Monday, 26 May 2014

Plagiarism warning

I was at a dinner party this weekend and I sat next to a man whom I had never met before. After talking for a while about the usual stuff like holidays we got round to talking about what we did for a living. I'm a librarian and he it turned out was a lecturer at Birkbeck university. We did digress to talking about the perils of plagiarism and he told me something that I want to share.

A student of his wrote an essay that was put through Turnitin. A standard procedure for the majority of universities these days. This essay came back as 62% plagiarised. When my dinner party acquaintance checked it out it turned out that in reality the student had only plagiarised one source. Why was the statistic so high then? It turned out that the source that the student had chosen to steal from had itself plagiarised from someone else who had also plagiarised from its original source. The chosen source had been plagiarised itself 3 times!

I love this story as it is a perfect reason to tell your students why it is really important to understand where your information is coming from.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Training ideas for library services - Social Media for Marketing

In our office we have decided to run in house training sessions once every half term. This started last half term where we shared our information literacy programme CWICER that we have adapted from New York  Department of Education. We have had a amazing response from the teachers to this framework as it has allowed us to talk to the teachers in their own language at last. The staff enjoyed the training and sharing ideas so we decided to run another session this morning on social media.

This months DIY training is on Social Media for Marketing

We have decided to start using social media to promote our service but you can't do that properly unless you understand what the social media can do. I talked through twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and as tools that I use on a regular basis.  There is still a lot of misunderstanding about what these resources are used for. Many of the staff still believe that twitter is about famous people or people telling you what they had for dinner. I tried to explain that my twitter page is purely for work. I follow librarians, authors, IT experts and anyone else that I think will make my life easier at work. My reasons for using twitter were:-
  • My own CPD
  • Gaining information to use in teaching
  • Ask questions from those that know more than me
  • Finding great articles for my MLIS
Why do all the hard work when someone else has already done it. Sharing is amazing and it has worked for me. Here is my twitter link @Elizabethutch and Pinterest are great sources of information that I curate. I explained that I don't spend ages looking through the internet to find useful article but use these tools to do it for me. I use resources that others have shared and scoop them or pin them to my own pages so others can benefit from what I have found. I find that saving suggested links from twitter to my page is a better   way of keeping what is useful and makes it easier to search. Have a look at my page see what you think. Here is my link to my Pinterest page I really enjoy keeping these pages full of information that is useful to me but find it fascinating that you can make connections with others who are interested in the same things as me.

I also use these tools to help me with my own study research for my MLIS. I enjoy using this as it not only is very useful to me but I can also demonstrate it's potential to the students I teach. I have always believed that in order to understand something you must use it. When Facebook first came out I was worried about my children using it as I did not understand how it worked I decided that using it was the only way to learn

Finally I do believe that you should have some social life on social media so I have a personal Facebook page that I keep private for friends and family. I do have a couple of  library groups that I am linked to but it is generally a fun tool.

I have challenged my colleagues to start using these resources before September so that we can consider using them as marketing tools for work in future. My worry at the moment is that if we were to start now I would have to organised it all myself as no one else really understands it's potential. I look forward to seeing where this will all lead.

I was just about to post this blog when my email pinged. I have set up Google alerts for 'social media' and amazingly this blog popped up David is saying, much better than me what we should be doing as librarians. The wonder of the internet! Having read his post I feel much better that I write as if I am talking as that seems to be the way to do this. What I have learnt from his post is that I need to spend time on my pictures. Will do that next time.

Finally, a colleague asked how I managed my time on social media. I had to be honest and say that I was addicted instantly and at first it was very difficult to not keep checking to see if anyone had read what I had written or commented on it. I still struggle to switch off between home and work life but I really enjoy it so does that matter so much? I will never be that person who can look for 30mins a day as it does not seem to work that way for me. I choose what I respond to when I am at home. What I have more of a problem with it allowing myself time to look when I am at work when it is for work purposes and not feel guilty about it.

I wonder what others have done to encourage others to use social media within the work place.

Next term we are looking at promoting reading for pleasure. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

4 challenges I will face this year.

I thought it was about time I posted again. I have now finished my management module and am starting a research and evaluation module next. Not very inspired at the moment though so I thought I would have a night off studying. It turns out that there is football on the TV so I might as well catch up with my blog.

I have such a lot going on at work I thought it might be a good to list the ideas that I have to promote the use of the schools' library service and at the same time if anyone is reading this they will understand the kind of things that we do.

  1. Introducing a framework for information literacy to teachers to encourage independent learning in the classroom. We ran a course last night and 18 teachers came along to listen to what we had to say. We explained the framework, gave demonstrations on using the school library catalogue and also showed them Britannica. We gave them examples of how they could use this within their curriculum and asked them how they could see it being used. Not everyone will but there was a definite buzz about the place and I am sure that it will lead to interesting conversations in the future. 
  2. Flipped learning is something that I am going to get my head around this year. I have done lots of reading about it but as yet have not been brave enough to do anything. I would really love to work with someone on it but it looks like I will just have to decide what I am going to flip and like this blog just go for it. 
  3. I am going to present at my first teachmeet next month, it really scares me but if that is where the teachers are then I need to be too. 
  4. Finally I will make an effort to use my social media work for marketing the school's library service this year. I will set up a Facebook and twitter account as that is where we need to be.
If that isn't enough I will also be involved in transition literacy, encouraging reading with Tom Palmer and my usual Carnegie and Greenaway groups, teach information literacy classes, support the school libraries and so much more. I love my job and am very lucky to have such challenges every day. Who would not want to be a librarian...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Framework for Information Literacy with our schools

It must be time for another post. I have just posted my first assignment for my MLIS course so have a little time on my hands before I head into the next assignment.

