26 November 2009

The Eddies

Nominations for your favorite blogs close on Tuesday, December 8. Be sure to read about the two step process of nominating:
  1. Write a blog post with links to The Edublog Awards Homepage and the sites/blogs you nominate.
  2. Use the form on the Edublog Awards homepage to send the link to your blog post.
Voting ends Wednesday, December 16.

Awards announced Friday, December 18.

Here are my nominations in a few of the categories:

Best individual blog: apophenia by danah boyd

Best individual tweeter: @ShellTerrell (Shelly A. Terrell)

Best group blog: School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids Books

Best resource sharing blog: Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne

Most influential blog post: Things That Keep Us Up at Night by Joyce Valenza & Doug Johnson

Most influential series of tweets and/or Best educational use of a social networking service: #edchat on Twitter by Shelly Terrell, Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson, and Jerry Swiatek, who archives the Twitter #edchat discussions.

Best librarian blog: Not So Distant Future by Carolyn Foote

Best educational wiki: Springfield Township Virtual Library by Joyce Valenza

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11 October 2009

K12 Online Conference 2009

It's almost here!!! The K12Online Conference 2009.

THE DATES of the 2009 K-12 Online Conference: For the past three years, K12Online has taken place in late October. This year, the conference will be held the second and third weeks of December, just prior to the holidays. Week one will be December 7 – 11, 2009, and week two will be December 14 – 18, 2009.
THEME & STRANDS for 2009: This year's theme is “Bridging the Divide” and the four strands, two each week, will be "Getting Started", "Week in the Classroom", "Kicking It Up a Notch", and "Leading the Change". New this year will be “LAN Party” live events on the Saturday following each week of the regular conference in partnership with EdTechTalk.

During the FIRST WEEK Joyce Valenza will keynote the "Getting Started" strand with presentations that will focus on specific, free tools for newcomers. Konrad Glogowski will keynote the "Leading the Change" strand, which will both showcase successful strategies as well as amplify critical issues which must be addressed for innovative learning methods to be adopted by teachers, librarians, and administrators on a more widespread basis.

The "Week in the Classroom" strand during the SECOND WEEK will be keynoted by Rachel Boyd with presentations that will explore how teachers and students are tangibly bridging divides between instructors, learners, classrooms, content, and experts outside the traditional classroom. Diego Leal will keynote the "Kicking it Up a Notch" strand with presentations that will explore innovative ways Web 2.0 tools can be blended together to help students create, collaborate, and share the knowledge safely on the global stage of the Internet. (I was totally surprised to find out that I have been following Mr. Leal on Twitter where he is known as @qadmon.)

There will be 50+ presentations, not counting the keynotes. And, every single one will be available 24/7 as soon as each is published. They will be shared online in a downloadable format and released simultaneously via the conference blog, the conference Twitter account, and the conference audio and video podcast channels.

You can participate in the PRECONFERENCE keynote by Kim Cofino. Find out more here.

K12 Online 2009 will be a great way to begin your professional development. So don't miss out.

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14 August 2009

NECC 2009 Is Over, But Still Lives On

I'm finally through perusing the NECC 2009 schedule to increase my personal learning. If you have some time on your hands, I'd recommend that you glance through the schedule and see what catches your eye. There's a wealth of possible content available from digital storytelling, Moodle, blogs, wikis, SmartBoards, digital portfolios, podcasting, GoogleEarth, cell phones, and on and on.

Or find a session that was recorded. Though, not every session has a video, sometimes there's a url available with valuable resources or you can identify an expert that you can follow on Twitter and/or add a blog to your RSS reader.

Turbo Tagger

13 August 2009

Beating the No U-Turn Syndrome

Doug Johnson gave this presentation, Beating the No U-Turn Syndrome: New Approaches to Copyright Compliance at NECC 2009. Yep, I'm still working my way through NECC's schedule viewing/listening/learning.

