Information Literacy

Safer Internet Day 2016

A collection of tweets and links for Safer Internet Day 2016.

As School Librarians, we spend a large proportion of our working lives showing young people how to discover, access and safely make use of information in all formats, so online safety is an integral part of our role. NLC schools might be on holiday, but ideally, our advice and influence continues to keep pupils safe online whether they’re in school or at home.

SQA supports Safer Internet Day 2016 – Courses available for young people in schools

UK Safer Internet Centre coordinate Safer Internet Day in the UK

UK Safer Internet Center – Education Packs contain plenty material including a collection of useful videos, including those below (which are ironically restricted via YouTube but available through Vimeo).

Play your part

Tamanna’s Story

Jessica’s Wish

Online quiz from the Open University: Are you a safe sharer?
Not sure I agree with all of their analyses. Watch before sharing onwards as this is aimed at adults.

Advice on passwords from Get Safe Online

Categories: Developing the Young Workforce, Health and Well-Being, Information Literacy, Learning and Teaching, Resources, Social Media, Technology, Twitter | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

More than 12 million fall into UK digital skills gap

BBC report that More than 12 million fall into UK digital skills gap.

The report, from charity, Go On UK, lists five Basic Digital Skills, all of which involve online safety issues:

  • Managing information: find, manage and store digital information and content
  • Communicating: communicate, interact, collaborate, share and connect with others
  • Transacting: purchase and sell goods and services; organise your finances; register for and use digital government services
  • Problem-solving: increase independence and confidence by solving problems using digital tools and finding solutions
  • Creating: engage with communities and create basic digital content
Categories: Information Literacy, Learning and Teaching, Technologies | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Libraries in the Internet Age

Useful video from Common Craft outlining the continuing value of Libraries in the Information or ‘Internet’ Age.

Common Craft have plenty of other videos explaining social media, internet safety, technology and using information.

I recommend the videos about wikipedia and zombies.

If you want to make your own videos using the Common Craft cut-outs, you can also join for a fee.


Categories: Advocacy, Communication, Creativity, Information Literacy, Resources, Social Media, Technology, Video clips, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

ABCs of Information Literacy

EasyBib are offering a free download of their ABCs of Information Literacy poster if you submit your email address. THe poster is available under a Creative Commons licence.



Categories: Creative Commons, Information Literacy, Investigations, Learning and Teaching, Literacy, Posters, Resources | Tags: | Leave a comment

S3 Mind Mapping Skills

This year at Taylor High School, as Librarian I have been keen to embark on an Information Literacy course with our middle school. Many of my current projects are with the lower school and I really wanted the library to be involved in more activities and projects with other departments and year groups.

Orginally, I had planned to work with our fourth years but since this activity was going to be taking place before their exam period, I thought against it. I then began to think of our third year pupils and how this tool could help them with their future exams. Pupils were given two mind map activities to complete during a 40 minute period. One mind map focused on themselves, while the other focused on a subject they were studying. The subject chosen to mind map was ultimately picked by pupils. Mind maps included Biology, Art, P.E, Maths and English.

In order to complete these exercises, PSHE classes were split into two groups of fifteen to accommodate everyone in the library, with half the class coming one period and the other half during the next.

It was interesting to see what our S3 pupils knew about mind mapping and also gave me some great ideas for future projects. Feedback has been encouraging with a number of useful suggestions being made. Some pupils said they enjoyed having a choice for the last activity, while others suggested working as a group to create a mind map.

I’m really looking forward to developing this course further next session and believe that this tool can help our exams candidates plan.

Many thanks to our S3 PSHE pupils and staff and the head of S3 for being involved.

Categories: Creativity, Information Literacy, Literacy | Tags: , | Leave a comment

SLG Blog Update

I have added an example of good practice into the Information Literacy section of the blog. It is a task that I run with S1 Geography and always seems to get good results and feedback so thought I would share it with you all.

Categories: Information Literacy, Learning and Teaching, Social Studies | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The wee green man

The Wee Green Man is a story to help pupils learn how to scan for keywords.

The class has to close their eyes and imagine that what’s getting told in the story is actually happening to them (but you can keep yours open since you’d find it difficult to read that way :-)). NB The information below is not anatomically correct.

Once upon a time, there was a tiny wee green man. He loved to explore, but not just anywhere. The Wee Green Man liked to explore places that nobody else could, and because he was so tiny, he could get into tiny little spaces.

One day, the Wee Green Man decided to explore up  your nose. He slipped and he slid, getting covered in icky stuff (which is why he was already wearing green!), until he eventually managed to climb all the way up inside your head to where your brain is.

The Wee Green Man admired the vast empty spaces where your brain is supposed to be and decided to leave his mark (unfortunately, he’s a bit of a vandal). So he got out a can of spray paint and wrote in huge letters, a word. A word so vast, that now it’s sitting right in front of your brain, and you can’t see anything else.

