Exploring explorers!

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

For the final project, I have chosen a PYP Unit of inquiry ‘Where we are in place and time’ of grade 2. It’s a unit that I have done before with the teacher Mrs. Suchitra Chettri and we have collaborated in some parts of it.  On this unit, I can focus on research and organization skills and critical thinking. Also, introduce students to Destiny Discover (the library online catalog) to access to printed and online information.

The big difference is coming from my side. I have changed all my approach to planning. Finally, I can see a smooth integration of technology and creation of products as a product of the research. Even though the time expended at the beginning, clarifying my ideas about the purpose, it helped to be a focus and don’t get lost on activities.  I’m using the AASL standards so I keep on using them but adding the ‘ISTE standards for Students’.

These previous weeks, I have gone through UbD to review and understand properly how to apply it on the first stage. Also, my notes about the readings of Bloom’s taxonomy helped me to figure it out the part of Evidence and the readings of Kim Cofino. It was impossible to disconnect myself from the readings. In fact, this was the opportunity to apply all the concepts learned.

What is coming next?  I can’t predict the future. But, get ready to enjoy my new planning style!!

Here you can access to my unit planner:

Unit planner Liliana

Here you can access to the rubrics:

Google Slide rubric

Peer-assessment rubric

Self-assessment rubric

 

 

 

Neverending evolution of the school library

“But… a librarian shall be focus on reading, right?” Sometime back, I heard a new administrator expressing his thoughts about the role of the school librarian. I was surprised to hear that from a person with international experience but not everywhere the role and impact of librarians are really appreciated. On my previous post, I was talking about how the design of the library space is changing to adapt it to the new librarians’ roles. As a result, the title of librarians is changing. It’s evolving in different ways to show the impact of technology at the school library and new pedagogical approaches in the classroom.

Sheldon Soper at ASLC (Association for Library Service to Children) blog, ‘The constantly evolving role of the school librarian’; synthesizes the transformation of the position of the school librarian because of the evolution of the learning practices. Librarians support students on their learning, creating spaces of innovation inside of the school.  Collaboration is one of the most challenging duties. However, teamwork between librarians and teachers produces unbelievable results on the benefits of the students. New technologies are introduced through the library creating a new tech hub that attracts students and teachers. It’s also giving another role of leadership, integrating technology, information literacy, innovative practices, and research instruction

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Is the school community recognizing the same roles of the school librarian? I will go further and wonder: Is the school leadership team seen our role with our lenses? or like the comment at the beginning of my post, are they still attached to a nostalgic figure and role of the school librarian? and going even beyond… how can we make a change on the way they see us?

International Baccalaureate and the school librarian

“It is a multipurpose space that can provide resources for reading, both for academic development and personal enjoyment. It can be a social space, an experimental space, as well as a safe space in many ways. A functioning 21st-century library system, therefore, energizes the curriculum and the school more generally, in some areas driving school life and culture.” (IB blog World magazine, 2018)

The International Baccalaureate has been promoting a change in the nostalgic vision of the role of the librarian through articles on their magazine, workshops, blogs, etc. However, the policies were not cleared enough. Only for MYP, the role of the librarian was clearly specified. On other documents for IB Diploma and PYP, the impact of the role was a bit vague.

Until this year, the IB has published ‘The ideal libraries: a guide for schools‘. Long-awaited publication by the IB librarians community. For school management, leadership committees and boards, it clearly defines the new roles, leadership, and the impact of collaboration (planning, teaching, and learning) into the community. Also for librarians, it gives a series of topics and questions to reflect on the IB expectations. Moreover, the questions are directed to the schools. It means to the management and leadership teams. Can we expect a change? I always wonder about the contrasting realities of IB school libraries in different countries. If they applied the same evaluation criteria, they are places in which the IB is a new program and many nostalgic practices are applied. And they approved the evaluations. I think that only improving the evaluation tools and criteria considered to assess school libraries will push the changed. It will be a way to reduce the gap between school libraries and benefit the students, that at the end of the IB Diploma, will face all the same exams.

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The role of the librarian on the Extended Essay

Learning theories and the school libraries

When do school libraries begin to change? In my opinion, when new approaches like constructivism enter the classroom and begin to change the ways of teaching. As a result, the librarian also started to change their approaches to teaching and learning. Just a simple example: If a student is learning about ideologies and revolutions, it’s a great opportunity to review sources of information (printed and online), find different points of view for the same topic (to promote critical thinking), academic honesty (encouraging citation and bibliography) in the context of the topic. It makes sense to the student and it becomes part of the inquiry process. How do concepts were introduced before? Through long lectures. Not interesting nor engaging at all. The student was a passive learner, not exploring just learning from the teacher.

