ETL501 – Assessment item 2 – Electronic Pathfinder and Critical Reflection. Part 2 : Critical reflection

In order to create a pathfinder for the year 8 Geography syllabus it became apparent early in the process that the 7 – 10 mandatory Stage 4 Global Geography syllabus has many broad reaching topics and components and it would be essential that I focus on one targeted specific area of this syllabus in order to design a wiki which will guide students through a process of understanding the relevant issues. Also, I have become aware that the journey students will take when following the wiki not only teaches the students the curricular content , but more importantly, it teaches them information literacy skills and demonstrates how to use all the aspects of the school library and what it has to offer. With a directed learning strategy such as this coming from the library, designed by the teacher librarian (TL), it creates the situation where this practice places the library as central to student learning in ways which are different from classroom teaching practice.

As ETL501 unfolded I have been reintroduced to Bloom’s with concepts of learning which have evolved to accommodate advances in technology. The revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (Schrock, 2015) and how the vast world of Web 2.0 tools which support learning has been a great revelation. Having been introduced to this array of Web 2.0 tools, I can see almost endless possibilities for using these applications (apps) across whole school learning and how these can be aligned to support general capabilities such as critical and creative thinking (Australian Curriculum assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013) (ACARA).

With the world wide web (www) considered a resource to support student learning there is the need to know teach students how to use the web effectively. This subject has shown me how to guide students to evaluate Web pages for authenticity, applicability, authorship, bias and usability (Schrock, 2002) through use of such models as Kathy Schrock’s 5 W’s of website evaluation (2015) because there’s lots of good information on the internet, but you will also find opinions, misconceptions, and inaccurate information (Johnson & Lamb, 2007). Students need to be made aware of the quality of information prior to accepting it as valid and useful.

This task has challenged me to understand how to firstly design a subject specific pathfinder wiki, and then understand how the design of this wiki can be used as a template to create a pathfinder relevant to any curriculum content. I can see that by introducing this pathfinder concept to teaching colleagues, the teacher librarian is creating the position where they can be seen as a valued source of educational theory and not just a librarian who ‘looks after the books’.

I have been introduced to the concept of social bookmarking and the value of this collective online environment allowing for a content curation process to occur. This provides the opportunity where both teachers and students may cull through the many resources on the web, select the most relevant ones and place them where they may be organised and maintained in a logical format for sharing and later use (Media Inc., 2012). Jennifer Moss (2012) suggests that Content Curation has many applications in the class environment including creating group activities, sharing of new content, encouraging students to be content creators and curators, connecting to experts in the outside world, helping students to gain credibility and exposure, and develop skills critiquing information available on the web. These are only some of the possibilities and options for this cloud based forum. This is a new technology and approach that I will endeavour to introduce into my school to coordinate and guide from the central position of the library.

This task of creating the pathfinder wiki and aligning it to the ACARA General Capabilities( ACARA, 2013) has highlighted to me the broader implications and capacity of this learning tool to be used as a template with many applications possible across the whole school learning community. It has delivered understanding of how the library can create learning processes for students which will strengthen their information literacy skills and help them to become discerning internet users. I feel that for the long term survival and justification of school libraries into the future, part of the process will involve development of the learning environment to one which meets the needs of the exponentially growing digital world. This subject has given me the direction in which to develop library processes, and with conscious planning towards such, I look forward to developing my skills and understanding into the future in on an ongoing basis.

References

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Board of Studies New South Wales (2003). Geography 7 – 10 Syllabus. Retrieved 25 Sept, 2015 from http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_sc/pdf_doc/geography_710_syl.pdf

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Schrock, K. (2015). Kathy Schrock’s guide to everything. Retrieved 5 Oct, 2015 from http://www.schrockguide.net/bloomin-apps.html

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Schrock, K. (2002). Teaching media literacy in the age of the internet: The ABCs of website evaluation. Retrieved 24 Sept, 2015 from http://kathyschrock.net/eval/pubs/weval_02.pdf

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Water Sanitation Health, (2015). Retrieved  24 Sept, 2015 from http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/jmp_fast_facts/en/

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