

During the ETL507 Study Visit I was given the opportunity to experience and observe how different libraries used the space within the library to best meet the needs of the community they served. One library visit that left a lasting impact in regards to how the library space was utilised was the Sydney Institute of TAFE – Ultimo College Library. There was a real sense that this library was a space for the learning community and a clear demonstration of the benefits of using the library space creatively. This library’s approach to the use of the library space was strategic, creative, flexible, dynamic and responsive to its users needs. Some examples of the creative features used in this library space included free Wi-Fi (BYOD), meeting places, specified quiet areas, beanbags, jigsaws, Sega (computer games), a fashion space, iPad’s with magazines and Chinese newspapers. All of these creative features addressed the specific needs of the diverse range of learners and staff at this TAFE community.

This learning experience has impacted my knowledge and understanding of how important it is for school libraries (and the broader library context) to creatively use the library space to meet the specific needs of the community they serve. I have a deeper understanding of how important it is for the library to offer spaces for different learning styles, areas for collaborative projects, quiet reading and research areas, areas for play and areas just to relax (Engel Lesneski, 2012). It is also imperative that school libraries are designed to meet the needs of disabled users (Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals & Museums Libraries and Archives, 2007, p. 4).

I have gained a deeper knowledge and understanding of the strategic planning that is needed to accomplish a vision for a library space. Taking into consideration budget constraints that my limit what means a TL has to design and create an ideal library space; it is something that can be worked towards with strategic planning and a clear vision for the future of the library. TL’s can be creative in the use of the library space by having a flexible space that supports different learning and teaching styles (Sullivan, 2011, p. 27). A flexible space caters for collaborative and project-based learning and the use of mobile technologies. It is important for the TL to plan for the infrastructure (e.g. adequate power outlets) that will support a flexible space and the increasing use of mobile technologies (Sullivan, 2011, p. 29). I have a better understanding of the importance of using technology as a tool for teaching and engaging students in their own learning (Engel Lesneski, 2012, para. 3).

My learning was impacted by an article titled “Divine design: How to create the 21st-century school library of your dreams” by Margaret Sullivan (2011) This article highlighted some key principles and practical examples to creating a flexible space for the school library to meet the needs of the school learning community in a 21st century environment (pp. 27-32).

A video by NationalLibraryNZ (2013, February 25) titled “School libraries: Excellence in practice at Amesbury school”, provided me with an excellent example of a purpose built school library that had created a flexible space for the school community to learn, investigate, research, read, collaborate, relax and incorporated the use of technology and mobile devices for teaching and learning. This school library has created a space that is meeting the needs of its school community.

“School Libraries: Excellence in Practice at Amesbury School” by NationalLibraryNZ  is licensed under CC BY 4.0

In my future practice as a TL, I intend to stay abreast of current ideas for library design by continuing to read about different examples and ideas and ensure that any school library I work in is doing its best to create spaces that meet the needs of the school community. Visiting other libraries is another way to gain creative ideas about effective library design and use of space.

5907672591_b48c691972_z-1“Dewey Decimal System Poster” by Maggie Appleton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Critical Learning Point # 5 – Dewey Decimal Classification scheme in practice

During my ETL507 Professional Placement at Lismore City Public Library I had the opportunity to learn about the practical application of the Dewey decimal classification (DDC) scheme and how individual libraries may tailor this system to meet the needs of their users and the context of the individual library. This professional placement helped to clarify my understanding of the DDC scheme in conjunction with the Assessment 2 for ETL505.

The Lismore City Library is one of twelve branches that falls under the umbrella of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library. Lismore library is one of the largest library branches with one of the largest collections. During this placement I was able to observe the nuances of using DDC for different branches. I learnt how the physical size of the library and the collection may influence the call numbers used or location devices that are added to reflect the needs of the community and to assist in the exact location of materials.