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When I was reading the Andrew Churches’s Bloom’s digital taxonomy, I could connect to the Big Six skills theory that I mentioned before on a previous post. The use of action verbs on different phases show the complexity of the research process. The additional step of ‘creating‘ is the maximum expression of deep understanding put into practice. A librarians’ homework can be to do a selection of verbs in each step according to the grade of the students in order to design research.

Knowing that the brain development continues even on students’ age of ’20s according to Heather Ridley, makes me wonder on the impact and protagonism of educators in their life.  The importance of the relationship of teachers can help them go over any problem faced in the past and feel that they are in a safe environment. Also, the relevance of personalization and scaffolding learning experiences according to their level (differentiation).  Discover that the brain doesn’t stop developing when you are a child, really makes me see this as an opportunity to offer a safe environment at the library so students can feel the space as pleasant and supportive. Offering different resources and tools will help children to select and curate. They will learn in multiple ways. A library becomes a lab in which students will connect knowledge (information sources), recognize patterns that appear to be hidden and create a product.

Challenging? Yes, it is. Connectivism will encourage STEM, support innovation and creativity. Is your school library ready?

Can a school library be a tech hub?

School Libraries, Media Centers and/or learning spaces are different ways to call the library but the purpose is not changing. We guide our school community on their journey through information. In a world overwhelmed by fake information, we need to develop research skills, learn to curate information avoiding fake news, developing critical thinking, as well as academic honesty;  because  IB students shall become a lifelong learner.  Obviously, it’s not possible to do it on isolation. As Hanna Byrd Little explains in her article on Knowledge Quest about the future of libraries,

“… once they find the information we should collaborate with the classroom teachers to teach students to think about the information critically. We should offer space for teachers and students to create new things. We should provide ways that students and faculty can share with the community. As librarians, we need to be masters of collaboration and we need to anticipate information and literacy needs. And for all of this, we need a flexible space to meet these current and future needs”

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School libraries at the heart of transformation by AASL

As professionals, our role is also changing as well as our designation. We are moving from school librarians, teacher-librarians to digital mavens? instructional technology facilitators? Actually, the expertise in technology and the open-mindedness to innovate, both are the main characteristics of the 21st-century school librarian profile.

If libraries are integrating more technology in their spaces and our roles are changing in our schools,  are we ready to lead the change?

Some steps school librarians can follow:

1.School strategic plan

The library goals shall be aligned with the school strategic plan. Otherwise, the library will be a ghost inside of the organization.

2. Find allies

First, we need the support of the Superintendents, Heads, Directors, Coordinators to reach the library goals. If they believe in our projects and vision of integration of technology at the school library, it will be easier to collaborate with teachers.

3. Working together: cooperation, collaboration, co-teaching?

Our relationship with teachers is not always the same. Some are open and enthusiasts about working together. Those are opportunities to suggest and enrich the learning experience of the students. Depending on the culture of the school, informal meetings can be more productive than the official ones. On the other hand, other teachers prefer to work on their own. These teachers will be our challenge!

I totally agree with Alex’s Macmillan‘ s first rule: built relationships. A strong relationship with the faculty, it’s the key to success. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of a school library if it’s not meant for them. Point 2 and 3, are also relevant because, at the library, we are in the middle of both worlds (Faculty-Admin). Good advice, listen carefully and do not take sides, be neutral.

4. Purpose

Most of the time, I work with PYP teachers. We share about their units, central ideas, lines of inquiry and their plans. So, I align them with the  AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Standards that will fit better for the purpose of the unit.

At the library, we empower students to become creators of information and ideas. We are transforming the space in order to move from the traditional concept of a place to read; to the concept beyond their walls (physical as digital) to promote exploration, innovation, and collaboration to empower students and teachers.

5. Find your way: different paths for a common goal

Going through the readings, I was introduced to the SAMR model by Kim Cofino. I also found a common idea with all the authors: focus on learning (concepts to be transfer) and curriculum. Technology will be the vehicle to help the students to build their understanding and demonstrate their learning. The product will be the expression of the learning experience. I also find real-world task-relevant because students will find them meaningful and useful. I especially like the ways of sharing student’s learning on the web. I have seen people believing that they have to showcase instead of think about ways to contribute to a global community, promote ideas and, who knows, make a difference!

When I was reading Kim Cofino’s design cycle, I immediately connected with the ‘Project-based learning’ ideas of A.J. Juliani ‘s blog. Also with an interesting article about PBL ‘ Seven essentials for Project-Based learning‘ by John Larmer and John Mergendoller. I found Cofino’s stage of inquiring & analyzing, as a deep exercise of the first stages in which students shall define their topics, purpose and support their ideas. Also, as a phase to experiment with tools. Students expose to provocations and these provocations can turn into questions, and questions into problems. The reflection after each stage, it’s an opportunity of self-assessment from the beginning.  Not at the end of the inquiry cycle, that sometimes because of the pressure of time, it can be done in a hurry.

