Monday, November 26, 2007

Social networking can make you smile…

Lately in my district and in my graduate class we’ve been looking and talking about social networking. I can’t think of social networking as only MySpace and Facebook. I consider video conferencing a viable social networking experience. My students have benefited from 2 video conferences with published authors so far this year. But video conferencing is so much more than that, it is social networking at its finest. Besides, video conferencing with friends can make you smile more than anything posted on YouTube! On the day after Thanksgiving I was signed on to iChat on my Mac, hoping to start up an Instant Messenging chat session with my sister-in-law. PC users often Instant Message, Mac users videoconference! At the same time I was signing on to iChat, on the big island of Hawaii my friend Barbara (one of the reason’s I’m a librarian… she was my children’s very techy elementary school librarian back in the early 90's) was signing onto her Mac iChat. She invited me into a video chat. We talked for over an hour about our families, her computer upgrade, and how long it has been since we have seen each other… it has been 10 years since we visited her when she lived on Oahu. It has been even longer since we all lived in the same area, yet, because of email, cell phones, and video conferencing; we have kept in touch and have remained friends. Social networking through technology is the difference that is keeping us connected with people we have not seen for a long time. I have seen this happen over and over again. Because of the Internet and blogging, I am back in touch with friends who are missionaries in Germany. I did a simple Google search for my friend Shelly and I found her on the very first hit. The reason I found her so easily was because of her blog! We now email each other and I am sure we will get in tough by cell phone when they get back to the states later this month. There are some people who touch your life and you don’t want to let them go. Thanks to Social Networking over the Internet, I don’t have to!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

EBSCO RSS = One Happy Bloglines User!

Wow... look what I found... just in time for learning how to use the different aspects of my new Bloglines account. The RSS aggregator is a little overwhelming for reading blogs but I think it is about to earn it’s “saves you time” reputation. I just found out that EBSCO will let me set up an RSS feed. That means that I will be able to see all the new information that comes in about my projects for my grad classes. The new information will come to me! I won’t have to go out to EBSCO and search over and over for the same information only to find there is nothing new. I found this video to show how it works.

I tried it and now I have a new folder on my Bloglines that says EBSCO and in there I have a list of new articles about Internet Safety, my new pet project. When I click on one of the articles in the list it asks me to sign into EBSCO. So, the information is not really being delivered to me, I still have to Log into POWER Library to get the articles. The RSS Feed just tells me when there is new information. Still, it is a nice feature and a good reason to have a Bloglines account!

Internet Safety PSA

Students in the UK are getting some good messages on Internet Safety from their peers. As part of A level practical projects in Media Studies students are being asked to create a Public Service Announcements (PSA). The students who created this PSA received a perfect score for their effort. It is a great example of what high school aged students can do to help their peers and younger students to stay safe. This is also a good example of fair use because the students use a Linkin Park song in their PSA.

After watching this PSA, I was wondering what younger students can do. I plan to introduce the idea of Internet Safety to my students and I have been thinking of what kind of multimedia project elementary students could produce. I need to explore this idea further. I am planning to create a webquest and want a multimedia product as the end result. If anyone has ideas, I would love to hear them.