Mr. Johnson says that we will end up being confused at a higher level. What he really did was get me to think about copyright, fair use and becoming more consumer oriented. The statement below from his presentation wiki summarizes his purpose better than I can.
Too long librarians have been seen as “copyright cops,” impeding the use of copyrighted materials by students and staff. This presentation suggests we redefine our roles, helping those we serve take maximum advantage of fair use provisions, finding authorities with a “user-centric” view of copyright enforcement, and teaching others to consider not just the legal, but moral side of intellectual property acquisition, use and re-use.
Our focus should be turned around to what can be done, not what can't be done. Don't be afraid to use fair use. He reminds us that guidelines are only "safe-harbor" limits. You don't infringe by using copyrighted materials in teaching, researching, criticizing, or news reporting. The transformative nature of parody, commentary, quoting to trigger discussion, illustrate, or provide examples are not infringement. Making use of multimedia for personal portfolios, class work, or conference presentations are not infringement.

We should push the limits and question authority. Make use of the u-turn assumption that it can be done unless otherwise posted. And think about the "blue laws" of copyright. Blue laws are those laws still on the books, however, they are not enforced because they are so old and obsolete, or they are so violated that they should be taken off the books. Mr. Johnson gives a great list in his presentation and asks us whether or not these uses are something that we want to fight for?

An educator's job is to create thinkers. Let the administrators enforce the laws. Educators should become copyright counselors. "You can't give morals and ethics to others, you can only get others to talk which allows them to clarify their own ethics." And don't become a format bigot.

We should encourage the use of:
  • public domain, copyright friendly, and royalty-free resources.
  • creative commons as a consumer and as a producer so that we can emphathize with creators.
  • discussion to reach an ethical level of comfort when using, creating, and re-mixing content.

The presentation is worth an hour of your time with practical tips to make your job easier. You might want to have the wiki open at the same time you are viewing and listening to the presentation. I found some of the presentation slides on the wiki and was able to read them more easily than those seen on the ISTEVision video presentation.

Turbo Tagger

10 August 2009

Library of Congress Online: A Navigation Guide for Educators

This NECC 2009 session was presented by Gail Petri , a former school library media specialist, now an Educational Resources Specialist at the Library of Congress with Judith Graves, a former ESL teacher, now Digital Projects Coordinator at the Library of Congress. Here's the summary below:
Bring history alive for your students! Learn strategies and quick tips for accessing more than 13 million primary source treasures and teaching resources at http://www.loc.gov/.
What an absolutely amazing wealth of resources: books, manuscripts, maps, motion pictures, sheet music, sound sheets, photos, prints, sound recordings, and other printed texts. Current and archived exhibitions, American Memory, World Digital Library, Veterans History, and legislative information through Thomas are the LOC's major sections. There are multiple ways to search for information, i.e. browse by topic, collection, time period, geographic location, or media type, as well as search terms. Ms. Petri recommended browsing rather than using search terms. The terminology and subject headings can be very specific so browsing helps you drill down in a search more easily.

Ms Petri and Ms Graves guided us through the various sections and areas on the homepage. I would highly recommend listening to the video recording and following along with the powerpoint presentation slides located here. Ms Petri has saved this presentation (GailLOCNavigating.ppt) and a couple others at drop.io , a free site that can be used to share documents online. The powerpoints can be downloaded and used for your own presentations.

Along with the general resources are specially grouped resources for specific groups, i.e. Kids and Families, Teachers, Librarians, and others. Tools are available that teachers can use to learn how to integrate primary documents into lessons. Primary Resource Sets and Collection Connections are just two of the specially grouped resources that are very useful for teachers. A brand new build-it-yourself professional-development tool for teachers called TPS Direct was released during NECC 2009. Read more about it and the Teacher portal here.

There are webcasts, podcasts also available via iTunes U, a blog, and RSS . The Library of Congress can also be found on the Web via Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.

