Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Haiti: Frontline's The Quake

Last Night, pbs' Frontline broadcast The Quake. Watch it online and join the discussion. If you would like more information or ideas for developing lessons about Haiti, see the resources developed by New Trier's librarians and teachers.

Today, Haiti requested $3.8 billion in international donations. The need is great. Our fundraising efforts to rebuild Saint Joseph's school in Petit Goave (earthquake epicenter) are continuing, click here to learn more.

Friday, March 26, 2010

PLA Learning 2.0 Presentation

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

What goes around, comes around....

As we get ready for Spring Break, I couldn't resist being a bit tongue in cheek about an "old technology" which is being resurrected. I read in today's Wall Street Journal about entrepreneur Florian Kaps' efforts to save this process -- so if you are missing the fun of watching pictures develop instantly before your eyes, know that you can still in fact get that film.

However you take pictures, have fun building memories and enjoy the break!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ms. Jackson's Art Students: Book Art in the New Trier Library

FedFlix: Free Movies

FedFlix is a joint venture between the National Technical Information Service and Public.Resource.Org. 

They feature the best movies of the United States Government, from training films to history, from our national parks to the U.S. Fire Academy and the Postal Inspectors. These 258,000 + are browseable by author, title, keyword, subject, and collection. This is a part of the Internet Archive which also includes fun stuff like the Wayback Machine,
music archives, and textual archives.
"The Internet Archive is working to prevent the Internet - a new medium with major historical significance - and other "born-digital" materials from disappearing into the past. Collaborating with institutions including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, we are working to preserve a record for generations to come."
All of these fine flix are available for reuse without any restrictions whatsoever. You are also invited to view or upload your videos to the Open Source collection! These thousands of videos were contributed by Archive users and community members. These videos are available for free download. It is suggested to "select a Creative Commons License during upload so that others will know what they may (or may not) do with with your video."

Browsing this collection is great fun. It definitely should be added to our library web reference collection.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gary Flake: is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?

Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.

"Pivot is an application intended to make it easier to view and interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun. It enables the visualization of trends in related information using our own Seadragon technology. Pivot is currently available by invitation only to a small technical audience but you can learn more by visiting our website."
Get the software from .  Pivot installation requires Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7.  Unfortunately, the installation could not proceed  on my school computer because my computer is not running one of these operating systems.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'

Read Eric's blog to find out how he accomplished this!

Students need Librarians, not just Google

Read Forbes writer Mark Moran's recent article:
In the libraries of old, the Dewey Decimal System got you started on research. But there is no card catalog 2.0.
Today, librarians are the card catalog 2.0. We are the ones who teach users database searching and how to sift through the overwhelming options to find relevant material which helps to defend an argument in an assignment. We bring order to chaos which is sometimes comforting and always valuable.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From Obamas Lips to God's Ears.....

“By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” —President Barack Obama, Address to Congress, February 24, 2009

Here is the A 21st Century Model of Learning Powered by Technology executive summary.
Secretary Arne Duncan recently announced the draft of the National Educational Technology Plan. He noted that it is a draft. "We are open to your comments", he said. "Tell us about how technology has changed your school or classroom. The Secretary invited comments, videos, and links to examples of how technology is changing and improving education".

Is Social Media the New Hula Hoop?

Social media is a fad but it will turn into a trend and then a marketing concept that is here to stay. The specific apps will change but the idea of using technology to connect people will continue toexist in some form. Marketing continues to evolve as bandwidth gets cheaper. Look at the incredible rise of video sharing which was almost unimaginable just five years ago.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Google Does It Again. . .

Get ready for spring bicycling and start making your list of destinations and routes !! Google has rolled out another innovation. . .

Google Maps of trails and routes for cyclists.

Biking in Chicago
Google style:-)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

True Grit in Action

Today's post, Reality Check by Will Richardson on how some parents respond to an innovative energized classroom is sobering.

Parents who know nothing other than the stand and deliver approach to education from their youth want the security of knowing "what's going on". They fear what they don't know and don't understand, as evidenced by this statement: “Our students don’t need to be a part of a classroom experiment with all this technology stuff. They need to have a real teacher with real textbooks and real tests.”

I love the comment from teacher-librarian Dianne McKenzie from Hong Kong who "translates" the parent statement for us:

“Our students don’t need to be engaged in their learning with all this technology stuff. They need to have a really boring teacher with really boring textbooks and really bad tests that do not help to demonstrate learning has taken place.”

Who will be the first to complain when they leave school that the students were not prepared for the real world?