RSS Aggregator = Compulsive

Perhaps it is too new for me to judge but I am feeling overwhelmed with my new Bloglines account. I only subscribed to 10 of the blogs I usually read on semi-regular basis and I am not convinced that an RSS aggregator is the best way for me to keep up on the blogs I like to read. I can see other uses for an aggregator, news on specific topics, keeping up with website changes for organizations I belong to, setting up a podcasting directory for podcasts I am not subscribed to on iTunes, and maybe keeping up with new information on projects I am working on for grad classes. However, I am a bit of a compulsive Internet junkie, a creature of habit, I like going to the actual blog sites that are on my blogroll. I am sure it is just a matter of getting used to a new way of doing things. I am not sure how much time the aggregator is saving me right now since I am spending more time scanning the blogs. In addition, I don’t like reading the blogs in the little aggregate reader window; it feels like I am missing something, it lacks the texture of going to the actual blog site. Yet, knowing if there is new material out there is a plus. But my biggest problem is that I have too much new stuff out there. I like to browse at my own pace, and what seems overwhelming is the aggregate’s count of all the blog posts I have not read. I tend to get behind and new stuff out there builds up! I don’t like seeing how many blog posts I have not read yet!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The social bookmarking experience is something different! I am currently using to bookmark some sites for use in a project on Internet2 that I am working on with a group of students in my class at St. Joe’s. I tend to get lost in clouds, so I am using just the tagging feature for my bookmarks. I must admit my tags are a mess. I have not gotten the hang of it yet. I have multiple tags that stand for the same thing. How do I choose a tagging format? I want to use the tag information literacy but I can’t because won’t let me put a space in my tags. So I have multiple tags for information literacy: information, information-literacy, and Information_Literacy, all because I can’t remember what tag I used last time. Tagging should be simple but for me it’s not. I think most librarians have this problem because we are used to having things tagged for us. I am determined to start a new site and have all the tags conform to Library of Congress Subject Headings. I also bookmarked the link on my Congerjan
Anyway, I have been using for about a year but I must admit that all I was doing was saving bookmarks. I never even shared my links or took advantage of the social aspect until recently. I turned on the sharing feature during class as others were joining I joined Will Richardson’s network almost immediately. I also added the links from my favorite podcaster, Brian Dvorak who does the EDTech101 podcast. I also have two more people on my network now. It is interesting to see what other technology integrators are saving to their accounts. I hope that some of my fellow librarians and my friends in my St. Joe class will try this social aspect and we can add each other to our networks.

Information Literacy = Big6?

More preaching to the choir... librarians love research models... assessment is another issue... should there be a grade for library class?

In chapter 7 of Steven Mills’s Using the Internet for Active Teaching and Learning, the author indicates that problem solving needs a process. I agree, students work more efficiently when they are given a set of steps to follow in the research process. The chapter is titled “Using the Internet for Information Problem Solving” and Mills first defines problem-based learning as active learning with realistic problems for students to solve based on curriculum content. “Problem based learning always begins with the curriculum; the real-world problem must be related to a curriculum topic” (133). Mills goes on to describe briefly three Information Problem Solving Models: InfoSavvy, The Research Cycle, and The Big6. What he leaves out is almost as significant as what he puts in… what about ISearch, Pathways to Knowledge, the Stripling and Pitts REACTS ten step model, and FLIP It by New Jersey’s Alice Yucht? Mills goes on to describe Big6 in greater detail proclaiming it the best model for research on the web. I don’t necessarily disagree but even if it were not the best, it is the best marketed and provides the best teacher support via their Big6 Website. So, with those credentials alone Big6 is the best known research model. Don’t get me wrong, I love Big6, I use Big6. Mike Eisenberg is an Orangman! Ok, so in the picture at the top on the right he is a penguin. What I am saying is that if Mike Eisenberg would dress up like a penguin, as he did at the AASL convention in Reno in early November, to promote the newest Big6 book is it any wonder the processing model is so popular with librarians? I do not think the other processing models are as well know because of marketing and what Mills calls the Matthew effect back in Chapter 5. The Matthew effect was touted by sociologist Robert Merton in the late 60’s, it is the “phenomenon of allocating more credit or recognition for scientific work to well-known scientists” (105). I am not saying Eisenberg and Berkowitz are not the greatest but I am saying some of the other research process models deserve at least a look. The biggest reason I like ISearch is its research journaling component (it is also much better for special education students in my opinion). The main reason I like REACTS is because it is an acronym and I can remember it better. The reason I like FLIP It is because it is simple. So, what is keeping me from using these other models? Not as much support and hardly any web-presence, and yes, it is all about the marketing. Eisenberg and Berkowitz are great at marketing their product. Besides, the Big6 is flexible enough that I can add an ISearch like journaling aspect to it without much problem. So, in my library we use Big6 but we have a research journal tucked behind our Big6 checklist and every day during the research process my students journal these 3 questions: What went right today? What went wrong today? Where do I go from here? Back to my fellow Orangemen penguin… Mike Eisenberg was dressed as a penguin at AASL to promote the latest Big6 book, for elementary research. The Big6 breaks down into the Super3 for the youngest elementary students. The new book is called: The Super3 : information skills for young learners. If Eisenberg is willing to make a penguin of himself, there must be something to this Super3! Again, it is all about marketing!

