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My first blog post

Having attended the Building Learning Communities conference two weeks ago, I've determined that, while I'm nominally in charge of technology at my school, I am terribly naive about social networking and what it means to my students. My experience with MySpace has been mostly attempts to see what our students are doing/saying on their pages. At the same time, our school blocks MySpace. I'm beginning to see a disconnect between what we (the school) teach, allow, and encourage and what our kids are experiencing every day.

MySpace provides a community for our kids that offers something we just haven't tried to understand. Well, my school is in for a surprise. We are going to try to understand the value of MySpace to our students and, perhaps, harness their enthusiasm for online communities by creating our own. Wish me luck!

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A summer of online teaching...

I'm currently teaching 4 online classes. I haven't carried a load like this in years. typically I teach no more than two courses, but things snowballed and I find myself with a very full plate. It's been taxing and very interesting. Great people, great classes, and the pressure has helped me realize that I need to relax, step back and let people learn. (I just can't micromanage and save my sanity, so I'm forced to get more comfortable with my professed guide on the side role.)

When I want to dodge writing feedback commentary I find myself blogging here & there, bookmarking with delicious like made and impulsively joining more social networks. (I've signed up with Classroom 2.0 & Facebook this week following an impulse to connect with professional friends.)

A fellow online teacher from Alaska, who is taking our IMSA course: PowerSearching in a Web 2.0 World asked an interesting question about building trust in online environments.

I was reminded of how different a class driven structured online learning environment like Moodle or D2L is when compared to the laissez faire atmosphere of places like this Web 2.0 Ning environment. Social blogging, voluntary resource sharing, light professional networking... the feel and the pulse is certainly different.

But what about trust? I feel more exposed on SecondLife (as an ISTE member) and Facebook as simply some guy from San Diego. Being out of my range of expertise is a new experience. Second Life still baffles me. I can barely remember how to fly, sit or stand. Facebook is built for kids looking to step up from MySpace. I'm a little old to fit in either place.

Maybe I just like to be in the drivers seat? Honestly, I feel the greatest trust when I'm working with fellow educators in environments like this.

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I'm going to spend my first blog talking about two tools I like. The first is If you are new to RSS, this is a great place to start. I follow about ten different blogs from this site. It makes it easy for me to keep up with my favority topics without having to look in different places.

Another tool that I'm really starting to like is Moodle. Moodle is an open-source classroom management system that allows you to offer classes online. I'm still developing some information literacy courses for my school using this tool. If anyone has used it, please let me know.

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MidLink Magazine Call for Participation!

You are cordially invited to explore the July-December issue of MidLink Magazine the award-winning magazine for students ages 8 - 18. If you're lookingfor ideas for your upcoming year, you’ve come to the right place! Please email the teacher/editors of the projects below you would like to participate in with your students! Youand your students are sure to get inspired by the projects created byMidLink Magazine's teacher-editors:

1. Periodic Table of Podcasts: Have your students add their own scientific podcast to the growing body of information found in thisexciting project!

2. Find a Story… Map a Story… Tell a Story: Use emerging digital mapping tools to explore the connection between story, place andcommunity.

3. Science Through the Camera Lens: Study the science found in pictures and then create a multimedia project

4. Tell Me a Story: Learn how to encourage children to accept and celebrate their differences, using digital storytelling

See detailed descriptions below or visit MidLink Magazine at:

1. Periodic Table of Podcasts

We invite students from any school to participate in the development of the "Periodic Table of Podcasts". To participate, instructions areprovided within this website. There are very easy ways to create audiofiles in the classroom even if you have only a few computers by usingInternet resources such as Podomatic or Odeo. Audio files could behosted on your school's server, various Internet resources, or othermeans. Don't let the technology get in the way- for help and advisecontact the webmaster of this site. All we need is the URL (link) toyour students' audio files, and we can add them to the Periodic Tableof Podcasts! If you wish to collaborate regarding your podcast project,e-mail Joselyn Todd, Ph. D.

