Monday, December 28, 2009


"It's not the rats you need to worry about. If you want to know if a ship is going to sink, watch what the richest passengers do... If your ship is sinking, get out now. By the time the rats start packing, it's way too late."

Seth Godin's very smart post highlights the importance of paying close attention to your "market," adjusting your service model, and remaining relevant to your customers. In the world of school libraries the rats leaving the ship is analogous to finding your job on the cut list. By the time your program is on that list it is too late.

How do you avoid this fate? Be curious, be bold, find out what the smartest school librarians and educational tech visionaries from around the world are doing and saying, and see how it can be implemented to the benefit of your students and faculty.  Embrace the unknown, and be prepared to jettison the familiar if it fails to move learning and student achievement forward. Be a crucial voice in discussions of change and innovation and the first to roll up your sleeves to make it happen.

As we embark on the second decade of the 21st century, these are a few of the projects I believe will keep the school library central and indispensable.
    1. Transform the "library" into a "learning commons." Libraries are crucial in this age of abundant information, but only if they provide relevant support for those actively navigating the digital environment. Hang up your "shhh," stop fussing over the coffee cups, welcome students in with wide open arms along with their mess and Facebook. Give them new tools so that they can find, evaluate, and create. Teach them how be ethical and productive citizens. Teach them how to communicate responsibly and publish to the world. Creativity can be messy and loud. Get over it. Welcome to the learning commons.
    2. Stop paper training students. Push information out to students digitally and also teach them the critical skills of finding and evaluating it for themselves. Paper is our orientation, but doesn't do any favors for our digital natives. The age of the reading packet is gone because it can't be accessed by students with reading disabilities. It can't be posted to a collaborative platform for analysis and discussion. It can't be linked or embedded, and it isolates the learner. Students need to manage their information and materials using  RSS feeds, web portals, and collaborative platforms. They deserve the opportunity to share learning with an authentic audience made up of peers, experts in the field, or a global audience. Use paper only as a last resort.
    3. Be a leading voice in bringing new ideas to your community as a tool for evaluating current practice. Change is hard. Be enthusiastic of innovation and supportive yet positive with those who may feel overwhelmed.  There is no such thing as a "dumb question". Recognize and value the best of "old school" methods with the same vigor you use to promote the new.
    4. Advocate for the diversification of formats.  Planning for the future still involves books, but collections should also include ebooks, MP3 books, graphic novels, and collections that are rich in media. This means leading investigations into new technologies that will allow us to manage, catalog, and curate media productions, media files, student artwork, student performances and more. This means researching vendors, piloting digital textbooks, and supporting hand held digital devices for students.
    5. Treasure and promote curiosity and creativity in our students. Bringing new tools  to teachers as a way to provide alternate ways for students to find information, create meaning, and share their learning is a unique skill librarians can bring to their schools.
Wishing everyone curiosity, joy, and healthy budgets in 2010.


Blog inspiration:
Seth Godin
Seth's Blog 
It's not the rats you need to worry about

    Photo Credit:
    R. Cicchetti
    Using LiveBrush

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    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Wii are having fun in the library!

    The three days before vacation present unique - uhm - opportunities. Buckling down isn't at the top of the list of preferred activities for students during lunch blocks. Often the noise escalates and things can get a little stressful. This year, we are embracing the challenge. Wii are having a great time!

    The Metrowest Regional Library system generously makes available a full Wii gaming package for teen programs. CCHS is the first school library to take advantage and it is off to a terrific start. But why, you might ask, would a library encourage gaming?

    Our goal is for students to become life long learners and library patrons. If they feel a sense of welcome and belonging in their school library this will translate to positive associations later in life. How many adults do you know who feel nervous walking into a library? The old "shhhh" and sterotypical disapproving librarian did not foster a positive image.

    And what about joy? What about fun? As the game runs on the first floor there are students still working, undisturbed, on the second and third floors. The computers are full with students working on papers, powerpoint presentations and Quizlet flashcards. But the vibe is loose. There is a light, holiday feel to the library.

    Thanks to Metrowest for providing the games and support in bringing this program to the students of CCHS. I'm going to try Mario Cart now.

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    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    My toolbar

    These are my daily tools, and this is how I work. Every single day my iGoogle page acts as my portal for work, play, and socializing. So, let's break it down. (You can click on the image for a clear enlargement.)

    The upper toolbar holds the bookmarks I use most often. Google Wave is still in beta, and I play here, seeing what it can do and how it might be used by students and teachers. Once it is opened for general use I can see it as an ideal collaborative space for group project work. My blogging tools are Blog This, Blogger Dashboard, Share on FaceBook and Flickr Creative Commons. I can grab interesting posts from my RSS feed and quickly add them to a post to blog about later, or even just to re-visit and think about and try. Of course, a picture tells a thousand words and Flickr Creative Commons is my one-stop shop for great images I can use with attribution.

    The next bar is for Diigo, a FREE social networking site designed for researchers. The Diigo toolbar allows me to grab a website or blog post, annotate it on the live web, attach digital sticky notes, archive it for later use, save it to lists, and if I want I can share it with my Diigo network. Every morning I get an email from my Diigo groups with articles that have been shared by other educators and researchers. The generosity of the Diigo community is a large source of information, most recently from a guy in the U.K. who has been sharing wonderful European primary source sites. I follow lists for school librarians, Web 2.0 Educators, History and English Teachers and a couple of others. Each morning (at the ridiculous hour of 5:30am)  I have my tea, listen to the weather, ignore the dogs, and go through my Diigo updates. Right then I will pull out valuable resources and post them to the library wiki. This allows us to keep enriching our  portal to be a true 24/7 support and resource for students.

    After Diigo comes the YoLink toolbar. Another FREE resource, this facilitates deep web searching in a very elegant, easy to use way. As a case study, if you look carefully you can see I accessed Google Scholar (academic sources - terrific resource!) to search "Brecht" and "anti-colonialism", used YoLink to help with the search, and annotated the site using Diigo. YoLink plays beautifully with other applications and also archives searches and sites for notation. If they would partner with NoodleTools life would be perfect in research land. (Why I was searching Brecht and anti-colonialism is another story that involves my college age daughter, a late hour call and a fast approaching deadline.)

    Finally you can see the tabs I had open at the time, which are generally always the tabs I have open. Google Docs holds my library documentation, primarily the forms we created to track library data and lesson plans. These forms keep our data organized and churn out beautiful little graphs that I can share on a moment's notice. At this point Google has so much information about me they could create a clone and nobody would ever notice. I got over that reality awhile ago.

    And Facebook. I check in quite a bit and use this for professional as as well as personal connections. Awhile ago a library colleague from central Massachusetts recommended a friend. I had never met this person but over Facebook we developed a lively friendship based on similar humor and a mutual (slightly manic) addiction to quizzes. This online friendship resulted in Anita (hi, Anita!) spending professional days observing in the CCHS Library and we will be attending the ALA Mid-Winter conference in Boston together.

    There is always something new to try, to play with, to learn. I am connected to smart people who care passionately about learning and generously share this wealth. Our students and staff are the beneficiaries.

    Now, about Brecht and anti-colonialism...

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    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Invisiblity - Thoughts from the Circulation Desk

    Some kids really believe they are invisible. They come into the library with their heads down trying to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Kids don't start out being invisible. It happens over time and for a variety of reasons. These are the names I learn first.

    We see hundreds of students every single day, and it can be easy to slip into complacency and let the crowd surge by, taking note of the kids who are good at making themselves known. They have the confidence to say hi, chat a bit, and the expectation that you will remember them.

