Monday, February 23, 2015

Video instruction

I look forward to talking about using video for instruction on Wednesday, February 25, at 5PM, Eastern Time. It’s something that has become such an integral part of my practice that I don’t often pause to think about how it impacts teaching and learning at New Canaan High School.

One of the things I love about doing these webinars is that it makes me pause and reflect on our program, and how to improve it. You will often hear me say in a webinar, “I’m not too proud of this…” or, “I wish I could figure out how to…” It’s in those moments that you all pitch in, and as a community we develop solutions to the challenges we face.  I love that.

So I’ve outlined the webinar to answer the whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys, and hows of video instruction. I realized a while back that I needed help with the how part. I know how we use video at New Canaan High School, but there are so many other creative uses! So I reached out to someone with great ideas. Emerging tech regulars may remember that I interviewed Emily Valenza in May 2014 for There's an App for That! 50 apps in 60 minutes webinar, and Emily shared her use of Koma for a video project with her elementary students at Kingsley Montessori School in Boston, MA, where she heads up the arts department and teaches K-6 students. I interviewed Emily again for this webinar, and I will include what she shared in Wednesday’s webinar. I am confident that you will love her creative ideas. Here is that interview:


edWeb.net/emergingtech Webinar #47 - 50 apps in 60 minutes - Emily Valenza from michelle luhtala on Vimeo.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a few great instructional video projects. They follow in no particular order:
Printz Honor winning author, Vlog Brothers co-creator, and Nerdfighter extraordinaire John Green, launched the Crash Course site three years ago. My colleagues on the New Canaan High School faculty  - several who had (sadly) never heard of John Green – absolutely LOVE these videos!



New Canaan High School students created this amazingly powerful anti-cyber bullying video. Wow!



Emily attended the Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools in Los Angeles this January, where she saw Stephanie Castle, an AP Biology teacher at United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York City, present her use of video as an assessment tool. This inspired Emily to adapt the project for her learners, and here is the result.


hundertwasser demo - full from Kingsley Montessori on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago, I was lunching with the New Canaan High School social studies department (my lunch peeps), and I was delighted to hear them discussing their use of Amy Burvall’s Lady Gaga/French Revolution video. I spent some time with Amy a few years back at Alan November’s Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston, and I reached out right away to relay the conversation. Here is the video in question.



Finally, I am sharing a video I use with my juniors. This is a great sub-plan lesson for any second semester social studies teacher whose students are working on the research paper. It is accompanied by this in-class activity.



I hope to “see you” on Wednesday!



Friday, February 6, 2015

Questioning Authority Control

This post is cross-posted on the Follett Learning blog.

If there is one thing I have learned as a librarian in the 21st century, it is to question The-Way-It’s-Always-Been-Done. Not reactively fight it, but just reexamine it with the mind set that change can open doors to new ideas and transformative learning.

And yet, standardization is at the core of librarianship: Dewey, Library of Congress, MLA, APA, etc. Much of what we do is guided by standards, and standards are intrinsically linked to The-Way-It’s-Always-Been-Done. There isn’t much wiggle room. This is our 21st-century professional paradox.

I remember first learning about authority control in library school. It seemed so logical back then. You establish a set language for a subject, and then cross-reference it in a few places, and voila! That seems like a very long time ago.

I moved from the classroom to the library in 2001. Back then, our library did not subscribe to databases; we did not have a library website. We had fewer than a dozen computers scattered about our facility. Even in that era, authority control, as a teachable concept, was over. The best a school librarian could do was teach students that in an advanced search, choosing the delimiter "subject" might generate fewer, and more relevant results so long as students typed the right word into the search field. That's very different from explaining that effective research on the French Revolution requires a search for France - History - Revolution, 1789-1815.

If authority control was a problematic concept to teach in 2001, it is even more so now. As a school librarian, I am an unorthodox cataloger. Established subject headings by the Library of Congress and Sears drive my thinking far less than the words students type into search fields. Every New Canaan High School research exercise has its own subject(s) in our Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), Destiny Quest. A search for any of the following phrases will produce a list of 50-250 library resources.
  • R U What U Eat?
  • Napoleon's Trial
  • Dictator Dating Game
  • Who Killed the King?
  • Global Pitch
Our students know this. If they plug a project name into our OPAC, Destiny Quest, their results will include an array of formats--free websites, database links, copyright-protected ebooks and articles, digital files, and of course, call numbers for print books. They can’t do that in Google! Destiny Quest makes it simple for students to easily locate all resources available to them, whether in print, digital, or online.

