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By Dr Susan La Marca   


It is a shock to realise that this is the second edition of Synergy for this year and that another year has almost reached its end. The year has flown by and what an eventful one it has been!
SLAV celebrated its 50th anniversary in style and our profession rallied to respond to the National Inquiry into School Libraries. Another event will take place at the end of 2010 that is also worthy of note. Mary Manning will retire from her position as E.O. of SLAV. I would like to acknowledge in this editorial her outstanding work for the association and, in particular, her work in establishing Synergy. She has been a staunch supporter and a valuable board member of the journal since its inception. She will be sorely missed and I take this opportunity, on behalf of Synergy, to say thank you and best wishes.
There is much talk of the Australian Curriculum and, as we consider how to support this new initiative, it is important that we look to our colleagues to fully understand their perceptions of our place in this changed environment – how they see our role as both teacher and resource provider for the important changes that are to impact upon us all. Consequently, we invited Annabel Astbury from the History Teachers Association of Victoria (HTAV) to consider the Australian Curriculum and the teacher-librarian’s role. Her article focuses on the power and importance of collaboration – something teacher-librarians know is crucial.
In this edition of Synergy our global focus turns to the US with two excellent articles by influential commentators from our profession. Debbie Abilock, the editor or the excellent journal KQ, shares with us a reworked article on visual information literacy, offering both a theoretical and a practical stand point. Kristin Fontichario, in keeping with her innovative approach, discusses digital assessment using an interactive format that enables the reader to fully interact with the subject. This exciting approach offers a valuable professional development opportunity that should be embraced by individuals and SLAV branches as a worthwhile and useful activity. We are thrilled to have both writers joining us in Synergy.
In keeping with our truly global world of constant interaction, both of the local perspectives articles in this issue engage with topics that are more than just about our own home experience. Sue Thomson outlines the IEA Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, known as PIRLS, whilst Jenny Luca explores the very important issue of our digital footprint – how it is created and controlled and the relevance of helping our students understand what this means in an online world. Both articles by experts in their fields offer timely and useful information.
As usual, our regular commentators offer us insight and inspiration that makes compelling reading. Carol Gordon offers a fascinating discussion on the art of teacher-librarianship, with a focus on our teaching role. Her regular Synergy pieces are always worth close consideration for the varied perspective and insights she offers. Camilla Elliott explores the concept of the learning commons, a topic of great interest to many. Camilla has recently received a research grant from SLAV to assist in her work in this area and we hope to hear more from her about this topic in the future. Ross Todd’s regular piece is, as usual, inspirational. Using current research, and with a nod to the recent National Inquiry into School Libraries, Ross makes a case for our relevance in a changing world.
Our research piece in this issue explores an Australian Research Council project on multimodal authoring using the program Kahootz. This article offers research on a program which is familiar to many of us and, as such, should be of much interest. Our Strategies section features a reprinted article by the American teacher-librarian and commentator Joyce Valenza. Joyce is known to many around the world, and her recent visit to Melbourne as part of SLAV’s professional development program was very well received. Her extraordinary knowledge and generosity are evident in the article, which explores the ways we can teach and exploit as learning possibilities the array of social media available to us in the digital environment.
I am sure that 2011 will be an exciting year for Synergy; we already have a number of articles in the planning process. In the meantime enjoy this issue – feedback is always appreciated.


Dr Susan La Marca