Social media in the workplace – OLJ2

I discovered the Common Craft videos on the web some time ago. They are awesome. They explain recent web 2.0 phenomena in plain English (I’m also a big fan of using plain English to explain things). They are simple and straightforward but contain so much vital information. When I want to understand about a web 2.0 tool, one of the first things I do is search the Common Craft site.


Screenshot of Common Craft video "Social Media and the Workplace"

Once again, Lee and Sachi LeFever have explained something complex in a really simple way that makes sense. “Social Media and the Workplace” talks about how social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs can be used in the workplace to communicate with customers. It’s not much of a stretch to see how these social media tools can be used within a workplace like an education employer (such as the NSW DET) and across a variety of education  workplaces to share ideas.


Over the weekend I joined Twitter for the first time. I also joined Yammer some months ago. There are a lot of ideas going round in my head at the moment about the implications (positive and negative, though predominantly positive) of these social media tools in my workplace, especially as I need to come up with either a social networking project or a case study for my first assignment for my “Social Networking for Information Professionals” course.

I’ll keep mulling it over and post again on this topic soon – very soon.

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Online Learning Journal for INF506 – OLJ1

Here are my thoughts at the beginning of my Online Learning Journal for the subject INF506 “Social Networking for Information Professionals”.


Definition of Social Networking

  • ‘social’ implies a personal connection between people who share similar interests, ideas or experiences.
  • ‘Networking’ has overtones of making business contacts or of a network of roads or nerves/ blood vessels in the human body.

‘Social networking” = a linking of like-minded people through the use of interactive technologies that allow members to respond to others in their  ‘social network’.


Social Networking Technologies and Sites I Use

Blogs: I

  • have regularly read other’s blogs and created my own for several years, for both personal and professional use.
  • have kept a personal blog for almost 2 years to reflect on recent life changes and as a means of maintaining a connection with distant friends.
  • began organizing the blogs I read using Google Reader when my browser bookmarks list became unwieldy.
  • this blog was begun for an assignment for Teacher Librarianship (ETL401) in February  2010, and have used it as an online journal of my learning into teacher librarianship


  • began using it as a means of keeping track of research for assignments a couple of months ago
  • haven’t used it’s networking function yet.


  • have used Facebook for about 18 months as a means of connecting with distant friends, family and colleagues as well as finding old school friends.
  • primarily used it for social and recreational use (games) until now.


What I Expect to Learn From Completing INF506

  • how to set up and use various social networking technologies/ sites
  • develop some understanding of the educational, informational and social value of such technologies/ sites
  • refine my skills in evaluation and critical analysis
  • complete my first social networking ‘project’ and gain knowledge, understanding and experiences that I can use in my future career as a teacher librarian
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Another reason to buy an iPad

I’ve been find more and more excuses to buy an iPad. This is the latest one.

There are a number of apps for the iPad that are useful for people with autism. Check them out at: 10 revolutionary ipad apps to help autistic children.

Apparently some of the apps are also good to use on a iTouch or iPhone. I’m looking (again!) at buying an iPhone soon, so I might have to wait on the iPad. *sigh*

What teaching applications are you finding for the iPad? (In other words, what’s your excuse?)

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How large is YOUR digital footprint?

I came across a video last semester about the impact of a person’s “digital/ online footprint” and how it can affect the way you are perceived by other (including potential employers). Since seeing that video, I’ve started teaching part-time at my local TAFE (Technical & Further Education) campus. One of my classes is a group of Year 11 students who I am teaching “workplace communication” to, along with another teacher. We were discussing email etiquette today in class, and I briefly mentioned the idea of your “digital footprint”. I suspect that our students have very little understanding of the implications of their online activity. The discussion started me thinking, and I decided I would look up the video again to be prepared to use it with these students. As it happened, I found several other videos about the impact of digital footprints. I’ll have to mark them in the del.ici.ous page I want to set up soon (when I get around to it).

I was explaining to my husband why I was watching YoutTube videos while he was trying to concentrate on a document he had to write (“Honestly honey, it’s for work!”) On a whim, I wondered how large my digital footprint has become.

I got a shock.

The last time I “googled” myself was probably over a year ago. Then I think I appeared 2 or 3 times, all of which I think were associated with the website for the school I had been teaching at in Townsville.

