Tag Archives: Technology Use

Back to the Future

Back to the Future. Image from: http://bit.ly/1Mbtj7s Sourced using Creative Commons                    Attribution 4.0 International License.

I have been doing one of those necessary tasks of working in a library over the past few weeks, weeding. I have been weeding our teacher’s resource collection to make sure that it is still relevant, up to date and covering topics of interest to the teaching staff. I cannot help myself, and as I should, critically evaluating each items position in the                collection. Sometimes while doing this you will find a phrase in an item that just, for whatever reason, catches your attention.

This happened to me yesterday while going through some items, all covered in dust and making my hands filthy! The quote that took my attention was

“Online communities and activities promoting literature will continue to grow with the expansion of technologies in homes and schools and the resulting increase in technological expertise.” (Pledger, 2004).

I take heart from this quote. Why? It is because this quote is from just over ten years ago and yet it is very relevant today. I take from this that we are continually striving to achieve our best for the sake of not just ourselves but more importantly those we serve. Yes serve! In both my public and school library experience I have been a firm believer in my service to others. Every time a student or staff member approaches me either in person, via email or the phone it is my duty and honour to serve them. I know that it was the serving mentality of the librarians, both public and school of my own childhood who lead me to wanting to become a librarian. I know that no matter what is going on behind the scenes one reflective comment of thanks from those I serve helps put everything in perspective.

What I also love about the quote is that it is harnessing technology and the affordances it provides to develop new ways of literature                  promotion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what I would do without access to Goodreads, LibraryThing, Spineout, Kid’s Book       Review , just to name a few. Yes we would still have our excellent       quality reviewing journals and publications, but let’s be honest, today we often want a review or information about a title quicker than a      traditional review takes place. This won’t stop me from going to the      reviewing section of my Weekend newspaper of choice first before then tackling the other wealth of sections the newspaper provides.

To me an added pleasure of this quote is that it inadvertently reminds me that it is my responsibility to keep abreast, as much as is humanly possible, with what is happening out there in the digital world. It is then for me to twist it and turn it, examine it from all angles to see what can I do with this in my setting to help staff and students,                 especially for literature promotion? How can I do this? I use avenues such as professional journals, discussion boards/groups, blogs such as Free Technology 4 Teachers, professional networking, talking regularly with the IT department in my school and my fellow ICT Integrators and keeping in touch with a great BBC programme called Click that looks at a range of technologies and online tools for everyday users.

Back to the Future 2 Image from : http://bit.ly/1k03jFA Sourced using Creative Commons    Attribution 4.0 International License.

I hope that if I look at this quote again in ten years’ time, just like the stars and fans of the Back to the Future 2 film have been doing this week, that I will still have the same or even more positive reflections on it. If I had seen this quote in 2004 for example would I have been thinking about the potential of book trailers as a digital promotion tool? I look forward to 2025 and what amazing tools I will be using then to connect youth, interested adults and literature together.

Pledger, P. (2004). Promoting literature through online communities . Constructing communities of learning and literacy: ASLA online conference 2004 proceedings (pp. 122-127). Zilmere: ASLA .

The End is not Nigh


Used under the agreement of Unshelved.com reuse policy

Why do we have to be seen to be choosing between hardcopy or digital texts?

I have heard many comments both for and against.

The positives I often hear are that e-readers are light and easy to use, can store many books on the device, can be accessed on many other devices such as tablets and a lot of schools and public libraries have e-books that can be borrowed.

The negatives are along the lines of you can’t cuddle up with an e-reader, what do you do if you run out of charge and I just don’t like reading on screen.

I have noticed in the school I work in that there really is a split between positive and negative e-book readers. This split isn’t at an adult level, rather it’s the students, especially for leisure reading. For the students there seems to be an anecdotal feeling that they just feel more secure with a hardcopy book.

A few years back there was a doom and gloom prediction that the dawn of the digital book was going to put a nail in the coffin of                  hardcopy published books. This was a knee jerk reaction to the             unknown. Recently a major bookshop chain in the United Kingdom       announced that it would stop selling e-readers in their stores. This     decision is a direct result of the range of devices that can be used to read e-books. To me this is a good sign as it means that the devices we do have, such as tablets, are incorporating technology that not so long ago needed their own dedicated device, making devices truly              multifunctional. This functionality needs to be harnessed by                     publishers, authors, educators and the wider community.

