Thursday, May 26, 2011

NBSLS Librarian of the Year Award

This past Tuesday I was honored to receive the School Librarian of the Year Award from Nassau BOCES School Library System. The award was presented by my Superintendent, Dr. Jack Bierwirth. Below is my acceptance speech.

Thank you so very much! I am absolutely honored to receive this award, the award my kids call “The biggest nerd” award.  I want to especially thank Nassau BOCES School Library System, Eva Efron, my Superintendent, Dr. Jack Bierwirth, Dr. Deirdre Hayes, my Assistant Superintendent, my Principal, Liz Guercin, and my fellow Herricks Elementary librarians, MaryEllen Guarini and especially Anne Brusca, who started out as a protégé, and now is a superstar and my partner in crime. Also, Noel Forte, our technology integration facilitator. Together, she and I run the best research program. I also need to thank all the little students....that make me wake up in the morning glad to go to work. Most mornings, anyway.

How did I end up here - today - receiving this award? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was working as a kindergarten TA in Watson School in RVC. OK - it was 16 years ago. My principal, Ralph Campanella, pulled me into his office one day and said that he was putting me into the library the following year. He thought “I would be perfect for that position.” I was devastated. I begged him not to do it. It was the last place I wanted to be! I did NOT want to spend my day stamping books and putting them on the shelves. Not only that, I was going to be seeing classes on the days the librarian wasn’t there. The next year, there I was, running a library and not having a clue about what I was doing. But, some of my teacher friends said to me, “You are good at this! You should go back to school and get your masters!” I laughed at them. But, eventually, the anxiety about doing something that I didn’t feel qualified for got to me, and I enrolled at C.W. Post.

My very first course was with a professor named Bea Baaden. Many of you have taken classes with her.  Bea is one of a few key people in my career that have had an impact on the kind of librarian I am today. Bea taught me how to be a TEACHER-LIBRARIAN - and I am deeply grateful for that.

There were others along the way that had a lasting influence on me. I need to thank my first principal at Searingtown School - Nancy Lindenauer. Nancy was the kind of principal that would come up to you and give you a hug and a kiss for no apparent reason. She would leave notes in your mailbox that said “Do you know how wonderful you are?” She encouraged and supported me to ‘go for it’. She allowed me to become confident in my abilities. And I will always, always be grateful to her.

I also need to thank my mentors from my educational technology masters program, especially Dr. Bette Schneiderman. The TEAM program taught me to be a constructivist. To think outside of the box. To tap into my creativity and to be a passionate educator.

The theme this year for our liaison meetings has been advocacy. So, I hope you don’t mind if I address advocacy for a moment.

The other night I attended the LISMA dinner and had the opportunity to chat with some of you here today. Unfortunately, I heard many stories of doom and gloom in our respective libraries. Unfortunately, across the country, there is a plethora of horror stories - most recently from Los Angeles, where dozens of librarians were summoned to the basement of a downtown building to defend themselves and the profession at a makeshift courtroom. They were questioned by school-district attorneys who were attempting to prove that teacher-librarians are not teachers.

Across the nation, and right here on Long Island, it’s starting to feel like bad reality TV. One day you are an AMERICAN IDOL, the next day you are in HELL’S KITCHEN, or even worse, THE BIGGEST LOSER. Some of us have found ourselves on SURVIVOR.

We are being asked to “share the pain” and to make do with less or no help. Or to manage multiple libraries. Some of us have found ourselves on THE APPRENTICE and have heard the dreaded words, “You’re fired.”

Things are tough out there, and it is very tempting for all of us to become ambivalent as we try to hang on to our library programs. The bottom line is that many of our programs are being chiseled away, bit by bit. We are being told to do more with less. Or being told to just do less.

And you know, it’s not just about the budget cuts. We know that it’s not just the library programs that are being affected. We know this is happening in every area of education.

But, I think for school librarians, a huge factor is the misconceptions about the vital role teacher-librarians play. Or should I say, the vital role our programs play. So, it is all about perception.

So many think that our libraries are just warehouses of books. I’ll never forget some years ago when a teacher said to me after a lesson, “Just read to them, dear, that’s all you have to.”

And although I am so honored to receive this award, I like to think that the award isn’t about ME, but rather about the program I have worked so hard to build in my school.

Here’s what WE know:

~We know that today information is free range and that it comes in many different containers.

~We know that our students are hyperconnected and to them, change is status-quo.

~We know that today we live in a world of collective intelligence.

~We know that WE are the ones that are teaching the skills to navigate, process, evaluate, synthesize, sift, and mix, re-create, and contribute new thoughts.

Now more than ever it is integral to make sure that we are not the ONLY ones who know that.

So, make sure your libraries are NOT just book warehouses. Make them places of transformative questions. As David Warlick says,

Think about how you can make your library “respond” - how can you make it “talk back?”

Think about how your library can become a place of  questions - not just answers.

Think about banning silence, and instead, provoke conversation. Make your library a place where learners exchange knowledge. Dare your students to make mistakes and feed the learning dialog.

And be transparent about it. Find the time to share what goes on in your library. Make a wiki, make a website, maintain a blog, publish newsletters -- do whatever it takes, because, now, more than ever, we have to change the misconceptions.

There’s a Simpson’s poster called the “Deep Thoughts of Homer Simpson” in which he says, “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.” I don’t have to tell you that what we do everyday for students is so worth doing.

Stay active in the field. Go to LISMA meetings and liaison meetings. But don’t just stay local--go to conferences! We need to hear from the movers and shakers in our field. Can’t afford it? Just go on twitter. You will hear everything that you need to hear. Use social media, folks. Because of social media, my close professional friends are now Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, and in fact, the entire AASL listserv!  And I learn so much from them. And the discourse is amazing.

I know for some of us, we are just trying to hold on by our fingertips. We are being asked to re-envision our programs with less help, less money, and for some of us, many more students. We are being asked to look into a crystal ball and state what the program will be under new and difficult circumstances. I have been trying to do this myself and I can tell you it is a very difficult challenge. How will we make it work?

School Librarians are a different breed of teacher. And it is probably the opposite of the public perception of who we are. Because I know that most people think that just because we put our books on the shelves in dewey decimal order, it means that we, too, are rigid, systematic and organized. I don’t know about you, but that’s not me. We are circuitous thinkers because we know there is not necessarily a straight line to an answer.

As librarians, we are responders and reactors. We think on our feet. We come up with creative solutions. We juggle many roles to meet the needs of the entire school community.  And we love to do it. And those needs don’t all fit neatly in it’s special place on the bookshelf.

So, today it’s not an easy task to articulate how we will make it work next year with less. Because it is not in our nature to cut back our services, to be of less help, to care less. On the contrary, it IS our nature to want to give more, to guide, to motivate, to watch a child’s eyes sparkle when we open their minds to new ideas. Worrying about how the books will get back on the shelf is not what we want to or need to be figuring out. And it’s sad that for many of us, these are the things that keep us up at night.

So, I say, don’t just be a ‘survivor’ - because I know you are all superheroes. And this may really be the time that you have to draw upon your super powers. But do it. It won’t be easy. But do it. And advocate for your program. I know there are only so many hours in a day. But do it. No excuses. No whining. As Tom Hanks said in “A League of Their Own,” “there’s no crying in baseball!” Well, we are in the World Series right now. There’s no time for crying --OK, take a little time to cry--I did--- but then get back up and give it your all.