    The quiet, invisible kids don't have that expectation. Earlier this year I said good morning to a new freshmen using her name. She stopped in her tracks, looked at me with big, widening eyes, and said "You know my name?"

    And you know what? That simple hello is like sunshine on a plant. I swear, they bloom. In the days and weeks that follow they say hi, chat, ask for your opinion, and they glow with the confidence of recognition. 

    This is one of the daily joys of working in the CCHS Library.

    Photo credit:
    Flickr Creative Commons

    Flower Starting To Bloom

    Uploaded on June 12, 2008
    by Zero Talent Photography

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    Monday, December 14, 2009

    ...and a child shall lead them

    Watch this middle school student manage her life and learning with confidence and pride. You can hear the enthusiasm in her voice. In 3 minutes and 20 seconds she gives us a breathtaking vision of what is possible, and how quickly the digital world has evolved.

    So, here is the challenge. How do we provide our CCHS students with the same educational opportunities? How do we provide the tools for students to acquire information, the critical thinking skills to evaluate and reflect on what they find, the tools to understand, make meaning and share their learning, and the organizational skills to manage it all, as shown by this middle school student? What she demonstrates is the result of careful planning and a systemic, consistent approach to learning. This is an incredibly exciting discussion for educators, and it is inspirational to see students mastering the skills we want for our own kids. It is time for us to begin pushing ourselves to move away from paper and shift toward the intellectual skills and digital tools to seek, find, organize and share.

    As adults, we have to jump in as well, and this terrific middle school student is leading the way for us. These are a few FREE Internet desktops designed to help organize the web to work for you. My personal favorite is iGoogle, but they all look pretty amazing.

    With Symbaloo, you can now create your own desktop on internet, including your favorite websites and sources. The advantage is that you can navigate easily to the most important websites, without remembering the links. 

    Pageflakes, the social personalized homepage, is revolutionizing how we how we start with and use the Internet. At, you can easily customize the Internet and make it yours using ‘”Flakes” – small, movable versions of all of your web favorites that you can arrange on your personal homepage. You can also participate in the Pageflakes community, sharing your page as a “Pagecast” with a private group or with the world, and connecting with other users across the globe. Over 235,000 Flakes and 140,000 Pagecasts are available for thousands of uses and interests, including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, news, sports, e-mail, local events, search, photos, music, videos – even interactive tools like a calendar and a to-do list – and just about anything else you do on the web at school, work and at home.

    Edu 2.0
    EDU 2.0 is a free, web-hosted learning management system that allows anyone to create an online school in minutes. It's easy to use, comprehensive, and can be accessed from any web browser.

    iGoogle lets you create a personalized homepage that contains a Google search box at the top, and your choice of any number of gadgets below. Gadgets come in lots of different forms and provide access to activities and information from all across the web, without ever having to leave your iGoogle page. Here are some things you can do with gadgets:
    • View your latest Gmail messages
    • Read headlines from Google News and other top news sources
    • Check out weather forecasts, stock quotes, and movie showtimes
    • Store bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
    • Design your own gadget.

    Listening to the enthusiasm of a middle school student share her learning and demonstrate her skills is certainly inspirational for me, and provides an exciting glimpse of what is possible in education. A very nice gift in this holiday season.

    Thanks to Buffy Hamilton and her Media 21 Project, Wendy Drexler, and Dr. David Loertscher for sharing and leading the way.

    Photo credit:
    Flickr Creative Commons
    Digital Collage: Child In Me
    Uploaded on February 19, 2006
    by Isabel Ginsberg

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    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Check your book shelves!

    School budgets are tight and the CCHS Library is reaching out to our community. Please consider donating a book you may already own. Check out our website for a full list of books we hope to obtain through donation.

    The CCHS Library doesn't want your money. We need your books! Please consider visiting our donation site and see if you have a good condition copy you would be willing to give to our library.

    CCHS Library Donations

    Thanks to CCHS parent Jim Philippou for his generous gift of time. Jim created the donation portal for us. Thanks, Jim!

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    Monday, November 30, 2009

    CCHS Library - Not your Average Library Experience

    CCHS Library Open House Invitation
    Thursday, December 3

    Please stop by to learn about the incredible Web 2.0 tools available to your student. Demonstrations of NoodleTools for research and note taking, wikis for discussion forums, and a Web 2.0 Smack Down of the many presentation tools that help students publish and connect with the world will be shared. Hands on sessions will give parents a chance to play with some of these terrific platforms.

    Formal presentations wil be offered every hour, on the hour starting at 2pm running until 8pm. That means you have 7 chances! Or just stop by for an informal chat to learn about how students are building skills to help them in college and the workplace.

    For a taste of what will be covered click the link for a quick Animoto video with some examples of the variety of resources found at the CCHS Library.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Visions for 21st Century Schools

    A fascinating presentation designed to promote new thinking around education and planning a school for the next 50 years. The CCHS Facilities Planning Committee and CCHS NEASC Committee attended, along with school administration. What follows are session notes.

    The discussion touched on the skills required for work today, new models of education and how the space supports these goals and models. It is easier to make the building flexible than it is to make the institution flexible.

    Frank Locker "We are educational planners, working across the USA and in England guiding the creation of innovative schools that improve teaching and empower students. We seek to prepare and position schools for the demands and opportunities of 21st Century learning."

    Initial Discussion

    Frank Locker met in OMR's office a few weeks ago to talk about education. Focused on weaving a story about changes in education and what we are trying to achieve in the 21st century. The presentation has slides that speak to education, and slides that are school examples - buildings that speak to educational practice and student outcomes. We are now grasping that we have to make learning visible.

    We want our buildings to support step-change over time on a thoughtful basis. Empower students and teachers to work in ways that help students learn best. Clear leadership from the top establishes the plan and subsequent work needed to shift the paradigm. We are on the cusp of increased ability to change our model of education.

    Delivering on the Promise outlines steps toward making an educational shift to project based learning. Variable is seat time, constant is what you learn. Logical progression from 80's > 90's, even if we have gone to far with NCLB standards. Basic re-thinking of education delivery.

    Current model is an institution of inertia and vested interests. This model does not accommodate the world today. Politics, information, economies, critical thinking skills more important than having "knowledge". New skills needs required for 21st century. Traditional testing indicators will say there is no problem, but 21st century indicators might highlight gaps.

    Thomas Friedman The New Untouchables - those workers who do corollary work in a changing work. You don't lay these people off. They handle sales, marketing and the skills to build growth, not manufacture widgets. A new paradigm for learning activities requiring active learning, making things through architecture/design/engineering programs. New kind of building. New concept of market and value. Ideas/innovation/design now priorities.


    Wayland discussed moving beyond the department model toward an inter-disciplinary approach. They launched the building plans along this model even though the faculty is resistant to change. Media Center core of building and "the place to find people". Everything migrating into the media center/"farmers market" of the school. Very different from traditional series of boxes - the usual lay out for high schools.

    Hanover - Concept to bring greater alignment/overlap with community. Public coming into the building as partners/tutors/service learning. Introduced Freshmen House system with a choice of learning themes for grades 10, 11, 12. Engineering, environment, humanities are examples of themes. This happens best in a facility that allows learning spaces that correlate to a theme to be near each other. The building becomes a platform to facilitate these communities. Features small learning communities with building wrapped around media center.

    Educational Values

    Mass Dept of Education - 21st Century Skills in Action (8th item on page, scroll down for pdf download)
    Example - Advanced French class - Arlington High School, MA Grade 11
    Students assigned to create a restaurant in Paris - design, menu - the whole project, all in French. Greater realms of thinking applied to a concrete project.
    Schools have to compete for attention of kids, and most schools tell them to leave web/communication devices at the door. How relevant is our learning?
    Our work is to shift delivery and content toward more things that make it interesting, engaging, personalized, tied into the student to have a constructivist learning experience.

