Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Little of This and A Little of That

I have been experiencing an information overload over the last three weeks. I liteally feel like I have been doing eight to twelve hours of reading for my classes and literally I have. That doesn't even include class work or assignments. So for my blog post this week, I am going to comment on a little of this and a little of that.


In past teaching experiences, I get very frustrated trying to make concise lectures and discussions with my students. I have so many great ideas flooding through my brain, that I have a difficult time staying organized. One tool that will help me better organize my thoughts and provide instruction to my students will most definitely be Podcasts. I plan on maintaining a wiki or blog for my library or classroom and I will have a direct link to my podcasts. For our class, the Podbean has worked quite well. I opened an iTunes account and subscribed to the podcast. I then download the podcast and listen to it as I travel to UB on Tueday nights. I also began downloading the NPR education weekly podcast and other talks given by Wil Richardson. I taught myself how to open an iTunes accoutn, download music, organize my music and podcasts, and how to put them on my iPod and take them off. I could do none of that before taking this class. It was a frustrating task at first and the directions to do this were not great. But, I sought out tutrials on the Web and looked up info in Richardson, and now I can do it all by myself. Yayy!!

Video Publishing

I watched a couple extra webinars a few weeks ago after finding the first one I watched to be so informative. I found a website that has pre-made avatars that allows you to make your own short videos, with limited editing and work. The program does most of the work for you, but it does not allow you full movement of the avatars and it takes an awful long time to download. It was made especially for history classes and as a history teacher I was immediately hooked. This would be a great way for students of middle and high school age to teach information to the rest of their classes. Teaching another person a concept or skill is the best way to learn the skill your self. Several techniques in the class have used this model and made me personally more knowledgeable about computer applications.


I am very excited to learn more about this new technology. I observed it being used at the webinars a couple weeks back and I loved how it blended voice narration with actually showing instruction on the computer. I have found and bookmarked lots of great sites for tips on the most effective way to screencast and where to locate a freee download. The webiste is user friendly and helps you learn to screen cast with simple and straight forward directions. I have read the directions and hunted all over the site for useful information. I hope to make my first screen cast, as practice, before Fall 2010 classes begin.

Like many students in our class, I feel bombarded with computer applications, web technology, and emerging digital resources. At the same time, I feel eager and excited to experience them all. I wish I could really sink my teeth into more of these tools and strategies, but I have a great start thanks to this class. The day I can respectfully resign from my waitressing job because I have been hired to work as a school librarian will be amazing! I'll be getting paid for being an information junkie, but I'll have the time, talent, resources, and need for using all these great tools instead fo just learning about them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Copy-right police or just copy it 'right' and no police

Our class discussion this week revisits the issue of who should be advocating for copyright compliance in your school. It really is an important topic and I am glad our prof brought this discussion back to the forefront. In Simpson this week, she focuses her attention specifically on copyright permissions. I know I may feel this issue has been really drawn out, but, professionals do not seem to get the hint despite their co-workers and co-teachers best efforts to make them aware and informed about copyright issue. My first suggestion to understanding copyright is 'use common sense" and "don't be lazy about asking questions and seeking answers". Fair use guidelines can be a tricky topic, but if you follow the rules of fair use in Chapter three you will be a-okay. As a librarian, I hope to extensively collaborate with other teachers to get out the word on copyright laws and fair use practices. Teachers have a daunting task of making sure all their students are academically and personally successful. To achieve this goal, one must be organized and plan ahead. If you do your teaching homework, get organized, and plan ahead you will be in good shape. If you have never been to creative, or lack creativity, this is really important. Seek help to solve your creativity issues and do not forget to solicit suggestions from students. How would you do that? Well, if you have your heart set on using or showing copyrighted materials, send out your requests six to twelve months ahead of time and then be persistent. If you hear no response, it is time for a change of plans. If you want to avoid copyright hassles, make up your own graphics, artwork, music, etc. to enrich your class. There are hundreds of sites that will assist you in making any kind of video, poster, music, movie etc. that you could desire. If this isn't your cup of tea, head to Google and start searching for programs to help you ignite a creative spark. You may find a hidden talent you never knew you had. I really believe we should be models of honesty and integrity to our students inside and outside the classroom.

