Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Open access $$$$

Ok...Research grants, academic institutions or private or public funding agengies. My question is does every journal get same $$. We live in a capitalist society that should reward excellence and highly sought after quality material. Does this system do that?

Here is an explanation I found .....

Open access Journals...

I love the idea of free scholarly journals but am still confused as to how it is free? I read Wikipedia and 3 other explanations and Iget that the funding comes from a redirection of funds but I have not found where the $$ originates from....Ill try You tube for another view.

Web 3.0

After reading through the Vista lesson, I was struggling to figure out web 3.0. After doing some research, the best explanation I could find was this viseo....

I think the iphone was the first device I know of to use web 3.0.

Where are we headed?.......

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I've been Twitting!!!!!

I joined twitter yesterday so am still experimenting. I am struggling to see it as anything less than a poor man's version of Facebook. All I can see is status updates from chat. That combined with the fact that some users update several times per day make the site very cluttered. I am following some educators I found, Lance Armstrong (an athlete I respect) and some hockey personalities as well as some personal friends. Some educators have given me some interesting links and opinions. One administrator has some interesting updates from that perspective.

I will keep playing around with it to see if there are more educational uses.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Response #3.....

Great summary of Teacher/TL collaboration!

Collaboration is in my mind becoming less and less prevalent in libraries at all levels. I think the main reason is one of the key points that your summary pointed to.....principal support. Our district is once again faced with cutting 3-5 million dollars from the budget and I would be shocked if TL staffing and support are nort affected. We are in a time when pass rates, grad rates and scores on standaedised tests are the goals of our province, district, and embedded in most school goals as well.

Unfortunately, I do not believe many principals (especially at the secondary level) understand the correlation of a strong library program and student achievement. It is viewed as an "extra", and a supplement to classroom teachers.

I do not see things changing until it is too late. When library programs are virtually non-existant and student achievement suffers, perhaps the powers to be will revisit the situation again.

In the meantime, it is imperative that Teacher Librarians and their organizations continue to advocate for staffing and funding that will help student achievement

Blogging in the classroom

Response to ...

Nice summary of article!
I was intrigued by the issue of the lack of educational research with regards to blogging. I do value researchin many cases but when teachers experience something valuable in their classroom and see the many benefits of blogging, do we need research to confirm what we already know.
I have used blogs in my classroom and have found them valuable because of many of the reasons expressed in your summary. There can be some negative aspects such as privacy etc. but each of these obstacles can be viewed as a teachable moment in a world of socila networking.

Online courses...

Response #1...

Wow...after reading your article, I visited and registered for the Inquiry Learning Forum I agree with a number of your points about it being relevant to BC curriculum and the lack of time teachers can afford to give to produce or preview these videos. I can see this site as being a great supplement to high school students enrolled in a course and struggling with a lesson/concept.

I also know that our district is trying to get teachers to "buy into" online courses because if a teacher offers an online course and a student from another school or district enrolls in it, our school gets the funding for that student. A solid online program could be a revenue generator that could help support other programs in a school or district.

I am certainly going to explore this site further to see if there is any practical uses for SS or PE and share it with colleagues.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Socila Networking.....Are we on the same page?

Educators are busy people. Report cards, coaching, clubs, parent meetings, and family commitments make the profession a huge time management juggling act. At the same time most teachers are more than willing to spend time exploring new and exciting ways to help students learn. That being said, my experience with social networking is that privacy and security of information isssues are so great that most teachers throw their hands up and conclude it is not worth the effort.

Our district has blocked Facebook from the network despite the fact many teachers had started groups that were functioning as valuable educational networking tools. I investigated as to the reasons for this decision and was told that the potential for security settings being incorrect is too much of a risk....hmmm.

I have a Facebook account and I have made it my policy to only accept former students as friends. This was a decision I made when I first opened an account as I was being bombarded with horror stories. On reflection, I am not sure that current students could not be added as I cannot imagine any personal information or pictures being incriminating. I treat Facebook like it is a social gathering with cameras everywhere and I am wearing a microphone. Do not post anything you dont want someone (anyone) to read.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wiki's.....I just don't get it?

