Saturday, November 2, 2013

IL2013: Summing Up Is Hard To Do...

Conference Presentations are at this link:
Name and Password are both the same: il2013
Take a look around and see what sounds interesting to you!

Every year after attending Internet Librarian/Internet@School I say the same thing: This was the best conference ever! I depend on this gathering to give me food for thought, ideas for instruction, and topics for articles and presentations. These tend to carry me through the next year. There are many things that I have heard first at Internet Librarian that then become common knowledge as trends to follow. I took a look at my vita and was reminded that I have presented at IL since 2004, making this my 9th year. After every conference I have returned invigorated and inspired, and this year is no exception. Here are some things that stood out:
  • During the first session, Peter Morville exhorted us to be inspiration agents in our jobs. This struck a nerve with me because I am quite concerned about the negativity and poor morale stemming from the current trend toward denigrating teachers and schools coupled with the inflated emphasis on mandated tests. He reminded us of the book Nudge and our need to promote a climate of encouragement and even humor in our classrooms and libraries. 
  • The sessions I attended were relevant and energizing. On the first day I was particularly taken with these ideas:
    • Zoe Midler has the wonderful title of "Google Czar" at her school, Flagstaff Academy, Longmont CO. She works with both students and teachers to promote the use of technology in lessons and projects. My biggest takeaway was her emphasis on assessment at the end of endeavors. She employs not one but three follow-ups as described in a previous post to this blog. Together these tools, shared via Google Forms, help her know how to improve and also recount what she does so that there is clear documentation of her value in order to meet any questions that arise about her position.
    • Tasha Bergson-Michelson from Castelleja School in Palo Alto reminded us that there cannot be one prescribed model that will work in all classrooms. Rather school librarians must build on existing tacit knowledge held by patrons and craft activities that build and expand upon that. 
    • In the 3rd Monday session, Mobile and Digital--Flipping the Library for 21st Century Learners, I picked up a list of great apps to try in the library: PicStich, InstaCollage, Flash Cards, Brainscape, Schoology. 
    • The 4th session, Making it Real: Institutionalizing a 21st Century Mindset, shared great things happening at Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. I picked up on a couple of catchwords that I need to explore: makerspaces and backward design. I hope to discuss these in future blog entries.
    • The afternoon session called STEM to STEAM put me right at the edge of information overload and was a great end-of-day workshop. We learned about the STEM lab at and how bringing in Arts and Design means that all areas of curriculum should now be valued. This was my first time to meet and hear Melissa Techman though I have followed her for years on Twitter. One advocacy idea she shared is something for all school librarians to consider. Do you often hear from parents that they appreciate what you do or that they are grateful for what you bring to their children? Whenever she gets such a compliment, she asks if she might have that person's email address. She is building a email list of library supporters in this way. If at some point her job's value is questioned, she will be able to send out a message to people that can vouch for her importance. 
  • I went into Tuesday's keynote with high expectations because the presenter, Lee Rainie from PEW Internet and American Life Project never disappoints. He shared significant trends from the previous year relating to librarianship. He reminded us that today's library patrons have different needs and interests from past users. Data from surveys shows encouraging news that Americans still value public and school libraries and respect and appreciate librarians. Still there is the ongoing need for better PR to get the word out about what libraries have to offer and how librarians can help users of all ages. One phrase he used seemed to really get traction in tweets from the session: "Quizes are like catnip to Internet users." My frequent use of Survey Monkey bears this out and validates future use for me. You can and should visit the PEW site and take  advantage of the wonderful resources but getting to hear Mr. Rainie's commentary was, as always, a great treat.
