Monday, February 16, 2009

Thing 4:

RSS -- Really Simple Syndication? Okay, I'm willing to try it.

So -- I did the step by step through Thing 4 and found some wonderful things to subscribe to. Decided to use Google Reader although I signed up for Infinite Thinking and NewsGator (for Mac). The article on Using Google Reader like a Rockstar seems really useful with practice.

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? finding articles that I enjoy reading and can use to enhance my teaching, stay on top of things.

  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your library or personal life? I found several articles that relate to my personal interests, and subscribed to those feeds. Then I found articles that will help me with lesson plans. I would like to get comfortable enough with what I am learning from the 23 things to teach them to kids (and other teachers).
  • How can librarian staff or media specialists use RSS or take advantage of this technology? I set up subscriptions for books that would interest my students. I also can see setting up subscriptions that will help me target those subjects my teachers are looking for information to go with their curriculum -- things I can send them to enhance their lessonplans.

  • Which tool for finding feeds was easiest to use? google blogs was really easy. I have not played with newsgator enough yet to know if it is as good as the intro page says.
  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds? still learning about them.

  • Find any great sources we should all add to our feed reader? Just the shortcuts and recommendations in the article How to Use Google REader like a Rockstar.

Thing 3: Blog Search Tools

"Thang 3"
Stressing at being so behind. I worked on this a few nights ago and managed to translate it into Hindi, a skill I did not realize I had.

After returning my post to English, I decided to start completely over.

Okay, so I managed to claim my blog, but could not figure out how to get the technorati lable to appear on my blog page. Disappointing. I know it has to do with pasting the html into the html, but I feel a bit like Frankstein working on his monster. "What if I stick this little organ here? What could it hurt?"

I always thought that blogs were for beings who liked to listen to themselves expound on whatever issue rocked their boat. Now I realize that it is fairly sophisticated boat rocking. I find that I am printing out some of the resource pages so that I can have time to go back and play more. Instead of 23 things, I could probably do just this one for the next few weeks.

I did try different searches using Technorati and Search Blogs with (It was the first one on my list). What impressed me was the amount of interesting stuff that I pulled up on both searches. I found a good lesson plan that I will probably be using in the next week. I also found that I can get sucked into cool stuff like Alice falling down the Rabbit Hole.

Here is how this is affecting me. No sooner did Blogging come up in 23 things, then blogging with my fifth graders became a new adventure. They are reading Homeless Bird by Whelan and have been doing lots of research in the library to build their knowledge base on India. (Thank you, God, for teachers like Mr. Freeman who love the library). Mr. Freeman and I found that we had to consider the propriety of setting up gmail accounts for each of the ten year olds in his classroom. This meant letters to parents to get permission and getting the blessing of our administration. Extra hoops albeit critical ones.

So far, the blog has been lots of fun. I hope the kids start to use it more and make more comments. I am planning to start a blog on the media center Web site so that I can "book talk" some of the new books in the library. So I guess I am now one of those people who like to listen to themselves. Or maybe we are just hoping that someone else will stop by and engage?

I don't know if this works or is kosher, but here is the url for the blog:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thing 2

comments on the suggested reading on L2:

". . .The basic drive is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives. . .to make the library a destination and not an afterthought." -- a re-quote of a re-quote from Sarah Houghton's definition of L2 found in the reading.

how is the purpose stated in this quote different from the purpose of (public) libraries of the last 100 years? Perhaps instead of purpose, it is the point of access that defines L2? The public can now access the library from any computer available. The library is not so much a physical destination as it is the true uber-gateway. (not Google)
• I would think that a greater concern to information specialists is the accuracy and relevancy of the information and its accessibility by the greatest number of citizens. When pre and post Google are mentioned, I wonder what will exist "post Google." Will anything other than Google be allowed to exist for the public? I assume the military industrial complex will always have its own secure uber-gateways that none of us will ever uncover. But when Google finishes taking over the world -- what will exist as its counterpoint?
To this, I would agree that IT departments ". . .are becoming an important part of the decision-making process and have more influence over how the public perceives your organization." Unfortunately, many of our beloved IT folks are not librarians. They do not have the same perspective about information and libraries that librarians do. Just as businessmen see information as a commodity, and the military sees it as a weapon, IT looks at information from its own frameworks. Thus, when Google is allowed at K-12 schools in Florida and Dogpile is blocked throughout the entire state from k-12 schools, and the only person who knows why is an IT person in Tallahassee, we see the true power of the IT department. When deciding what technology will be employed, by whom, in what way and within what limits, the IT people listen to a different drummer than the librarian. They are not necessarily concerned with the "freedom to read" or "intellectual freedoms" or the "patrons' right to privacy." Nor do they take concerns such as "authority" into account. This is why I say for L2 to work, decisions should be made by librarians (information technology savvy librarians) rather than Bill Gates or even Steve Jobs.

• L2 requires a fundamental change in how we handle "authority." Yes, and school librarians (media specialists) will tell you that the most important part of their job is to teach their students how to evaluate information for themselves, to look at many points of view, to judge it by its age, content, purpose, reason for creation, target audience . . . as well as to determine for themselves how to select and use their own research. If we fail in this mission, all the librarian becomes is another gatekeeper rather than a facilitator. (No wonder the state is threatening to cut school libraries from its education budget.) Talk about relevance to the citizens of the future tax payers. What could be more important?

• "Give them what 'they' want" -- who is the "they?" Well, we hear a lot about digital natives in the world today. It seems to me that this refers to middle school and high school kids who used a computer mouse for a teething ring. But it is my experience that the desire to use the newest technology to access information, to teach, to learn and to research -- is not dominated by teenagers. It is used by all generations and perhaps more effectively and more wisely than the so-called digital natives based on the impact of the acquired information on the users' lives. I think it takes reaching a point in life beyond high school for the importance of relevant information in one's life to have full impact. I am thinking quality rather than quantity here. And given that technology shifts so rapidly, we are all in the same constant learning curve on technology.

Finally, I think reading M. T. Anderson's brilliant book "FEED" provides a rather chilling view of the use of information and the Internet in the future. When considering how to create the Great Library in the Sky, we must keep to the core values of our profession.

Queston One -- blogging 101

Okay, I have now set up the blog for this learning experience. I am quite excited about this and have a lot to learn.