Category Archives: CAVAL Research Project

Another New Article – Australian Library Journal

Stephens, M. & Cheetham, W. (2012). “Benefits and results of Learning 2.0: a case study of CityLibrariesLearning – discover*play*connect.” Australian Library Journal, 61(1), 6-15.

A snippet:

Both the pre- and post-programme survey utilised the question ‘Which of the following topics/tools are familiar to you?’ Staff selected from a scale ranging from ‘have only heard the name’ to ‘very familiar.’ There were marked improvements across the scale in every category for the post-programme survey.  Technologies such as Facebook, blogs, Google documents and others showed marked improvement in the post programme survey. 

 Adopting the tools into work and personal life was also a result of the programme. Throughout the research project, survey respondents and focus group participants expressed interest and excitement about certain tools. At CityLibraries, the tool was Rich Site Summary (RSS). RSS feeds from various blogs, news sites, and social sites are read via Web sites such as iGoogle, Bloglines or NetVibes. For RSS, 20% of post-programme respondents noted they now use feeds to keep current.

We also got to use this as our author’s photo:

Taken on one of the last days of the five week research trip to Australia, 2009. :-)

New CEO for Queensland State Library

Note from Michael: I worked with Janette on the CAVAL Visiting Scholar Project. We had a wonderful afternoon visiting the good folks at the Yarra Plenty Library while I was in Melbourne. Congrats Janette!

Famous for being a place to expand your mind and change your life, State Library of Queensland will welcome its new CEO and State Librarian in February 2012.

State Library has built a reputation for successfully re-imagining libraries for the 21st century, and new CEO Ms Janette Wright will build on this tradition.

Announcing her appointment, Library Board of Queensland Chairman Professor Roly Sussex said Ms Wright was ideally qualified to lead State Library. He said she was an experienced library professional with an astute business mind.

“Her previous roles in library management and library supply show her to be a new technology innovator with a strong commitment to the future of libraries to support social change and equity. As director of an Australian online publisher she led the development of new content such as “TV-News”, providing on-line access to full video content of Australian broadcast news and current affairs programs under licence for education use. Ms Wright has served at senior levels in the public service and on the council of the National Film and Sound Archive where she convened the Indigenous Materials Collection Committee, working with the archive staff and representatives of indigenous communities to establish policies for the management of sensitive archival materials.” he said.

“Ms Wright’s broad experience of new and traditional environments will strengthen the new world of connections and opportunities which State Library now offers the community, especially in State Library’s new frontier, The Edge.”

“The role of State Librarian attracted a high quality field of applicants, including international candidates, and I am confident we’ve made an outstanding choice in selecting Ms Wright for the position.

“As a CEO and Managing Director, Ms Wright has had an impressive record of success in fostering and promoting leaders in the constantly challenging and changing circumstances of the modern library.

”This is an exciting time for Queenslanders and for State Library.

“We will continue to pursue our ambitious agenda of enriching the lives of all Queenslanders and of being a 21st century pace setter for the rest of the world.

“We look forward to welcoming Ms Wright in the new year and hope all Queenslanders will join us for new ways of seeing the world, connecting with others, and creating and shaping the future of our great state.” 

Exploring the impact of Learning 2.0

I have an article up at InfoToday Europe on the CAVAL Australian research:

Results of the research project have been presented at conferences in Australia and the United States as well as in published articles. Here is a breakdown of some of the major findings of the research:

Better awareness of new technologies and inclusivity is a result of the programme.

Aligning with one of the most popular category responses of the national survey, the case study findings at CityLibraries also reflect a general feeling that the programme creates better awareness of emerging technologies and offers a chance for all staff to feel included.  One survey respondent noted: “Raised awareness of the potential application of these technologies- Had a bonding affect on staff” while another stated: “Better general knowledge amongst staff, and greater use of the technologies with staff and patrons.”

