Pinterest

So I have been experimenting with Pinterest to create online, visual Reading Lists.

pinterest

What do I mean by this? Well I have been creating Pinboards using Pinterest to collect images of book covers and grouping them into themes. I have had several requests from Science to create a reading list to support different curriculum topics, and this seems to be working quite well, although some of the topics have been challenging (if anyone knows of any fiction books which covers fizzy sports drinks – please let me know!). Students have picked a book related to their academic study and have gone onto write a review of their chosen book as a homework activity.

The benefits over a traditional list are:- no reprographic costs, new titles can easily be added, and they are easily accessible by students and staff.

These reading lists can be embedded in our VLE alongside the assignment and I have put a link to all the boards on our Oliver Homepage.

I plan to promote with other subject areas, as this is just one other way the MRC can encourage and support Literacy Across the curriculum and the Reading for Pleasure Agenda!

Click HERE to view my Reading List Boards!

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Welcome Back Everyone!

Oh it’s good to be back!

 

Hope you all had a good break over the Summer holidays and managed to squeeze in some holiday reading!

If you borrowed books from the MRC these will now need to be handed back in or horrible things will be happening, and this can easily be avoided.

If you still haven’t finished you can renew the book and keep it for another 4 weeks – you can visit Oliver and do this yourself OR pop into the MRC and we’ll sort that out for you.

 

Here is a reminder about all things to do with the MRC.

Click to view the online guide to the MRC.

Welcome to a new academic year 2012-13!

A big Welcome to all our new Year 7’s, 13’s and welcome back to our Year 11 students too!.

Make the most of the space today as everyone else will be back tomorrow.

 

Here’s a video about the FAQs about the MRC

(Multi-media Research Centre)

Futures 2012

 

Year 8 Students are just starting to embark on their Nuffield STEM Futures Project.

STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

They can shoose from 8 different research topics, ranging from re-designing household projects, or clothes, how we can use alternate energy sources.

They will need to think about local, regional, national, and global issues and impact.

 

Their class boxes are being stored in the MRC and are collected at the beginning of each of their lessons.

 

To support this teaching and learning I have created a display with books from around the MRC, and have included QR codes.

 

These QR codes link either to a sample of the websites and videos available via Oliver or to two of my podcasts – one explaining Dewey and the MRC layout, and the other demonstrates how to use the Subject Index.

 

 

Early days so far but it has already been handled.

I do encourage students to touch and borrow these resources.

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Oliver

 

By having a closer look at searching for famous people, or famous places I was able to demonstrate and then allow students to use Oliver to find Dewey Shelf numbers.

 

 

 

Building on our previous sessions about picking a good keyword to unlock a question, I gave them three homework examples and asked them to identify the keyword.

As we were concentrating on names of people or places (Pablo Picasso, Mount Etna, etc) they had to work out that the second part (or surname) was the most important part. 

 

For example searching with “Mount” will find lots of infomation about Mountains in general, but searching with “Etna” will find less information but the finds will be more closely linked to Etna.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

 

I then went onto demonstrate where to find Oliver, (on the VLE) 

how they can check which books they have borrowed, 

and how to do a Subject Search.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Students then logged onto a computer and found their way to Oliver before searching for Walt Disney, River Rhine, City of London, and Nelson Mandela, and recording the Dewey Shelf Number for each. Once completed they could then go on to explore their own account, and search for their favourite author, series or title, before hunting for the books in the MRC.

 

 

 

Staff CPD: Online Resources supporting staff and students

Last week I ran a session called Online Resources: Supporting staff and students.

Turn out was reasonable with staff attending coming mainly from the Humanities and Arts (includes dramatic arts) colleges. The format was that I gave a brief demonstration of each of the resources and this was followed by 5 minutes for them to explore themselves.

I started with an introduction to Oliver (our LMS – Library Management System) which is on the MRC VLE homepage.

I showed them how they and their students could use Oliver to:-

  • create a reading list that includes both books and websites, and which can easily be emailed to students or turned into a link which can be placed elsewhere on the VLE, or in powerpoints for example.
  • check their own loans and set up their interests for automatic notification of new resources.
  • save time by using alternative provider which repeats the same search in a number of different databases such as Clipbank.