My husband always says to people, “I don’t understand what Karen does, but she is damn good at it.” Make sure that everyone knows how important you are to those students. What we do has value.

Make sure that you are not the only one who knows what a library in the 21st century is. Don’t keep it a secret. Sometimes it’s not comfortable to say “look at me” - but you are not saying that, you are saying “look at the value of my program.”

Last, I don't want to forget to give a big thank you to my husband and my 2 wonderful kids, who have to put up with a lot, especially when I zone out on my computer.

And thank you again for this award. I am truly thrilled to receive it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shout It Off the Rooftop!

I am not a "look at me" kind of person - that being said, I have to stop and write about what an incredible couple of months November and December have been for me. I need to memorialize this, cause I am so busy all the time and I want to stop and really think about what I have accomplished. Let me start out by saying that 2009 was horrible. I had surgery and missed a half a year of school. I gained a lot of weight and was all around miserable. Now flash foward to the start of the 2010/11 school year.

First, I lost the weight, which for me was a big accomplishment. I'm by no means skinny (LOL), but I am at least comfortable in my own skin. OK, enough about that.

More important - In November I was invited to the SLJ Leadership Summit in Chicago. That was such an honor. I came back from that so inspired. I loved hanging around with superstar librarians and others - like Wendy Stephens, Joyce Valenza, Cathy Nelson, Gwyneth Jones, Rocco Staino, and Kathy Parker. I learned a ton about ebooks and ereaders. I even found $200 in cash on the floor of the hotel and apparently donated it to School Library Journal.

Also in November - I was asked to teach a course at the graduate library school at Long Island University next Fall. I wrote a mini-grant to get NookColors for my library and another to get 7 iPads for my school. Haven't found out yet about the NookColors. We are getting the iPads and I am happy I was part of making that happen!

In December I found out that my application was selected to participate in Project Enable in Syracuse this summer, along with Adam Dugger (gen ed teacher) and Amy Thomas (special ed teacher) in my school. We are representing our area for elementary.

I also applied to BrainPop to beta test integrating BrainPop with Google Apps for Education. Our school was selected. This is an awesome opportunity and I expect some good-looking BrainPop swag (hahaha). Seriously, though, there will be a benefit to the district. My Google Certified Teachers Group is the most fabulous network and the opportunities that come through it are amazing! I also have a great partner at work, Noel Forte, our tech integration facilitator, who is always open to diving into new opportunities in a very calm, organized way. We make a good couple.

I also was invitited to give a Google workshop in Florida by the Northeast Florida Library Network and will be giving a 2-day workshop in January to the Southwest Florida Library Network. And yesterday I started teaching a professional development course on Google Apps in my district. Oh, and did I mention that my fabulous father bought me an iPad for Chanukah, because he "is so proud of what I have accomplished." I am a very grateful daughter.

Yesterday I found out that my proposal to ISTE 2011 was accepted. What a way to end the year! I have to be honest that I am a teeny bit nervous about presenting to the big guns, but I have learned so much from them, it's my turn to give back to our school library network! They have scheduled me for Wednesday afternoon, which is not so great, but, whatever! I'm just thrilled to have this opportunity.

Like I said when I started, I don't like "look at me" - but then I was thinking about it, and as a school librarian, we can't be shy about shouting out about what we accomplish. We need to let the world know, we need to let our principals and administrators know. We do great things. We need to shout it off the rooftops!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gotta Love It

With all of the media bashing of school librarians lately, I had a week at work that kindled my spirit. It was a crazy, busy week - and I am drained - yet, ultimately, it was amazingly rewarding. The week started with writing two grants - 1 for iPads and 1 for NookColors. When we get those grants (and we will get the iPad one for sure) - I will know that I had a hand in bringing new technology to our school. That makes me feel good.

Yesterday I introduced my fifth grade classes to our new project - one based on the Picturing America artwork that my library received from the NEH grant. We started with a great lesson I found in Library of Congress on Analyzing Visual Images. It was totally a higher order thinking lesson (my favorite kind!) and it was just cool to see their brains open up as we made our way through the lesson. In the morning, before they came, I hung up a lot of the artwork in the hallway - and it got people talking.

One part of the lesson was analyzing an Ansel Adams photograph of Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp for Japanese-American citizens during WWII. We spoke about the historical context of the photo, the perspective, emphasis, and message of it.

Later that day, after school, my Book Bunch Club met. Here's what was cool: one of my 5th grade girls was so moved by the story of the internment camp that she asked me to help her find a book about it. I pointed her to Weedflower, a fantastic historical fiction book. Connection! Gotta love it.
Even better was hearing the kids in the club talk about how much they love to read and how happy they were that we were meeting. I don't know, it just made me feel good to listen to them chat with each other about books they love, about being able to meet like this. 10 year olds. Gotta love it.

Finally, I find myself being pulled into advocacy on a more intense level, lately, through my local and national library networks. I am glad. But I also feel like I am spreading myself very thin. Very. And when I come home from work I am spent. I am beta testing for Capstone, Google Apps/BrainPop. I am teaching professional development and developing syllabi for Library graduate school. Not to mention the million other things I do at work. I love it - but I am tired.

One more thing, if anyone knows any school on Long Island who is looking for a GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, please let me know! My daughter needs a job! Seriously!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Steps to take now for our schools- What Were You Thinking, Bernstein??

I just sent this letter to the editor to Newsday, regarding Marc Bernstein's (Superintendent of the Valley Stream Central High School District) Opinion Piece in yesterday's newspaper. I don't know if they will publish my response, but I will publish it here:

Superintendent Marc Bernstein says, "Other avenues to explore, especially when evidence is lacking, this Internet age, eliminating the antiquated requirement that all high schools have at least one full-time librarian and a minimum number of books." I say, the only thing that is antiquated is Mr. Bernstein's view of school librarians and the function of school libraries! School libraries are not simply warehouses; they are knowledge portals, manned by highly qualified educators who teach digital citizenship, inquiry, critical reading, evaluation, comprehension, analytical skills, collaboration, and creativity. We are, in fact, literacy leaders, teaching students the skills they need in a world where information is available across all kinds of platforms. In the "Internet age" that Mr. Bernstein speaks of, it is more important than ever to teach students how to seek and search for information. They might be very savvy with technology, but they don't necessarily know how to evaluate. The explosion of online resources demands that there is a teacher with expertise in technology and information-gathering (librarians) to guide students through the maze. We know how to let content spill outside of our libraries, into classrooms, and into students' lives wherever they may be. Our teaching focus is on enhancing literacy and encouraging critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoned decision-making - essential 21st century skills that students need now more than ever!

Buffy J. Hamilton, high school librarian, writes in her blog, The Unquiet Librarian, "...President Obama In October of 2009, issued an official proclamation celebrating and affirming the importance of information literacy with the declaration of National Information Literacy Awareness Month. In this proclamation, he stated,

Our Nation’s educators and institutions of learning must be aware of — and adjust to — these new realities. In addition to the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, it is equally important that our students are given the tools required to take advantage of the information available to them. The ability to seek, find, and decipher information can be applied to countless life decisions, whether financial, medical, educational, or technical.