Article: The Impact and effect of Learning 2.0 programs in Australian academic libraries

We just sent the revised draft to the New Review of Academic Librarianship. Here is the abstract:

Replicated across the globe, the Learning 2.0 program – also known as “23 Things” – has been touted as a means to not only educate staff about emerging social technologies but as a means of moving the participating library forward. This paper explores the results of a multi-faceted research project launched in Australia in 2009 as part of the CAVAL Visiting Scholar program, focusing on academic library staff who have participated in a Learning 2.0 program. Measuring the impact on staff, examining perceptions of the program and describing the lasting effects are all a part of the research project. The paper includes results from a national survey in Australia of participants in “23 Things” style programs and reports on focus groups made up of staff of two academic libraries, two to three years after the conclusion of respective Learning 2.0 initiatives. The authors offer a detailed examination of the personal and institutional changes after a library offers such a program to staff. Results include an emphasis on personal change, openness to emerging technologies and a willingness to explore. Library staff report they are more comfortable with emerging technologies and have incorporated the tools into their work.

Keywords: learning 2.0; academic libraries; 23 things; Web 2.0


Michael Stephens – Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, USA

Warren Cheetham – CityLibraries Townsville, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Special thanks to Richard Sayers for his invaluable help with his paper.


The hyperlinked school library: engage, explore, celebrate

Dr Michael Stephens delivered the Dr Laurel Anne Clyde Memorial Keynote Address at the ASLA XXI Biennial Conference, held in Perth, Western Australia, from 29 September to 2 October 2009.

Reprinted with permission from the Australian School Library Association Inc. (ASLA) Access 2010 24(1): 5.

The evolving Web is an open and social place. The Web has changed everything. Its impact on every facet of our lives — home, work and school — would be difficult to measure but the ‘always on, always available’ Internet is certainly a game changer. Can you recall the first time you realised that the Internet would change your job? Your school? Your students?

Dr Laurel Anne Clyde recognised the power and potential for emerging technologies in schools and spent time exploring the implications. As technology evolved, so did her research. Her work examining weblogs was one of the first scholarly endeavours with emerging Web 2.0 tools. Now many of us study and move in a world of hyperconnected spaces: Facebook, WordPress Multi- User Blog communities (WordPress MU), Flickr and any number of socially enabled sites.

What a world Dr. Clyde would see today!

Sadly, this world includes the fact that many libraries are suffering financial setbacks. The recent news that Australian school libraries are in dire need of support all too well illustrates that changes are needed. The press release from the Australian School Library Association (ASLA 2009) detailed the findings of a 2007 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including:

That means ensuring there are enough qualified teacher librarians as well as maintaining and improving infrastructure. Having a new or refurbished school library is important, but the full potential of these resources cannot be realised without a qualified teacher librarian in place as well.

This fact cannot be ignored. Schools need qualified librarians. And in this Web-enhanced world, the qualifications and skill sets required are many.

Today’s teacher librarian (TL) must master foundational skills built on our core values, understand the importance of a strong and useful collection of materials and resources AND be knowledgeable in the emerging world of online social engagement. Exploring emerging tools and trends should be part of every qualified TL’s duties. Dr Clyde wrote (2004) about the use of blogs in the library setting:

“By not taking advantage of this simple medium (and doing it well), libraries will be the losers.”

This sentiment could easily be expanded to include many new tools and technologies to enhance learning in that ‘always on’ way. The potential for fostering connected learning and inquiry is broad.

As technology continues to evolve so quickly, TLs are faced with many challenges: providing resources, supporting the curriculum and guiding access. What can we do to ensure we are best meeting the needs of our students and their learning in times of change and challenge?

Embrace the 21st century learner

These learners are ‘born with the chip’ and the world they are growing up in is different from that of the previous generation of learners. There has been useful research about the so- called ‘Google Generation’ and it can help us understand how to meet their needs. Recent findings include:

These young people use the social Web. A recent study by the Australian Communications and Media Authority reported that:

children aged eight to 11 years are spending 1.3 hours a day online, while 12- to 17-year-olds average 2.9 hours … among older teenagers that shifted to using social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook (The Age 2009).