Imagine that word – see it in front of your eyes. Focus on it. And then, once you can clearly imagine it, open your eyes, scan across the screen and put your hand up as soon as you see it.

The word selected of course, is a word on the screen or page in front of the class. Smaller words are more difficult. We then put the scanning into practice with Google searches or websites on the Smartboard, and remind them of the Wee Green Man whenever they’re researching.

Their sense of achievement at spotting the relevant word is palpable, and since it’s such a ridiculous story, they also remember it.

Categories: Information Literacy | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Zombies Inveigled

Zombies Inveigled was a brilliant initiative that I was asked to get involved with back in January. One of the XL classes had the chance to work with special effects make-up and wanted to create something appropriate to show it off. After discussing a variety of possibilities, the pupils decided that they would like to develop their own comic.

Over ten weeks, we introduced the class to graphic novels, and very much led by their enthusiasm and creativity, guided them through the process of creating their own using Comic Life software. We developed storyboards, scouted for locations, took hundreds of photographs, learned how to use the software and constantly evaluated, while specialist artist Kirsty McCabe taught them ever more complicated and gory techniques with their zombie makeup (see the Bodies in the Library for more details). The final product was printed in A3 and displayed in school, then shown at the XL Exhibition, with the class well deserved praise from all who saw it.

From a professional viewpoint, the variety and number of skills required was phenomenal: storyboarding; synthesis; planning; navigating through files; image searching; saving images from the web; copyright awareness; importance of titles; using a thesaurus; involving other staff; identifying locations; photography techniques; directing others; marketing their product; and perhaps most importantly, keeping the peace :-). Information Literacy fell into this process very naturally  and techniques were introduced as required.

Personally I’m delighted to have been involved in such an entertaining and educational experience, especially one in which staff and pupils learned so much from each other.

Categories: Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Graphic novels, Information Literacy, Literacy | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tales of a Motivated Librarian II

Today the Motivated Librarian is assisting pupils with research again. The charming intelligent children are grappling with alien concepts.

Motivated Librarian: So, how are you getting on?
Charming Intelligent Child: I can’t really find anything. What’s the guy’s name again?

ML: What have you got written down on your sheet?  You’re looking for Finn McCool
CIC: Who’s he again?

ML: Well, he’s supposed to have been an Irish warrior, but there are lots of Scottish stories about him as well
CIC: But it says here that he was a giant

ML: Yup! Stories get changed about. Some stories say he’s the biggest and strongest fighter there’s ever been and some actually say he was a giant. Folklore does that.
CIC: So, what’s folklore?

ML: It’s the stories that people tell that get handed down from one generation to the next. A bit like legends.

The CIC sits up in horror and looks at the cover of his book, Scottish folklore
CIC: So this isn’t real?
ML: Um, no.

The CIC now turns to the label showing the book’s class number.
CIC: But this is non-fiction, isn’t it? I thought non-fiction was real?
ML: Actually, non-fiction books are information, remember? Not real, not facts, just information.

The CIC slumped back in his seat, and commented at length that his research into Scottish giants had now turned out to be a load of stories, before fixing the Motivated Librarian with a steely gaze.

CIC: So, if this is folklore and folklore are stories, why aren’t these books in the fiction section?

And the ML decided this was not the time to explain her classification policy regarding this particular volume, but instead suggested that she find the Charming Intelligent Child some alternative information for his research.

But as she moved on to the next table, she pondered why the pupils in her care insisted on the True/False, made-up/real definitions for Fiction and Non-fiction, and more importantly, how she could persuade them to accept alternatives that wouldn’t leave them confused about the realism of giants.

Categories: Daily life, Information Literacy, Investigations, Literacy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Norwegian Visitors

On Friday the School Library Resource Centre  at St Maurice’s HS welcomed Helg Harper and Hilde Solhaug from Askim videregående skole in South East Norway. They and their colleagues (190 in total) were in Scotland on a short staff development trip and were taking the opportunity to learn more about the Scottish Education system.

In a visit arranged by the Scottish branch of the School Library Association,  Helg and Hilde came to St Maurice’s before heading on to visit a school in Glasgow. Ms Cameron, LRCM @ St Maurice’s gave the two ladies  a tour of the school before spending the morning in the LRC discovering how Scottish School Libraries run and exchanging ideas which they can take home to Norway. 

Although Askim videregående skole is mainly a Sixth Form/Technical College , with academic and vocational courses and has about 900 pupils aged 16-19, it was a great opportunity to show them our initiatives here in North Lanarkshire for our older pupils.  They had a chance to explore our blogs and find out about our Catalyst awards as well as how we go about improvement planning and supporting pupils with Careers information, Information Skills and other initiatives at a more local level.