McKenzie's blog is called Library Grits. She chose 'grits' because it is 'suggestive of being plural rather than singular - reflective of the multitasking and thinking we need to do'.

Dianne also includes the synonyms for the noun Grit: Courage, determination, backbone, daring, doggedness, fortitude, guts, hardihood, intestinal fortitude, mettle, moxie, nerve, perseverance, pluck, resolution, spine, spirit, spunk, steadfastness, tenacity, toughness, bravery and firmness. These are surely the qualities we need as educators to move forward.

Thankfully, our large public high school was able to push on and successfully implement an integrated studies program without textbooks, using classroom technologies, collaborative learning, and social media to prepare students for the real-world. See our "Integrated Global Studies" school-within-a-school, as a model of what can be done with enough spunk and grit.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Creating PDFs of websites is now a snap with this new tool. Simply go to plug in a web address, and choose where you'd like to save the PDF. Creating PDFs has never been easier!


Shared by Joyce Valenza on Twitter - Wow! Students can role play with this one...and need a library research visit for several days to pull it off.

I am talking about TwHistory: "virtual reenactments can increase engagement while providing opportunities for students to research personal journals and other primary source documents. In order to organize, study, and preserve these online reenactments we have created"

See the Reenactment directory to get an idea of how this works.

This can even move your project beyond the classroom: "TwHistory projects have the potential to draw a large audience. Spectating Twitter followers often retweet favorite messages, drawing additional followers to the reenactment."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Awesome Highlighter

From Michael Gorman's blog:
"The Awesome Highlighter, a free web resource that allows students to save only the text needed, keep it in a digital format, archive the resource it came from, and print only the information necessary!" Read his summary of how it works. Students can also add sticky notes.

The part I like is that it has social media functionality because it allows you to share marked up pages via email, Facebook, Delicious, or Twitter.

I started following Gorman on Twitter. [] He has a 21st Century Ed Tech Wiki that looks good. I know I can learn something from his wiki. He is really into project-based learning.

Why is YouTube still blocked?

We are entering the age of conversation and this is spreading to education.

The Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and flickr sharing phenomenon (which is exponential is growth) is definitely NOT a fad that we can ignore.

In fact we ignore these and other tools at our peril. I am not making an argument that we need to be using any of these specific tools. Not at all. However we should definitely NOT be blocking them and let teachers use their own expertise to figure out what works best in the classroom.

Thank goodness our school does not block Twitter and Flickr.
We need to figure out with students how the of social media enhances our learning.

Let’s get rid of the filtering for most, if not all, social tools. Look at how we were all scared of cell phones in our high school. We finally allowed them in school this year. What’s the big deal? We learned that it’s not a big deal at all. Ditto for these social media tools. They are just tools….after all.

What we need to pay attention to:
Power of conversation
Real time learning
Live chat

If we block all the tools how can we teach this stuff?

YouTube is still blocked. What are we waiting for?

Monday, March 08, 2010


I have now watched most of the Webinar which JudyG blogged about last week. I think the most valuable tool discussed is LibGuides. Watch a demo and let us know your thoughts:

LibGuides Intro from Springshare on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

How will ebooks impact the reader and the experience of reading?

In an upcoming AM Exchange, we'll be discussing ebooks. As food for thought I ran across the these posts linked to Library Junction: Online Social Network of the Library. Librarian Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom from India who has launched a ning platform for its online social network.

Worth reading: a discussion forum on Can a School Library Be Replaced by E-Readers?

Pradeep Sebastian's article: Are eBooks the Future?

From the editors of the New York Times: Does the Brain Like E-Books? Read this series of essays by:
Alan Liu, English professor
Sandra Aamodt, author, “Welcome to Your Brain”
Maryanne Wolf, professor of child development
David Gelernter, computer scientist
Gloria Mack, professor of informatics

Understanding the Ebook Consumer: The Results of the BISG Consumer Survey: a well-organized conference presentation PPT of the first 2 parts of a 3 part survey which gives recent data regarding book consumers’ actual interest in and preferences for digital content, or the factors that influence their reading habits and purchasing decisions.

Library Junction is a community building Ning, something our library should consider as our library web presence continues to evolve.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

How Truth is Warped by the News Cycle

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Twitter Experiment - UT Dallas

Dr. Rankin, professor of History at UT Dallas, wanted to know how to reach more students and involve more people in class discussions both in and out of the classroom. She turned to Twitter to boost student engagement.