Here's my opinion on how educators and copyright permission (from our class discussion)

"I think teachers should take charge of this themselves. Maybe a group of teachers could create a sample 'copyright permission' form, sort of like a graphic organizer, that prompts the teacher to fill in certain important items: company & address, name and date of work, reason for request, financial gain or no financial gain, reason use would be most useful, and the teacher could bring this to an office staffer who sends out these requests and helps keep them organized. Possible outcomes; the teacher will feel strongly about using this and will take the necessary steps to get permission, they will create an original song/art for their own use, or they will do nothing, but will know they are being deceptive. This reminds of a web seminar from a couple weeks, when the male presenter pretty much said, look if you're not an organized person who will plan way ahead of schedule, get creative and take ownership or your work and create something yourself. "

I do not want to be a clone for the copyright police. If educators and administrators could just copy and use the things the right way, there would be no need for police. I could handle being copyright consultant,it just sounds more helpful and friendly.

Friday, April 2, 2010

You can't judge an E Reader by its cover.

with all the buzz about E Readers, I cannot resist putting in my two sense. I think E Readers are a wave of the future. Don't get me wrong, when I see a book by Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Piccoult at a yard sale, I scoop it right up, if it's under a dollar. Books are for sure the best bargains I find at yard sales and church rummage sales. However, when I travel, packing all those extra bulky books takes up alot of room. But, I love being able to swap my books with friends when I am done. So, do I support E readers? It depends. For me as an avid reader, I love the idea. I was given a Kindle by my loving fiancaille for Christmas. It is amazing. I can download hundreds of free books at . The new Kindle now supports PDF and TXT files and I can send personal documuents to my Kindle by either downloading them to my PC and using a USB cord to transfer or my using the Kindle's own wireless Whispernet and send it to my own personal Kindle's web address. The features are endless. My Kindle rocks! Do I suport them in schools or any E readers for that matter?........

YES! I think we need to strongly consider design before deciding if E Readers will work for all students. For example let's look at what Kiplinger's Magazine calls 'The Big Three'


Books available – 400,000
Newspapers – 69, Magazines – 40, Blogs 7,000
Memory – 1,500 Books
Wireless Download – Yes
Battery Life – 7 days with wireless on: 14 without
Screen size 6’: Full size 8.0 X 5.3 X 0.4 inches

Books available – 1 million
Newspapers – 20, Magazines – 20, Blogs ???
Memory – 1,500 Books
Wireless Download – Yes
Battery Life – 2 days with wireless on: 10 without
Screen size 6’: Full size 7.7 X 4.9 X 0.5 inches

Books available – 200,000
Newspapers & Magazines - ? , Blogs - dozens
Memory – 350 books
Wireless Download – No
Battery Life – 2 weeks without wireless
Screen size 6’: Full size 6.9 X 4.8 X 0.4 inches

If you visit each E Reader site, you can see all thier features. Although I understand the other E Readers have been developed as assistive technology for exceptional students, I think these E Readers may be a good supplement or replacement to textbooks, school books, and popular books for specific age groups. The process to acqurie and implement E Readers would be long, but I feel , worthwhile. I would chose the Kindle.

Other important features of the Kindle:
-Send personal PDF files to Kindle from home PC or MAC
-Read in sunlight with no glare
-Download magazines before they hit store shelve
-Manual flip screen to view in landscape or horizontal mode
-Travel the globe and download books anywhere
-Automatic library back-up
-Charge with USB or plug in to electrical outlet
-Full Image zoom
-Wireless access to Wikipedia
-Limited web browsing
-Free Kindle App or IPhone or PC
-Text to Speech with voice control options
-More options in the near future

Check out this link to see for yourself.
I think the initial steep price tag of the Kindle would be replaced with a high quality and effective E Reader.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