    • Tuesday's sessions were no less edifying than those from the day before:
      • Jean Hellwege's inspiring account of a school project that is turning into a national movement to inspire kids to make a difference in the world was compelling. Your best bet is to go to her preso and see how a relatively limited classroom/library project grew into a life-changing movement for all concerned.
      • The inimitable Carolyn Foote and her colleagues shared insights about eBooks. They offered a combination valuable information about the increasing and ongoing trend toward eBooks, along with some great practical tips. One thing Carolyn mentioned almost in passing was that she has a Bathroom Newsletter which she posts in the loo with enticing information about new and exciting materials and goings-on in the library. She also has a Teacher's Lounge Newsletter that she posts and updates. These are easy and fun ideas for getting the news out about your library or program. As with all sessions you will do well to go to her session at the conference site and pick up on all the great tips there.
    •  The last session I attended was a fitting finale to a great conference. I have heard Gary Price present at this venue a number of times over the year. Like Lee Rainie, he never disappoints. Gary used to be known for his site called Resource Shelf but now has a new site, Infodocket. Once again I was writing down ideas at a furious pace. Just go to his site for a treat. This year he exhorts us to use authentic real-life resources rather than just those specifically for teachers, students and librarians. Then we should work these sites into authentic lessons with lasting carryover for students. Here are a few of the resources he mentioned and which I want to explore:
      • eBookshelf from DPLA (Digital Public Library of America)
      • Stacklife
      • MondoWindow
      • FlightTracker--both this and previous are for following airline flights.
      • Amtrack equivalent of plane tracker
      • CSPAN Video Library
      • Internet Archive--many of us know this site of course but he informed us that they have started TV News Archive
      • Tunein and Uberstations for streaming audio from around the world
      • Topomapper--worldwide topographic maps
      • Docracy lets you track privacy statements
      • camelcamelcamel tracks all products in Amazon!
      • LA Public library database
      • Journal TOCs lets you see tables of contents from many journals 
      • CoursePacker
      • Word Lens...this is an app. Point your camera at text and it will translate it into another language!
      • Use Google Street View to with students to have them make tours.
      • Archive-It--directories of web pages by topic
      • OpenDoar--OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories
  • I thought I would round out my account with another list...these are catchwords and phrases that I want to remember and explore. Some are completely new to me and others are things about which I have some familiarity but need to learn more about.
    • Backward design
    • Makerspaces, makey makey, MakerFaires
    • mindcraft
    • Ira Sokol
    • Museum collaborations and Nina Simon's blog, Museum 2.0
    • Chad Sanseng, Nerd Camp, and Classroots
    • Writing is Making! NWP...National Writing Project
    • Meme posters
    • Scratch plug and play programming
    • scichat
    • mozfest
    • Duxbury Free Library little bits
    • Learn to SEARCH Pinterest
    • Book: Invent to Learn
    • librarymakers website
    • thiskindylife blog--Kindergarten teacher blog
    • MOOCs in library world
    • Mozilla Thimble
  • I am so grateful and fortunate to be a part of this conference. To me it is invaluable and has been a major influence on my thinking, writing, teaching, and presenting over the years. Thanks again to David Hoffman and Carolyn Foote for pulling off a huge success again this year!
  • APOLOGIA: I did not give websites for each tidbit I mentioned. It would simply take too long and I want to get this posted today. I DID, however, look up each one and got to a site using terms as listed. So Google on! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

