At the end of 2014 we farewelled Professor Ross Todd from his role as a regular section contributor to Synergy. Todd had written the Reflections and Action section for many years, tirelessly contributing to the discussion in our journal about our profession. We congratulate him on his appointment to the role of Chair in the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers University. Ross’s generosity and effort have been immensely important to this journal – his regular contribution will be missed. We are thankful, though, that Ross remains on the Synergy board and that we are still able to draw on his expertise and advice in this advisory role.
After much discussion, the board has decided to replace Ross with two guest commentators – one from teacher-librarianship, the other from the wider education community. These commentators have been invited to contribute articles for the Reflections and Actions section for 2015. We welcome Dr Mary Carroll, from CSU, and Dr Pam Macintyre, from RMIT, to this role and look forward to working with them to bring all of our readers new ideas and interesting discussions. These two well-respected academics have contributed very interesting, but very different, articles to this edition, but I expect that both will resonate with SLAV readers – each for different reasons.
In this edition we also publish a piece by SLAV’s website manager, Joy Whiteside, on the new developments on our website. In addition, we have an excellent discussion article, by Natasha Georgiou from WA, on the attention span of students, while Dr Barbara Combes, also from WA, shares with us her own work on research in an online world and the concept of the 'digital native'. It is great to see two articles in Synergy written by our colleagues from across the way – both interesting and insightful discussions about issues of interest to us all.
Closer to home, we are publishing an article by Justine Hyde from the SLV on the redesign of the Victorian State Library’s service model. Many SLAV members will recall Justine’s very interesting presentation on this topic at a SLAV conference in 2014, and this article allows us to read about those developments which Justine outlined then and reflect on how they are being achieved. Connections can be made between the changes afoot at SLV and the way we need to rethink our own school service models. Justine’s article offers us ways of framing change within a wider context. Also in this edition we publish a description of another different, younger Australian institution – The Stella Awards. In her article, Bec Kavanagh, school’s coordinator for the award, argues for the importance of the award and its place in the school environment.
Once again, in the Learning Landscapes section, Anne Whisken engages us with her continual exploration of library spaces. This time she is considering the role of collections and how they might be organised. In our Global section we welcome another view on spaces, that of Margaret (Peggy) Sullivan. Peggy ably explores spaces and their impact on student learning and engagement, a topic important to her and a concept that I know many of us grapple with continually. We appreciate her contributing her thoughts to the discussion here in Synergy.
Pru Mitchell, in her new role as Manager of Information Services at ACER, contributes a very useful and interesting article on the importance of evidence-based practice and how the Cunningham Library can assist and support our efforts in schools. Pru has also kindly offered a free trial of Cunningham Library membership to our readers – complete the online trial form and mention Synergy in the promo code box.
Miffy Farquharson continues her reflections on her online life, offering us food for thought, while Sally Sutherland contributes a practical article to our Strategies section on the very successful reading challenge that she has created for her community at Melbourne Girls’ College.
Lastly, but by no means least, in describing this edition of Synergy I would like to finish by mentioning the fascinating article by our regular commentator, Dr Carol Gordon, that discusses research into reading and gender – a most interesting article that is both thorough and thought provoking.
It is a pleasure to be able to bring this collection of diverse ideas and discussions to SLAV members and, ultimately, the wider community online. I hope that each of you finds, within this edition, something that makes you think about your practice in a way that is useful to your learning community.
Dr Susan La Marca