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Embracing AI and Loving the New AI Revolution

By AI, NEP2020 One Comment

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Embracing Artificial Intelligence in Large Language Model Tools in Librarianship

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are revolutionizing every occupation, including librarianship. For librarians, embracing AI can save time, provide dynamic ideas, enhance library services, streamline administrative tasks, and facilitate deeper learning experiences for our patrons and profession. I am sharing ways I have used various AI tools to support my patrons. So much is happening, and I am excited to try out ChatGPT Omni. For now, here is a post about using AI tools.

Collection Analysis:

It is recommended that librarians use AI tools to accurately manage library resources and provide an analysis of our collection. I have not found them particularly useful, as our OPAC systems, like Destiny/Follett and Koha, already do a good job. These OPAC tools can help identify gaps in the collection by analyzing borrowing patterns along with the books on the shelves.

Research Support for High School

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As a school librarian, I have found it very useful to use Perplexity AI and Bing Copilot to address queries, assist with research, and guide users in navigating large amounts of information by summarizing and providing sources. I am almost tempted to stop using Google.

I recently helped an IB student create an outline for his extended essay research using Grammarly Generative AI (Premium version) and ChatGPT 3.5. It gave him direction on gathering information step by step and incorporating it into his paper. I also created an  EE Companion Chatbot, (using Chatgpt4) where students can submit their Extended Essay research papers and receive feedback.

 Research Support for Middle School

One middle school student struggled to understand the concepts of capitalism and democracy, their evolution, and which form of government he might prefer. ChatGPT explained democracy and capitalism with a simple prompt: Explain democracy to a 4th grader with metaphors and examples.” It then provided questions to check the student’s understanding. (You need to include the prompt asking the AI tool to work as a kind, supportive Tutor, that doesn’t give the answers right away)

Supporting Teachers

In collaboration with a Language Arts teacher, she and I created a Mizou chatbot that could translate Shakespearean language into modern English to understand Romeo and Juliet, aiding students in understanding the nuances of Romeo and Juliet. Check out other examples on the Mizou gallery.

As a librarian, I support English Language Learners using Diffit , which helps scaffold text and simplify videos. This tool makes delivering content and concepts easier. Input a link, select the grade level, ask for comprehension questions, and it’s ready for you.

Recently, I used Brisk to create a presentation on Google Slides, lesson plans, and a quiz. I didn’t need to embed it in another tool, as it did everything for me.

I love these tools; they help make life easy.

AI tools that I have used.

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– Magic School: content creator, YouTube summaries and questions, choice boards

– Eduaide.ai

– ChatGPT

– Bing Copilot

– Perplexity

Crowdsourced Ideas

Some crowdsourced ideas on how other librarians are using ChatGPT are here:

1. Emails

2. Library reports

3. Lesson plans

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4. Citations

5. Library Manual

6. Library evaluation

7. Curating or recommending resources

8. Formulating questions

9. Generating ideas

10. Book reviews

11. Age-appropriate book recommendations

12. Character descriptions

13. Title recommendations based on learner profiles

14. Book classification through AI

15. Reading challenge questionnaires

16. Book-based interactive activities

17. Quizzes based on books

Ethical use of AI tools

Issues related to privacy, data security, and the ethical use of AI should be carefully considered. I’m glad the technology team at my school manages data security while the entire team, including librarians, ensures ethical use of information. I am using the IB-prescribed norms and am inspired by Wharton Professor Ethan Mollick’s work. I recently presented at the Unplugged Conference on the ethical use of AI tools. Here is the revised presentation (if it makes sense) 

As we move forward, it is exciting to see how AI continues to shape the future of librarianship, opening new avenues for collaboration and use of information, and driving and building our intelligence and creativity.

Media Literacy – How to Teach it?

By Critical thinking, Media Literacy No Comments

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A few weeks ago, a librarian colleague and I discussed how critical and analytical thinking can be taught during their library classes. We discussed the importance of media literacy, and this led to this post…

In today’s era, media literacy is an indispensable skill that is essential in our daily lives. With a plethora of information available at our fingertips, it is crucial to discern between what is true, what is not, and what is outright false. This task becomes even more crucial for teenagers and adults, who form a significant portion of the online population. Therefore, it is important to understand the importance of media literacy and to explore the differences between advertisements, propaganda, and public service announcements (PSAs). In addition, we will look at some examples to illustrate these points and discuss how educators and librarians can impart media literacy. Here is a presentation that you might want to use with your students.

What is Media Literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media in a variety of forms. It is a critical skill in the digital age that enables individuals to decode the complex messages presented on various media platforms. By fostering media literacy, we empower individuals to become responsible media consumers, capable of recognizing biases, identifying underlying messages, and making informed decisions.

The distinction between advertisements, propaganda, and PSAs is fundamental in understanding media literacy.

What are advertisements?

 It is essential to understand that advertisements are designed to persuade an audience to purchase a product or service. For example, a Tata Sky or Netflix services. Products like the Nivea Soap, Fair and Lovely, and Toothpaste ads. These tell the audience to buy a product or a service. These are usually commercial in nature.

What is Propaganda?