IL 2013 First Day First Session Reflection...Internet@School Zoe Midler and Embedded Librarian in School

After keynote and just morning sessions at IL2013 my mind is already boiling over with ideas. One thing has bubbled to the top and it is about library research. The presenter stressed doing follow-ups after research activities. Presenter Zoe Midler is Google Czar at her school. She gave lots of ideas on her topic, being an embedded librarian in her school's environment. She uses many online tools for this.  Lots of wiki ideas are included. What stood out the most for me was special activities that she does after a research activity:
1. First she has a followup form for collaboratiing teachers where they describe their project and tell what standards were achieved in the project. She said she learned that teachers are competitive! They really want to outdo one another as to standards met. These are shared on the school server. Idea of followup form is great!
2. Then there is a CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY for teacher where they share reactions to how things went, how to improve, etc.
3. Finally she does what she calls a POSTMORTEM in which she herself sums things up. This is how she documents what she did, and also teachers use this information in their portfolios.

That's a lot of follow-up! By doing these follow-ups she is able to learn from constituents and also document her work. This is so important for her to continually justify her position. Further she can critique her work and come up with ideas about how to improve in the future.

Thinking back to my school librarian days I can instantly see how I could have benefitted by doing all three follow-up activities. Further I am going to pass this on to my stucents and also think how I can consider more following up in my present role as a professor in a MLS program.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

LEADING UP TO IL 2013: How much do you practice for a preso?

I hope I am learning from past experience. Too often I have spent inordinate time putting together a presentation for a conference, class, or any venue. I have tweaked, added, deleted, re-added, yadda yadda. But then I have failed to practice in order to be ready to deliver the preso smoothly and with confidence. I am trying to do better today. In fact I just finished going through my presentation standing in front of a mirror.  THAT is humbling but also a good idea. I am practicing today, and will do so at other times before my Tuesday time, which is as follows: E201 – Online Badges and Other Incentives-Get Motivational! 10:30-11:45 via Internet@School. I feel so lucky to be attending again this year. I do wonder how much rehearsing other speakers do. Sometimes it's evident one way or the other. How about you?

Friday, October 25, 2013

LEADING UP TO IL 2013: Superstars at Internet Librarian!

I am going over the list of speakers at the upcoming Internet Librarian Conference next week in Monterey. As always I am bowled over by the caliber of presenters. Stephen Abram! Kenneth Haycock! Mary Ellen Bates! Marshall Breeding! Carolyn Foote! Joe Murphy! Greg Notess! Gary Price! Lee Rainie! Melissa Techman! Roy Tennant! My boss Holly Weimar who is presenting with me! I feel so lucky to be able to attend, and deeply honored to be presenting again this year. I know all the other speakers are dynamic leaders also. I think that the concentration of experts at this gathering is what makes it such a unique and special event. I go to other conferences to network and recruit as well as to learn. THIS is my chance to just listen and learn, and I am very grateful for it. Special thanks to Jane Dysart, Dave Hoffman, Carolyn Foote, Carol Nixon, and everyone else who makes this conference so important year after year. Kudos to Information Today for its many contributions. My association with this conference and with Internet@Schools Magazine have been invaluable to me throughout my career. I cannot adequately quantify what I have gained from my associations with both the conference and the publication over the years.

Next I went through the list and looked at job titles. These are ones that sound especially awesome and cool to me:
  • Meg Backus, ILS Administrator & Chief Maker, Chattanooga Public Library...I wanna be a Chief Maker. In fact I think I AM! I maneuvered Dr. Holly Weimar into taking my place as Department Chair.
  •  Tasha Bergson-Michleson, Instructional and Programming Librarian, Castilleja School. Wow I would have loved to be called PROGRAMMING LIBRARIAN at my junior high.
  • Chanitra Bishop, Digital Scholarship & Emerging Technologies Librarian, Reference Services, Indiana University Bloomington...I like the sound of THIS job a lot!
  • iane Cowen, Virtual Services Librarian, Santa Cruz Public Libraries...this job title has a very nice ring to it!
  • Jenny Howland, Makery Facilitator, Lower School K-6, Katherine Delmar Burke School Fablabs K-12 Google Group, BAISNET, NYCIST...Sounds like a dream job!
  • Richard Le, Teen Librarian, San Francisco Public Library...Teen Librarians are ALWAYS cool!
  • Keith A Rocci, First Year Experience Librarian, Mabee Library, Washburn University Emporia State University...Every university would do well to have this position!
  • Jeremy Snell, Web & Electronic Services Librarian, Mechanics' Institute...I had to look up this amazing institution. Now I really need to visit!
FINALLY, going through the list a third time I found this gem: Josh Hanagarne, Salt Lake City Public Library, & Author, The World’s Strongest Librarian, Level 3, Salt Lake City Public Library...I just bought his book last week! OMG!!!!

