#13 Del.icio.us for CPD

Del.icio.us for CPD

The new technologies section looks at the technical side of setting up a del.icio.us account. Once you’re up and running with it, the simplicity and power of the tool should make you aware of its potential in several different roles.

One of those is in the CPD sphere. Here is just one simple example of how you could use del.icio.us to keep up with events in the school library world.

Using the del.icio.us guide (see tip #5), set up an account.

Remember to take a note of your login details and the address of your webpage, for your own reference.

If you install the del.icio.us toolbar buttons, adding bookmarks and tags is simply a matter of clicking on the ‘tag’ button, and choosing appropriate tags, and/or making up your own. It’s that simple to create.

There is, however, a lot more to del.icio.us than that. You can view other people’s pages who have bookmarked topics or pages similar to your own. You can join networks. You can do a straight search of other people’s bookmarks and explore accordingly. It truly is ‘social bookmarking’.

It’s also quite addictive! There’s a quick example of a roving ‘CDP’ page here: http://del.icio.us/librarycpd

and a real school library page here.

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#12 Clubs

Clubs

Clubs are a great way to publicise the library’s facilities, get the space busy and have fun at the same time!

The beauty of clubs is that there is such a wide variety of interest groups that can be tapped, there are bound to be a range of activities that will interest pupils and the librarian. It is preferable to have an interest in the activity you are promoting, as this enthusiasm is often transmitted to the pupils by default.

There will always be an interest in the more traditional type of library clubs such as chess, writing, games, reading, quiz competitions, but you can often create interest with more unusual clubs such as digital photography, craft clubs, eco clubs, internet clubs, web design and so on.

Club content and structure very much depends on your own interests, and how you decide it should be run. Club activities should always be well planned for in advance, in an allocated and exclusive space, and with a known list of participants.

Funding can often be raised from general school funds, or from curriculum related budgets for ‘curriculum support’ activities.

Club Funding Bid: Simple Template

#11 Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasting is often viewed as highly technical, specialist area. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Creating a podcast is not as easy as creating a blog, but it’s not difficult either.

You need: a plan (what do you need podcasts for?), time to record, a volunteer to make the recordings, a headphone and microphone set, and software to create and save the podcast.

The Plan.

This is vitally important. Why do you want a podcast? Creating one because they are ‘cool’ is not a good option. Some more viable reasons might be:

  • Instructional podcasts for pupils with poor reading abilities
  • Instructional podcasts for those with visual impairments
  • Podcasts for information: author information, overview of a genre of fiction, a book review, and so on
  • Podcasts for entertainment; pupils read their own stories, pupils create news stories, and so on
  • Create a podcast area where you can link to other podcasts of interest on the web, within i-tunes and elsewhere

 

Time & Space

You will need time to create a podcast (a script is essential), a quiet space to actually record it, and a volunteer with a controlled, legible and clear speaking voice.

It is advisable to read a script more than once, as there are many glitches that can ruin a recording (a slip of the tongue, background noise, electrical interference, and so on). If necessary, you can create the final recording with snippets from more than one reading.

If you are unhappy with audio software and editing techniques, ask for technical volunteers from staff or pupils.

Equipment

You will need some hardware to create a podcast, in the form of a headset with microphone. This will cost in the region of £10-£20, and will be your only financial outlay.

Software to create and store a podcast can be found for free on the web (see link below).

Podcasts can be a very useful medium for getting information to staff and pupils, and may be of particular benefit to reluctant readers and the visually handicapped. The most important part of the process is the initial planning process, and if this is carried out thoroughly, paying particular attention to the needs of the end user, and the viability of the project, you will end up with a powerful and impressive tool in your information literacy armoury.

Useful Weblinks:

Beginner’s Guide To Podcast Creation

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/beginners-guide-to-podcast-creation/

Audacity, free sound editor.

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Podcasts For Educators, Schools & Colleges

http://recap.ltd.uk/podcasting/schools/index.php

#10 Creating A Blog

Blogs

Blogs are wonderfully simple, yet powerful, tools.

They are useful for anyone who wants to transmit and share information on a regular basis, without spending time on presentational or technical issues.

Using a host like Blogger (link below), you can create a blog within 5 minutes, in three easy steps. No technical knowledge whatsoever is required.

Once you have your blog up and running, you can experiment with templates, settings and tools to get it looking and functioning just the way you want it.

But why would a librarian want to start a blog? There are several reasons, and some are listed below:

  • Children and teenagers are used to the medium, and will have no difficulty in accessing or exploring them. Many will have their own blog
  • Blogs are great for promotion
  • Promote books, magazines, clubs, services, events
  • Use blogs for listing purposes: list to author websites, reviews, publisher sites, other libraries, online library catalogues
  • Use blogs for promotional purposes for reading schemes, curricular needs (eg. Specialist Subject Literature) and tie-in books with movies
  • Keep parents and the wider community informed about your activities
  • Invite comment (moderation would be recommended to avoid abuse and spam)
  • Use photos and audio to promote stock
  • Invite your pupils to contribute, if not run the blog!
  • Get it linked from your school website

Blogs really are easy and fun. The setup described below can easily be setup in Blogger within hours, and could serve as a wonderful promotional tool for your library.

Your blog would update pupils, staff and parents about your activities, your services, and new and useful library stock. You could setup a regular cycle of messages to promote stock for particular topics across the curriculum.

On the left hand frame you could have the following tools:

A search box, a list of useful homework links, links to popular (and not so popular?) authors and a blog archive listing all entries.