There are so many, many resources it's almost overwhelming. This presentation helps you get a grasp on how to use the Library of Congress. I also found this tips handout.pdf about the Library of Congress. It's very handy to help you locate resources and includes the urls.

A few resources I especially liked are:
What do you find useful at the Library of Congress?
My next step is to check out TPS Direct, the build-it-yourself professional development.
Both photos have Creative Commons license's. The plaque was taken byJonathon Colman and the photo above was taken by Michael Kuroda.

Turbo Tagger

05 August 2009

Top 10 Free Web 2.0 Sites for Educators

Here's another NECC 2009 session by Steve Dembo of Discovery Education , that is very informative. His presentation was recorded by NECC and himself with Livestream . As he explains in his blog post, the NECC production doesn't show the presentation screen until 20 minutes into the presentation. So, I viewed his livestream recording. Skip the first 6:30 minutes, he's just waiting for the audience to file in.

Mr. Dembo's definition of Web 2.0 has three characteristics:

  • totally web-based, with nothing to download.
  • interactive with ability to build, create, tweak, etc.
  • play with others, be mashable and shareable.

Sites that were covered are here. In fact, the link takes you to a ShareTabs that Mr. Dembo created for this presentation with ShareTabs being one of his top 10. Of the ten sites I use two of them on a regular basis, Bloglines and Delicious . Even though I have used Bloglines & Delicious for about three years, I learned something, new for me, from Mr. Dembo's presentation. Both sites play well with others by displaying a link for other subscribers which can be used to find like-minded blogs and bloggers. As does Delicious, however, Mr. Dembo showed a way that you can drill down to specific tags and add them to your RSS aggregator . A great way to build your PLN .

I have heard about or seen four of the other sites (edmoto, Prezi, Livestream, and drop.io). If I was still working, I would investigate edmoto , a site similar to Twitter which is designed for educational use. Mr. Dembo's presentation slides were created in Prezi here. Mr. Dembo's Livestream video is a great example of how you can use a webcam/s to create a video from your browser. I had read about drop.io and thought it was just a site to store documents. It's so much more...stores images, sound, and video. As Mr. Dembo explained, it's a free site to create podcasts (may be the only one left).

I played with JayCut, even blogged about this site here. Since I don't do much with video creation, I don't use JayCut on a regular basis.

Poll Everywhere and Xtranormal were the two sites I didn't know at all. Poll Everywhere , a live audience polling tool, is a way to involve students and use their cell phones in a simple way in the classroom. Xtranormal allows the creation of text to speech animated movies.

Mr. Dembo does a fine job of introducing and demonstrating his three Web 2.0 characteristics for each site on his top 10 list. It's well worth your time to view the Livestream video (69 minutes) and begin your exploration of these free, useful tools.

Turbo Tagger

31 July 2009

Cellphones as Instructional Tools

I attend this webinar which is now free on-demand (60 min.) Panelists discussed the instructional potential and ability to connect students to the Internet using mobile devices. It will only be available until January 21, 2010 at 3:00 PM Eastern standard time.

Guest panelists were Elliot Soloway , professor, School of Information, School of Education, and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan; Cathleen Norris , regents professor in the College of Information, Department of Learning Technologies, University of North Texas; Liz Kolb , education technology instructor, University of Michigan and Madonna University, author, Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education; and Ron Myers, principal, Trinity Meadows Intermediate School, Keller, Texas.

Mr Soloway and Ms Norris discussed the rise of the Mobile Generation and the opportunities that can be used to increase student achievement. Cellphones are mobile and can be used 24/7 in many different locations. Cellphones are personal and immediate, so they increase student engagement in learning. They can be used seamlessly with the right leadership and curriculum integration at a lower cost than 1:1 laptops.

Mr. Myers described a pilot project that took place in his school. He talked about why the project was iniatiated; how the project was conceived, planned, and conducted; and the outcomes.