So it isn’t that standards are a problem as much as standards need supplementation. For example, if I import the MARC record for The Age of Napoleon by Susan Conner, my import will include
  • Greenwood Guides to Historic Events 1500-1900
  • Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-18821
  • France History 1799-1815
  • Biography & Autobiography / Historical
  • History /Europe / France
  • History /Europe / General
But a careful review of our Napoleon’s Trial assignment will reveal that our students might also look for the following keywords or phrases, most of which are pretty unconventional subjects by any standard (no pun intended). So we added them.
  • Amiens (Peace of)
  • Aristocracy
  • Aristocrats
  • Catholic Church
  • Civil Code
  • Concordat
  • French Revolution 
  • Jacobins
  • Louis XVI, King of France, 1754-1793
  • Louis XVIII
  • Napoleonic code
  • Napoleon's trial
  • Peasants
  • Restoration
  • Third Estate
  • Waterloo, Battle of, 1815
One could easily challenge this practice, pointing out that a student researching the Catholic Church might not want French Revolution resources in their search results. They may not, but we do because it helps build curricular connections. A New Canaan High School student researching Catholicism should be reminded about the de-Christianization of France during the 1789 revolution.

This becomes increasingly important as students turn to digital sources for research. There was a time when librarians would “pull a cart” of books for a project. Pulling a cart of electronic books is doable; there are resource lists, shelf-browsing tools, etc., but these are not quite as user-friendly as a cart full of print books, at least not to the current high school population. I expect that will change as the iPad generation moves up. The best way to “pull a cart” in the digital world is through enhanced cataloging with a curriculum-driven list of customized subjects.

It could be argued this denies students the learning experience of locating resources independently. How will students learn to locate resources using their college and public library catalogs? My answer is, “Baby steps, baby!” At least they aren’t searching the catalog for “Is Napoleon guilty of crimes against humanity Italian widow “ and anyone who teaches research to millennials can recognize this as progress.

Radio interview with Larry Jacobs on EduTalk Radio

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

School Culture and the Library

Andrew NCHS Class of 2014
In preparation for tomorrow's edweb.net/emergingtech webinar, Pitching the Library: How to Explain What School Librarians Do, I wanted to share a project one of our New Canaan High School seniors created for his documentary filmmaking class last year. His assignment was to make a video that addressed school culture. He emailed me the day before he came down to capture most of the footage. Here is an excerpt of his email:

I am currently taking a Documentary Film class and our assignment is to create a film on a school "climate" Our group decided to choose the library media center as a focus for the film because when most if not all students think of the library, ... the library as enjoyable as it is. 

We were hoping to interview you about the library media center and factors about it. 
Hope to hear back from you,

Andrew

On the day of the interview, I was presented with 3 questions right before the filming. I wish I could remember exactly what they were, but I am certain I answered them in the video.
About three weeks later, he sent me a link to this:



My response follows:

OMG!!! I LOVE this! I am so honored that you chose this topic. I was a little scared when you first told me about it, but I am truly, truly, touched that you found our culture worthy of a documentary. I will be sharing this via Twitter and my blog, but I would love to include an interview with you about what inspired you to make this movie. We could do it on Skype if that is easier, but I would love to do it face-to-face if you are going to be around. What is your schedule for the next few days? Can you stop by? Again, thank you so much. I shared the link with [principal] Dr. Luizzi. I can't think of a better way to explain what the library means to our students. Thank you!
:-)ML

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more

I borrowed that quote from Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor. And while he was referring to the rights of workers, I am repurposing the quote by applying it to mobile technology.

Before I type another word, let me clarify that I boast not one, but two Apple stickers on my car. In my short life as a Mac user (8 years), I have informally become known as one of the in-house Apple experts where I work. I love, love, love the MacBook Pro I use. I have a Thunderbolt display, for Pete’s sake! Seriously, I am an Apple devotee. Now that I’ve cleared that up, I will proceed.

Back around 2004 or so, New Canaan High School Class of 2003 alumnus, Matt Djavaherian predicted that the mobile phone and iPod would soon be merged into one device. Clearly, he called that.

But yesterday, I did the unthinkable. I removed all music and music apps from my phone, and turned an old iPhone 4S into an iPod. Why? Apple doesn't make a phone with the battery life or storage capacity for me to play music on it anymore. I don't have enough space for downloaded content, and I don't have enough battery power to stream as often as I want to. The storage concern will be resolved in the fall with the release of iCloud Drive, but battery life is an ongoing concern.

My fully-charged-in-the-morning-iPhone 5S will dwindle down to about 20% battery life by 4PM on a normal workday. This is a complete nuisance, because 4 PM is when I most want to play music on the go.