I feel that an update on our plan for Island domination with a Framework for Information Literacy might be on the cards. So the latest is this:-

  • The Education Department have agreed to advertise our course to explain the Framework for Information literacy to teachers. 

  • A school has agreed to host the training event.

  • We have teachers showing an interest in hearing what we have to say.

Our plan for the next few weeks are going to be interesting as all of this is on top of our normal work loads. We need to  make sure that everything is in place for the middle of January, which I am sure it will be. 

It has also been interesting that it was suggested that a teacher would be involved in our course by showing other teachers how this framework can be used in the classroom. It was lovely that this offer was made and it was a great idea as it gave us the opportunity to collaborate. Unfortunately this plan has been changed and the offer of help has been removed for now, it was felt that teachers need time to trial it first and become happy with it before talking to others about it. I can understand this concern and I am sure once teachers have had the chance to use the framework within the classroom they will be able to help with that part of the course in the future.

It was also suggested that we wait until the one school had finished their trial. We have decided against this as all schools deserve the opportunity to see how it can improve independent learning in their classrooms. It could also be that the trial school decides against using it and every school should be able to make their own decision. Finally, SLS were able to get the first school interested without the help of the teachers so we can definitely do it again. 

We need to be in a position to advise and support by passing on our knowledge and allow the teachers to use it as they see fit.  

Where this will all lead I have no idea but we must push forward as this opportunity to make the Education Department aware of the importance of qualified librarians to support schools and teachers will not come along very often. 


Monday, 19 August 2013

9 Lessons I learnt from the course I ran over the summer

Having now finished running my research skills course for the final time I thought I would let you know what I have learnt from the experience.

1.  I am able to assemble a projector and screen in less than 10 mins if needed.

2.  I know that computer and a  projector need to be plugged in and connected to each other before switching on for everything to work as it should.

3.  I still don't know how to make my computer screen show me what I can see on the screen but have managed without that knowledge.

4.  The timing for each section and how to jump between resources on the computer. I find it difficult to move away from a PowerPoint to show something and then get back to it seamlessly. 

5.  All the people who turned up to the course have found at least one thing useful :) so it was worth doing!

6.  It highlighted that we maybe need to run courses for parents so they know how to help their children find good resources. 

7.  Two schools have shown an interest so are going to invite us in to talk to students in September. You never know where things will lead so you should always try. 

8.  My presenting skills are getting better all the time. 

9. I will do it again.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

No computer and no Internet! Now what?

What happens when we have no computer and no internet?

Have we become so dependent on the computer and the internet that when it goes down we can't work? Today the building I work in has had no power for the last couple of hours and it looks like it might last all day. As it is the school holidays I am based in the office and as there are several people off on holiday I have to stay to cover At the beginning it wasn't too much of an issue as I took the opportunity to tidy my desk and catch up on my reading which was lovely to have time to do this without interruptions but  as lunchtime looms I am dreading this afternoon as I have very little to do. Isn't it sad that without a computer I eventually get to the stage that I am unable to work or do anything useful. It prevented me running my course as I needed the internet to demonstrate what I was talking about. I can't write reports, update any school VLE, send or receive emails.

Thankfully after I came back from lunch it was all up and running again so I was able to post this and get on with something else. 

How would no electricity at work affect you?  

Friday, 2 August 2013

Research skills - do students feel the need to learn them?

Information and Research Skills course at the:-

Well I have completed my second week of running the Information and Research Skills course at our public library. The course is based around the University of Birmingham Library Services course for 6th formers which I have added to with current examples of plagiarism and also using the University of Sydney’s Information skills  for added value.  

I am becoming very adept at putting up the projector and screen, making sure that the computer is not switched on before the projector or else nothing works and generally getting the room ready for students who may or may not turn up. Until today,  I would say that I wasn't really too bothered if no-one turned up, I had been pleased that I was able to set it all up and had been able to run through it at least once. It’s different though when no-on comes. I did feel a little despondent.

I have presented to a total of 13 people which does not sound too bad but when I tell you that 5 of them were staff and 4 were my own children the figures do not look that great. I must say that the staff and my own children did say that they found it useful and did learn something so all was not wasted. I too, do not feel that this has been a waste of time because it has allowed me to talk through the course a few times now and the more I do it the more confident I feel about it. I also run this course at the local Grammar school so being confident in running it can only be good.

So why are students not flocking to my course? I personally believe that the decision to run this course over the summer holidays was made too late and by the time we arranged for notices to go out to the schools and colleges, the people who might have been interested had already broken up for the summer holidays. It could also be because they don't understand what it is they need to know to get through university. How many of us as teenagers thought we knew best and didn't need to be told anything?! 

Maybe we needed better marketing but we have advertised this course on the local radio and have had a couple of people turn up because of this. We have also advertised it on the library website, Twitter @GuernseyReads and Facebook page so there is not much else we can do there.

I would love this to work and would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried to do courses like this and if they had much interest.