Ms. Kolb spoke about the practical uses of basic cellphones in the classroom. She gave examples of podcasting, photo posting, and mobile blogging and included suggestions for online tools for each type of use. For more from Ms. Kolb see her presentation during K-12 Online Conference 2007 .
After the presentations were completed, questions and answers were taken from the live audience and also questions submitted before the webinar. Discussion continues on Teacher Magazine's forum.

The webinar was hosted and sponsored by Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Sprint. So, needless to say Sprint had "commercials" or "ads" in the middle and at the end of the webinar. They were not pushy or trying to sell their products, but rather informational about how Sprint could help educational institutions.
Here are some NECC 2009 resources that might also interest you:
  • The Cell Phones ON wiki I discovered while browsing the workshops that took place at NECC 2009. The presentation wiki shows the tools to use for classroom projects using cellphones.
  • Here's a link and video, The Missing Link: Preparing Teachers to Integrate Smartphones Effectively by Ann Cunningham and Kristin Bennett.
  • And another presentation and video, Hello? Cell Phones as Teaching Tools by Tammy Worchester.

The Nokia smartphone photo has Creative Commons license by Khedara Ariyaratne. The cellphones photo has a Creative Commons license by Bill Bradford.

Turbo Tagger

27 July 2009

Teaching 2.0: Challenging the Interactive Generation

Here is another NECC 2009 Spotlight session that I discovered from afar via the ISTEVision Network.
ISTEVision provides daily and nightly news from all over the conference, feature stories, interviews, session and event simulcasts, 2009 video-on-demand sessions, ISTE Webinars, Second Life™ machinima clips, contest winners, and user-uploaded videos from our members and participants.
Not every NECC 2009 session can be found, but a wide selection is available and could keep you busy for weeks if not months.

As I was browsing the schedule I noticed Teaching 2.0... was being presented by Christopher Moersch of LoTi Connection. His name has been mentioned by various edubloggers I follow and I can remember that LoTi was used by my former school district to help assess the use of technology by students and staff. So, then I went to ISTEVision to see if this session had been recorded. And I was in luck.

Mr. Moersch began with some introductory exercises and then went on to compare Teaching 1.0 to Teaching 2.0 and how the use of H.E.A.T. (i.e. Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authenticity, and Technology use) would help achieve Teaching 2.0, higher LoTi levels, and higher student achievement. He discussed different criteria and strategies to determine which Web 2.0 technologies would best serve Teaching 2.0, higher LoTi, and student achievement. And finally, he explained a four step implementation plan.

The fact that made me take notice of this presentation is that for the past eight years the national LoTi Level has remained constant at Level 2-Exploration. That seems very low, considering it is only one step above Awarness. And there are five higher levels: Level 3-Infusion, Level 4a-Mechanical Integration, Level 4b-Routine Integration, Level 5-Expansion, and Level 6-Refinement. What Mr. Moersch discusses convinces me (already a member of the choir) that teachers need to have the time to develop teaching methods, lessons, and tools which do bring the H.E.A.T.

When you watch/listen to the video, you might also want to have the powerpoint slides available for reference. This LoTi Guy Speaks blog post lists all of the research articles and includes the website links referenced by Mr. Moersch in his presentation.

Turbo Tagger

24 July 2009

Library Learning Tools Smackdown

Another great session at NECC 2009 was Library Tools Smackdown: A Sharing Session for Teacher-Librarians. Joyce Valenza , Cathy Jo Nelson, Karen Kleigman, Wendy Stephens, and Keisa Williams shared their best library-tech finds with the group in the following categories:

The participants were asked to BYOL and to share their most effective tools on the session wiki. On it you will find the Cover It Live blog and a video of the presentation. The video doesn't show the presentation screen very well, but the audio is clear and allows one to listen to the presentors comments while reading the blog and examining the links on the session wiki.

