Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Five conversations to avoid this year

W.I.S.E.D.
This post has been languishing among my drafts for over a month. I keep coming back to it, trying to sweeten it up, and ending up with something more acerbic than what I started with.

Just before the new year, Jennifer LaGarde (The Adventures of Library Girl) posted a thoughtful list of questions reflective librarians should consider in their practice this year. If you are looking for a constructive and positive post - something upbeat and hopeful - stop reading this now and read that instead.  Not many people will like what follows, I have been trying to fix it, and it only gets worse. I've tried abandoning it, but it lures me back. It's time for me to stop revising and just publish it. But be warned: it is not warm and fuzzy.

What follows was inspired by an early-December email from a database vendor asking me to update our school's IP address information. I had just been through an exasperating exchange about how tracking database usage using IP address authentication was useless in a BYOT environment since many students use their personal data plans to access the Internet. That was followed by a conversation with an eBook distributor who was trying to establish quantitative guidelines for digital v. print books... and then I received my November/December 2013 edition of Knowledge Quest - Dewey or Don't We. That's when I wrote the following list.

Five things school librarians might consider NOT discussing in 2014:
What we should call ourselves: It's what we DO that counts, not what we call ourselves. The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) changed our title from school librarian to school library media specialist in 1998, then back to school librarian just a decade later, and all it did was cause confusion. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) calls us media specialists. Others call us teacher librarians, but ultimately what we call ourselves is not going to cost or save jobs. If the title "school librarian" conjures images of dispensable school personnel, then someone somewhere must have done something to propagate that notion. But that's water under the bridge. It's up to us to demonstrate that school librarians are transformational educators who favorably impact every learner in every school - changing our title will only muddy our role.
IP address authentication for databases (and more): In a mobile learning environment where data plans abound, IP address is about the least reliable mechanism to authenticate users and track usage. Most vendors are willing to provide alternative solutions when librarians ask for them. There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world. Vendors, publishers and educators need to build instruction and infrastructure for mobile learning, rather than hardwired desktop computing.
Saving libraries: See David Lankes August 2012 post. Saying that libraries need saving implies that they are endangered. Let's innovate libraries rather than preserve them. Let's grow amazing programs. Let's transform teaching and learning. Let's evolve with our learners. Let's help teachers teach, learners learn, and document the process. If we focus on that in lieu of advocacy, advocacy won't be as necessary.
EBook/print book ratio: In the aforementioned conversation with an eContent distributor, I chastised him for trying to devise a formula for an "appropriate" ratio of electronic to print books for school libraries. I explained that the only person qualified to make that calculation is a certified school librarian  (or whatever you call them - see "W" above) who knows his/her teaching and learning community's needs. Print v. digital, screen size preference, community demographics, access to mobile technology, Internet access, curriculum, learning standards, student v. teacher selected content (Chris Harris' terms), readers, reading capacity, etc. - this cannot be computed through magical formula that can be applied to a random learning environment. There are variables - human variables that defy calculation. This is one of many reasons why schools need librarians. 
Ditching Dewey: It won't matter soon. Just do what works for your learning community and stop trying the generate controversy over something that will become immaterial (quite literally) within the next decade. When we focus on physical resource location, rather than resource evaluation, we reinforce all those "keeper of the books" stereotypes.

Oh, and yeah... that spells W.I.S.E.D., as in it's time we wised up?

Like I said, I've been trying really hard not to publish this, and there was a point right after Jennifer posted her 11 questions piece that I said, "Yes, that's what we need to focus on!", and I chastised myself for articulating what we shouldn't talk about instead of what we should talk about. The "Yes, and..." here is that there is a point where recursive conversations become regressive, and I worry that if we don't abandon at least some of the conversations I mention here, we will not free ourselves up to focus on the innovative thinking Jennifer prescribes. I want us to focus on that stuff, not this stuff. So let's go out there, ask the right questions, and show them how truly awesome we are.