In chapter 7 Mills also describes what he calls a toolkit builder: Noodle Tools. I think Noodle Tools is a great way to keep students organized during the research process. I also agree that Noodle Tools is an excellent resource for students in school districts that can afford it. And, by afford I mean those that want to take another bite out of an already overstretched library budget. What I do instead is use the parts of the Noodle website that are free. Noodle Tools is out to make money, so very little is free but NoodleBib Express is excellent for students just entering the research process and just learning how to do Works Cited pages. The librarians in my district have decided to use the terms Works Cited rather than Bibliography because Bibliography indicates print sources, books, while our students are so clearly using less books, and more online resources, so Works Cited fits much better.
Finally, Mills gets to my least favorite subject, assessment. He makes a good argument for authentic assessments with rubrics. I just have a hard time giving students grades in the library. While I am all for self-evaluation, I would rather the product and the student’s reflections on their process and outcomes be allowed to stand on their own without having to add my assessment. My assessment is when students work hard on a project and complete it to the best of their ability that is reward enough, everyone gets an A. However, we don’t live in perfect library land, so I am glad that Mills includes a mini tutorial on how to use RubiStar to create assessment rubrics at the end of the chapter.

Mills, S. C. (2006). Using the Internet for active teaching and learning. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Information Literacy-Preaching to the Choir Again

There are many ways to define Information Literacy. Why do librarians care about this so much? Check out the video on this site:

With so much information out there that is wrong... it is up to school librarians to help students and teachers alike to find and use appropriate information wisely!

The future of lifelong learners is in the hands of their elementary school librarians!

Mills Chapter 5: Preaching to the Choir

I am in the choir and I am preaching because Mills gets it right! Information literacy leads to lifelong learning. This post is a response for my graduate class, so if you want to stop reading feel free. But, if you stop reading you will be missing an amazing resource for Information Literacy. In fact, chapter 5 of Steven C. Mills’s book Using the Internet for Active Teaching and Learning, is called “Locating and Evaluating Information on the Internet” but it reads like it should be called: What every librarian wants the teachers in her school to know about searching the Internet but they never ask!

The basic premises Mills sets as the tone of the entire chapter, there are no quality controls for the Internet, anyone can publish anything they want, and the Internet is full of inaccuracies. Our students don’t understand this concept and are far too willing to believe whatever they read on the Internet. I do not doubt that the same thing could be said for some of us. Yes, even teachers can get caught up in misinformation, it is all over the Internet. So, what can be done? Here is where the preaching to the choir part comes in… as a librarian believe it or not, I did know much of the information presented by Mills… so what? So, it is up to librarians to teach the strategies Mills suggests, not only to students but to teachers as well. As Washington Post staff writer Linton Weeks says, “In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us how to swim.”

The first source of information Mills points to locate education information on the Internet are virtual and digital libraries, then he points to professional standards organizations, government resources, the RTECs, online encyclopedias, educational content sites, electronic online journals, then searchable databases, and then finally commercial search engines. As a librarian that pays for online encyclopedias and specialized databases for my students, I would prefer they go there first since I chose those resources for them to use but heck, I can’t argue with the hierarchy Mills sets up. Virtual libraries like the Librarians Index to the Internet and The Internet Public Library are the sites I use myself, they are go-to resources for me and I cannot do what I do as a librarian without the digital library resources of the Library of Congress. But the best virtual library in the area belongs to Montgomery County's Springfield School District, thanks to their librarian Joyce Valenza.