How do you think students can become informationally fluent in the absence of rich, current, and diverse collections in their school libraries or appropriate access to digital content? How can we as a nation provide students the instruction needed to help students cultivate “the ability to seek, find, and decipher information” without fully funded libraries staffed by highly qualified, certified school librarians?"

Obviously, Mr. Bernstein does not support his school librarians and the integral role they play in educating students about information and digital literacies. Perhaps if he educates himself about the role we play as educators, he would change his opinion.

Monday, June 28, 2010

ISTE10 Will Richardson: How Teaching Social Networks Might Save the World

It's been a long time since I blogged... today should make up for that! I am at ISTE10 and will live-blog some of the super thoughts that Will Richardson will share with us.
Here are my notes:

Will is working off an iPad - oh do I want one! Links to preso:

Gulf oil disaster--> it's hard not to look at pictures of it and not ask how can we help? For most of us it's a matter of donating money and good wishes. What can we do? How do we participate? How do we DO SOMETHING????? There are facebook groups that have been put together to share resources and give each other support. These groups are probably blocked at our schools - kids would have to participate on their own. Big on twitter, too. The point is over the last 10 years, these types of social interactions are changing the landscape in a lot of different ways. Must visit - they are livestreaming from the gulf. There are technologies and ways to come together that just weren't around 10 yrs. ago.

This is a challenging moment no matter how you look at it. Should we go to Deepwater Horizon oil spill page on Wikipedia: yes, it is the most current and unbiased information on the spill. We can learn outside of school, that makes school look less relevant for our kids because we have this ability to connect around our passions. These are important moments --defining moments in history - a defining shift. We have to solve the education problem before we can solve the environmental problem. There are all sorts of resources that we are not modeling for our kids in schools. Doesn't matter what the topic is, if you are not feeling uncomfortable, then you are not paying attention - what is our role as teachers and educators?

Will became a vegetarian because of ecological reasons, not health reasons. His way of trying to pay attention to the environment. Blogging has been transformative in Will's life - he can participate in ways he never had before, a voice to the world. Small attempt to change his world.

Will is showing his clustrmap and what he really wants is his kids to have a clustrmap like that too. This is what kids need - a different classroom then the school classroom. Educators have to help kids understand what these global interactions mean. Teach kids to connect around their passions and then become part of something bigger than themselves.

MacArthur report says teens are using 'friendship-based' tools, but a growing movement towards 'interest-based' around their passions and meeting people they don't know. This is the stumbling block we get to: kids are connecting to adults they don't know - we say 'oh no, that's not a good thing; but what we have to say is "it IS a good thing." Students don't undertstand the skills and literacies that go along with this - not getting it necessarily from teachers and parents. How can we MODEL those interactions (tech/librarians listen up!). Steven Johnson: "There is no doubt that five years from now, when my kids are teenagers, they will be comfortable living in public ways that will astound and alarm thier parents."

4 books that have influenced Will:

1. Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken

2. Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

3. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirkey**

4. Tribes by Seth Godin - we have everything we need to build something bigger than ourselves and this is what we should do.

This is a compelling, different moment in time that we are in right now. Social technology is an opportunity that has not been in our context before; it's speed and creativity; put up a basement video on youtube and it can go viral. "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See" on YouTube has gone viral over 7,5000,000 views - created by a physics teacher, led to him writing a book, "What's the worst that could happen?"

"There have always been networks of powerful people, but until recently it has never been possible for the entire world to be connected-Paul Hawken. "For kids, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades."

How are we as schools to be those problem solvers?? We have to give them opportunities to solve problems in the classroom first. Examples of students taking initiative to solve problems on thier own.

"25 Days to Make A Difference" blog - kid made her efforts to do great things everyday. Has connected all over the world--kept making a difference.

Ryan's Well blog -7 year old who changed the world 7 yrs ago to bring clean water in developing countries.

This is k-12 curricular integration.We need to have literacies around this. BP has bought google ads--it is interesting for a lot of kids who don't know what sponsored links are - are we teaching them about those kinds of literacies? NCTE has created new 21st c literacies. Are we doing this? Very similar to ALA standards.

If we are not there ourselves, how will our kids be???

WE all have to be Walter Cronkite - we have to look at info and make sense of it, participate in it, not just consume it. Daniel Goleman says we need a shared intelligence.

Discussion pages in wikipedia is where people negotiate the truth, critical thinking and analysis. The info comes in through twitter, delicious, we share and we all get smarter potentially. - you can scan products with your iphone and will give you info about the health of the product and rated it's effects on environment and society. Info that would help us make the world better. In schools, how do we prepare kids to tap into and make sense of this flow of knowledge? Look at google earth presentation on how climate change will effect California by Jean Ricshard.

How do we prepare students to create, navigate and grow their own plns in safe and ethical ways.. this is where they need us to model how to grow this network in safe ways.

We are being greenwashed - bunch of crap. Everything now is marked as green aWe are being techwashed in education - cause we have to understand which tech is transformative. We have to get serious about where we are going in environmental and educational technology.

1.Know your impacts.--what is impact of standardized testing

2.Favor improvements--we should always be looking to make things better, never be satisfied with status quo - we need to advocate and push for better tech and resources.

3. Share what you learn --take the best things you are doing and be transparent, share with the world

We need to teach environmental education, integrated - post stuff for advocating environmental causes.; takingitglobal participate in great projects. Sprout ecourse for social innovators and environmental entrepreneurs who want to grown their project ideas.

Video from Michael Wesch-PdF2009 - The Machine is (Changing) Us

Seth Godin: "Leadership is a choice. It's the choice to not do nothing."

We need to think deeply about the choices we make for ourselves and for our kids.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Official Google Blog: Tips and tricks for deploying Google Apps

Official Google Blog: Tips and tricks for deploying Google Apps
Going to share this with my tech people at my school, who have been contemplating apps (like contemplating your navel) for over a year now but have not moved on it... maybe this will get the fire lit again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Edublog Awards Homepage

The 2009 Edublog Awards

Wow! I was nominated for an Edublog Award! How exciting! Anyway, here are my nominations: Remember~

Nominations: Close Tuesday 8 December!
  • Voting: Ends Wednesday 16 December!
  • Award Ceremony: Friday 18 December!

Best individual blog: Wes Fryer- Moving at the Speed of Creativity
Best individual tweeter: @web20classroom
Best class blog: Adam Dugger, 4th Grade Class Blog, The House That Blogs Built
Best resource sharing blog: Steve Anderson -Blogging About the Web 2.0 Classroom

Most influential blog post: Neverending Search Blog/Joyce Valenza
My 2.0 day and the response/rant about our cover argument

Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion #edchat
Best teacher blog: Kevin Jarrett- NCS- Tech-
Best librarian / library blog: Unquiet Librarian, Buffy J. Hamilton
Best educational tech support blog: Sylvia Tolisano Langwitches Blog
Best educational use of video / visual Common Craft Show
Best educational wiki WebTools4U2Use
Best educational use of a social networking service -Classroom 2.0
Lifetime achievement: Will Richardson – Weblogg-ed

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheering from the Sidelines

Those of you who know me are aware that I am on a medical leave right now from my job (due to a nasty torn tendon in my foot/ankle). I am about two weeks post op, pretty much confined to my bed. This is the first time in about 15 years that I have NOT worked, that I have been forced to slow down. It is the first time in 10 years that my mind will actually allow my body to sleep past 5 AM (sleeping til 7:30 AM now). It is the first time in the longest time that I am watching from the sidelines and not actively making things happen. I so needed this time to 'rest my bones' (literally!) and take care of myself; but I am not used to being outside the vortex and to actually having time to reflect on things happening in my profession. That being said, reading Joyce Valenza's blog post, My 2.0 day and the response/rant about our cover argument, (thanks to a heads up from Cathy Nelson), at long last broke through my mindless recuperating lifestyle, where everyday consists of sleeping, eating, and watching Barefoot Contessa, Say Yes to the Dress, House Hunters, The View, and various Judge shows!