Epilogue

Since I reference Jennifer LaGarde’s work throughout this post, I called her up to run it by her. After I explained why I was calling, she said, “It’s funny that you’re calling about the 11 questions post, because that was a follow-up to an earlier post listing five conversations I don’t want to have any more.” I was embarrassed to have missed the post, but my embarrassment was offset by the validation I felt upon learning that our thinking was so in sync. It turns out that in our short lists of conversations to end, we both included what to call ourselves and how to arrange our collections. I chose to go ahead and post this not in spite of the redundancy, but because of it. We’re all educators, right? We know that if one learner asks a question, there will be at least a few others who are wondering the same thing. The same principle applies here. If Jennifer and I agree that there are a few things we need to let go, then chances are, we are not alone. Here’s to fresh ideas in 2014!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

AASL 16th National Conference takeaways

This is totally unpolished and sloppy, but I have to reflect about the AASL 16th National Conference right away, while it's all fresh, and before I go back to the real world.

True story: I was going through my files a few weeks ago and I came across my notes from the 2003 CEMA annual conference. I had pages and pages of notes from Doug Johnson's talks. I emailed him to share that everything I wrote down a decade ago was still relevant today - the ultimate complement. I attended his session on Friday, and it was entertaining, timely, and relevant. Great thoughts on how to inspire (and maybe try to measure) creativity. Here is the link to his presentation.

I also attended Kristin Fontichiaro and Debbie Abilock's session on data, data mining, and privacy. Wow! Here is the link to that one.

I was dazzled by the scientificity of the research Dr. Nancy Everhart, AASL Past Past President, conducted during her 2011 Vision Tour. Judi Paradis impressed us all with a heartwarming story of how her school visit changed one legislator's view of what a librarian does, and how that resulted in proposed legislation mandating school librarians in Massachusetts schools. It doesn't get better than that!

I was blown away by Project Connect with Mark Ray, Karen Cator, and others. Follett recorded that, and I look forward to watching the recording, because I had to dash off early to participate in the eLearning Commons, which was another highlight of the conference for me.

It was exciting to see a major unconference event at the national conference. Huge shout out to Joyce Valenza for organizing it! It was phenomenal - nearly 200 participants from 9-midnight on Friday night!


 Scheduled informal discussions and presentations (unconference and eLearning Commons) complemented traditional expert presentations beautifully, giving voice to a wide spectrum of attendees, and opportunities to converse about, not just consume learning. Bravo to the Connecticut and AASL volunteers and staff for making the 16th national conference a great experience.

Oh! And if anyone wants links to the sessions I did with Brenda Boyer, Gwyneth Jones, Shannon Miller, and Tiffany Whitehead, here is the Wiki.

I also want to give a major shout out to Molly James, NCHS 2013 and George Herde, NCHS 2014 for joining the gang on Thursday morning for the pre-conference presentation of A Library in Every Pocket. Their voice and insightful observations enhanced the presentation a great deal!





Saturday, October 5, 2013

#NCSLMA13 & More...


This weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the North Carolina School Library Media Association (NCSLMA)'s annual conference. Even though I was only there for a short time, I was able to have great conversations with dedicated professionals who recognize the brilliant instructional opportunities the new millennium brings to librarians. I want to give a special shout-out to opening keynote speaker David Lankes, whose August 2012 post - It's Time To Stop Trying to Save Libraries! inspired me to "run on my record". To some extent this has quieted my social media activity. Last week, my own daughter pointed out that I hadn't posted to Bibliotech.me since June. Then she added that I'd been pushed way down in Google search results because of Bibliotech - the new all-digital library in Texas (I'd link to it, but searching for it would only push me farther down!) Uhhh... thanks, Em! :-(.  So back to NCSLMA... I so was gratified to read through the audience takeaways (#ncslma13 on Twitter) that I compiled a word cloud of salient keywords. A special thanks to @actinginthelib, @madamewells, @CCNTH, @candidlibrarian, @deannaharris, @SiggaMitchell, @rdpalgi, @NClibrariandiva, @TheSlamGuy, @jlynch482 (Please forgive me if I missed anyone!) for sharing their learning!



There was a bullet list I left out A) because of time, and B) because I couldn't figure out how to depict it visually, and I didn't want another bullet list (always trying to keep those to a minimum). It follows:
  • Cultivate imagination
  • Rethink workflow
  • Question assumptions
  • Measure impact
  • Apply reflection
Humm... Q-MARC? It is safe to assume that I will include it with a 60 mile-per-hour explanation of each point in an upcoming edWeb.net Emerging tech webinar, but I don't yet know which one. I have to think about that.