I must admit that I do not use all of the professional organizations that Mills mentions in the chapter but I can not live without the National Council of Teachers of English’s website, and the Read-Write-Think website that they sponsor along with the International Reading Association has many resources that I love to use on the SMART Board. My favorite however is Fact Fragment Frenzy. I love to use this site right after students have finished gathering their research material. We watch the tutorial and then we use one of the sample files and pull out the information and make our own sentences, the students love to write on the SMART Board. It is an excellent resource to teach students how to paraphrase and not plagiarize.
While some government resources are great for kids, others are better to use in middle and high school settings. The Regional Technology in Education Consortia is something I need to find more about. The encyclopedias mentioned in the chapter are all excellent resources. Encarta is often provided to schools for free with their paid Microsoft licenses. Pennsylvania’s POWER Library provides resources from the Columbia Encyclopedia, which is also incorporated in the Information Please site. I do often encourage my students to use Information Please because it incorporates an almanac, dictionary, and the Columbia Encyclopedia. I still contend that students are better off when they stick to the resources that their librarians pay for them to use. It will save them from getting frustrated when they can’t read the entire article, or they only get condensed versions of articles like those at Encyclopedia Britannica.
The educational content sites that Mills mentions are better resources for teachers than students. I personally use Discovery School, Education World, the Educator’s Desk Reference, EduScapes, and PBS when I am looking for library lesson material. But I also use Annette Lamb's site. When I need to find journal articles, I must admit that I do not go to the web first. I tend to go first to my university library’s site or my high school library’s online electronic resources. They are paid for, if I go to a website and I find the perfect abstract, sometimes they ask me to pay for the article. I am not a fan of paying for information that I can get free because my library has already paid for the databases.

I feel like I am giving away some of my secrets by mentioning these sites here, and reviewing this chapter in the Mills book. Maybe the teachers in my school will read it and realize I am not the miracle worker they think I am!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Website Evaluation

I found these two PowerPoints on teaching the ABC's of Website Evaluation and the 5W's of Website Evaluation.
I like that these PowerPoints are available on the web. I thought I would share this so my students and those that read this will know that even at the elementary level, where I teach, it is important for students to learn to evaluate the material they use in research projects. :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I don't like games in the library but....

What is a librarian supposed to do? There is a new... maybe it is not new but it is new to me. I found it on the EDUTECH listserve, and for the past few days I have been spending way too much time on the website, Free Rice. Actually, I just found out that the site first went up in October, so I am only a month behind the times! :-)
It may be better for students preparing for the SATs than for elementary students but I would not be able to kick kids off the computer if they were playing this game in the library. It shows a word and gives four choices for what the word means, a synonym of the word, and the words are not easy. You pick the one that most matches the word and if you are wrong, it gives you the correct definition of the word. But, if you are right, you can help feed the world! Yep, for every correct answer you donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. The funding comes from unobtrusive advertising that is on the site. It may not seem like much, 10 grains of rice won't feed a child but after an hour of this addictive game, the grains of rice add up. The site keeps giving you progressively harder words as you get the answers correct, if you get one wrong, it drops you down a level. I am not sure how much rice I donated but being a word-aholic, I am having fun while supporting a good cause!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Twitter…

I Twitter. Twitter is one social network that has caught me up in its clutches. If you are reading this blog you can check out what I have been twittering on the right hand side. I like Twitter. On Twitter I can catch up on friends who are traveling, what technology my librarian friends are playing with, and update the world in as few words as possible. Notice I did not say keep up with my family. The rest of my family uses Pownce. I joined Pownce because of my son. He says Leo LaPorte likes Pownce better but Leo so told his audience that he likes Jaiku better! In fact, Leo mirrors his Jaiku posts to Twitter. In fact, on his Jaiku Leo wonders outloud what will happen to Jaiku now that it is a closed system. But will he then go back to Pownce... nope, in one of his Jaiku posts he says he's headding back to Twitter! He says many of his friends are on Twitter and he misses them. And there it is from Leo's mouth... he's going where his friends are. That is what happens with social networking, we go where are friends are... or in my case where my family is... so if I want to keep up with my family and talk to them I have to go over to Pownce. But I am not getting rid of Twitter. That's where my friends are. So, I can use Twitter for my professional posts, and keeping up with my library friends, and use Powence for family stuff. Works for me.

