Thursday, October 26, 2006

I was reading an article in the current NetConnect called, "Planning for Now and Then." The author argues that every library should have its 2.0 degree by 2010. In her discussion she recommends Ann Arbor District Library's web site because of its incorporation of 2.0 technology. Check their Events Blog and Reference Blog.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Today was the first day of introducing the blogging feature to Ms. Plank's two AP American History classes. Thirty out of 50 students enrolled immediately. Ease of use does not yet seem to be a problem.

I posted useful database links right to the blog, so there is no "class links" page that we usually create. I also posted some helpful primary source websites. A senior SILC student is assisting in the 8th period class; I will give "admin" permissions to both Ms. Plank and the assistant. That way they can play with the features of the blog. Ms. Plank seemed to be happy with the blog concept so far. We are leaving it open for anyone to read. It can be restricted to only registered blogger students. Comments to posts can also be restricted if desired.

Ms. Plank likes the idea of the collaboration as well as the fact that she could continue to use the blog for collaborative activities even after the end of the research project. So far I am hopeful and I like the reflective aspect of it.

Blogging is like the Nike ad, you have to "just do it".

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hello librarians,
So far, the blogging software is easy and fun to do. Much easier than posting web pages. Adding links and pictures is simple. I have enabled everyone on this blog to be "admin" instead of just guest. That way you can change the template, add customization and play with the features. With classroom blogs you can restrict who reads it and who is able to make posts.
Look in the settings tab and then click on permissions.

I just loaded the class attendance list for both of Ms. Plank's AP U.S. History classes. This will invite them into their own classroom blog as they work on a lengthy research project. This will enable the teacher and me to view their progress and collaborate in a discussion format. The students will also be able to see other student posts and teacher/librarian comments and look to those exemplary models.

Yesterday I found a blog post rubric and blog model while searching an educational blog. I have put a link to the AP History blog on the class links page for students. See the first draft of the classroom blog for Ms. Plank's class.

Judy Gressel

Monday, October 23, 2006

Web 2.0 and Librarians

I just finished an excellent article from the Educause Learning Initiative--How Choice, Co-Creation, and Culture Are Changing What It Means to Be Net Savvy, by George Lorenzo, Diana Oblinger, and Charles Dziuban: It does a terrific job of explaining Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, as well as giving excellent statistics on undergraduate use of the Internet from OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center). The statistics are a little scary; 72% of college students rank search engines as their first choice for finding information, with only 2% using library web sites as their starting point.

One of the major points I got from this is that our job is ever-changing and collaboration is the key. Where we once had to worry about collaborating just with teachers, now the opportunity is there to collaborate with students. And as Judy commented earlier, our best teaching is done one-on one. Using Web 2.0 tools such as blogging and Blackboard make that collaboration a bit easier.

A second major point is the question, "Do students possess the information literacy to recognize valid information from the rest?" This is something we try to teach repeatedly; sometimes we can see the results and sometimes we can't.

Much of this information echoes what I got last year from Stephen Abram. The Millenials can find information. Learning how to evaluate it, synthesize different points of view, and create new information are the skills librarians need to be teaching. Web 2.0 tools can help us do this.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Thoughts on Collaboration in a Web 2.0 World

After ruminating all day long I have come to the conclusion that the most meaningful interaction with students is on the one-to-one basis. What better, more efficient way to do it than a blog?

This week I will present resources for an AP U.S. History research project. Students will be doing individual topics and writing a 6-8 page research paper. They need a variety of primary and secondary sources. It is necessary that students show an ability to have meaningful engagement with ideas and synthesize a wide array of sources.

I will introduce NoodleTools as an option for taking notes in electronic format. These can be shared with the teacher/librarian. Noodle Tools does bibliographies in MLA or APA format. Since the bibliographies are to be completed in Chicago Style format, students have a choice of using the Citation Machine or the IMSA Bibliographic format tool.

They will receive instruction on the New Trier Library catalog, and these databases: Annals of American History, History Resource Center U.S., Expanded Academic Index, and scholarly articles in ProQuest. I will also show them a great site for primary sources --History Matters.

I will invite students to reflect on their research experiences in the New Trier Library blog.
Collaboration in a Web 2.0 World

Last year during the major Jr. Theme research project which centered on immigration and hyphenated Americans, we discovered the importance of communication with students to get them on track and keep them moving toward due dates. One of our English teachers, Adena Horwitz posted these questions to BlackBoard:

1. What sources have been used for gathering information? What methods of collection (I
nternet, text, interview, observation of neighborhood, etc.) were used? Why did you choose these methods?

2. What are the most important, surprising, and informative findings in
the research?

3. In what ways does the research give rise to new questions, points-of-
view, ideas, or suggestions?

4. In what ways does the research suggest your next steps, in terms of
further information collection, analysis, or action?

The English teacher read the posts and logged me in as an instructional assistant to read student postings from two different classes. I could tell right away which students were on track and which students were dazed and confused.
I was able to direct students to appropriate resources and get right back to them. My advice both needed and appreciated.

Not all teachers use the discussion/comment features of BlackBoard. For those teachers I plan on suggesting a collaboration using student blogs. If I set up the student blogs, the teachers not so fluent with technology will also be able to reap the benefits of tracking student progress and contributing to the conversations.

Collaboration in a Web 1.0 World

We now have documentation about positive effects of librarian/teacher collaboration from many sources. Planning cooperatively with teachers has a "sustained positive impact" on ACT scores according to the Illinois Study funded by ISLMA in 2005. One of the key findings was that "Students achieve academically when their visits to libraries bring them into contact with librarians as teachers and co-teachers”. The Illinois Study Fact Sheet also points to evidence that librarians in exemplary schools “perform the instructional role more often” than in less recognized schools. That seems like common sense. At New Trier High School Library we have 9 librarians and so each of us has the time to meet with teachers, talk about the next research project, and find appropriate resources to ensure that students are able not only to fulfill the project requirements, but also able to formulate thoughtful questions and thesis statements.

Collaboration at New Trier has evolved in part from the library liaison program; each librarian attends departmental meetings of academic departments. In addition, librarians are often included in summer curriculum work. We work with one-teacher-at-a-time who spread the word that we are able to “add value” to student research projects. Newer teachers are brought into the fold by more experienced teachers.

Responding to student research journals on BlackBoard has enabled us to “get our feet wet” with some of the features of Web 2.0 tools. One of our most successful collaborations in the Web 1.0 world has been doing direct instruction with students on formulating essential questions for Jr. Theme research.

Student comments from research journals on BlackBoard have given us insight into the potential of using Web 2.0 tools such as blogging. “I began to realize the importance of my journal and began to really use it to my advantage near the end of the first quarter. I can’t believe how much the journal taught me how to read. Putting my thoughts down on paper showed me the changes in my reading and the levels of sophistication I was managing to achieve. Without question, the reading journal was the most important element in my growth as a reader this year. It pointed out the nuances of what it is to read critically.”

Collaboration in a Web 2.0 World

Why not give each student a blog? Why not be able to connect with each student one-on-one? Last year Will Richardson, blogger/education guru did some staff development with our teachers. As a result of keynote, I experimented with pbwiki and a China provinces project , Furl, Flickr and my stickies. But I think the really powerful tool is the blog because of the comment features and the "read/write-ness" of it all. The social, collaborative nature of the blog is key; teaching is not really instruction, but more like a conversation. No one is the ultimate expert. As Will Richardson says, "contribution not completion" is the ultimate goal. This is just the beginning of more intimate connections with students. Web 2.0 promises to enable more reflection and more participation with students than ever before.