Since the 70’s technological developments have influenced the services provided by teacher librarians and information professionals. The introduction of computerised databases and catalogues, improvements in telecommunication technology, advances in information and communication technologies, and the embracing of the Internet by the public community have offered exciting and challenging opportunities for the profession. The convergence and connectivity, and access to paper-based and digital media, has changed the way we interact within our working environment. Teacher librarians have successfully navigated their way through data processing, information access and electronic communications, and are now being tantalised by knowledge management, that is, managing the knowledge creation processes and the knowledge generated within their learning organisation.
“Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms.” (Davenport & Prusak 2000, p. 5)
Everyone involved in a learning community is a knowledge creator. They select appropriate information, from a variety of formats, and engage their human thinking and personal experience within a context of learning. They use their intellect to make sense of the information and develop new thinking, ideas and concepts that allow them to work in creative and innovative ways. Being ‘knowledgeable’ is a dynamic combination of cognition, intuition and context.
At the ASLA / CBCA national conference in 2003 a number of presenters addressed the need for effective pedagogical practices to support the development of knowledge literate learners; learners who not only learn how to learn, but learn how to know what they know and to use this knowledge creatively, constructively and productively.
Within a problem-based curriculum, where learners can engage in ‘real’ and authentic assessment activities, they need a repertoire of learning tools. For example, higher order thinking (challenging the learner at different cognitive levels), multiple intelligences (different ways to problem solve and create solutions), information and ICT literacy (supporting information seeking and information processing research and inquiry), cooperative learning (sharing and engaging in collaborative activities), reasoning skills (utilising decision making, problem solving, invention, investigation, experimentation and systems thinking).
The professional presentations at the conference were definitely evidence that teacher librarians had come a long way.
Davenport, T & Prusak, L 2000, Working knowledge: how organizations manage what they know, Harvard Business School, Boston.