You Are What You Share

Helene Blowers has a lot to say about web 2.0. You may know her as the author of the Librarybytes blog and/or the Creator and developer of Learning 2.0: 23 Things, the original online discovery program that has been duplicated by over 700 libraries, schools and non-profit organizations all over the world.

Watch a recent slide show that demonstrates how we are moving into an era of conversation with social media. I especially like the notion of "you are what you share"....

Now she is teaching us about life after web 2.0:

America's Teachers on America's Schools

Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today released Primary Sources: America's Teachers on America's Schools, a landmark report presenting the results of a national survey of more than 40,000 public school teachers in grades pre-K to 12.

According to the press release, the survey, which was conducted by phone and on the web from mid-March to mid-June 2009, identifies five solutions to address the challenges facing schools today and to help ensure that all students achieve at their highest levels:

1. Establish Clear Standards, Common Across States
2. Use Multiple Measures to Evaluate Student Performance
3. Innovate to Reach Today's Students
4. Accurately Measure Teacher Performance and Provide Non-Monetary Rewards
5. Bridge School & Home to Raise Student Achievement

The report contains data that can be reviewed by state and by grade level. What was considered the most important in retaining good teachers? 'Supportive leadership' and 'Time for teachers to collaborate' were rated as absolutely essential by more than half of the respondents. Important topics like differentiating instruction and means for engaging students are also discussed.

Why a Personal Learning Network? (PLN)

The Big Questions: Experiment in Crowdsourcing

This is Will Richardson's wiki plan of action to get educators across the nation and world to contribute ideas on each of these big questions which came out of EduCon2.2 discussions.
"The pace of technological change has outstripped the ability or school systems to adapt essential practices. Schools have fiddled with learning technologies on the margins of the system, in boutique innovations that leave core practices untouched. The emergence of new forms of teaching and learning outside of school threaten the identification of learning with formal schooling forged in the 19th Century."

Feel free to contribute your thoughts to this Big Questions wiki.

1. What is the purpose of school?
2. What is the changing role of the teacher, and how do we support that new role?
3. How do we help students discover their passions?
4. What is the essential learning that schools impart to students?
5. How do we adapt our curriculum to the technologies that kids are already using?
6. What does an educated person look like today?
7. How do we change policy to support more flexible time and place learning?
8. What are the essential practices of teachers in a system where students are learning outside of school?
9. How do we ensure those without privilege have equal access to quality education and opportunity?
10. How do we evaluate and validate the informal, self-directed learning that happens outside of school?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Why Teachers Should 'Friend' Students Online - Murry's World | Diigo

Read this rationale for why teachers should be online, friending students. It makes a lot of sense. I am still skeptical primarily because I don't want additional responsibilities. Is this selfish?

Any thoughts on this?

Why Teachers Should 'Friend' Students Online - Murry's World | Diigo

Monday, March 01, 2010

Teacher - librarian collaboration

Listened in tonight: Teacher-Librarians Cafe event on a general discussion on Web presence. Guests: Buffy Hamilton, Carolyn Foote, Barb Jansen, Christina Bentheim
Hosted by Gwyneth Jones and Joyce Valenza

One of the main things I took away from the webinar is that we need to empower ourselves to use the web presence we need and not have it dictated to us by the technology department. Using wikis, or google sites or blogs as our MAIN website could potentially happen if we fight for it. Another idea I took away was using Meebo for live chat for office hours --Ask a Librarian.

The Unquiet Library uses Google sites and subscribes to Lib Guides and it works well as pathfinder support. They are totally customizable. Rss feeds, widgets, and all the web 2.0 tools that we love can be embedded. See the research pathfinders page which are a combination of Lib Guides, Netvibes and Pageflakes pages. The library's social media presence is awesome! This is all with 2 librarians.

After hearing Buffy Hamilton at the TL Ning webinar this evening I decided to check out her library site and first came across this wonderful piece she posted with 3 videos linked describing her digital literacy project (Media 21 Capstone project)with English teacher Susan Lester. These firsthand account video reflections on Buffy Hamilton's blog discuss the dynamics of the collaboration. Students viewed them as equals and co-teachers. It happened because of how their personalities meshed.

Her presentation: Transforming Information Literacy for NowGen Students yesterday is now available. Links to the planning process will help you visualize the process.

Temple Grandin: The World Needs all Kinds of Minds

I loved the recent HBO documentary on Temple Grandin played by Claire Danes. Wonderful movie. Wondering if we can order this for the library.

Here's Grandin speaking about different minds and visual thinking in a TED talk: