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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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