An example of this was the different call numbers used for the same book in two different branches of the library. The book titled “Leaf Litter” by Rachel Tonkin was placed in the Junior Non-Fiction collection of the Lismore library and assigned the call number Q 577.3 TONK. The ‘Q’ represents Quarto, which is larger format books; where the spine measures 27cm high or more. While in a much smaller branch of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library, this book was placed in the “Easies” collection and given the book number EASY TONK. As the smaller library branch has a much smaller physical space and smaller collection the DDC scheme is not always the most effective for classification of materials. To assist users to effectively retrieve this particular book it was placed with the picture books. In the context of the larger Lismore library, use of the DDC scheme provided effective retrieval for users.

The impact of this learning experience was to give me a deeper understanding of how individual libraries (including school libraries) must decide what classification scheme or what local devices need to be added to DDC numbers within the library catalogue to reflect the organisation within the collection and to assist in the precise location of materials.

An experimental website titled ‘Classify’ (2014) which has been created by the Online Computer Library Center, Inc provided me with access to classification numbers and indicates the most common DDC applied to a particular resource.

The Glossary for WebDewey was helpful in assisting me to understand the definitions and technical terms used in the DDC scheme. For example the definitions for Book number and Call number.

In my future practice as a TL, I intend to become more familiar with the DDC scheme and the use of WebDewey. It is important for me to understand the nuances and modifications that the Schools Cataloguing Information Service uses in regards to DDC, this involves becoming very familiar with the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry. As a TL, I need to be aware of and make decisions about what location devices need to be added to SCIS call numbers, to best assist the school learning community successfully retrieve the information resources they need.


Abilock, D. (2014). Information literacy. Building blocks of research: Overview of design, process and outcomes. In Noodletools. Retrieved from

Appleton, M. (2011, July 6). Dewey decimal system poster [Flickr image]. Retrieved from

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. In Australian Curriculum. Retrieved September 3, 2014, from

Bundy, A. (Ed.). (2004). Australian and New Zealand information literacy framework: Principles, standards and practice (2nd ed.). Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals., & Museums Libraries and Archives Council. (2007). Designed for learning: School libraries. Retrieved from

Callahan, D. (2012, March 9). Digital citizenship [Flickr image]. Retrieved from

Circulating. (2006, September 27). Web 2.0 tools [Flickr image]. Retrieved from

Crowley, J. (2011). Developing a vision: Strategic planning for the school librarian in the 21st century (2nd ed.). Retrieved from EBook Library

Engel Lesneski, T. (2012). How to design library space with kids in mind: Library by design. Retrieved from

Hauser, J. (2007). Media specialists can learn Web 2.0 tools to make schools more cool. Computers in Libraries, 27(2), 6-8. Retrieved from

Jisc. (2014). Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values. In Jisc infoNet. Retrieved from

Johnson. B. D. [Bruce D. Johnson]. (2010, May 12). What’s the difference between mission and vision? [Video file]. Retrieved from

King, A. [AllanahK]. (2007). One woman’s wanderings with Web 2.0 [Video file]. Retrieved from

NationalLibraryNZ. (2013, February 25). School libraries: Excellence in practice at Amesbury school [Video file]. Retrieved from

O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0: New skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets library 2.0 (pp. 51-62). London: Facet Publishing.

Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (2014). Classify. An experimental classification web service. Retrieved from

Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (2014). Glossary. Retrieved from

Schrock, K. (2014). Kathy Schrock’s guide to everything: Bloomin’ apps. Retrieved from

Sullivan, M. (2011). Divine design. School Library Journal, 57(4), 26. Retrieved from

Valenza, J. (2013, June 29). Best websites for teaching and learning 2013 [Blog post]. In School Learning Journal. Retrieved from

Virtualstrategist. (2008, July 9). How to write a vision statement that inspires [Video file]. Retrieved from

Walker, M. (2013, May 12). ETL401 blog task # 3 information literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Walker, M. (2013, September 13). ETL501 topic 5 Web 2.0 and the school library [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Walter, V. A., & Weisburg, H. K. (2011). Being indispensable: A school librarian’s guide to becoming an invaluable leader. Retrieved from EBook Library.

