TLs Can Tweet Their Way to an Indispensible PLN!

Tomorrow I’ll be working alongside my “in-person” PLN as they begin to form their online PLN! My fellow TL, Grace Erkmann (@GraceErkmann ) and I will work with our district colleagues as they begin to explore using Twitter to form their own unique online learning network. I’m excited that our TLs are interested in taking control of their own continued professional growth! It is personally empowering, but even better, and in the end it enriches the learning and the lives of kids! That’s what it’s all about!

Here is our presentation in its current incarnation. It will morph in the future, I’m sure! We’ll be tweeting under the hashtag #TLKlein ! Join us as we tweet and learn!

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Role of the Librarian

It’s good to see librarianship get some attention! Good infographic for outreach to our communities:

The-Role-of-Librarians-In-The-Digital-Age-Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Heads in the Sand

This afternoon, I sat down to check out my Google Reader, and found that one of my amazing Texas library colleagues, Carolyn Foote, had crafted an excellent and wonderfully thought-provoking blog post entitled No Heads in the Sand Here. It’s a must-read, in my opinion, for teacher librarians—in fact for any librarians—as we face a changing landscape in our profession.

I started writing the following as a comment on Carolyn’s post, but it got longer and longer, so I decided maybe it was really more of a blog post in itself! Thank you Carolyn for so accurately capturing the zeitgeist of the library conversation of late!

I too love Hazen’s wording in the article you cite. Librarians “support and sustain … meaningful inquiry” and through effective collection development, we consciously create a “carefully crafted, deliberately maintained, constrained body of material.” Wow! I love that!

Librarians fill a unique role in the educational framework, in that we have these long-term goals of “meaningful inquiry” and a “deliberately maintained” body of sources uppermost in minds as we work with students. Classroom teachers care about these topics too, of course, but have many other objectives to meet as well. On many school campuses, it is the librarian that focuses student effort and guides them to use authoritative sources effectively. In an age when information of all types is abundant and ubiquitous, critical evaluation is a crucial skill—perhaps the crucial skill—for our students to acquire.

Foote’s words and those of the esteemed professionals cited in her post bolster my resolve as I find myself and many of my colleagues, more and more of the time, having to fight against the perception that librarians are obsolete. This, even as we make enormous, unique contributions to student success–supported by a huge and persuasive body of research, might I add. Thanks, @technolibrarian, for giving me a document to look back at that will help me to clarify my thoughts & words as I have these discussions with others. You’re always giving me great food for thought!

LookyBook !

Our group reviewed LookyBook tonight, which looks like a very interesting web site! At Lookybook, you can do just that: look at a children’s picture book online–the entire thing! What a great resource for classroom teachers and librarians! It’s a great selection tool as well as being a fantastic way to share the illustrations in a picture book. Very slick!

And best of all…..it’s not currently blocked in our district!!!

We wondered about the copyright compliance of it all, and I did some reading–started with the terms of service. But here’s an article from the Novato (CA) Advance newspaper that leads me to think that copyright is not a problem in our classroom settings.

Lookybook allows you to set up your own “bookshelf” so that you could have the books you plan to use with your classes collected in one easy place. And one of the coolest features is that you can embed a book into a web page or blog! Very, very slick!!

Here’s a sample, Poultrygeist by Mary Jane Auch:

AllTop and Another Social Network for Booklovers!

In Web 2.0 class, we’ve twice visited and played around with Librarything–a big favorite in a room full of librarians, as one might guess. Well, I have two new links to share that I’ve recently discovered: AllTop and Shelfari.

I don’t remember how I found AllTop, and I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it’s new to me! Here, they collect news items from “all the top” sources, and aggregate them into collections such as education, culture, geekery, etc. How they decide what the “top” sites are, I don’t know, but I’ve found some interesting education articles and news items here! Another nice facet is that when you mouse over an item, you get a preview. Cool!

When I was browsing Alltop the other day, I discovered Shelfari. If you like Librarything like so many of us librarians do, take a look at Shelfari! It’s a social networking site for booklovers–you can create your own bookshelf that really looks like books on a shelf.I like this cool interface better than Librarything. Very cool! Librarians, go check it out!

Inspiring Elementary School Blogs!

I happened upon a wonderful elementary school web site / blog that I just have to share with my web 2.0 classmates. Go look at Pashley Elementary School’s Library Blog now!

Librarian Kristina Neddo maintains a wonderful, regularly-updated blog that contains new book reviews, news about library events and fun web 2.0 projects that various classes have completed, including Voicethreads, how-to screencasts that could be used by faculty or students, and more! It doesn’t look like the blog is too old, but it is really a great example of library 2.0, I think.

I’m really inspired by looking at this librarian’s efforts to keep her library program vibrant–and I’m impressed that there seems to be a schoolwide (maybe a districtwide) understanding of the importance and power of emerging web technologies. I seem to spend a lot of time in my school day hitting road blocks–filtering issues, teachers/admin feeling too overwhelmed to try one more new thing, testing, testing, testing…. It’s great and reaffirming to see a librarian using these webtools effectively! After looking at this library blog, I’m confident that Ms. Neddo is a leader in her school’s efforts to really engage learners. Lucky kids!

