A Barbarian in the Reading room

Welcome to my blog

 

Why this title? Well in my last school job I had a reading (as in reading a book) room and this was used on Open Days by the Learning Support Department. At one such event they put up a notice saying Leaning Support and I said "Oh I suppose this is the Reading (as in UK town to the west of London) Room now." They retorted by naming me the Barbarian and it has sort of stuck.

 

Sadly, this blog does not include much about Reading (as in the UK town to the west of London) or barbarians but will contain my thoughts on issues in the library and information world and also detail some of the events I have attended, places I have visited and courses I have run. Enjoy!

By sjpavey, May 3 2016 03:37PM

These last few months have been varied and have seen me out and about, home and abroad, in reality and virtually and more exciting adventures ahead.


At the beginning of February I was invited to run a workshop for Hampshire School Library Service on mobile technology. It gave me a good chance to try out my new toys of Leap Motion and Google Cardboard but it highlighted the fact that my new laptop does not have a normal connector for a projector. Amazon to the rescue following the event! It was a productive morning and most of the attendees were not qualified librarians so I hope it gave them some inspiration about what can be used creatively in a school library.


The BETT show provided some good follow up opportunities and I had useful meetings with Julia from TTS and Caroline from ReadingWise. Both great products and looking forward to using them as reference on some of my courses.


I had several Creative Education courses to run too - Developing the Role of Non-Teaching Pastoral Staff, Inspiring Struggling Children to Write and Raising Boys Achievement. All went well and it was good to run some directed at the Primary sector too.


I also was involved in consultancy at the inspirational Rathfern Primary School in Catford. I was able to talk with all the Phase Leaders about their literacy provision in the classroo, discussing ideas for getting the students engaged in their reading. I was also able to talk with the Headteacher about their central library provision - it is a great example of collaboration with the local public library. This school achieved outstanding status in its last Ofsted and it is not hard to see why. Such a turnaround for a school in a deprived area and it demonstrates what can be done with an enthusiastic, forward thinking management team.


Virtual training opportunites continues with Access-It and it is always a pleasure to get their new customers up and running and to see how they can develop their LMS for their customers.


However the greatest virtual challenge was an intriguing project with CILIP to deliver online training to library staff in the soon to be opened British Council Libraries in Pakistan. My first session was with staff in Lahore and I was concerned that the bomb blast days before the training might have resulted in a delay. Nonetheless we went ahead and the two mornings went very well. The first session was introducing staff to Dewey Decimal Classification and talking about the physical layout of the library and the second day concentrated on digital resources and future proofing. The feedback was excellent and the technology worked well - important as this was a first for CILIP delivering onsite training remotely overseas. I am really looking forward to repeating the sessions with Karachi. So good to see investment in library facilites instead of closure.


The other big event this month was the LILAC conference. It was amazing and I picked up lots of ideas. My favourite must be the introduction to Vine. I loved the concept of making a Vine to show the entrance to a library and what lies beyond the door. Our paper Effective Partnerships with Schools was well received and stirred interest from university librarians keen to work in collaborative partnership. The second day of the conference saw me taking part in the Lagadothon - one of 6 selected showcases of educational games at which I presented my jigsaw puzzle. The overall winner was Andrew Walsh with his information literacy game based upon a locked room mystery.


March concluded with a trip down to Canterbury and the University of the Creative Arts for a Teach Meet at which I presented the Leap Motion gadget and looked at ways this might be used particularly in sculpture and 3D printing. There were some excellent presentations and some cool ideas including using Russian stcking dolls to demonstrate hierarchy.

By sjpavey, Feb 5 2016 01:12PM

2016 started early - well VERY early with a trip to Maidenhead for delivering an INSET session at Cox Green School on Curiosity and Creativity for Independent Thinking. I thought it would be tough at 8,30am the first Monday after the Christmas break but the staff were delightful and happy to join in with the session. After an hour keynote I ran a workshop on the same topic for a group of newly qualified teachers who all had fantastic innovative ideas. The amusing bit was the coffee and croisants trolley being positioned directly underneath a sign declaring NO FOOD or DRINK - well I just had to take a photo! Cox Green is a great school and they are using Ian Gilberts "Thunks" on a daily basis to try and evoke a sense of curiosity in their students to compliment their impressive exam results.


Next up was a day in Warwick at the National Grid as part of the Teen Tech initiative implemented by Maggie Philbin. With the launch of CILIP Information Literacy Group's resource sheets myself, Darren Flynn and Rebecca Jones were able to run sessions on research methods and questionnaire design as part of this Innovation Day. Student numbers were a bit disappointing but those attending were very enthusiastic - especially for Darren's session which foussed on crisp flavours - very apt as it was over a working lunch! We also had a fascinating tour of the premises and the highlight for me was the Innovation Room where we played with Leap Motion (I got one for Christmas - Yaaay!) VR Headsets, 3D phone Scanners and more. So inspiring!


Creative Education also kept me busy with a course in London on the Effective Mentor and then an Online Safeguarding course in Bristol. Both were filled with a good range of delegates which made for lively debate and discussion on these two areas so vital to be considered by schools today. I managed to dodge the first snow of the year in my trip west to Bristol but had a marathon run at the end to catch my train with about 30seconds to spare - phew!


I managed to squeeze in the annual pilgrimage to the BETT show but was a bit disappointed in the content. A lot about robotics but not a great deal to support information literacy really. It was good to catch up with friends at TTS, Plotagon, International Baccalaureate and to play on a few things - I have still to wade through the vast quantities of literature I brought back and to try on the tatfoo sleeves!


Much of the later part of the month was occupied by music events - it being the Burns Night season and also the season to get the tax done. However I am also penning another tome on reading for pleasure for Andy Walsh and that although a bit late is firmly underway!

By sjpavey, Jan 3 2016 12:52PM

Bit of a catch up here as the last two months have been hectic with deadlines, training and music performances so I'm doing 2 months in one!


November and December were busy for me with Creative Education when I ran a number of courses on Promoting Reading in the School Library, The Effective School Librarian and Working with Parents to Raise Achievement, (in November) and then the Reluctant Writers course in December. The parent course was new and it was interesting for me to learn more about the expectations from Ofsted and the importance of keeping parents and guardians involved with the school and the curriculum. The delegates were really varied and I met some lovely people from very challenging schools including PRUs and a Virtual School. It really works both ways this training.


November also involved a trip to Stockingford Primary School in Nuneaton for the Independent Thinking Surprising Big Day Out. It was a fantastic day with lots going on and fun learning. Matthew McFall had his wonder room, Nina Jackson blew us away with bubbles, Jonathan Lear told us about the Monkey Curriculum and Mark Anderson had a real Star Wars bot running up and down the room. I delivered my magic eye visual thinking talk and the sight of 80 teachers all making magic telescopes was brilliant!


At the beginning of December I did a mini tour to the West Country for a couple of training sessions. First up was at Cirencester College with Gloucestershire LSE. This looked at how we can promote our libraries to our school communities and beyond and then in the afternoon we discussed the issue of censorship and considered scenarios where it might be appropriate and when not including online safeguarding issues. We had a good day and highlighted many issues. Thank you everyone for the great feedback


The second day of the tour was to The Hive in Worcester for the SLA Midlands group. This drew delegates from a wide area including as far flung as Switzerland and to a lesser extent Exeter. This session concentrated on Academic Honesty and Copyright. Again it was an excellent day and delegates commented in their feedback how much they had gained from the course and how much they had enjoyed it. I do try to gve my delegates practical advice and get them to try things out that they can take back and put into practice in their schools.


I was lucky enough to be invited by Jane Secker from LSE to a lunch with Maggie Philbin as part of the Teen Tech initiative that CILIP's ILG are involved with, She was speaking about the project to an HE group of librarians in the afternoon. It was lovely to meet her and hear her passion about getting students engaged with STEM subjects - particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am looking forward to taking part in the Warwick Teen Tech Event in January.


This winter has been a writing month with the publication of There is Another Way and a grear response to my chapter on Libraries - thanks particularly to Caroline Roche for a great review on Amazon. It was also good to see many non-librarians commenting positivity too. The Innovative School Librarian is also nearing the end of the editing phase and we are on schedule for a publishing next year. Finally I have been invited by Andy Walsh at Huddersfield University to write a short book for him on reading for pleasure.


