Digital reference services in schools and Richard Ford

Another topic that my students have been looking at recently is whether schools, and teacher librarians in particular, can offer digital reference services to their students. Of course, to many school/teacher librarians around the world, the answer might be – yes, but give more staff! There are some reference services which are external to the school and include the DREI Learning Center and ESTEME (Science, technology, maths and engineering) sites which are featured in an article which looked at school children’s use of these services. In Australia, the NSW AskNow! service is used by students and there’s a good review of the service by Perry and McElhill. From a Web 2.0 viewpoint and given school students’ use of mobile technology, services linked to mobile phones would seem the answer in the future – this raises questions of training for teacher librarians and the school’s ability to link to mobile technology.

I’m currently reading Richard Ford’s ‘The lay of the land’. You read Ford and luxuriate in his use of language – there is a kind of plot but you don’t read Ford to turn pages, you read him to marvel at his sentences and wish that you could write just ONE of them. Listen to him as well on ABC radio. He’s also very funny.

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