    Meet student where he/she is, and grow learning from where that student is - very different from empty beaker approach of transferring content from teacher to child.

    Different power structure. Learning happens in a relationship manner. It is a social activity.
    We are all victims of our schedule, so this needs to be on the table.

    20th century = century of the teacher
    21st century = century of the learner

    Howard Gardener's Multiple Intelligences - 25th anniversary
    People tend to teach based on their own intelligences, and they are carrying on in this tradition. How do you reach kids who are high in other intelligences? Differentiated instruction is a way to address this reality. Project learning with a variety of approaches/products can get you there quickly. This is the buzz across the country.


    Clayton Christensen, Disrupting Class
    Looking at the business/field of education in light of what is coming at us - complete, major shift because of computers and the Internet. He predicts 50% of course content online in 10 years. What does it say about school and the role of teachers? Don't need the boxes or the "sage on the stage". Why come to school? There are still good reasons, but not the old fashioned/traditional reasons.
    • 2014 - 25% of HS courses will be online
    • 2019 - 50% of HS courses will be online
    Blended learning - partial Internet, partial face-to-face (this can be virtual) is more effective than teacher working with classroom in a traditional manner. We see blended learning at college level, but it is coming to high schools.

    Need to question time, classroom, teachers, forums - the whole shebang.

    • teacher is coach/facilitator with student worker
    • reorganize traditional dept structure to meet needs of more integrated curriculum
    • How many students can principal know by name? 300-600
    • How many teachers can collaboratively make a decision? 25 or so. How big is the conference table? Teaming, group decisions a stronger model than top down decision.
    • How many students can a teacher know well? Depends on educational model.
    New Classroom Concepts

    No longer self-contained spaces but rather spaces that work in concert with each other. Common spaces with break out areas/flex zones. Make passing areas useful/multi-tasking spaces.

    Grade level based Advisory: 9th Transition to HS, skills; 10th Graduation portfolio; 11th Life after HS; 12th Senior Portfolio. What would this mean for spatial relationships?

    Looking for a variety of spaces with lots of setting because one size does not fit all. No richness in uniformity. Need a tool box of diverse spaces.

    Shift space as well as the nature and organization of school.

    Examples of Schools / Flexible Platforms

    Glacier HS, Kalispell, MT
    Visioning moved away from dept organization. 9th grade transition academy with areas of defined career clusters: business, wellness, arts
    Incorporates houses and small learning communities clustered around critical spaces. Empowering teachers to talk to each other and break chain of isolated classroom - foster common planning.

    Lakeview HS, Battle Creek MI
    School built around library, designed to make connections. A common zone for interdisciplinary connections. Library is food court in 2 story mall with 2 walkways around it - no walls. When bell rings kids flow. Small learning communities, computer hot spots, teacher planning center in courtyard, transparent. School circulates around teacher planning spaces - antithesis of department model. School as access.
    Note: Librarian fought this design tooth-and-nail. Later she embraced the design. Check out the photo - beautiful!

    Fredrika Bremer Upper Secondary School
    Haninge, Sweden
    Moved from dept to relationship school: natural sciences; social sciences; arts, health care, media.

    HUMEX Oxford Hills Comprehensive HS
    South Paris, ME
    Relationships: Teacher Planning Centers
    Teachers have complete command of whole day alternating with every other day schedule for project work. Students move through space based on their academic needs. Master teachers co-teach with new teachers. All work matched to Maine learning outcomes.
    Course running from Sept - June for inter-disciplinary, sequential set of projects. Ex: "How should humans interact with the natural world and each other?" Opportunity to create a civilization opened standards-based learning on all fronts. This model was extremely effective using measures of motivation, creativity, relevance, fun. Students learned about themselves, made connections with teacher, learned more from fellow students, more responsible - social/emotional skills all successful.

    Erie HS
    Erie, KS
    250 students, won the moon buggy contest 2 years in a row. While they were building a new school rented out old the Woolworth's and called it the Project Center. Personalized, project-based learning. School is central and visible to local community.
    Library morphs into other areas, and students have their own work stations.

    Thomas Jefferson for Science and Technology HS
    Arlington, VA
    #1 US News & Wold Report for 2 years in a row
    Last period of every day is unassigned, a break from schedule for independent work and/or connecting with teachers. This time is considered time-on-learning.

    Canby HS - Created an Applied Learning Center
    Canby, OR
    Program has service learning and integrated multiple discipline learning. Ex. service project to develop new seed strands for local farmers. 21st century skills of testing ability to work with others, speak and present to others.
    Instructional Areas: bio-ag; engineering; communications; board room
    Teacher offices inter-disciplinary, non-departmental.

    Hull Academies Future Learning Center
    Hull, England
    Addresses changing model - mostly accommodating teachers reluctant for change. Heavy tech integration, flexible space, portable flexible walls and furniture, project rooms, student workstations.

    Australian Science & Mathematics School
    Adelaide, AU
    3 years, ungraded project based learning, year 12 didactic teaching for state tests. Open flex zones interspersed with closed spaces: teacher prep center, conference, room, video project room, tutorial spaces, presentation pace, learning commons. Everything on wheels. Intentional creation of varied spaces.

    New Line Academy Oldborough Learning Plaza
    Kent, England
    Furniture designed for group discussions. Propeller table - relationship building through furniture design.

    High Tech High
    San Diego, CA
    Great outcomes with challenging demographic. Old warehouse building. Lots of student work stations. Learning is visible, glass walls, student projects very diverse.
    Digital Arts Alliance (Mobile Learning Institute)

    John Grey HS
    Cayman Islands
    Teacher teams meet student where space is most appropriate. DaVinci Studio dedicated to convergence of art and science.

    Minnesota New Country School
    Henderson, MN
    Personalized, project-based learning. Above average test scores with 40% SpEd population. Standards based grade 8-11, not grouped by grade level. Work project based and student initiated. 21st century model of education. Teacher as guide/facilitator.

    Photo Credit:
    Flickr Creative Commons

    ツ Some look at these pencils and see colors... I look at them and see possibilities

    Uploaded on March 25, 2009
    by ahannink

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    Monday, November 9, 2009

    5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds

    5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds in the History of Religion. The March of Democracy, WWII, Iraq, Terrorism - these are examples of the other very effective interactive maps that capture the sweep of history in an incredibly dynamic way. Thanks to Maps of War atlases will never be the same.

    Try 4,000 years of democracy in 90 seconds. "Where has democracy dominated and where has it retreated? This map gives us a visual ballet of democracy's march across history as the most popular form of government. From the first ancient republics to the rise of self-governing nations, see the history of democracy: 4,000 years in 90 seconds...!"

    So cool!

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    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    What Google Knows About You

    Want to see what Google knows about you? This video (2 minutes 38 seconds) will show you how to check what sort of information is being archived, and the privacy controls you can use.

    This isn't totally comprehensive and is certainly not representative of your whole digital footprint, but it gives interesting insight into how information as gathered and tracked. This is a great starting point to discuss privacy and online activity with students. It clearly illustrates that no action goes unarchived on the Web.

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    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Not Just Another Brick in the Wall: Engaging 21st Century Learning Through Participatory School Librarianship

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    The Machine is Us/ing Us

    In 5 minutes of dance we have an interpretation of the chaos, frustration, anger, alienation, excitement, joy and exhilaration of life in Web 2.0.