Looping back to my original question, can a school library be the tech hub of the school? I will say yes! but it requires a lot of effort, hard work and passion to make it happen!

What do you think?

Technology and library.

 

 

Spark Joy!

 

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”   Rumi

All these days I was wondering about the challenge of learning something new for 20 hours. I went through an introspection phase trying to find out what I would like to learn. As I’m totally involved with the inquiry and research process; I saw myself experiencing all those mix feelings that students faced at the beginning of a new research project, paper or Extended Essay.  According to Carol Kuhlthau, on the Model of the information Search process, users experience different feelings of uncertainty, vague ideas about the topic and seeking relevant information.

by Carol Kuhlthau

I went through the first step ‘Initiation’.  I like many things like cooking, art craft, painting, reading, etc. But,  just the act of choosing one new thing to learn, it was tough. I went from  Palette painting, learning Indian cooking …. to learn French.  I was even dreaming about my options!  When I finally decided what to learn, I felt relief and happy (optimism) [second step: selection] so my focus began to be towards planning my new journey [selection and exploration] …. learning the KonMari Method of tyding up.

After watching Josh Kauffman Ted talk, I felt inspired by the idea of learning something new in 20 hours. Just with perseverance, focus, and passion. So, when I was planning how to learn, I applied his steps: deconstructing the skill and, my challenge will be the third step: avoid distractions (procrastination). I also could connect with Mimi Ito videos about learning in social media spaces and teens. As I want to learn the KonMari method and apply it to my life,  I was engaged looking for more information and spaces to share about this.  I realized I was moving from hanging-out to messing around. It also makes reflect on my learning hero, my grandpa Pepe #mylearninghero. He was always studying something new. Even on his last days, he was studying Bonsai by post mail, at the beginning of the ’80s. He is a proved of passion for learning.

Till Groß’s Ted talk, also help me to clarify my thoughts. I’m following his steps: develop a skill,  to learn from the best and gain experience (no money) because hustle comes first. I’m learning through the Netflix show different scenarios to be organized. Reading the book ‘Sparkle joy’ by Marie Knodo, I’m learning the theory as well as on her website and Instagram. I’m learning from the best!

While writing this post, I’m realizing that I’m creating a new network and connecting with a totally different group of people. And, I’m so excited about it because I’m challenging myself to learn something new, avoid procrastination, follow a new passion and keep on with my daily life. So, I would like to ask you, when has been the last time that you decided to learn a new skill without stopping your responsibilities??……. you can’t remember.

Answer: Act now!     It will take only 20 hours.

 

 

 

Being a researcher = being a librarian

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“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

a holographic Princess Leia on Star Wars

Technology is around us…

I was born in 1970,   I can still see myself playing Atari video games with my brother. Have you ever seen that console?  The games were black & white and you have to insert the cartridge on the game. Also, it has some external devices connected by long wires (so you cannot be too far nor to close from your tv.) to play!. Almost at the same time, we were watching the first video recorded movies Beta (Betamax video cassette recorder) and listening to music on a walkman (I had a blue/grey and later a yellow one)  sold by Sony.  That was technology coming into our house and changing our lives forever.

My first encounter with the future of technology was that scene on Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’. It was the first science-fiction movie that I watched and made me wonder when we will be able to communicate or use holograms. Years have gone,  devices evolved for their wellbeing or their failure. And the Merge cube appeared bringing us a new way to explore and experience learning through VR/AR.

When I was going through the reading ‘Children in a digital world’ by Unicef, it makes me reflect on the way I grew up compare to my youngest daughter’s life. In my days, we use to still play in the park, ride a bicycle, meet friends around the corner and talk by telephone. Now, access to technology is changing the lives of teenagers. They are surrounded by gadgets, connected and interacting with their peers 24/7 (Hanging-out). I see the ‘culture of the bedroom’ and the tendency of more “me” (my time, my life, my friends and my priorities). If being a teenager is challenging, I think now is more complex because they ‘school world’ will be transferred to their ‘online world and identity’. They deal with bullying and can be exposed to other serious problems like exploitation or abuse.  Psychological effects are also present as depression, anxiety, and solitude. The abuse of the internet is affecting the well-being of some teenagers.

Hanging-out, this new way of online socialization is not understood by many parents (including me). Reading ‘Living and learning with new media’ clarified me the feelings of teens when parents judge the time and activities that they develop online.

How all this access to information online affects teens behavior during the inquiry/research process? So much, they want fast results on the hit list in Google and they don’t have time (or the practice) to verify sources. So they are more exposed to believe in fake news. The probabilities of plagiarism are higher and, even higher, if they do not know how to manage their time, organize themselves with the pressure of their studies and their own lives.

