Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ILI Blog - Week 11 - Collaboration

What are different types of librarian-faculty collaboration? What are the benefits and costs of such collaboration? Describe an "aha" moment you had this week, if any.

There are many different types of collaboration that can occur between librarians and faculty or teaching staff (in the case of K-12 education), and at the less intense end are called coordination and cooperation. Librarians can confer with teachers to provide supportive instruction, either as one-shots or during a regular Media time, for units, skills, or projects happening in the classroom (such as practicing applicable technology, research, or digital citizenship skills, or carrying over a class unit theme into storytime and computer programs). Librarians can come to the class(room) to do a lesson or several, based on student needs. The librarian can team-teach with the class(room) teacher during such lessons. At the more intense end, librarian could become a key partner in planning curriculum, and therefore be involved with faculty/teaching staff frequently and become deeply intertwined with what's happening in the class(room) and how well students do.

A benefit would also be the reason to collaborate in the first place - better student learning in terms of information literacy and critical thinking skills. Other benefits include stronger curriculum, better interstaff relations, and higher estimation of librarian/library value. Costs include the amount of time necessary to collaborate (deeply), and could also include less valuing of the library as a space, if the librarian were to be coming to class(room)s a lot to teach and mainly using online sources.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ILI Blog - Week 10 - Evaluation and Evidence

What methods are used to evaluate teaching and learning? Why is evidence-based librarianship important? Describe an "aha" moment you had this week, if any.

Evaluation methods for teaching and learning range from observation and question-asking to surveys and feedback forms, from informal to formal, and along the timeline of happening before, during, after, and long-after the instruction interaction itself. Reflection is a big part of teachers evaluating their plans and praxis, considering how well they were implemented and how effective they were in meeting instructional goals, and how they could be improved to better support learners. Assessment is how teachers evaluate learning, from anticipating the needs and knowledge of learners, observing how they are doing during the interaction, and measuring how well they were able to meet the targets of the learning, right away and much later on, with the goal of adjusting and improving instruction.

Evidence-based librarianship is important because otherwise you are just going off gut-feelings and vague understandings and unchallenged biases that, if you had evidence, you might be surprised to find are kind of close or way off. Common sense isn't necessarily reasonable or realistic. If you are using evidence in your librarianship, you can quantify and track information over time to see what things are going well or going wrong, share this information with others to get feedback or to make suggestions, and use the information to support your claims and requests and advocacy. You can either have an idea or feeling about librarianship, or you can know about it more concretely and definitively. You are also better able to compare elements of your librarianship to best practices and other librarians and organizations, and better evaluate possible new methods or products armed with information about your patrons' or organization's needs and wants.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ILI Blog - Week 9 - the Engage Phase

What aspects of the Engage phase do you feel most and least confident about? Describe an "aha" moment you had this week, if any.

The engage phase also seems pretty straightforward, though it also feels a bit less deeply structured than previous phases, possibly because so much of what you have to do in this phase is so dependent on planning from the previous phase and the details of the instructional interaction.

I appreciate the reminder of figure/ground and asking myself "What do I want learners to notice?" I feel like I have a decent design sense, but being more conscious of this aspect I'm sure would help. The discussion on the important facets of visual design was helpful in outlining a range of components to consider, things I have heard before but were well tied in to instruction specifically.

I really like Gagné's Events of Instruction, and feel like they'll be a really useful way to make sure I'm covering all of the instructional bases for a lesson, especially as I'm so new to teaching.

And the pitch and persona discussion was also helpful, because I do worry sometimes about suppressing myself to fit some mold, when I should be tailoring myself to the learning community in a way that will best communicate the instructional message.

Like with the previous phases, this one seems pretty straightforward, but it will take some using and going through it to feel more comfortable with it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ILI Blog - Week 8 - the Structure phase

What aspects of the Structure phase do you feel most and least confident about? Describe an "aha" moment you had this week, if any.

I think, same as with the Understand phase last week, that the Structure phase makes a lot of sense, but is going to take some run-throughs in order to get a feeling for and understanding of the process and its variables. But I do like the step-by-step progressive structure of it, and how it sort of crystallizes or limits the scope of a lesson (which is always something I struggle with - I want to teach all the things!) into something targeted and effective.

I appreciated the breakdown of KSAs into factual, procedural, conceptual, and metacognitive knowledge dimensions, as well as discussion on the revised Bloom's taxonomy, and also the ARCS model for addressing learner engagement. The first two were kind of review, but cleanly laid out, and the last was also kind of review and also a helpful elaboration of facets I must consider in lesson planning.

I almost feel the need to make a detailed template or form that I can then use to practice lesson planning with this USER method. It might end up being a large document, but I could probably then go through it and summarize my intent and the actual outcomes pretty well, having left a space for feedback and reflection.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ILI Blog - Week 7 - the Understand phase

What aspects of the Understand phase do you feel most and least confident about? Describe an "aha" moment you had this week, if any.

(FYI: The Understand phase is the first in the USER method, followed by Structure, Engage, and Reflect, a framework for curriculum/lesson design from Booth's 2011 "Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning".)

The Understand phase seems pretty straight forward - first you "identify the problem", or look for why instruction is needed and what learner needs are, and then you "analyze the scenario", where you try to figure out pertinent information and potential issues about the learner(s), the context of the learning (physical/digital), the content of the learning, and yourself as the educator.

I guess so far I feel pretty confident in the basic structure of the process as laid out in the chapter, though it has some elements/complexities that seem a little overwhelming in the beginning but that I'm sure will become more familiar with use, such as looking at different dimensions of needs and the different ways you can assess them. Booth walks through steps with example types of lessons she has done, and it's all fine and well to read about and be exposed to examples, but I think it will still be awkward to try and implement at first, to fully utilize all of the sections and subsections. I may need to make an outline template to work with. I think it may also be a little difficult to decide what information really is directly pertinent to the learning situation - I feel like, as detailed as I can be, I could write a small paper in the Understand phase, and end up with too much information, some of which might obscure more relevant information. I think also, with time and use, I would become better able to shorthand some of the information for myself, become better at anticipating the variety of needs and challenges of learning situations and recognize what likely works better than not in those cases.