Sunday, August 17, 2008

Children and schools

"Our schools may very well be in crisis, but not for the reasons bandied about in the press. The crisis is not based on teacher pay, lack of accountability, or a lack of rigor. The problem is that we do not create productive contexts for learning in which the needs of each child are met as their talent, interest, curiosity, and passion are amplified. " Gary Stager Read the whole thing, if you can. I wonder how long the blacklash to standardized testing will take, but I don't doubt that it's coming. I'm not against a test, as one small measure, but I think I counted six for 8-10 year olds last year. And such anguish in children and parents, as the results were rolled out, tutoring began, and eyes were lowered. I wonder at all of the damage done.
Those children will some day be grown-ups, and they are going to remember...

I was guided to this article, School Wars, from Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog which has pith and spirit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thing #9

March of the Librarians
Created and narrated by Nick Baker

This fun youtube video, in the manner of March of the Penguins, was filmed at the 2007 annual American Library Association conference in Seattle. I found on it on Technorati, which has a category for video. The descriptive narrative mimics the film perspectives and conventions (no pun intended) of wildlife videos. Oh, but Lordy, are we old! I hope the library schools are recruiting. Every other person lifts a hoary head. That's spelled with an "h", girls.

As for the method of finding feeds that was the easiest: my favorite way and the easiest for me is to find some favorites RSS feeds in Bloglines or Google Blog Search, and then see what feeds the blogs I really like, are subscribing to. I have spent the better part of a week just browsing through library blogs, some of which lead to more. I have too many feeds right now, and will pare them down after I determine which ones I don't want to live without. I don't much like the newsfeeds, but I could see how we could use these in student research to get the latest news on a particular topic.

At first I found School Library Blog Supraglu site confusing, but then I found some wonderful posts. Sometimes I was looking for feeds, but instead simply got posts tagged with library.

Browsing, I found Sherricks from Australia. A teacher-librarian who appears to enjoy students, books, technology and she's an entertaining and engaging writer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thing #8 RSS feeds

I've added seven RSS feeds on my blog in the blog list feature; it does help me keep up with all of the library/tech news and connect me to the larger community.
Using feedity for sites without RSS perhaps library staff could create a readers for blog sites and URLs that students and teachers need and that would provide the latest news and updates.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thing #7 Cool Google tools

I was already familiar with the iGoogle page, which is my Internet default page at home. But many of the other cool tools were new to me, and I've spent days looking and playing with them. The two I've chosen to work with in depth are Google Earth and Google Docs. In Google Docs I'm working on a document that will form the basis of a collaborative staff development lesson in August, and might become a place of discussion on (sigh) cataloging. Although a wiki might be just what's needed for the discussion and I'll see when I progress to that lesson/thing#.

The Google Earth site is marvelous! I've searched and added 4 sites to the "placemark" feature, in hopes I can show several of them to fifth graders during their landforms unit without taking forever to navigate to them. Although I've spent most of a day swooping down or out and rotating my views, and enjoying it a good deal, I'm sure that I perform miserably compared to the video game kings and queens of fifth grade. Before the presentation, maybe I should ask these kids to help me out, and take the control of the "joysticks". I would guess that most of these students would have the maneuvers down in a few minutes, while it has been laborious for me, and trial and error has yet to smooth out my technique. And I've watched the little instruction video several times. Oh, what does that say about me? I hope it means I need more practice!

Neither of these sites are shared, right now; one problem is how few Google accounts there are in my district, partly because the feature for outside Internet mail such as gmail and yahoo mail has always been disabled. It was just while doing this Library2play class that I learned that you didn't have to have a gmail account to use the "cool tools" but you do need a Google account.

Onward through the fog!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thing #6

I've gone back to Flickr and spent some time. I looked around a lot, did a trading card (a little fuzzy,never could get a really good re-sizing on my picture to make it look right, and a mosaic to use in our pet unit. None of the photos are copyrighted.

I also really like the feature that you could had pictures to your Favorites in Flickr and then do a slide show, without ever having to copy the images into another application, and never needing copyright permission to view them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thing #5

I know. The drawer seems out of focus. But wait, the focus is actually on the card. Can you see the author entry and what we used to call the added entry, at the top of the card? Well, sort of, yes? The added entry cards allowed you to look up the author, title, subjects or anyone else responsible for the creating the content-illustrators, editors of story collections, etc. Often there were 8-10 cards for each book.
Don't get me wrong. I am not nostalgic for the old card catalog. They were handsome drawers, well made, and the warm glow of the wood used to be such a fixture of libraries, that for many people the card catalog meant libraries. And if they loved libraries-the best kind of folks-they loved the card catalog. But when these same people tell me they miss the old catalog, I have to restrain myself from the rant that I won't start with now, but the summary would be something like: it was work, work, work! Not only did we have to put them in, we had to pull them out, as when the book was lost. I love online catalogs!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thing #3 again

I've changed my avatar. So this works, I hope. I did the first one, copying the html from the yahoo site, but, well, the image I ended up with was a little too cute for the likes of me. Although I haven't given up all hope of a reflective image that appeals to me... at least online.
This avatar generator is a lot of fun. This link is to the English version of the Japanese site: My avatar icon will also take you to their site.