Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lankes, Hope, and Taking Heart

Earlier this month, David Lankes, a professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, wrote a piece he called "The Loss of Hope" which describes in part his response to fighting cancer.  It’s very moving and I found myself returning to it in recent days, particularly as he says:

"You see, that’s the thing about hope – it is not a guarantee or a promise. It is a prayer, and desire, and it lies at the core of making this world a better place. We fight inequity, poverty, corruption because we hope for a better day. We teach because we hope we can impart some idea that will blossom into a better world for all. We raise children in hopes of a better future…"

As we discuss our profession and our role, we often comment on the unique perspective of librarians and the many strengths and talents with which we impact our learning communities.  In fact, our recent Board of Education Presentation highlighted Library Department contributions and connections.  This, in turn, made me think about the video called “Empathy … the Human Connection” from Cleveland Clinic:

In another example, PBS reported on how teachers and researchers in Palo Alto are teaching students to combat the traumas of poverty on the yoga mat. It’s a way of expressing hope through attempting to reach the whole child and improving the educational environment by reducing stress. 

So often, we do not realize what others are experiencing or even begin to sense the lens through which they are looking. As the video says, "If you could stand in someone else's shoes, hear what they hear, see what they see, feel what they feel, would you treat them differently?"  Do take heart. Do continue to hope.

Citation Station

Just wanted to share an image of our “Citation Station,” one of the many ways we are guiding and instructing students as we actively encourage them to find, evaluate and correctly site sources:

We started thinking about March as Woman’s History Month and about the contributions of American artists such as Dorothea Lange. From there, we used her “Migrant Mother” image and identified resources from different places like Gale Virtual Reference Library and Biography in Context, Salem History eBooks, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, books in our collection and relevant web sites. 

We posted each of the sources with a labeled citation as a means for students to compare and contrast their own work.  

Located near to our Junior Theme book carts, this display also provides a readily available way for librarians to quickly provide an example to the students, both for citation format and to illustrate the benefits of exploring a variety of sources.

For more ideas, check out these Pinterest Boards and K-M the Librarian’s blog post, World of Citation, about using world maps which drew attention from Buffy Hamilton and Debbie Abliock. Can’t wait to see the ideas for next year!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes back from the Brink

Available FREE for downloading through January 15, The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes back from the Brink is self-described as “ a call to the nation to modernize its relationship with women in order not only to strengthen our economy, but also to make it work better for everyone.” At over 500 pages the download is a large file and print copies should be available in early March, according to the Center for American Progress.

An executive summary notes that fifty years after declaring the War on Poverty, “the extent of social immobility and economic inequality is much bigger and affects far more women and children then men.“ The summary provides links to sample essays (written by celebrities, sociologists and politicians), to a 23 page poll and an infographic titled “How far we’ve come … how far we need to go.” Students and teachers interested in both economics/poverty and in women’s issues will find much to explore and discuss. 

We are beginning to compile resources for Women's History Month (March), an annual declared month worldwide that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. If you have some to suggest, please contact the librarians or post a suggestion below.

New York Times Features Every Teacher Should Know

When we guide student research, we often recommend the quality materials on Times Topics pages. Thus, we were very excited to see that the New York Times’ Learning Network blog, written by Katherine Schulten and Michael Gonchar, has recently posted New York Times Features Every TeacherShould Know.”
 Check out that link to learn more about numerous options that both students and teachers will find very useful. Examples include the Room for Debate series, Times Health Guide, and Numberplay.

These many resources cross disciplines (as evidenced in part by the engaging Fire Ants video), but suggestions are grouped roughly be subject category, including Current Events, Civics, Politics; History; English Language Arts and Journalism; Science and Health; Math, Economics and Finance; Arts and Education.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Clifford Nass ... multitasking ... having a conversation

I was very sad to hear that Clifford Nass, Stanford professor, died this past weekend. I have been introducing his work on multitasking to my students for several years – both as they explore the topic from a research perspective and from a personal struggle with balancing screen-time and their own relationships with friends and family.  Nass was an especially engaging professor who will definitely be missed far beyond 'the Farm' in Palo Alto.  Here is a short video in which he passionately discusses his work:

I found it especially appropriate to see that Edutopia had also just published an essay about learning to communicate, focusing on the ways that we as educators can help students with this ongoing challenge:

  • Model a Good Conversation; 
  • Encourage Physical Cues;
  • Challenge Put-Downs or Hurtful Comments;
  • Ask Open-Ended Questions;
  • Put Thinking Ahead of Knowing;
  • Have Informal Chats;
  • Make Eye Contact and
  • Encourage Turn-Taking.

If the topic interests YOU and you are not familiar with Nass' work, begin by reading more at The New York Times where Clifford Nass is described as "A Force for Face-to-Face Communication" and “instrumental in helping us understand how modern technology is changing who and what we are.” 

Or pick up his book, The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines.  Look someone in the eye and share the information - it would make Professor Nass smile. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

world-wide access to the Internet – a new initiative from Mark Zuckerberg, who has partnered with some big competitors, to connect everyone, and he means everyone - especially the billions of people around the world who do not have access to the Internet.
The video on the web site seems to be directed towards emotional appeal, with a focus on connecting people; one could easily mistake it for a social justice initiative.  And, that just might be what Mark Zuckerberg has in mind.
Video is short and certainly sweet; interesting statements said and not said in interview.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Really?? Web 3.0

Tim O'Reilly, who's media company coined Web 2.0, says it's not a version number. So, basically we need to stop referring to the dramatic evolutionary rise of the web in education as web 3.0.
In an interview, EdTech askedWhat changes do you see that are most likely to affect education?
O'Reilly: "The first is the rise of video as a learning medium — Stanford University's artificial intelligence classes, for example, or Khan Academy".
He thinks that another change the web will bring is to drive down the cost of higher education.
Karen Cator predicts that students will become more engaged in their learning and that teachers [who work with librarians] will be able to develop more interesting and complex assighments supported by more resources [with knowledgeable librarians].
I added my own librarian take to Cator's comments because teachers will need support to make this shift happen. As assignments grow more complex, use of substantive resources also needs to grow more complex.  This means that librarians need to help shape assignments so that the use of scholarly articles and primary sources are included as requirements.
When O'Reilly speaks to the rise of video in education, we have to remember that many schools still block media channels such as YouTube.
Another thing we need to reflect on are the findings of the 2012 Pew Survey: How Teens Do Research in the Digital World.

Some key findings:
In descending order, the sources teachers in our survey say students are “very likely” to use in a typical research assignment:
  • Google or other online search engine (94%)
  • Wikipedia or other online encyclopedia (75%)
  • YouTube or other social media sites (52%)
  • Their peers (42%)
  • Spark Notes, Cliff Notes, or other study guides (41%)
  • News sites of major news organizations (25%)
  • Print or electronic textbooks (18%)
  • Online databases such as EBSCO, JSTOR, or Grolier (17%)
  • A research librarian at their school or public library (16%)
  • Printed books other than textbooks (12%)
  • Student-oriented search engines such as Sweet Search (10%

My question is this:  Where are all the librarians hiding?