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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Graduation Day at CSU

It has been such a whirlwind of a year and I am not sure how I managed to get everything finished on time. But I know that I could never have done it without the support of my gorgeous husband and my supportive family.

Finishing this degree marks the end of my life as an Information Technology teacher and the start of my career as a Teacher Librarian (I am sure we can come up with a better name). I decided to make the trip up to the main CSU campus in Wagga Wagga to participate in the graduation ceremony. The grounds are so spacious compared with the institutions that I am used to in Melbourne. One of my lecturers, Roy Crotty, was telling us that it used to be the Wagga Agricultural College.


One of the things that I love about graduation ceremonies is reading about the new Ph.D students and what they have been researching. My husband would shoot me if I continued my study at the moment, but that doesn't stop me from being interested in what others have researched and achieved.



Julia Bale received her Ph.D at the same ceremony and her research looks at the Information-Seeking Preferences of Secondary School Teachers. Her presentation on the ALIA web site looks interesting and I am hoping to learn more about the implications for her research.

Jacob Wallis received his Ph.D with the title "#digitalactivism: networks, new media and political action". Another Ph.D that would be interesting to look through. We joked that perhaps after the graduation ceremony he might have tweeted #iamthedoctor




After the graduation ceremony we had dinner at the Golden Season in Wagga Wagga. Reminiscent of Smorgy's in the 80's, the restaurant was decked out in 70's cane furniture, Mediterranean pictures on the walls and all you can eat chinese buffet. Most strange. Once we all had a bite to eat, we had the opportunity to chew the fat with the fellow students and lecturers and thank them for their care and guidance throughout our journey.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We love Neil Gaiman and his wisdom on writing

I came across this web page with quotes from famous writers and it got me thinking about how I love Neil Gaiman quotes on how to write.


For students there is a fear of putting yourself out there, for writing something and opening yourself up to the vulnerability that is scrutiny.


But before you start worrying about what people will think about your writing, you have to actually write something. And when you finish writing a piece, it is just the beginning of the process not the end.

Further reading:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Using Hemmingway with students to improve writing

I came across Hemingway Editor and thought that it might be good tool to use with students who are still developing their writing style.



It has a rather simple interface and I like the way that it uses colour to identify areas that need further drafting. Students could use the tool by writing into the web site or doing a cut/copy from MS Word. The information gleamed from the Editor would prove useful for further analysis.

There are lots of ways that you could incorporate this into the English classroom.

I quickly wrote the following text in reaction to this provocative article that crossed my path. Can't our teachers be trusted to dress appropriately and it identified several long and complicated sentences and also the reading level of the piece.

"The issue of the professional dress policy is an interesting one. On one hand, it is important to define the acceptable dress for everyone within the schooling environment, but on the other hand it needs to be done in such a way in which it does not marginalise one gender or the other. 

For the policy to single out that identify that female staff members should not wear provocative clothing, assumes that female staff members hold some power over both students and colleagues alike. "

I copied this paragraph (above) into Hemingway Editor and it identified the reading level of my work and also suggestions for improvement.


I would imagine in an English Classroom that you could then deconstruct the paragraph and talk about how you might improve the writing.

Further reading:


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Did you find this useful?
Let me know!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Some thoughts on Agile Development for Library Web Site Design

Gone are the days of big web site re-designs and launches. A very poignant presentation from a Web Services Librarian at Arizona State University talks about agile development when planning and maintaining a Library Web Site.

screen grab from presentation


The argument is that we should be continually improving and evolving our web sites without the very "late 1990's" web site re-launch parties. Instead the presentation encourages continuous improvement to the website incrementally rather than in one hit.




This great diagram by Logic Boost shows us the benefits of making small changes and slowly building the web site up rather than the plan-relaunch strategy (waterfall).

This methodology fits in beautifully with the concept of "continuous improvement" within a business setting. The idea that regardless of what you are working on, there will always be improvements. That you never actually get to the "ultimate" web site, because you are continually improving.

Most of the diagrams for agile methodology don't have an evaluation step in them. If you are going to slowly improve your web site, consider doing periodical evaluations of the site to ascertain whether your site is achieving it's objectives.

Some further reading:


Have you enjoyed this article?

Let me know!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ode to the Junk Mail folder



It was with anticipation,
that I checked every hour,
would I get THAT email,
or would it all turn sour?

I knew that I had passed.
I had it clear on paper.
But when the email didn't arrive,
my dreams, they turned to vapor.

So it was with heavy heart,
that I started my investigation,
searching through my junk mail folder
holding high, my expectation.

That an email would validate,
my years of working hard.
That my study would be over,
that I could use M. Ed (TL) on my business card.

And there it was sitting,
with [SPAM] in the subject line.
The email I had been waiting for.
Graduation would be mine.

Margaret Lawson (c) 2014





Saturday, November 22, 2014

Top 5 Decals for your Library Learning Spaces

There are some beautiful motivational decals out there that would look great on the walls of your Library, Learning Commons or Resource Centre.

The Holstee Manifesto is a lovely script reminding readers of what is important in life.



The point of difference between a good school library and a great school library is the quality of the Teacher Librarians that work within it. Comparing them to google, is fraught with danger. I pinned this poster and then couldn't find the source. The text for this decal can be found on Phil Bradley's blog.



Walls that talk do a variety of decals and you can choose which colour you would like.



Syba Signs have a lovely word cloud listing key terms used when talking about inquiry research.




Etsy is a great place to go for decals as well. I love this Dr. Seuss quote to encouraging reading.



Being a crafter, I would coat them in some spray varnish (Matt) to stop those malicious students from peeling it off.

Of course, if none of these suit you, you can get your own made with your own mission or vision statement plastered across your walls to remind you, your staff and your teachers what your intent is.

Do you have any favourite decals for your library?

Friday, October 31, 2014

If Google was a BBS ...

When I started teaching the internet looked like this ...



Digital Trends posted an article on the videos that SquirrelMonkey have produced. Just have to work out a way to integrate some of these into my teaching!

Using blogger to engage in reflective practice

It was important for my reflective portfolio for ETL507 to set up a space where I could continue to learn and grow as my career progressed. And so infowhelm.blogspot.com was born.  

Choosing a platform for reflection

After playing around with Weebly I chose not to use it for my portfolio, as I liked the widgets and the category sorting that Blogger offered. I also intend on continuing to use this blog after I have my degree, I didn't want the blog to become cyber trash like so many other portfolios I have stumbled across. My blog needs to grow and be dynamic, it needs to embed itself into the web.

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

I love parodies but this one couldn't be further from the truth!


We have a long way to go to shatter this image!

Critical Reflection of ETL505

ETL505 was a challenging subject. Not just because of the rules that accompany cataloguing, but because I am naturally not a “detailed” thinker. My default setting is “big picture” thinker. Up until this subject, I had been dealing with mostly the "front of house" issues in the school library. I had used the catalogue as a searcher, but had never gone into the back end.

When I did my reading about Cataloguing systems, I couldn’t help but think of Information Systems and the organising that occurs within them. Within schools there seems to be a separation of library and ICT, but really they are so very similar. The Schema's that the ICT faculty deal with are very similar to the schema for working out a RDA description or using Web Dewey to ensure that a catalogue call number is accurate.