On a related note, I received an email from my friend (and New Canaan High School class of 2003 alum) Matt D. this morning noting that he'd read an article about my last edWeb.net webinar in a popular education blog out of San Francisco, Mind/Shift.org. I have to say that Katrina Schwartz nailed it. It encapsulates not only the main ideas from my blog, but also my mini-rant from my NCSLMA breakout session where I said, "What they are telling you about CIPA as an excuse to enforce absurd filtering practices is a lie!" I referenced another Mind/Shift post in the session from a few years back where then United States Department of Education Director of Education Technology Karen Cator dispelled the myths about CIPA. I still love that one, and when I asked her a year ago to update it, she politely declined saying, "Nothing's changed. There is nothing to update." Touché. Interesting work is being done about the educational impact of CIPA right now, and I look forward to learning more. In the meantime, I finally saw the impact of the new COPPA legislation that went into effect on July 1st.
  



I am still convinced that this will impact the use of mobile technology - or at least policies around the use of mobile technology for K-12 schools. This was addressed by Library Journal/School Library Journal's online publication, The Digital Shift last summer. All you 1:1 schools with IOS devices, this is legislation that merits attention!

One final note before I wrap up my thoughts for the weekend: Brenda Boyer, Gwyneth Jones, Shannon Miller, Tiffany Whitehead, and I are meeting to discuss our upcoming AASL pre-conference session (Nov. 14th, 8:30AM) called A Library in Every Pocket tonight. What new learning do participants want out of this session? We have ideas, but we'd love to hear from registered folks. 

My slides from NCSLMA follow:


Here is my closing keynote presentation. The link is http://bit.ly/ncslma13
 


and for my breakout session - http://bit.ly/ncslma13A

Sunday, June 16, 2013

NCHS library's summer reading post

Cross-posted from New Canaan High School Library's instructional portal, THE ANNEX@:

It's summer reading time! That's when we get to catch up on what's new and exciting in publishing. Our summer reading list is primarily recreational. It's purpose is to connect our learners with resources they may enjoy.

We keep the list pretty short - at about fifty books so as not to overwhelm. We are mindful of genre, "boy books", "girl books", and themes in diversity. We focus on contemporary publications - the last two years or so, but we also include a few classics. We aim for balance between young adult and adult literature. 

Keeping in mind that our library users include young teens and adults, our list is thematically comprehensive. Not every book is for every library user. Selection is part of the reading proces and we encourage young readers to be reflective about their choices - to contextualize them with their personal and family values - to read reviews and publisher notes, to make predictions about whether a book will suit their interests, and also to switch to a different book when one falls short of their expectations. There are so many books to enjoy. Summer is not the time to slog through a book that holds little appeal. 

As in previous years, New Canaan (town) Library runs a dynamic Summer Library Exploration and Reading Program (SLERP). Mallory Arents (@MLArents on Twitter) will facilitate that program this year. In our reading list, we've linked our titles to the town library collection's titles so that New Canaan Library users can participate in conversations about their reading. 
We are also experimenting with GoodReads - which is a social book recommendation site. We've dabbled with different products for online book discussion for years - first VoiceThread, then Destiny, then the town library website, but we want to provide our readers with an opportunity to document their reading experiences in a portal they can "take with them" once they leave New Canaan, and this one is well established. So we've set up our summer reading list there. There's an app for that!

Summer may also be a good time for readers to experiment with digital reading. Downloading eBooks to electronic devices can be tricky, and a rainy summer day may present just the right opportunity for readers to explore digital content. Granted, many digital readers are not particularly practical for the outdoors, but digital reading is becoming increasingly important in K-12 learning, and it is helpful to have some experience with it. 

Finally, we encourage our library users to contribute to the summer reading list. We are happy to add titles! Just keep the criteria in mind. As much as we love The Hunger Games, and The Art of Racing in the Rain, those books have been around for five years, and they already have ample circulation. We want to introduce readers to fresh content, so that we can grow our Vide Collection (New Canaan High School's Book Group collection) with newly discovered titles.