These young people write — a lot! Pew Internet & American Life Project found that:

85% of teens aged 12–17 engage at least occasionally in some form of electronic personal communication, which includes text messaging, sending e-mail or instant messages or posting comments on social networking sites (Pew Internet & American Life Project 2008).

These young people learn differently. Pew also noted in an earlier report that young people’s learning is shaped by technology and collaboration. Although this is US data, the connection between technology, collaboration and learning for Australian youth who have access to the tools would surely be similar.

These young people integrate technology into their lives. Mine the report entitled Listening to Student Voices for more about student perception and use of technology and ponder the answer to this question: Are we forcing our students into a decidedly text-based school environment when their world is a hyperlinked, digital space? Key components of the report include:

  • Technology is not an extra. • Computers and the Internet are communication tools first.
  • Students want challenging, technology-oriented instructional activities.
  • Technology has caused students to approach life differently; to adults nothing has changed.

These young people are living in a decidedly different world. University of California, Irvine, researcher Mizuko Ito conducted interviews with 800 youth and young adults and performed 5000 hours of online observations for another ground- breaking study in the US. The America-centric findings are telling and could illuminate Australian viewpoints as well. Findings included:

  • New media forms have altered how youth socialise and learn and raise a new set of issues that educators, parents and policymakers should consider.
  • To stay relevant in the 21st century, education institutions need to keep pace with the rapid changes introduced by digital media.
  • Interest-driven participation can lead to learning opportunities from peers and those who are more experienced.

What emerges from this scan of recent research is a focus on the new digital realities of our learners and the need to help them understand new digital literacies. Don’t be fooled, however; young people demonstrate time and time again that they understand the basics of privacy and sharing in a connected world. Don’t miss interviews with Australian teens in a recent Herald Sun exposé (Herald Sun 2009) for more.

Explore emerging tools

What tools could you use to extend the reach and potential of your library services? The simple power of blogs, the ‘simple medium’ Dr Clyde noted could be used to great effect, has now given way to wikis, Web-based chat, Flickr, Twitter, Skype, virtual worlds and much more. Many of these tools are open source — meaning they’re free to use and enhance. Use a blog to encourage student writing. WordPress MU allows for multiple blogs via one installation, allowing a teacher to create a virtual community for a class where everyone can customise their own blogspace and practise writing and linking. This could be done within a school firewall or outside on the open Web (WordPress MU see http:// management-system-move-over- blackboard).

Use free applications such as Audacity ( to record and edit podcasts based on curriculum or students’ creative projects. Students could be ‘roving reporters’, creating news stories about school events, projects and so on.

Grab a digital camera and enable your students to practise their visual skills. Tell a story via images, stored on blogs or sites like Flickr, if available.

Expand this creativity to short video segments produced with any of the various low-cost, hand- held video camcorders available. What could a class do with a Flip Video ( en-au) to show off their learning and creativity? Book reports? Mini- movies illustrating curriculum?

Utilise Skype to connect your classroom to the world. Find a class nearby or across the country and Skype in for a group-learning module. Connect and let students interact, while blogging the experience. For a real world example of this in action, please see http://learningismessy. com/blog/?p=191

Create a school social network with Ning to promote connected collaboration. This DIY tool does all the dirty work. Visit ASLA Online’s Ning to see the site in action.

These are just a few ideas for bringing technology into the classroom. All of them take the idea of a ‘simple medium’ and expand the tool into digital learning modules. What else would you add?

Celebrate the potential for 21st century learning

Many have said this is the best time to be a librarian. The challenges are there, but so are the means to make change, to make a difference, to make an impact on the lives of our students. Open source options, connected communities of online support that span the globe and shared practice via the Web are all low-cost or no- cost ways to implement some of these changes. Stop for a moment amidst all of your work, take a breath and celebrate how far we’ve come.