    Michael Wesch, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University created the original video.

    And the original...

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    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Footprints in the Digital Realm: A journey of becoming a 21st century teacher

    MassCue Session 7 – 2:00 – 2:50
    Footprints in the Digital Realm: A journey of becoming a 21st century teacher
    Fred Haas, English Teacher, Hopkinton HS

    akh003@Twitter & Slideshare

    21st Century Skills? Tech is ubiquitous, and this is te change. Kids have more time to spend on learning apps.
    Catching up or Leading the Way - This remarkable book will forever change the debate about what's wrong and what's right with American education and where it should be going. Based on his own experience as a student in China and as a parent of children attending school in the United States, Zhao skewers conventional wisdom while setting straight the recent history and current state of US schools.

    3Cs - communication, collaboration, cultural understanding - always the business of education, but today these are premium skills for global success.
    Flattened social hierarchy - people more accessible.
    The smartest person in the room is the room.
    Complex does not have to be complicated. Goal is complex thinking, complex application of skills.

    Expand notion of what you call a text. Graphic images - need skills to decode multiple visual formats: spreadsheets, image, data sources, graphic sources etc.

    Convergence is already here delivering multiple formats > evolution

    Live> print > analog > digital > media evolution
    Core literacy > expanded literacy
    text is anything that is "readable" - from which you can extract information

    Good resources:
    Confronting the challenges of participatory culture, Henry Jenkins. Seminal work on 21st century skills.

    College Board AP Central - English & History

    Moving at the Speed of Creativity
    , Wes Fryer.

    Empowering Students Through Multimedia, Marco Torres.

    It's not about technology as much as it is about how technology impacts the way we think.

    Personal Learning Environment - bigger than a community, a range of skills, knowledge and people. Have to take the time to play with these new tools. Application of these tools is a creative enterprise. You control the speed - go slow, go fast, just GO!

    Big Tools:
    • RSS feed - required (really simple syndication) (1999)
    • Pageflakes
    • podcast - iTunes, Odeo, Podomatic (2000)
    • Ning - Classrom 2.0, James Burke - English Companion, MIT - Project New Media Literacies, Connie Weber - Fireside Learning (small, intimate) (2004)
    • YouTube (2005)
    • Twitter (2006)
    Tools: YouTube - good stuff, keeps getting better all the time.
    Tools: Twitter
    You can follow an event from a distance and get great information.
    • real-time short messaging
    • following - establishes network and value of network
    • being followed
    • 3rd party extensions
    Everything is changing so fast, it is all new, we are all novices.

    Age of Meta Data

    FlatClassroom Project
    Classrooms from around the world participating.
    2 big componenet:
    kids develop collaborative wiki space - inspired by Friedman and Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind - collectively collect and edit about these topics.
    Kids make video related to their topic, POV


    "The thing about working on the bleeding edge is sometimes you bleed." - V. Davis

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    Organize, Analyze, Synthesize & Respond: Using Diigo & Voicethread to Support Online Reading Comprehension

    MassCue Session 6 – 11:15 – 12:10
    Organize, Analyze, Synthesize & Respond: Using Diigo & Voicethread to Support Online Reading Comprehension
    Donald J. Leu, Prof and Director, New Literacies Research Lab, U of Conn
    Lisa Zawilinski, Heidi Everett-Cacopardo, U of Conn and the New Literacies Research Lab

    New Literacies of the 21st Century - portal for New Literacies Research Lab

    Diigo - Digest of Internet Information Groups and Other Stuff
    Helps organize Internet activity. Use FIREFOX for browser.

    Premium educator accounts - create student/class groups, helps management, assessment, insight into their information process and skill level.

    Collaborative and powerful - extract annotations make it very powerful for evaluating critical thinking
    • *Online Notebooks - access to groups Diigo account
    • *Online Notebook - has link to apply for Diigo educator account (upgrade)
    VoiceThread - tool for commenting
    (New Literacies - VoiceThread webpage)
    VoiceThread for Education - New Lit - VoiceThread wiki for educators, good resources
    VoiceThread Digital Library - great for examples of educational VoiceThreads!

    Educator VoiceThread - manuals - very helpful. You can have multiple identities. Free educator accounts!

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    Classroom Twittering

    MassCue Session 5 – 10:00 – 10:55
    Classroom Twittering
    Michael Purdy, Director of Technology, Hanover Public Schools
    (also good resource to discuss Google Apps for Schools)

    Twitter creator on Iran: "I never intended for Twitter to be useful." Jack Dorsey - The Onion (6.24.09)

    25-40 year olds are most active on Twitter.

    Twitter is micro-blogging (140 characters).

    Lifeblogging: Is a virtual brain good for the real one?

    Proof! Mobile microbloggers are boring...

    Lifebloggers track their every move, every word, every document with computers to create a personalized and machine-readable memory archive. Skeptics argue that no one wants to remember this much.

    Why tweet?
    • instantaneous
    • direct
    • feels personal
    • searchable
    • available and flexible
    Terminology / How-to:
    • delete your account (it is a consumable product, can delete easily)
    • direct message (D)
    • @message
    • Retweet (RT)
    • Hashtag (#)
    • URL shorteners
    Block unwanted followers - porn trawlers will follow you.

    • email addresses: get a gmail acccount and use "aliases" to have more than one account to mail to
    • student email - huge issue in Web 2.0 world
    Hanover PS uses Twitter for:
    • job postings
    • each school has an account for easy notification of parents who follow the school
    (note to self: set up Twitter acct for library)

    Teacher as Professional Learner
    • self-reflection on teaching process
    • member of prof learning community
    General Education
    • student poses question regarding class
    • students consult one another about homework or other issues (student experts)
    • create a review space for quizzes, tests that can accumulate as students head towards midterms or finals
    Precis Writing
    Condense "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson into 140 characters - good use of Twitter. Teaches incisive writing and thinking, main idea, key points, sentence combining.

    Grammar / Vocabulary
    • have students punctuate a paragraph that has punctuation removed
    • have students write a sentence that properly illustrates the meaning of a vocabulary words
    • students microblog as characters from within a literary work; they must reveal the motivation of character as it relates to plot
    • students create online lexicon of literary terms covered in class with examples from the reading
    • Twitter book club
    • rewrite a play capturing its essence
    • follow tweets of historical occurrences
    • journalism classes can report on school-based news events as they happen
    • journalism report events outside school
    • debate assigned topics within twitter forum
    Social Studies
    • explain main point of great speeches
    • create a study site of these speeches with interpretation
    • students microblog in real time from an historical event ex the Kennedy assassination or Gettysburg, or Normandy
    • report science experiments
    • first student to solve problem
    • students challenge each other
    • daily math fluency
    Foreign Language
    • discussions in foreign language
    • teach phrases
    • outreach to ELL
    Film/TV Study
    • Students watch films/programs looking for specific instances of ex irony, symblism etc. they can tweet as the recognize occurences inwhat they watch
    • tweet during sports event - reporting
    • pictures can be included in tweets
    • create a sports network within school
    Lots of ideas!

    Photo Credit:
    "Meet Mr. Twitters"
    Roz Chast
    The New Yorker, 8.31.09
    The CartoonBank

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    The Changing Face of Literacy and Learning in 1-1 Laptop Csasrooms: The New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension

    MassCue Session 5 -

    Keynote: The Changing Face of Literacy and Learning in 1-1 Laptop Classrooms: The New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension
    Donald J. Leu, Prof and Director, New Literacies Research Lab, U of Conn
    J. Gregory McVerry, W. Ian O’Byrne, Lisa Zawilinski, U of Conn and the New Literacies Research Lab

    Internet is a reading comprehension and learning issue – not a technology issue.
    Internet is this generations defining technology for reading and learning and requires new literacies. Where are the standards?

