Banning Bad Books is Not the Answer. Reading this article by Rachel Kramer Bussel brought home to me the importance of teaching students to think for themselves in a world where social networks proliferate. When sites like Facebook are used to persuade high school kids that a creative prank would be a great idea on the final day of classes, kids need to be able to make the right choices for themselves. Making the right choice starts with being allowed to make choices in the first place, take the consequences for your actions and learn from your mistakes. This should be happening when kids are young and a bad decision has minimal consequences, "Gee, I wish I'd chosen the strawberry flavoured icecream instead of the lime." Let's not ban books but rather teach kids what to do when they come across reading material that is offensive to them personally: put the material down, skip the passage and go on reading or find someone to discuss the passage with.
Today I officially start School Library Learning 2.0 and begin working my way through the 23 Things. Well, strictly speaking I have already played around with some of them such as flickr and starting this blog. So for the record I have completed: Week 1 Thing 1 I read about the program and am excited about learning new ways to apply Web 2.0 tools to school uses. Week 1 Thing 2 As an educator I comfortably use most of the 7 & 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners. Habit 1 - Begin with the end in mind - something I usually do but at times it's interesting to explore and see where things take you. Perhaps the one I have to remind myself of most is Habit 4 - Have confidence in yourself as a competent effective learner - this is difficult on days when taking the next step with technology is a little like learning to speak a foreign langauge on your own.
Week 2 - Thing 3 - Creating a blog was one task I had in hand! Setting up the blog was easy but I have found that a prior knowledge of a little HTML has been most helpful and lets me do some little extras like bolding words or adding a little colour. I plan to spend time compiling a list of really great educational blogs and blog use ideas. Part of this Thing was to create an avatar; see The Virtual Me. This was fun but not something I wanted to spend a lot of time on.
Week 2 - Thing 4 - Register your blog. As I am not a CSLA member I won't be registering my blog but hope to share what I learn with colleagues in my own school district, or you, if you've stumbled across this blog and decide to return to read further!
Week 3 - Thing 5 - Flickr - Now this was a great find. I have used it to share photos both professionally and with friends and family. It's a fast way to share photos and also a great way to store them online for future use. More to come!
Tomorrow The Automators arrive. The library has been weeded and reweeded, tweaked, buffed and polished. With their permission I hope to take a series of photos to make up a Flickr badge similar to the one I created today using other people's public domain photos. I love the way one photo at a time is featured. If it works I plan to make one of the library when it's full of kids to post on the new school website.
I just read an article in the Globe and Mail about how kids are turning to social networks like Facebook to get information on using drugs. A poll company, Neilsen Buzz Metrics, recently analyzed 160,000 messages to find out what teens are talking about. The article goes on to point out that parents should be concerned about the types of misinformation their teens are getting through these chat sites.
"So where do you go to find a researcher who is intelligent, imaginative, skilled in the use of computers, devoted to discovering the truth, and knowledgeable about science, technology, history, and literature and who usually works for dirt and gets credit for nothing? After lunch I drove to the city library on Main and asked the reference librarian to find what she could on ... " - James Lee Burke. Last Car to Elysian Fields. Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Thanks to Marylaine Block for finding that great tribute to librarians. She usually adds a quote to her weekly New Neat list of hot links and they are always enlightening or entertaining.
Always looking for new ways to pass on interesting and useful sites to staff, I have decided to make better use of del.icio.us. In the past I have set up email lists for each department and regularly pass on great sites. If I make better use of tags in del.icio.us I can add to lists for each subject area, give the URLs for those lists to staff and from time to time remind them to check the lists. My biggest challenge is going to be using tags effectively and in fact remembering to use them at all. I notice they are sadly lacking from a number of posts in this blog! Hmm, I wonder if del.icio.us could be used by a group? Why not share the log-in and password and have several individuals adding their great finds? Sounds like a great proposal for the secondary librarians group I belong to.
Revamping or starting a web page for your school library? Check out Joyce Valenza's WebQuest About School Library Websites. She presents information in the traditional webquest format with exemplars from all levels of school library sites. Great to see some B.C. school libraries made her lists!
As the year draws to a close I seem to be consumed with administrivia. I've unearthed my "June To Do" file and started my "September To Do" file. The walls are getting barer each day and I have begun the annual weeding and resorting of files. The computer files are always the last to be done and I truly despair of ever getting them into optimum shape. I still have 84 overdue books to track down and must finalize my periodical order for next year. The kids seem to read them less and less and so the collection shrinks each year which may just perpetuate the problem. As the collection is being catalogued in preparation for automation in late June I won't be able to have my pick of the shelves for summer reading. This seems seriously unfair! I suppose the public library will benefit but I never seem to be able to return those books on time and loath the resulting fines. I am looking forward to starting the librarian's 2.0 things and will track my progress here.