To Copy or Not to Copy

I must admit that copyright laws trul intrigue me. Last week for another one of my LIS classes I had to do a book trailer. It took forever, but i was very happy with the product. After I took part in the web conferences, I had a bit more guidance regarding certain copyright issues. Our prof. wanted us to post our videos on YouTube, but I declined to posts mine. During the book trailer, I inserted copyrighted music by the 10,000 Maniacs. It looked and sounded great, but the sounds were not original. Since I was only showing to my LIS class and a couple students at a local school, I chose to use the music, but not to publish it. My intent was to get people excited about the book and the focus of the book trailer was the book, NOT the music. I think I effectivley avoided a copyright violoation. Based on the readings in Simpson and the information in some of the other readings, I feel much more informed about copyright law. I see copyright law similar to intent, in legal terms. Educators do not have free reing to violate copyright law and I feel like this is an area of concern I could really help address in my future school.

I also had another instance in a school last week dealing with copyrigh laws. I am homeschooling a studetn in social studies and I wanted to make a couple copies from the pages of a graphic novel. I wanted to share them with my homeschool student becasue eh does not go to the physical school he does not have access to the library. Before I made my copies, I noticed (for the first time) that the copy machine had simple guidelines for students and teachers in regards to copying materails affixed to the top of the machine. The school library staff actually said they would prohibit copies being made if teachers or students used the machine for repeated violations. When I asked the staff about it they said they police it the best they can. I was impressed.

Again, I do not want to be the copyright police in my school, but it was nice to see a small staff working together to enforce the rules.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Movie Makers for ANYONE

I am surely one of the most avid movie watchers among my my personal or professional acquaintances. I remember being mesmerized by the animations and sound of Disney's The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I was awestruck when I went to see James Cameron's Titanic on my 18th Birthday. Who wasn't, right? This year the animation techniques on the big screen kicked it up yet another notch. A big notch with Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen and again with James Cameron's Avatar. I thought the Harry Potter series was pretty impressive, but I have been continually astounded. I am new to learning about computer apps ( or apps we LIS folk call them) and I have no interest in downloading them to my non-touch phone. Not until however, I found out a friend of mine from high school developed an app. He actually developed several apps for the Apple IPhone. Pretty impressive I think. What I then began to think about was how can I use apps to make a movie or movies for my students? I am a social studies teacher (licensed, but not working full-time) and an aspiring librarian, and I have a good feeling that certain computer animation applications can really be life changing for me and my students. For my LIS 565 class, I attended an Online Conference at the K12 Online 2009 Educators' site. . Part of this online conference included dynamic ways to introduce your students to movie making. These movies can part of class projects, portfolios, teacher instruction, book trailers, anything that may help the students connect with a certain topic or concept. In Joyce Valenza's presentation "The Wizard of Apps", I learned about two great sites: and Voice Thread . Both sites are free and offer unique ways to produce movies and pod casts using different production techniques. For someone like me who is not yet able to create an animated movie, these sites provide tutorials, templates, troubleshooting, and examples as to how to create a movie or podcast. As an educator, I know the best way to engage a student, help them learn, and assess their skills is to have them teach another person what they have learn. AHA! Why not have them put their skills and knowledge to use and have them teach the whole class what they have learned by creating a short movie? At the xtranormal site, they offer you a wide variety of formats and character options that would allow you to story tell or teach about anything! I actually used this site to make a book trailer about the book, "The Shack" by William Paul Young. If these sites can take the technical work out of the project for me, think of how we can use these tools in our classrooms and libraries. Sometimes teaching skills about library, technology, and information can really eat into instructional time. A format like this would allow students a greater degree of flexibility for managing their time and talent. I will continue to explore these incredible applications to make my future classroom and dynamic learning environment.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New KNOWlegde about Computer Apps + Love of Couponing = Free Pizza