Waters, J. K. (2012). Turning students into good digital citizens. The Journal. Retrieved from

ETL505 Assignment 2 – Part C: Critical Reflection


This subject has given me a deeper understanding of the role a teacher librarian (TL) must play ensuring the school community has effective access to quality resources. The digital revolution has many advantages and challenges. In the online environment students have access to an ever increasing amount of information, which can make it harder to find the information to best address their needs; some information resources are better than others (Hider, 2012, p. xi).

A fundamental role of the TL is to support and improve the students’ ability to successfully retrieve information. Effective collection management and development ensures quality resources (physical and virtual) are available to the school community. This subject highlights the important role of the TL in organising resources to facilitate effective access for the school community (Hider, 2012, p. xi). Quality metadata is vital for effective access to resources.

Information resource description and organisation topics deepened my understanding of how important these practices are in ensuring resources remain re-accessible and re-usable for the school community (Hider, 2012, p. 61). Using the Resource Description and Access (RDA) toolkit to create metadata for information resources deepened my understanding of how metadata standards are essential to meet the needs of library users.

It is vital the TL understands the diverse learning needs of the school community. This includes special needs, range of reading and cognitive levels and information searching habits of students. Younger children may have difficulty reading extensive text created for information resource descriptions (Jacobsen, 2011, p. 20). TLs need awareness of these learning needs when selecting or creating metadata for catalogues. Understanding ensures the metadata used in information organisation employs language that can be read and understood by students searching for information (Jacobsen, 2011, p. 21).

Understanding the conceptual model, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) was a critical learning point. The concepts that RDA is based on helped me to understand RDA is a standard for resource description and access that focuses on the convenience of the user. The first principle of FRBR focuses on the user tasks of FINDING, IDENTIFYING, SELECTING and OBTAINING the information needed (Education Services Australia [ESA], 2013, pp. 10-11). Implementation of RDA by the Schools Information Catalogue Service in 2013 ensures school libraries can utilise these changes to library cataloguing. RDA is designed for the digital environment. It emphasises the importance of resource relationships, provides precision to access points, internationally focused and search results provide users with meaningful information (ESA, 2013, p. 9).

Access to the SCIS cataloguing products was essential for a deeper understanding about SCIS subject headings and catalogue records. I have clearer understanding when looking at a SCIS catalogue record, what the metadata means, why it is there and how it can provide effective access to resources for users.

Access to WebDewey has provided a deeper understanding of how classification numbers are assigned in DDC23 and ADDC15. Gaining a deeper understanding of how SCIS assigns classification numbers for resources guided by the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry. The overarching role of the school library is to meet the needs of the school community, this includes decisions about which level of classification the school library uses and what local devices need to be added to SCIS classification numbers to best meet the needs of the school community.


Education Services Australia. (2013). SCIS cataloguing update: RDA in school libraries. Retrieved from

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

Jacobsen, L. A. (2011). How children search. In S. S. Intner., J. F. Fountain & J. Weihs (Eds.), Cataloging correctly for kids: An introduction to the tools (5th ed.). (pp. 19-23). Retrieved from EBook Library.

EER500 Assignment 1a – Draft Research Question


Research Topic or Problem

Children’s fiction has a vital influence in helping children understand and make sense of the world they live in, including the development of their understanding of gender and their own gender identity. Research has shown that there is a persistent gender stereotyping and an unequal representation of male over female protagonists in children’s fiction. These gender issues in children’s fiction reinforce a dominant message that males have a more interesting and important role in society than females. Children’s fiction and gender is one of the topics mentioned on a news item for the Gender Institute at The Australian National University, Canberra (2014). This news article sparked interest in this topic.

 Draft Research Question

 Does gender stereotyping in children’s fiction have a negative affect on how girls see their importance and value in society?

 From Literature to Research Question

The research articles used for this task both suggest that the implications of persistent underrepresentation of females and gender stereotyping in children’s fiction is a concerning issue. The articles suggest these gender issues influence how children develop gender identities. The dominant message being that boys and men have a more interesting and important role in society than do girls and women (Leland, Harste, & Clouse, 2013; McCabe, Fairchild, Grauerholz, Pescosolido, & Tope, 2011).

