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Softlink solutions to support learning part 1


Over the past year, with students moving between school-based learning and online learning, schools have been challenged to examine their learning options and ability to connect students with learning regardless of the delivery model.

Even prior to the disruption caused by COVID, there has been the need to embed online learning more deeply in the curriculum to help prepare students for the evolving digital world.

Furthermore, in this digital world, more and more schools are integrating online learning platforms to better support their students, with platforms such as Mathletics and Reading Eggs now being introduced at the age of 5 or 6.

Known for providing innovative library management software, Softlink Education offers a range of solutions to support learning and engagement beyond managing book borrowing. This blog post will explore the ways that Oliver can support learning anywhere, anytime.

In part two we discuss LearnPath, our resource and information curating platform, and part 3 OverDrive eBooks & Audiobooks.

Oliver v5 – more than a cataloguing tool

  • A tool to encourage reading
  • A tool to encourage library use
  • A tool to support learning and research

A tool to encourage reading

Responses to the annual Softlink School Library Survey show that encouraging reading for pleasure remains the top priority for School Library Staff.

In 2018, 86% of respondents selected promoting and supporting reading for pleasure as one of the main objectives or services the school library provides, in 2019 this figure was 89%.

While this can be challenging in any environment, there are many ways Oliver v5 can support reading engagement.

A great place to start is to create Reading Lists. Reading Lists are quick and easy to set up either through a search and select method or using a barcode scanner.

Reading lists in Oliver

While these are particularly useful for class assignments or special events, creating lists based on popular authors, popular series, genres, or new titles in the library can help connect readers with the books they want to know about and are going to love!

You could even create a list like those in popular streaming programs and try an “If you liked…” approach - making connecting students with books they are more likely to enjoy even easier.

Reading Lists can also be used to populate your carousel and create your “online book display” to promote these books to students.

If you would like to learn more about Reading Lists check out our post “Everything you wanted to know about Reading Lists but were afraid to ask.”

Students can also create their own personalised Favourites Lists where they can save a list of books they want to read, or a list of favourite titles etc which they can access across sessions. These lists can be copied, printed, removed, reserved, or shared.

Genre icons in Oliver

To make it even easier for students to identify books they will enjoy, we introduced genre enhancements in 2019. Titles belonging to a particular genre are identified by icons that are available in both Oliver and Orbit, or you can upload your own. To preview the genre icons, click here.

Oliver’s Browse Lists page encourages reading further, by presenting library titles using customised lists such as “Recommended for you”, “Matching your interests”, and “Because you borrowed”.

Watch this video to hear how Oliver has helped to promote reading engagement at Coburg High School.

Another way to encourage reading is through book reviews. Book reviews provide an opportunity for students to reflect or engage with the books they are reading while providing an avenue for peer-to-peer recommendations.

Add emojis to your resource review

Book reviews in Oliver are customisable with star ratings, easy text editing (with a range of fonts, colours and sizes), and the ever-popular emojis.

Older students could be encouraged to provide further research in their reviews, such as inserting links to information about the author or topic.

Book reviews are moderated by school library or teaching staff and hidden until approved. This provides even more opportunities for learning with staff being able to advise students on ways to improve their review.

To learn more about book reviews read this post.

A tool to encourage library use

The Oliver interface has been designed to resemble popular online platforms that students are familiar with.

This makes it easy for students to hit the ground running and navigate the library catalogue with ease.

Oliver library software interface

But the interface goes beyond simplifying the browsing and borrowing process, exciting and engaging students who are already familiar with similar interfaces on popular streaming platforms.

One of the things Dianna Jarnet, Librarian at Coburg High School, loves most about Oliver v5 is the student reaction to the interface.

“[Students’] faces light up when they first get online.”

“As soon as they log on their eyes bug out because they’re seeing what they think is a streaming site.”

Diana shares that as a result, borrowing has increased, and students are getting so excited that they are reserving many more books than they could possibly read.

To watch the full video case study click here.

Orbit - junior interface for Oliver library software

Oliver also comes with a junior and middle school interface, Orbit, which is designed to be accessible and easy-to-use for students from Prep to Year 7.

With avatars and backgrounds, the Orbit interface is customisable, making it fun to use for younger students as they enter school and are first introduced to the library.

In this case study, Sheila O’Callaghan, Teacher Librarian at Our Lady of Good Counsel shares how Orbit has changed the way students are interacting with the library:

“We see the children sitting down together on a cushion, sharing and saying to each other ‘Look at this book, let’s go find it.’ It’s very portable and you see the children behind the shelves, with their iPad on the floor next to them, fossicking through a shelf of books. They couldn’t do that before.”

They have also been excited about being able to customise the interface, as well as being able to track books they have read and compare this with their peers.

Watch this short video to see the Orbit interface in action. And if you’d like to take a peek at Oliver in action click here.

For more ideas on how Oliver can boost student engagement with the library read this blog post.

A tool to support learning and research

Whether students are at school, completing a research task for homework, or learning remotely, with Oliver v5 the school library can provide a centre for learning and research. With 24/7 access, students can always discover all that the library has to offer.

To draw on the wealth of digital world resources, many schools have extended their integrated learning environment to include online databases, ClickView videos, eBooks or LearnPath.

Oliver v5’s Federated Search can pull all of these together by allowing students to search multiple data sources from within the Oliver search screen, making research quicker and easier, and making the most use of the resources you have purchased.

Oliver also integrates with Accelerated Reader, which is a progress monitoring tool designed to motivate students to practice their reading through success. Integration with Oliver v5 means that students can identify which books in your library catalogue have associated quizzes, their level of difficulty, and number of points that will be scored.

LearnPath Community Content Hub displayed on computer

In the era of “fake news” where students are still learning that the first result in a Google search is not always the most trustworthy, LearnPath for Oliver v5 can help support research and provide students with curated resources to support their learning.

Once embedded in the Oliver News Page, students can select their year level and browse through guides to find resources for units of study. While schools can build these guides themselves, LearnPath comes with free access to curated content that supports the Australian Curriculum.

To learn more about LearnPath, read this blog post.

There are a number of ways that Oliver can help to support the learning, whether students are studying at home or school.

Perhaps you are an Oliver user and would like to share your story. Please email communications@softlinkint.com, we’d love to hear from you!

If you are not an Oliver user, and would like to speak to an Educational Consultant about how Oliver can support your school email sales@softlinkint.com

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