Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Edublog Awards 2009

Taking a little time to think about whom I would nominate for a 2009 Edublog Award is one of the ways I can say thank you to people who have inspired me and informed my practice.  It's hard to pick just one when there are so many!  It's my hope that a nomination will bring a wider readership to these deserving individuals.  I liked the way David Truss has offered honourable mentions in his list of nominees and I only wish I had more time to do the same.

Best individual tweeter - @Alec Couros - He's the one person who gets his own column in my TweetDeck

Best class blog - Huzzah For anyone wanting a detailed road map of how to engage students in blogging this is it.  Jan Smith is a master craftsman, generous with her time and expertise.

Best student blog - Eric's Blog This student's thoughtful posts show a talent beyond his years.

Best resource sharing blog - Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne is a wealth of resources in all subject areas from a teacher who takes the time to explain how they work and offer suggestions for their use in the classroom.

Most influential blog post - from TeachPaperless: Top Eleven Things All Teachers Must Know About Technology (or I promised Dean Groom I wouldn't write a top ten list; so this one goes up to eleven.)

Best teacher blog - Kim Cofino's Always Learning  This is the one I always take time to read, refer back to often and get the most 'use in my practice tomorrow' ideas from.

Best librarian / library blog - The Unquiet Librarian -  Buffy Hamilton is the one that most pushes me to change by modelling what a library/librarian should look like today.

Best educational tech support blog - Sue Waters' The Edublogger Sue is tireless is her efforts to help students and teachers make the best use of blogging tools.

Best educational wiki - WSDs eToolBox  Dianne Krause is constantly adding to and refining this wiki on using technology in the classroom.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Me, giving thanks

My neighbours to the south have just finished celebrating their Thanksgiving and for us here in Canada it's a month gone already but I am in a particularly thankful mood these days.  The WebFooted Booklady has been nominated by two fellow educators for an Edublog award.  Thanks again to David Truss and Liz B. Davis both extraordinarily thoughtful, creative and generous educators in their own right.

This is very humbling and a great honour.  It has also induced a state of writer's block although I am more of a post-when-the-mood-strikes kind of writer than a post-every-day person.  :)

Alec Couros (@courosa) re-tweeted recently something that struck a chord, "RT @Kicode Amazes me that strangers find content I produce helpful when I can't get people who know me well 2 even look"

In a world where the daily frustrations of working with busy people can be discouraging it's gratifying to know that the work one does reaches people beyond the work place walls.

Design and Redesign

Twitter is such a rich source of ideas!

Moira Ekdahl, TL consultant for Vancouver School Board has posted some thoughtful reflections on the YSL Virtual Conference focusing on Library Design.  This is a 'must read'  for anyone in the process of re-structuring their libraries physical space or re-defining the role of the librarian.  Seriously, shouldn't we all be looking at redefining our roles?

Two useful tips for people designing library web pages came across my desk this week:
- from @joycevalenza - Color Scheme Designer lets you select the perfect pallette.
- If you work on a Mac go Applications>Utilities>DigitalColor Meter. Mouse over any color on your screen to get RGB as percentages.  This comes in handy when you find a colour you like and want to match it exactly.

Or maybe you are redesigning on a smaller scale and just want to do a make over on that old library cart.  Take a look at this year's winners of the Pimp my Bookcart contest.

If you work with teachers helping them redesign their classroom practice @NikPeachey has created 10 Tasks to help teachers develop their use of learning technology.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Status Quo or Living Your Dream?

Image used under a creative commons licence from vanhookc
Click image for a clearer view.

Spending some time following twitter links on Saturday morning allowed me to look in on the AASL 2009 conference virtually.  Seeing what those impassioned, creative and forward thinking librarians were up to got me thinking.  What is holding us back from creating the libraries of our dreams, libraries that are work spaces for students libraries where the librarian acts as guide and mentor and students gather to research and create collaboratively or on their own?  Are we constrained by the systems we work within or are those restrictions self-imposed?

There are so many free ways to create libraries that are innovative.  I wish I had been able to attend Buffy Hamilton’s session.  I got so many great ideas from viewing her slide deck I can only imagine how rich her session was.  The presentation was entitled Not Just Another Brick in the Wall? Engaging 21st Century Learning Through Participatory School Librarianship.  I took a page of notes as I viewed the slides.  Tomorrow I will begin to investigate great people for teens to follow on Twitter, holding a lunch hour session to advertise the many mobile reading opportunities, and establishing a teen advisory committee to find out what the students would like to see in their library.

To learn more about participatory librarianship check out Buffy's Delicious bookmarks.  I found the bookmarked article We Live in Shakespearean Times  particularly inspiring.  Also her wiki
AASL2009 Participatory Librarianship.  I think you'll be impressed.

As I watched the tweets go by I began to collect some memorable quotes.  I can't cite the speaker as often attributions weren't given.  It's 140 characters after all.  To see them for yourself do a Twitter Search for #aasl2009 or go to TwapperKeeper.

We've upped our standards, so up yours.
Loertscher wants librarians to be the elephant in the room that cannot be ignored.
Being an advocate isn't enough.  Be an activist.
I say you have TIME, you're just not using it well. (Aim that one at the next person who doesn't have time for collaborative planning with you!)
Make the library a learning centre not a stuff centre.
School librarian: resource specialist, information literacy teacher, collaboration gatekeeper
Mash content, literacy and 21st century skills together or you will go nowhere.
You can't be burnt out if you have never been fired up.

So that's it, my report from a conference I wasn't able to attend.  Thanks Twitter!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Twitter Lists

It had to happen.  Hasn’t everyone blogged about Twitter lists in the past week?
The jury is still out for me as to how useful I will find them.  I made one list of my own and selected 4 others to follow.  So far I haven’t ever clicked on the feeds to see what’s happening on them. 

I worried as I made the list that I might inadvertently leave someone off and offend them.  Compiling the list was onerous but now that it’s done I find it easy to add new people in as I come across them.

I have used lists created by others to find new and interesting people to follow. 
I’m thinking it might be useful to be able to send a message to ONLY the people on your list.  That way you could ask questions or share information with people on specific lists while not boring or irritating the other folks who follow you.

Somehow I have managed to end up on 40 other people’s lists.  Highly flattering in a way.  See the list below.  Just for the record, I might be considered bookish although it’s not a term I consider in an attractive light.  I have passed on a few useful links.  I’m definitely not an ESL teacher or translator but as a teacher librarian can recognize a useful ESL related site when I see on.  I’m not a publisher, unless you count publishing a blog post.  The same can be said for being a writer.

Twitter lists I’m tickled, amused or perplexed to find myself listed on:

-       bookish people
-       quality linkers
-       esl stars
-       publishing
-       rockstar librarians
-       translator –esl teacher
-       writing writers

So what’s your take on twitter lists.  Useful? Waste of time?  Undecided?
Am I missing something blindingly obvious that’s worth a mention?
Please comment!

Look at that, a post with not one hyperlink!  Tsk. Tsk.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Comment Moderation

When I started the WebFooted Booklady blog over two and a half years ago I wanted to be as open as possible.  Consequently I did not enable comment moderation nor did I require those who wished to comment to jump through the screen captcha hoop.

Today I see that a spammer has been seeding the blog with advertising comments.  I have removed those comments and turned on the moderation feature.  This is unfortunate as I feel it stifles the flow of conversation.

To those of you who have asked questions and added value or support through your comments, thank you.  I appreciate your interaction and the conversations you engage in here.