Digital literacy: Developing student champions

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In this video, Esther Casey, school librarian at Stonefields and Sylvia Park Schools, discusses how she supports the development of digitally literate learners.


[Video title: Digital literacy: Developing student champions displayed alongside the AnyQuestions logo]

[Esther Casey in school library with students using laptops and tablets to access information, including the DigitalNZ website]

Esther Casey (Teacher/Librarian Stonefields and Sylvia Park Schools): I am the teacher in the library at Sylvia Park School and at Stonefields School. I am there part-time at both schools. I think it’s really important to make sure that there are digital literacy experts in each of those schools. So the teachers obviously have a lot of skills in this area but having students who can work alongside other students and help them to grow their digital literacy and know the good places to go to, who know how to evaluate websites, I think is really important.

I'm lucky in both of the schools that the work that they do with the students is very much around questions and questioning. And rather than a you know specific topic, it will be around a big concept and some questions as part of that big concept. So that gives us lots of scope to find a big variety of digital content, of books, of identifying experts and bringing those together in one place.

[Amy with students using laptops]

Amy Shields (Year 7 and 8 Teacher, Stonefields School): We're really promoting critical thinking. They need to be looking at the information and not just taking what they see straight away as the one answer. They need to be really thinking and reflecting and pulling in lots of different sources and making meaning from that. So yeah, they really need to be able to think about what they are accessing.

[Emma with students using tablets]

Emma Alaalatoa-Dale (Enquiry Lead Teacher, Middle School, Sylvia Park School): I'm wanting the students to be able to look at a website or several websites and be able to see whether it is a source that is reliable and what they are saying, is that backed up by what the next one is saying? Being able to follow links and threads, looking at something, thinking, I’m not quite sure if that's right, so I'm just going to click on that and I'll follow that through and see if I can back that up with some information from somewhere else.

[Student using Google on a laptop]

Esther Casey: We know students use Google as their first port of call when they're looking for information. We want to take them beyond that. We want to take them to a better Google search. We want them to use alternatives to Google as well.

[Te Ara website displayed on the screen of a laptop]

That might mean knowing the great websites to go to straight off, that are just right for their needs or it might mean that they use a different way of getting to the information that they're looking for.

[AnyQuestions website displayed on a PC monitor]

We use AnyQuestions. We help them to connect with AnyQuestions so that there's another person who is there that can help them when they're not in the library or in their classrooms.

[Text on screen] Introducing the Info Squad

[School children using tablets and laptops to access websites including AnyQuestions/ Many Answers and DigitalNZ]

Student: Info Squad is a group of kids from year 5 to year 8. We come here and we learn about different search engines and different websites that we can use to find information.

Amy Shields: The Info Squads are a group of learners in our Senior School, who are getting specific skills to be able to search online and be critical thinkers online and access information online.

Esther Casey: [speaking and teaching with students using laptops] The Info Squad came out of the teachers asking for more skills, more learners who are confident in the ability to use digital literacy skills, so that we could target some kind of programme specifically for those learners and make that really visible and really clear about where they were going and what they were learning through that process.

Student: Being part of the Info Squad means I can help people find information.

Student: In school, I help other people. They're like doing workshops and stuff.

Oriana Hansell-Puni (Year 7 and 8 Teacher,  Sylvia Park School): A lot of them are learning skills that we as teachers don't yet, are not that confident in and so it's kind of like, can you show these kids and then I'll kind of overlook and I'm learning at the same time so they become teachers as well.

[Students using digital devices and sharing information] 

Esther Casey: Teachers are enjoying it because they've got experts in their class who can be there right at that point of need, to help other students to find good content and to evaluate that content as well.

[Text on screen] Benefits of digital literacy

Student: I showed my friend the new search engine. He thought it was quite a cool one and he liked the way it laid out all of the information.

Student: I like it when I find something that I didn't already know especially on a topic that I know a lot about.

Student: When I find out the right information, it really makes me happy.

Student: Making connections with other things we know about is very useful.

Emma Alaalatoa-Dale: [students in the background using tablets] It's about them understanding that information is plentiful and that being able to differentiate and being able to see that through and find that real powerful stuff.

Anna Malan (Parent Year 3 Learner,  Stonefields School): [in school library] It's reassuring that the school is helping to support what we're doing at home as well teaching them about advertising, the bias that people might have, why they're saying certain things, that the school is showing them particular tools and skills.

Esther Casey: We want them to be effective searchers. We want them to be confident online. We want them to be critical thinkers so that they don't just accept whatever the first result is. We want them to be thinking carefully about what their questions are, so that they can then match that information that will help them in their learning specifically with their own personal learning journey.

[Text on screen] Info Squad next steps

Esther Casey: They are going to develop their own framework for analysing data. So we've talked about things like how do we find out who made the information, what was their purpose for creating that information, how current is it, where was it made and lots of different things like that.

So they are working on all of those different aspects and creating their own framework that is specific to them and their learning and that they will be able to use. These learners will become the experts in each of their hubs and they will take the knowledge that they create and the frameworks that they create and share that with the rest of their hub.

Student: Finding information makes me feel a bit nervous. We can actually help the ones who don't know and just put them on to the right track of learning.

Esther Casey: Any advice I'd give to somebody who's doing something similar is find out really carefully where your students are at to begin with, because giving them something that they already know is wasting everybody's time and you want to make it relevant to what they are doing.

[AnyQuestions logo displays as a main image, together with the National Library and Services to Schools logos]

[Video ends]