Laming it Up For the Kids

July is one of my favorite times of year! This is usually the month that I catch up on the reading–professional and otherwise–that I just don’t get around to during the school year. I usually have various home improvement projects going during the month–this year, it’s tiling the house, which necessitates painting walls, replacing and painting baseboards, napping frequently to avoid all of the above… I spend a lot of time on Twitter with my PLN there as we attempt to recharge our batteries for the coming year.

I also spend a lot of time viewing & thinking about professional conferences & presentations that I’ve missed during the year, or those that I need to see and think about again! ISTEvision is always a treasure trove of ideas and I love, love, LOVE the openness with which the ISTE approaches their annual conference. Almost everything is online–much of it streamed in real time. It really is phenomenal. ISTE ROCKS

This morning, I was catching up with the amazing Teacher Librarian Smackdown, and got no further than the first round, when I had to stop and go use one of the tools that I learned about! I created this Google Search Story to promote our library and it’s theme for this year:

Cute, eh? And they’ve made it wildly easy to do on Youtube with the Google Search Story Video Creator!

After I created it though, I realized that it will be problematic for me to post on the library web site to share with my students–anything that I want to embed on my page is always a pain, but I can usually figure out a way to make it work in our arcane program!

No, the problem will come with the curriculum department, which has intermittently supported blocking Google over the years, and still maintains an anti-google stance, for the most part. They purchase Nettrekker yearly for student use, and it is a good tool, I admit! I find that it feels “artificial” to me however. While students can use it from home, and some do, the go-to tool for most people is still Google!

As a librarian, of course I encourage my students to use authoritative sources such as our online databases for their research. I want them–and their teachers–to go to these sources first when searching for reliable information! Additionally, I want them to consider using Creative Commons images and music whenever possible, and perhaps even use Nettrekker first, to see if a “safe” web site can be found using those tools. However, I also know that Google is the first place that most students, parents AND teachers go when they need to know something “on the fly.” I want my kids to have the information literacy skills to discern which is reliable information–a daunting task these days! And it’s a vital one as well. How can they do that if we create an artificial, thoroughly blocked experience for them at school? That certainly won’t be the case for most of them when they go home to use technology!

So. Back to my really cute video.
I guess I won’t put it on my web site. I may use it with kids later on to make the point that Google is a great tool to find certain types of information. Brings me to the point that my husband, a non-educator, is fond of making. He says that the education machine has an amazing ability to take a great idea and lame it up to the point that it’s unappealing to everyone involved. I think he hit the nail on the head.

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Too Late to Apologize: A Digital Storytelling WOW!

Thanks to the amazing Joyce Valenza for pointing out this video. From her blog post:

E-book creators, Soomo Publishing describes Too Late To Apologize: a Declaration by Tim Alden Grant, as

our first satirical video project and is part of our ongoing effort to facilitate learning in creative, innovative ways.

It was that brilliant music video remix of the Timbaland song that drew me into their e-book site.

What an amazing piece of storytelling. I’m working w/ our oldest students on the idea of telling a story with images–great example! And it even fits their curriculum!

View in full screen w/ students to get the lyrics scrolled across bottom. Wow!

Public Schools vs Public Libraries

Mac Thecaster is a young video life blogger, and the following piece is an articulate and engaging argument for intellectual freedom & how the library respects and encourages it.

I found this video through a new twitter friend, @WillSwartz , who first embedded this on his blog.
It’s over 2 years old, but I’d never seen it. What do you think?

The Week in Rap!

I learn the most amazing things through my professional network of people all over the world! Today I was listening to the Seedlings at Bit by Bit podcast, and Bob Sprankle’s Geek of the Week was The Week in Rap. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful and engaging tool for the classroom! It is a weekly current events video–in rap! From Flocabulary, which is a NYC-based project (I need to read more about it) that works with infusing hip-hop into educationally based products. Very interesting.

Here is a sample of a recent week in rap–a particularly monumental week it was too: Election Week 2008 in the US.


The Seedlings at Bit by Bit podcast this week was particularly full of great links too–even better than normal!! Thanks Bob and Alice and Cheryl! Carla was a great guest and I learned so much this week from you! Wow!

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???

Zombie Alert!

I know, I know–I’ve gone video crazy for the last few posts, but this one is good & I couldn’t resist–it’s by Commoncraft, who brought us those really useful videos RSS in Plain English, Wikis in Plain English, etc. This one is a warning about the alarming impending zombie invasion from Canada this Halloween. Beware…

Pay Attention: Digital Learners

An interesting video that might get some conversation going about how our students learn and why. This is a conversation that we need to have on an ongoing basis in our schools, because I’m not sure some educators (in my world, anyway) really “get” it.

There’s an old saying that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. I’m not sure that’s true with our students anymore. I believe that if we keep teaching in the same way we’ve taught in the past, we will end up with disengaged young people who are not prepared for their life in the 21st century–in the flat world.

Here’s the video by Darren Draper at T-4 Jordan School District (Utah). His list of resources is a great supplement to the video as well–the video is posted on that page as well.

Did you Know 2.0—2.0

Because I can’t get to videos on youtube at school, I’m embedding Did You Know 2.0 from teachertube here. We can get to that.

March of the Librarians

Once you get started looking at YouTube videos, it’s hard to stop! I found another one (from a link on The Hollywood Librarian) that is just hilarious! A parody of March of the Penguins.

Hollywood Librarian

This looks like it might be an interesting clip for staff development to stimulate discussion. I don’t know exactly when this documentary (The Hollywood Librarian) is slated to be released–from their web site, it looks like they’re still working on it. The librarian/filmmaker has a blog on the film’s web site.
There’s a trailer on YouTube for The Hollywood Librarian:

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