Over the last year, Leicester City Council has been running an exciting project for secondary school librarians and Learning Resource Centre (LRC) managers, in partnership with De Montfort University’s Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology (CELT). The LRC Connect project was designed to provide staff across the city working in and with school libraries with an opportunity to meet, compare and share practice. It provided school library staff across the city with encouragement in terms of their personal professional development, supporting critical reflection of their role and of the role of the LRC.
LRC Connect has been a great success, providing LRC staff with the opportunity to develop their skills in relation to the use of technology and share their practice with other librarians across the secondary estate. Below is a selection of summaries of the projects that our librarians undertook as part of the LRC Connect project.
Babington Community College – Using QR Codes and iPads in the library: induction to help familiarise year 7 pupils with the library
The Learning to Fly project at Babington Community College is a library induction programme, using new technologies to support the development of independent learning skills. The project uses iPads and QR codes to create a ‘treasurehunt’ like experience which helps to familiarise new students with the Learning Resource Centre, and teach them about how to use its facilities.
Rob, the LRC manager, presented the project at the Book IT conference. Here are the slides from his presentation: [pdf]
The City of Leicester College – Creation of a school library blog to showcase students’ book reviews and encourage reading for pleasure
The City of Leicester College has been using blogging to showcase book reviews written by their learners. Madeleine, the librarian leading on this project, wanted to work on a project that encouraged reading for pleasure and showcased the work of learners and the library. She began by posting some reviews herself and then took advantage of ‘Everybody’s Reading Week’ in October to gather a collection of reviews from learners for the blog.
Madeleine also presented at the Book IT conference, her presentation can be found here [pdf].
‘I have found making a library blog a challenge as IT is not my strong point, but it has been enormously rewarding and enjoyable and I am learning all the time. We are now looking forward to moving to our new build library in October 2013 and will be using the library blog to showcase this.’
Fullhurst Community College – Working with e-Reader devices to improve learners reading ability and attitudes towards reading
At Fullhurst, Nicola, the school’s Business Centre Manager, has been working with the English department – focusing on boys reading progress. Nicola carried out comprehension tests, using Accelerated Reader, and a questionnaire about the boy’s attitude to reading. The boys were then issued an e-reader, which they could access in the school library and the group met three times a week to discuss what they were reading.
At the end of the project the comprehension test and questionnaire were completed again and it was found that the intervention had positively impacted both areas.
Hamilton Community College – Setting up and managing a Facebook group to support GCSE study and revision skills for Year 11 students
Hamilton Community College has been using Facebook to support a Library/English Study Group for students revising for their GCSEs. The group is used to promote the location of resources in the library, post homework sheets, websites, power point presentations, library timetables and the English department resources. Sharon presented about her project at the Book IT event in November; her presentation can be found here [pdf]
Below is a statement taken from one of the learners involved in the Facebook @ Hamilton project:
‘As a year 11 student at Hamilton Community College, I currently spend the majority of my evenings doing some kind of work, whether it’s homework, revision or coursework. I have found the English study group on Facebook to be of great use to me, as I know from experience there is nothing worse than being sat at home, struggling to do a particular piece of work and being unable to find the sources to help you. The group opens a variety of options to students, for example teachers are able to upload documents and information that we can use at home to help us revise for an upcoming exam, they can post links to good revision websites, or they could even make us more aware of revision guides which we can borrow from the library. Students are also able to post a message on the page if they require any specific help. The Facebook group allows students to communicate with teachers over the internet on a purely professional basis; they can talk to each other via Facebook without actually having to add each other as ‘friends’. I believe this is a fantastic, new, modern way of revising which may motivate year 10 and 11 students into doing more revision; an area of motivation which is often lost when a student is struggling to do a certain piece of work.’
Moat Community College – Improving access to library resources
As part of the ICT across the curriculum improvement plan, Moat has been looking into providing students with broader access to their library resources. This began with the implementation of the Eclipse.net hosted library system. This allows students to browse for and reserve physical books in the college’s library from any Internet connected device.
The second stage of the project was to add the OverDrive e-book module to Eclipse.net. OverDrive lets you build an electronic library which can be viewed on the majority of devices owned by students – Android, Apple IOS, Blackberry and any device with an HTML5 browser. The school currently has an e-library of 100+ titles including audio-books which are free for students to download and, judging by the requests for particular titles from students, are well received.
Rushey Mead Secondary School – Book reviews using Voicethread
Rushey Mead Secondary have been using Voicethread to support their Library book club. Learners have been encouraged to record book reviews using the software to share with others. Julie, one of the school’s library assistants, leading the project said:
‘I found Voicethread very easy to use and the tutorial was clear and straightforward. Embedding of codes was initially an issue but once this had been explained to me it was OK. One of the things I like about Voicethread is that pupils can use it and get an output quickly.’
Also at Rushey Mead, Julie Walker has been looking into the use of JCS Resources to support the Science and Music curriculum areas and Ranjan Mistry has been looking into supporting learners in using social media/social networking for study groups.
Sir Jonathan North Community College – Resources for digital referencing, to support learners in understanding how to consistently and appropriately reference web pages, blog posts and other online information
At Sir Jonathan North Community College, the school’s LRC Manager Meena, chose to create a referencing guide – focusing on the Harvard System. The guide was created in the form of a presentation, which Meena enhanced by including embedded games and interactive elements.
Meena felt that referencing skills are often overlooked at this level of education, but are important for further academic progress – for students who carry onto to college and university where these skills are marked. The school also teaches the concept of referencing to their learners, based on the Harvard system and she wanted to create a resource to support this.
Meena hopes that staff and students will benefit from this guide, as well as parents who can access the resource from the schools website (PDF).
The Lancaster School – LSL Network
The LSL Network was initially set up by Lancaster’s librarian, Alison Carpenter-Hughes. The idea behind the site was to provide librarians across Leicester city school libraries with a platform to share ideas, build connections and seek support. Alison left her post at the school back in October and maintenance of the site was handed over to the Library Services for Education team.