Sunday, June 22, 2008

What is School Library 2.0?

I am in the middle of preparing for the graduate Summer Institute I will be teaching this July about School Library Web 2.0. As Kristin Fontichiaro, a media specialist with the Birmingham (MI) Public Schools, points out,
Web 2.0 tools tend to have some common themes and concepts:
  • Working together (to develop open-source software, to build collective knowledge such as in the Wikipedia, to make conference calls using Skype, to share tags and favorite Webspaces via Delicious or Furl)
  • Finding and sharing one’s voice (via blogging, videocasting, YouTube, or podcasting to an authentic audience)
  • Responding to the work of others (via blog comments or “talkback” audio recording features or working on one’s own blog)
  • Finding a community (via social networking like Facebook, Myspace, or LibraryThing, or via interactive environments like SecondLife)
  • Expressing oneself in a variety of modalities (audio podcasts, videos, writing)
  • Learning by interacting with content and with peers (all of the above!)

...Now let’s strip away the technology for a moment and look just at the activities that are bolded above. Are there tools beyond Web 2.0 that we can use to strengthen our school library’s importance in our students’ learning lives? Let’s try the list of important themes and concepts again, this time mapping to non-technology things we find in strong libraries:

  • Working together (combining individual research into a group project, being part of a broadcast team, re-enacting a storytime tale through drama, contributing findings to a community “graffiti” bulletin board)
  • Finding and sharing one’s voice (via meaningful instructional projects that call on students to wrangle with authentic, real-world issues and share their findings with others — think about student research on global warming, invasive species, etc., a writing center where young writers can explore storymaking and storytelling)
  • Responding to the work of others (conferencing with peers)
  • Finding a community (book clubs, hanging out in the library at lunchtime)
  • Expressing oneself in a variety of modalities (synthesizing research in a variety of ways that go far beyond a PowerPoint with three bullets per page, such as written projects, drama, songwriting, original historical fiction, original stories and puppetry, etc.)
  • Learning through interactivity with content and peers (What can I learn from you? What can I learn from this source?)
After reading the above, I would like my graduate students to fill in the following sentence and leave it as a comment to this blog post:

My ideal school library is a place where ....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mixing it Up With Mixbook

As the school year draws to a close, I have to give a shout out to one Web 2.0 tool that I just loved using - Mixbook. We used Mixbook for our culminating project in one of my fifth grade research classes. Students examined children's rights, focusing on the situation of children in Kenya, through a project I developed called Kids for Kenya. Our students raised hundreds of dollars that will be utilized to pay for a child to complete his secondary education. One of the fundraisers was the sale of this book, published on Mixbook and available in print. The great people from Mixbook are donating some of the proceeds to the Kenya Education Fund.

Mixbook is a super tool for publishing online books and I can tell you first hand that the printed versions come out wonderfully. Take a look at our book at this link.
Leave us a comment. Better yet, buy a printed copy. For a quick preview, see below.