Propaganda seeks to promote a particular political cause or viewpoint. Unlike advertisements, which are primarily commercial, propaganda aims at shaping public opinion and behaviour towards a specific ideology. During election seasons in India, it’s common to see political parties employing propaganda through social media platforms, billboards, and television commercials to sway voters.

What are Public Service Announcements (PSA)?

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) differ significantly from advertisements and propaganda. PSAs are intended to educate the public about pressing social issues and encourage positive societal changes. They are usually sponsored by government agencies or non-profit organizations and focus on topics such as health, safety, and environmental conservation. A notable Indian example would be the government’s campaign to promote cleanliness and hygiene under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), and Protection from Covid -19, these utilized various media forms to spread its message.

Techniques used in creating these messages:

These messges rely on various techniques, such as emotional appeal, celebrity endorsements, and catchy slogans, to influence consumer behaviour. For example, a popular beverage company in India might launch a campaign featuring a Bollywood star, using their influence to attract customers.

The techniques used in these messages vary widely but often include appealing to emotions, using influential figures, and presenting facts or statistics to support their claims. Recognizing these techniques is a key component of media literacy, allowing individuals to critically evaluate the content they consume.

Some techniques are:

  • Bandwagon
  • Language to evoke emotions
  • Repetition of certain points
  • Testimonial
  • Fear
  • Selective storytelling or cherry-picking facts (all facts not shared) to tell the story
  • Glittering generalities using vague language
  • Transfer, associating the authority or power of an individual to convey a message.

Teaching media literacy to teenagers and adults is essential in today’s information-saturated world. Librarians and educators play a crucial role in this endeavour. They can introduce media literacy through curated lessons that include analyzing different media forms, discussing the purpose behind various messages, and encouraging critical thinking about the content’s credibility and bias. 

Additionally, incorporating media literacy into the curriculum can be highly effective. This could involve case studies of advertisements, propaganda, and PSAs from the Indian context, allowing students to explore real-world examples and engage in meaningful discussions about their implications.

By understanding the nuances between advertisements, propaganda, and PSAs, and by being aware of the techniques used in these messages, individuals can become more informed consumers and producers of media. Librarians and educators play a significant role in fostering this literacy, equipping teenagers and adults with the critical thinking skills to discern truth from falsehood.  Together, we can cultivate a society that values truth, encourages informed decision-making, and promotes a healthy, democratic discourse.

The Role of Libraries in CBSE Curriculum (2023-24 Framework)

By NEP2020, Teacher Librarian One Comment

Recently, I read the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Framework and was very happy to see how they have recognized the pivotal role of libraries in shaping students’ academic journeys and fostering a lifelong love for reading. The recently revised CBSE National Curriculum Framework highlights the importance of libraries in achieving curricular goals, with a specific focus on language education. Here is the synopsis for libraries in the CBSE curriculum. The library has been mentioned 91 times in this document, showing its importance.  In short, librarians teach through read-aloud and short lessons to help support independent writers and independent readers. They teach and support students to research online and follow their passion through the ethical use of information and media literacy. There is also a component of service mentioned as the library project. (Librarians don’t need to assess students.).

TLDR:

1. Integrating Libraries into the Curriculum – 1.1 Curricular Goal: Developing Lifelong Reading Interest

One of the primary goals of language education is to instill a lifelong interest in reading among students. Recognizing this, the CBSE National Curriculum Framework allocates dedicated time for library activities in the school timetable. Library sessions, scheduled once or twice a week, aim to nurture literacy skills and build a strong foundation for language development.

1.2 Synergizing Language and Library Curricular Goals

The integration of language and library curricular goals is evident in the CBSE framework. Both subjects share time on the timetable, emphasizing the interconnectedness of language development and the role of libraries in achieving these goals. Table 4.4iii stipulates 65 hours in a school year for these activities, highlighting the commitment to fostering a reading culture.

1.3 Embracing Digital Resources

The CBSE curriculum acknowledges the evolving landscape of education by leveraging digital resources. Platforms like SWAYAM, DIKSHA, ePathshala, and the national digital library platform by IIT Kharagpur offer students access to a plethora of digital books. This forward-thinking approach aligns with the changing preferences and technological advancements of the modern era.

2. Libraries as Dynamic Learning Spaces – 2.1 Moving Beyond Traditional Notions

The CBSE framework redefines the role of libraries, emphasizing that they are not merely repositories of books but dynamic spaces designed to spark motivation and interest in reading. Teachers are encouraged to model reading behaviour, conduct read-aloud sessions, and engage students with diverse texts.

2.2 Fostering Reading Skills through Activities

The curriculum encourages a variety of engaging activities to develop reading skills. Initiatives such as ‘book of the day,’ ‘author of the day,’ library trips, literature festivals, and book exhibitions contribute to creating a vibrant reading culture within the school.

3. Libraries as Catalysts for Language Developments – 3.1 Invaluable Contributions to Language Abilities

The CBSE framework recognizes the paramount role of the school library in developing language abilities across different stages. Well-resourced libraries provide access to diverse reading materials, nurturing storytelling skills, fostering critical thinking, enhancing information literacy, and offering a safe learning space.