And ponder then how we might move forward? What traits are important for these new channels of learning? I would argue that the following characteristics are key to creating an effective 21st century learning experience:

Curiosity: Be curious with your students. Promote curiosity as a means of learning with teachers and administrators.

Exploration: Give students the necessary ideas and the tools to work with, then step back and let them explore. Stand by as a guide as they navigate new waters.

Transparency and openness: Work to build a library within your school that’s open and transparent. Involve everyone in decisions and keep them informed. Start that From the teacher librarian’s desk blog for your students, teachers and parents.

Creativity: Offer as many outlets for student creativity as possible. Provide tools and space and let imaginations soar. Share the results with everyone as well.

Flexibility: Rigid rules and overly structured procedures dampen the creativity and ‘just in time’ nature of our work. Be flexible with students and teachers and encourage the same from them.

Play = learning: Make space and allow time for ‘play’ in your library. It might be interactive gaming on a Wii, an online scavenger hunt centered on science or maths or a problem-solving contest built around information literacy. Launch a 23 things for your teachers and administration as well — then expand to students and parents. Let students help create the modules for their parents!

Continuing the journey

At the ASLA XXI Biennial Conference, I spoke about these topics and interacted for the day with some excited librarians from all over Australia. We sat in the conference centre lobby after my presentations and discussed how to proceed. I was reminded of the slide in my talks of a road disappearing into the horizon. How do we move forward into an unknown future?

Break down barriers: What roadblocks have you encountered? Money? Access? Strict rules about content? Work within your school’s structure to educate teachers and administrators about the value of emerging technologies. Perform a ‘kindness audit’ of your library space to see what your students see. Posted rules made up of ‘No this’ and ‘No that’ are not encouraging to the young learner’s heart.

Develop your own personal learning network (PLN): Find the online spaces — a virtual community for TLs, blog networks, Twitter friends in the profession — and learn from them. Constantly update your PLN with new and opposing voices to encourage your own critical thinking. This will guide your growth as you bring about change.

Use evidence: Use studies noted above, books like Born Digital and supporting materials, blog posts or tweets from your PLN to demonstrate the power and potential of online collaboration. Research concerning Australian youth — including Indigenous youth — would be timely and telling. Seek it out or do some yourself. Report to all of us.

Explore play for yourself: If you haven’t had a chance to participate in a 23 things or Learning 2.0 program, find one online and DIY! Set aside 20–30 minutes of professional development time weekly during the school year or break to be curious about some of the tools you might not have used. Or band together with other TLs in your area, state or nationally to offer a program for everyone.

Be selective: Use what fits best with your library and students. A focus on writing might include student blogging opportunities via a WordPress MU installation onsite. A focus on creativity might include a small, inexpensive video camera and editing software so your students can explore digital storytelling or reporting.

Know it’s okay to fail: One impact of the gaming generation is the mindset that it’s okay to make a mistake, learn from it and go on with new knowledge in a different direction. Talk about these ‘failures’ within your PLN and share what you’ve learned. Others may have insights or may benefit.

Don’t be afraid to change: The way it’s always been done does not have to be the way it will always be done. The biggest change right now is not technology but of mindset. Set an example. ‘Bring it on.’

Be persistent: Keep doing all of the above to hone your craft and add to your storehouse of evidence, facts and proven results. Meet resistance with a kind but firm push the other way. Educate everyone every chance you get: administrators, governing bodies, parents and so on.

The potential is there for a great future for the school library. Recently, I was asked to describe my vision of the role libraries will play for learners. I imagine the school library, public library and academic library forming a connected web of support and service for learners as they grow. Learning will happen everywhere in collaborative spaces and online.

Successes will be shared. Learning from failures will be shared as well. It will truly be a celebration.

Download a PDF of the article here: Michael Stephens pp5-8

The presentation at ASLA this article is based on is here:


Australian School Library Association (ASLA) 2009, http:// mediarelease-May09.htm

Clyde, LA 2004, ‘Weblogs — are you serious?’ The Electronic Library, vol. 22, issue 5, pp. 390–392.