Happy National Children's Book Week

I must admit I never thought about sharing poetry with my students for Children’s Book Week. Children’s Book Week is this week, November 12th to the 18th. But this is the last year we will be celebrating it in November, at the start of the school year. The Children’s Book Council has been celebrating Children’s Book Week since 1919. Since I became a librarian, I have looked forward to that special time in November when I can celebrate reading with my students with special book marks, a special display of their favorite reads, based on checkout figures from the previous year. However, I have noticed that American Education Week overshadows Children’s Book Week celebrations. Perhaps the Children’s Book Council noticed too because they are changing the celebration of Children’s Book Week to the month of May. So in 2008 we will celebrate Children’s Book Week from 12th-18th of May. That means this school year we will have two Children’s Book Week Celebrations and I could not be happier. We already have a great buy one, get one free book fair scheduled for that week in May and I hope the celebration will always happen during my May book fair. What a better way to celebrate Children’s Book Week than a book fair that gets summer reading materials into kids hands and doesn’t break parents banks? I am very excited that we will be celebrating Children’s Book Week in such a special way in 2008 and I hope it falls the same week as my book fair from now on… wouldn’t that be great?
Now, back to poetry. In the November 2007 Book Links Magazine, Sylvia Vardell has started a new column called Everyday Poetry. In the article Vardell says that Children’s Book Week is a good time to introduce children to poems about reading. Duh… why didn’t I think of that? Of course I always shared school poems but never thought of finding specific poems about reading. So, now I have a lot of work to do searching through my poetry books to find some about reading. This is actually a good thing since the 5th graders are starting looking at alliteration tomorrow. A few poems about reading may be just the ticket to enrich the lesson!
I like Vardell’s idea of using choral poetry reading too, the 5th grade teachers would like to get into podcasting. Choral reading of poetry may be just the ticket to getting the students a little bit of practice behind the microphone before they start their class projects.
I found this on

We wrote Haiku for 3 weeks getting ready for our video-conference with author/poet Mary Quattlebaum, I think my students are ready to do something like the video above. Can't wait to try it! :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Social Bookmarking

Wow... it took me a long time to get back to the subject of tags and social bookmarking. How could I forget about the Creative Commons Social Bookmarking video? This is how I first realized I could make more than one page for different subjects... and grade levels. I did not have to subject my students to the overfilled haze that one of my bookmarking attempts has become. Or, I could use tags for different subjects like Dewey, Library Skills, etc.

Now... for the international perspective on social bookmarking…

I want to use these types of social bookmarking sites with my students but I am still having a problem with tags and clouds. Clouds drive me nuts, I do not see the world in clouds, I see chaos in clouds. However, I understand that all of my students do not learn like I do so, if using clouds will help them, I am willing to try. Tags are also not fun simply because as a librarian I am used to thinking in a controlled vocabulary, it is orderly and I can find things. My tags are numbers; they are called the Dewey Decimal System! Now I am not saying that I use Dewey to tag on social bookmarking sites but I am saying as I have said before that there should be a controlled language for tags because we call things by many different names. What I tag as technology may not be what someone else tags as technology. However, on social bookmarking sites, all of our sites come together under that one tag. The Internet needs librarians or at the least, our students needs librarians who can lead them through the tag cloud.

Catching the Library Wave

More and more librarians are breaking out of the “shhhhhh” mold. As the medium changes librarians have to change. If we don’t we will loose out to the very things our students are embracing. Technology and all it’s trimmings is like an unopened present, waiting for librarians not to just unwrap it but to act like the child in the commercial who gets just the gift he or she wants! Get excited, technology is not the end of libraries; it is the beginning of a new world of librarianship. I am not a traditional librarian, I was a journalist first and research is in my veins. I enjoyed raising my children, only my stay-at-home playground was in Europe, lots of things to see, read, and learn about. I was still researching, just doing it through personal, primary sources. I was starting to think I was the only librarian who had to wait for the technology to catch up before I became one, but now in Ohio I see a kindred spirit. No, I was not a California surfer like Allan Pollchik, unless you count bus tours to Paris, and surfing the Internet. Pollchick like myself entered the library profession as a second or third career. He and I were always librarians; we just had to wait for the field of librarianship to catch up to us, to catch our wave!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Yeah Leopard...

Leopard is wonderful for old PowerBooks. I have a PowerBook G4. Before installing Leopard, Safari would quit for no reason. It was so frustrating. I could never get onto my university blackboard site without the browser quitting; I would give up and use Firefox for my web browser. Not that Firefox is a bad thing.. but I like Safari. Now that I have installed Leopard on my old baby laptop (it is the 12 inch version) my computer has a new life. Yes, it is slow… but it doesn’t crash any more. Putting Leopard on your old Mac may give it a new lease on life and another year or so of life. I am hoping mine lives until the next MacBook upgrade! Go Leopard!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wiki social software or collaborative notebook?