    1 out of 4 people, nearly 25% of world’s population has internet connectivity. Projection is that in 10 years every erson will be covered.

    Internet World Stats - Internet World Stats is an International website that features up to date world Internet Usage, Population Statistics and Internet Market Research Data, for over 233 individual countries and world regions.

    We are small potatoes compared to saturation in other areas of the world. This is a global phenomenon.
    2005 was the tipping point year when students spent more time reading online than in books. Updated data not yet available.
    • Ireland re-tooled their education system 10 years ago and now have a highly trained workforce, are the number 1 global creator of software, and are importing workers. A boom economy in Ireland right now.
    • Mexico has a national plan for integrating the Internet into every home and school. 15 year systematic plan. e-Mexico details the plan.
    • Japan provides Internet connections for all households 16x faster, at $22/month to support Internet integration at national level.
    • How many states in the US measure student ability to read search engine results on state reading assessments? 0. Our students use a click strategy.
    • 0 states allow students to perform assessments using a word processor, despite the data that shows that students would preform better if they were allowed to use a word processor. Boston College did this research.
    • 0 states assess online reading comprehension in state assessments. This is an important reading task. (Extend info literacy skills to source evaluation.)
    LMS are central to schools as we shift from page to screen. These will be school leaders and these positions should be protected.

    Internet is defining technology for this generation, and other nations are adapting policy and education systems. They see it, and the US does not. NCLB assessments do not include new literacies.

    Achievement Gap - our policies are increasing these gaps. Poor students have less access, and come to poor school districts. These schools are under pressure to improve NCLB reading scores without access to technology. Pressure to get students ready to pass an irrelevant test. The poor are left further and further behind in developing Internet reading comprehension skills. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer.

    The Internet requires new literacies - focus on online reading comprehension. 10% lowest performing readers are actually quite good at reading on the Internet. They are more functionaly in online environments - text units are very short. When they get to info the text expands but they have skills in plave (controlF) to manage their content. They get to choose what they read based on links they follow - and this builds engagement.
    Also very good at reading pictures - strong visual skills and they can exploit this extra info to build their comprehension.

    Their data shows no corelation between assessed reading skills and online reading skills. New literacies are Internet skills.
    • reading to define problem
    • reading to locate information
    • reading to evaluate information
    • reading to synthesize information
    • reading and writing to communicate information
    Kids are great at certain technologies, but not good with information skills. Use semantic skills and ".com" strategy. They don't incorporate search engines in their inquiry process.

    Model for teaching online reading comprehension in 1:1 latptop classrooms
    Predict within 10 years we will have total shift to 1:1 environment - Maine already made this shift. May need to be a decsiion at state or federal level.
    Everything changes in content when you make this shift.

    (Apple Remote desktop for in class space so thumbnail allows oversite of student activity)

    Phase I - Teacher-led Basic Skills
    (nuts and bolts - 2 weeks)
    • teacher-led deomontsrations of basic Internet use skills and cooperative learning strategies
    • explicit modeling by teacher
    • largely whole class instruction
    • mini-lessons as transition to Phase II.
    Phase II - Collabortaive modeling of online reading strategies
    (reading skills of evaluating sources)
    • students presented with information problem to solve
    • work in small groups to solve problem
    • exchange strategies as they do so
    • debrief at end of lesson
    • initally: location and critical evaluation
    • later: synthesis and communication
    Phase III of IRT (Internet Reciprocal Teaching)
    • inquiry - initially within class
    • then with others around the world (ePals - good child-safe digital environment)
    "Help the last become first." - Make them the leaders, privilege them in powerful ways.
    Include email in your curriculum. It is the primary method of communication in the business world.

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    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Emerging Technologies Every Administrator Should Know in the Next 5 Years

    MassCue Session 4
    Emerging Technologies Every Administrator Should Know in the Next 5 Years
    Joseph Mastrocola, Assistant Superintendent, Peabody PS

    ppt download:

    Important Links:
    • Horizon Report - good data on emerging technologies
    • Fool's Gold - Alliance for Childhood - critical about computers and tech for children

    Educational tech has been most effective in assistive technology. Ed tech has made a difference in developing 21st century skills for students.

    Skills important in hiring a high school graduate:
    • Work ethic 80%
    • Collaboration 75%
    • Good communication 70%
    • Social responsibility 63%
    • Critical thinking 58%

    What skills will be important for HS grads in 5 years?
    • Critical thinking 78%
    • Health and wellness 76%
    • I.T. 77%
    • Collaboration 74%

    • Innovation 74%
    • Personal financial responsibility 72%

    5 Emerging Technologies

    1. Cloud computing – create and store content on web. Free up resources that used to be spent archiving. Web is infrastructure.

    Applications: gmail, googlewave (interdisciplinary Google)
    Creating & Presenting: Prezi, Vuvox, Slideshare
    New Apps: splashup, jaycut

    2. Increased mobile devices
    Note: need to update policies, procedures and protocols

    School district doing this well highlighted:
    “The Digital Generation” – empowering students to be thinkers.

    Digi Teen – study digital citizenship
    Flat Classroom Project – empowering students to connect globally

    3. Assistive Technology – continues to be one of the brightest stars of technology integration.

    Hospital and clinic partnerships coming to 9-12 high schools.
    Neuroscience and artificial intelligence – big academic growth area that are tech rich and will help special needs students.

    4. Using technology to be entrepreneurial
    School is a one-person circus – administrators have to do everything.
    • Storefronts for raising big amounts of money to generate income to support work in classrooms.
    • Ads – “this mid-term sponsored by Walmart” – this is HAPPENING! Field Day sponsored by companies
    • Ebay for educational materials – trade ed supplies for school districts
    • Selling on professional development materials – create it for you district and sell it on.

    5. Personal web
    • Personal coaching for kids – virtual counselor
    • Developing and organizing online content
    • 8,8,8 initiative – virtual contact outside school
    • Virtual backpack (in addition to print material)
    • Tools for tagging, aggregating, updating and tracking – aka formative assessment. (He mentioned the ALA and school libraries here – go us!)

    Translation to the classroom
    • Smart boards
    • Internet drive research and web apps
    • Web based admin activities
    • Wireless networks
    • Heavy graphics and convergence

    Other technologies to watch
    • Semantic-aware applications, tools designed for making meaning
    • Smart Objects – link virtual to real world. Link it to student management systems.
    • Data mash-ups – new ways of looking at information
    • Web 2.0 to 3.0
    • Desktop videoconferencing – Skype, Oovoo
    • Instant messaging – Meebo
    • Microblogging platforms – Twitter, Plurk
    • Virtual workplaces
    • LMS – Moodle
    • Social networking – Nings, Pageflakes
    • 3D Virtual Worlds – ActiveWorlds, Second Life, HiFives

    Key Trends:
    Technology isn’t going away, so teach skills that will help students, empower them, teach innovation, creativity, critical thinking, citizenship.

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    School Libraries: Learning4Life

    MassCue Session 3 – 2:00 – 2:50
    School Libraries: Learning4Life
    Katherine Lowe, Exec. Director, MSLA

    Session 3 School Libraries: Learning4Life
    (materials in zipped file for easy download)

    Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action

    MSLA Information Literacy Standards (pdf download)

    Conference handouts:

    Learning 4Life (L4L) – comes from AASL standards

    SHIFT – old ways to find/manage info to new ways/formats/locations. NEW skills – info no longer in central phycical space.
    • OLD - how to find stuff in rigid, fixed way, taught in isolation
    • NEW – diverse formats and locations for information, literacy skills, flexible access to info as well as educational support and instruction. Attitudes, responsibilities of the learner in 21st century. All taught collaboratively, at the point of need.