The links at the top of the left column of the session wiki include the tools that the presentors highlighted, audience additions, and twitter ids. Then links to AASL's innaugural Best Websites and Landmark Websites for Teaching and Learning Awards. Then come a series of links that appear to be entire wikis with basic information about the type of tool and examples. Some of these links were sessions that occurred elsewhere during NECC 2009. Lastly, additional participant sharing of tools and resources are found in the Rows#. One can get lost examining all of the content that is available through the session wiki. Look for the library tools smackdown symbol (on the right) to help keep track of your location.

My suggestion is to pick one category and/or type of tool and explore. Or, if you are already competent using tools in a category, share your tips and examples on the session wiki. Or, follow some of the presentors or participants on Twitter.

Take the time to learn and share and use these resources as your personal learning network.

Turbo Tagger

18 July 2009

SIGMS Forum: The School Library 2.0 and Beyond

ISTE's SIGMS sponsored a forum at NECC 2009, The School Library 2.0 and Beyond. This event was videotaped and is available here. The panelists gave presentations about their view of how Web 2.0 will influence the future of school libraries. The audience was asked to collaboratively explore a challenge related to each panelist's presentation. A presentation wiki has links and other resources for each panelist AND since the forum was participatory, the audience was then prompted to add their suggestions for solving the challenge on the presentation wiki. (see the links for the tables on the wiki)

The forum began with the announcement of ISTE's Media Specialist Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Follett Software to an elementary, middle, and high school LMS and teacher. (about 12 min.)

The four panelists and their challenges were:

The forum took almost 120 minutes, but it's worth your time. Keep in mind that each panelist spent 12-18 minutes with 10 minutes for audience participation afterwards. So, roughly, there's about 80 minutes of hard content.

I really enjoyed Cathy Jo Nelson. I follow her on twitter and I thought she was personable and down to earth. Her presentation was easy to understand and included examples that I could relate to. Many tables responded to her challenge but tables 18, 23, and 25 answered only her questions. Her Wiki Spaces for Professional Development has a wealth of resources and presentations that she has developed.

Christopher Harris' presentation really made me think about the role of libraries and LMS'. Becoming more involved in development by using API's and moving towards a mobile platform will insure that school libraries will have a virtual presence where the students are already located.

MaryFriend Shepard is an educator, though, the only panelist without a library background. As a part of her presentation she shared a wiki that has been developed by her grad students. (It was also the basis for another NECC 2009 presentation, Powerboost Your Lessons with Wikis.) The wiki is a great learning tool. It gives instructions on how to embed various applications into Wikispaces.

I would recommend viewing the video and also having the wiki open. That way you can open the panelist's presentation while the video plays. The screen is sort of small and in some cases it's easier to read text from the presentation link. For those of you who will view the video, during the 3 (10 minute) audience participation time periods, you should check out these tables: 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 29, and 30. They all made comments for at least two of the panelists, but many for more.

Turbo Tagger

13 July 2009

"EduBloggerCon 2009" from afar

I was a virtual lurker at the NECC conference held June 28- July 1, 2009. However, the conference really started the day before with EduBloggerCon.

Since I have never attended NECC or EduBloggerCon I wasn't too sure what happens that day. I kept hearing that EduBloggers meet up and talk. I had heard about the Web 2 Smackdown, but that was only a 45 minute session in a day-long event. I didn't realize that I could have attended the event as it was happening via Elluminate. So I've been looking at EduBloggerCon's wiki and reading the information available there. The wiki did have a nice list of blog posts by attendees, however, you now have to go to Technorati's search for edubloggercon. Lots more to go through now. I did find a blog post by Alice Mercer here which gave me some background information that was very helpful. After reading Alice's thoughts about the sessions she attended and reviewing her CoverItLive blogging I began to understand the happenings at EduBloggerCon.

The is an event attended by educational bloggers and members of the EduBloggersWorld ning. Anyone can participate, even those who are not technology gurus.

The only qualifications needed to participate in our community are;
a desire to improve teaching and learning,
a desire to improve community among educators worldwide, and
a connection with blogging is desireable, be it past, present or future.