This class has proved to me to be very self-serving outside the realm of library and information studies. I consider myself a novice on copyright issues, I can effectively create and write a blog, I can write a paper without everseeing and physicially meeting my co-writers, I can download lessons to my IPOD, I can use a Wiki, I will soon be certified to instruct other teachers on Internet safety, and I created a Wiki for a student I am homeschooling. This has surely been my most productive class of the season in terms of learning tools to manage, use, and manipulate information. Before this class, my first encounter with blogging was a coupon site I visit daily (actually several times daily, I"m addicted and I admit it!). I used the same blogging software as my favorite coupon blogger and got ideas as to how to set up my own blog. From this blog site, I've also been lead to many great freebies - shampoos, make-up, children's books, candles, air fresheners, indoor paint, lightbulbs, name it. I'm a queen of great bargains. So mix up my computer app class skills and my passion for couponing and I get free pizza. I signed up at I applied to host three parties and I won one! Here's the link to Liz's Rock N Roll Pizza Party . At the house party site I upload photos, blog, send e-invites, answer surveys, and use a pre-made web page to get my family and friends excited about coming over for free pizza and prizes. The kicker is that they tend to select active Web 2.0 users who will be good advertisement for their product according to a survey all potential party hosts must fill out. All the Web 2.0 apps they asked about I use for this class!! Not only am I finding practical application for this class and its many resource tools, but it is helping me win free stuff. Yayy for computers, LIS programs and free pizza!! And I'll be sure not to steal any illegal copyrighted music or pics and put them on my party site thanks to Carol Simpson and Copyright for Schools.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wacka Wacka Wacka!! Is a Wacka like a Wiki?

Figuratively speaking no, the two are completely unrelated. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone knew what wacka wacka wacka meant and was totally clueless about the wiki, or vice versa. I remember being a little girl and watching all the children’s programming that was done on the local Buffalo new station. I also remember the shows on PBS including Sesame Street. From Jim Henson’s Muppets, to Tom Jolls on WKBW in Buffalo, to Romper Room I loved learning cool new things and being entertained by these shows. I was especially fascinated by Sesame Street and the outrageous and colorful characters made by Jim Henson on his popular The Muppet Show. These ‘old-fashioned’ shows still give me a charge. What saddens me though is that most of the children I meet while I substitute at all school levels do not know what wacka wacka wacka means. Jokes that I made it high school were often followed with this punchline. Now, if I make a joke and follow it with this phrase I get blank stares and the occasionally grumble that sounds something like: “is she making a joke?” , or “is that a real word?”, or most recently, “is a wacka like a wiki?” Surely with all the important subjects that must be taught in school today, educating students about 1970s and 1980s sitcoms is surely of negligible important. None the less, I know what a wacka and a wiki are, so why doesn’t everyone else?
As an adult, and a teacher, I have forgiven all those who do not know what Muppets are those who are unfamiliar with Wikis. My focus has shifted too Muppets to wikis. I remember them in their early developmental stages when I was an undergraduate at teaching college. wikis had a bad rap for being inaccurate, poorly organized, and unreliable. Several years after they have had time to grow and flourish, with much needed help, many people’s initial apprehension to using wikis has developed into an eager curiosity. In Will Richardson’s book Blogs, wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Tools for the Classroom, he explains this phenomenon with detail and clarity.
I willingly admit that I am one who was once skeptical, but is now curious and eager to learn more. This book made connections for me and explained how useful Wikis can be adapted for classroom use. Although there are potential downfalls with any kind of Online instruction, especially in schools where content is filtered, I think wikis can do much more good than bad. Our Wiki for this class is private and requires an invitation for membership into the class. I think if a teacher could develop a secure site such as this, students would really benefit, Without the confines of paper printing, notebook organizing, or limited instruction or discussion time, a wiki can truly transform a good classroom into a fantastic, interconnected, and challenging one.
In chapter 4 of Wil Richardson’s book, he uses dynamic examples and straight forward explanations to convince the reader of how use class wikis are. Although a strong leader and information manager is necessary to ensure the success of a wiki, his logic is that this will positively impact your teaching and your students. He feels a wiki can encourage better communication, more sharing of ideas and resources, more timely delivery of information and instruction, and provide a place for students and instructors to express and exchange ideas that were not discussed in class. With students so actively exploring an enjoying multimedia outlets, he views a class wiki as a way of making a class more complete. I wholeheartedly agree with ideas. Although I do not have the skills yet to produce a Wiki, I do have the skills to locate reliable information and to create a physical outline of how I would like my wiki to look. I no longer think wikis are all bad. I am excited and intrigued by them.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Well if I copy it for educational purposes it's ok, RIGHT?

