For my reading journal this week, I explored School Library Monthly. The two articles that I found most beneficial were called, “The Changing Role of the School Library’s Physical Space” by Tom Corbett and “Teaching Students to Think in the Digital Environment: Digital Literacy and Digital Inquiry” by Barbara Stripling. I chose these articles specifically to read because I have been attempting to help students research in the library, and their lack of knowledge on how to navigate the Internet is shocking. (For example, in Rhetoric the students are working on the “offensive,” as in the opposite of “defensive,” parts of arguments. They were required to find examples of blame, value, and choice arguments, and some of the students were Googling “offensive arguments.” I’m sure you can infer what kind of videos and articles they were finding.)
The first article by Tom Corbett was about creating digital libraries and turning the library into a place of collaboration by changing the “library software platform” to one more appropriate for today’s web services, including a search engine, and restructuring the “library’s physical space into a collaborative work area.” The second article featured a model on how to help students utilize and ask questions about digital information.
I really liked using the School Library Monthly resource. It is easy to navigate and has information for librarians across the board. While this time I mostly used the “articles” part of the website, if I ever begin teaching library classes the “Into the Curriculum” tab has a lot of great information on how to integrate the library into mainstream classes (for example, there was a “Who’s Who” intro activity for “The Odyssey” I’m definitely going to use with my Freshmen!) I think I will start regularly checking School Library Monthly. Every article or lesson plan I looked at was relevant and useful, so I feel the website curators do a great job of making sure only top-notch information makes it onto their page, and I appreciate that.
As for the content, the articles I read gave me a lot of ideas. The town that I teach/work in has a large Apostolic Christian population. Therefore, depending on how strict the family is, some of them do not own computers (because they take away from family time, which is very important to the AC community.) However, the students are allowed and required to use computers at school for research, but they often do not know where to start. The Corbett article got me thinking about setting up an information database for researching at my school. One suggestion given by Corbett is to use Drupal. I explored Drupal a bit and it seems like an easily-navigated site that would be good for my students. (Obviously I’ll do more research before I choose one.)
Our school library is already a meeting place for learning and collaboration- we just need to start integrating technology and databases in more, and make information more readily-available to students. I think this article gave me a lot of ideas on how to do that. If I can get a strong database up and running, I can give it to the teachers and students as a research resource. In addition, teachers could help me add to it by letting me know what information and websites would be useful in their classrooms, which would get the library more integrated into the classroom.
Okay. I hope this did not turn into a technology entry. Overall, I loved School Library Monthly. I think it has great ideas and is a great resource not only for librarians but for classroom teachers, and I believe I will utilize it regularly in my role as a school librarian.