Herald Sun 2009, ‘We’re Gen-Y and we care’, http://www. were-gen-y-and-we-care/story- e6frfhqf-1225778349502

Pew Internet & American Life Project 2008, Writing, Technology and Teens PIP_Writing_Repot_FINAL3.pdf

The Age 2009, http://www.theage. lures-teenagers-to-internet-20090708- ddew.html

Additional resources

http://tametheweb. com/2009/10/29/the-hyperlinked- library-adapted-for-anangu-people

Announcing for VALA2010

Our presentation at VALA2010 is Thursday morning (Wednesday night for me).

We’re utilizing this conference to launch a new Web site dedicated to the Learning 2.0 Research we’re doing for CAVAL:

And you can follow along!

Here’s an updated draft of our slides:

Our presentation outlines the development and research methodology of the CAVAL 2009 Visiting Scholar Research Project, Measuring the Value and Effect of Learning 2.0 Programs in Libraries. Created to include all staff in a learning activity and offered to all via a Creative Commons license, some LIS practitioners have lauded Learning 2.0 programs as a successful way to engage staff. Replicated more than 1000 times across the globe in various types of libraries and over 30 times in Australia alone, this project explores the true impact of the program on Australian libraries

I’ve recorded videos for my parts of the presentation and will put them up tomorrow when we start. I will be live online during the session to chat via Twitter (#VALA2010).

Time & Date: 11:05am Thursday, February 11, 2010 in Melbourne | 7:05 EST / 6:05pm CST Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ask questions via Google Moderator:

We’ll be sure to include one in our Q & A.

Interview with Finding Education

I was honored to do an interview with Finding Education‘s Shannon Firth last week. We talked a lot about the Australian research project as well as other topics. The post is now up:

Here’s a bit of the piece:

fE: How important is branding to libraries? And what do things like blogs and wikis have to do with stewardship?

MS: I think branding is important. I like seeing librarians who are actively engaging with users, via Facebook, via Twitter, and identifying themselves as a librarian or staff member at the library. I think that really helps carry the brand and mission of the library.

The library brand is also created by library users. That’s why things like tapping into review sites, finding what users are saying, allowing comments to post, and having that back and forth are very important.

I see stewardship alive and well in the new social spaces like Flickr, where a library can share a digital image collection and ask for user input on tags, comments, notes, etcetera–all enhancing the collection. That’s a beautiful combination of one of our foundational values (stewardship) meeting an emerging, collaborative sharing tool. The best use of social tools in libraries will be the ones that tap into our core duties and responsibilities as librarians.

Checkout the other interviews here – – including Sarah Houghton-Jan, Helene Blowers, danah boyd and David Lee King.

Thanks Shannon!

An Australian Thank You

This year has been most magical. I traveled a bit, had some wonderful students in my classes, and learned so much from everyone I encountered. I also spent much of the summer with our new dog Cooper in Traverse City hiking and sitting by the fire.

One of the most magical and life changing events, however,  was spending five weeks in Australia as the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar, researching and speaking in the great land Down Under. Reflecting, as I do in the final days of each year, I can’t begin to describe how the time spent on the other side of the world touched me. The landscape, the blend of cultures, and the people were all so incredible. But I do realize it’s time to make some very public formal thank yous to those who made it all possible.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to:

Richard Sayers at CAVAL for orchestrating and organizing the whole trip. He was instrumental for both of my sojourns in Australia – and made this trip a smooth sailing dream. He worked to make sure every flight, every hotel, every cab ride and every last detail was perfectly coordinated. This was also the first time we got to meet in person, break bread and share a sip of fine wine. This trip would not have happened without his participation and that of CAVAL. Next time, I hope we get to do some kayaking.

Warren Cheetham at Townsville City Libraries who took on the huge role of co-investigator for the “Measuring the Value and Effect of Learning 2.0 Programs in Libraries” research project. Warren’s help and insights have been invaluable. I was also lucky to share an office with him for 5 days in Townsville, sitting across the table from him talking libraries, technology and human connection. His positive attitude about the possibilities of library service utilizing technology inspires me.