The first article focuses on the persistent underrepresentation of female protagonists in children’s picture books and book titles (McCabe et al., 2011). In this study over 5000 children’s picture books published in the twentieth century were analysed. It is suggested that the disparities in children’s fiction may contribute to children’s ideas (in particular girls) about gender identity (McCabe et al., 2011, p. 221). The authors use the term “symbolic annihilation” (Tuchman, as cited in McCabe et al., 2011, p. 198) to describe the underrepresentation of girls and women in children’s fiction.

The second article focuses on stereotyping in children’s picture books. A group of children analyse picture books published from 1995 onwards and identify gender stereotyping and how male and female characters are represented. This study goes further by arguing that “stereotypical portrayals hurt both girls and boys by positioning them as certain kinds of people they might not wish to be” (Leland et al., 2013, p. 6). The research question narrows the focus to the negative affect gender stereotyping has on girls.

Practical Importance

The research question could be important in raising awareness among educators about the persistent gender stereotyping in children’s fiction and the social implications for ignoring the negative affect this may have on children, with a focus on girls.  This awareness could be transferred in to practical use by influencing educators to start regular conversations with children about gender stereotyping in children’s fiction. Educators could teach children to acknowledge, question and challenge gender stereotyping in children’s books (Leland et al., 2013, p. 8).


Leland, C. H., Harste, J., & Clouse, L. (2013). Talking Back to Stereotypes. Journal of Reading Education, 38(2), 5-9. Retrieved from

McCabe, J., Fairchild, E., Grauerholz, L., Pescosolido, B. A., & Tope, D. (2011). Gender in twentieth-century children’s books: Patterns of disparity in titles and central characters. Gender & Society, 25(2), 197-226. doi:10.1177/0891243211398358

The Australian National University, Canberra. (2014). Fun with Dick and Jane: Gender and childhood [News item]. Retrieved March 4, 2014, from

ETL501 Assignment 2: Critical Reflection


Creating a pathfinder was a challenging and rewarding process. The topic for my pathfinder is the life cycle of a butterfly for Year 4 students. The following will be discussed:

  • Curricular context
  • Projected learning outcomes
  • Search strategies
  • How searching tools and sources were used and an evaluation of these
  • Information literacy (IL) skills
  • How a teacher librarian (TL) can utilise pathfinders in their role

The curricular context focuses on the scientific understanding that all living things have life cycles (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2013). The learning outcomes for students when using the pathfinder as a searching aid are as follows:

  • Students will use ICTs to improve their ability to access information to solve their information needs (ACARA, 2013, General capabilities ICT section, para. 1).
  • Students will develop knowledge and skills to interpret the language used in the pathfinder. They will develop the disposition to use these skills when using language for learning and communicating (ACARA, 2013, General capabilities literacy section, para. 1).
  • Students use critical and creative thinking to evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and consider alternatives. This enables students to generate their own knowledge and ideas for learning (ACARA, 2013, General capabilities critical and creative thinking section, para. 1).

These search strategies were used for the resources listed on my pathfinder.

Reference Sources

  • Diigo (2013) as a search engine. This was an effective search tool as the information found had been bookmarked by educators with similar information needs.
  • NoodleTools (2013) to locate search engines other than Google. This was an effective search strategy as it allowed me to use the best search engines for my information needs.
  • Readability was tested with a readability test tool (Simpson, 2013).

Non-fiction print books

  • Online vendors used to search for books.
  • Trove website (National Library of Australia, 2013). This was an effective source as you can specify what resource format you require.
  • Selection criteria included appropriateness, scope, accuracy, treatment, authority, physical quality, aesthetic quality and literary merit (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall, 2005, pp. 46-47).
  • An audio book for aural learners and EAL/D students was included. The audio book is useful for students that have a visual impairment.

Search Engine

  • Judy O’Connell’s LiveBinders (2011) information, for alternatives to Google provided quality search engines for children.
  • When using Diigo (2013) as a search engine, I found the MakeUseOf (Basu, 2010) website with suggestions for ten search engines that are appropriate for children.
  • Readability of these search engines was tested.


