Saturday, 27 July 2013

SLANZA Conference 2013

I have just typed up my notes from the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) conference in Wellington.  I have six pages of them but I have been inspired by the lovely Glenys Bichan from Cambridge High School, who told me that she prepares a report for her principal that includes five things she is going to do as a result of the conference.  I think this is a great idea as at the end of the day we want to show that something practical came about from attending the conference.  So, here is what I am going to do:

1.    Help children select books.  The National Literacy Trust (UK) found 48% of low achieving children have trouble finding things to read.  This was part of the keynote from Dr Cathy Wylie on "How reading matters to children's development".  She raised a number of issues but this is one I want to focus on.  Here is how I am going to start:
a.     Begin book talks with the senior school, making sure to include books suitable for struggling readers
b.     Include my Goodreads shelves on our library OPAC and publicise that to help parents choose books for their children.
c.     Introduce new shelf talkers based on this one I found on Pinterest.

2.    Watch YouTube videos to learn correct Maori pronunciation.  Sharon Holt ran the workshop “Make the most of te reo Maori resources”.  She suggested looking for the Maori alphabet song and Ahaka ma and singing along to those to get Maori pronunciation right.  I can do that!

3.    Write down my vision for the library, identify all the services I already provide and make a wish list of services I would like to add or develop.  Senga White’s workshop “Making a lasting connection with your school community” was overflowing with great ideas.  First on my list, though, is to actually take stock of what I’m currently doing in the library and what I want to see done in the future.  This is a basic step but I’ve been so busy doing everything I haven’t made time to get a good overview of it all.

4.    Megan Davidson ran a fantastic workshop – “3-minute PD: how to raise the library’s profile by offering mini how-to lessons at morning briefings or staff meetings”.  I think I could do this but would have to clear it with management first.  The problem with big PD sessions is that you get overwhelmed with information.  That is why little tips brought up on a regular basis are such a good idea.  Realistically I think Term 4 would be something to work towards – book talks first!

5.    Share critical literacy ideas.  Dr Susan Sandretto did a keynote – “(Re)considering information literacy through a critical literacy lens”.  She shared a great series of critical literacy questions found here.  In my school this is not something I am personally involved with, however I will try to share these questions with our DP because I loved the discussions that they prompted.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

How to Gamify your Library: Reflections on a presentation

Last week I presented at the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) conference in Wellington.  Having done no public speaking since they made me at college, there were times when I did wonder what on earth I was thinking when I volunteered.  However, I gave my presentation, got some good feedback and may even do it again one day.  I think there is a need for more primary school librarians to present at these conferences so if I can't persuade others (I did try) then I may be back.

Here are some things I learnt about presenting:

  • It takes much longer than you think to prepare.  Particularly if you enjoy researching, there is lots of information out there, and you want to read it all!
  • The process of pulling together information, and organising it in a coherent way so that you can present it, helps give you a stronger and deeper focus on your topic.
  • There is lots of great information on how to present, and people who will help you if you ask.  Here are my favourite slides on presenting from Ned Potter .  I also had lovely support and advice from @MatthewWinner and @jenniferlagarde, who are American librarians and experts on gamification.  How cool is that?!  All I had to do was ask.
  • Think carefully about what to put in your abstract.  Although my abstract said my workshop was about how to use game elements to bring fun into the library, I met a few librarians who had obviously seen the title "How to gamify your library" and decided that it meant bringing video games into the library.
I'm going to embed my slides, although they are quite simple and had a lot of verbal explanations to accompany them.  I did also make a library gamification website that has a lot of the articles and videos I used in researching gamification.

I had a ball at the conference and am still writing up my notes.  I hope to post again shortly and talk about the keynotes and workshops I attended.