Before you start rolling your eyes and blame me for misusing my equipment. I want to underscore a few things.
  • I am a high school librarian. I am responsible for teaching people to be more productive learners with the tools they have access to – and my learners have phones. Smartphones. Therefore, I have apps. Lots of apps on my phone. A couple of times a year I clear out the apps I don’t use, but typically, I keep about 350 apps on my phone which takes up nearly 40% of my storage.
  • I am a documenter. I take a lot of pictures. As a visual learner, many of my pictures are reminders, notes, and funny observations. Most of my pictures never get shared, but it’s how I record things. Plus it saves me the aggravation of  typing. I delete videos as soon as I upload them to a computer, but I hang on to about 8 months worth of photos, which consumes just over 40% of my storage.
  • Push notifications are great, but I keep most of them turned off – they take up too much battery power. I kind of miss them though.
  • My vision sucks but I can see pretty much anything on a phone (thank you gestural interface!) – as long as my screen is bright. Really bright. I know, I know… it consumes gobs of battery power but I can’t exactly use my phone if I can’t see the screen!
  • I use Bluetooth constantly – in the car, for speakers, my headset, connecting to other devices, etc. Turning it on and off as needed encumbers productivity.  
  • I close all my apps several times per day – I probably do that more frequently than I yawn or sneeze.
  • I have auto-lock set for one minute. My phone does not stay idle and active for long.
  • I connect to WiFi wherever I can. Sadly, it’s my daughter’s number that was grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan – not mine (and I can’t change that no matter how much I grovel) – so I frequently consume more data than my plan allows – particularly while at conferences because hotel data is often expensive AND slow – a horrendous combination! As a result, I am pretty conscientious about using WiFi when I can.
  • I never, ever leave my phone in the car.
    • I need it at pretty much any destination I reach (except the gym – now that I have this new iPhone-as-iPod thingy, and I STILL won’t leave it in the car because…
    • I would FREAK OUT if it were stolen
           so I don’t overheat or freeze my phone.
  • I keep my software up-to-date – both the operating system and my apps

So, I do what productivity permits to conserve battery power. The thing is that my phone is the only computer I personally own. I use a school-owned laptop (the one I love, love, love), and I also have a school-issued iPad, but my phone is my workhorse. I even have a keyboard with a lightning adaptor to speed up my uni-finger typing – an issue that iOS8 will help resolve.

At the 2014 WWDC conference, Apple unveiled its upcoming software releases – Yosemite and iOS8. Until this month, my frustration over the expanding array of different sized, but essentially redundant Apple offerings grew with each major announcement – a mini? Seriously? I don’t even use my full-sized iPad. Why would I want a smaller one when I already have an iPhone? - but finally I see some game-changers on the horizon, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

While the new operating systems feature a plethora of impressive tools and functionalities that will improve user productivity, it is iCloud Drive that will resolve half of my immediate problem – one of the two issues that prompted me to start this post – storage. Apple’s current iCloud backup storage is limited and costly. In the fall, we can expect Apple to offer ample storage at competitive prices, with seamless cross-platform and device Continuity – a new, and frankly overdue Apple amenity.

Anticipated iCloud Drive rates:
  • First 5GB free
  • 20 GB $ .99 per month
  • 200 GB $3.99 per month
  • Tiers available for up to 1 TB
I expect mobile device hardware to keep up with its increasingly sophisticated software. And at this point, my iPhone 5S is not making the grade. My storage issue might be resolved within a few months, but I fear that I won’t be able to take full advantage of all the operating systems’ offerings without a more powerful battery. Yes, of course I have a portable charger but really, with a top-of-the-line device bearing the steep price tag of $399, I shouldn’t have to pay for (or carry, for that matter) any additional paraphernalia. Isn’t Apple’s shtick simplicity?  I shouldn’t have to choose between using my pedometer, getting directions, listening to an audiobook, streaming music, and using my car’s Bluetooth in order to keep my phone running for more than nine hours. I want all of that. And more. If the device offers the capacity to do all of those things, then it should allow me to do them simultaneously, and for a very long time.

I am not interested in trading in my iPhone for another manufacturer’s product. I am jazzed to see these new operating systems at work. I look forward to the discovery and learning they will unleash, and I am eager to see how they impact productivity. Six months from now, I know I will be saying, “ How did I ever manage without…”, and I can’t wait to find out what will replace the suspension point in that statement. I just worry that the iPhone I have now will not be able to do what I want, when I want, without the aggravation of worrying about how much time I have to do it.

Impatiently, I wait for an official announcement about the iPhone 6. Rumors abound about a slimmer device with a larger screen, a better camera and wireless charging, which I assume would solve the battery life issue. That would be sweet!

In the meantime, I pledged to write my July 15, 2014 (11AM, ET) edWeb.net webinar, There's an App for That! - The B Side: 50Productivity Apps that will Prepare You for the Mobile Edu-volution, on the go. My husband and I are taking a road trip, and I plan to create my presentationon my phone with what will probably be spotty data service. My chief concern is not whether I have the apps or the knowledge to do that, it is whether my phone itself is up to the task. Will I have enough battery and storage capacity to do a good job? I sure hope so!