Don't see anything appealing on the the list? Try recommendations from other online sources such as YALSA's Teen Book Finder, or the New Canaan High School Library online catalog

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A librarian's "Dear John" letter

Dear John, 

Your price quote of $67.97 per student per year for Spodek's 4th edition of The World's History does not work for us. Have any schools signed on for that? Frankly, it reflects distributor "out-of-touchness". With the print format, we spend roughly $22 per use ($130 book used for 6 or so years). The price you quoted would increase our per usage cost by nearly 300% while saving the publisher the expense of  printing and shipping books. I can't imagine any school feeling fluid enough to agree to that - particularly in this economy.

You mentioned a package that includes combination of print and electronic formats. How much does that cost? Since schools use print copies for more than one year, how does ------- provide electronic access that is commensurate with the life of the print copy?

Are there separate purchasing models for browser-only access, downloadable, and a combination package? What are the costs for each?

What provisions are being made for school library circulation? Are you aware of Connecticut House Bill 5614? Is ------- one of the companies lobbying against it? 

Could our school library buy 15 downloadable copies, download them to 15 mobile devices, and circulate those? If so, how would we pay for items, obtain licenses, download the content, and manage authentication? What safeguards would protect us from loosing those licenses if the device itself became damaged or require resetting? This is not an option we like, since we are trying to cut down on physical circulation, but I am curious. 

Alternatively, could we buy fifteen licenses for web browsing only (not download), add them as eBooks to our library management system (which requires authentication for access to eContent). If we registered our IP address and the sending URL for ------- authentication, students would not need re-authenticate to access ------- content as long as they were on A) on campus, and B) accessing resources as authenticated NCHS students. Does ------- have the capacity to recognize how many copies are in simultaneous use? If not, when will that technology be available? If  it does exist, we could use the aforementioned model and ------- could configure circulation to terminate on the 16th simultaneous view. On our end, we could establish parameters for online viewing time limits via the library management system. 

I do want to know how much you would charge an individual consumer for the ebook including the download option. Can individual consumers purchase a browser-only license without the download option? Is there a limit as to how many devices to which one can download a title? Do you have an alternative rate for students with IEPs? 

These are tough questions, but we've been waiting for a digital version of this textbook for a decade, and now that it is available, it is so prohibitively expensive that it might as well not be available. I can't help but wonder if this is intentional. The print item is still the cash cow for publishers, and ------- pricing ensures that in spite of our reluctance to do so, we will continue to buy print. What a waste of time, physical strain, trees ... and the list goes on. I've long maintained that no K-12 textbook provides content that cannot be curated from YouTube, Wikipedia and Twitter combined. ------- is pricing itself out of the textbook market because faced with these price points, resourceful educators will eventually find alternatives to buying textbooks at all, regardless of their format. 

I am cc'ing our school's social studies department chair, -------  We eagerly await your response. If you prefer to answer these questions verbally (which is how I would have liked to ask them, by the way), we are open to a Skype meeting. 

Sincerely, 

Michelle Luhtala

Sunday, March 24, 2013

edWeb.net/emergingtech session #33 - Online PD

Last week, I facilitated edWeb.net/emergingtech's 33rd webinar. Our focus this month was on online professional development. Since the community is familiar with my professional development offerings, I thought it would be far more interesting to feature a panel of experts who have contributed much to the field.

To model an interesting twist in webinar facilitation, I pre-recorded 6 video interviews with the panelists, and introduced each one during the live presentation. A few panelists were able to attend live and participate in the chat.

The webinar recording is posted with the other 32 archived Emerging Tech sessions at edweb.net/emergingtech. And the resources for this webinar are in Pearltrees at bit.ly/edwebet33

I WANT TO SHOUT OUT A HUGE THANKS TO THE PANELISTS!