New Video and Rethinking…

Great video I just discovered–it’s a response to Karl Fisch’s Did You Know . Did You Know is the most important education-related video of the last 2-3 years, imho. I think every educator, every administrator, every school board member should watch it–more than once. If you haven’t watched it yet, watch it now and then perhaps read (or listen to, like I did) Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat 3.0 . It will change your outlook–I promise.

Anyway, I found this new (to me) video, called Mr. Winkle Wakes, on Scott McLeod & Fisch’s shifthappens wiki, as I was trying to reinvigorate/refocus myself before returning to school tomorrow after spring break. How true it is! How wrong that it is true…

I’m left again with the question how do I foster the needed changes in my school community? Modeling doesn’t seem to cut it because the most resistant teachers (and we have a lot of them) seem to think that I know how to do these things, but they could never learn. I (as librarian) have “so much more time” than they do–they can’t possibly “fit it in.” After school/conference period trainings are ill-attended. Administrator doesn’t want to “bother” the teachers with things like Fisch’s video–“we just ask so much of them anyway–we can’t put another thing on their plates.” Teachers are under so much pressure to focus on state testing to the exclusion of any other authentic learning/evaluation.

I’ve so far failed to ignite change in my school. That’s clear.
What are your ideas about effecting change so that our students really are being prepared for their own future? What are you doing in your schools???

For Melise: Bloglines Question

Melise had a question about whether or not she had successfully subscribed to some RSS feeds through Bloglines. Here’s a screencast that I created with a very cool, free web tool called Jing. Maybe it answers her question. I also told her about the RSS reader that I use at home–it’s called Sage, and it is an add-on to the Firefox browser (which I love).

I couldn’t figure out how to resize my Jing capture, and it was huge. I’ll have to look at their FAQs, but here’s a link to my screencast hopefully answering your questions, Melise! We miss you!

Unblocked! Amazing!

Wow!! I’m surprised and happy that my district has unblocked my blog so that other librarians in my district can access it from school! WooHoo!

That’s a good sign. Maybe districts are beginning to decide that these web 2.0 tools are not evil unto themselves. They’re tools that our children are going to use–they do now–and we had better have access to them so that educators have a fighting chance to learn how to use them too and be there to guide them! Hooray for making small steps!

Special Hi To My Local Colleagues

Today our district librarian (AR) introduced the SLL2.0 program to the rest of my fellow librarians to see if any of them might be interested in exploring it together as a group. I thought I’d say welcome to any of you that might be exploring my blog to see what it’s all about. Look back over previous posts too. Leave me a comment on a post if you come by so I’ll know you’ve been here!

Just about everything that you see on this blog along the right side is an element that I learned about through exploring a “Thing” in the SLL2.0 program. You can learn about all of these Things too–and do it a little more slowly during the school year than I did it this summer. AR said the district cohort would be doing the program in 9 months rather than 9 weeks–so the pace won’t be so frantic. It is a self-paced program anyway, so the only pressure is what you put on yourself!

Why participate in SLL2.0?
Warlick states that, in a world where the future is not certain, the most valuable skill we can foster in our young people is that of lifelong learning. Today we may not be able to accurately predict what our students’ future careers, environments or even social structures will be like, but if we have taught them to learn new things for themselves when they need to, then we have done our jobs!

The web 2.0 tools that are explored in the SLL2.0 course are the tools that our children use to connect–to information, to entertainment, to ideas, to each other. These are the tools that they are using today. I think I should at least know about them!

Additionally, these tools are showing up in numerous forms within traditional information channels too. Bloggers now get national coverage & audience at political events. They’re quoted on the evening news! CNN’s IReport seeks and uses viewers’ videos of news events. Almost every news outlet on the Internet has a Comments function so their patrons can make their opinion known to the world. These are all web2.0 tools. They bring people together. They promote conversation and rethinking and debating.

Lastly, I must say that I found many of the tools, sites, applications and ideas explored in SLL2.0 just plain cool! Week 5 is just a blast–you’ll learn about online photo sharing sites, creative sites like Scrapblog, art and design sites and lots more. Just fun stuff!

If you find that this program is just not your bag, that’s ok too! I think you’ll learn something useful if you give it a try though. It’s a chance to practice/model that skill of lifelong learning.

Last Thought for Today…I Promise!
I believe that librarians and the school library really do help form the true heart of a school community. I also fear that our talents (librarians’) will be marginalized as schools rush to do the popular, flashy thing with students where information technology is concerned. Librarians must be part of the conversation when it comes to accessing, evaluating and using information–it’s what we know! We have a unique perspective that is vital to our students.
We must remain at the heart of the school for tomorrow’s kids.

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