Thursday, January 28, 2010

Talkin' Trash


One of my favorite things about working with students is the trash talk. Seriously, it is a riot.  This morning is a perfect example. Today is the last day of mid-terms. The kids are wiped out. Yet at 6:45am our computers are busy with students finishing work, textbooks are open, and the mood is pretty serious. It is clear Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks had long lines because there are coffee cups everywhere.

Two of the guys are griping about parking. One of them never got a pass for the student lot because it was too expensive, yet he parks illegally, every day, risking a $50 ticket and a $120 towing fee.

"Dude, you can't afford a parking pass, you seriously can't afford getting towed."
"Yeah, I'm not worried. I'd fight it. I'd win."
"How do you figure that?"
"I'm a pretty seductive guy. No judge could resist my charms."

His hair is sticking up, it looks like he slept in his clothes, and his pants are definitely about to hit the ground.  Good luck with this one, Your Honor.

Photo credit:
Flickr Creative Commons

204/365: *Wink* [Blue]

Uploaded on August 5, 2009
by moiht

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The problem with paper


It really came home to me for the first time that the paper format was holding me back. I just finished reading Born Digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives, by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser.

The problem isn't the book, which I really liked (my GoodReads review). The problem is the post-it notes. This book had so much original research and concepts so eloquently developed that I ended up with over 40 post-it notes that I now need to go back and review.

If this were a digital text I could have been using Diigo to highlight and annotate the whole time. From Diigo I could share with a group, like HS Librarians, and see what others had to say, discussing ideas and their application to school libraries with my professional peers. I could export my notes to NoodleTools for organizing for future reference if I want to write a grant or article. As it stands now, I will end up re-typing passages into NoodleTools. What a waste of time. (It also needs to be pointed out that if I had a reading disability I would be unable to access this text because paper has no text-to-speech option, and it isn't available in audio format.)

Research, investigation and inquiry tend to be solitary endeavors. This no longer needs to be the case and,  by utilizing the symphony of free digital tools, we can offer a much richer experience, enhanced by collaborative networks and accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities.

After reading this book I have a much better understanding of our digital natives. They are very polite and patient with us, but for how much longer? Pretty soon they are going to start getting annoyed.