    Common Beliefs:
    • Reading is a window to the world.
    • Inquiry provides a framework for learning.
    • Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.
    • Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.
    • Equitable access is a key component for education.
    • The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.
    • The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.
    • Learning has a social context.
    • School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.

    The Standards: a 4x4 Approach

    SKILLS surrounded by learner attributes:

    4 Standards:
    • Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge
    • Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
    • Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
    • Pursue personal and aesthetic growth
    Each standard has 4 strands:
    • Skills
    • Dispositions in actions
    • Responsibilities
    • Self-assessment strategies

    Dispositions in Action (most controversial) – ongoing beliefs ad attitudes that guide thinking and intellectual behavior that can be measured through actions taken: Habits of mind, attitudes, learning behaviors - all these need to be taught.

    Common behaviors used by independent learners used by independent learners in research etc.
    Reflection – time is short, this often gets short changed.

    How do we begin?
    Sample lessons

    Book: Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action
    Available from ALA Online Bookstore
    Example lessons for every grade with standards integrated with content area curriculum. Collaboration key.

    Report: MSLA Information Literacy Standards

    Start with lessons you already do and match to standards. Review opportunities to incorporate indicators for disposition, responsibilities and/or self-assessment strategies.

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    Planting Seeds: How to Create Sustainable Technology Professional Development

    MassCue Session 2 – 11:15 – 12:10
    III. Planting Seeds: How to Create Sustainable Technology Professional Development
    John Doherty, Asst. Superintendent, Reading PS

    (PD= Professional Development)

    Students and teachers are the same – now more stuff is free.

    Why the change? Quick pace of technology change. Teachers are freaking out. Reading is in a time of transformational change right now.
    Global changes in world or work, information, increased impact of media.
    MEDIA CENTERS HAVE CHANGED and are hearts of technology and training for LMS – kids go to libraries first to look for something.

    Voluntary 6 credit class:
    Expanding the Boundaries of Teaching and Learning
    Teachers who take this get tech infusion and laptop. Started the “buzz” in Reading. Initiated culture change because people are developing new language, staff are reading the same books.

    Lots of blogging for staff and students to share thoughts. Info in new books being disseiminated and talked about.

    Partnership for 21st century skills – keeps learning standards as always but incorporates new unique skills.
    Wagner’s 7 Survival Skills – what works best for kids?
    Keep PD central when considering learning needs of students.

    What is at stake?
    • Future of our economy
    • Strength of our democracy
    • Health of planets ecosystem
    • Is it sustainable?

    Kaplan University / Talent - good inspirational video advocating for educational change

    How do we reach these new learners?
    Transformational Leadership
    (need energy, accept risks, don’t stop student learning)
    • Realize the vision at all costs
    • Organization is a moral system
    • Reflects core values
    • Leaders must walk the walk
    • Action consistent with vision
    • Risk taking encouraged and welcomed
    • Symbolic communication important
    • Leaders actions are beyond normal and outside the rules of self interest
    • Look at educational change systemically
    • Lot of work to organize path forward

    Setting directions
    • Vision
    • Goals
    • Practices
    • Expectations

    Developing people
    • Intellectual stimulation
    • Individualize support
    • Modeling professional practices
    • Values

    Redesigning Organization
    • Developing collaborative culture
    • Creating structures to foster participation in school decisions
    • Creating productive community relationships
    • Get the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus
    o The wrong people are the ones you need to actively watch

    Reading is under-staffed, like everyone else. Moving forward the best way possible, keeping positive, and support as much as possible.
    Collaborative culture is helping save time and moving training forward.

    Maintenance costs very high so keep reserves to keep tools available for teachers.
    Reading has 5 year plan of growth and success to validate their plan.

    The key is changing the culture – it won’t happen overnight. Talk about technology all the time. Keep up the mantra. Talk about positives to highlight and keep from getting bogged down in the problems, important to culture.

    1. Work with community to develop/change mission and vision – these may/will change.
    • i. Develop the process, working with stakeholders – ongoing evaluation and course correction.
    2. Develop and maintain infrastructure – budgets make this tough. Might have to choose spending on network above other instructional tools (ex textbooks) but the network gave more bang for the buck.
    3. Identify tech gurus in district and develop a plan. Make your plan a working document. Don’t print it and put it on the shelf. Use Google doc.
    4. Identify resources to upgrade and maintain.
    • Outreach to parents/community highlighting student work.
    5. Put tech tools in hands of right people (Concord already did this for everybody)
    6. Provide access outside of school time
    • Community/Parents – classes for community
    • Teachers
    • Students
    7. District leaders model use of technology – the whole shebang. Use it anticipating that it will always be changing. Need to learn new apps all the time, teach the skills/conventions that are portable.
    • Use tech in admin meetings
    • Start discussion of 1:1 computing in school
    • See how other districts are using technology
    8. Get Administration on board – Already on board in Concord!
    • Run admin only trainings
    • Run admin book group
    • Visit districts that use tech effectively
    What should learning look like?
    Change the classroom – Alan November – build teams

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    MassCue Session 1 – 10:00-10:55
    Lee McCanne, Director of IT and School Libraries, Weston

    The cloud follows and supports students and teachers.

    Google docs link - presentation ppt

    Google Enterprise Account – protected, free
    Lots of ways to go – picked one and went for it.

    • Anytime anywhere access 24/7 – Google, free.
    • Collaboration tools for students – multiple users
    • Moodle – a place where teachers can build, manage, pace curriculum. Free. Provides academic sequencing of content. 24/7 access.
    • Differentiates instruction – a course site allows richer content for those ready and more support structures for those who need it.
    • Can re-brand Googledocs and Moodle.

    Weston Teacher Web – professional learning Moodle for staff. Intranet for Weston. Can’t be published to the world, secure online environment for staff and student collaborations.

    Google Apps – docs, spreadsheet, forms, presentation, calendars (iCal compliant, layer multiple calendars)and file storage (10gig video storage). Weston has not picked up Gmail. Goal was 24/7 access and collaboration. Run it as a secure intranet.

    Google apps in Weston Schools grades 4-12 and all staff.
    • Hired SADA Systems (California)– auto account sync process with their Active Directory and Single Sign-On (SSO).
    o This uses LDAP for authentication.
    o Accounts synched every night, reduces management. Not free.
    o Authentication bounces to Weston server – need stable Internet connection to maintain authentication access.
    o Single sign-on keeps things simple for staff and students.
    o $15,000 set up / $3,000 per year to maintain. Don’t need backup, virus, management costs for all these accounts.
    o Don’t need Microsoft Office licenses.
    o Big cost savings off set initial costs.

    Review of Google docs to see what platform looks like. Organized, searchable – Weston is very pleased with the interface.
    • Can’t upload specialized file types (ex. Inspiration)
    • Sharing capabilities is the important thing and where real power of app lies
    • Limited by lack of email – can’t form groups. But if you need to give wider access you can publish the doc and send the link, but is available to the world. “Share” is not crawled by Google. Can set edit/collaboration levels. Safe and secure collaborative process inside and outside organization.

