Posted by: eheino | September 1, 2014

Module 3: Metadata Quality and Standards

Posted by: eheino | July 26, 2014

Module 2: Tools and Systems

Exploring SCIS

I have been given access to SCIS (the online library catalogue that school libraries use to get their information about books) as part of ETL505, which is a bit exciting for me because finally I can understand what the TLs I know are talking about. So I have been enjoying myself exploring the database and seeing what information is available on each record. I was impressed to find that it is quite modern, there are links to social media sites, reviews, including the ability to write your own if you want, links to similar books and a tag cloud. All of these features mean that SCIS is well on its way to being a 4th generation catalogue. It is comforting to know that SCIS is up to date with the latest technologies, because Oasis certainly isn’t.

Interrogating EBSCOHost vs Library Catalogues

The main fields included in the records on EBSCOHost are:

  • Author
  • Source
  • Peer Reviewed
  • ISSN
  • Descriptors
  • Identifiers
  • Abstract
  • Number of References
  • Pages
  • Publication Date
  • Availability
  • Entry Date
  • Accession Number

The main fields included in the records for Wollongong Library are:

  • Main Title
  • Author
  • Imprint
  • Series Title
  • ISBN
  • Language
  • Average Rating
  • More Information
  • Other Editions
  • Similar Titles

These fields are relatively similar, but it is important to note that EBSCOHost is describing journal articles, whereas Wollongong Library is describing books. It would be helpful to include a summary/abstract in the library record to help patrons know if they want to read/borrow it or not, but I liked how it linked to other similar titles and editions, something that EBSCOHost was missing, that could be useful for students looking for articles on a particular topic.

Exploring Trove

I really like Trove for the history it brings together. I did a search on Corrimal (my local suburb) to see what kinds of results came up. It found:

  • 176 books, including the Corrimal Public School centenary book, a folded sheet detailing extensions to Corrimal East Public School, the records of Corrimal Pool committee and a book called Bellambi-Corrimal, between the mountains and the sea, published in 1980. I’d love to look at that book.
  • 744 Historical Photos
  • 305 Journals, Articles and Data Sets, including charge books from Corrimal Police Station and the journal of Corrimal Leagues Club
  • 154,365 newspaper articles
  • 75 maps
  • 16 audio files
  • 539 archived websites
  • 14 diaries, letters and archives 
  • 9 people and organisations and
  • 25 lists

This is just a snapshot of all the records that Trove has, I wish I had infinite time so I could explore chunks of its history, I’m sure it would be fascinating.

Search By Image

I didn’t know you could search Google Images by image, so this was new to me. You can search by one of your own images that you upload, or search by an image URL from the net. I was originally going to search by uploading, but it made me wonder what happens to your image once you upload it to google? I will have to explore this further. So instead I searched by URL an image of a cockatiel. It found similar images, as well as websites about cockatiels as well. Fascinating.

Image search on Trove 

My next task was to image search on Trove, so I kept with the same theme, and this time I searched Figtree, the suburb I went to school in. It came up with lots of historical images, including this one, which is one of my favourites, as it shows the old Fig Tree, and how much the Princes Highway has changed over time. 

 

Music Search

I had to compare Pandora, MP3.com and Spotify to find a song I like, and compare which was the easiest to use/find what I was looking for. I found them all equally easy to use, but I did use a relatively easy search term.

 

Posted by: eheino | April 24, 2014

Reflections on marking of Assignment 1b

So I got my marks back on Assignment 1b, and I got a HD! So excited! Apparently I know a lot more about research questions and theory than I realised! Bev really liked my second iteration of my research question, but commented that it should be rephrased so it doesn’t invite a yes/no response. So I will have to think about that before I start my second assignment. She also suggested making my question even more specific by choosing one concept to focus on in mathematics rather than just general skill practice as it will make it easier to assess in a small-scale project. I can see that, maybe I should choose multiplication/division or addition/subtraction, as they are concepts that usually use either mobile technology or physical materials to practice them.