I have several social software sites to which I belong, one or two to share my family photos, two specifically help me keep up with my children and their friends, and some for professional and educational reasons. I also have a wiki and belong to several. In my mind I do not count Wikis as social software but that is just my affinity for compartmentalizing functionality. To me Wikis are great for collaboration and getting information out to the web as fast as possible. Wikis are not for building community, they are for building webpages for sharing information. They can help build community but they are more functional than social.
Social software by its nature is for community building. No one ever accused MySpace of being a collaborative tool for committee work, whereas I know wikis are good for such collaborative efforts. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this video I found while using over the summer.

Ok, so what is It publicizes itself as the world's leading videoblogging and podcasting service. It is a free video sharing service that is still in beta. Of course as I go to today, the beta version seems to be gone, it is in the process of changing it’s name and putting advertising on its videos, but it looks like it is still free, so what’s a little advertising between friends? By the way, the new name for is I liked the name blip better. It was shorter and easier to remember than shortbrain.

Anyway, back to the videos. The wiki video above was done by “The Common Craft Show”. The video above is a simple, easy to understand explanation of wikis and their collaborative nature. The Common Craft Show also has a simple explanation of RSS. It is also on It actually is one of my favorites of the Common Craft Show videos.

How wonderful these videos would be to show to students and teachers to alike. Bravo Common Craft Show!

Welcome to the Ningdom

Ning touts itself as a social network that can be created for anything. Wikipedia says Ning is trying to compete with MySpace and Facebook but appeals more to those who have limited technical skills. Steve Gary, my instructor at St. Joseph’s University, wrote in an email, “Ning is a terrific tool that promotes the development of manageable-size networks. Check my blog for an early post in which I comment upon its value and the possibilities of Classroom (and Library!) 2.0.” I agree with Steve, since Nings revolve around a common purpose, event, or whatever, they tend to have less members and therefore are more manageable. Steve’s blog shows that he understands Classroom 2.0’s appeal to the teacher who wants to use technology but doesn’t know where or how to start. The beauty of the Ning is simplicity and ease of use. I love the Nings I belong to because they are so easy to use and I can spend as little or as much time on the Ning as I want. Here is a video of Steve Haragdon. Steve is the founder of Classroom 2.0. He is talking about Ning...

By the way, the Library 2.0 Ning is geared more toward public librarians. I belong to the Teacher/Librarian Ning. It is geared more toward K-12 librarians. In fact, within the Teacher/Librarian Ning there are subgroups for elementary, middle, and high school librarians. As I explained in my last post, I invited all the members of my graduate class to come along for the Ning ride, move into the Ningdom as it were. It will be excited to see how we interact on the Ning. I hope we don’t forget to add each other as friends and start some interesting discussions. :-)

Classroom 2.0... a Ning for Everyone

I am a new member of Classroom 2.0, the Ning for educators interested in technology.

I sent an invitation to join the Ning to everyone in the Instructional Applications for the Internet class. I thought it would be fun to join the same social network so that we can keep in touch as well as see what others in the field are doing with Nings and things! Hope some of my classmates will consider joining me as we explore the social aspect of the Internet.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Yeah! I have a Website!

I have felt frustrated most of the evening because I have not been able to publish my website to the St. Joe’s site. What a difference a half hour makes. I took the directions for the Mac and got published with virtually no glitches. Of course the website has to be update already but at least the initial publication was completed and I feel fairly certain I can do it again. FTPing and Telnet(ing) into Polaris may not be as difficult as it sounds after all! At least not once I got on a computer where I have permission to do what needed to be done! ☺ Hopefully I am now getting the hang of it!

Tonight was a Tramatic Adventure!

This is being written during class as the others are creating their blogs. The instructor (Steve Gary) said I can use my current blog so, PowerLibrarian will be getting quite a workout as I reflect on all of the applications, software, Web 2.0 utilities, and new Internet tools that I am experiencing during my graduate class “Instructional Application for the Internet.”