I can honestly say I was eager to know the answers to this question when I became an LIS student. From reading Carol Simpsons' text Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide (Fourth Edition) I think I am gaining a better grasp on copyright issues for schools. I would say that I'm a pragmatic person and this text explores the issues in a practical and pragmatic way. I think part of the reason that schools, students, and educators do not want to ask copyright questions is because they are afraid of the answer they might get. If you really feel that you are stealing a unique idea or concept in a way that was not intended by the original creator, you probably are. Now, if a work is part of public domain, well most bets off. None the less, print materials in schools are an area that deserve more attention and respect. How can schools be models of ethics and integrity if they are improperly using artwork and resources without permission?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If only web portals involved Toby McGuire as Spider Man

I think that organization, precision, and clear directions are the keys for using search tools in libraries. School librarians must really be able to identify the search habits of their students, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide useful suggestions and search strategies to combat wasted time and energy studetns and teachers use to search aimlessly for information on the Internet. I have seen many successful teachers create and publish web portals, through their school websites, that capture the essence of effective research using search engines and other web based tools. For a better understanding of web portals, visit this page at Microsoft for a brief look at the benefits of web portals.
The positive components that a well constructed page could offer might increase teacher and student search strategies and their abilities to effectivley and swiftly locate information within the school's databases, library catalogue, Online reference sources, and teacher created web pages.
I looked for a couple great web portals using the search terms 'web portals + schools' and here's a couple good ones I found...
and another one I was aware of but did not find on the search engine
This one does not look too flashy, but it is organized and laid out well.
I think we all should a big professional development day and make our own web portals. If only web portals involved Toby McGuire as Spider Man, so many more schoosl librarians and other staffers would be really interested.

I Raise My Hand for Chocolate Milk

Since this new semester of graduate school for LIS began, I have been listening to education podcasts from National Public Radio. I think NPR tries harder than most news sources to provide well researched and balanced interviews and stories. The pieces on education it has done within the last year range from topics such as restructuring teaching programs for teachers, repayment of student loans, using weblogs as an instructional tools and web 2.0 technology. The segments are often relevant and timely. I was quite surprised, however, to hear a story from a January news cast that highlighted the efforts school staffers to ban chocolate milk from schools. The interviewer visited a school and spoke staff members and students about how they felt about having chocolate milk removed for its high sugar content and replacing it with organic milk. I think this is ridiculous. All the schools in the city where I live, nine total for grades K - 12, have eliminated soda and candy bars from vending machines. Many snacks are still sold in school stores and in the cafeteria, including high suger juice drinks, ice cream desserts, and french fries. I do not think that taking chocolate mild out of schools will solve health issues for school age children. Maybe looking at district wide recipes and food policies would be a better start. When I substitute teach and buy a lunch, I always grab a lowfat chocolate milk with my lunch. It's still milk, despite having a little more sugar in it. Check out this website to keep chocolate milk in school cafeterias. Maybe this will raise awareness for the growing demand for all around healthier food options in all schools.

Friday, February 5, 2010

TTFN used to be cute when Tigger said it, so how are we supposed to remember all the new tech. acronyms that aren't quite so cute

First of all, is anyone else as confused as me by all the technology terms new LIS students must grasp. If a shortcut is helpful, especially in schools, I'm all for it. But, too many tech. terms to me is a bit of a turn off. So here's a review of all the tech terms I've learned in my first 6 months in the LIS program:

HTML - hpyer text markup language = language used on the Web that incorporates texts, graphics, sound, video and other other multi-media tools
URL - uniform resource locator = address of resource on the Web
RSS - really simple syndication = web feed format used to publish updated works such as blogs or news feeds
IL - information literacy = being able to understand information, how it's needed, how its used, etc.
ICT - information and communication technology = it is a way for you to participate in communicating with the world using new forms or communication and technology
AT - assistive technology = tools used by educators to help students academically and physically
I even found a cool acronym guide for technology, electronics, & video games
and another one for information technology