But yeah, apart from that, really happy with my results! She also gave me some really useful feedback on my writing style and APA referencing which should come in handy when writing future pieces. She went through the assignment with a fine-tooth comb and pointed out where I had used passive voice and things like that which should be avoided. It was good to have those things pointed out to me so I can improve. I think most markers focus on content rather than writing style and small details so I really feel like I learnt something from her feedback.

The second assignment looks daunting. I have to decide what my research methodology will be, and there are so many choices. The text looks quite complicated to read too so I will have to take my time reading it so I know I understand it.

I will cross my fingers I can repeat my success for the second assignment!

Posted by: eheino | April 1, 2014

EER500 Assignment 1b Reflections

Doing this assignment has really taught me a lot about how to write a good research question. I thought the research question I had come up with for Assignment 1a was pretty good, but after having done extensive reading in the area, it was clear there was room for improvement. My original question was:

Does the use of mobile technology in the primary mathematics classroom truly result in higher student achievement levels? 

I have learnt that a good research question:

  • must be clear; that is, intelligible and specific (Laws, Harper & Marcus 2003; Kinmond, 2012; Bryman, 2012)
  • any comparisons implied by the question need to be made explicit (Laws, Harper & Marcus, 2003)
  • question must be framed within clear boundaries if the research is to be manageable, both in terms of time and resources (Punch, 2005; Kinmond, 2012; Bryman, 2012)
  • not so narrow that the researcher can’t make a significant contribution to their field narrow (Bryman, 2012; Kinmond, 2012)
  • both researchable and answerable
  • neither too abstract (Bryman, 2012) nor laden with value judgements that could be problematic to measure (Laws, Harper & Marcus 2003)

After having created this framework for good research questions, and applying it to my research, I changed my question to:

Does the use of mobile applications for practising mathematical concepts result in faster mastery of these concepts for Stage 1 students than using physical materials?

The majority of the changes I made were to make the question more specific. The first question was quite general, and would have been hard to address in a small-scale study. It would have been a massive undertaking to answer the question using the whole primary maths curriculum, and all age groups. So I changed it to stage 1 and mathematics concept practice to make it clearer which area I would be assessing.

From my assignment: “This rephrased question addresses the clarity issues identified above, and reduces the research area to something more manageable for a small-scale project. This question identifies mastery of mathematical concepts as the area of mathematics to be addressed by the study and Stage 1 students as the study group. It also clearly identifies the comparison that will be made, a much improved formulation when contrasted to the implied comparison in the original question.  The rephrased question also identifies a measureable area of student achievement: the speed at which concepts are mastered. This is far more explicit than the ‘higher student achievement levels’ identified in the original question. It is the author’s opinion that this rephrased question is more likely to be addressed thoroughly by the research than the original as it is much clearer, quantifiable and more specific. ”

I believe my new research question is much better than the first iteration, and it will be interesting to see if the marker has any further recommendations for it before I start my second assignment.

References:

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Kinmond, K. (2007). Coming up with a research question. In C. Sullivan, S. Gibson & S. Riley (Eds.) Doing your qualitative psychology project (pp 23-36). London: Sage.

Laws, S., Harper, C. & Marcus, R. (2003). Research for development. London: Sage. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781849209786.n5

Punch, K. P. (2005). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Posted by: eheino | March 19, 2014

EER500 Assignment 1a

Assignment 1a was a wiki post that described my initial ideas for my research.

Research Topic

There has been a lot of positive press about the inclusion of mobile technology in the classroom, but some sceptics argue that the rollout of this technology has been too quick and lacks the proper planning necessary for its successful integration (Banchero & Phillips, 2013). It has not yet been positively proven that the use of mobile technology in primary classrooms is more beneficial than the traditional methods of teaching and learning, so should this technology be rolled out to all schools yet?

This research will look specifically at the benefits of mobile technology for the mathematics curriculum because in my experience many teachers that have access to tablets for their classroom are using them for skills practice via game apps. I would like to know if the use of these apps is actually more beneficial than using physical materials for the same purpose, or if there are better ways to employ tablets to support the mathematics curriculum for primary students.