Research and me:

As a librarian, research is one of the main focus of my career. We are totally surrounded by technology and every year something new is giving us more opportunities to learn and apply in education. When I was going through the readings, I was thinking about inquiry-based learning. For some time, I’m following Kate Murdoch’s blog Just wondering going deeper in my understanding of the inquiry-based learning and making a connection with the research process of the library. Usually, we are influenced by Guided inquiry design of Carol Kuhlthau and the Big six skills by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz. But do we really need to do research? Do I need to look for information?…. Yes. In fact, I’m very curious and I always want to go deeper and understand properly whatever new engagement is in front of me. It’s a new challenge! I use online databases, printed books, blogs, academic journals to find out more information. Other times, I will use social media to read study-cases but rarely I will post on any social media a request of help. I try to increase my opportunities for collaboration and connect with other librarians.

 

 

Yes, I’m a Lurker

I have never seen myself as a Lurker before, but after going through the readings of the first week, I have to admit it. I’m a Luker and I have enjoyed it for many years. I like to be updated on different areas related to school librarianship and IBO so I follow groups, people and even I’m part of closed groups. But, most of the time, I’m reading and learning. Sometimes, I will retweet or post something to share but rarely I will express my opinion openly on the web. It has to be something that really shocked me to open up and post it. Last year, I decided to be even less active on social media and only posting from time to time on Instagram.

Now, everything is changing and it’s also challenging myself. I’m coming out of my comfort zone. I will begin to share my thoughts….. even this blog! Sometime back, an administrator told me that I’m a silent worker. That, I didn’t go around the place showing off what we are doing. I always believe that it’s not my style but I was wrong. Social media can be an open door for content (if we know how to find what we need) to grow as professionals or to share experiences. As well as, a mass of connections but are all of them meaningful?. I like Alex Macmillan post about Tweeter and his reflexion about connections https://alexmcmillan.co/from-lurking-to-connecting/

How many times do we accept people just to increase the number of our followers? even people that we don’t know, friend of the friend of my friend. I stopped it some years back. And, I’m seriously thinking about revising lists of friends in social media!.

As a school librarian, I have seen how effective social media can be as a communication channel with our users. It’s faster, cheaper and effective for different target groups. Librarians, we consider all the possible ways to develop that relationship with our patrons and transfer messages. They need to know that we are here for them and ready to offer different tools and resources. The concept of a library is in constant evolution. It’s moving from a place to read to a place of creation (in some countries faster than in others). It’s unstoppable!

Just to finish, I would like to suggest an article published at Library Journal in 2013 by Ned Potter (https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=10-golden-rules-to-take-your-librarys-twitter-account-to-the-next-level) It gives 10 simple recommendations to improve the use of Twitter in libraries.

Happy Chinese New Year! And let’s begin this new year being connectors & creators!

 

 

My professional network

 

When I started my career as a school librarian, I began to develop a professional network that it has been changing according to my interests and vision about this career. Last seven years, I’m working in India so I had the opportunity to meet and being part of the groups of librarians here and in South East Asia. These connections developed my curiosity to go beyond, explore and research on new topics, learn from their failures and try new things and test myself. On the other hand, I also share my practices and guide other librarians, that like me, are looking for ways to become better IB school librarians.

Hello world!

My name is Liliana Bandini. I’m a school librarian, working at IB international schools last 13 years. Before working in schools, I was an automation system librarian at the Central Library of my university ‘Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru’. As you can see, I’m from Lima, Peru but I’m working in Mumbai, India since 2011 at Singapore International School, Mumbai as Head of the Library. Being in India has been the opportunity to explore South East Asia and meet librarians from the region. Also, I participate in a local group of IB librarians from Mumbai. These opportunities to share experiences make me reflect about my practices, develop that curiosity to do new things, research and learn from others successful stories as well as failures.

I decided to join COETAIL because I always like to innovate and use technology at the library. Actually, we are developing a project using Merge Cubes and it’s amazing how students experience VR/AR. Last year, I was looking for an option to improve myself specifically on education and technology. I was reviewing ISTE standards and planning to adopt them for the library when a friend suggested me to go ahead with the Certification. I explored the option and decided to go ahead! Why now? It’s a good question. I’m working as a librarian almost 26 years. Because of different reasons (family, children, jobs, etc) I couldn’t go ahead with further studies. But, now I found an option that I can manage and grow as a professional. Expectations? so many….. I’m eager to properly learn about the use of technology in education. As a librarian, technology is around us everyday and our role is becoming more and more relevant in the development of the teaching practices, developing research skills and inspire good practices to the students and teachers.

@lbandini