My hope is not only to survive library school, but to remember all these acronyms. Why are they all so important? They all represent important concepts in our field. Just like we expect other educators to remember that SLMS is a school library media specialist, we should be able to identify an RSS. As information aficionados, we need to find ways for people to connect with these dynamic concepts. I think the role of the school librarian has really gone through a metamorphosis in the last ten years. Libraries are no longer store houses of information. We need to find ways to not only make our students book literate, but also information literate. Fifty years ago if you couldn't read road signs, you probably couldn't get a driver's license becasue you would fail your driver's test. Today, if you can't fill out a digital application for college on the computer, along with the necessary student aid and loan information, or visit the college's Online website, you probably will not be accepted or attend this school, especially if it's a competitive university. The idea is the same. Young people need to be able to navigate in the world whether its passing a driver's test and getting their license or graduating from college with the qualities desired by a good employer. What worked in schools fifty nifty years ago, needs an upgrade.

Students need ICT skills to navigate in the world. Teachers in all subject areas should help them to develop these skills beginning in kindergarten. Low tech and high tech talents can be taught gradually and easily. Collaberation, communication, and flexibility will definitely help this process and that includes teachers, students, AND the community. I think state's need to encourage schools to implement IT and ICT practice into the curriculum. Teacher's have professional development days, maybe we could do the same for the students. If I had my way, I would offer a distant learning class that is similar to our Computer Applications in the School Library class, but at an appropriate level for students from grades K - 12. Each year students could take the class Online, and it would be part of a grade for class such as tech., business, ELA, whatever works for the school. They would be encouraged to use technology to learn about technology within and among their global neighbors.
I would support this initiative at my school and in my state.

Technology acronyms aren't so cute if you don't understand what they mean. If you learn to use them and can make sense of them, then you're making progress. If you can make a joke about them, then kudos to you, because your ICT nerd-om has arrived. If you're eager to find what they mean and seek out answers to all these questions, you might just belong with me in library school.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Filter or no filter

This week I visited a library media center at a rural school. Now I know how some people believe that rural schools are more reluctant change, especially in the area of technology, but this one truly impressed me. Their computere were literally filter free. Teachers and students actively took part in blogs and wikis for discussions, collaberation, instruction, you name it. It was the first school I had ever been in that allowed the filters to be almost completely turned off. Another great thing about this school was that they had policies that kept all of this organized and understandable. All questions I asked about technology rules, web use, copyright, etc., was all answered with handouts about thier polished school policies. Even their school board was on base with these policies. I was pretty impressed. Not only did they have a dynamic set of rules and regulations for school and library issues, but they had it done tactfully and they were easy to access and understand. Yes oh yes, it can be done. I was very thankful for this educators time and knowledge.

Library Media What?

When I began my exciting journey to become a school library media specialist I was always finding that I had to explain to my friends what this term means. I would usually tell them that I was going to be a school librarian, but with a focus on analyzing, organizing, manipulating, learning & teaching about information. I would also remind them about our other more traditional duties that have to do with literacy, books, storytelling, etc. What was kind of weird was having to say all that stuff and then tell what my title would be one day - library media specialist. Although my friends know I"m already a bit quirky and long winded, they probably thought I was trying to give myself an impressive title. Nope, I was going with the flow. Our prof for this class posted a new article from the ALA that reintroduces the old title 'school librarian' as the new legitimate title. Now what will I tell everyone. Sorry, we no longer that long name, we're still a school librarian. No wonder people misunderstand library people. No more name changes until I graduate, please? Check out the link if you're interested.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

LIS If you had a cool new car in the driveway, would you drive it?

