On Wednesday June 20th, Michele Whiting and I were at the Beehive to speak to the submission that SLANZA made to the Inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments.
We were able to listen to three other presentations - Microsoft International, LIANZA and Alan Cooper who was representing a cluster of schools. It was great to hear the other presentations, especially as the key messages from LIANZA complemented ours.
Our key messages were as follows:
It was a very brief block of time, but we made the most of it. We were asked about ancillary staffing, and Michele answered the question as she is the Principal at Corinna School and has first hand experience in managing her school's budget.
We were also informed that we may be contacted again, if they have additional questions. We'll let you know if we hear anything further.
If you liked the latest SLANZA Collected Magazine, which is full of articles and information about the whys and hows of curation and you were wowed by keynote speaker Joyce Valenza as she entertained and informed us at last year's SLANZA conference in Auckland then you might like to take a look at this short article written by the wonderful Joyce in the latest Syba Signs magazine.
Seven tools you may may not know you can search with, lists those tools and how Joyce is using them to help her students understand and take on board the skill of curation.
More food for thought to put into the mix of how to curate what we find and use on the internet.
What an amazing PD event that the Otago regional committee held today, and it isn't over yet.
We've been excited by Miriam Tuohy's Bookapedia Battles, and shared recommendations for lots of wonderful reading. Carole Gardiner gave us great tips on collection development, Pam Garry shared how Choccywoccydoodah gets her boys reading, we've investigated lots of wonderful iPad apps courtesy of Stephen Anderson, and started making a blog or website and explored the wonders of Google apps! (And I presented my fist keynote address - phew....)
Dunedin has turned on gorgeous sunny weather for us, the food has been sooo yummy and the sharing between colleagues has been fantastic.
Wow, and we have more tomorrow! Looking forward to Gill Fisher's presentation about building a book culture and David Elliot telling us about his new picture book 'A tale of two pigs'.
Kia ora Koutou,
Recently we posted an update to the blog on the SLANZA submission to the Select Committee inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy. You can read that post here, and find links to information about the inquiry itself, and to the SLANZA submission document.
Today, Michele Whiting, who presented the submission on behalf of SLANZA, has been invited to appear at the hearing on the morning of Wednesday 20 June. She will be accompanied by Fiona Mackie, our President, and they will have a 20 minute opportunity to give an overview of the content of our submission and raise any additional points. There is an allowance of ten minutes for the Committee to ask questions. We may also submit additional papers at this time.
We will provide further updates as information comes to hand, although it is unlikely that we will have anything to report after this session, unless the questions posed by the Select Committee are interesting in themselves.
Please contact your local NE representative if, after reading the documentation you believe there are glaring omissions in the points we have raised.
The SLANZA National Executive has just put out a press release in response to the recent decision to increase class sizes. Full content follows:
The Government’s policy to increase class sizes to release funds for teacher development demonstrates a lack of awareness of the needs of 21st Century learners, according to the School Library Association of New Zealand/ Aotearoa.
“Things have changed since the Minister of Education was in school”, said Fiona Mackie, President of SLANZA. “ It is well recognized that we cannot meet the diverse needs of students now and in the future with classes of 41, such as she experienced 40 years ago”.
“School librarians understand this as they are working at the cutting edge, where information technology and E-learning meets the classroom”, said Ms. Mackie. “Schools also have to meet diverse needs and these factors combined mean that teaching from the front of the classroom to large numbers of students just won’t make the grade any more”.
“The Minister is also mistaken when she relies so heavily on research that says class sizes don’t matter. While the quality of the teacher has the most impact, the work of Russell Bishop and others demonstrates that relationships between teacher and student make the most difference – particularly for Maori. It clearly easier to develop those relationships when the class sizes are smaller,” said Ms. Mackie.
“With the changes announced by the government, schools will have to make difficult staffing choices and some may unwisely decide to cut school librarians rather than lose a teacher”, said Ms. Mackie. “If this happens it undermines the goal of raising student achievement in literacy, as well staffed school libraries have a pivotal role to play in this. The National Standards emphasise the need to teach literacy across the curriculum, including information and digital literacy, where experienced librarians are the experts”.
“The government needs to rethink its policy”, said Ms. Mackie.
SLANZA has made a submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee "Inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy". You can find the Terms of Reference for the inquiry online here, and SLANZA's submission is available here (pdf). We have asked to appear before the committee to speak to this submission, and will keep you informed of progress.