The videos follow:

Eric Sheninger on strategies that promote self-directed professional development among faculty


Steve Hargadon on virtual conferences


Joyce Valenza on grass roots professional development among school librarians and education technology professionals


Connie Williams and Jane Lofton on bridging the time, money and space divide with online learning and meeting opportunities


Nikki Robertson on facilitating participatory learning as professional development


Janet Neufeld on using software to align professional development with curriculum









Thursday, February 14, 2013

6 concerning trends in digital collection development

I recently joined an American Association of School Librarians (AASL) working group that will develop guidelines to help librarians make decisions about digital content acquisitions.

Members were asked to introduce themselves, and to share their experience with eContent. What follows is an excerpt of what I wrote. I share it here, because it includes a few concerns I've been meaning to write about in this blog, so here goes:

"Our [New Canaan High School Library] collection includes about 1,400 ebooks, most of which are digital versions of our most popular print volumes. This was intentional, and it is working well. We have purchased eContent from
  • Follett
  • Gale
  • ABC-CLIO (annual subscription to leased content)
  • Marshall Cavendish (now owned by Amazon)
  • Sharpe
  • Salem Press
  • Mackin
  • Barnes and Noble
  • BrainHive
Our students access all our eContent through Destiny. We set it up using the Digital Content Provider feature so our digital collection appears under the Digital Resources tab in the OPAC. Our students also use the DestinyQuest app to access our eContent on their devices, but they do not download content – they only access it through the browser. They can download Follett and Mackin content through their respective platforms, but we just haven’t launched that instructional piece yet because the technology is
  1. still clunky, and
  2. changing too rapidly
We are waiting for more stability among the K12 eReader applications.

We bought one (1) eBook from Barnes and Noble in an emergency. We needed an extra copy, and it wasn’t available in print, so we downloaded it to one of our iPod Touches. Students who need the book can borrow the device for two weeks – an expensive book!

We circulate 13 iPod Touches (overnight checkout), and 27 iPads (in-library use only). None were purchased with district budget dollars – only award and prize monies. We charge all devices in a Bretford charging station designed for 25 iPads, but we just alternate different devices in the slots. After nearly 2 years of trying to keep them configured and properly updated ourselves (actually, a student did it), the district does it now.

I have surveyed and assessed our students extensively in the past two years. Their knowledge about, and use of eContent is deficient. New Canaan is an affluent New York City suburb. Nearly eighty percent of our students bring either a smart phone or an iPod to school (at least – many bring 2 or more devices), and we encourage them to use them for productivity and learning. We teach students how to download, and configure apps in class, providing iPods to students who don’t have app-enabled devices.

Last year, about 9% of our students had the Destiny Quest app downloaded to their device. This year, we increased that number to 37%. This is still a far cry from 100%, which is what it must be before we start eliminating redundant print titles. 

Warning: I have opinions. Strong opinions. What follows might not sit well with some folks. 

I have concerns about the way eCollections are developing – particularly the following emerging trends in K-12 library programs. 

Note: What follows does not, in any way, describe my experience at New Canaan Public Schools. My district's leadership is innovative and visionary in this realm. The following statements are based on conversations I've had in edWeb.net/emergingtech, and on the conference circuit with fellow school librarians in other districts. 
  • Administrators/Board of Education members confuse owning eContent with technology integration.
  • Administrators/Board of Education members “gift” libraries with iPads/Kindles/Nooks, but fail to provide additional funding for eContent/apps, or tech support to manage them.
  • Libraries replace print with eContent, without making curricular adjustments to their instructional program to teach students and teachers how to access eContent.
  • Librarians feel compelled to acquire eContent from only one distributor because it is too confusing – for them, for students, for teachers, for business managers - to purchase eContent from a variety of distributors, thus materials selection is driven by who they buy from, not what aligns with the curriculum. This is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog.
  • Distributors are “packaging” eContent, and marketing these packages as Common Core aligned, or standards aligned. This is a burgeoning industry, and I predict it will grow to include instructional materials and assessments. It is our job to develop our collections, aligning them with our school/district’s curriculum – not to buy ready-made packages from vendors.  It is our job to create, instructional materials, and to determine how to best assess our students’ learning.  This requires granular knowledge of our patron base, our curricula, and our collections. You can't fake this. It takes a long time to build that knowledge base. If we relinquish these responsibilities to commercial interests, we literally sell out our own profession. We will be perceived as disposable. It will always be cheaper to buy pre-packaged content than retain a librarian. This is a slippery slope, and it sets a precedent that will be very hard for economically challenged school districts to ignore.
  • eContent requires meticulous, patron-aware (rather than traditional) cataloging.  It is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to “display” eContent. There is no way to physically put it in the hands of students, if students are using their own technology. This is not happening for a few reasons:
    • Since vendors and library management systems have made it possible to import MARC records, librarians, as a whole, have been falling out of the cataloging practice.
    • Cataloging is time consuming, and tedious work.
    • Cataloging, as we learned it, doesn’t work for our students. We have to reinvent it. For example, at New Canaan High School, we add the project name as a subject heading to each title in the eCollection that supports it. 
A few more observations:
  • One-to-one programs make it easier for students and teachers to access and use eContent because app downloading and configuration can be managed systemically, and eContent can be “pushed” out to devices.
  • In BYOD programs, library programs should be undergoing significant instructional transformations that evolve as students’ facility with mobile technology increases. The ratio of print to digital content should be contingent upon students’ ability to access eContent. Developing a system to calculate this would help school librarians make sound decisions about format choices."
That's just me though. Others in the working group will have other ideas. I just thought I'd share mine.