Thanks to Hilary Petrie for arranging the visit. We hope they enjoyed their trip to Scotland!

Categories: Book Awards, Books, Information Literacy, Professional associations | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tales of a Motivated Librarian

Once upon a time there was a Motivated Librarian who was determined to help a class complete some research for their presentations.

On the first day, she reminded them all about brainstorming and keywords and skimming and scanning in a fun way that made them laugh and share ideas and work well together while simultaneously ensuring that the concepts were well bedded in, and was content that they had understood the benefits.

On the second day, she challenged them to improve their note making abilities with a story of past times that made them ponder and ask questions, before outlining the numerous possibilities that they could choose to research, and was gratified to hear young voices share their enthusiasm for this work and how cool it was. And the class decided who to work with and what they would choose to research.

On the third day, she indicated that the class should brainstorm their choice of topic and think of some useful keywords before beginning their research so that everyone would know what they were supposed to be looking for. And she provided them with paper for this purpose.

And she explained to the class that half of each team could search on the computer, while the other half used the books. And then she asked all the pupils to return from the computer suite to complete those first tasks before beginning their research, like she had asked them to do only seconds before. And then she asked them to retrieve the paper that they had left at the computers.

And then she answered their questions and explained again about keywords.

Then the Motivated Librarian spoke to the pupils using the books and asked them to print out a list of resources from the catalogue to assist in their searching (having previously checked the entire LRC stock for the topics in question, researched and purchased additional useful material and spent hours adding relevant keywords for said investigations onto each catalogue entry).

And that’s where the fun really began, because the children, charming and intelligent as they were, were also determined to gather assistance from the Motivated Librarian, and asked lots and lots and lots of questions.

For example:

Charming Intelligent Child 1: Miss, I don’t think there’s any books on my topic
Motivated Librarian: But there’s five on the screen. What did you type in?

CIC1: I typed in ‘Scottish witches’, but there’s nothing here about witches
ML : But the books wouldn’t have appeared otherwise.

CIC1: But none of the books are called ‘Scottish witches’
ML: But they don’t need to have witches in the title to include information about witches. This one here is called Scottish mysteries. That should include lots of weird stuff, including witches. See,  look at the keywords.

CIC1 (points to the cover image on the screen):  But that picture doesn’t look like it’s about witches. It looks like it’s about ghosts.
ML: But you can’t guess the contents of the book from the front cover.

And eventually the Motivated Librarian persuaded him that the books on the screen were useful, by taking the Charming Intelligent Child to the shelves and showing him the chapter on witches inside the book. And she explained about keywords again and he was happy and went away to read.

Then the Motivated Librarian was approached by a second Charming Intelligent Child.

CIC2: Miss, I just thought you should know there’s a mistake
ML: Where?

CIC2: On the catalogue
ML: What sort of mistake?

CIC2: It’s got two books at the same number
ML: But that’s ok. Remember I explained that the class number refers to the subject, so you can have lots of books at the same number.

CIC2: So you can have lots of books with the same number?
ML: Yes.

And the Charming Intelligent Child was somewhat bemused but accepted the explanation of the Motivated Librarian, who grabbed a second to fix the printer before enquiring if she could assist a third Charming Intelligent Child who was sitting looking glumly at the computer screen before him.

CIC3: There’s nothing on Sawney Bean
ML: Did you get a book list from the catalogue?

CIC3: Yes (and shows it). There’s nothing there.
ML:  What about this one, ‘The cannibal family of Sawney Bean’

CIC3: But I don’t need to know about his family

And the Motivated Librarian reassured him that there would indeed be useful information about Mr Bean Senior in the book and helped him to retrieve it, only to intercept Charming Intelligent Child 4, wandering amongst the shelves. And the CIC sighed that he could not locate any books with numbers on them, so the Motivated Librarian showed him that his book list told him to look in Non-fiction and pointed out the signs saying Non-fiction.

And then Motivated Librarian ushered the Charming Intelligent Child in the correct direction, uniting him with a useful book before bumping into walking pile of twelve books.  The Motivated Librarian suggested to the CIC behind the books that she could only read one book at a time, but the Charming Intelligent Child replied that she had just spent half an hour finding them so could she not look at them now … please?

And the Motivated Librarian allowed her to take three books, which remained firmly closed until the bell went five minutes later.

And the Charming Intelligent Children returned the books to the shelves, as a kindness to the Motivated Librarian, rather than leaving them on the desk as she had requested, which meant another half hour reordering them for the next class who would be expecting to find them in the right places the following day.

And then she retrieved the discarded printouts from the catalogue so that the Charming Intelligent Pupils would not have to recreate them on their next visit.

Finally the weary Motivated Librarian evaluated the lesson, wrote a short report and made some amendments to plans for future research lessons.

Categories: Daily life, Information Literacy, Investigations | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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