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NECC Session: Feed, Tag, Research: Remixing for School Library 2.5

NECC Program Description

TagWhen I talk to the media specialists in our area, they often mention they enjoy listening to and following Joyce Valenza.  So I figured it would be great for me to attend this session…especially since I don’t have any librarian-type experience.  I hope to gain a little insight and perspective that might help our local media specialists take advantage of new tools in a way that makes sense to media specialists…not just myself.

Ustream Channel

Session Wiki

There are a total of six people up on stage…I didn’t realize this was going to be a panel-type presentation…but now that I see the session description I guess that’s exactly what it is.

Joyce Valenza:

What does School Library 2.5 look like?  School librarians should be the School CIO…Chief Information Officer.  Librarians need to access information differently…school libraries lend all kinds of stuff…flash drives, laptops, whatever.  Librarians want students to access databases, but the databases aren’t easily useable by students.  There are no widgets, RSS feeds, tools.  Collection of materials now includes the published work of students as well as archiving student/teacher images.

Cathy Nelson:

Tools for professional development.  One thing that she learned as she was leading sessions at librarian gatherings was that she was preaching to the choir.  So she began to focus on teachers at the “science” conference, “reading” conference, “middle school” conference, etc.  The connections she’s made in these other groups have allowed her to continue to reach out and bring the message of stretching boundaries to others.  Cathy views herself as the bridge.

Carolyn Foote:

How can a 2.5 librarian work with administrators?  Many librarians may feel like the library is the lost continent…that the principal doesn’t know what could/should happen in the library.  However, perhaps it’s a marketing mistake by the librarian.  Does the librarian know what the mission of the principal is?  How can librarians be change agents?  Librarians need to be advocates…for student first of all.  That’s really the mission of the school.

How to be popular with your principal…

  • Share, share, share.  Find out how they learn info best, and use 2.0 tools to get that information to them
  • Be there.  Be at meetings, committees, etc.
  • Be a partner, not a judge.
  • Share success stories.
  • Think of yourself as the corporate librarian supporting the administration.

Libraries at not just for information, but innovation!  Focus on the big picture, not just the library.  By partnering with the administration librarian makes themselves indispensable.

Diane Cordell:.

Diane considers herself a technology new-comer.  She is going to focus on how to reel in those who aren’t in the choir.  It’s important that librarians try not to take teachers out of their comfort area, but expand the possibilities of what they already doing.  New users need to feel comfortable, relaxed.  Librarians need to reassure teachers, using familiar vocabulary that new learners can identify with.  Help them narrow the choices of the many tools that will work for them.  Librarians need to get out of the library to be with teachers as they implement their new skills.  Encourage life-long learning and celebrate success.

Anita Beaman:

At the secondary level, librarians often get stuck in a rut teaching researching skills, not reading.  One of the missions should be to help kids develop a love of learning.  Anita highlighted the vast online resources for supporting and extending a popular series of books by Stephenie Meyer.  There are forums, playlists, MySpace groups, extended content etc.  What Anita has done is to use these tools to connect students to other great titles.  Her Reading 2.0 wiki explores “Using Technology to Promote Books – Not Replace Them!”  It looks like a great resource.

What’s unfortunate about this whole session is that each of these panelists could have/should have presented an entire session themselves.  Each of them contributed great ideas, but very quickly!  I’m glad I attended and hope to bring some of their innovative ideas back to our local CIOs…


NECC Session: Edtags.org: Academic Social Tagging to Aid Learning and Assessment

NECC Session Description

I didn’t plan on attending this session, but saw that Chris Dede was presenting so thought I’d better check it out.  I’ve seen his name flying across the RSS feeds, but ever paid much attention to he was up to.  What I’m assuming that the presenters are going to be highlighting Edtags.org, which is

…a website for educators (e.g., teachers, education graduate students, professors, librarians, etc.) to connect with people sharing similar interests, discover relevant materials that may have “eluded” the traditional card catalogue search, and store and categorize your favorite bookmarks.

I see that it has a Digg-like feature of being able to vote for a specific web resource to get it to the top of the list.

(David Warlick just passed by looking for power…he found a gal with an interesting power strip.  Watch for that to appear on his blog.)

Chris Dede has started off with some “Things Are Different Today Than They Used To Be” and also some “Kids Connect With Each Other Much More Than They Used To With The Powerful Tools They Have” and continuing with the “What We’re Teaching In Schools Is Not What Students Need.”  OK, we get the picture…

Adam Seldow, a doctoral student, spoke of how social networks are not new…we’re been a part of them for hundreds of years.  And with many sociosemantic platforms (del.icio.us, flickr, etc.) out there, why develop Edtags?

Some characteristics of Edtags…

  • Vote, discuss, email bookmarks
  • Tailored RSS feeds
  • User/tag recommendations
  • Visualizations of how tags and resources are related to each other

Edtags allows users to Search in three ways…Bookmarks, Users, and Tags.  The search and organization…the connections on the site seem to work really well.  I like Edtags, but I’m already using del.icio.us.  It’s hard to jump from one site to another, or have multiple sites going.