Next I returned to the Oliver Homepage which is split into 4 columns.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

In the first column I highlighted the MRC blog (what you are reading now); links to both Peterborough and the British Library for tracking down copies of out-of-print titles that can be borrowed; the link to Dawsonera (e -books); and demonstrated the link to the Blekko Search Engine where you can search 3 search engines at the same time and compare the difference in results.

The second column took much more time as this contains quick links to our online databases. So I demonstrated and the staff explored four of these …. Britannica Encyclopedia; NewsBank; InfoTrac and KnowUK. All incredibly useful when encouraging students to use sources other than relying on Wikipedia and Google alone.

 

The third column contains links based around books and reading. With video book trailers; Book of the Week; a quick link to the MRC DEAR page; as well as “Books for Keeps” and “Read Plus”.

The fourth column contains useful things for research and critical thinking skills. Such as Plato (which looks at plagiarism); Internet Detective (critical thinking for KS4 &5); Welcome to the Web (critical thinking for KS3); Easy Peasy Bibliography creator, as well as links to Guides and bibliography templates.

The hour flew by and everyone found something useful for themselves or sharing with their students. Resulting from this I have been asked to do further work with Year 12 students on avoiding plagiarism, and…. I was walking by a classroom the day after my session and there on the white board was one of the databases – the teacher gave me the thumbs up as I walked on by!

Research and Referencing for all Year 12 Students

During October I ran a series of workshops for all our Year 12 students entitled “Research & Referencing“. This was part of a series of sessions looking at Study Skills in general, from Time Management and Skimming and Scanning (the latter I created an activity for).

My session was in two parts.

Research

Firstly we discussed the students favourite first ports of call – Wikipedia and Google. Many are aware of the downsides, lack of authority, reliability, volume of hits etc, but very few knew about the alternatives, – they do now!

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

I demonstrated the Oliver Homepage (our OPAC system) and showed them a quick search which found both books and (reliable & educational) websites. I also showed our links to our local library service and the British Library, from which they can, for a small fee, get their hands on out of print books that may be really useful for their studies.

I then demonstrated that from the Oliver Homepage they could gain access to the databases that the MRC subscribes to. The key ones for P16 studies being Britannica Encyclopedia; NewsBank and InfoTrac. I gave a brief demonstration for each of these and encouraged them to give them a try as their teachers will be expecting them to use a wider variety of sources than just Google and Wikipedia. The internal links within Britannica to other journal articles and the Webs Best Bits are invaluable on their own and makes a great starting point for research. Plus no-one will ever know if they use the Primary version to get a really simple definition to help them! With all of these you can save, print and email results – which is a great way of checking with your teacher that you are on the right track.

The second part of the session looked at:

Referencing

I installed Plato onto our VLE back in 2008 and use this fabulous resource when teaching reference skills. I showed a few videos to introduce the concept of Plagiarism or cheating, then asked them to discuss/ answer 5 ‘Plagiarism’ questions with a partner before showing a series of clips about common plagiarism mistakes.

Collusion, Copying, Paraphrasing, and incorrect Citation.

The two most contentious of these were collusion, “but our teacher tells us to work together” and paraphrasing “doesn’t everyone do this?” and led to some interesting conversations with students (Great!).

I shared examples of good practice, and then some video clips I put together (with the aid of Plato) to demonstrate how to reference a book, journal and website. Interesting to find out that some weren’t familiar with the word ‘journal’, and that the date of access is required for websites. I advised them that before they started researching online, they create a Word document and put todays date at the top, all they then need to do is paste in any useful URLs to keep a record.

Another look at the 5 ‘plagiarism’ questions showed that some had changed their minds and answers. When going through the answers the question that sparked the biggest debate was about the copyright symbol not being essential for the ‘work’ (photo, article,video etc) to be protected. During one session we also had a discussion about using Creative Commons.

So I sent them off into the big bad wide world of research and information overload, with a reminder that at any point over the next two years they can come back and ask for a reminder “about that newspaper database you showed us….”, or for guidance about references.

I can only hope that this has helped solve the problem of when I have worked with Year 13 groups who complain that they “should have been shown this at the start of Year 12”. Well this year they have been!