Schools today are being given so many opportunities to learn about technology, apps, podcasts, wikis, skyping, and all sorts of Web 2.0 technology. When I was in high school I wrote my senior thesis (about Charles Dickens sad life portrayed in his literary classics) by hand. I was taking honors English in 11th grade and our class had to write the final copy at home over the computer. I was the only person without a computer. I'm not saying we were poor, but my parent's factory salary, at the time, didn't permit us to go out and buy a computer. Most of my friends had only gotten computers within the last 2 - 3 years anyways. So, I had to hand write (can you hear my moans and groans) my entire rough draft and final copy. And, I lived to tell about it.
By the end of my senior year, we had a computer, but it was a stationary machine that was not connected to the Internet. By my freshmen year at college (Fall of 1998) Technology, Internet, Modems, Chat rooms - it was like an overload to me. The time I finished by second bachelor's degree (2007) my ability to use this technology had come a long way. Now I can understand how a teacher may have felt back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, because I too felt that sense of unease with technology. It was overwhelming and people were learning together. However, ten years later, that excuse doesnt' sit too well with me. I compare the package of available technology that most teachers have access to with a car. They're both shiny, new, and incredible. Maybe even a bit mysterious. But, if you had a new car in your driveway, would you just let it sit there and let your neighbors admire it? Not me, I'm eager and enthusiastic! I just bought a new car and I love driving it, showing it off, and learning how I can download music to it with my mp3 player. On the other hand, it's hard for me to understand why teachers don't respond the same way with the technology, professional development opportunities, and training they are given freely and given time to use during their paid work day.
Bill Richardson's Chapter on how great weblogs in and of itself is great. He's right on the money by explaing how students and teachers can use web 2.0 technology to enhance lesson planning, comprehension, communication, test prep., enjoyment of the class, learn new tech....the list is endless. We as educators can learn so much form our studtents, so let's allow them to teach us a thing or two. I think we need to take risks, for example, and see how a portal or class weblog (private to your class members and in line with school tech. policies) can reduce time spent on lecture, passing out papers, and going over directions and replace it with greater discussion, critical thinking, in depth analysis of important question, and long list of other postive attributes. This approach can be done safely and with positive effects. Check out these blogs by educators about weblogs in the classroom.

We all know how hard most teachers work. Maybe weblogs will eventually take a little work out of planning, if you're willing to put in a little work to get the ball rolling. The possibilities are endless.

Monday, January 25, 2010

LIS Book Trailer, Not to be confused with a bookmobile

As a grad student in the LIS program, I must visit, observe, and do projects with local school library media specialists. I had a great visit to a rural school in western New York. The SLMC was filled with great signage, posters, themed book displays - it was fantastic. While I was being given the grand tour, she asked me about book trailers. Well, I didn't know what a book trailer was, so she pulled out her laptop and showed me someo the sites and resources she was learning about book trailers in this professional development course she was taking. I was instantly hooked. I am a huge fan of moves. I especially love historical fiction, biographies, well scripted drama and action movies, and anthing that is witty, funny, or generally entertaining. The site she showed me was . It was visually appealling and was interesting as soon as I set eyes on the screen. In lieu of doing a more traditional, but effective, book talk, educators, librarians, teachers, professors, for example, generate hype and interest about a book. Just like a good movie trailer draws in a TV or Online audience, a good book trailer has a similar function, but for more entertainment and academic purposes. I am no book trailer expert, but I will be investigating this way to have a talk, chat, or discussion about books. This is not to be confused with a book mobile, which simply offered you booksto read. Instead, it offers you a multimedia approach to learning about a specific book in an engaging and entertaining way. My curiosity will lead me to investigate this further.

Friday, January 22, 2010

LIS Weblogs Richardson Chapter 2

My first experience with reading a weblog on a daily basis is the coupon site I have posted on my Blog. To be honest, I love reading it everyday. However, before I began reading weblog, I loved to read two 'old-fashioned' weblogs - Dear Abbey and the advice column in Reader's Digest called, Ask Laskas by Jeanne Marie Laskas. I appreciate their candid and upfront answers to all of life's mundane and wild questions. Furthermore, I loved Carrie Bradshaw's advice column on the fictional TV show(which ended its successful six year run in 2006) Sex and the City . All are education, entertaining and honest. To me, these are 'old-fashioned" blogs.

