Doug Johnson @ TEDxASB

How did I miss these TEDx Talks? Guess I had my head down “in the trenches” when they were posted, but I truthfully don’t even remember reading about them!

In March of last year, several of my favorite thinkers spoke at the American School of Bombay, and the resulting videos are posted at the bottom of this page as reference. The theme of TEDxASB was Identity, and (one of my professional heroes) Doug Johnson‘s 18 minutes are embedded below–he muses about how our “digital natives'” identity must change what we do as educators.

The part that resonates with me is near the end of Doug’s presentation, when he recounts Clay Shirky’s story about bringing home a huge new LCD TV for his family. His young daughter, rather than being impressed, immediately asked, “Where’s the mouse?”

Engagement rather than entertainment is what our students demand from schools. Johnson’s challenge to us is that we all create a environments in our classrooms, libraries, schools that foster engagement–active interest. Our kids deserve that.

I wonder if my library program is engaging to all my students. I don’t really think it is. I know for certain that it isn’t for some students–especially those who are so thoroughly unengaged in the entire school experience.

What does that look like in an elementary library with a fixed schedule? I’d love to hear from others what they think!

Here are the other great TEDxASB presentations. They are all very much worth your time and thought! These are some amazing people! Engaging and entertaining! 🙂


Good Libraries

Doug Johnson did it again! His post today is right on the money! In these times, when so many of us are fighting for our libraries to stay open, professionally staffed, and even nominally funded, Doug has given us some crucial advocacy tools.

What Does a Good Library Tell You About a School?

It’s a must-read and a great post to share widely!

Nearest Book Meme

“The sun was shining.” What a disappointing sentence to pull from such a wonderful book! One of my favorites!

Wonder what I am talking about? Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog encouraged us all to take part in this meme by Stephen Abrams of Stephen’s Lighthouse

Rules: * Get the book nearest to you. Right now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write this sentence – either here or on your blog.
* Copy these instructions as commentary of your sentence.
* Don’t look for your favorite

Blocked Bytes Week

This week, Doug Johnson (Blue Skunk Blog) called for an addition to Banned Books Week. He states:

if we are truly committed to “Freedom to Read” what we really need is…Blocked Bytes Week

How true! I guess that’s why he’s Doug Johnson!
As are many (if not most) American K-12 educators, I am continually frustrated by filtering in my district–although it has gotten better this year, admittedly. We’re lucky in that fact, I suppose.

I just wonder how it is that we’re supposed to guide students and foster good cyber-citizenship in them if we are blocked from the “teachable moments.” A related example of this is a statement made by my principal in a school-wide professional development session before this school year started. She stated that there is no reason to ever exchange an email with a student. Her takeaway from district administrative training was that exchanging email is so inherently frought with dangers that teachers should never take that chance. She said if a student emails a teacher, that teacher should call them on the phone and talk to the parents and then talk to the student. While I am relatively certain that this was not the intent of the district educational technology leadership, it was, nevertheless, how she interpretted policy. Oh my. We have spent millions of dollars on technology in this district, have a particularly well-respected leader in the district ed-tech department, and principals still come away with misconceptions like that. No amount of talking will change her mind, because she is blinded by the idea that inappropriate things might be said in email and that might put both students and teachers at risk. Period. It made me sad and frustrated to hear that.

Thanks Doug Johnson, for fighting for freedom along with us! Reading freely and exploring ideas, both in print and digital form, are cornerstones of democracy and freedom.

Cyberbullying Guide

On his Blue Skunk Blog, the amazing Doug Johnson has posted Mankato’s new Cyberbullying Guide, which is well worth a look as we’re getting our cyberbullying curriculum going in our district’s libraries. The pdf contains a nice list of cyberbullying resources as well, including quite a few of Nancy Willard‘s resources.

BTW, Web 2.o classmates, if you’re not subscribed to Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog, you might consider adding it to your Google Reader! I think he’s really one of the important “thinkers” in our field today. Check it out!

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