I am also interested in the potential role the teacher-librarian could play in the identification of appropriate applications for this technology and would also like to integrate this into the research.

Research Question

Does the use of mobile technology in the primary mathematics classroom truly result in higher student achievement levels?

Connection to the literature

The articles by Attard & Curry (2012) and Ciampa & Gallagher (2013) clearly demonstrate that mobile technologies can have a positive impact on student learning and engagement if they are integrated effectively into the curriculum. These articles explore the ways that iPads and iPod Touches can be used in the classroom, from the use of mathematics game apps to practice skills (Attard & Curry, 2012), to providing tutorials students can complete at their own pace (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013). Both studies noted that the immediate feedback given by the games motivated students to try harder because they were competing against themselves and could watch their own progress. They also noted that many students downloaded the apps for their personal iPads at home, thus bridging the gap between home and school.

Attard published a second article in 2013 which explored teachers’ experiences with the integration of iPads into their programs. This article supported the results of the above studies, but also exposed the limitations of the mobile technology when teachers are unclear about how best to use it.

However, these were all small-scale examinations, with the technology being introduced for the purposes of the studies. It is thus unclear whether the results were skewed by the novelty of using new technology, and if the results would be similarly positive after students had been using the technology for a longer period of time.

Another issue that was common to the above articles was the amount of time and planning that was required to implement this technology successfully. I would like to explore the potential role the teacher-librarian could have in alleviating this issue as part of my research.

Practical Importance

Research in this area could demonstrate just how important the use of mobile technology is for student achievement in primary mathematics, and provide some practical examples of how it can and should be deployed in the classroom to complement other teaching methods.

References

Attard, C. (2013). Introducing iPads into primary mathematics pedagogies: An exploration of two teachers’ experiences. Paper submitted to the thirty-sixth annual Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Conference, Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved from: http://www.merga.net.au/documents/Attard_MERGA36-2013.pdf

Attard, C. & Curry, C. (2012). Exploring the use of iPads to engage young students with mathematics. Paper submitted to the thirty-fifth annual Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Conference, Singapore. Retrieved from: http://www.merga.net.au/documents/Attard_&_Curry_2012_MERGA_35.pdf

Banchero, S. & Phillips, E. (2013, October 14). Schools learn tablets’ limits: Districts grapple with glitches as some say devices can supplement lessons. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304500404579129812858526576

Ciampa, K. & Gallagher, T. (2013). Getting in touch: Use of mobile devices in the elementary classroom. Computers in the schools 30(4). 309-328. DOI: 10.1080/07380569.2013.846716

Posted by: eheino | March 19, 2014

EER500 – Initial Thoughts

When I first started this subject a few weeks ago I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I was excited to be learning about how to research, particularly because my husband is currently undertaking his PhD so I thought learning about the process he was going through would be interesting, and perhaps I could help him with some tips about how to go about his research. On the other hand, I have always had issues with nailing down an area of interest, and committing to doing in depth study on any particular topic. My attention span for any one topic is pretty small, and I like to know a little about a lot of things rather than a lot about one thing. So I thought nailing down a topic for me to study during this subject would be a challenge.

As I started to explore possible topics, I discovered I was right about the vast number of interesting topics available to study, and I struggled to decide what to do. Initially I thought I would do something about the importance of Children’s Literature to literacy development, since I had found topics similar to this quite interesting in ETL402. I also thought doing something about the changing role of the Teacher Librarian would be interesting, and I knew it was a hot topic at the moment with lots of current research to refer to.

Eventually I decided on researching the benefits of mobile technology in the mathematics primary curriculum compared to the use of physical material. I had noticed that most schools I have seen that use tablets, mostly used them for game apps, and I wondered whether this was more or less beneficial than using physical materials to learn and practice mathematics. It was more difficult than I expected to find information and research on this subject, I would have thought more than just me would be interested in it, but there wasn’t much to be found. Eventually I found 3-4 recent articles in the area to use for my research.

Thus far I am pleased with my decision to use this topic for my research. It will be interesting to see how my research topic evolves as I move into Assignment 1b.

