Conference – it seems so long ago but only 9 weeks
2 key things from conference
1. The reinforcement of feeling that I am part of a profession – not just a nice convenient job to suit mums who still have kids at school – which is where I have been at for the last 10 years. It was the calibre of the keynote speakers that really reinforced this for me.
· Tara Brabzon – what a personality and so challenging in her thinking. Statements such as :
o Too many decisions about teaching and learning have been automated. By talking about kids and tech we have avoid talking about learning and teaching.
o Balance between tech and education. If we stay where we are comfortable we don’t learn – need to be challenged. Tech should move use from our personal experience to the wider world. Aim of tech is not just speed and efficiency – to learn more, expand boundaries.
o Learning is hard. Liking, tweeting is easy – move beyond it!
o Don’t be limited by the platform (FB, twitter…). We need to be able to use all platforms. Be audience appropriate. Have ability to change platforms and/ or audiences with consciousness! Vocabulary to do so!
· Erica McWilliam – The era of big data! The future isn’t what it used to be. It is not as we imagined in the 80s all about robots and big machines but about data and data transformation. It’s about knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do! From her came my favourite quote of the conference – in education we are no longer a sage on the stage or a guide on the side – we are a meddler in the middle!!
· Cathy Wylie – her presentation of statistical evidence that reading matters – that it is not just about having the skills, it is about the habit and enjoyment of reading – young people reading because they want to not because they have to! She talked of collecting data on cognitive skills and attitudinal skills with a large group of children at different points in their life from 4 through to 20. Results showed that rich learning opportunities matter, that the strength of maternal qualifications and family income do influence outcomes. She spoke of print saturated environments being linked with children’s reading performance.
· Andrew Fiu – An interesting man and I would well recommend reading his book Purple Heart which made me laugh but also stop and think.
· Susan Sandretto – She spoke of changing literacy and the challenges involved. Of the information literacy skills needed to find, retrieve, analyse and use information. About making connections with multi-literacies and questioned ‘what counts as text?’ That we need information literate people who can critically evaluate information and its sources, who are willing to innovate and take risks. She talked about shifts in practise and the physical layout of libraries. The need to develop awareness of how texts affect how we think – not just the texts we read but also the texts we write!
2. The second key thing from conference was the workshop Creating Kids Lit experts. Run by 2 wonderful ladies from Southwell School – Gerri Judkins and Julie Huggins. They have been involved with teams competing at national and international level and have hosted an international final. Their knowledge and willingness to share was wonderful. And when I say share I don’t just mean telling us about their experiences but also sharing the resources and ideas that they use with their Kids Lit teams. Without a doubt it is the ideas and resources from this workshop that I have taken back to school this term and used the most. I have used some of their ideas with my Kids Lit team – a shared google doc collecting books read and details of them e.g. illustrators, characters, settings….. Other ideas I have used with more than just the Kids Lit team such as literary Pictionary. A wonderful workshop with such generous people and from what I heard many other workshops were the same.
And the difference this term? – I have been inspired and enthused both in working with students and in interacting with staff and management. I have a clearer view of the library’s role and the librarian’s role in the school and have more tools and am better equipped to achieve these things and promote them among staff and management.
Wellington Region Chair
Karori West Normal School
04 476 6165