3.2 Library Activities for Language Development

The framework outlines a range of illustrative activities within the library that contribute to language development. From drawing time and book reviews to story-time and book clubs, these activities enrich students’ language skills, creating a holistic learning environment.

4. The Library Project: Student Involvement and Management- 4.1 Empowering Students Through Library Management

An interesting initiative within the CBSE framework is the Library Project, empowering students to actively participate in the management of the school library. This hands-on experience encourages responsibility and fosters a sense of ownership, making the library a vibrant hub for learning.

5. Inclusive Infrastructure for All – 5.1 Ensuring Accessibility and Inclusion

CBSE emphasizes inclusive infrastructure to ensure that all common spaces, including libraries, are accessible to students and teachers with disabilities. This commitment to inclusivity aligns with the broader goal of providing equitable educational opportunities for every learner.

Finally, the CBSE National Curriculum Framework, with its nuanced approach to libraries, underscores their indispensable role in shaping students’ academic and personal development. By seamlessly integrating libraries into the curriculum, fostering a love for reading, and promoting student involvement, CBSE reaffirms its commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals prepared for a rapidly changing world of teaching information and media literacy while learning to use information ethically.

According to the CBSE Framework – Role of the library according to this framework

  1. Access to a wide range of resources: A school Library could provide students with access to a wide range of resources, including books, magazines, newspapers, and other reading materials. If books are sorted according to Grade levels, categorized, and labelled according to themes and subjects, it would provoke students’ interest and allow easy access to them.
  2. Development of Language abilities: Exposure to reading diverse texts helps improve language skills, such as vocabulary, comprehension of different forms of text and language structure, different viewpoints, and overall language proficiency.
  3. Opportunities for independent reading: A Library can provide space for students to choose books that interest them and read at their own pace. Encouraging students to take books home and conducting activities in assemblies around books promotes reading among all students.
  4. Support for classroom learning: The school Library needs a mapping of Library books to Learning Standards so that the Library would not stand in isolation outside the classroom. Instead, it would be part of classroom resources and processes.
  5. Encouragement of a love of reading: By providing a wide range of engaging and age-appropriate books, students can develop a lifelong love of reading, which can have a positive impact on their language and overall development.
  6. Promotion of literacy skills: The school Library can help promote literacy through activities such as book clubs, writing workshops, and storytelling sessions, which can help students develop their language skills and become more confident readers and writers.
  7. Supporting research and inquiry: The Library offers resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and reference materials that support students’ research and inquiry-based learning.

Reference

National Curriuclum Framework – CBSE – 2023-24

Checklist for using AI Tools

By AI No Comments

AI Checklist for Students

As a secondary school library media specialist, I am learning how incredibly useful AI tools can be. Still, it is up to us to know how to use these AI tools ethically and responsibly. AI tools can be handy for students when researching and writing assignment papers, and students need to learn how to use them in a way that is ethical and responsible.

A checklist can help students understand the basics of AI. We are responsible for all the content we share and create. When using AI tools, it is recommended that we acknowledge the AI tool and cite it when used for evidence or to prove a point during research. It is to be treated like any other information source when we present our research findings.

Here is a checklist for secondary school students above 13 using AI Tools

Do’s:

  1. Understand the Basics: Before using any AI tool, understand what AI is and how it works. This will help you use the tool more effectively and responsibly.
  2. Follow Guidelines: Always follow the guidelines provided by the AI tool. This includes understanding the tool’s capabilities and limitations.
  3. Respect Privacy: Be mindful of privacy issues. Do not use AI tools to access or share sensitive information unless it’s necessary and appropriate.
  4. Think Critically: AI tools can be powerful, but they’re not always perfect. Use your own judgement in addition to the AI’s suggestions. Use your knowledge to check for correct information while identifying biases.
  5. Stay Safe: Be aware of potential risks and threats when using AI tools online. Protect your personal information and be cautious of potential scams or malicious software.
  6. Follow the School’s Policy: It is important to understand and share the school’s policy on AI tools and must follow the guidelines.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t Over-rely: While AI tools can be helpful, don’t rely on them for everything. It’s important to think for yourself and develop your own skills.
  2. Don’t Misuse: Do not use AI tools for harmful or unethical purposes. This includes bullying, cheating, or violating others’ privacy.
  3. Don’t Ignore Errors: If you notice that an AI tool is not working properly or is providing incorrect information, don’t ignore it. Report the issue to the appropriate person or organization.
  4. Don’t Skip Updates: Keep your AI tools up-to-date to ensure they work effectively and securely.
  5. Don’t Share Without Consent: Do not share others’ information without their consent, even if an AI tool allows you to do so. (The information collected by AI tools and other technology tools are often shared with third-party entities)

Educators and Librarians must continue to discuss the ethical and responsible use of AI tools. All users of AI tools are responsible for the content created by them; therefore, checking for inaccurate information lies on the individual as they engage with AI tools to produce content.