The point is that the people who would be saving sites to Edtags are the same types of people…educators.  So the resources and search results and more likely to be relevant.  Adam’s point is that del.icio.us is made up of a different crowd…lots of tech geeks and other folks.  Edtags is a place for educators.

A Fair Trial?

I ran across this story from London about a trial currently in progress. Read it first, then come back…I’ll wait.

OK, now that you’re back let me ask a question. If you were involved in a case like this, either the plaintiff or defendant, would you feel like you were getting a fair trial? (Ignore the content of the trial for the moment, that’s not the point.)

If you were trying to prove something about how a web site or forum was being used and the judge didn’t even understand what the medium was, how confident would you feel? Here’s a quote to remember:

“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is.”

World Wide WebDon’t understand what a web site is? When everywhere you look there’s a cadre of w’s standing around like The Three Musketeers preceding any number of words and dots. I think I’d have to ask my lawyer to ask for a mistrial or a dismissal or a rain check or something that would allow me to take my case elsewhere.

Perhaps you saw it coming…I’m switching gears (if you can’t find ’em, grind ’em)…what about educators/schools/districts who have little to no idea about the capabilities of the Internet? Would you want your child to go to a school where the principal or a teacher said, “I don’t do email?” And I know there’s plenty out there…are their students getting a fair trial education?

Connecting & Collaborating Conference

Connecting & Collaborating ConferenceOnce again, the Ottawa Area ISD is hosting the Connecting & Collaborating Conference. This year’s conference is on Friday, April 20 from 8:00 – 4:00, focusing on how online collaborative and communication tools are being used to engage students and improve learning. Wesley Fryer, Director of Education Advocacy for AT&T in Oklahoma and host of the popular educators’ blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, will provide the luncheon keynote, “Welcome to the Global Education Conversation!”

Participants may attend four 90-minute hands-on workshops, two before lunch and two after. It’s really a great opportunity to experience what Web 2.0 looks like, Education Style. There will be some computers available in each session, but if you have a wireless laptop you should bring it.

New this year is the conference wiki (hosted on PBwiki). Each session has a wiki page and presenters are being encouraged to post links and resources to further enhance their sessions. The wiki will also allow (as wikis do) the contributions of participants through comments and page editing. By the time the day is over it should prove to be an incredible resource.

For more information and to register, visit the Connecting & Collaborating Conference home.

The Case for Michigan’s Online Learning Mandate

This seemed to slip by, so I wanted to bring up this opinion piece written by Bruce Umpstead (Director of Educational Technology & Data Coordination) and Barb Fardell (Manager, Office of Educational Technology & Data Coordination) from the Michigan Department of Education. The Case for Michigan’s Online Learning Mandate seeks to, as its title implies, justify the state of Michigan requiring an online learning experience for high school graduates. It’s pretty short, but should provide an official answer for those saying, “Why?”

Here’s a quote:

It requires both learners and educators to adapt and adopt new technologies and skills that will make them more successful long after the particular online experience has ended.

The key stakeholders to this adaptation are educators, not students. As the article states, “Our kids are connected, and technology is now a part of their lives.” It’s going to be up to innovative and flexible teachers to convince students that this technology is going to be useful for their education.

Day of Discovery @ REMC 11

On Wednesday, October 11 we are hosting a Day of Discovery at the Berrien County ISD. What, you may ask, is a Day of Discovery? Here’s the low-down:

All unitedstreaming users including teachers, media specialists, techs, and administrators are invited to discover…

  • the NEW unitedstreaming features & tools
  • the creativity of digital storytelling
  • the communication of blogging & podcasting
  • and the permanence of the Internet

with featured presenters…
Steve Dembo, Brad Fountain, & Kristin Furdak from Discovery Education. Registration is free (although limited) and includes lunch, door prizes and snacks. Registration deadline is October 6, 2006. To register, call Jo at Berrien County ISD, (269) 471-7725 ext. 149. Ask for program #07-072. Or visit the BCISD online Professional Development Catalog. Search for the workshop in the technology listings. Michigan SB-CEUs (.5) are available for a fee.

View the Day of Discovery flyer [pdf].

Sounds like it’s going to be a great day! There are a lot of unitedstreaming users here in Berrien County…I hope you all take advantage of this free training and the oppotunities that it will open up in your classroom.


After a week spent in the San Diego area after NECC, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. My family had such a great time out in California…it’s hard to focus on the tasks at hand.

One such task is to take a closer look at a new piece of software from Inspiration called InspireData. InspireData is a tool which allows users to analyze data in in various, visually appealing ways. The brief demonstration I saw is kind of hard to describe.

Start with a data table, almost a spreadsheet (you can import Excel spreadsheets) that changes to several types of visual displays such as bar or line charts with the click of a button (much like the diagram to outline button of Inspiration). Well, that’s nice, but not amazing. What is, however, is the ability to analyze the data by highlighting and comparing values and characteristics. I wish they had a little movie so you could see it. It was very cool. Perhaps I’ll put something together using Camtasia Studio just to highlight some of the animations and analyzing tools.

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