The event is, basically, a venue for conversation. Not just any conversation, but those that are designed to share best practices or explore a problem. Leading questions are suggested like these. Anyone can volunteer to lead a discussion about a topic of interest. Here are the discussions that took place. (Scroll down below the picture)

The Web 2 Smackdown 2009 was a session with lots of great information! There is a UStream.tv video that shows the presentors from a distance with the moderator walking in and out of view. The audio portion is great, though. I found that I could listen and view the CoverItLive blog at the same time. Of course, that was after I found an absolutely wonderful blog post by Scott McLeod here with all the people and tool/s presented. It goes really fast and the live blogging doesn't always keep up with the audio. So I had the video playing, read the CoverItLive blog, and referred to Scott's post as needed.

  • I thought that FreshBrain's Virtual Summer Technology Camp offered free to anyone was a great find. There are 8 different paths with learning activities that can take 1/2 - 2 days to complete. Check it out now, cause it's only available until August 14th.
  • I really like the idea of Woot. It's an online store, however, they sell only one item a day until it's sold out.
  • The K-12 Online Conference 2009 will take place in December instead of October. And something new this year will happen on the Saturday following each week The presentations will be played live on UStream.tv and EdTechTalk will provide a backchannel discussion forum.
  • Keep iTunes library on external hard drive was very helpful.

There were 19 people that participated in the Smackdown and I only mentioned a few that I found interesting. Check it out for yourself and see what catches your interest.

If I was still an active teacher librarian, I would definitely attend ISTE & EduBloggerCon 2010 It's in Denver next year, June 26-30th.

Turbo Tagger

21 June 2009

Social Media Specialists

I attended the webinar, Is There a Place for Media Specialists Who Don't Know Social Media? It was hosted by Steve Hargadon at a session of The Future of Education. I learned about the webinar through Joyce Valenza's NeverEndingSearch blog. She along with Carolyn Foote, Buffy Hamilton (The Unquiet Library), and Cathy Nelson began a discussion which orignally started within Twitter. The Twitter link goes to Karl Fisch's blog post compiling all of the Twitter discussion.

These were the questions Joyce and the other panelists hoped to cover:
  • How does a librarian use social media in practice? for professional development? with learners? faculty?
  • What specific social networking tools do you use and how do you use them?
  • How does social networking reflect/support our standards?
  • Can you be relevant without understanding the new tools?
  • What do these new tools mean to library big concepts? (information ethics, intellectual freedom, access to information, evaluation, collection, interacting with information sources, communicating with users/learners, contributing as digital citizens, etc.)
  • How does social media change the way we present our services and instruction online?
  • Do we need to retool our profession?

Needless to say in a one hour session, coverage of these questions was brief, allowing only a tempting taste. The 4 panelists collaboratively created a wiki which contains background resources and links to the panelists blogs. The Elluminate session links are available to review if you're interested here. At one point there were 90+ participants. The chat was just as valuable as the presentation slides and the audio. Obviously, the profession should be retooling.

The best thing to come from this webinar will be the opportunity to participate in similar discussions on a monthly basis. Steve Hargadon suggested the need of media specialists to communicate on a regular basis. Many agreed with him. So... watch for more webinars to occur through The Future of Education ning.

On a personal note, I already subscribe to Joyce and Buffy's blogs and follow Cathy and Steve on Twitter. Now I have two more contacts to add to my Personal Learning Network, Carolyn Foote and Karl Fisch.

07 June 2009

New Way to Communicate Coming!

I have been reading and viewing information about one of Google's latest projects, Google Wave.

Google Wave has been created by the two brothers who created Google Maps, Lars and Jens Rasmussen.

What is Google Wave?

  • Google Wave is REAL TIME. Anyone using the same wave will be able to see edits and modifications as they are happening.

  • Google Wave is COLLABORATION to the max... anyone anywhere can add and/or edit content, add additonal participants at any point in the process, have private conversations as needed with one or more participants, and the playback feature (so cool) allows one to catch up with the conversation and/or see who has made those additions or edits. And remember all of this activity takes place in real time.