If I went through the list again I think I would find OTHER people to highlight. That's how amazing this conference will be again this year as always.  Just don't get me started on session titles and how to pick!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LEADING UP TO IL2013: A Bit About Online Badging, My Preso Topic at Internet@Schools West 2013

I first got interested in badging over a year ago, when I was exploring the broader topics of gaming and MOOCS. Badges are often used in MOOCS. Pretty soon I was interested in online badging as a topic of its own, apart from gaming or MOOCS. I did some reading on the topic and rolled out my first badges to students in spring 2013. These are adult learners, degreed educators seeking MLS, Master of Library Science. The experience exceeded my expectations. Students really liked the badges and so did I. My presentation at Internet@Schools will describe my experiences, share survey results from students in our program who received badges, and offer some tips and cautions. I feel strongly that badges are great for increasing motivation and for recognizing positive student performance. I also want to stress that badges should NOT be tied to grades. They should be strictly kept apart. Also, there should be badges that any student can earn, not just the top achievers scholastically. Further, there should be clear descriptions of the badges that spell out how each can be earned.  I chose to give badges for behaviors I wanted to promote: turning in work early, going beyond the expected with assignments, finding ways to respond to assignments creatively, and communicating well with peers via live and asynchronous chat and discussion boards. My strong recommendation is that badges be online only, posted to a common website, rather than physical objects. They should not in any way be allowed to go beyond simple recognitions. The excesses that happen with reading programs such as Accelerated Reader are to be avoided at all costs. Having spent most of my career in the K-12 environment, I feel confident that badging can be used reward students of all ages. In fact, the group with whom I had the most doubts was adult learners. I was afraid they might think it was too much like something for youngsters. This did not occur. I am looking forward to using badges as long as I continue teaching. I am still polishing my presentation, and will have the final version up at the Internet Librarian Conference Site by Saturday evening. I will also upload to Slideshare and will post that link through this blog. I will also share helpful websites. One I will mention right now is This online service is great for creating and managing badges. I hope both attendees and readers will find this topic interesting.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

LEADING UP TO IL2013: Tweaking Presentations...Do You Do It Too?

I wonder if all writers and presenters do this...I am addicted to tweaking articles and presentations. When counting down to a due date for submission or presentation, I find I cannot leave the thing alone. I keep going back and playing with it...changing images, rewording, adding, cutting, etc. Part of this is due to my obsessive-compulsive nature I guess, but another thing is that the more I think about a topic, the more I come across relevant information that I decide MUST be added. This is the case with my upcoming preso about using badges in schools and libraries. I uploaded my "finished" product several days ago and since then I have come across more information that seems both compelling and necessary. A lot has come out about this topic since I first started exploring it over a year ago. Thus I will be uploading again today or tomorrow with several new additions, and confess that may not be the last time. I will post another blog entry soon about badging in general but right now this brief posting is to ask how common is the practice of obsessively revising right down to the last minute. I don't think I'm you do the same?

Friday, October 18, 2013

To Blog or Not To Blog...

Given my "recent" activity, it is ironic for me to start remarks with that title. I actually did some presentations about blogging several years back and used that catch phrase. And then I ran out of steam and have had little luck in keeping current lately. However,  I do THINK about this space and consider giving it another try. The catalyst for me now is the Internet Librarian/Internet@Schools West Conference that is coming up soon. I have gone so far as to sign up to blog from the conference and hope to join in with others enjoying the conference online as well as in person. goes! My hope is to put up several entries BEFORE the conference and see if I can make some connections. Please comment if you're going! In my next entry I'll talk about my presentation, which will be on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY Memes

Recently I wrote an article about memes. One thing I mentioned was the ability to make a visual for a meme yourself, rather than use an online application. The beauty of doing so is that it allows students to make memes at school without having to sign in and log on to an online site. Here is one I made just using Powerpoint. It starts my best dog Ringo, who really did select and chew the highly appropriate book shown below: