360 Degree Videos to Curate

By | Digital Resources, General, Media Literacy, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Virtual Reality | No Comments

There is a tsunami of information available in the world. As librarians, our key role is finding and matching the right information with the right reader or inquirer. This is becoming increasingly important and an added asset to the education system today. Teachers are using differentiated instructions to help students learn, communicate, create through collaboration and critical thinking. We as librarians are partnering with teachers to help students become successful. Therefore, our role as curators of information, supporters of information – seekers. (Teachers & Students) This compels us to learn about new content that will serve the needs of our clients.

Librarians are curators, we curate lists of titles for teachers, students, and parents. We are constantly reading and learning about new books, eBooks, eZines, articles and videos to help teachers deliver their lessons effectively and help students learn and enjoy the gift of reading literature.

Presently, librarians curate list of titles embedded with youtube videos and teaching materials to help students.  Recently, librarians are including 360-degree videos. According to Wikipedia, “360-degree videos also known as immersive videos or spherical videosare video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback on normal flat display, the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama. It can also be played on displays or projectors”.

Here are some examples for you to check out Ancient Egypt Temple, National Geographic 360 degree Videos, virtual 360 degrees tours from Nasa, Explore India 

Add these to your list when you curate resources for your teachers or students or simply evoke a discussion with your students about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, show them one of the above resources and ask them how they could use these tools in education, how could they use them in the world, what are the benefits and drawbacks of this kind of resource? How are these videos made? Could you make one? These will make your class interesting, and engaging, nudging students to think and wonder.

Other resources for you:

5-Minute Film Festival: Teaching With 360-Degree Videos: Check out these immersive 360-degree videos you can use in your classroom—no special equipment needed.

Other 360 Degree Channels on Youtube

A blog post on the benefits of 360 virtual reality videos in education

And, how to find the best educational videos

Evaluating Information – Caarp or Cars

By | General, Information Literacy, Librarian's Role, Research Skills | No Comments

There is a plethora of information online – so how do we navigate the flood of information and recognize information that is authentic, real and something we can trust. All IB librarians are pretty familiar with the acronym – CAARP or CRAAP.

To recognize information as worthwhile and with credibility – it is important to teach our students how to question their sources. My favorite criteria is the CAARP  from the California State University And, you can apply it to almost anything, a book, a website, a blog post or even a media product. To test the authenticity of the information you can also use the CARS checklist from McGraw Hill. As librarians, we must teach these to our students starting from Grade 4 all the way up to the high school students. No one is too young or too old to learn these acronyms to guide us when evaluating any source of information.

When you come across a video on Whatsapp or through social media channel, using any one of these acronyms of evaluating will help identify the authenticity and value of the information and will help you from getting carried away with fake news and other morphed videos and images. If you don’t see the creator of the video – IGNORE IT… It’s not worth passing it on.

I often tell my high school students, that if they come across some information on a website and it is only found on that particular website, and that particular information sounds unique, unbelievable or even rare, then, more often than not I would ignore it. To get an all-round perspective on a particular topic it is important that you find other credible sources that would compare, comment or even discuss it from different angles. Always when in doubt, look for other sources to compare, get perspective and viewpoints on the topic, never trust only one website, or one source for a particular topic.

Compare, contrast, think, analyze and use your own understanding to arrive at your opinion and views. This will help students and researchers to develop a grasp on a topic and get a 360 degree perspective on the topic.

Reading Aloud Stories Beyond Folklore 2

By | Book Talk, General, Librarian's Role, School Libraries | No Comments

Read aloud stories beyond folklore: there are plenty of stories beyond folklore being published in India. It is time to look at the originality and the creativity of these stories. I love the uniqueness of the recent stories that are being published, they have a profound purpose and goes beyond the folklore.  In today’s post, we will look at picture book stories about Urban India. These picture books can be used to talk about India: Where we are in place and time OR Who we are? OR Comparing city or village life or urban and rural life.

Fakruddin’s Fridge by Meenu Thomas and Tanvi Bhat is about little Fakruddin worrying about everything and asking endless questions. One day, when his fridge stops working, Fakru is frantic! How will he survive a hot summer without cold water? Ammi says: “Think of a way out yourself,”  A light-hearted story with cheerful watercolor illustrations which bring alive the ambiance of Fakru’s neighborhood in Bhopal city.

For Ju, old is gold. Her mother brings her hand-me-downs from the homes in which she works and Ju welcomes them like new friends. Ju graciously receives well-used textbooks and the treasures sometimes hidden among their pages: pressed flowers, poems, even a dead butterfly. One day Ju finds a sealed envelope in the maths book. It has a stamp but no address. Ju’s Story is part of ‘Different Tales,’ a project by Anveshi Research Centre  Paul Zacharia, sensitively shares this moving story, with Asma Menon’s strong, painterly illustrations suggesting a sense of empowerment. Slums are a part of every city life and cannot be ignored.

Princess Easy Pleasy by Natasha Sharma and Priya Kuriyan

Princess Easy Pleasy is all but easy to please. She drives the royal packer up the wall with her quirks that are as seasonal as her royal vacations. Where does it all stop? This rollicking picture book written by Natasha Sharma and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan guarantees many laughs and gives you a glimpse of another aspect of an urban lifestyle.

Papa’s Marathon by Nalini Sorensen and paired with Prashant Soni’s illustrations is a lighthearted story is about fitness goals that go awry and the unflagging faith of family. A cheerful story, about Gia’s Papa who has signed up for the marathon. And he buys clothes and fancy gadgets to match his new hobby. A story about Gia and her grandmother who become his biggest cheerleader. Another glimpse into some of the urban lifestyle’s in India.

Enjoy these stories and should you have others to share, please add them to the list. Most of these stories books can be found with Peacock Feathers.

Book Talk for Young Adults

By | Book Talk, General | No Comments

Young adults are hooked on to stories written by the west. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, and many of them are written eloquently or have plots that appeal to the youth. Sometimes, these books are made into movies adding richness to their conversations. Let’s seize this opportunity to talk to young students about Indian fiction. Tap into their curiosity by showing them trailers about the Indian books or connecting Indian fiction to their lives. Indian stories have plots that Indian children can relate to. Many genres available describe teenage life, or politics or wildlife. Here are a few you can use to tap into their interests.

Talking of Muskaan by Himanjali Sankar. Muskaan is in hospital, fighting for her life. Three classmates “her former best friend Aaliya, the hottie Prateek, and the class topper Subhojoy” talk about Muskaan, and themselves. About school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens. And through their stories, twists and turns are revealed that drove Muskaan to try to kill herself. Funny and tragic by turns, Talking of Muskaan is a warm, moving novel about life and death and the young people caught in between. Click here to take a peek at this book.  
Jobless Clueless Reckless by Revathi Suresh. A coming of age story about a young girl coping with a mother who has cut herself off from society, a father who has no time with a family and that leaves Kavya with her brother. How will she cope with board exams looming close? A short trailer to nudge your students into trying out this book of hope, and life from a different lens.
Zombiestanby Mainak Dhar Cover illustration by Kunal Kundu. Watch the TrailerIt began with undead Taliban in Afghan villages”. In a world laid waste by this new terror, five unlikely companions come together in a devastated New Delhi” a seventeen-year-old boy dealing with the loss of his family, a US Navy SEAL trying to get back home, a middle-aged history professor, a young girl and her three-year-old brother. When they discover that the child may hold the key to ending the pestilence that threatens to destroy their world. An epic journey against terrible adversaries, both human and undead. Will they survive? Or will they too, like many before them, become undead citizens of Zombiestan?
Through the Killing Glass by Mainak Dhar and Cover illustration by Kunal Kundu
Sequel to Alice in Deadland.  Trailer of Alice in Deadland. After defeating the Red Guards and brokering peace with the colony of Biters, Alice believes that finally there will be peace in Wonderland, the human colony she has carved out of the Deadland.
But soon Alice and her band of soldiers find themselves at odds with the people of Wonderland. There are signs that the Central Committee in China are developing a weapon, more terrible and fearful than anything Alice has ever encountered before. Can Alice unite the people of Wonderland?
Praise for Alice in Deadland: ‘Dhar manages to pack in a lot of action on every page, so you don’t breathe easy.’ – Mint; ‘A must-read for those who love to read fast-paced novels with powerful characters.’

Teaching Research Skills

By | General, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Professional Development, Research Skills | No Comments

Research Image by Gifer under Fair Use Guidelines

Recently, a fellow librarian from a local Indian school asked me – How can librarians teach and support students research skills? How can librarians engage and collaborate with teachers?

I believe the local curriculum in Indian schools have always encouraged project work, and I believe that librarians can seize this opportunity to teach students how to research explicitly. They can collaborate with the subject teachers to teach research skills to the students in a systematic manner, encouraging higher order thinking. The open-ended questions will help students to think and write rather than copy and pasting information from Wikimedia or other websites. The question often asked of me is – what research model can I as a librarian use and recommend? There are several research models, and they can be found on the internet. One of them is the Super 3 for lower elementary students and the Big 6 for older students.

I would recommend one to look at various models and select the one the one that best suits your students. You can always tweak/adapt a research model to meet your needs. Each of the research steps needs to be explicitly taught and practiced through mini-lessons.

