Tag Archives: high school

Informed Transition Overload

In late January, I found out about a book that would be coming out in early February called Informed Transitions: Libraries Supporting the High School to College Transition because one of the members of the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Transitions-to-College Committee had co-authored an chapter to be included and we were discussing it on our conference call.  This is the book I’ve been waiting to read for the last two years. You know all of those times we’ve sat around the conference table thinking, “Really? Is there nobody else talking about this stuff or thinking about how to partner with high school librarians, other local librarians, or graduate students for a teach-the-teacher model?”  Well. There were. And many of them have written chapters in this book.

This book has also been especially helpful as I try to come up with a curriculum for our Information Literacy Summit happening in just under a month.

I’ve read almost the entire book, but there are a few chapters in particular that align well with what we currently do as well as ideas we’ve had for the future. I also wanted to capture some of the resources that are mentioned in the book that have probably been pushed out via the ILI-listserv as various points in time, but that could be potentially helpful to evaluate again.

I would actually encourage everyone, at some point, to read the first chapter authored by the book’s editor, Ken Burhanna. Entitled, “The Transition Movement: From Blueprint to Construction Zone” it details the history of outreach and/or collaboration of high school and academic librarians in supporting their students.  In 2000, ACRL and AASL (the American Association of School Librarians) co-authored a Blueprint for Collaboration that was essentially a call-to-action for academic and school librarians to work together to better facilitate the integration of information literacy into the curriculum. Their recommendations lay the blueprint for a grant vision of information literacy world domination. As we know, it didn’t exactly come to fruition in this way.

What is igniting an new national interest in high school – academic library partnerships is the adoption of the Common Core Standards by 41 states (and Puerto Rico!) Of course, Texas is not one of them.  AASL has written cross-walks between Common Core and their Standards for the 21st Century Learner. These standards updated the previous ones by addressing multiple literacies and holistic view of learning – not just in the classroom but personal as well.  One of the major points that Ken Burhanna addresses in this introduction is the need for the ACRL Information Literacy Standards to be updated to address these multiple literacies — something that has been addressed over the past few years by research on transliteracy.  In addition, the ACRL IL Competency Review Task Force recommends that the standards be reviewed and extensively updated in the near future to, among other things, provide continuity is the AASL 21st Century Standards.

Among other things the book also describes other ways the academic and high school librarians are working together to bridge this gap, which include:  collaborative dialogues, professions development, preservice teacher education (in a way, what we do with Rhetoric) instructional experience.

Different chapters also details ways in which some HS students are receiving instructional content from an academic seating: HS students visit the college library; HS are participating in pre-college programs (upwards bound, etc), dual credit programs (enrolled in college level courses during HS)

One of the most interesting chapters, “Information Literacy & 21st Century Skills: Training the Teachers” I read came from a program in Minnesota, where they developed Metronet Information Literacy Initiative  for teachers & library media specialists. The goal of MILI is to provide support for teaching information literacy & 21st Century Skills. Metronet is a multi-county library system and it provides training and support for their participants. The program is very small program with just two  full time employees.

The trainers (the library media specialists) focus on  teaching the research process, rather than specific tools. So they teach the 3 R’s → Research, Reliable Resources, Responsible Use. As it’s note, “for the program to be the most effective, teacher participants must have a research project in their curriculum.”

Their mission and visions are very well-organized plan with the responsibilities, outcomes, and goals of the program all laid out (pgs 125-126). One of the materials that they developed to help the teachers to become more critical of their assignments was the ART Evaluation of Assignments. It asks teachers to view their assignment in the context of information literacy. The teachers are then asked to use the Research Project Calculator help teachers work backwards and scaffold the assignment over time. A full overview of the program and the materials that are used to to it are available at http://metronetmili.pbworks.com

So, just a few questions to spark discussion:

  • Should we be focusing on integrating transliteracy since it’s seems like it’s the natural progression from the AASL 21st Century Learner Standards? Are we already doing this?
  • Is the Rhetoric program a natural partner for continuing to teach the teachers about integrating information literacy (or transliteracy) skills?
  • How do we use the opportunities of outreach to high school librarians to address furthering a scaffold of AASL to ACRL standards?
  •  Are the ACRL IL Standards outdated?

Bridging the Overly Clichéd Gap

A couple of weeks ago we were meeting with our 398T instructors and we were discussing first year undergraduates’ exposure to databases prior to UT. Some of us had noticed that a lot more students seem to be arriving having already searched library databases than in the past. So I emailed four school librarians to find out a little more about this. Responses are summarized below.