Tonight I found nearly 30 hits, including links to my LinkedIn page (which I haven’t even looked at for a couple of years),  Facebook, some book reviews I’ve written for a publisher, some links in the blogs of some of my writer friends, my personal blog, THIS blog, my name on a couple of petitions and finally my current job at TAFE.

That’s a ten fold increase in about a 12 month period. Luckily, I’m pretty careful about what I write online.

So how large is your digital footprint? You might be surprised. Or shocked.

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Critical Synthesis – ETL401 Assessment 2 (Part C)

A critical synthesis of your reflection on how your view of the role of the teacher librarian may have changed during the subject.

My view of the role of the teacher librarian (TL) has been transformed markedly over the course of this subject. I have never worked in a TL position, and up until now my teaching experience for the past 14 years has been limited to classroom teaching in primary schools. At the beginning of this course my view of the role of TL was limited to what I had observed from outside the role and I was limited to viewing the TL as an advocate for literature and a love of reading as well as a conduit for accessing the enormous educational possibilities of the internet (Veugen, 2010). There are three areas where my understanding of the TL’s role has deepened substantially, namely collaboration, and information literacy and the role of Web 2.0 as part of the TL’s toolbox.


Through the readings about the need for genuine collaboration between the TL and the classroom teacher, I have begun to realise, with some shame, that I have never truly collaborated with either the TL or other classroom teachers in the schools in which I have taught, but that instead I have merely cooperated. This is despite the fact that I have always enjoyed the collaborative nature of ‘team teaching’. Morag Mackay’s point particularly struck home for me in her discussion on the forums about this difference (Mackay, 2010). Upon reflecting on the interactions I have had with past colleagues who are TLs, I realised that my efforts at collaboration have often been blocked: sometimes by the TL, perhaps from a lack of understanding of the crucial importance of collaboration for quality teaching and learning; and sometimes I have myself unintentionally blocked the collaboration with the TL. I’m not sure why I have blocked attempts at true collaboration, but I suspect it has been out of fear that I might be ‘found out’ to be not as good a teacher as I would like to be. I must also confess to frustration in the past that the leadership within the school has not appeared to support collaboration. However, I am now inspired by the suggestion by Chilbulka et al about building small groups of collaboration rather than attempting to shift the whole school to a collaborative model (Chibulka, Coursey, Nakayama, Price, & Stewart, 2003, p. 4), and I see this as a positive way forward when working as a TL within a school.

Information Literacy

I am ashamed to admit that at the beginning of this subject I had only a vague idea of what was meant by the term ‘information literacy’ (IL) and had not thought at all about its place in school libraries. Now that I have read numerous journal articles about the various definitions of the term, and have examined several models for teaching IL, I am beginning to understand IL’s importance in not only assisting students to become information literate (and I would include digital literacy as a sub-branch of IL here) but also to think critically, problem solve and become lifelong learners. I was particularly struck with Kuhlthau’s notions about the impact on the information seeker on the affective aspect to information seeking (Kuhlthau, 2009) and have been able to make a personal connection of this understanding in the way in which I have tackled the assignments.

Web 2.0 and blogging

I have realised, perhaps too late for the purposes of this assignment, that I could have been using this blog much more effectively to highlight my new learning. Although I have been keeping a person blog for over 12 months, for some reason I didn’t make the connection between blogging, learning, teaching and self-reflection until reading Susan Carr’s post on the information literacy forum with regard to her realisation that she was approaching her assignment using the same steps at the Big6 and other information literacy models (Carr, 2010). Reading Carr’s post was my personal ‘light bulb’ moment for me, and I was struck by the importance of evaluating my learning journey through my reflections to this blog. I am also excited by the educational potential of using professional blogs to provide information, make connections with prior learning and to link to specific resources and am looking forward to exploring this further in future subjects as well as to applying these skills to my current teaching strategies and my future TL role.


Carr, S., (4 April 2010). Light bulb moment. Message posted to ETL401 Module 4 sub-forum

Chibulka, J., Coursey, S., Nakayama, M., Price, J., & Stewart, S. (2003). Schools as Learning Organisations: A review of the literature. National College for School Leadership.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2009). Information Search Process. In M. J. Bates & M. N. Maack (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (3rd ed., pp. 19): CRC Press.