:-)ML

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Global Collaboration!

My next edWeb.net/emergingtech webinar (February 13, 2013 at 5PM, EST) is on global collaboration. Last year, Shannon Miller, of Van Meter School in IA joined me to co-present on this subject. It was a ton of fun to talk about our shared experiences, and to hear about Shannon's many long-distance collaborations.

This year, Shannon has once again agreed to participate as we re-visit the topic. And when I posted the edweb.net/emergingtech syllabus, Beverley Rannow, school librarian for Otsego Public Schools in Michigan and edWebber from day one, offered to share her experience in the Peace Corps.

Then I thought of Danny Ambrosio, former New Canaan High School student teacher, and newly hired school librarian at Thoreau Middle School in Fairfax County, VA, who spent time teaching in Senegal last year.

Then I thought of Jeri Hurd, a Connecticut native who currently teaches in China, but who also taught in Turkey and Egypt.

That got me thinking...


What if we collaborated globally to create a 
presentation on global collaboration? 

So I reached out to these folks, and asked them to contribute slides and sources to our session. But why stop there? Surely, there are many folks who want to share their long-distance collaborative experiences!

So this is an invitation to all who have something to share about global collaboration. Join us by contributing your experience(s)!

You can send a video if your time zone is incompatible with a live appearance at 5PM EST (GMT-5) - You can drop a link to a downloadable video in the comments below.

Or you can participate by adding slides to our presentation, resources to our group, and joining us live on February 13 at 5PM, EST.





Thursday, November 15, 2012

edWeb.net Update

Yesterday, edWeb.net rolled out a few changes that will help streamline communication for members between and within communities. It was timely, since I was able to introduce the changes in my webinar on learning standards, which emphasizes the common elements among ISTE NETS, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, AASL's Learning for Life, and Common Core State Standards. The common elements are communication, critical thinking, creativity  and collaboration. So thank you, edWeb.net for modeling the standards! Here is a little guide to highlight what's new at edWeb.net.



Speaking of edWeb.net, folks often ask me about the Emerging Tech archive. It is on the landing page of the edWeb.net/EmergingTech community (sponsored by Follett Software Company). All you need to do is scroll down. All webinars are archived there, including yesterday's webinar on standards. See below. If you just want the slides, and not the recording, those are available here on my blog on the Presentations page.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thank you VAASL!

I was honored to keynote the Virginia School Library Association's fall conference. My presentation follows <http://bit.ly/vaasl12keynote>. What I was not able to include in this (extended) version was a photo of my new friend Paul Barron, who did four sessions on using Google, the deep web, and Wikipedia as learning tools. Paul is the Director of Library  & Archival Services at the George C. Marshall Foundation. We had a great conversation over lunch about using Wikipedia as a resource to teach website evaluation. Maybe that will be the nudge to get me to finish that Wikipedia lesson!