Then this afternoon I saw an article from the most recent LOEX Currents about how they are addressing this issue in California. Here is a link to the article – Sequential Information Literacy Instruction (ILI): What, Why and How?

It is about a group of California librarians and their efforts to look sequentially between K-12, College and post college (Public libraries) settings, and whether and how information literacy can be addressed in a connected way. I thought he most interesting part of this article was the table that showed information literacy topics and how they are addressed by the different librarians.

I’m not suggesting we try a similar effort in Texas ourselves (although this might be something interesting for people within TLA to do), since we all have plenty on our plate, but I do think it might serve to inform us about whether our students are having similar or dissimilar ‘library’ experiences in high school, and how those experiences might affect their view of us and how relevant libraries are to research once they get here. And as I’m typing, I’m wondering if it might actually be relatively simple to do a survey like this and send it out to TASL (TX Assoc. of School Librarians) to see what kind of answers we might get on a larger scale? So with that in mind, here is the tiny, completely informal questions I sent and their responses:

Here are the questions I asked them

1. What do you do as far as instruction for your students? Is it formal (library instruction to classes), informal (whoever asks when they’re looking for something in the library), etc.? What percentage of your students do you see in these interactions (totally rough guesstimate)

2. What databases do you have, and how are they paid for – is there a common set among all TX public schools/high schools?

3. If not, do you decide which ones to subscribe to? If not, who does?

And here are the three good/interesting responses:

1. AISD uses the databases that were paid for by TexShare.  http://www.austinschools.org/campus/lanier/library/library.html

Here is a link to my webpage and it shows what we have access to.  When I taught middle school we would use it a lot too, but it was in a different state, so I don’t know if you are interested in that.

2. [this is from a librarian who works for Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, so she’s more of a support person for librarians in the schools, hence the somewhat sales-person type response] We are doing everything we can to get the databases into the hands of students, teachers, parents, etc., etc.! In our school libraries, we are exposing students through whole class instruction, on-the-fly instruction, and even parent sessions in the evenings. NISD has been invited to the TX Capitol School House in January where we’ll have two of our schools represented with students, librarian, technology instructor, and admin. I publish a quarterly newsletter spotlighting database use in the district called Database Showcase http://nisdlibdb.edublogs.org.

We’ve also recently purchased a federated search product through WebFeat and have Elementary, Middle School, and Professional profiles, with each High School having an individual profile with their catalog and campus specific databases included.

Please take a look at our district database page to see our district-wide subscriptions: http://library.nisd.net/Library/Resources/Online_Databases.htm

We get some through K-12 Databases: TEA, our regional service center, and Texas State Library & Archives Comm. and some are purchased through Library Services.

3. Our instruction varies depending on the age of the student. Our pre-K Kinder librarian actually has lessons for the little ones on databases.

By the time they get to the high school, we usually teach them in context with their research, except for a lesson that I do for seniors at the beginning of the year on how our databases can help them with colleges and careers. We have collaborated with our technology department on a website called Research Central, where we pre-select the databases and steer the students towards them and away from pure Google: http://librarycentral.acisd.org/researchCentral.cfm

I started a program called Pirate POWER (Parent Online Web Education Resources) that we put on the first Tuesday night of every month. We show high school parents how to access information on their students through our school web site, and how to use data bases. In 2 months, we have seen 3 parents (0 the first time, so it’s improving).

We have EBSCO and Brittanica, (A.J. all schools can access those for free right now – could be the reason that more of your students have recently been knowledgeable – we should use your letter to convince our legislators that this needs to continue to be funded), but we also subscribe to Facts on File and Gale (we get Testing and Resource Center and Opposing Viewpoints through them also). Our dual credit kids had a real revelation this year when their on-line professor required that they use academic journals. We pay for those through the library, but we code it to curriculum. The librarians have made these choices in the past, but this year we have formed a committee made up of librarians, tech. folks, and teachers. They will be making the decision for next year.

I heard yesterday that the new ELA TEKS have a re-newed emphasis on research. I expect that might also impact our use of databases. Now if I could only get my teachers to use them.

Conclusion: This is just to give us a little more idea about our undergraduates, and specifically what research/library-specific experiences they might have had before they came to UT. This is totally unscientific – would it be worth doing a short survey that would reach many more librarians in K-12, or even just in high schools, to see how they promote information literacy and/or library tools?