When I attended a few different conferences a couple of years ago, publishers and authors would talk about the current concerns and the legalities that were causing blockages to the rise of the digital book, but there was an acknowledgement of the potential of digital books. These concerns are now being studied and recently Macquarie             University released a briefing report in which authors identified that traditional publishing was still the most common, followed by digital publishing. Some authors are embracing the digital and are playing with the potential affordances for their readers such as Shaun Tan’s app for the book Rules of Summer. It was with some naïve amazement, to me, that this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia included a digital book, Audacity by Carlie Walker, on the shortlist. What a positive step this is for the validation of the form, to have the major                  publicly  acknowledged children’s book organisation in Australia take the brave step to include a non-traditional format in the awards process.

Those of us in school libraries need to take note and modify our        practices to adjust to this digital potential of books. I have been            purchasing for the school library, for the past few years a range of       fiction and non-fiction books plus online subscription services. I have to admit that it has not been totally successful for fiction reading, but students, especially senior students like that they have access to           library books and resources on a 24/7 basis. My mission is to continue to support and promote digital books with my whole school                 community and to take note of the research that is beginning to appear that will aid a positive transition to an increased use of this part of the school library collection. One example is the research from New            Zealand that showed that when youth select books traditionally they browse the bookshop or the library for a book that draws                      their attention, not too different to my own adult selection behaviour (Cunningham, 2011). I need to take this information and adapt my          promotion to make it more visually stimulating and hopefully this will lead to the students, who many would refer to as digital natives, to take the next step and try reading a digital book for pleasure.


Cunningham, S. J. (2011). How children find books for leisure reading: Implications for the digital library. JCDL ’11 Proceedings of the 11th annual international ACM/IEEE joint conference on Digital libraries (pp. 431-432). New York: ACM. doi:10.1145/1998076.1998170

The Art of Slow and Getting to Know

The Hare and the Tortoise From: http://bit.ly/1kEGO9E Using Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

I must confess that one of the reasons my     husband and I decided to move to a regional country area of New South Wales was for a slower pace of life. Has this happened? To some degree yes but in other areas no. We have both been               continuing with our studies, joined a dog training club approximately an hour from where we live, continued with our Sydney flyball club and attending training and competitions, I started back at an adult tap class and have started taking a yoga class once a week. Not to mention the 3 hours I spend traveling to and from work each day. Where is the balance in all of this and the link to Youth and Popular Culture?

Well isn’t it the same for our youth of today, especially those                  completing their final school exams, the HSC in NSW? They need to be enabled to get the balance right. Are the adults who surround them setting good examples on this front? We may be talking the talk but are we leading by example? I am not attacking anyone with this comment, rather reflecting on what we all do, especially myself.

When I worked in a public library I was responsible for running a        programme of HSC lectures and I would get Rowan Kunz to come and speak about getting the balance right between study and the rest of their lives such as sport, while providing good techniques and             strategies for effective study. I also had sessions from the team at the University Of Technology Sydney Health Psychology Unit about stress. At the school I work in I am lucky to have access to a great pastoral care team who I can approach if I have any concerns regarding students, no matter what year group they belong to.

I believe that we also need to show this support in student’s use of technology. I love my technology gadgets and when the lecturer for one of my units this semester sent an email listing gadgets we could be using all at one time I could have put my hand up as a yes that’s what I’m doing now. I don’t believe that we should be regressing to luddites, rather we need to be grasping every development that comes our way and evaluating their affordances for teaching and learning. Who would have thought just a few years back that we would be seeing 3D printers in schools or able to use augmented reality tools to enhance teaching and learning?

At the same time we need to be taking on board the concerns regarding technology from the very young through to young adults and helping them and their families navigate this new minefield, as often it is seen. We ourselves need to be creating good habits like taking a break from technology before trying to sleep and perhaps learning to turn it off or take it out of our sleep settings. I know this is a hard one and I’m not sure if it will succeed in my household as the phone is the most reliable alarm in the house, but I’m going to try and we need to help support youth to do the same. So let’s see we can all do for our own good and the good of the students around us, while still being able to enjoy all the wonderful directions that technology can take us.


Ernest, J. M., Causey, C., Newton, A. B., Sharkins, K., Summerlin, J., & Albaiz, N. (2014). Extending the global dialogue about media, technology, screen time, and young children. Childhood Education, 90(3), 182-191. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1528862094?accountid=13380

Punamaki, R., Wallenius, M., Nygard, C., Saarni, L., & Rimpela, A. (2007). Use of information and communication technology (ICT) and perceived health in adolescence: The role of sleeping habits and waking-time tiredness. Journal of Adolescence, 30(4), 569-585. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/62056103?accountid=13380

Thomée, S., Eklöf, M., Gustafsson, E., Nilsson, R., Hagberg, M. (2007) Prevalence of perceived stress, symptoms of depression and sleep disturbances in relation to information and communication technology (ICT) use among young adults: an explorative prospective study. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(3), 1300-1321. Retrieved from  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2004.12.007.