On the right hand frame you could have the following tools:

A link to a photo archive, library details and opening hours, a news feed (automatically updated for you), a quote for the day (automatically updated for you), and a statistics counter, so you can see who’s visiting (visible only to you)

To update your blog, you just login, start typing and hit the publish button. Easy.

Creating A Blog: A Step by Step Guide

At a cost of zero, can you afford NOT to have one?

Useful Weblinks:

Blogger. Easy, fast and customisable.

http://www.blogger.com

EducR Websites For Schools.

“We want to and will make it easy for schools to keep their staff, pupils, parents, partners, other stake-holders and wider community informed, updated and engaged.”

http://www.walsallschools.org/

#9 National & Regional Initiatives

National Initiatives

It’s always good to know what the current ‘big picture’ is within your profession. In school librarianship, this means looking beyond the library sphere, and includes the national curriculum.

It is useful to do a regular trawl of websites and leaflets that may be in your ‘non-urgent’ tray to see what’s actually happening out there. It’s also useful to record this activity, and one simple way to do that is with a blog.

This format has many advantages. It is easy to setup (see guide here). You can share your knowledge with your fellow professionals; let your regional contacts know where your blog is. It keeps a permanent CPD record of your research activity.

It may come to the attention of librarians in other countries via your blog host’s search or tagging facility. It may even be of interest to teaching staff in your institution; make sure it’s linked from the school website.

 

 

Short List of Websites: National Initiatives UK
http://www.cilip.org.uk/aboutcilip/newsandpressreleases/
CILIP News

http://www.sla.org.uk/sla-blog.php

School Library Association Weblog & News

http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/

Learning & Teaching Scotland

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education

Scottish Government: Education & Training

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/default.stm

BBC News: Education

http://www.tes.co.uk/main.aspx

Times Educational Supplement

http://www.nc.uk.net/webdav/harmonise?Page/@id=6016

National Curriculum for England

http://new.wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/?lang=en

Welsh Assembly: Education & Skills

http://www.deni.gov.uk/

Department of Education: Northern Ireland

http://www.slainte.org.uk/

Scottish Library & Information Council

http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/default.htm?cookie%5Ftest=1

Curriculum Online

http://bubl.ac.uk/Link/e/educationlinks.htm

BUBL Education Links

http://www.strongest-links.org.uk/

Strongest Links for UK School Librarians

http://www.iasl-online.org/advocacy/resources/slresources.html

International Association Of School Librarianship

#8 CPD Record

CPD Record

There are many reasons to keep a CPD record. It is useful to be able to produce your CPD activities for your line manager, and it also keeps your mind focussed on what you’ve done in the past, and what is yet to do. It maps your progression as a professional. It is also extremely handy as a reference point when you come to moving on to another post.

CPD records can take many shapes and forms.

You can set up a Word document or Excel spreadsheet with a simple list of events you have attended, and details of areas covered. You can also add a field for action taken in your workplace related to the activity. This field is particularly useful for highlighting how you have actually applied your training. If you cannot fill in this field in some meaningful way, you should really be questioning the usefulness of the event, and planning accordingly for future events.

You can setup forms and templates with your line manager which will contain all the information you would both like to see. These can be stored electronically or in hard copy, or both.

You can also create a CPD record online, by simply starting a blog and creating an entry for every event you attend. You could also add weblinks to useful websites for that topic, and the website of the provider, if appropriate.

CPD Record Template

#7 Personal CPD

CPD

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has become such a well worn phrase that it has become practically meaningless. During the 1980s and 1990s it was advocated as the cure-all for all professional woes, it became a cliché.

The reason for that, of course, is that it is one of the most important aspects of a professional’s job, if not the most important.

The range of activities that can be classed as CPD are very wide ranging indeed for an information professional.

Training and networking events are the most obvious examples; working with fellow professionals to learn new skills and techniques, and to swap new ideas and information.

However, many activities which would count as CPD can be done in isolation (or near isolation), for example:

  • Browsing the web.
  • Reading or browsing journals.
  • Reading or browsing books.
  • Reading the newspaper.
  • Chatting to teaching staff.
  • Structured meetings with teaching staff.
  • Setting up a blog.
  • Walking round the building, observing teaching and other activities.
  • Making a presentation.
  • Writing a journal article.
  • Subscribing to a mailing list.
  • Reading professional blogs.
  • Creating new guides and manuals for library procedures.

The list could go on, and on. The bottom line is that if it increases your knowledge, or adds to your skills or contacts, it’s CPD. A good information professional will have a constant hunger for CPD activities, and will be adding to the skills bank every working day.

Some librarians claim they don’t have time for training events, or that they can’t get cover. This would seem indicative that there are problems with the post. If you don’t have time, you are undervaluing your own need to develop your skills, and may not be using your options to delegate work, or simply shut the shop if necessary!

Often, the enthusiasm whipped up by a good training event gives more than enough energy and new skills to overcome the ‘loss’ of one day at work.

Recommendations:

Read a lot. Professional journals, professional web sites, magazines, mailing lists, blogs, wikis.

– Attend as many training events as your time and your organisational budget will afford.

– Try and allow time for reflection on CPD activities; skim over the notes as a quick reminder, and try and set targets and deadlines for any action required.

– Set up RSS feeds for blogs, or summary emails for mailing lists, to avoid being constantly bombarded by messages. Visit and browse at a time convenient to you.

Useful Weblinks:

University of Illinois Current Awareness Service for Library and Information community

http://clips.lis.uiuc.edu/2002_10.html