  • Used Diigo, Google, NoodleTools. These tools were effective as they provided a broad range of website resources.
  • Readability for websites was tested to find a graduation of difficulty in reading levels.
  • Educational criteria was focused on first, as websites need to meet students learning needs and be relevant to the curriculum before anything else (Herring, 2010, p. 40).
  • Web design factors such as avoiding too much red and green to cater for colour blindness (Charles Sturt University, 2013, pp. 3-4).
  • Websites with videos were selected to enhance the learning process for visual and aural learners. Websites with text and images were selected to enhance the learning process for visual learners. Interactive websites were selected to enhance the learning process for kinaesthetic learners (Hook, 2002, pp. 247-248).

Information Literacy Skills

On the home page I introduced the idea that some of the resources will be easy to read and some harder. I provided students with a legend to guide their selection of resources. This reading level guide allows students to independently evaluate the resources and provides an opportunity to select resources that best suit their reading ability. I placed a copy of this reading level legend on each page of the pathfinder that included resources to keep reminding students of this tool.

On the search engine and website pages Schrock’s 5 W’s of website evaluation model (2009) for students was embedded. Directing students to use these criteria before they start searching will reinforce the importance of good search strategies. This can then be supported by the TL when assisting students in their searching.

Role of the TL

Creating this pathfinder helped me to gain a deeper understanding of how a pathfinder is a valuable pedagogical strategy for the TL, to cater for the learning needs of many students at the same time (Hook, 2002, p. 243). Creating pathfinders for specific groups supports curriculum by providing a guide to a selection of quality resources. Pathfinders provide the TL with the opportunity to embed IL skills. By using electronic pathfinders students are developing their literacy and digital literacy skills. The pathfinder enables the TL to provide resource support for the school learning community. The TL can be a leader in introducing searching aids for students that support 21st century learners. These searching skills will be helpful to classroom teachers that may not have the best understanding of effective searching strategies (Valenza, 2004, p. 38).

The pathfinder supports the role of the TL both as a teacher and a librarian. Searching aids such as this pathfinder will enrich the learning process of the school community and embed IL skills for 21st century learning.



Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2013). General capabilities in the Australian curriculum. Retrieved from

 Basu. S. (2010). 10 Search engines for kids that help out parents with safe browsing. In MakeUseOf. Retrieved from

 Charles Sturt University. (2013). ETL501 Web design basics [ETL501 Resources] [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

 Diigo Inc. (2013). [Social bookmarking website]. Retrieved from Retrieved from

 Hook, P. (2002). Creating an online tutorial and pathfinder. Law Library Journal, 94(2), 243-265. Retrieved from

 Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions. Retrieved from

 National Library of Australia. (2013). Trove [National bibliographic database]. Retrieved from

 NoodleTools Inc. (2013). Choose the best search for your information need. Retrieved from

 O’Connell, J. [heyjudeonline]. (2011). Knowledge 2.0: Search engines with a twist. In LiveBinders. Retrieved from

 Schrock, K. (2009). The 5 W’s of web site evaluation. Retrieved from

 Simpson, D. (2013). Readability test tool. Retrieved from

 Valenza, J. (2004). Substantive searching: thinking and behaving info-fluently. Learning and Leading with technology, 32(3), 38-43. Retrieved from


ETL504 Assessment Item 2: Critical Reflection


During the course of this subject I have learnt an enormous amount about leadership and the plethora of different leadership styles. The 21st century is bringing a need for the library service to provide a richer virtual learning space. As transformational leadership embraces change and growth, it is a relevant and necessary style of leadership for the educational context and particularly for the teacher librarian (TL) (Leithwood, as cited in Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005, p. 15). Transformational leadership skills include considering the needs of others. The role of the TL requires the consideration of the needs of the school community. The TL can develop and implement innovative programs to address the changes that are needed for the growth of the library service. The TL can develop a vision for the library service that is aspirational and motivates others to work towards always improving. The TL can model best practices and be an advocate for lifelong professional learning. This style of leadership can assist a TL to lead the changes necessary for 21st century learning.

One of the main understandings that I have come away with is that leadership in schools will have a great impact on the quality of teaching which in turn influences the educational success of students (Townsend, 2011, p. 99). I touched on this understanding in my critical reflection in the first assessment task (Walker, 2013a). This understanding has become clearer for me over the course of this subject.