McKay, M (22 May 2010). Opportunities for Collaboration. Message posted to ETL401 Module 5 sub-forum.

Veugen, R. (2 March 2010). School Libraries – Literature vs Learning Resource Centre? Message posted to

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Moodle explained

I love the possibilities for teaching in the 21st century. I love the technology we have available to us to engage our students and connect them with us and with each other online. I also love the fact that many programs are shared freely. Moodle is one of these.

I have just watched this great video which explains clearly what Moodle is and how it works. Thanks to Audrey Nay, TL at Sandy Beach Primary School at Coffs Harbour for pointing this video out to me.

I have used Moodle myself as a student and have found it really useful. Last year I did an online novel-writing course through the Queensland Writers Centre which used Moodle. Now I’m looking forward to using it with my students, both in my new job as a part-time TAFE teacher and, hopefully, in a future position as a teacher librarian.

I also didn’t realise until today that Moodle was created by an Australian. How great is that?

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A lesson learned (backup, backup, backup)

I’ve learned a lesson the hard way today. Don’t depend on what you’re told when you’re updating software. And always backup your bookmarks/ favourites, or be prepared to lose them 😦

Yes, you can guess what has happened to me. I’ve been having trouble getting access to the readings that are linked on EBSCOhost – sometimes they’re fine, other times I can’t access them at all through the link (though, curiously, seem to be able to link just fine through the library). This has been happening with maddening frequency and with no rhyme nor reason as to why (maybe I’m holding my mouth wrong?) I checked out the CSU library forum and found there has been a problem with EBSCOhost recently for Macs using Firefox. Bingo!

So, as directed, I updated my version of Firefox, which was definitely old (I couldn’t believe it was a 2007 version!). And I took Firefox at their word when they said my bookmarks would transfer with no problems to the new version.

You can guess, can’t you?

So, I opened up my shiny new version of Firefox and went to log back into Interact.

Hang on, where’s my Interact bookmark? In fact, where are the @$#% bookmarks for the last 3 months? All those wonderful TL-related sites I wanted to check out when I had more time??? Nooooooooooooo!!!!

Moral of the story:



(Especially websites you bookmarked after serendipitous searches).

Tonight’s job – to investigate a web-based bookmarking program. (Been meaning to check out Delicious for a while. Looks like I have a good reason to do so now.)

Now where’s that bottle of wine I’ve been saving for a special occasion?

Acknowledgment: My hat is off to the very clever Lim Chee Aun, who played around with the Firefox logo. Sometimes a picture certainly does say a thousand words.

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What does a Teacher Librarian really do? Ask me

I have been concentrating so much on reading, thinking, planning and writing for my first two MEd(TL) assignments that I’ve hardly been game to look at anything that doesn’t relate specifically to selecting resources or how to develop an information literate school community. And to add it to my blog? No time to write about that when I have assignments to write!

But I couldn’t pass up blogging about this wonderful YouTube video What does a Teacher Librarian really do?, as mentioned by Georgia Phillips on OZTL_NET today. It was produced through collaboration by Instructional Media Services, the United Teachers Los Angeles Library Professionals Committee, and the Los Angeles School Library Association. It’s directed at secondary school principals and highlights the vital role of TLs have to play in student achievement. Although it’s directed at US principals, I think it illustrates beautifully what a TL really does.

With our national Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools, I wonder if our Deputy Prime Minister (and Federal Education Minister) Julia Gillard has seen it?

Well worth watching.

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Social Networking and students

I’ve been following an interesting debate on OZTL_NET lately about the use of social networking sites like Facebook. There has been a lot of debate about privacy, copyright, online safety and the place of TLs and teachers/ schools/ parents in the teaching of online safety. I don’t think this issue is going to go away any time soon.

Food for thought is this YouTube video about how prospective employers use social networking sites to research job applicants.

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Average price of books

I have just discovered a very useful and practical site from the Western Australian Department of Education’s CMIS section. It contains information about the average cost of books each year (fiction, non-fiction, big books, paperback/hardback). I could see this being extremely helpful in the future in preparing information for budgets, funding submission and insurance claims. It includes ideas for how you can use the information and explains how the information is compiled

Thanks to Ev Read via Alison Lochrin on the OZTL-NET list for the link.

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