Here is a short checklist of Do’s and Don’t for students when using AI tools for research and writing

Do’s

✔️ Use AI tools for research, data analysis, and information retrieval to enhance their learning experience.
✔️ Acknowledge and cite AI-generated content when used in assignments or projects.
✔️To Avoid plagiarism and provide proper attribution for AI-generated work.
✔️ Engage with AI-driven platforms and tools for personalized learning experiences
✔️ Seek help from AI-driven tutoring systems for assistance in understanding and practising academic concepts.
✔️ Use AI tools responsibly and with integrity
✔️ Employ AI tools for creative projects while maintaining originality and artistic expression and driving your own creativity
✔️ Follow academic guidelines and rules provided by teachers and institutions, even when using AI tools.

Don’ts

❌ Avoid submitting AI-generated work without proper attribution or claiming it as their own.
❌ Do not use AI tools to cheat on assignments, tests, or exams.
❌ Refrain from engaging in unethical AI practices, such as creating deepfakes or using
❌ Do not share personal or sensitive data with AI tools or platforms that lack proper security measures.
❌ Overely on AI as a supplementary tool rather than relying solely on it for learning and problem-solving.
❌ Do not dismiss feedback or corrections from teachers or peers when using AI-generated content.
❌ Do not blindly trust AI-generated results; always verify information from reputable sources since AI tools can be biased and create hallucinations.

Best practices for student engagement with AI Tools in academic work

When students use AI tools, it is also important for them to show their process of creating their papers or assignments. They must know the following:

  • Students must be able to produce artefacts such as brainstorming, drafting, revision and/or reflection notes (Draftback and Google Revision History) to show evidence of their work.
  • Student’s work must showcase their voice and knowledge. Since teachers know the students well, conferring with them on a 1-1 basis will help them check for students’ learning.
  • Students must acknowledge the use of AI tools and cite work when required.

All students above 13 using AI tools must learn about the benefits and shortcomings of the AI tools. Although AI tools show great promise and can be used as a valuable tool for learning and growth, we must be responsible and display integrity.

Some AI tools that can be used for research are:

  • Elicit – https://elicit.org
  • Supersymmetry.ai: https://www.supersymmetry.ai
  • Semantic Scholar: https://www.semanticscholar.org
  • Connected Papers – https://www.connectedpapers.com/
  • Research rabbit – https://www.researchrabbit.ai/
  • Laser AI – https://laser.ai/
  • Litmaps – https://www.litmaps.com
  • Inciteful – https://inciteful.xyz/
  • Scite – https://scite.ai/

Acknowledgement: During the writing process, Bing Chat generated responses to the following prompt: Checklist for academic use of AI tools for secondary school students.

Bing Image Creator created all these images.

Resources used to write this blogpost

Academic Insider
Scribbr AI tools
Turnitin – AI writing

How can Librarians tackle AI?

By AI, Research Skills No Comments

Images generated by Bing Image Creator

What are librarians thinking about AI?

  • Students are cheating and getting away.
  • How are educators going to measure learning?
  • How do we use AI and adapt to it?
  • When should we use AI?
  • How can we use AI ethically?
  • Will Librarians and Teachers cease to exist?
  • What are parents stand on using AI?
  • How is AI going to change the education landscape?

So many questions and yet many Librarians are using and exploring AI tools in a number of ways. The most important answer I am looking for and awaiting is: When will the assessments change for High School Students? How are colleges going to enroll new students? How are teachers and librarians going to change and adopt new practices? Who is going to lead us, and How?

Librarians are worried about Academic integrity and that students will cheat and their grades will not justify their learning. There is a huge setback in assessments, and what would we need to assess, and what will it look like? Many unanswered questions are still buzzing around.

So, what can librarians do for now?

Images generated by Bing Image Creator

  • Encourage the use of AI Tools
  • Ask and have conversations with your students about how AI is helping them grow and learn.

How do we engage in meaningful conversations to ensure students are learning and not cheating?

So, when a student has used  AI tools to assist in their work, it’s important to assess not only the final product but also their understanding of the content and the impact of AI on their learning process. This conversation can help ensure human academic integrity.  

Engaging Conversations

Here are some questions you might ask students to allow you to gauge their understanding and the effectiveness of the AI tools:

  1. Understanding of the Topic –

   – Can you explain the main concepts and ideas in your paper in your own words?

   – How did your research with AI tools contribute to your understanding of the topic?

  1. AI Tool Selection

   – Why did you choose the specific AI tools you used for this assignment?

   – Did you consider any limitations or potential biases in the AI tools you used?

  1. Research Process 

   – How did you use AI tools in your research process? Can you describe the steps you followed?

   – Did you encounter any challenges or difficulties when using AI tools?

  1. Critical Thinking

   – How did you critically evaluate the information generated by AI tools? Did you fact-check or verify the results?

   – Did using AI tools influence your ability to think critically about the topic?

  1. Collaboration with AI

   – Did you collaborate with AI as a tool, or did it replace certain tasks you would have done manually?

   – How did you balance the contributions of AI with your own insights and analysis?

  1. Learning and Growth

   – In what ways has using AI tools impacted your learning experience for this assignment?

   – Have you developed any new skills or improved existing ones through the use of AI?

  1. Ethical Considerations

   – Did you consider the ethical implications of using AI tools, such as plagiarism or bias in AI-generated content?

   – How did you address or mitigate any ethical concerns?