    Sites – can create websites for organization. View of Weston HS site.
    • Sites is a global function. Any student can create their own website. It is an intranet so it is not visible to the world. There is an invitation function so there is some control. Sites can be a closed community or open, depending on who is invited or sent “share”.
    o Can invite parents to class site as a way to share student work and give access. Site is for classroom community, and not the world. Allays privacy fears.
    o Can allocate site ownership to share management access/responsibility.
    o Super easy to create a site.
    o Students can create sites – so what? Get out of their way and let them. Potential problems are learning opportunities. Good citizenship lessons.
    o Bandwidth – must build infrastructure to support this. Only an issue in school, not when kids are at home.

    Student Landing Page
    Template with embeddable Google docs and widgets. No instance on kids playing with widgets. Personalized homepage.
    Look and feel of site can be developed using templates and personalized. All fonts/banners/etc posted and available for use as people develop their own landing page.

    Site management > done through mail tab > manage this domain. As director of tech some concern over level of control, but good ability to control/ turn things on and off.

    Domain mapping to create logical scheme and develop brand.

    Publishing – can’t publish websites to world, but can invite via share.

    Pros – free, easy to use, easy to manage, nearly unlimited storage (number of files), size limit on file size, can run intranet with it, collaboration tools powerful.
    • Students can create own internal website
    • Can synch for students who do not have home access

    Cons – 3rd party management tools some cost, applications not as rich or have fancy bells and whistles – do we really needs these?
    • Students can create own internal website

    Moodle – made for education
    • Free, aside from cost of server.
    • Tied to Active Directory same as Google docs.
    • Zero account management

    Create video tutorials for basic access info.
    Google also has support materials to facilitate people getting online. Lots of nice basic support structures to help roll out an implementation.
    Weston used Woopid to create their video tutorials.

    Weston has netbook carts running windows, but goal is to move towards the cloud for apps. Some licensing costs, but moving there.

    Concord should do this.

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    MassCue Keynote: Tony Wagner

    Raw notes:

    MassCue: Tackling 21st Century Learning
    The 2009 Technology Conference

    Wednesday, October 28
    Keynote: The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner
    Co-Director Change Leadership Group, Harvard Grad School of Education

    Reformulate the educational challenges that underlie 21st century learning – reframe the problem. All students need new skills for successful work, continuous learning, active and informed citizenship – these are all the same skills and we don’t know how to teach them or test them.
    This generation is differently motivated to learn and work.
    This is not about educational reform (punative language that blames educators). Problem is our system of public education is obsolete – it needs reinvention, re-imagination.
    Thomas Friedman – The New Untouchables
    – any job that can be turned into a routine will be automated or off-shored. What skills will kids need in this new economy/world? Wagner did a new type of research – interviewed leaders and developed new competencies needed for work and citizenship.

    Seven Survival Skills:
    1. Critical thinking and problem solving – ability to ask the right questions. School isn’t about questions, it is about the right answers.
    2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence – teams no longer led from top down, but led by those who ask good questions and lead collaboration.
    3. Agility and adaptability.
    4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism – stretch goals
    5. Effective oral and written communication – single biggest criticism of education. Kids can’t write because they can’t think, and they don’t write with voice.
    6. Accessing and analyzing information.
    7. Curiosity and imagination – in a commoditized world “plain” won’t do it anymore, need creativity, imagination and elegance. Right brain skills now as important as left brain skills in new world.

    Our economy is based on spending money people do not have for things they do not need, harming the environment in the process. What if spending doesn’t come back? What will create jobs? Innovation. (Next book on innovation.) How do you mentor innovation?

    Helping educators become change leaders. Do kids become less curious as they pass through their K-12 education?

    U.S. curriculum is now one of test prep. This is accountability on the cheap. These tests do not assess the skills that matter most. AP tests are too content driven. We can succeed on these tests and fail our kids – they don’t tell if our students are college ready, work ready, citizenship ready, or if they can think. Research papers, oral presentations, projects – time needs to be spent on this type of work to build necessary skills.

    How do we stack up? Not well compared to the rest of the world. We haven’t necessarily gotten worse, other countries have gotten better and our college completion rate has gone down.

    What motivates the “net” generation”? Need to engage them in their learning.
    • 24/7 access, instant gratification
    • Social networking, self-expression (play) in multiple formats.
    • Always connected, multitasking, creating, multimedia everywhere except school.
    • Less fear and respect for authority, yet hungry from mentoring and coaching – want authentic relationship with adults.
    • Want to make a difference and do interesting and worthwhile work.

    How are schools responding to these challenges? New pedagogy. Harvard has brand new requirements for students starting this year. A new kind of college experience.

    Education 2.0 to Education 3.0
    • Timeless Learning – academic content
    • Rigor
    • Learn by disciple
    • Work alone or in competition
    • Rewards system
    • Isolated content

    • Just-in-Time Learning (based on dynamic problem solving to create new knowledge that is disseminated through network)
    • Rigor is about asking questions
    • Works across discipline
    • Intrinsic rewards
    • Teachers are coaches first, content experts second
    • Diverse assessment system (digital portfolios, exhibitions, mastery)

    3 Cornerstones of School Re-Invention
    1. Hold ourselves accountable for data that matters most – what is real graduation rate? Are kids graduating college, career, citizenship ready? – National Student Clearing House (
    has data to track student success after kids leave. Good way to assess HS success – only about $400/year.
    2. Doing the new work – teaching and testing skills that matter most
    3. Doing the new work in new ways – end teacher isolation. Teachers need to work in collaborative teams, video take supervision and teaching, make work transparent. Students need powerful adult advocate.

    • Gather baseline data
    • Consider strategic planning process to identify critical outcomes for all students
    • Create voluntary teams of teachers to develop and video lessons for critical thinking/ communication skills,
    • Pilot digital portfolios to exhibit mastery
    • Develop administrator skills for helpful feedback/supervision
    ppt and articles, web links

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    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Beyond Google - 15 Tips to Improve Searches

    I pick up RSS feeds from educational sources, other bloggers and from personal recommendations. June Patton, CCHS Mathematics teacher and tech guru recommended Free Technology for Teachers and it has been an incredibly fruitful addition to my feed. I love my RSS feed. It is my source of information on new trends, education, social media, and challenges me to question and inquire on a daily basis.

    This embed Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results is a valuable tutorial for students as well as anyone looking for information in the Age of Information Abundance. A perfect example of the information that streams to me via my feed.

    Beyond Google - 15 Tools and Strategies for Improving Your Web Search Results -

    Educational bloggers are wonderful people. My online life is a place of incredible generosity, sharing, serendipity, accompanied by a corresponding demand for excellence. Yup, love my feed!


    Photo Credit:
    Flickr Creative Commons: January 10, 2009
    by Tiger Pixel

    New Google Favicon High Resolution

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    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Free books! Give it a click.

    It has never been so easy to read. Carbon based or digital based, stationary or mobile, books are everywhere. Thanks to e-books a cell phone can access millions of books - for free.

    Developing the CCHS Library Learning Commons web portal has been a big project this year. One aspect of this work has been focusing on diversifying the formats available to students. Today I created a Google Custom Search widget for eBooks and added the link to the catalog page. This widget searches 8 free e-archives for titles in every branch of study, all downloadable with a click. (See widget below. Go on, test it out! )

    The thing I really like about this is that if a title is not in the public domain the search also returns commercial sources (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.) You exit the search with a book or the ability to purchase access.

    What does this mean for libraries? The ease and portability of e-books means they are here to stay. The new Nook looks very exciting and early reviews are positive. Over the next few months there will be an explosion of new devices and the technology is leaping ahead almost daily. In the not-too-distant future libraries will be checking out e-books and e-readers as often as they check out print material. And don't worry, print books aren't going anywhere. It is the addition of so many alternatives that is exciting.