After the trauma I suffered earlier in the evening trying to publish and being unsuccessful at publishing my newly created website to the St. Joseph’s University server, it feels great to finally be using a utility I feel comfortable using! By the way, I am passionate about blogging and about this blog. I love writing it and exploring Web 2.0. I love to blog and love having a voice in the Blogosphere!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I realize I am also behind on my LM_Net reading. I usually catch up on the weekend and this weekend there were more LM_Net postings than usual, so I dug in and what I found was that after first starting LM_Net and then leading it for 15 years Peter Milbury and Mike Eisenberg are stepping down and handing over the reins. I have only been on LM_Net for the last 4 or 5 years but it has meant so much to me, especially when I started my first library job 3 years ago. I agree with Doug Johnson who says that LM_Net is the original Read/Write Internet. Peter and Mike were ahead of their time and many other listserves have benefited from the good example of LM_Net. I think the most important part of the announcement this week is that LM_Net is going to continue, and it is a good thing. School librarians are usually alone in their buildings or districts. It can be exhilarating to have that kind of impact on a school but it also can be intimidating with no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to listen to the unique problems of doing the many jobs a library has to do in a single school day. LM_Net listens, understands, and responds. Thanks again Peter and Mike for having the foresight to create a group that has become so special to so many of us.

Digital Divide or Wing Fitting?

Also on my blog reading roll today was “from now on: the education technology journal”. I have been struggling with the terms digital natives and digital newcomers or immigrants. I first heard this term back in 2005 during my library certification classes. I thought it was great at the time buy I have been feeling like the metaphor has been a little overextended of late. I could not put a finger on my uneasiness and then I read Jamie McKenzie’s article: “Digital Nativism
 Digital Delusions 
and Digital Deprivation.” Jamie is the editor of “from now on,” he’s been around education and technology for a while and he hits my frustration, the proverbial nail, right on the head. And I am not even talking about McKenzie’s tirade about video game learning. I think there is something to be said for such learning and we in education are differentiating instruction so much that there may be that group of students that will respond to video game learning, so why not try it? The part that I am especially concerned about is the isolation of children, which McKenzie uses to caption his picture.

“Childhood is shifting inside. Some fear the consequences of sensory deprivation over the long haul with excessive exposure to things digital. A Digital Waste Land is a poor substitute for the rich flavors, smells and touches of the real world. Leading psychologists have signaled their concern in reports like Fool's Gold. FaceBook, MySpace and Second Life are poor substitutes for face to face communities and the playground.”

I for one am the biggest proponent of using the technology we have in the classroom but I do not want it to isolate children. While I still promote technology, I do not want students sitting in front of a computer 24/7 with no human contact. And, if that human contact only comes at school with a teacher, then that is where children should be, in school with a physical, real person guiding them in their use of technology.

Mix this with David Warlick’s new pondering on his 2cents worth blog and we may have a real gem. Warlick likens teaching with Web 2.0 to giving students wings. There is a physical teacher or librarian there guiding them on their journey yet, they are then no longer navigating in a 2D world, adding wings gives a 3D quality to learning. He says we need to prepare our charges for an unpredictable future. He gives a sort of formula for this new learning, “I found this information in this way. This is how I decided that it was valuable. I mixed it with this other information to add this value.” I say “sort of formula” because I do not want to pretend that learning can be boiled down to any one formula. Our learners are diverse and it is my responsibility as a teacher/librarian to help students find the right size and balance for their wings so they can soar with eagles!

Livescribe Smartpen

Just catching up on my blog readings. Wow… was I surprised to read about this new pen on Bernie Dodge’s blog, the One Trick Pony. But then I realized that this was the same pen that was talked about at D5 and was supposed to be out by now. I do want one because if and when this new smartpen from livescribe comes out, it will be great. I am the old fashion type who likes to take notes by hand rather than type through a lecture. (As a former radio journalist, I also like to have my tape recorder going to catch those important quotes!) Last week in my graduate class I tried yet again to type my notes into Google notes during the lecture. I felt like I was disturbing the professor more than I was helping myself but using a pen and paper… I can do that... having that pen be a tape recorder... even better! Still, I was using Google notes in an attempt to cut down on the amount of paper I use. If this smartpen also could use both paper and some type of paperless tablet it may be more appealing to those of us trying to end the paper clutter and save a tree! To extend my pondering on “are bloggers reporters”, if this smartpen lives up to half its hype, bloggers and reporters alike will have no reason to misquote anyone!