The title of the session I am presenting at ASLA 13 today is:

Digital literacies: why they are vital for everyone and how teacher librarians can lead schools
in developing digital literacies for the entire school community.

Here’s the abstract of the session:

To be effective participants in today’s global society, we need a positive digital presence and to be digitally literate. Tips on how you can lead members of your school community to become effective and discerning global citizens, including having positive digital footprints and the benefits of working collaboratively online.

And here’s the presentation. It was too large for Slideshare, so hopefully Google Docs has kept all of the links and notes. Hope you find it useful.

Wheelers eBooks @Kewhslibrary

So we’ve finally managed to get our eBooks up and running at Kew High School. Thanks to our ICT guys and the Wheelers’ crew, our students can log in using their school credentials. We’re only starting small at the moment, with a big push beginning in term 1.

I’ve made this video, along with our AV Coordinator Huu Tran, to show students how they can download eBooks from our collection using their mobile device.

Melbourne High School library visit

Readers of this blog will know how much I love to visit other libraries. I love seeing the physical spaces and how the library is organised and used.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to visit Tania Sheko at Melbourne High School. Thanks to Tania and her team for generously sharing their time and morning tea!

The library is a vibrant place with the students variously using technologies to create, sitting quietly and reading, doing school work, interacting with each other and researching. The different areas provide separate spaces for all of these activities to occur independently and the displays are vibrant and stimulating.

Student RFID self checkout



Display upon entering the library


Art inspiration





Simon Pegg quote

It’s wonderful to have time to talk with colleagues; something that doesn’t happen very often. However I often find that this is where good ideas and collaboration springs from.

Thanks again to Tania and her terrific team at Melbourne High School.

ANZ 23 mobile things #anz23mthings

Abigail Willemse and Kate Freedman are running a new professional learning opportunity for library staff.

This free new online learning opportunity for Australian and New Zealand library type people is one not to be missed. Read how ANZ 23 mobile things came to fruition.

This week is week 1 and we’re looking at Twitter. I hope that anyone who needs to be introduced to online learning for library staff, anyone who needs a refresher or anyone who can mentor joins this terrific initiative.

eBooks for school libraries

Finally, my Storify on the fabulous ASLA Tasmania eBook conference for school llibraries held on Friday 12th April in Hobart.

Hope you find the information and links useful. Thanks to ASLA Tasmania and presenters for a great and informative day.

Penguin Teachers’ Academy resources

So today’s the big day of the Penguin Teachers’ Academy that I’ve been blathering on about here for the last little while. It should be a great day of sharing and learning. To help continue that, the vast majority of the resources I’ll present can be found here:

Cool reading resources wiki

Thanks to all of those people who have generously agreed to share their own work.

I had a dream

One night earlier this year, I had a dream where I was hosting the Readers’ Cup State Finals competition in conjunction with my friend and former colleague Reina Phung. Although I had voluntarily assisted SLAV to run the inaugural RC State Finals in 2009, they were no longer able to commit to their role again.

So. taking the dream as inspiration, I talked Reina into assisting me and as a bonus, another friend and former colleague, Jan Connor, came on board as well. We are all part timers with family commitments, so it meant we were able to find the time to meet and plan as well as offer the competition free of charge to schools.

The day of the Readers’ Cup State Finals arrived and it was with much excitement that students and teachers arrived, ready for the competition.

It was terrific to see the team signs the students had made identifying them for the judges, but also showing their creativity and individuality.

We began by asking four questions for the following books:

  • Ship Kings – the coming of the whirlpool
  • Dragon Keeper 4 – blood brothers

Then we had our creative round where teams created a digital interpretation of one of the four books studied. These were all so very different and engaging, showing a wide range of skills and creativity. Videos, interviews, videogames, quizzes and more were shown to an appreciative audience.

Rounds three and four encompassed:

  • Coraline
  • Diary of a whimpy kid – cabin fever

It was an extremely close competition with the following results (out of a total of 24):

  1. Gossip Group (23 points)
  2. Icy Bubbles (22.5 points)
  3. Razzledazzlers of Jazzmatazzles and 8 Grevillia (21 points each)
  4. 8 Fern and Computer Nerds ((20 points each)
  5. Extremely Mad Karate Chimps (18 points)
  6. Super Cool Crystal Jewel (17 points)

Congratulations to all students and their teachers for their hard work and organisation. We hope to see you all (and a few more teams) back again next year!

Huge thanks to Quantum Victoria and Allen and Unwin for their support. Thanks also to Reina Phung and Jan Connor who helped me organise the day. This enabled the Readers’ Cup to be run free of charge for schools.

Some dreams do come true. They may just take a little (or a lot) of work.

eBook update

A while back on my to-do list, I mentioned that eBooks of some sort were on our horizon at school. After 18 months of research, debate, throwing hands up in the air in despair, presentations from vendors, school-based surveys and talking to others we decided to buy three Kindles to trial.

Although we’ve just gone 1:1 in years 9 and 1o and we wanted students to be able to read eBooks on their Dell tablet, we couldn’t find a solution that fitted financially and technically.

So the minute I got the go ahead to try some Kindles, I raced to the car and down to the local retailer. We decided to make the Kindles genre-based and each has a different colour cover.

So we began with:

  • scifi/fantasy (Hunger Games, etc)
  • classics and relationships
  • mystery/thrillers

Each Kindle has about 30 books. Students are allowed to borrow for two weeks, the same period as other library books, however a signed form from home has to be submitted before borrowing. There’s been a few interesting results…

  1. A boy who read Pride and prejudice since it was on the Kindle. He wouldn’t have ever borrowed a copy, but he said he actually enjoyed reading it.
  2. A non-reader had his nose stuck in the Kindle during a reading lesson and was desperate to borrow it!

 So far so good. The challenge will be to keep promoting them.

On a different note, I bought a Kindle for my 9 year old niece. She’s addicted to it and has read 14 books in two weeks. Some of the books had 400 odd pages, so another success. I like that the Kindle is just for reading and there’s no distractions like when I read on the iPad.

You know I love a school visit

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to visit St Andrew’s Lutheran College thanks to the kindness of teacher librarian at ICT guru Julia Boulton.

Being a P-12 school, there were two lovely libraries to visit and gain inspiration from. The Junior School library is compact, attractive and bright, with lots of references to the PYP IB program.

The Senior School library is a new facility that is just mind-blowing. The facilities are superb and the design is functional but also wildly engaging and beautiful.

It was also lovely to see student vege gardens and students engaged in their learning.

It was a real honour to be able to visit and I thank Julia for the time and effort she invested in making my visit happen and the other staff who took time out from their day to discuss libraries, learning and schools with me.