    What does this look like here at CCHS? We already have a substantial collection of e-books. Take a look at our catalog and do an author search for Shakespeare. Of the 95 titles, almost half are either e-books or audio MP3 formats. So many different ways to access the works of Shakespeare! The manga versions are a lot of fun and provide a terrific introduction for students. What a fantastic time to be a reader!

    Explore our catalog and see what an e-book looks like. Try the Google Custom Search widget and download a classic text to your desktop.

    Custom Search

    Google Custom Search - Free eBooks!

    Photo Credit:
    Flickr Creative Commons "Mis ebooks, o "sólo falta el Sony Reader"
    Uploaded on September 17, 2008
    by kandinski

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    Friday, October 2, 2009

    School Library Journal Leadership Summit 09

    Processing the School Library Journal Leadership Summit is going to take some time. I have so many notes, links, new products, tools and ideas zooming around my head it is hard to know where to start.

    A highlight for me was the opening keynote given by Bernie Trilling, the Global Director for the Oracle Education Foundation, and Board Member Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This is a very smart guy who participates in the educational discussion at a global level. He is also a very generous guy who gave every conference participant a copy of his new book (co-authored with Charles Fadel) 21st Century Skills: Learning for life in our times.

    Bernie spoke about the power of books, and the role of reading and technology to change lives and the course of education. However, the key 21st Century Skill? Learning. Teaching students that every single day learning will be their central goal. This is a good time to be educators.

    Bernie asked the summit to join him in this 21st Century Learning Promise:

    I promise to do all I can
    To keep the spark of curiosity, creativity and learning
    Alive in every child
    To help all children
    Discover their talents
    Develop their passions
    Deepen their understanding
    And apply all this to helping others
    And to creating a better world
    For us all.

    The other really big take-away for me was the evolution on the textbook. A panel comprised of the presidents and publishers of the biggest reference, database and information technology companies in the United States assembled to talk about the current research and development, and the challenge of predicting trends in such a dynamic information environment. This was a discussion about the academic information industry at the highest level. A few points:
    • Gale – move away from highly structured data and aggregating products and indexes – moving to social tagging, full text searching and powerful media rich retrievals that are now possible because of growth in bandwidth.
    • Scholastic – scaffolding information to support student reading skills, clickable vocab and definitions, presenting info to facilitate instruction and use. Personalized learning tools kids will need (executive function, goal setting, etc.)
    • Rosen – greater interactivity, multimedia, community sharing user-created content. Distinction between authoritative and user created content. Html5 will be a big force in the viability of mashups.
    • Facebook groups embedded in database to create virtual classrooms.
    • Scholastic – Online resources as digital curriculum supplement or textbook replacement in social studies and science. Reading scaffolds embedded. Bring information and make the content accessible, scaffolded, multi-media, multi-modal and embracing 21st century skills. Equity issues as play with technology.
    • Follett – reading is the key to achievement, and it doesn’t matter the format for reading. Reading is still a core skill. Databases are part of the product mix to promote reading and literacy. Expanding product line to include board games that support curriculum goals and standards.
    Information technology is evolving to mirror the social network methodology and but must retain the focus on authoritative sources. Good information needs to be in the same virtual spaces as students and teachers. It is clear that information publishers need to make sure their products work well with 3rd party social media platforms (think Facebook type models). There was a great discussion about creating Facebook groups for school libraries. Given the excitement in the room I think more and more schools are going to investigate this type of student outreach.

    As Bernie Trilling said, learning every day is the single most important skill of the 21st century. I am very fortunate to work for a school district that supports my continued professional learning.

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    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Google Isn't About Keywords - Sort Of...

    Do you know how the Google algorithm works? I tell you this, most kids at CCHS think they know (how many clicks a site gets), but they really don't know. This YouTube video from Google (under 2 minutes) isn't going to explain the algorithm in depth, but will give a little insight into some of the nuances.

    Google Can’t Be Gamed; At Least Not by Meta Keywords


    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Does R. Kelly croon?

    The CCHS Library is often a battle ground for fierce debate. The most recent difference of opinion centered around R & B artist R. Kelly. "Does R. Kelly croon?" One young man said yes, the other declared no. I was called upon to adjudicate.

    First step, define "croon".

    Oxford English Dictionary:
    croon v. To utter a low murmuring sound; to sing (or speak) in a low murmuring tone; to hum softly. spec. to sing popular sentimental songs in a low, smooth voice, esp. into a closely-held microphone

    Next stop, Google. The crooning advocate suggested a search using the keywords "Does R. Kelly croon?" I almost choked. What kind of search was this? Had I taught this student nothing? "Don't worry, Mrs. C. This is a good way to find discussion threads in fan forums." He was right on the search strategy, because we quickly found a couple of nice forums, but nothing on crooning. Well, that isn't entirely correct. One post said R. Kelly put the mike to his crotch and it crooned. Terrific.

    Final stop in the great G block R. Kelly debate? The Magic 8 Ball on my desk. "My sources say no". It is definitive that R. Kelly is not a crooner.

    We have another storm brewing, though. Are zombies the new werewolves? This one could get nasty. I better keep the Magic 8 Ball within reach.

    Photo credit:

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    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    "The fact is that people don’t read anymore." —Steve Jobs

    I take exception with Mr. Jobs' statement (1/15/08, MacWorld Expo, The Passion of Steve Jobs). People are still reading, they are just reading differently. Postliterate, new literacy, 21st century skills, call it what you want. We are in the midst of a cultural revolution.

    In Doug Johnson's very smart article Libraries for a Postliterate Society, he examines the role of libraries in a society that is less and less paper based. For librarians this can be a tough discussion. We are a group of people with a strong sensory bond to the book-in-hand knowledge experience. "Postliterate" feels like a creepy shift towards illiteracy and a loss of skills. This is our paper bias.

    The postliterate library, according to Johnson, will offer new materials and services for patron needs. Material in diverse formats, platforms for collaborative work, media creation resources to share learning, and these are just a few.

    So, what does postliterate mean?

    Wikipedia defines it this way (2008): Postliterate Society ,"In a postliterate society people can read words, but choose not to. They generally receive information in a visual form instead of a verbal form."

    Webster's Online Dictionary's definition (1960): relating to or occurring after the introduction of the electronic media

    Oxford English Dictionary (Sept. 2009) says: postliterate adj. of or designating a time or milieu characterized by a decline in the importance or prevalence of the written word.

    According to Andrea Lunsford of the Stanford University Study of Writing, "we're in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven't seen since Greek civilization". Technology is revitalizing writing and communication. This revitalization has brought new literacies.

    Our students are communicating at a greater rate than ever before. Just watch the computers at CCHS. Writing for class assignments, writing for social networking, texting, IM, reading in multiple formats, music, dialogue - they are engaged in a multiple sensory experience. Their world is rich and multi-dimensional. They are already in the postliterate world. The old fluencies are there, but augmented with so many new genres of learning, information, collaboration and sharing. Their world is so exciting!

    And this brings us full circle. As Doug Johnson so eloquently states, "culture determines library programs; libraries transmit culture." The postliterate culture is here. Viva la revolution!

    Source articles:
    Libraries for a Postliterate Society
    Multimedia & Internet @ Schools, Doug Johnson

    Clive Thompson on the New Literacy

    Education Business Blog:
    Wired Nails it on the New Literacy

    New York Times:
    The Passion of Steve Jobs
    Published: January 21, 2008

    Photo Credit:
    Flickr Creative Commons

    Treasured Books

    Uploaded on October 4, 2008
    by 1bluecanoe

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