Great Advocacy Tips To Consider

An interesting presentation full of school library advocacy tips appeared in my Google Reader this morning. It is shared on docstoc , and created by some Canadian colleagues, I believe. Frankly, I do not know how the person who shared it on docstoc is associated with the creators, and assume that it was meant, by the creators (Sharon Armstrong & Valerie Bureau), to be shared. I hope that Armstrong or Bureau will notify me here if this was not their intention.

This presentation outlines dozens of interesting ways to advocate for your school library program–practical ways to use data, schedule creatively, and meet student needs in the less-than-perfect situations that many of us find is our reality! Well worth a look!

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Michigan: 21st Century Media Center Video

The importance of the media center to student achievement is highlighted by the Michigan Library and the Michigan Association for Media in Education in this video, just posted to YouTube.

Hooray for you, Michigan libraries, for being proactive in stating your case in this difficult economy–and on YouTube too! You’ve given libraries and their supporters a tool to use in discussing the true importance of dynamic school libraries to student achievement, which may, in the end, help save some library programs!

Are there videos such as this available from other states, I wonder?

Week 7, Thing #16: Wikis

What a disappointment that the wiki that I’ve been working on to support this class and to help us plan for a possible future class is not useable on the school network. Don’t know why, but all pbwiki pages lose their formatting on our network and make it such a mess to look at that it’s a no-go. Strangely, it seems that if you don’t log in or try to go to another page within a pbwiki, the formatting on the front page is ok. Log in or click on a hyperlink, and all formatting goes wacko and the wheels fall off the cart! How frustrating.

AR and I can’t remember why we decided against wikispaces last summer & I started making the wiki on pbwiki instead. It’s a moot point though because wikispaces is blocked! Shriek!

Discussion tonight centered around our Acceptable Use Policy and exactly what it might be about wikis that is so dangerous that none of them are cleared for use. That’s a powerful tool that is just totally unavailable to us.

Some of us agreed though that wiki use is not as easy to “get” as blogging is–I think we need more opportunity to practice with one another. Maybe soon???

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!

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.

Week 9 Thing #23 Summary of My SLL2.0 Experience

Since my last post (Part 1) was a more personal one, I will confine myself to answering the questions that the CSLA team asked us to explore in our summary post about the School Library Learning 2.0 program.

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

Of course, I loved all the Week 5 activities! I think it was great timing to put the fun stuff in that week so that it broke up the “heavy thinking” part so nicely! Imagechef is very cool and I’ve already used it on my school web site. While I was already familiar with Flickr, I did enjoy looking thru and playing with all of FDs Flickrtoys. By the way, John Watson, who writes all these fun tools also writes a very interesting and sometimes quite touching blog called Flagrant Disregard . His blogs about Being Daddy are most wonderful–and he’s a great photographer too! Check him out!

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I sometimes found it difficult to toggle between the main page and the discovery pages. Maybe put simpler links on the main page for each week and then put the tips, discovery items, curricular tie-ins, etc. all on one page for each week. ?

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
I absolutely would. I will keep up with some of the fellow learners blogs as well. I found some great ones!

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote CSLA learning activities?
The School Library Learning 2.0 learning experience was truly one of the most valid professional development experiences I’ve ever had.

Week 6 Thing#14

I’m exploring Technorati again for this Thing. I have spent some time here in the past, but I always come away thinking I’m missing parts–I’m trying to fill in the gaps. One thing that I always forget to do is tag my posts, so I’m going to try to remember to do a better job at that.

The Discovery Exercise had us search for terms using various advanced features. I found that “school library learning 2.0” gets the results I wanted–can’t forget the quotations–and the Quick View is a very handy element!

Obviously, tagging is the element that makes it possible for the “social” part of web2.0 to take place. It’s the reason that we can find cool photos on flickr that are that certain shade of blue, how we can find others with similar interests–it’s how virtual community building is made easy and convenient. It’s very powerful, and since you can tag your work with as many tags as you want to, it is flexible too. And for the most part it works amazingly well. Tagging is perhaps the most powerful aspect of this new (to me and my fellow school library 2.0 learners) world.

However, the librarian in me (geeky, I know) also sees the limitations that come with such a non-standardized cataloging system. I found posts tagged with misspellings, with or without spaces, etc. These nonstandard tags (most of them mistakes) render that piece of work on the web invisible–that’s the fly in the ointment. Just a reminder for myself to tag carefully and try to think like the person that might be searching for my work so I use effective tags.

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