  • This collaboration allows real time conversation and collaboration with text, images, photos, maps, video, etc.

  • The spell check is out of this world!!! Not only does it automatically correct incorrect typing or you are given a choice when it's not sure, but, it also understands context! It will automatically fill in or change the incorrect word, i.e. which and witch, etc.

  • Files can be dragged and dropped into a wave. (really, really cool!)

  • A real time automatic translator, Rosy, is available for 40 different languages which will allow easier and quicker global communication.

  • Waves can be embedded into a blog or website to allow for real time conversation.

  • Waves can also integrate with other communication apps, like Twitter. They already have developed Twave so that both apps are interactive. (Like FriendFeed's ability to post to Twitter and vice versa.)

  • Wave can be used on mobile devices.

Since Google Wave has been developed with open source code (API's) anyone will be able to develop and create mashups with extensions. Extensions are similar to iGoogle's gadgets. The developers encourage others to begin using the API's to create more and better ways to use Google Wave.

The bad news is that Google Wave has not been released to the general public yet, but is supposed to be later in 2009. You can sign up to be contacted here.

I highly recommend that you watch the Google Wave Developer video embedded below. It lets you meet the developers who demonstrate the many features of Google Wave. (The YouTube links above are taken from the full length developer video.)

01 June 2009

Stimulate This Library!: Accessing ARRA Funding

I recently attended this School Library Journal webcast to learn more about the ARRA funds that will be available soon for school libraries. The presentors were very knowledgeable. Emily Sheketoff from ALA's Washington Office and Vic Klatt, VP of Van Scoyoc, gave detailed information about the funding and how it can be used. Ann Martin, AASL's President, suggested ways to acquire and use the funds.

ALA's Know Your Stimulus site and federal government site provide more information about ARRA and other resources.

All three of the presentors emphasized the need to advocate for these funds at the state and district/school level. They will not be automatically be distributed to school libaries. LMS' need to get out the word about how the funds will add to the achievement of students in their building. If you need to find out how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can help you in your school library program, you need to view/listen to this webcast.

School Library Journal's webcasts are archived for one year here. (In case you'd like to access any of the other webcasts.)

28 May 2009


is a group of strategists, designers and technologists passionate about creating compelling web applications. And boy, have they created an awesome tool, Readability. Read more and watch a short video about this browser bookmarklet here. Readability's setup page allows you to select the style, size of font, and margin width to customize what you read on the Internet. It removes all the columns, ads, and extra stuff that appear on a webpage.
Here's an example. The color and style of print is hard to read, right?
Now take a look. Below I chose novel style, medium size, and medium margins.
This tool is great for my aging eyes, however, it's a great tool for students too. It will allow the reader to concentrate on the content and gets rid of distractions.

Turbo Tagger

16 May 2009

Learning Commons

I'm not sure why I haven't been blogging...into Twitter/Friendfeed??? Well, anyway, I'm back.

I attended a webinar, Transform the School Library into a Learning Commons, presented by David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin. Awhile back I also participated in a AASL-ISTE SIGMS learning community meeting in Second Life where David Loertscher facilitated a discussion about the learning commons concept.

In the webinar, David and Carol began with a history of school libraries and how they have changed. Isolated librarians have become collaborators, co-teaching, and participating in learning partnerships. Inquiry and learning literacies are now part of the program with flexible scheduling and "just in time" teaching taking place. Print materials have been joined by many other forms of media.

The presenters discussed what schools need in the 21st century:
  • Learners who are Engaged
  • Classrooms that Foster Student Achievement
  • Specialists with Access to Teachers and Learners
  • Principals who Promote School Improvement

They compared two models: Microsoft's "if we build it, they will come" or Google's "if they build it, they will use it". The user-centered Google model is the basis of the learning commons concept. Client-centered commons that exist in both the physical and virtual realms.