In my first blog post for this subject (Walker, 2013b) I stated a number of qualities that I believed a leader would possess. I mentioned twice that being a good listener is an important quality for a leader. I still believe this to be true. Although I have gained a deeper understanding that being a good listener is only one aspect of being an effective communicator. A leader needs to be able to communicate effectively with other colleagues about visions and goals for the future.

The TL as a leader will need to have effective communication skills to work collaboratively with the school principal and colleagues. I have gained a deeper understanding of how valuable it is for the TL as a leader to possess effective communication skills. Communication skills assist the TL to gather a comprehensive understanding of the school learning community so that learning needs can be clearly identified and addressed. This big picture perspective can assist the TL to provide a relevant, quality and balanced collection for the school community they serve.

This big picture perspective enables the TL to lead in developing innovative programs that meet the learning needs of the students and supports the teaching outcomes of the curriculum (Charles Sturt University [CSU], 2013, para. 2).

In my critical reflection for assessment one I wrote that:

“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. ” (Walker, 2013a)

I believe in essence I was on the right track with this statement. I now have a clearer understanding of how the TL can be a leader. Supporting the learning needs of the students and the teachers is essential (Collay, 2011, p. 83). The TL can do this by being a leader in curriculum development, which involves collaborative skills to work in teams with classroom teachers to design teaching programs and strategies. The TL can lead by building positive relationships with colleagues so that collaboration is effective and benefits the students and the teachers. Leadership is based on positive relationships (Collay, 2011, p. 84).

The TL is required to have a thorough understanding of the entire curriculum so that the library resource collection supports curriculum requirements and student’s learning needs. The TL can be a leader in designing innovative      pedagogical strategies and frameworks that help students to develop information literacy skills and supports the curriculum in a 21st century learning space and resource centre.


Collay, M. (2011). Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are. Retrieved from EBook Library. 

Charles Sturt University. (2013). Leading Change: Innovation and change management  [ETL504 Module 2]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works: From research to results. Retrieved from Ebook Library.

Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Different approaches to common problems?. School Leadership and Management, 31(2), 93-103. doi:10.1080/13632434.2011.572419

Walker, M. (2013a). ETL504 assessment item 1: Critical reflection [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Walker, M. (2013b). ETL504 module 1: Understanding of leadership (leadership theory) [Blog post]. Retrieved from

ETL504 Module 5: Environmental tactic of STEEP


I am not currently working in a school library, so I am going to attempt to do my best by using my daughters school library as my example to consider the environmental tactic of STEEP.


  • Students are welcome in the library anytime.
  • The library is well used for lunchtime social and leisure activities, i.e. using computers, reading, puzzles, board games, research for projects and drawing materials are available.
  • It is used as a meeting place for information nights, SRC and P&C meetings.
  • Recently an important meeting place for kindergarten orientation.
  • The library is used to display student’s artwork and other examples of student’s work.
  • The library is also a safe haven for students (many younger ones) who find the playground overwhelming.


  • The library has 24 computers in the computer lab
  • Plans for the future: have the library and school connected with wireless broadband with the intention of buying mobile devices eg. laptops and tablets.
  • Another plan for future is to purchase ebooks and ereaders (tablets mentioned above) for the library collection.
  • These plans will bring the technological environment of the library more into the 21st century to meet students information needs and support the new curriculum requirements.


  • The library is part of the school wide recycling program.
  • A lot of the paper is used for the children’s worm farms and composting. Recycled paper is used for printing etc.
  • To lessen the carbon footprint, local businesses are used wherever possible for purchasing of print resources.
  • The library utilises as much natural light as possible, so that less lighting is needed.
  • Deselected print resources are either recycled or passed on to be re-used.


  • Fundraising for library needs is prominent.
  • The library receives adequate funding for resources, programs and services.
  • The P&C is organising fundraising to help purchase wireless broadband for school and mobile devices required.


  • The school recently had a change of Principal.
  • This Principal is a strong advocate for the library programs and services and the work that the TL does.
  • The TL is actively involved in curriculum development.