Project URL:

Contact Teacher Editor, Dr. Joselyn J. Todd, Cary Academy, Cary, NC

2. Find a Story… Map a Story… Tell a Story

This Place-based Stortelling Project invites students to choose a story that matters to them and using an online mapping tool likeCommunity Walk, Wayfaring or Google Maps, create a StoryMap that willplace their stories within a geographical context. Using one of thesedigital mapping tools, students will locate a geographical map fromtheir story location, and add images, audio and text memories to theplace markers found on the mapping tool. This project will helpstudents recover lost stories and save and share them so other canenjoy and learn from them. You are invited to browse through theproject resources and projects example on this web site and plan tohave your classroom participate:

Project URL:

Project Coordinator: Brenda Dyck, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Red Deer College (Middle Years’ Program), Red Deer,Alberta

3. Science Through the Camera Lens

Have you ever seen a view of nature or engineering and wondered about the "awesomeness" of it? Did you take a picture of it so youcould capture it forever? Florida State University School Sciencestudents did just that. They took pictures with a digital camera or acamera phone. Students delivered them to their science teacher viaemail or on a flash drive. Students studied the science in the picturesthen created their multimedia project. Here are their stories.....

Project URL:

Teacher Editor, Cathy McQuone, Earth/Space Science Instructor, Florida State University Schools, Tallahassee, Florida

4. Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story is a project in which students were asked to contemplate the following essential questions:

How does culture shape the way we see ourselves, others, and the world? How does my culture shape me? Why is it important to understandculture? The purpose of this project is to encourage children to acceptand celebrate their differences. We want to help all children develop apositive self-concept and feel proud of whom they are. If this positivesense of self and others is allowed to flourish, today's children willbecome adults who accept and affirm differences, identify unfairsituations, and strive to eliminate racism of any sort.

Grade levels: K-8

Project URL:

Teacher Editor: Karen Kliegman, Library Media/Educational Technology Specialist, Searingtown School, Albertson, Adjunct Professor, Long Island University, New York

Brenda Dyck, BEd, MET

Senior Editor: MidLink Magazine:

Sessional Instructor, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Red Deer College MiddleYears’ Program, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada


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Global Library 2.0 week

The global librarian group is highlighting Global Library 2.0 week next week, so I have started a post on my blog asking for us to share posts and ideas for bringing web 2.0 tools into school libraries specifically.

Feel free to share your ideas either there, on your own blog, or here.

Ideas for:

library design and what it would mean to create a web 2.0 physical space

how to help teachers incorporate web 2.0 tools into research assignments

how to connect yourself more globally

how to help your students connect more globally

or any other ideas this topic brings up for you!

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Any Takers?

Anyone interested in participating in a place-based storytellingproject I am creating? This will be a research project for a fourthgrade class studying Native Americans. My class will be focusing on NewYork State tribes; I am looking for other classes from the originalcolonies area. The project will incorporate:
  • research about the tribes
  • podcasting
  • locating and placing each tribe on an interactive Google map, with links back to podcasts and perhaps a wiki
  • writing original Native American legend/tale/myth
  • sharing information with participating classes

Students will work in groups. All information and teacher instructions will be included.

The project will be up and running by mid-September and will be posted on MidLink Magazine .
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Scheduling in My Library

I am putting together a proposal for my superintendent on what a 21st century elementary school library should 'look' like in a school of 600 students. My main concern is that I have so many classes, many of which are preps, that there is no time for teacher/librarian collaboration in my 1-3 classes. Presently, I am a 30-min. prep for grades 1&2, half the year (not changeable); a 40 min. weekly prep for grade 3,and not a prep for kindergarten.
I am OK with my 4th & 5th grade classes; I see them on a weekly basis for one hour (each class for half the year) where we do technology-supported research - we have use of both the library and the computer lab and I have the support of the technology teacher and classroom teacher (part of the time).

My schedule right now basically looks like 6 classes per day, with barely any free time at all. Although my grade 1/2 classes are only a prep for half the year, they are used to coming in on a weekly, scheduled basis. With 5 classes on each of those grade levels, I want to propose a "Week A, Week B" schedule, where grade one comes, let's say, during Week A for their 'prep time' and Grade 2 comes during Week B, thereby opening up some time for flex scheduling.

I have all the 'stuff' I need: a laptop cart, 6 pcs, smartboard, audio recorders, databases, good book collection, etc. - I just don't have the time in my schedule to utilize it properly with my younger grades! I feel like I am running a daycare center for them and I HATE that!!

