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, May 16 2015 01:01PM

April kicked off with a wonderful visit to the amazing LILAC conference - this year being held in the Northern metropolis of Newcastle Upon Tyne. It was my second trip to this city in as many weeks but this time I had a travelling companion in Dr Carol Webb and so we completed much CPD and ideas for the revised edition of the Innovative School Librarian on the trip. Base Camp was the Premier Inn on the Quayside and we were at first a bit alarmed to find out the bridge opposite is home to the largest inland breeding colony of Kittiwakes. Luckily the hotel had good double glazing and my room was at the back - these birds are LOUD! In the evening we went on a magical mystery tour in search of an Irish music session and food - this was supplied by the Cumberland Arms and a surprise Lebonese resteraunt called The Bake (copious amounts of tasty food for a good price!).


Early the next morning we set off for the conference. The keynote was given by Julia Jones who stood in for Tom Wilson at the last minute to tell us about Unionlean - a great initiative for CPD for Union members and emphasising the need for information literacy skills from employers as a necessity for effective working practice. After a break to look at the stalls and the poster exhibition I found my room and set up my presentation What Does Independent Learning Feel Like? This presentation considered how to engage with text using visual literacy principles. It was a packed room with all spaces taken and a few more squeezed in! All the delegates were happy to join in with the exercises and the photo below shows some of the active learning we enjoyed. I was a bit disappointed that I was scheduled against Helen Blanchett and Lisa-Jane Ashes' session on Hunting assumptions: encouraging creativity and critical reflection through collaboration. This was another fantastically interactive session with Lisa's thought bombs and more. After a good lunch and lots of networking I attended Carol Webb's session in which she described the research for her PhD How can we raise information literacy levels in the secondary school? Again this was well attended and Carol showed us how easily we can make assumprions whereas the research indicates very different values placed on information literacy by teachers in schools. I then moved on to the talk from Leeds University about their Experimental Week. This approach to teaching and learning was devised to help librarians step outside their comfort zone in the delivery of IL skills. They also made reference to another LILAC session that I unfortunately missed but sounded intriguing - The Fishscale of Academicness which compares academic information sources with sea creatures and their dwelling places. Next on the list was an interesting take on teaching IL Skills at Hull University. In trying to cope with engaging with huge numbers of students they had decided to step away from specific embedded teaching within faculties and address the masses with a one size fits all approach. I am not entirely convinced that this works as personally I feel there is a big divide between arts and sciences students and even aside from content surely the timing of delivery needs to be considered too - those studying humanities tend to need IL Support from the first year whereas it could be argued that science students do not really begin investigative and independent learning until later in their course after the basic facts have been learned. The final session was titled Inspire to enquire: creative techniques for creative students. This was delivered by a team from University of the Arts, London (UAL). They showed us some interesting ideas such as using 3D objects such as Barbie dolls to invite questioning from students, posting 3D objects through the mail (I am sure there is a good adaptation here for school libraries exchanging with each other and creating a shelf of curiosities received) and they also shared their wonderful idea for visual learners and ESL students for an induction where they used drawing to show their engagement with the library. Sadly this enlightening session was also set against another that I would like to have attended which addressed the content of the transition year between Year 11 and Year 12 in the Irish Education System and using this for outreach work on information literacy. This experiment was conducted in three Dublin schools by Maynooth University . We rounded off the conference day with a quick dash back to the hotel to change into evening wear and then back to the Civic Centre for the Conference Dinner.


Next on the agenda was to write my chapter for the forthcoming School Library Association's updated edition of Sixth Sense. I am going to be looking at teaching Academic Honesty to the Sixth Form which ties in nicely with the online course I have written for the SLA.


I also ventured up to CILIP to discuss some ideas for their VLE and to think about how we could develop some CPD for school librarians which would fit with the PKSB for those thinking about Certification, Chartership or Revalidation.


Later in April I went up to Cambridge to CATS College to offer some consultancy on the library whcih will be relocated to a new campus. They will be splitting off the higher education branch and the school will be housed on the new site. The librarians though will be responsible for both areas. The emphasis will be on digital learning and so there was a lot to discuss and think about. It will be interesting to see it all in action in September.


The month rounded off with catching up with Martin Neyland and Ken Wickstone at the Access-It Roadshow. Here they were demonstrating the fantastic new features for rhe new look OPAC. Some such as the One Search that allows you to search the catalogue and other databases at the same time are already a new addition to the old system but others such as drag and drop personal dashboards, browsing statistics (for those books left lying around in the library after a lesson or breaktime and are obviously used but not borrowed) and a book carousel option are all new additions.


Finaly my busy month ended with tapping into the Library 2.015 conference Emerging Future: Technology and Learning Although prodominently American I always find this free online conference useful and this year was no exception. Downloadable from here


...and so onwards to May which looks equaly busy. which is rather good


By sjpavey, Apr 1 2015 04:11PM

It's been an action packed start to the year and juggling music and consultancy has been fun and vibrant.


February started off with a welcome return to Heaths in Sutton to run the "Lost Library Years" course about KS4 engagement with the Library. The course was well attended which made for some lively discussion on many of the issues we covered from identifying opportunities within the packed curriculum, revision techniques and some games. It is likely that some coursework elements will remain even after the curriculum changes due over the next couple of years and so there will always be room to teach information skills to this key stage. We know these skills are so important for universities and the workplace and yet it is often just assumed students will somehow assimilate them without any formal guidance.


The Independent Thinking Day held on a Saturday in Nottingham was inspiring with a session on Mindfulness run by David Hodgson and then followed up after a great lunch with a general debate on the future direction of education.


Next stop was a course for Creative Education on promoting reading and the school library. I had two delightful delegates in a nice hotel near the Southampton waterfront. We discussed the various evidence from recent surveys on the state of reading and reading for pleasure amongst secondary school students. The talking tiles, photo album and talking pen helped to inspire ways to engage students further together with many other ideas.


Following up from BETT 2015 I met up with two representatives of TTS in London. We had a useful and productive meeting with a two way flow of information. Many of their excellent innovative products would be so useful in numerous ways within a library environment and I am hoping to work with them further to see how the ideas can be incorporated into the teaching and learning us librarians do!


Another Creative Education course I ran in Manchester was on Online Safeguarding. This was a new course for me and I was delighted in how smoothly it went and the fact that I received excellent feedback from the delegates - very reassuring as there were no librarians on this course. The course was well written and easy to deliver and my knowledge - albeit mostly from a library and tutoring background served it well.


...and so to Newcastle and Independent Thinking's Big Day Out at the Racecourse. I delivered two workshops - one on Visual Literacy use in Information Literacy and another on how we can get students to cope with the information overload from online and print sources. Both sessions were well received by the teacher delegates and requests for the slides. One delegate emailed me the day after to tell me excitedly that he had already used some of the techniques in his lesson that day. It was an action packed day conference with Nina giving great ideas on the use of iPads, Roy showing us his hero learning path - part of his Butterfly Model, Dave filling us will laughter and learning, working with Hywel on the literacy strand summary videos, Will sharing the alternative route to a perfect OFSTED via Dr Seuss and great conversations with Tait, Martin, David George and Nick Owen and of course Lisa and Dave Harris for bringing it all together. Did I forget to mention that we also had Matthew McFall's fantastic cabinet of curiosities on show which was wonderful - all those gadgets to play with. I am so looking forward to the next BDO in Ledbury in May. These events are so inpiring and they really do get you thinking about the whole education process.


There was more inspiration at the LISSEE meeting at Mayfield where a group of librarians from Independent Schools gathered to listen to speakers including Rosie Hill talking about her book service and a great informative session on the CILIP qualifications framework. After a good lunch we discussed other hot topics such as Apps for revision and Library Policies.


It has been a busy couple of months with my colleague Sally and I continuing to work on our chapter for the new edition of The Innovative School Librarian ..and so far we have all managed to keep to our deadlines - quite an achievement! I have also written a chapter for the new second additional Big Book of Independent Thinking which is about why we need school libraries and librarians more than ever in this day and age. I am also drafting another chapter for a forthcoming new edition of SLA's Sixth Sense looking at teaching academic honesty. My information skills support products also seem to be selling on Teachers Pay Teachers which is nice and comforting


So immediately after Easter I am packing bags to deliver my paper at the LILAC conference - yes back to Newcastle again. At the BDO one of our first tasks was to say "Motivation" in a North East accent and by the end of the day it was perfected so I shouldn't have to take a dual language dictionary this time!!!

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