Tag Archives: Curriculum development

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 http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/Overview

 Basu. S. (2010). 10 Search engines for kids that help out parents with safe browsing. In MakeUseOf. Retrieved from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-search-engines-kids-parents-safe-browsing/

 Charles Sturt University. (2013). ETL501 Web design basics [ETL501 Resources] [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL501_201360_W_D/page/edb1d4f0-eb3a-4c4b-80fd-8e0037eb33f1

 Diigo Inc. (2013). [Social bookmarking website]. Retrieved from Retrieved from https://www.diigo.com/

 Hook, P. (2002). Creating an online tutorial and pathfinder. Law Library Journal, 94(2), 243-265. Retrieved from http://www.aallnet.org/main-menu/Publications/llj

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

 National Library of Australia. (2013). Trove [National bibliographic database]. Retrieved from http://trove.nla.gov.au/book

 NoodleTools Inc. (2013). Choose the best search for your information need. Retrieved from http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/5locate/adviceengine.html

 O’Connell, J. [heyjudeonline]. (2011). Knowledge 2.0: Search engines with a twist. In LiveBinders. Retrieved from http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=77617

 Schrock, K. (2009). The 5 W’s of web site evaluation. Retrieved from http://kathyschrock.net/abceval/5ws.pdf

 Simpson, D. (2013). Readability test tool. Retrieved from http://www.read-able.com/bookmarklet.html

 Valenza, J. (2004). Substantive searching: thinking and behaving info-fluently. Learning and Leading with technology, 32(3), 38-43. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-leading



ETL401 – Topic # 3


What is an appropriate role for the teacher librarian in curriculum development?

Each particular school context will greatly influence the TL in the decisions that are made about the curriculum learning and the service the library provides (O’Connell, 2013, Slide 2). It is beneficial to the whole learning community if the TL is significantly involved in the development of the curriculum.

What benefits can a school obtain from the active involvement of the teacher librarian in curriculum development?

The TL is looking at things in a “big picture way”. With teacher collaboration the TL can help identify areas of the curriculum that can be enriched by bringing the students (and teacher) out of the classroom and in to a wider learning environment & utilising inquiry based learning to meet the curriculum needs and foster deeper understanding for the students. With teacher collaboration, TLs can focus in on areas of the curriculum where reading and literacy can be supported. TLs can add value to curriculum development by initiating activities that maximise new technologies to enrich learning and teaching experiences. TLs can emphasise how these can be used to facilitate learning. As Judy O’Connell states “inquiry is at the heart of our work, and is supported by information literacy frameworks to add depth to the thinking processes” (2013, slide 6). If constructivist learning is at the heart of the curriculum, and IBL and RBL are forms of constructivist learning, then the TLs expertise and experience in these areas can only be of benefit to curriculum development.

Should a principal expect that teachers would plan units of work with the teacher librarian?

Principals that understand the vital role that the TL plays in student’s achievement will also understand how collaboration between teachers and TLs is the essential ingredient for this to happen. A well informed and supportive Principal would do more than just expect that teachers plan units of work with TLs, they would be active in making sure that it does happen. Supportive Principals would schedule time for teachers and TLs to sit down together and collaborate about teaching and learning strategies for units of work.

How are students disadvantaged in schools that exclude the teacher librarian from curriculum development?

These students may be deprived of fully developing skills that they will need to function well in the 21C. These students could possibly miss out on developing the deep learning and understanding that can come from the TLs supportive role in an inquiry approach to their learning. These students may be lacking the skills and understanding that are enriched by researching, finding information, analysing information, synthesising information and presenting it. Student’s education will be disadvantaged if the TL and school library program is not utilised to it maximum potential. The TL needs to be involved in curriculum development for this to happen.


 O’Connell, J. (2013). Teacher librarian and the curriculum: Lifesavers of learning [Audio podcast]. Retrieved April 5, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/tool/967fb641-e8a6-470b-8079-12701ae22ac0/view_module