This winter has been a learning month. I had the final assessment for my AET - the microteach and now the folders are in for external assessment but I have passed. We should get the certificates soon but it is good to have a teaching qualification under my belt. I was also able to attend a very interesting free seminar at Kew National Archives on technology delivered by Andy Mink. He suggested a number of useful Apps and sites which would be very useful for a school library and also in teaching.


January looks busy for me too starting straight away on 4th January with an INSET session on Curiosity and Creativity for ITL. We were so pleased to get our paper accepted for LILAC in Dublin in March and I will also be presenting my jigsaw puzzles at the Lagadothon.

By sjpavey, Nov 1 2015 07:15PM

The start of October was marred by sleep deprivation from attending a folk festival in my other life!


The Access-It training continued at a steady rate this month with a variety of schools. It is so good to see people getting started and the system helping them to get books and resources out to the students. Some staff I train are not familiar with libraries which is a reflection on the type of recruitment being adopted by schools desperate to cut costs. But my trainees are always enthusiastic and it is nice to have an opportunity on the back of the catalogue sessions to point them in the direction of qualifications and support networks. I just wonder how many others are out there with no real idea of how to manage their library and no idea of where to get help.


Surrey SLA engaged me to run a twilight session at Guildford High School for Girls on visual literacy and we also had a chance to play with the talking products (some from TTS) and have a go with the Create an Essay jigsaw puzzles. It was a fun evening and good participation from the 30 who attended,


Next stop training wise was a course on Writing Skills for Creative Education in Birmingham. I love running this course because we get to indulge in creative play. It was an interesting scenario beginning the night before when the hotel car park was full save for one impossible space. A knight in shining armour appeared and offered to attempt to squeeze my car in for me but alas he didn’t have any luck either. Finally a hotel knight in shining armour appeared and allowed me to park in a disabled space – phew! However first man drove my car to the said space and I was a bit alarmed to see my car disappearing with me chasing after with my case and the man’s case too. All ended well. The next day one delegate was ill and one did not turn up so I just had one trainee. We agreed to do a one to one when suddenly the other delegate appeared – he had forgotten he had a training course and had gone to school where his colleagues reminded him! So it was a good day after all and lots of creative learning.

My AET course continued throughout the month and all the assignments are now safely in. I just have the microteach to do in November and then it’s time to submit my portfolio. It has been a useful course and has certainly honed my skills in preparation for sessions. Some of it is more directed towards adult education on an ongoing course run by an institution which is not so relevant to me but it has given me an understanding of pedagogy, andragogy, inclusivity and diversity, assessment and feedback.


The focus this month has been on writing and seeing the fruits of my labours! The SLA Cataloguing course will be live imminently, the Independent Thinking Press’s book “There is another way” is published officially on 2nd November and we have been working hard on the second edition of “The Innovative School Librarian” now putting in the final touches before it is delivered to Sharon Markless for an edit and thence to Facet for an estimated publication date of May 2016. It has been an almost complete rewrite and we had no idea that so much had changed since we wrote the original in 2009.


The final involvement to report is with Teen Tech. We have now completed the set of information sheets (ably compiled and designed by Rebecca Jones of ILG and overseen by Jane Secker). I am really looking forward to attending Maggie Philbin’s seminar on 12th November.


By sjpavey, Nov 1 2015 12:45PM

After a pleasant summer break in France where somehow we managed to avoid the monsoons in both England and further south from Normandy it was back to work fairly pronto for the Barbarian.


Before the end of August I was invited to return to Box Hill School to run a couple of induction sessions on information skills for the Summer School international students. We had good fun with game based learning including building Lego houses and the feedback was good.


Access-It training continued apace with the start of term in September and several clients new to the system as well as guiding existing users on the rather wonderful new OPAC. This allows you to create your own dashboard and save searches and resources that are your favourites. It also refines the One Search facility allowing cross searching against the catalogue and specified other databases or search engines eg EBSCO or Google Scholar etc. Then students can also create bibliographical records and citations from the resources they have chosen at the touch of a button and all this for free with the start-up package.


I returned to Roedean to meet their Headmaster and to discuss further the plans for developing the Library with him and the librarian. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome next year!


The main excitement of September though was enrolling on and beginning my AET Level 3 course at NESCOT. There are 12 of us all together with an interesting range of backgrounds from hairdressing and personal trainers to teachers from NESCOT. I managed to get the first of the three assignments in on time ….but will I sustain this ???


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