Posted by: eheino | January 13, 2014

Trends in Interactive Media for Children

In her article, Friedlander identifies 10 different trends in interactive media. Each of these trends will affect the teacher librarian profession in different ways. I am of the opinion that Trend number 5 will have the most impact.

Trend 5: Apps with a strong curriculum focus are on the rise.

“Certified educators are joining agile development teams and assessment modules are being built into app interfaces for teachers to seamlessly integrate specific activities with clear educational outcomes (often Common Core Standards aligned). The volume purchase program available to schools on the app store as well as the trend of schools adopting tablet devices makes this strategy a no brainer for developers hungry for sales volume. The best curriculum based apps are retaining a playful and approachable aesthetic while ensuring academic rigor is in place (Moose Math and Pet Bingo from Duck Duck Moose are great examples). Whether or not apps with such depth will be commercially viable remains to be seen. The current appetite for highly competitive pricing is making true quality unsustainable for smaller shops.” (Friedlander, 2013)

If apps with a strong curriculum focus continue to rise (as I am sure they will do as tablet technologies get even more popular), it will become a more difficult job for TLs to assess the appropriateness of each app, and decide which ones should be purchased for use within the school. There are already so many apps that fill the same need, whether it be multiplication games, word creation apps or apps that teach a concept, etc. As more and more are produced, the job of the teacher librarian will get more complicated. There are already a plethora of websites that TLs have to assess for appropriateness, and apps just add another dimension to this. I wonder if it will become a specific job for someone (or a group of people) to assess apps and/or websites for whole government areas, so there are officially endorsed apps for teachers and schools to use. This would certainly lighten the load for school teacher librarians and allow them more time to teach students information literacy skills and literature appreciation etc.

Posted by: eheino | December 2, 2013

In Response to Zipe

(Critics) are not recognising or do not want to recognise that the former traditional approaches to alphabetic literacy through reading print are not meeting the needs of young people who read texts much differently than the generations of teachers and educators who are teaching them.(p. 42)

Do you agree with Zipe’s comment? What are the implications for your role as a teacher librarian?

I don’t necessarily think that the traditional approaches don’t meet the needs of young people. This is a very necessary part of literacy and certainly needs to continue to be included as a major part of reading for students. Young children still need to be taught the basics of reading (phonics etc) and comprehension of a wide variety of texts. These should include traditional stories and non fiction texts, as well as more modern websites, interactive media and ebooks. So it isn’t really that the traditional methods aren’t meeting our students’ needs but that students should be taught to read and comprehend a wider variety of texts than just traditional books.

As a TL I will ensure that the collection includes a wide variety of texts for students to access, both on the computer and in print form. The books themselves also need to include things other than traditional picture books and novels, like graphic novels and interactive stories. Adding things like this to the collection should then encourage teachers to include them in their classrooms, particularly as the texts I include will be high quality texts that students should be exposed to.

Posted by: eheino | November 28, 2013

Pleasures in Literature

Literature can give people pleasure in so many ways.

Nodleman and Reimer (2003, pp. 25-27) list more than 20 pleasures such as

  • the pleasure of having one’s emotions evoked
  • the pleasure of finding a mirror for oneself
  • the pleasure of words themselves- the patterns their sounds can make
  • the pleasure of escape- of stepping outside oneself
  • the pleasure of the pictures and ideas that the words of texts evoke allowing one to visualise people in places not seen before
  • the pleasure of newness- of experiencing different kinds of stories or surprise within a story
  • the pleasure of formula -repeating the comfortably familiar experiences

Barone also notes that one of the pleasures of reading comes from being able to engage in conversations around literature. (2011, p. 5) Literature circles, book clubs, and a range of Web.2 technologies encourage a deeper social engagement with literature thereby allowing readers to enjoy and appreciate a book more fully.