The good folks at the Australian School Library Association – including my contact Lexie Duncan – for inviting me to keynote their meeting in Perth and spend some time talking about emerging trends for learners and the people who serve them. This was one of my very best conference experiences in the years I’ve been speaking. After my sessions were done that day I sat in the public space of the conference center for the entire afternoon chatting with ASLA attendees and listening to their stories. I learned so much from them!

The fine people at Queensland Public Library Association – including Ron Store and everyone on the panel and organizing committee  who in co-sponsorship with the Public Library Association of Australia invited me to keynote their meeting as well. Another excellent conference experience filled with networking, a fine meal and evening music (sadly, I didn’t stay for the dancing) and an engaging group of public librarians facing change and challenge with a “bring it on” attitude.

Janette Wright, CEO of CAVAL, who drove me out to Yarra Plenty for a meeting and showed me the sites of Melbourne as we zipped around the city. We also toured the CAVAL offices, checking out some of the very special collections they store – such as Kylie Minogue’s dresses (who knew?)!

Craig Anderson, Sue Owen, Paul Cardwell, Julia Leong at RMIT’s library in Melbourne for hosting focus groups and the presentation I did to the CAVAL members on the research. The facilities were perfect and the interaction with staff and members lead to some fascinating conversations.

Sue Henczel at Deakin University Library, who hosted a focus group of staff for the research project. The space, refreshments and technology were perfect! The lunch after the work was wonderful as well.

Susan Coker, Executive Manager, Library Services, Community and Environmental Services for Townsville City Libraries and her incredible staff for opening up their libraries as the case study site for the project. Multiple groups chatted with me openly and honestly about their experience with Learning 2.0 so far. We’ll be surveying them again in the new year to see how things went.

Kathryn Greenhill, Special Services Librarian at Cottesloe-Peppermint Grove-Mosman Park Library in Western Australia, who invited me to the Library Camp in Perth and hosted such a lovely breakfast to start the day. Listening to her enthusiastic ideas always fire me up and seeing her in action at the unconference was brilliant. And a big shout out to all who attended the unconference!

Christine Mackenzie and everyone that took time for a meeting at Yarra Plenty Library to share with me the genesis of Learning 2.0 in Australia – the reason for the research in the first place. I was flattered and floored when I asked Christine “How did you first hear about Learning 2.0” and she said: “I read about it on Tame the Web and thought, Oh! We can do that here too!” :-)

Anne Beaumont from the State Library of Victoria, who treated me to a wonderful Japanese lunch and some wonderful talk about library work AND life with dogs. Dog people are the same no matter what hemisphere you find yourself visiting.

Paul Hagon of the National Library of Australia whose outstanding work mashing up local digital content with Google-enabled location services just made so much sense to me.

Ellen Forsyth, Consultant for Public Library Services at the State Library of New South Wales and her colleagues Mylee Joseph and Leanne Perry, who invited me to a meeting to chat about researching the impact of Learning 2,.0. They’ve been conducting their own studies of the programme offered by the State Library. They shared some interesting insights and fascinating conclusions.

David West, senior manager at Moreton Bay Region Libraries, and president of the  Queensland Public Library Association, for sharing the story during our panel presentation about encouraging Runescape play amongst a group of young boys at his library, which lead to them feeling “engaged in the life of the library.”

Ben Quinney at CAVAL who helped me all of my IT needs for the entire trip, including the invaluable Internet access dongle and Aussie cellphone. He also did support for the focus groups in Melbourne.

Neal Thorley at Townsville Libraries, who insured technology requirements were perfect for the focus groups and who gave me my Google Wave invite. :-)

Finally – to all the good Australian library folk I chatted with, tweeted to, facebooked, and Flickr’d throughout the journey. THANK YOU for your support, insights and encouragement.

The new year will bring various presentations and articles about the research and I can’t wait to visit Australia again sometime soon. Best to all for 2010!