Virtual learning commons that allow conversations and collaboration, built by everyone (teachers and staff, students, community), and available 24/7/365. Learners build their own information spaces for personal and group use within the school setting and also globally in the community and world.

Physical learning commons encompass an open commons and an experimental learning center.

The open commons will: be flexible, mobile and portable; be wireless; be comfortable and stimulating; include books and other resources and computers; include networking spaces and tools; include productivity spaces and tools; celebrate learning and exhibit exemplary learning experiences; provide individual, small and large group areas; have its own calendar; provide "office" space for specialists; and become the cultural center of the school.

The experimental learning center will: be a neutral area that is safe for risk-taking; nurture new teachers; provide professional development; conduct action research; initiate school improvement

Learning Commons Characteristics

  • Sense of ownership
  • Place to create, collaborate, exhibit, think, and learn
  • Flexible
  • Active Learning
  • Change is the norm

The webinar is available here. (requires Windows Media Player to view. Mac users may have to move to a windows machine to view.) The book, The New Learning Commons Where Learners Win: Reinventing School Libraries and Computer Labs by David V. Loertscher, Carol Koechlin, and Sandi Zwaan is supplemented by the School Learning Commons Discussion Wiki. The wiki includes a link to the webinar's powerpoint presentation slides as well as discussion questions, resources and connections.

20 January 2009

Eisenberg's SL Learning Community Mtg

Mike Eisenberg was the facilitator in this evening's AASL-ISTE SIGMS virtual learning community in Second Life. He led a discussion on 'The Crisis Facing School Libraries and Librarians" and how to survive shrinking budgets and staffing cuts.

His main focus is a return to the functions of the library media program which need to be tied to the curriculum and assessments of the school. The library media program (and he emphasized that the word library needs to be used) needs its own curriculum and assessments. The professional is a teacher not support staff. A vision statement is an essential starting point. (He diss'd the AASL Learning Standards as being incomprehensible and lacking a vision statement.)

The 3 functions of LMC program are information literacy learning, reading advocacy, and information management. The program should be directly connected to the school's priorities, goals and objectives, assessments, and document the program's effectiveness.

Some of his statements caused a flurry of discussion:
  • Collaboration is a means not an end,
  • Avoid isolation,
  • Coordinate and manage information literacy for the entire school,
  • You can be an effective teacher librarian without a "library".
  • The online catalog is becoming almost irrelevant,
  • Print reference collections are obsolete.
  • Forget about selecting and cataloging books. Use ASE's (article search engines) like EBSCO or Proquest.

He suggested creating advisory groups including administrators, teachers, parents, and students to determine which of the 3 functions is essential and then concentrate on that function.

Slides and notes will be available here and on this wiki shortly.

03 January 2009

Free Technology for Teachers

I found a great blog for resources that teachers can use that I highly recommend while I was checking out the 2008 (More about the Eddies below.)

The winner for best resource sharing blog is Free Technology for Teachers. It's concise format is A+ for teachers. Richard Bryne gives a summary about an online tool and then suggests how teachers can use the resource in their classrooms. In this post, he explains that he has written 1000 blog entries in 2008. Wow! And I thought I was doing well with 44. I'm retired and I don't know where he finds the time to locate and write about all those tools. Great job, Richard!!!

Since I added the blog to my Google Reader, I have even more tools added to my Delicious ExploreLater tag.

Exploring the 2008 Edublog Award winners and the full slate of nominees for each category would be an excellent way to find other resources and best practices. Whether you're a teacher, librarian, technology integrator, etc. I'm sure that you will find a great edublogger to follow.

01 January 2009

Dating Posts

Can you believe that I've been using Blogger for a year and a half and I didn't know how to change the date of a blog post??? Duh...

I finally went to the Help section and found the answer here.

What a handy use to know about. Now, if I have lots of time to write several posts, I can, and I also have the ability to publish the posts automatically when I want. Cool!!
Happy New Year's Learning!

Adrian Clark No Derivative Works