  1. AI as a Learning Aid

   – Did using AI tools enhance your learning in this particular assignment?

   – How do you see the role of AI in education in general?

  1. Feedback and Revision

   – Did you receive feedback on your paper, and if so, how did you incorporate it into your work?

   – Did you use AI for revision or editing purposes, and if yes, how did it help?

  1. Future Use of AI

    – Do you see yourself using AI tools in future academic work or professional projects?

    – What lessons have you learned from this experience that you might apply in the future?

These questions can help you assess the student’s comprehension of the topic. We, as educators, will learn how students have integrated AI tools into their learning. 

Images generated by Bing Image Creator

(Used ChatGPT as a thought partner)

So, it is not about NOT using AI tools but HOW AI can benefit and build students’ critical and analytical skills to problem-solve.

Librarians Teaching Points

Librarians can continue to teach evaluating resources like the CRAAP test. How Wikipedia assimilates and curates its information,  the authority of the sources, and the usage of Wikipedia. Citing AI tools are some teaching points for Librarians.

AI tools have brought more attention to the biases of information and hallucinations. Knowing the author has become very important, and the need to verify sources is essential for any critical, analytical, or descriptive research paper.

AI research tools like Elicit, Consensus, and Research Rabbit is far more effective than ChatGPT 3.5, although there is information that it is being updated, and Bard and Llama may be better. (Opinions)

There is much discussion around Artificial Intelligence being artificial in nature yet seeming to mirror sentiency. Check out this article from Singularity Hub, which provokes us to think of the possibilities of AI being sentient and how we can differentiate the sentience of AI from a human.

There may be a time when AI chips will be embedded in humans.! Sci-Fi or REAL?

Redefining Librarianship through Collaborative Teacher Partnerships (Workshop in Thailand) Check this out https://www.ksipd.com/librarianship 

Embracing AI Tools: A Librarian’s Guide

By AI, Professional Development No Comments

Bing Image Creator

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the role of a librarian has expanded beyond traditional book curation and cataloguing. As AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing Chat continue to revolutionize the way we access and interact with information, librarians need to adapt to stay relevant and provide valuable resources to their patrons. 

How do you keep abreast with AI Tools:

  • Continuous Learning and Training: Educate yourself
    • Attend workshops, webinars, and conferences focused on AI and its applications in libraries.
    • Collaborate with experts in the field to gain insights into the latest AI trends.
    • Stay updated with relevant literature and research on AI’s impact on libraries.
  • Exploring AI Tools: Experiment
    • Take the time to explore and experiment with various AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing Chat – there are no shortcuts
    • Understand the capabilities of each tool and identify potential use cases in a library setting.
  • Networking: Collaborate and ask Questions 
    • Join online communities, forums, and social media groups related to library technology and AI.
    • Engage in discussions and share experiences with other librarians who are integrating AI tools.
  • User-Centric Approach: How will it help my patrons and me
    • Regularly engage with library patrons to understand their needs and preferences.
    • Identify areas where AI tools can enhance user experience and provide personalized assistance.

Embracing AI Tools in Your Library: Test, Trial, Retest, and fine-tune

  • Teaching students and adults how to use AI tools as virtual assistants
    • Integrate AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bing Chat into your lessons 
    • Learning about  tones and styles of writing
  • Enhancing Research: Practice using and playing to enhance
    • Offer workshops to teach patrons how to effectively use AI tools to conduct research and gather information.
    • Showcase how AI can aid in summarizing, extracting key points, and generating citations.
  • Data Management: Experiment and Trials
    • Explore AI solutions for efficient cataloguing and data organization, allowing librarians to focus on higher-level tasks.
    • Implement AI-powered tools to analyze usage patterns and make informed decisions about collection development.
  • Language Translation and Accessibility:
    • Integrate AI tools to aid in translating materials into various languages, promoting inclusivity.

Here are some resources to help us learn:

  1. Practical AI for Instructors and Students – Wharton School  (Part 1-4)
  2. AI tools on Wakelet
  3. Advanced Guide to ChatGPT Prompts
  4. 50 Prompts for Educators
  5. Chatgpt and Educators – Google Slides
  6. General information on AI

Visual Literacy with Picture Books – Part 2

By Readaloud No Comments

Empowering Students to Become Proficient Designers: Unleashing Creativity using picture books 

 As literacy champions, librarians foster a love for reading through storytelling. Read-aloud sessions have been an integral part of library classes; therefore, using components of visual literacy can take these sessions to new heights, captivating young minds and expanding their understanding of the written word.

Simply put, visual literacy is the ability to interpret, analyse, and create visual images. It encompasses a range of skills:  including observing, questioning, and making connections between visual elements. By incorporating visual literacy techniques into read-aloud sessions, librarians can engage children on multiple sensory levels and promote a deeper understanding and appreciation for the stories they encounter. Using these visual literacy strategies can help students become skilled creators of art and images across various media to create posters, presentations, websites,  films or any products that involve designing and media.

Visual literacy strategies for Picture Books

Composition and Context

Composition in visual literacy refers to the deliberate arrangement and placement of elements within an image. Through thoughtful composition, artists, and photographers guide the viewer’s attention, convey emotions, and communicate messages effectively.