The Hyperlinked Library Adapted for Anangu People

A few days after I delivered my keynote at the Australian School Library Association, I received a wonderful email from Lyn Walsh. She asked permission to adapt the presentation for her work with the Amata Anangu School. Because my talks are all CC licensed I told her to go right ahead – with the stipulation she help me out with a blog post as well. It’s a good reminder to me – and maybe others – that while we can talk all day about shiny new tools there are some schools and students who are in very different circumstances.

I’m still collecting myself after five incredible weeks in Australia – learning from librarians and educators, researching Learning 2.0 programs and immersing myself as best I could in each unique place we visited. More soon.

Here’s what Lyn provided, headed up by a shot of one of her adapted slides.


Information about Lyn Walsh’s “21st Century learning, Anangu tjutaku” : an adaptation of the recent conference presentation by Michael Stephens: “The Hyperlinked Library”

Blog entry by Lyn Walsh, 17.10.09.

“21st Century learning, Anangu tjutaku” is an adaptation of “The Hyperlinked Library” for the context I work in, Amata Anangu School, a remote Indigenous school on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the NW of South Australia. The APY Lands are approximately 1500kms from South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide, require a permit for entry and are accessible only by dirt road.


Amata from the top of surrounding hills, Retrieved from school website

I work as a tutor in the Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP). AnTEP is basically a teacher training program run from UniSA in Adelaide, but delivered locally for Anangu people who work in the schools on the APY Lands or who wish to take up tertiary study without moving to the city.

Pitjantjatjara and/or Yankunytjatjara is the first language for adults and children alike in these communities, and most people have limited literacy skills in English – hence the adaptation. English is actually a foreign language for Anangu [Anangu is the word Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people use when talking about themselves], which is usually only spoken in the school and even then not that often. Michael’s powerpoint was already great for my ESL/EFL students, with the use of images and concise, short English sentences, but I’ve personalised it further for the school where I work with local photos and added first language. I haven’t had a chance to have the Pitjantjatjara checked by Anangu as yet, as I’m presently away from the community, but will do so upon my return.

Teacher librarians are a scarce commodity in these small community schools, with libraries being operated by ‘Library Managers’ with limited time allocation disallowing comprehensive Resource Based Learning (RBL) programs. My powerpoint is therefore also aimed at non-Indigenous classroom teaching staff and principals, in order to garner their support, but my primary concern is for the education of the Indigenous staff. Non-Indigenous staff come and go to these schools (on average staying for less than 2 years), but the Indigenous staff in the schools are the ones who need the knowledge about building Information Literate School Communities, as encapsulated in the AnTEP vision statement above.

I am hoping “21st Century learning, Anangu tjutaku” will become a useful tool to facilitate thinking and learning amongst my AnTEP students about how to best support the needs of Anangu, so that, although they “got left behind in the old literacy, [they] are not going to get left behind in this one.” I will also share this resource with AnTEP tutors in the other 8 Anangu schools across the APY Lands as an idea for the manner in which the AnTEP program can be digitalised and become available online for students to complete their study in a more independent fashion than currently occurs.

Web 2.0 provides exciting possibilities for a global learning community, but I believe it is diminished if remote Indigenous peoples don’t also have the opportunity to join in with the conversation.

I have uploaded my powerpoint to a moodle which the Lands schools are beginning to use:

and it is currently listed as “Learning for the 21st Century”. You may need to go to

and register to get in. It’s in Resources, AnTEP resources.

Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP) VISION

AnTEP exists for the benefit of Anangu through its training of Anangu Education Workers (AEWs) and future Anangu teachers.

It seeks to produce graduates who will provide a stable and effective AEW and teaching force in Anangu schools, and who are also able to contribute (in a creative and constructively critical way) to the educational debates and decision making processes that occur in Anangu schools and Anangu communities as they seek to participate in the wider Australian society.

1 Sarra, C. (2008). The strong and smart revolution. Australian Educator (Issue 57), p 21.