Here are the research steps that you may want to consider:

  1. Framing open-ended questions
  2. Locating information and selecting appropriate print and digital resources
  3. Evaluate the sources using CRAAP or CARS
  4. Using information by reading, taking notes and paraphrasing
  5. Synthesizing the information
  6. Citing the sources used in the research
  7. Presenting and sharing
  8. Finally, reflecting on knowledge and presentation

It is during inquiry or project time when librarians can help students develop the 21st-century skills of collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking, research skills and communication while learning through the transdisciplinary approach.  Should you be looking for handholding sessions to help you demystify this process, please email me, and we can work together.

GDPR & Librarians?

By | General | No Comments

GDPR by Descrier CC-BY 2.0

GDPR and Librarians – What do we need to know? According to Wikipedia: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in the European Union, a law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).

This law has created awareness and questioned the importance of protecting personal data. In India, many political parties create information/stories/ propaganda based on the personal information that we share on social media. We have seen the like of this with Cambridge Analytics controversy and questions about the Aadhar card. Political parties, advertisers, and organizations often use personal data, manipulate information to convey their message to the citizens.

Therefore, as librarians, we need to be aware and check the privacy policy of the online databases we use in our schools, colleges, and any institution. Recently our Technology Department recommended we check with our vendors to ensure that the personal data of the teachers, parents, and students are not being misused and shared with the third party for advertisements or for anything else.

In this article, the Indian government has recognized the importance of data protection and privacy and is working towards creating a stringent law to protect their citizens. As for the present laws they are not strict enough to ensure complete protection of personal digital information except for the ones controlled by the government.

So, when it comes down to us librarians  – What do we need to do? We need to visit the online databases that the educational institute subscribes to, scroll to the bottom of the website and read the privacy policy. If it does not make sense, please write to them and ask if they have a  privacy policy in place (in writing) and if they can assure you that the school data (information) is not being shared with any third party. If they cannot assure you that, you need to know that and disclose that information to your users. Otherwise, your Technology Department can help you work around the privacy policy for your institution.

Digital Storytelling – What it really is?

By | Digital Storytelling, General, Media Literacy | No Comments

We all have stories to tell by Favin under Fair Use Guidelines

What is a good digital story? I used to think that using a digital tool to create a story becomes a digital story. That’s not true! I learned from my Digital Storyteller Guru – Bernajean Porter, that “When a story making is finished, it should be remembered for its soul, not for the bells and whistles of technology tools.” ~ Bernajean Porter, 2004.

Digital stories exist in our world in many different forms. Digital stories are used in advertisements to sell products, impact society through public service messages, inform consumers about something and also used during elections to win votes.  Presentations, often include a story to create an impact on our audience. They add meaning and stir the soul. Movie making is an expression of digital stories. Children can tell stories that are persuasive,  or have a public message to bring about change or simply share their personal experiences. This adds rigor to storytelling.

So, how does one create a good digital story?

One needs to learn the craft of storyboarding, voice, music, and images to create your very own digital story. Check out the difference between media-making and digital storytelling by Bernajean Porter. It’s more than just technology tools added to the images. Check out the different Types of Communication to add rigor to your digital stories and go beyond book reviews and translate them into book trailers or stories that explain a math concept or explain a historical event. It’s time to nudge ourselves and students and go beyond regurgitating facts.

IB Librarians – What makes them so special?

By | General, IB Profiles, International School, Librarian's Role, Library curriculum, PYP Profiles | 4 Comments

IB Librarians – What makes them so unique? People in India, often have an image of a librarian with glasses, stern and someone who hushes you to be quiet. But a librarian at an international school or IB librarians are dynamic and have a growth mindset to learn.

PYP Transdisciplinary Skills – Teacher Pay Teacher (free download)

IB Librarians learn how to connect the IB learner profiles, transdisciplinary skills and concepts to stories and the Units of Inquiry. They are often found using technology tools and various apps to help students share their learning.  IB Librarians connect through read-aloud sessions keeping in mind – Reading with a Purpose, and five keys to storytelling, supporting Literacy. With computers in the hands of the children, it’s important to teach them DigitalCitizenship  (Commonsense Media Guidelines) as a part of the library classes. Of course, all of the resources are guidelines to suit your patrons and learners.

VR Headset by Andri Koolme, Flickr, Under CC-BY 2.0)

Librarians in IB schools wear many hats: one of a curator of resources both print and digital information, they collaborate with teachers to build the collection, they co-teach with classroom teachers, maintain the library, work with the technology department and use technology tools to sharpen students understanding.