Friday's dinner banquet was delightful. Gordon Korman gave the address, and awards were distributed. Congratulations to all the winners, particularly to Jennifer Spisak, who won the Virginia School Librarian of the Year Award. I was lucky enough to sit with her at dinner, and we had a rich conversation about the fabulousness of middle schoolers. Clearly, Jennifer loves what she does, and she does it well. We hope to see her presenting nationally soon! She has much to share. Virginia, by the way, really knows how to celebrate it's school librarians' successes. They have lovely ceremonies too, not to mention stellar librarians!




I was surprised to learn that only one attendee had participated in an edCamp. I (very bossily) charged the audience with attending at least one in the next year (ironic request from a keynote speaker, no?). Here is a link to the eSchool News article I mentioned. It outlines the nuts and bolts of edCamp.

VAASL folks watching Dan's video
I was very happy to give a shout out to Dan Ambrosio, New Canaan High School student-teacher extraordinaire. His work is featured in the above presentation. He will be moving to northern Virginia in December, and he is ready to work. We will really miss him at New Canaan High School. He is a creative and imaginative instructional partner  - to the entire learning community. Good luck, Danny!







Did I mention the lunch boxes? Gale/Cengage handed a lunchbox to EVERY attendee! That was a surprise! Post a comment below if you need one. I think there are a few extras! ;-)

What follows is my second presentation, entitled, How to Deliver 24/7 Services from an 8/5 Facility and Still Sleep at Night. Here is the direct link <http://bit.ly/vaasl12247>. I don't think I ever got to the part about still sleeping at night.

Special thanks to Lara Samuels, who was most generous with her time, her companionship, and her wheels!



Resources for getting things unblocked in your school:
  1. AASL Banned Websites Awareness Day
  2. The Innovative Educator (Lisa Nielsen)
  3. Bannedsites.info
  4. My webinars





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Power-up 101

First let me start by sending out my very best wishes for a speedy recovery to all the folks who have been devastated by this last of the four major storms that have ravaged the northeast in as many years.

My husband and I were very lucky in this one. We only lost power for a few hours. New Canaan Public Schools is closed for the week, which suggests that the town was hard-hit again. I've been following the recovery effort's progress on the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management's Facebook page, which was launched during Hurricane Irene by Nick Howard, NCHS class of 2012, and co-creator of the ALA award-winning Why I Need My Library video. The Facebook page is a great resource to the entire New Canaan community in times of distress. So thank you, Nick! I've often wondered if he'd have thought of creating it if he'd attended a high school that prohibited the use of Facebook. Just wondering...

We did loose Internet and cable TV service at my house. It's not a big deal. My phone works as a hotspot, so I still have Internet service when I really need it. I just need to be judicious about it. This post, for example, is decadent. I know better.

I wandered down to the Westport Public Library this morning during the few hours we lost power to power-up my mobile devices and grab a little free WiFi. Our library, like so many public libraries, is a refuge for power-less community members during these crises. The above photo does not do justice to their responsiveness. Additional seating, tables, and power strips abounded throughout the facility, and it was packed! Really packed! So packed, in fact, that the WiFi was tapped out. Fair enough.

What did bother me was my fellow patrons' use of power strips - particularly Apple users' use of power strips. The above photo represents a power strip sharer's worst nightmare. It's just downright rude - especially when the power strip plugs are arrange horizontally, not vertically. So naturally, this inspired me to create a tutorial, Power-up 101: How to be courteous when charging your mobile devices in public spaces. It follows.




Saturday, October 27, 2012

School Library Journal Leadership Summit 2012

This is such a powerful gathering of committed innovators. The conversation is deep, and rich about the uniqueness and challenge of THIS time for school librarians. Many folks here are calling the digital content landscape the "The Wild West". I love that we are all learning together. There is no "this is the way it has to be done" anymore. We are all exploring "what ifs" together. A surprising number of vendors participated in my presentation, called BYOD: Is That Device in Your Pocket Redefining Your Job? Judging by the title, you might not expect a roomful of vendors to show up. There was nothing in the title to indicate that it was about eContent, and yet ... there were all there to learn HOW students were using their devices, so that they could better align their product development goals with end-user needs and habits. It was clear from the conversation that we are all learning together, and that we share common objectives. Looking forward to Day 2!