I am surprised and not surprised by the responses to Joyce's article and responses Doug Johnson received in his Blue Skunk blog to their SLJ piece: Things That Keep Us Up at Night. I have posted a response to dialogue, which I am reprinting below:

From Beth...
As an example, the fact that these 2.0 tools are so often heralded as "free" is also interesting. To my knowledge, most of them require hardware, software, time to learn, electricity, support, connectivity, time to implement and so on. There is a lot of money and other resources spent before we get to "free." These are resources that many schools don't have right now. This is not always an excuse - in many cases it is a reason. This doesn't even touch issues of filtering, lack of administrative support, overwhelming attention to standardized tests, fixed scheduling and other elements that need to be addressed for learning 2.0 to happen.
My Response:

1. Most of the 2.0 tools do NOT require anything more than a computer with Internet access; in fact, the purpose of most of these tools is to create an even playing field, where users do NOT have to invest in expensive software (such as word processing, photo editing, telephone accounts; web hosting, etc).
2. The hardware required is a computer. Are there still schools without at least a few computers in the year 2009? Are there still librarians who do not have access to a computer to invest their own time in learning and staying current and informed about what is happening in our profession?
3. To bring up "electricity" as a roadblock to learning is ridiculous. No further comment required.
4. Support: never in our profession has there been more ideal time for getting support from your peers.
5. "Time to implement" - OK, where do I begin... we have to make time to implement, no one is going to hand it to us, i.e., "OK today you don't have to teach so you can implement a new learning tool." Ask Joyce, ask Cathy, ask Buffy, ask thousands of us, and we will tell you that we made the time, that we put in the time, that it was at 5 in the morning or at midnight, or all day Saturday, or whatever, we MADE THE TIME - we made the time to try something new, to reach out to others for help, to share what we learned, to network with experts and learners, to read and to write.
6. Getting around fixed schedules, state testing, etc., etc.... Sheesh, we all have to face these problems to some extent. We just have to find ways to make it work, And it can work, if we don't allow ourselves to drown in the negativity.

I agree that money has dried up for going to conferences for almost all of us. But because of Web 2.0, there are many, many FREE online webinars given by leaders in the field - for example, PBS Teachers® and Classroom 2.0. Most leaders in our field share their presentations online, in wikis, in nings, etc., so really, let's stop with the excuses! If you want to learn, if you want to grow, there is nothing to stop you but yourself.

The storycorps idea bothers me. Why do we need another platform for whining and complaining? Let's get with it, people. Put in the time and effort to stay relevant. Start slow, take baby steps, but get in the mix. Start by reading Joyce's blog, join the Teacher-Librarian Ning, read our prof. journals - all of these resources will get you started on your journey to being a 21st C librarian.

The comment, And we do that by not saying "I'm doing it right and you aren't so get out." We do it by asking "How can I help?", bothers me as well. I repeat, never in our profession has there been more help available. Never, to my knowledge, has there been more of us willing to help, to share, to put everything we know out there on the web for others. This is NOT AT ALL about "Look at me..." (and trust me, I despise ''Look at me" type people), it is about "get on the bus" and here is the road map that I want to share with you to guide you on your journey.

OK, enough said. What do you think?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Finally - My Thoughts On NECC

So, this was my second NECC - the first one was in 2004 in New Orleans. I came away from Washington DC exhausted, but ultimately, exhilarated, although it took awhile to feel the exhilaration. I jumped right into teaching a graduate five day intensive course, and really did not have time to reflect on the conference until now.

The good (and often fabulous):

Library Tools Smackdown from abrusca on Comiqs
  • Meeting up with and enjoying time with some GCTs - got to say hi to Mark Wagner, enjoyed meeting Melanie Sutherland Holtsman, Martha Thornburgh and just loved hanging out with Rushton Hurley. Wish there were more GCTs at the Birds of a Feather!
  • David Loertscher's presentation at the SIGMedia Forum really got my wheels spinning about creating a Virtual Learning Commons. In a week or so, I am meeting up with my fellow district librarian (and good friend) Anne Brusca, to revamp our library sites and make one VLC for all of the elementary school libraries. I am very excited about this, I have been moving in that direction for awhile now, but I think now I am equipped to 'get it right'.
  • Steve Dembo's Favorite 10 Tools Session was also really good. I was starting to have the feeling at NECC that all of the sessions I went to were not telling me anything I didn't already know. Steve, however, always has something new and interesting to share - plus, he shares how to get use out of the tool. I've seen Steve a couple of times, he is always engaging to watch.
  • Meeting three new educators on the shuttle bus back to my hotel and having an impromptu dinner with them...the power of NECC.
  • Meeting and talking to Wesley Fryer, a person who initially influenced me to start digging into digital storytelling and who commented at length on my students' voicethread project.
  • Going to the keynote, receiving my award, but more than that, listening to a fascinating debate with Gary Stager about if schools need bricks and mortar.
  • Finally, getting to hang out with a great group of educators who were completing their masters degrees in educational technology. It was so much fun to be with them not as their professor, but as their friend. A lot of laughs and great discussions.
The Bad:
  • Walking out of at least 3 sessions (sorry!) because I already knew the stuff. I went to one which sounded promising, Electronic Constructivism, but when the presenter started explaining what a blog was, I had to shut my laptop and leave.
  • Speaking of laptops, I wish I had a netbook, my laptop weighed a ton!
  • Getting shut out of sessions because they were full. Missed a lot of good ones.
  • Not having enough money to get to DC early enough to go to Edubloggers or the Constructivist Consortium or to spend any time actually seeing Washington DC! This is the third time I have been to Washington without seeing anything but a hotel, some restaurants and a convention center!!
  • OK, on a personal note, and one you certainly could care less about, seeing my PR photos from NECC and realizing how much weight I have put on!! Ugh!
Best of all, I came away from NECC more invested in my librarian PLN, and with renewed enthusiasm to immerse myself in my field of study. I rejoined ALA and AASL and want to focus this coming school year on all things library. The past two years I was adjuncting in ed tech, which was fantastic, but now I (hope) I have more time to really invest my energy into my library media center and my library community.

The other thing I came away with is a lot of "been there, done that" feelings about the sessions I attended; it even made me wonder was it worth the huge expense to go to NECC and feel disappointed? I have read on other blogs that the best part of NECC is the discussions that go on when finally meeting your PLN face to face. And for the most part, I agree. On the other hand, I can talk to my PLN online whenever I want to through Twitter and Facebook and other Social Networking Tools.... so does it justify spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars to physically attend? I'm not particularly advocating for online conferences; I love the social interaction, I mostly enjoyed the keynotes, and I did enjoy listening to people like Bernie Dodge and getting to actually converse with him. The vendor area was eh, most of the sales hawks looked bored. But the cost to attend these things is high! I need to justify in my mind that is perfectly OK to spend upwards of $800 on a conference instead of putting it towards my kids' college tuition or other bills. I was lucky, I had some award money and district funding to defray the cost this time, but that is not going to happen in the future. Denver?? No way. Hey, ISTE, have you considered NYC for 2011?

Not sure what the answer is...what do YOU think?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Keeping Up With PLNs - The Digest Version?

Here is some data:
  • I have over 1,000 items sitting in my Google Reader account that I haven't had time to read.
  • I belong to 6 educational/technology/library nings that all have messages I need to catch up on.
  • I am following 193 people on Twitter.
  • I have 60 friends on Facebook
  • I belong to the Google Certified Teachers Group
  • I belong to 5 Diigo groups
  • I subscribe to 5 professional library journals
  • I subscribe to about a dozen other educational or tech ed magazines
  • I belong to or own 60 wikis
  • I have 4 different email accounts
  • I am a member of Shelfari, LibraryThing, and GoodReads
  • I am a member of Edutopia
  • There's probably more groups, I just can't remember now...
  • Then there is instant messaging, gmail chat, text messages on my cell, skype conferences...
How in the world can I possibly keep up with all of this information? How can I not? What goes by the wayside? All of these sources of information are competing for my time and attention. So, here's the bottom line: I WANT to find time to read Will Richardson's, David Warlick's, Joyce Valenza's, CathyJo Nelson's, Doug Johnson's, Buffy Hamilton's, CoolCat Teacher's, etc., etc. blogposts...but there just isn't enough time in my day, and believe me, I am up at 5 a.m., on my laptop, trying to catch up!

So, I have to rely on the digest needs to be in 140 characters or less, because that is how fast the information is exploding around me, it is dizzying, like being on a roller coaster - exciting, fast, breathless. Now, I'm not saying that I am overwhelmed, because honestly, I don't feel that way. It's more like I am grabbing tidbits of info that capture my interest and those tidbits have to be quick and to the point, like a tiny url, simply because there is so much of it!

Which leads me to the idea of information fluency, that is, how do I teach my students to be information fluent, when there is SO much information bombarding them (albeit, they don't feel bombarded, this is just the way it is to them)? How do I teach them to skim, sort, sift, evaluate, process, contribute? As an elementary teacher-librarian, I recognize that these 21st C skills are now the core of what I teach. Once a classroom teacher said to me, "Just read to them, dear." Can you feel me cringing? Anyway, what should their ILN (Information Learning Network - just coined that) be? How do I facilitate that for them? Besides the books and the electronic databases? Some projects that I have done with my 4th/5th graders have incorporated wikis where they could start networking their information. That's a start. Some of the classes are blogging. Next year, hopefully, we are going Google, and that will help them to share information in a collaborative format. I just feel that I really need to rethink what I teach them; learning about tables of content and indexes just isn't enough; learning Internet safety and netiquette and the Big6 isn't enough, even at this young age. I feel like I have to take an entirely new approach next year, not throwing out the bath with the bath water, but I feel like I have to start from a different place.

After NECC and after finishing teaching a grad school class in July, I need some time to sort, sift, evaluate, process and create.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why DO We Need Libraries in Schools?

Doug Johnson asks, (and I agree here with David Warlick) "one of the most interesting questions in education today,"~ "Why do we need libraries when virtually all of the information we need on a daily basis is only a mouse-click away?" I'd like to pose another question: Why is it that school librarians have to constantly justify their importance? We don't ask, "Why do we need classrooms when virtually all of the information we need on a daily basis is only a mouse-click away?" I suppose the quick answer is that in many places librarians are not mandated by the state, so, we see ourselves as dispensable unless we constantly advocate for ourselves. I know that here in NY, we are not mandated at the elementary level. It's incredibly frustrating that we always have to prove our worth. It's incredibly frustrating that with budget cuts, librarians are often on the chopping block. What are administrators thinking??? Why is there STILL that perception that we are nothing more than babysitters? There was a second grade teacher who once said to me, "Just read books to them, dear, that's what they really want." (I still cringe when I think of that!). Not that books aren't important! But our main focus now is on teaching students how to participate (safely) in this remix culture we live in, where they can produce and reshape information in a myriad of ways. We are information specialists - whether that information originates in books or online in both textual and visual formats. I know that in my library media center, I am having a ball showing my students different ways to express what they learn using various web 2.0 tools, connecting them to other classrooms via skype, and (usually without them knowing it) teaching them the skills to find, sort, sift, remix, and express knowledge. As David and Doug both say, this is such an exciting time to be a librarian. I know I'm having a great time...and so are my students!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Freedom Writers, Literacies and Learning

Recently I attended a literacy conference sponsored by Nassau Tract with fellow library media specialist, Anne Brusca. The keynote speaker was Erin Gruwell, the teacher who was featured in the movie, Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank.

I have to say that Erin was absolutely one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. There wasn't a dry eye in the place when she was done. Not to mention, she was one of the most accessible, warmest people I have ever met. From the Freedom Writers' Website:
The movement was born in 1994 from a teacher's simple notion - inspire young, underprivileged students to pick up pens instead of guns. Since then the Freedom Writers Foundation has evolved into a renowned charitable organization led by Erin Gruwell, with the unwavering support of the original Freedom Writers. The Foundation is dedicated to replicating the Freedom Writers' success in classrooms across the country by equipping teachers with the tools they need to reach and empower their students.

How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change
Themselves and the World Around Them
By The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell

The Freedom Writers Diary
is the amazing true story of strength, courage, and achievement in the face of adversity. In the fall of 1994, in Room 203 at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, an idealistic twenty-four-year-old teacher named Erin Gruwell faced her first group of students, dubbed by the administration as "unteachable, at-risk" teenagers. This group was unlike any she had ever interacted with.

The kids took bets on how long their new teacher would last in their classroom. Then a pivotal event changed their lives forever: when a racial caricature of one of the African American students circulated the classroom, Erin angrily intercepted the drawing and compared it to a Nazi exaggeration of Jews during the Holocaust. To her amazement, the students responded with puzzled looks. Erin was appalled to discover that not one child in her class knew of the Holocaust and its unspeakable horrors. When asked how many had been shot at, however, all raised their hands, and a battle-scar show-and-tell began that shocked Erin even more.

Erin's message to us: Never give up. She was given the students that everyone had already given up on. She found a way to reach them, to make them writers, to transform their lives.

Later on Anne and I gave a 90 minute presentation on "Increasing Literacy Through Web 2.0". Take a look at it!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Designing the Digital Experience: David Lee King Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

Experience and design-what is it? "an approach to creating successful experiences for people in any medium.”

Ways to Go About It:
1. Structural path-create a better experience by improving ease of use. Navigation does not get in the way.
  • building experiences. Strategy->scope->structure->skeleton->surface
  • uncover (the customer need)->define the experience brief (what will the customer experience be?)->ideate (immerse yourself in the experience->then build and design it
  • getting real, by goal is speed and getting product out to public-->fine tuning should be done by customers--they say write a one page story about what your customers need to do on your site. Make it simple.
How does this work with the library website? His website-lots of focus groups and discussions first, trying to be fluid and get updates out there first. Fix it now and move on.

Look at your site with critical eyes think about the potholes (what makes people stumble and remove it) Big goal: Don't make me think. Customer doesn't want to think about how it functions, if they are forced to do it, you have failed.

2. Community Path: how does it provide positive experiences: a memorable experience created by online participation and community. Digital community experience- customer reviews and ability to rate those reviews. Amazon has done this, a digital community experience. There are five ways to do this:
  • real conversation is taking place-commenting on blogs, twitter, online forum, flickr --patrons holding conversations with us, allowing customers to connect with you the librarian and each other. Setting up book clubs on the blog.
  • invitation: passive and active. Active--asking questions--what's in your top five-you say yours and invite them to add theirs. Passive--content enablers making content compelling and displayed well, creating compelling content - making it interesting and web 2.0 enablers-allowing commenting and moderate promptly.
  • participation--other part of invitation point-if you have no participation you have no community online. Allow comments. Goal is to participate in the discussion. Share thoughts and opinions. I want you to add your thoughts, I want to hear what you are saying!
  • sense of familiarity--you feel like you know someone because you have 'befriended' them on blogs, twitter, flickr, etc. introduce patrons to library's 'personality'.
  • telling our stories--people want to know who you are as an individual as an organization, do you like using your library and what shortcuts you take when using it. People want to participate in the story --they want to feel like they are part of it. See that a lot in Second Life. You can do that online in social networks. For example, Katrina hurricane, people told their stories as it developed. Patrons want to do this. Library stories: what you've read, what you liked, what you are doing. Twitter for the library--
  • goal is to hold conversations and connect with community
  • focus on the customer path. - customer journey mapping

New Strategies for Digital Natives

Helene Blowers-Digital Strategy Director, Columbus Metropolitan Library
Joey is our new digital patron:

The big story in the election was the kid who helped Obama reach out to the digital natives.

We used to chase information, now it has flipped, information finds us. Still, studies show that RSS is kind of flat across all demographics; people still don’t know how to get info to find us. Good role for librarians.

digital native realities:
  1. Identity: digital natives: online identity is same as real identity. Idea of having one identity is intuitive to them. It is how they influence and assert themselves online, exchanging information, bantering that goes back in forth.

Top 5 Social Networks – jan 09
1. Facebook 1.19 billion monthy visits
2. Myspace 810 mill visits
3. Twitter 54 mil visits
4. Flixster 53 mil visits (movie reviews
5. Linkedin 43 million visits

These are where digital natives are leaving their footprints. The idea of social identity has become so important that we are graphing it. Linkedin based on the premise of who do you know to further your career. Average age of digital immigrants –42.

Social graphing:
6 degrees of separation
friendwheel on facebook

Renaissance Generation: Patricia Martin: Cultural consumers thrive on information and ideas to fuel their creative self-expression. Creativity very important to them.
  • 93% of teenagers are online and intensifying
  • Nearly 2/3 of online teens are content creators~Pew Study, Teens & Social Media, 12/07
Posting pictures, sharing artistic work, blogging, etc...creates their social identity.
  1. post messages
  2. download music
  3. download videos
  4. upload music
  5. update personal website or online profiles
  6. post photots
  7. blog
We are starting to see a shift from authoritative control to collaborative control of information. How do you influence people? By sharing information.
OCLC Study --number one resource of getting information online is friends. Libraries are down in the bottom.
In January 09 Encyclopedia Britannica added a wiki layer so that people could add to it. Collective control--->they realized there are advantages to this new form of gathering information. What info source do you trust the most for your company's purchasing decisions: user generated content (blogs, discussion groups, online comm, wikis, etc.) from a study, interesting to see--first hand experience that you get from blogs and rating sites are where people are looking for trusted information.

2. Digital Safety
--only .08% of all students say they've actually met someone in person from an online encounter without their parents' permission --national school board study July 2007.
Most teens ignore or delete stranger contact and are not bothered by it. (Pew Study).

3. Digital Opportunity
The world has become more accessible for digital natives. Every day the Internet becomes more and more important to society. There are no barriers, the playing field is leveled, you can mashup and mix up online, all you need is access (if you don't have access, library provides it), access is universal, connection is ubiquitous , it's all about me. Their sandbox is huge to play in, to assert their identity and creativity.

4. Digital Piracy
Digital piracy to them is digital sharing. File sharing has become the new normal for most. Copy, remix me. Fanfiction, music parodies, mashups, movie trailers, remix contents, remix fansites (Nine Inch Nails - encouraging fans to remix their content), creative commons (has spurred this whole rethought of copyright). Total Recut: video remix challenge.

In the past you were what you owned--now you are what you share. A collaborative remix culture. How do we respond to it as librarians?

5. Digital Privacy
82% send private messages
84% post messages to a friends page or wall

Idea of lifestreaming all these social networks can be aggregated and look at it as a lifestream. Digital natives can trace their lives online.

6. Digital Advocacy
The idea of what you do online actually makes a difference. Young people as networkers, organizers, promoters to create their leadership potential, saw it in the election.

What can libraries do?
  1. Idea of engagement to enable customers to connect with library staff, services and with each other in meaningful ways. Layering over OPAC with interactivity, twitter? Engagement is important because people want to feel connected. Patrons feel connected. Make the library a facilitators of connection.
  2. Enrich - to provide customers with a rich online experience that enhances their local branch experience and daily lives. Our digital space should enhance not be separate, active engagement. All libraries get their funding from somewhere, that funding should be valuing their lives in some way.
  3. Empower: to enable customers the ability to personalize and add value to the library experience and allow the community to celebrate themselves.

NYPL Paul Holdengraber

Today's keynote is an interview with Paul Holdengraber—he was brought in to ‘oxygenate’ the New York Public Library—"to make the lions roar in the front to make this heavy institution levitate. To make the building less formidable to make it sexy."

Paul Holdengraber:
Funny guy! He grew up in Belgium, born in Texas, went to Princeton, he taught at Princeton and other colleges, He was a fellow at Getty. Brooke Sheilds was one of his pupils.

Quotes: "52 million items in the library; at first you feel small, then it should empower you to want to learn, to grow, to discover, to get a tingle in the spine" He is interested in transforming things, in what happens in this public place where we go to do an activity that is extremely private. That relationship between public and private fascinates him. He had to make the library irresistible.

"If I knew where inspiration came from I would go there more often."

He institued “Live from the NYPL” --he’s had Bill Clinton, Martin Scorcese, Mario Balti, and many more. He invites people from all walks of life – his favorite moment Myra Kalman – illustrator –Illustrated the elements of style
“I never ask for permission, only for forgiveness.”

“When a great man dies, a library disappears with him.”

He changed the demographics of the audience that comes to a younger audience.

Talking about twitter and blogs: "Info has a life in haiku form on twitter. However we can’t ‘tickle ourselves’ still need to be together."

"Maybe a librarian needs to be a lifebrarian. We need humor in the library. People are bleak cause of the economic situation. We need humor. Create havoc in the library. The books on the shelf are there-what should we do about it—what is our role—take those books off the shelf and make people desire them deeply. Libraries are places of desire. We deeply believe in communicating and transmitting this experience that we probably had as children with a book…how can we imagine a world without books, would I rather have my library or kindles lying around everywhere."

"Digression is the sunshine of narrative."

What is the future of libraries? Fascinated by how libraries might be able to make us focus> in an age of utter distraction, we can go to a library where you learn things, a repository where you can learn things, a place to focus. Use these technology tools to focus on new discoveries. And a great place for opportunities, especially in these times. The reading room in the NYPL is packed…it’s a haven. Our job is a job of hospitality, make people feel at home, public programs is a beautiful way of welcoming others into the home you work in. We have Facebook but let’s get into the face to face encounters. Explode that home, a library without walls, a library that is everywhere, the gift of ubiquity.

Since we are near Washington DC, he wants to end with this anecdote. Here’s how Barack Obama found his community organizer job in Chicago: In 2005, Obama told American Library Magazine that people always mention libraries in terms of sources of reading and research, but he probably wouldn’t be in Chicago if it weren’t for the NYPL, because he was looking for a job as a community organizer in NY…the librarian helped him find these lists of organizations, one of them wound up being an organization in Chicago that he got a job with…..the rest is history….

If Paul doesn't make you feel good about being a librarian, I don't know what will!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Internet @Schools East Presentation

This is the presentation I gave yesterday at the Internet @Schools East Conference. There's a lot to digest here, including some tips from some of the gurus I respect and have learned from, including David Warlick, Joyce Valenza, Mark Wagner, and David Pogue. For those of you who attended the session yesterday, I hope this helps! Leave a comment and let me know what you thought about the presentation!

Computers in Libraries Conference -Day One

Opening Keynote: Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet and American Life Project

I am here in very windy Arlington, Virginia waiting for Lee Rainie to begin. The conference is at the Hyatt Regency, which is quite a nice hotel. Unfortunately for me, I was not able to get a room here so I did not know that they had a lovely free breakfast here for attendees and I paid $13.00 for an egg white omelet at my hotel.

I didn't realize what a big conference this is! There are librarians of all types here. -a lot of academic librarians. There are attendees here from 49 states, plus 18 countries outside of the U.S. I just might be one of the very few elementary school librarians here. There are over 2,000 attendees here.

"Information's pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience." -Clarence Day.

Lee is talking about Twitter. Only 5% of the people here know about or are using Twitter. Surprised.
Lee is talking about “Behold Homo Connectus”: We are a different species with a different sense of things:
1. Volume and variety of information has grown tremendously with millions of users creating content. People can screen out what they don’t want.
2. The speed of information speeds up—the way you find info now through social networks speeds things up. We can create our own playlists of media, in other words, there is a time shift and place shift in accessing media.
3. The relevance of information improves as the number of voices explodes. Voting and ventilating are enabled. We can explain what is going on in our world and there is ample opportunity for us to talk back to institutions.
4. Social networks are more vivid. We can fall back on our social networks for support.

So, how does this relate to the role of the librarian? Less says that personal activities and media have come together; institutions can be active in people’s networks like never before. Librarians can find ways to be reliable gatekeepers and sensemakers that people will appreciate.

Internet @Schools Sessions:
Finally got to meet David Hoffman, editor of Multimedia and Internet@ Schools Magazine. He has been extremely nice and helpful in getting me here to this conference within the conference, aimed specifically at school library media specialists. Our sessions are in another room (not the best venue - has huge columns that block your view of either the speaker or the screen). Due to a cancellation of one of the sessions, my session got moved up to right after lunch from the 4:15 slot (sigh of relief). There are approximately 50 LMS's attending these workshops. The first presenter is Sheila Gersh, from CCNY to talk about her project, CultureQuest.
I am going to connect Sheila with some people in TEAM. I have students creating a collaborative project called Cultureshare - this is a natural. CultureQuest started 5 years ago at CCNY: inquiry-based investigations of other peoples and cultures that are rooted in student questions and based upon student interests. Projects focus on literature, art, music, history, government, and more. Sheila talking about a model-->P is the problem-->E expert learners-->L learners, all working together to solve the problem. CultureQuest projects are based on this model. Talking about ePals for global collaboration.

Leap and the NETS Will Appear:
Next up is Johanna Riddle, who, unfortunately is having many technical problems in her presentation. One of the things she talked about is a project using the book Owen and Maze (love that book) as a jumping point for guided discussion, comparison and research. She is focusing alot on strategies for incorporating visual literacy into instruction with young students.

Using Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts to Promote Books and 21st C Skills:
This was a very informative session. Patrick Ledesma and Cecelia Carmenate from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia are talking about using blogs to promote discussion. In their example, the librarian creates a blog in which she poses questions that students respond to. For incentives, they have "blogger of the month" in which they give rewards to the students who blog the most. The librarian posts questions, such as "can you judge a book by its cover?" This gives them the opportunity to engage in discussion. Librarian responds to the readers and comments. Can be used to tie in books with current events and books and their movie version. Important to add pictures and media. Blog like this shows that the library can also be a place for fun. You can embed the movie trailer into the blog.

Spotlighting Good Literature Through Technology: Video Book Talks:
Eloise Long and Eileen Kern from PA
They are discussing booktalks in the library - a booktalk is a structured mini-mystery with a cliffhanger ending. They are inspiring me to do this, but I would have my students do it. Some of the web 2.0 tools that they suggest for this are:
Also are recommending the book The Tech-Savy Booktalker: A guide for 21st Century Educators

General Comments About Day One:
I think that my session went very well, I got a lot of nice feedback. I also met Stephanie Rosalia, the librarian who was featured in the New York Times Article (Librarian Job Gets an Update) and had a nice conversation with her. Mostly, I came away from today realizing that I have come a long way as a school media specialist; I don't assume, but sort of expect, that most LMS will know about most of the tools that were presented here today by myself and others - but surprisingly, that is not the case. Many of the LMS here today have to deal with the fact that teachers have to spend so much time teaching to state tests that they don't have time to take their students to the library. My suggestion there was to tell them to let those teachers know that you can help them by creating research projects that deal with a part of the curriculum- take a little of the load off of them.

This was my first time presenting at a national conference that is geared strictly to librarians. I had an 'aha' moment, realizing that I have a lot to offer in the area of professional development to my colleagues. As a whole, school library media specialists are up against a lot~ in many states and districts we are not even mandated and are replaced by regular teachers; we are up against mandated testing, small budgets, lack of help, and often lack of support. This makes it imperative that we take read-write web by the horns and make ourselves indispensable! That was the theme of my presentation. We can make ourselves indispensable by not only being the experts, but also by modeling the use of web 2.0 tools in our library media centers. On top of that, we have to be the ones to lead in teaching digital and information literacy skills to students. That has to be our focus now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

David Pogue Part II: Extreme Googling

Google's motto: "Don't be evil" :)

By the way, David won an Emmy for a story about Google. How did Google come to be? Two guys from Stanford - came up with the idea of a search engine that searches how many other pages link to your page, rather than just look for the words you are searching for. They got to be rich and powerful through the ads. The ads are labeled sponsored links ~until that time, other search engines buried the ads in search results.

Google means 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The word 'google' itself is a misspelling, cause the two guys did not know how to spell it!

Other Tips from David:
  • "I'm feeling lucky" means just take me to the top search result - it will go right to the website.
  • Word order counts in composing a search...most important words should be first. Don't bother putting in little words.
  • Maximum number of words in a search is 10. Plurals matter.
  • You can type two dots to look for a range like miami 1985..2000.
  • If your result is a picture or a movie, it will show right in the result.
  • For some organizations, they give you a table of contents in the results. This is relatively new.
  • For some big sites, you even get a search box within (like the ny times).
  • The greatest google trick of all: every website such as Amazon, YouTube, etc. all have their own search boxes, but the google search box is better than theirs. For example, google is a better searcher of ebay than ebay is itself. You are better off putting the name of the site and the item that you are looking for and then click "I'm feeling lucky" it will take you right to the site. (e.g. amazon eat love pray)--click feeling lucky. You will go directly to the book on their website without any intermediate steps.
  • Asterisk is the wildcard - great for song lyrics that you can't understand (excuse me while I kiss the *)

Encyclopedia of life

  • The ''ooos" in Google at the bottom of the page over the page numbers are also pages to click on.
  • Doing a search for "showtimes and your zipcode" will give you a table of every movie playing in your areas with reviews by peopole.
  • You can type define: and a word and it will show you dictionary definition.
  • You can also type math calculations into the google search box; it is also a calculator.
  • Also a converter: inches in a mile.
  • Also currency converter = type in dollars in a euro. Weather plus city takes you to weather right there.
  • You can type in a barcode number and then look it up!
  • Can also type in a flight like 'united 22' and will give you the status of the flight.
  • Can type in a VIN number and find out the history of the car.
  • In preferences you can turn off porn filtering.
  • In google language translator you can type in the whole website address and it will translate the whole page.
  • iGoogle was created in someone's 20% time.
  • phonebook:name place - get someones phone number.
  • google maps for directions shows you traffic too and you can drag the route to another road; instantly recalculates directions. shows construction and accidents. Click on cameras next to directions to see street view. you can pan around too.

ASSET 2009: Keynote~David Pogue: "The Digital Generation Grows Up"

David Pogue: And He Sings, Too!

Live blogging, so excuse the typos! David Pogue is the technology writer for the New York Times and appears on CNBC and has written best-selling "how-to" books, including some of the "Dummy" books. He looks at new technologies coming down the pipe.

TREND 1: What happens when you merge cellphone and Internet?
Google Cellular (free) info is texted to you~google 411. (46645). Weather, flight info, stock quotes, movie showtimes, as well as:
  • Flight info (aa 152)
  • Movie showtimes (shrek plus zip code)
  • 800-GOOG-411 by voice dial from any phone, state the location and business type, and it connects to the business for free. You don't get the phone number, you don't need it, it just connects you. That's the beauty of it - like your own personal operator.
  • ChaCha (800-2CHACHA) will answer any questions. Anything you ask, they text you back the answer. They employ 10,000 people who sit in front of Google and are paid .20 an answer.
  • Voice to Text--get your voicemails converted into text for free, and the recording is actually in the email. Offered by phonetag, callwave, spinbox. Google entered this with Google Voice (wow this is great) - it comes to your phone or email for free you make up a number and then it reads all of your phones, one unified number and one unified email box. Turns text messages into first class communication. See David's video from last Sunday's online NY Times.
TREND 2: ONLINE 24/7 ~
David asks, "What's so hard about giving us wifi everywhere we want it?" Well, in reality, being online all the time and everywhere has snuck up on us with the changes in cellular - iPhone really started this.

Apple just released an iPod So Small Its Controls Are Found on the Cord

(Look for iPhone shuffle video on YouTube (a parody).)

Until the iPhone came along, cell phones developers would go to the carriers like Verizon with new ideas but the carrier was the gatekeeper. It was not a system conducive to innovation. Steve Jobs went to Verizon, Sprint, Cingular, AT&T bought Cingular, they all laughed him out of the idea of an Apple iPhone, except for Cingular. The amazing thing is when Apple opened up the apps store - the world changed from this! People spend more time on the apps then on making calls. Some cool apps (I wish I had an iPhone!!):
  • Pandora, free internet radio, type in the name of a song and and immediately plays the song you want. Immediately feeds you another song by another band that is similar, you give it thumbs up or down, gives you more songs, based on the feedback, eventually you create a radio station that you love.
  • Urbanspoon where you are standing when you are looking for a restaurant.
    Urbanspoon on the iPhone is part Magic 8 Ball, part slot machine. You shake your phone and it finds a good nearby restaurant for you. Keep shaking it until it comes back with something you want to try.
  • This is a whole new paradigm, selling $1 apps. See Davids article about Ocarina.
  • Verizon now will open up their network. Now Google has a phone (TMobile G1) has its own app store and the Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications to run on Android-powered devices.

Trend #3: Web 2.0

So we know that Web 1.0 consisted of websites where we provide the material. Web 2.0 is radically different. Facebook is so hot. Microsoft bought 1.6% of Facebook for 240 million dollars.
( SubEthaEdit -everyone can collaborate on the same notes.)
According to David:
  • Craigslist -- it's killing the American newspaper. You'd be an idiot to pay for a classified ad in a newspaper.
  • YouTube-sold 1 year after creating it to Google for over a billion dollars!
  • you post your grudge work and people bid to get paid to do it.
  • goloco-you say where you going, other people ride with you, share rides
  • who is sick ok this one cracks me up and I know a lot of hypochondriacs that would like this site...

WHAT DOES THS ALL MEAN for next generation? Things splinter, things add on and become more things. Everything is in real time - kids insist on this - "nobody does email anymore" it has to be instant, text messaging, chat or twitter.
Privacy- nobody cares, they (this generation) advertise their personal stuff on Facebook, they want people to know --maybe they are the "Ego Generation" - how many friends do you have on facebook, twitter??

Speed+ego-privacy=twitter. Its like a big cocktail party but incredibly powerful.

Need an opinion??
  • IMDB (Internet Movie Database): collates opinions of 11 million people and they are never wrong! :)
  • angieslist Use when looking for service - consumer reviews
  • cnet Technology-related reviews

Everything is on demand - itunes store, hulu (free tv on demand) the last 4 episodes of every single network show is available for free. Internet is your tivo. Even on demand cable (not pay per view) watch it when you want. On demand movies from amazon (selection not good, quality is not good) When you rent a movie online you have 24 hrs. to watch it.

Tech Shifts-->Cultural shifts
Do you speak their language?

COPYRIGHT CHALLENGES - gray areas: - take the test..which one do you think is a copyright infringement??
  • I borrow a cd from the library
  • I own a cd but it got scratched and so I go to the library, borrow the cd and rip it to my pc
  • I have 200 vinyl records and I borrow them on cds and I rip those
  • I buy a dvd but I have a 3 yr old so I use an illegal prgram to make another copy in case the 3-yr-old ruins it.
  • I record a movie off of HBO using my dvd burner (legal)
  • I meant to do it, but I forgot, but my buddy recorded it and I copy his dvd
  • I recorded an HBO movie, but my dvd broke so I got the movie from blockbuster and copied that.
He did this with college students, no one thought any of these were illegal.
We have to teach privacy, permanence - chat rooms- teach credibility--power of web--i.e. think of Steve Jobs rumor--apple stock fell after that-- see - clearinghouse for stupid web rumors.

You can't predict the future of technology.
Oh, and did I mention, David Pogue sings, too? :) - clearinghouse for stupid web rumors.