One final thought… How long do you think it will take after the new phone is running its new software before we start writing new posts with new demands for better versions of what we can’t even envision today? Samuel Gompers got it right, “We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more.” And it will always be so.




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

There's an App for That! 50 Apps in 60 Minutes

In July 2012, I facilitated an edWeb.net/emergingtech webinar for my Emerging Tech community called 50 Google Apps in 60 minutes. I presented from my hotel room at Alan November's annual conference in Boston, Building Learning Communities. I crowdsourced that whole webinar - picked the brains of some of the most innovative edtechers I know to compile a "best of the best" list of Goolgle Apps for Education.  It was fantastic! I still use much of what I learned that week, and when I use certain apps, I remember conversations I had with friends about what they loved and how they used what they loved.

Fast forward two years. I scheduled another 50 in 60 webinar, but this time, it was all about mobile applications. While I am a dedicated mobile phone user, I don't use iPads for teaching and learning all that much. I knew that with over 2,500 participants registered, many attendees would expect me to talk about iPad use in the classroom, so I did what any sensible 21st century learner would, and I crowdsourced it.

What follows are the Skyperviews I conducted with my five guests.

  • Laura Beals Delia, Elementary School Librarian in Burlington (MA) Public Schools
  • Elisabeth LeBris, Director of Library Technology Services of Kenilworth (IL) School District
  • Brad Ovenell-Carter, Director of Educational Technologies Mulgrave School in Vancouver, BC
  • Emily Valenza, Visual Arts Teacher Grades K-6, Kingsley Montessori School in Boston, MA
  • Meg Wilson, Technology Integrator, Avenues School in New York, NY


I posted on the edWeb.net Emerging Tech discussion forum an invitation for community members to share their favorite apps. I also asked friends and family for ideas as well. Needless to say, selecting fifty out of hundreds of recommended apps was the hardest part of preparing for the webinar.

I needed to organize my apps into lists that would help webinar participants learn more about, filter, and organize featured apps and create their own lists. For this, I turned to Joyce Valenza, who recommended edshelf.com. WOW! It was exactly what I was looking for. Here is my list of 50 - except you will note that there are actually seventy apps listed. I cheated just a little by grouping some apps together by functionality. There isn't always just one app that is better at accomplishing a tasks than all the others.




The webinar was covered by both eSchool News and Mind/Shift, which was almost as exciting as having 740 live participants, and 1,120 archive views since the live presentation! A big shout out goes to Follett for sponsoring the edWeb.net/emergingtech community, and making these webinars available for free to the education community!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Love my Library

I love my library. Yes, the one where I teach. Obviously. But I have other library loves. And the Westport Public Library is high up on that list. I teach in New Canaan (CT), but I have been a Westport resident for over twenty years. When I first moved to Connecticut as a stay-at-home mom with my husband and our then eighteen-month-old daughter, I remarked to a friend, “It’s like war time during the day. There are very few men.” (Please forgive that World War II-like perception of what war time looked like. Our  Millennial wars set me straight.). Coming from New York City, it felt like all aspects of my daily routine required some kind of an adjustment - not always a welcome one - with one exception: the library. Our town library was a haven to me. It provided cultural diversion, parenting assistance, entertainment, and always great reading material. The library’s patron base seemed more heterogenous than the customer base on Main Street. I found a home in that library. And then, a few years later, I went back to work - teaching in Bridgeport, CT. Again, the Westport Public library was my lifeline. We had limited classroom resources, but with the library’s exceptional staff and liberal lending policies for educators, I was able to bridge the gap between what I had, and what I wanted for my students. Later still, I became a librarian - and sadly, once I had a library of my own, my routine visits to the Westport Library came to an end. Sometimes, I have guilt pangs when I drive by, or read about an amazing library-sponsored program that I know I won’t get to.


So - and yes, THIS is the point of my library story. I needed context for what I am about to say. Imagine my surprise and joy when I was invited to speak at the Westport Public Library’s TEDx event on May 3, 2014 themed around Retinkering Libraries! The speaker list featured a line-up of experts in their respective fields - an architect, a business consultant, a publisher, a marketer, and a tech guru (because what else can you call David Pogue?). It was a great honor to be included among them. The image map below links to all the presentations, the playlist itself and of, course, a link to the Westport Public Library. Just hover and look for the buttons.

Update: À propos of the what we can teach millennials, and what we can learn from them in return (the subject of my talk below), some experts agree! Check out this June 12, 3014 Wall Street Journal article - How to Use Tech Like a Teenager! Great insight!


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