LIBE 477

Inquiry Project Week 5: Summary and Key Takeaways

Introduction

This inquiry project has prompted me to explore promoting a reading culture, improving my ICT skills and pedagogy, supporting the professional development of other teachers, and libraries in developing nations. Through these explorations, I feel that I’ve learned so much that I can take back to my own classroom and school! However, perhaps the most learning I’ll take away from this is very personal – changes to my opinions and attitudes towards my own learning as well as literacy and libraries.

What I’ve Learned

“We want to be models; our patrons should see the librarian as someone who is a lifelong learner, always striving to make their programs better.” (Harvey, p. 14)

First, I’ve improved my own information literacy skills. Up until now, articles for my courses had been largely given to me through the Canvas course or listed in the UBC course reserves. Through the research for these posts, I became more proficient with using the UBC digital library and am now able to research, find, and access digital articles. I also have more experience with finding and curating research-based information online.

Second, there are so many resources available for teachers and learners, both in my own school/district, and online. I’ve learned to look for the resources I need rather than trying to do everything myself. For example, I’ve made connections with the district literacy specialists and toured the district library.

Third, I also feel more motivated to try new things and step outside my comfort zone. Blogging was outside my comfort zone and I wasn’t comfortable with it in the beginning, but I’ve actually enjoyed it; it’s helped my organize my own thoughts and created a record I could look back to in the future. This experience makes me wonder what else would be fun to learn? I’ve seen examples of amazing programs and gathered a ton of new ideas from my classmates, many of which I’m excited to try in my own classroom. Then I came across the following sketchnote earlier this week, and liked that digital portfolios were on the list – my inquiry topic for this course! I think I’ll pick 2-3 more things to explore with my class this year too. My students will definitely benefit from this experience!

(Duckworth and Gangier)

Key Takeaway: Participate in a Learning Community

“Libraries should move beyond organizing information to organizing communities.” (Wilansky)

My key takeaway from this inquiry project is the importance of a learning community. My “Week 2: Professional Development” post touched on the importance of forming a professional learning community (PLC). Since then, I’ve begun to notice just how much of what I do, both for this course and for my own classroom, involves my PLC. Everything I do strengthens or widens my PLC!

Furthermore, I’ve learned that my PLC already extends beyond my school – I’ve made new connections at the district level and with teachers across the province and world. Last week, exploring the programs making a difference in developing nations reminded me that we need to look well beyond our community to share ideas.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that I am able contribute to the community too. I’ve always tried to give back, but generally in smaller ways because that’s all I thought I could do. At the beginning of this course, I didn’t feel like I had enough knowledge or experience to share in a blog – I’m still learning so much. But reading through my finished blog posts surprised me; there were parts that sounded like an experienced teacher, just like the blogs I follow myself! It made me realize that we are all learning (and with 10 years of teaching, I am an experienced teacher). Sharing my learning with others, and them sharing with me, is what will make us all better teachers. I feel like I’ve found my voice!

Conclusion

In one of my previous posts, I used an image from Tammy Vora, who believes that the 3 Cs for learning on social media (Create, Curate, and Contribute) will lead to 3 more Cs: Community, Credibility, and Confidence. I can definitely attest that the creating, curating, and contributing I experienced in this project has led to an increase in my community and confidence!

Not sold on blogging yet? Here is an image I found that outlines 18 reasons for students and teachers to blog. They all fit so well into literacy and the core competencies that it makes me wonder how I can incorporate blogging into my students’ digital portfolios.

(Morris)

I learned how to blog this month, and you should too!

Your Turn

Do you use blogging in your classroom or as a professional? What advantages have you noticed?

OR

Have you learned anything new from my month of blog posts? What should I keep doing, or what can I do to improve my blog?

References

Duckworth, Sylvia and Gagnier, Austin. “15 Things Every Teacher Should Try This Year.” EduTech for Teachers, 2016, https://edutech4teachers.edublogs.org/2016/09/19/15-things-every-teacher-should-try-this-school-year/.

Harvey II, Carl A. “Are You the Next Leader in Our Profession?” Library Media Connection, 2011, 29(6), 14.

Morris, Kathleen. “Why Teachers and Students Should Blog: 18 Benefits of Educational Blogging.” Primary Tech, 2018, http://www.kathleenamorris.com/2018/03/14/benefits-blogging/.

Vora, Tammy. “3 C’s for Learning and Leading on Social Media.” Qaspire, 2015, https://qaspire.com/2015/01/23/3-cs-for-learning-and-leading-on-social-media/.

Wilansky, Laura Sue. “Five Lessons for Libraries Looking to Innovate in the 21st Century.” Knight Foundation, 2017, https://knightfoundation.org/articles/five-lessons-for-libraries-looking-to-innovate-in-the-21st-century.

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5 thoughts on “Inquiry Project Week 5: Summary and Key Takeaways”

  1. Hi Kristi,

    I so appreciated that you highlighted the teacher-librarian as someone who should be seen as a life-long learner. We often talk about this with respect to teachers (which is admittedly my mindset right now) but I do not think we give credit to good and innovative teacher-librarians for all of the pro-d that they do behind the scenes. I am always impressed with the amount of leadership that can stem from this! I am impressed that you went above and beyond in finding articles yourself; it shows a true commitment to the process! I have not ventured into digital articles myself through UBC so now that is a goal for me! That is great that you have expanded your PLN. It is so powerful.

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  2. Well done reflection post! Your positive approach, enthusiasm for new learning and growing confidence all were highlighted in your discussion and reflection on the last 4 weeks. You’ve done a great job organizing your new learning, embedding resources and media connections, describing your new awareness and providing a few key goals going forward. I am so happy to read your post and see all your new abilities, awareness and enthusiasm!

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  3. Great post! I connected with a lot of what you said – I had never had a real blog before this term either, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and how helpful/knowledgeable/informational I found my posts to be once I reread them. I think we often get stuck thinking that we don’t have much to contribute to the larger community – I know I always feel that the things I know are such common knowledge, everyone probably knows them, and I am constantly surprised to find that people don’t know everything I know.

    I’ve really enjoyed following your blog -will you keep it up after the courses are done this term? I’ve especially liked the way you start a conversation with your readers -it’s a great way to build a community around your blog (and keep growing that PLN!) 🙂

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    1. Thanks Kelli! It’s a bit of an eye-opener reading one’s own work isn’t it? I remember part of my BEd at UBC was to video tape myself giving lessons and analyze them afterwards (yes, it wasn’t too long ago but we did use actual tapes). It was a bit shocking then to see how much more confident I looked than how I felt inside. It’s interesting to have that vision of how others view you. This was kind of like that experience too.

      Interestingly, sometimes I help mark in the DL high school and have marked blogging assignments in the ELA courses. Reading the assignment descriptions really helped with this course because they taught me how to engage readers and what elements a blog needs. Despite having read educational blogs, I would have had no idea where to start without that previous experience.

      I do plan to keep the blog up, but may not contribute to it for a while. I have two courses left in this diploma and a huge amount of content that needs to be added to my classroom site first. I’m sure I’ll be back in the future though!

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