When reading aloud, librarians can ask questions like :

  1. Describe the surrounding on the illustrations on this page. What is omitted? 
  2. What objects are visible in this image? What is missing? 
  3. How does the clothing of the character tell you about the character? 
  4. How do the placement and arrangement of things in a picture make you feel? Does it make you look at something specific?
  5. Can you find a picture where the way things are placed and arranged helps tell a story or show a message? What do you think the artist is trying to tell us?
  6. Why do you think artists and photographers must think carefully about arranging things in a picture?

All these aspects form the illustration’s composition to create a meaningful and cohesive visual narrative.

Context also refers to the cultural, historical, social, situational, and personal circumstances to which a text is composed and responded.

Colour, Hue, and Tone

Artists use colour to design picture book illustrations to evoke specific emotions, convey moods, and enhance storytelling. Colours have symbolic meanings and can evoke different responses. For instance, red may represent passion, anger, or vitality, while blue can signify peace, harmony, or coldness.

Teaching students to read illustrations through colours, help develop observational skills and analytical thinking as they interpret the emotional impact and symbolic associations of different colour choices.

In black-and-white images, artists often rely on contrast, light, and darkness to create visual interest and convey depth and mood. In black & white images,  we can examine the use of contrast, light, and darkness.

Questions to ask students:

  1. How do the colors used in the pictures make you feel? Do they make the story seem happy, sad, or something else?
  2. Can you think of a picture book where the color red was used? What emotions or feelings do you think the color red represents in that book?
  3. When you see a black-and-white picture, how can the artist make it interesting without using any colors?
  4. How can colors in a picture help us understand how a character is feeling or what they are like?
  5. Can you find a picture book where the color blue is used? What do you think the color blue means in that book?
  6. How does looking at the colors in a picture help you understand the story better?

Text Style

Consider the font, colour, size and placement used in the text. The use of fonts in a picture book plays a crucial role in conveying the book’s tone, mood, and overall visual aesthetic. Different font choices can evoke emotions and help define the characters, settings, and narrative style. For example, a playful and whimsical story may be complemented by a rounded and playful font, while a mysterious or spooky tale may feature jagged or ornate fonts. The text’s size, spacing, and formatting can impact readability and guide the reader’s eye across the page. The careful selection and placement of fonts contribute to the overall visual storytelling experience and enhance the reader’s engagement with the picture book. Use the image to check out these questions.

Questions to try with students are:

  1. How does the font style and size used in the text make you feel about the story? Does it match the mood or theme of the book?
  2. Can you find a picture book where the text is written in a playful or whimsical font?
  3. Why do you think the author or illustrator chose a specific font for the text? Does it help you understand the characters or setting better?
  4. How does the size of the text affect your reading experience? Does it make it easier or harder to read?
  5. Why do you think the author or illustrator made that choice?
  6. How does the color of the text impact your understanding and enjoyment of the story? Does it evoke certain emotions or make certain words stand out more?

Texture: 

Texture in illustrations for picture books refers to the visual representation of tactile qualities, creating a sense of touch or surface characteristics. It adds depth, dimension, and richness to the images, enhancing the overall sensory experience for the reader. Using texture, artists can evoke emotions, differentiate elements, and create a more immersive storytelling experience.

Questions to ask children when analyzing picture books related to texture:

  1. How does the texture in this illustration make you feel? Does it make you think of something specific?
  2. Can you describe the texture you see in this picture? Does it appear rough, smooth, bumpy, or something else?
  3. How does the use of texture contribute to the overall mood or atmosphere of the story?
  4. Does it help you imagine what it might feel like to touch the objects or characters in the illustration?

Visual literacy helps children look at pictures carefully, enhancing their observation skills, understanding visual communication, and fostering creative expression.

Resources to download:

                   

            

Visual Literacy with Picture Books – Part 1

By Readaloud, Visual Literacy One Comment

In the world of literature, picture books hold a special place. Combining narratives with visually stunning illustrations. These images have the power to ignite imagination and instill a love for reading in young minds.

The joy of reading is complete when the wealth of information is married to visuals. This is based on the Constructivism approach, where the students construct new understanding when reading a story. When students read, they are engaged in understanding the story through text, and then analyzing visuals becomes a part of their new knowledge through keen observation and inferences.

Visual Literacy Is Analytical Thinking

Reading visuals, or analysing illustrations, is a valuable skill that goes hand in hand with reading comprehension. Just as we dissect the words on a page to uncover deeper meanings, exploring the visual elements of a picture book opens up a world of possibilities for critical thinking, collaboration, and attention to detail.

Visual literacy, the ability to interpret and make meaning from images, is a fundamental skill in today’s increasingly visual society. By engaging with the visual aspects of picture books, students enhance their understanding of the story and develop essential skills that can be applied across various disciplines.

Benefits of Visual Thinking
When we delve into the techniques of analyzing visual texts, we empower our students
– To think critically
– Ask questions beyond what meets the eye
– Sharing ideas and discussing the images leads to collaboration
– Keen observation
– Analytical thinking
– Learning how to create visuals

Here is a list of different strategies to help you teach and learn about visuals in picture books.