My physical space is OK... not really room for simultaneous happenings, my media center is small, relatively speaking. but I am adjacent to the computer lab.

I am limited as to what I can change regarding physical space and prep covering. So, working with what I have, I am trying to come up with a solution...

Your comments are welcome!!
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New to Ning


I am new to this but I hope to make some good friends and gain some new ideas to use in my library. I am a Middle School Librarian. We were a year-round school until last year. This is my first full summer off in 15 years. I have to say I really love having the time to play. This summer I am playing with a vengance. I have taken on the musical directorship of a local community theater's production of "Oklahoma". I am having a grand time!!!!!

Also my school has gone down in students drastically because the district opened and new middle school. This is not a bad thing. I am hoping to lure more teachers into the libarary to do projects with me and to teach more research classes. So I am looking for ideas that I can use.



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Will I ever get this???

I thought I did post on my blog, but it's telling me I did not. So here is my first blog post I guess. As I look at this page, I think it's much too complicated. My 14-year-old daughter mastered her myspace page and it looked great. I thought I was computer literate...
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I found a great website called Footnote. It is created and run in conjunction with the National Archives and is all pirmary source documents. It is worth checking out. The website is
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I am interested in authentic assessment in the library setting. What I would like specifically is to hear about others who are interested giving students credit for the work they do in the classroom as a group. The problem lies in how we are to assess the work they are doing which is worth our attention and grading.

I have been researching how other teachers are dealing with the issue of authentic assessment and how they might be incorporating this type of assessment into the curriculum of the classroom. Let me know what you think and what you are doing to change the way students are looked at in the classroom setting.

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Links of Interest

Hello everyone, I am always on the lookout for resources for my students at university. Here are some links that may be of interest to this group. Library Outreach Wiki - From the Information Literacy Weblog This wiki has been designed by Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Lisa Sloniowski to serve as a collaborative tool for instruction librarians to share ideas on best practices in outreach activities for libraries and instruction programs. The Information Literacy Weblog Stuart Boon & Sheila Webber bring you news and reports about information literacy around the world Librarian.Net Jessamyn West is a rural Librarian blogging since 1999 Librarians Matter Kathryn Greenhill. Works at Murdoch University Library as a Reference Librarian and Philosophy Subject Librarian. She facilitates the Emerging Technology Group and is paid to look at how librarians can use emerging technologies in our libraries. Library link of the Day The Library Link of the Day provides you a daily link for keeping up to date with the library profession. Destinations include the latest library news, good reads on the web, and other valuable resources that a library knowledge worker should know about. The link is presented without commentary. Links always lead to free content, but sometimes require registration (also free) Alternative Teen services Library Anecdotes, Facetiae, Satire, Etc. Busy Teachers' Website K-12 - Teachers reference Section Sites2Good2Passup4Librarians Richard Beaudry
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Playing with Toondo

I just spent the last two days trying to move into the 21st century. We are (and I blush) finally moving to an automated system. The cataloguers are hard at work in my library as I type. It's going to be a steep learning curve and as with all technology there will be glitches but I am excited about the new possibilities that will open up. I spent some time playing with Toondo today and offer my effort below. I think it will be a great tool for introducing kids to things on my library website. To see the cartoon I created go to:

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I have just come back from 3 really buzzy days in Wellington enjoying the amazing knowledge sharing that occurs when school librarians get together. Awesome to hear Ross Todd and Pru Mitchell talking about information literacy in a Web 2.0 world. So challenging when you work in a school where the majority of teachers are still coming to terms with information literacy let alone Web 2.0!
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Has anyone else seen Zentation? I've been watching a couple of the presentations on it, wondering if it would be useful for the classroom, when I realized how powerful it might be for anyone trying to create a Library 2.0 website. Basically, the site is a mash-up, and allows you to post video that syncs with a Power Point. I'm wondering if it would work to tape yourself teaching a group, say, database searching, then post the video/PP, and link to it on your library site. Students have an instantly accessible tutorial. Since the slides aren't "live," you'd need to include screen shots, but that's easy enough.

Is there an advantage to this over, say, vodcasts?

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