On that note, I recently joined a book club, and have found that being able to discuss the books I read to add a whole other element to reading. It has also given me the opportunity to read books that I would never have picked up of my own accord. These books, like Joyland by Stephen King and The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid were an unexpected pleasure to read. They are both mystery novels which were very compelling in their own way. I found that discussing them with my friends in the book club helped me to notice and realise things about the book which I hadn’t picked up on myself. Novels can be quite complex, and different elements stand out to different people. The girls in my book club are all different to me, and therefore find different aspects interesting/annoying in the books we read, so engaging in discussion with them is always a rewarding experience.

As far as what books have given me pleasure? Generally I enjoy books which evoke my emotions, or introduce me to new perspectives I have not encountered in my own life. I also enjoy books which place me in a historically significant time/place. Some examples of books like this are Room – Emma Donoghue, The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons, A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini, My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult, The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff and The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold. Many of these books have characters that I wouldn’t meet in my life, but in turn give me an appreciation for their stories and experiences.

When I was younger I preferred books  that took me on adventures to different worlds. I liked Space Demons – Gillian Rubenstein, Finders Keepers – Emily Rodda, The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton etc. I guess this was the beginning of my appreciation for stories that gave the ‘pleasure of newness’.

I find that the stories that children most enjoy having read to them in the infants school would be stories with repetition patterns in the words, or that are funny. I imagine this is because these styles of stories can be appreciated by the whole class, so it is a better shared experience for the group. The class can laugh together at the funny parts, and identify the patterns together.

I wonder if this is a common pattern? I guess I will explore this further throughout this subject.

Reference List

Barone, D. M. (2011). Children’s literature in the classroom : engaging lifelong readers. New York: Guilford Press.

Nodelman, P., & Reimer, M. (2003). The pleasures of children’s literature (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Posted by: eheino | November 22, 2013

What is Children’s Literature?

The definition of ‘children’s literature’ is widely contested. Some argue that there is no such thing as children’s literature, as all literature can be read by all people, and books shouldn’t be limited to certain age ranges. I can see their point, as many advanced children can read and understand concepts well beyond their years, and some ‘children’s books’ can be equally appreciated by adults. However I think there is still a need for a classification system, even if the lines are a little blurry. Here’s why: Although some children and young adults may be capable of reading well beyond their years, some themes are not appropriate for them. For example, it isn’t appropriate or necessary for children/tweens to be reading graphic sex, violence or drug scenes just because they are capable of reading the words. Maturity needs to come into it. I think by classifying books as children’s, young adult, or adult literature, it gives parents, teachers and students an idea about what to expect inside the book, and gives them the opportunity to make an informed decision.

I was asked what the key elements of any definition of children’s literature should be.I basically agree with Saxby (1987) who says: “When the image or metaphor is within a child’s range of sensory, emotional, cognitive and moral experience and is expressed in linguistic terms that can be apprehended and comprehended by young readers, a book becomes classed as a children’s one.” I think that primary school libraries should include a selection of young adult/adult literature in their collections as well to accommodate more advanced readers and thinkers, as long as the content is appropriate for their maturity. I think this is the key rather than removing the distinction between the genres. Children’s literature that can also be appreciated by adults, or that adults would get more from than children, should be promoted for an adult audience as well so that they don’t miss out on what could be an enlightening or enjoyable experience.

The next question is, are all children’s books children’s literature? What is literature? This one I’m not sure about at the moment. Some argue that all books are literature, and some argue that only quality stories should be included under this umbrella. At the moment I lean more towards literature being a more exclusive group of books that force children to think more deeply, that take them on a journey. Or perhaps literature is something of cultural significance, that paints a picture of the times/times gone by.  (Cairney, 1994; Otley, 1992)These are important points, and certainly many of the best titles in children’s literature do these things. But should other texts be excluded? I’m not sure yet. Perhaps this subject will help me decide.

References:

Cairney, T.H. (1994). Literacy acquisition and literature: Teaching and learning. Teacher and Librarian, (115), 6-7, 13

Otley, C. (1992). What is children’s literature? Unpublished manuscript,  CSU Wagga Wagga.

Saxby, M. (1987). The gift of wings:  The value of literature to children. In Saxby, G. & Winch, G. (Eds.), Give them wings: The experience of children’s literature, (p. 4). Melbourne: Macmillan.

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