Different strategies to analyze visuals are identifying allegory, angles, body language, composition, colour, hue, and tone.
Using these strategies, librarians provide students with the tools to unlock the hidden layers of meaning in the illustrations they encounter.

1 Allegory in visual literacy

Fig 1

Allegory is a powerful storytelling technique where a story or visual image contains a hidden or symbolic meaning beyond its literal meaning. Allegory sometimes uses personification, giving humans shape to abstract concepts, and can be seen as an extended metaphor. Picture books are rich with examples of allegorical illustrations. For instance, a tree that represents growth and wisdom or a mirror reflecting self-discovery and identity. These visual cues give readers additional layers of meaning and invite them to engage in critical thinking. Allegory invites readers to explore the realms of imagination and symbolism, adding richness and complexity to their reading experience for older students.
For example:
– A Lone Star. A concise reflective metaphor about a poor little star. However, it can be a metaphor for a child: https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/180622-a-lone-star?mode=read
– Thunder Storm can be an allegory to life, https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/15875-a-thunderstorm

2. Angles a visual strategy

Fig 2. Image Credit: @Niloufer

Angle is the second technique in analyzing visual texts; different angles play an important role in conveying a specific point of view. Angles are carefully chosen by illustrators to shape the viewer’s perception and evoke particular emotions or reactions. For example, low-angle shots, where the camera is positioned below the subject and looks upwards, create a sense of power and dominance. This angle makes the subject appear larger and more imposing, emphasizing their authority or strength.

Fig 3

On the other hand, eye-level positioning establishes a sense of equality and connection between the viewer and the subject. It allows readers to identify with the characters, immersing themselves in the story and fostering empathy. Picture book illustrations utilize angles to create meaning. This is a high-angle image that may give the symbol of courage and power.

By recognizing and analyzing the effects of different angles in picture books, readers develop a critical eye for visual storytelling. They become attuned to the intentional choices made by illustrators and gain a deeper appreciation for the impact of perspective in shaping meaning and interpretation.

Example: The angle in Fig 3 picture above indicates the power between the mother and the child and yet the closeness unlike Fig. 1

The second picture in Fig 3 indicates the closeness of the two characters as well as symbolizing an equal relationship; the positioning gives a sense of equality and connection of the two women.

Fig 4

The illustrator uses the low-angle shot/view in Fig 4. It gives the reader a glimpse into the cooked food (Poha).

3. Body Language and Gaze are other visual techniques:

Fig 5

When analyzing visual texts, paying attention to body language and gaze in picture book illustrations provides valuable insights into characters’ attitudes, emotions, and the overall narrative. Facial expressions, gestures, and body positions serve as powerful cues that reveal characters’ inner thoughts and feelings. A wide smile might convey happiness, while a furrowed brow could indicate worry or confusion. Open arms might signify welcome and warmth, while crossed arms may suggest defensiveness. By closely observing these subtle details, readers can better understand the characters’ personalities and motivations. Equally important is the direction of the character’s gaze. Where characters are looking can convey their focus, interests, and relationships. A character looking directly at another might indicate engagement or connection, while averted eyes could imply shyness or guilt. The characters’ gaze toward particular objects or elements in the illustration can also provide clues about essential plot points or themes.

Observe the gaze of the people audience on the main character. It is full of fear, some filled with awe and others with laughter. What might that tell you about the main character, or what might that tell you about the audience in the picture?

Fig 6

In the title of the picture book Kesar and the Lullaby Birds Fig 6, ask students to look at the characters’ gaze. Where is the mother’s gaze? What is she feeling? What is her mood? Where is the man’s gaze? Where is the child’s gaze? Tell me something about the character’s personality. (The father’s gaze is endearing, yet he has a questioning expression while looking at the baby. Mother seems tired and ready to go to bed. Her relationship shows warmth and an open, loving relationship in the family. The little child’s gaze is towards the father with a questioning look)

Visual analysis is taught in middle and high school; learning to analyze visuals with younger students helps students think deeply and learn to look for elements beyond the surface level.

More resources on this LINK

Transforming Learning: Personalized Professional Development for Librarians

By NEP2020, Professional Development No Comments

According to EdWeek, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted professional development for educators.

Professional development has become more critical than ever, with teachers seeking to improve their skills and adapt to new technologies and teaching methods. The pandemic highlighted the need for ongoing, continuous professional development rather than episodic and intense training, says Kate Kopland from the University of Delaware.

There is a growing recognition that to meet the needs of the students, it is essential more than ever to stay with the current educational theories and technology tools.

According to Springer Nature, librarians must stay current on academic integrity, AI tools, and education theories because they are crucial in promoting reading, academic integrity and ethical behaviour on campus.

Liferarian Association conducted a recent survey, and here are the study results regarding how Librarians desire to continue to be professionally empowered and updated.

Librarians from the following boards took the survey:

  • CBSE Schools: 47.4%
  • IB Board: 25%
  • International & IGCSE: 14.5%
  • ICSE: 9.2%
  • State Board: 3.9%

How would Librarians want to stay relevant as lifelong learners in their profession?

  • Engage with content independently and discussions with experts – 57.9%
  • Attending conferences – 36.8%
  • Lecture format of content and best practices – 31.6%
  • Have a 1-1 program and design their learning with a coach – 23.7 %
  • Self-paced content with assignments – 23.7%

How many hours would Librarians like to invest in their professional development?

  • 50% voted to invest time during weekends
  • 50% voted to invest time during weekdays

Areas of topics for Professional Development for Librarians include the following:

  • Reading Activities to Incorporate during Library Class for Secondary School 48.7%
  • Reading Activities to incorporate during Library Class for Primary School 40.8%
  • Creating a digital presence 36.8%
  • Research Skills Advanced Course for Secondary School and Tech Tools 36.8%
  • Library Promotion 32.9%
  • Research Skills Basic Course for Primary School 28.9%
  • Mapping Curriculum 25%
  • Social media and networking 25%
  • Weeding 21.1%
  • Library Catalog Management – 19.7%
  • Extended Essay 19.7%
  • Library Budget 17.1%
  • Inventory 13.2%

As educators, we understand the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in our field. This is especially true for librarians, who play a vital role in helping students access reading and evaluate information in today’s digital age. Designing Your Own Learning: The Power of Personalized Professional Development for Librarians.

Unlock Your Potential: Personalized Professional Development for Librarians! A Great Opportunity
Personalized professional development is a great option because:

  1. It allows you to tailor your learning experience to your specific needs and interests. This means that you can focus on areas that are most relevant to your work as a librarian.
  2. Personalized professional development is also highly effective. By engaging in hands-on, interactive learning experiences, you can gain practical skills that you can immediately apply to your work. This type of learning is often more engaging and impactful than traditional, lecture-style training.
  3. In personalized professional development, you can connect with a community of like-minded educators who are also committed to improving their skills and knowledge. This can be a valuable source of support and inspiration as you work to enhance your practice.
  4. Personalized and relevant professional development is an investment in your own growth and development, as well as the growth and development of your students.

Explore the many opportunities available today and take advantage of them.
Liferarian Association is offering Personalized Professional Development at Your Fingertips!

If you are interested, please fill out this form, Librarians Unleashed. Check out the upcoming Liferarian Conference July 2023. & Liferarian Coursework 

Librarians & Summer Camps

By Library Activities, Summer camps 2 Comments

Summer is almost here, and I am excited to share some ideas for summer camps! Whether you’re looking to keep your kids entertained or help them learn new skills to create a deeper connection to the community, here is the opportunity. Your summer activities can be implemented through laser-focused and personalised projects, instilling pride in customised learning. Here are some ideas that will help us librarians use this opportunity to upskill, experiment and develop some new skills.

  • Act as a Book Publisher: Ask children to act as book publishers; this is an opportunity to transform book clubs into Publisher Zone. This will help students get excited about reading and discussing books with their peers, provided you have students think as book publishers or editors and discuss why a book was published or what might be the latest trends in book creation. Or have students become publishers/editors giving suggestions on how stories can have different endings or characters or plots. You can use picture books with older students too. Finally, try and get a publisher to share their wisdom with the students OR get a book distributor to share the current trends of what children are purchasing and what trends they forsee.

  • Debate clubs: Debate clubs can help students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, and this requires students to have access to the internet to find evidence for their topics. Be adventurous and try unconventional ideas. – Ask ChatGpt or Bing Ask for some ideas:
    Should we ban all forms of advertising?
    Should we abolish prisons for adolescents?
    Should people donate their organs?
    Should we have a universal basic income?
    Should we abolish caste reservations in India?
  • Art clubs can help students get more creative and find different ways to express themselves. All students love art. Some ideas:
    Plastic bottle arts and crafts
    Eggshell art
    Bracelets and other jewellery
    DIY art
    Wet paint art therapy 
    Marble painting
  • Video/Music/Movie/Story clubs: Music clubs can help students develop their musical skills and learn how to work together as a team. You could use AI tools like Sound Draw to create music or add music to their digital story. You could use Canva to create images out of text or Bing Image Creator to create images for your story plot.
  • Readers Theatre can help students develop their communication skills and learn how to work together as a team. This club always works successfully. And requires very little preparation once you have the scripts in hand.
  • Movie Critics: Learn how to write film reviews and become a movie critic. It is an art and a skill. Learning how to be a movie critic

    Image Credit:tsukitohateru.deviantart.com

    will teach us new skills and knowledge; when we teach it, it will deepen our understanding, instilling new interests and skills in children. To learn about movie critiquing, we must know a little about different film awards, movie genres, movie music, what it entails, music moods, camera shots, and more. Here is the resource

  • DIY: You can DIY your learning and curiosity and become like Aristotle, who believed in learning by doing. Project-based learning (PBL) is a way of teaching that focuses on student-centred learning. Some ideas for students to consider are:
    How to support and promote a local business.
    – Create a public service announcement (PSA) about a social issue.
    – Design a new product that solves a problem in your community.
    – Create a podcast about a topic you’re passionate about.
    – Build a website that showcases your school’s history or culture.

Always find a way to showcase students’ works and put them up on display, facing outward, open, and ready to catch the eye.

*All images are generated using Bing Image Creator using Anime style of art.