Creating with digital tools by Speed of Creativity – CC- BY-NC

They usually have the digital Library platform where they share library news, resources, and information with their learners. Now, librarians are bringing content to students by using Virtual Reality (VR) and Google Expeditions to the units.

Librarians who join international schools are often perplexed about teaching and often ask about a library curriculum. There is no stand-alone curriculum for librarians. However, I guess you will need to create one that combines the ATL or the Transdisciplinary Skills or the AASL or ISTE Standards to match the Units of Inquiry and find various ways and strategies to enrich literacy. These guidelines can give librarians accountability and direction. Many librarians are creating different planners. I was at a conference last November 2017 and the presenter – Doug Johnson recommended adopting ISTE standards. I looked at them carefully and found them to be relevant and robust, precise and attainable. Keeping the standards in mind, you can create engagements to match the Units of Inquiry.

Yes, that’s a lot of work, but I guess when a couple of librarians come together to collaborate and support each other, they can create a unique curriculum that works for their school. There is no “one size fits all” formula at International Schools. Each school is exclusive and therefore forming guidelines/engagements/ standards-based or skills-based structures to suit your learners is something for each librarian to ponder. Collaborating with your curriculum head or coordinator helps give direction. Feel free to email me for a good discussion.

Basic Elements in a Library Policy?

By | General, Librarian's Role | No Comments

Policy by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images Under  CC BY-SA 3.0

“What are some of the components of a Library Policy,”  a friend from our library tribe asked me last week, this triggered me to write this blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether the library is in an International School, a CBSE, ICSE or even an SSC school. A library policy defines who the patrons of the library are and describe the services the library provides.  When policies are in place, the credibility of requests for funds and services receive due notice and acceptance. And, there is scope for enhancing the services and place for growth.

Policies establish a standard for services that can be understood by users and providers. It ensures equitable treatment for all and provides a framework and standards for delivery of service. All policies are not set in stone and these are guidelines that will need to be revisited every two years and revised. Revisions allow libraries to grow and meet the changing needs of the patrons.

Components of a basic library policy:

  1. The mission statement of a library: This statement can be created by keeping the mission statement of the educational institute or the institute that the library is associated with.
  2. Description of the library: This includes the number of books and other resources including the online databases, magazine, and toys that may be available.
  3. Patrons of the library: Describes who the clients are and who does the library services, of course, not forgetting the community at large you serve.
  4. Services of the library: Includes the timings, the number of resources available to check out, photocopy services, computers available for research and the rules and norms that go with it (including fines and lost items fee).
  5. Collection Development: This may include how the librarian develops the collection, the different criteria used by the librarian to develop the resources.
  6. Online Databases available: This may include details for membership
  7. Weeding Procedure: Without weeding, the collection of the library can never be an alive and current and cannot serve the present community. Therefore, criteria for weeding should be specified too.
  8. Events hosted by the library: It could be author visits, storytelling sessions, readers theatre, puppet shows, drawing & art programs, maker engagements or simply poetry slams.

Should you need support to create your library policy, you may contact me at bhojwaniheeru@gmail.com

 

What is Summer Slide?

By | General, Librarian's Role, Reading and Writing | No Comments

Libros y ebooks by Tina Franklin under (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What is Summer Slide?

It is believed that if students do not continue reading and learning during the summer, there is a downward slide in their learning path. To prevent the summer slide, educators recommend that children continue to read, write, question, and reflect during the summer holidays.

Before school’s close for the summer, teachers and librarians are often found providing summer reading lists to students and parents. I believe, students and adults alike must be allowed to choose their reading materials based on personal choice and interest. This will enable readers to explore different avenues of information and experiences based on personal passions and curiosity.

Reading is considered as an excellent path to keep the new synaptic connections alive. Summer reading and summer camps are some of the ways often take to keep up with the summer slide. 

The digital age has transformed every aspect of our lives, reading and books are not an exception. Mobile devices, multimedia publishing, and social technologies have impacted our reading experiences. Today’s youth is downloading books, listening to stories. and watching book trailers. Stories now contain text, images, and sounds that reflect the changing landscape of reading.  Studies have found that digital reading devices promote new literacy practices such as digital note-taking, and provide readers control over how they engage with texts. Ebooks feature additional tools such as highlighters, note-taking, adjusting font size, inserting note features and recording are parts of the digital world of stories. 

So, why not use these opportunities to provide a platform for eReading to our students.

Link to free eBooks and Audio Books for Elementary and Secondary School 

Printed book reviews can be found on Young India Books. An excellent collection of Indian books can be purchased from Duckbill and Peacock Feathers. Keep the reading going and allow wisdom and imagination to grow!