As a teacher, I can easily see how Richardson wants educators to make themselves more aware and capable of creating weblogs for their classrooms. Most children love to be challenged and they are just as fascinated by technology as many of their teachers. Not only could weblogs serve as a powerful learning tool for traditional education approaches, it can also serve constructionist learning styles by encouraging teachers to share tools and experiences in the digital world that many students would not be able to experience in their physical classroom world. By creating an educational weblog, a teacher can open up a dynamic digital portal for learning. Everyone wins! Sure, we need to be prepared for safety issues, but an organized and ambitious teacher can save a lot of time passing out papers, orchestrating transitional activities, preparing packets of work for absent students, etc., by having a portal or weblog that provides student and teacher access and communication before and after a lesson. Teachers can allow for important discussions to take place after a class is over to help students who have questions, to allow more informed students to help answer questions, or to serve as an outlet for those in the class who have a desire to learn more about a certain topic. This may not be for everyone. I am taking my third Online graduate class, and weblogs have been very helpful in my own studies. I hope all districts in New York State have professional development opportunities to teach teachers about weblogs and other emerging technology.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LIS 568 - Public Domain, Does that mean free?

This class continues to pretty much rock as I learn more and more about technology, resources, and services for libraries and library media centers. Why do you ask? This week we're learning about, among other things, what 'pubic domain' means. According to Richardson it is "a work not protected by copyright" or "may not be eligible for copyright protection at all".(Note that I am giving the author credit as to avoid a copyright issue.) For example, facts can't be copyrights. However, manipulating the facts into a catchy poem to help children remember it for a test could be copyrighted. So why am I excited? My wonderful boyfriend got me a Kindle for Christmas. Check it out at . As I have been eagerly waiting to download books, my thrifty self has also been investigating what books I can download for FREE! Yes, FREE!
Our assignment this week lead me to a website that has an ongoing list of free books. The site can be found at From here, you can locate hundreds of free books. Just out of curiosity, I cross referenced several titles with the amazon list of available book downloads. Amazon has many free titles that can be downloaded with in seconds. Although you have an account for your Kindle with Amazon, it is not charged, but instead is added to your Kindle book inventory. At the Project Gutenberg site, you can download the books right to your computer via HTML or to an audio file. You can read or listen to the books at the click of your mouse. I did find, however, that many of these overlapping titles at Amazon downloaded much faster. But, I am not complaining.

Most of the books availalbe are older books, but many are classics. Some are terrifice and some are just, well, available. Sill, what a cool project the Gutenberg Organization has undertaken. Thanks to public domain laws, many works by Charles Dickens, E. Frank Baum, Mark Twain, are all free on your computer to read or listen to.

If you're still interested in Public Domain Law, check out these sites

As a new LIS student, I'm an avid reader and just love books. Reading books that I have only seen movies about or have forgotten about has been a great joy in my life. Thanks public domain laws.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


My first love at college, or so I thought, was history. I was so eager as an undergrad to take all the classes I could about anthropology, cultural studies, anything about history, and keeping up on my love of the French language. This lasted from 1998 - 2002 (BA in history, and from 2005 - 2007 (BA in adolescent social studies education). I'm now enroute to become licensed to also work in school libraries. This is my second semester for the LIS program at the University of Buffalo and my third Online class. I've completed projects in the first week that have generated so many questions and head scratching moments, that I hope this all becomes easier. I am also a very eager learner, so I am confident it will. History is still pretty cool, but I have learned that like many of my LIS classmates, I am a closet information junkie. I am really turned on by learning about organizing, manipulating, teaching about, and learning about information.

Helpful hints and funny anecdotes are always welcome!

Blog Blog Blog

Despite growing up, or atleast living through, this emerging tech generation, I am dazzled and amazed by all the technology that's out there. I' am setting up this blog for a class I am taking at the University of Buffalo as I pursue a career in the world of Library and Information Studies. It's not as old school or boring as it sounds, trust me.