After exploring lesson 7 on Wiki's I have to admit I am struggling with the educational uses of Wiki's. I understand the concept of Wikipedia and the strength of it as an initial reasearch tool and its ability to be up to date with pop culture topics. I could also perhaps see post secondary classes setting up Wikis to collaborate with lecture notes, although it could lead to some inaccuracies depending on who edits last.

My concern is that the educational Wiki's that I explored on Wikipaint seem to me to have little collaboration or sharing but seem to act as a class website. As a classroom teacher, and educator I do have concerns about the "free for all editing" that Wikis provide. If I post a creative idea about a concept being studied in class, that is my idea and should have value. If someone edits my idea, it is no longer my idea but someone elses. I much prefer blogs where comments can be made but the original ideas remain and the reader can analyze for themselves what is accurate, relevant and pertinent.

I found this video which is a good tutorial to produce wikis on wikispaces. It helped for two projects in this course.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wikipedia.....Lets not put our head in the sand!

The debate continues. After 8 courses in the TL program and a number of discussions and research into Wikipedia, I still find myself with as many questions as answers on the topic.
Gorman's blog certainly paints a different picture than the vast majority of reading I have done that supports Wikipedia as an acceptable starting point for research, a position that I have come to agree with. When I am looking for information on a topic of interest, I often start with Wikipedia and have personally never found any inaccuracies (i.e. people dead who are alive or such untruths). Gorman provides a few examples of some of these inaccuracies but it begs the question as to the total % these types of information. As well, I would like to know the % of inaccuracies in mainstream encyclopedias and reference books.
Certainly, Wikipedia has a place at the very least in pop culture topics that would not be included in other publications (i.e. Facebook, US economy 2009 etc.).
Lastly, if we do not allow students to cite Wikipedia we are in a sense promoting plagiarism and unethical use of information because if they do use it (and lets be real...they will) they will not cite it

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Judy O'Connell's Blog.....

In a word....WOW! I was blown away by the information she provided in her blog. I found some of the information valuable, especially Leapfish, a search tool that looks graet. It seems to use the power of Google with some interesting speed advancements! I need to check it out more!

The question about his type of blog that was popping in my head over and over as I read it was...Where does she find the time? My experience with blogs is that I will follow a blog I am intersted in if it is regularly updated. If it is left for more that a few days, I lose interest and dont go back. When I look at these lessons I try to imagine how I could implement a blog in my job either as a classroom teacher or TL. I certainly can see the value but wonder about finding time. I suppose if it is seen as valuable to staff and/or students, one would have to find the time or advocate for time from the administartion to keep the blog up to date.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh the Irony....

Writing about blogs on a blog.......

As others have suggested there is some roadblocks to consider when starting up a blog for students. The potential for vandalism (inappropriate anonymous posts) is obviously a concern but I have found that at the high school level it really isnt an issue and many blogging sites email the moderator when a comment has been entered so I can keep a relatively close eye on the content. Also the fact many blogging sites have advertisements (popups) that may be appropriate at first but can change at any time without warning. It is imperative to shut off pop up blocking software to see what the potential is. I have also contacted blogging providers and asked that my blog be exempt from popups as it is used for educational purposes and at least one complied.

Our district and many others have access to First Class which is the district communication software used for email, file storage and web design among others. It also features a blog interface that can be linked to your website. It is not the most aesthetically pleasing blog design but it does the trick and provides the security and no advertisements that other providers have.

I have created a blog on my website but havent started using it yet. It can be found at if you want to get a sense of what it could look like.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lesson 3...Random Thoughts!

I have been thinking alot lately about learning process vs. learning content. Over the past couple of years and especially since I started the Library Diploma program I feel "handcuffed" by the departmental and Provincial exams that my students write. I would love to focus more on critical thinking and creating but the time constraints on the course make it difficult to do more than a few projects each semester. Also as I have mentioned our TL does very little in the way of collaboration. If you ask, he will help, but little more. A TL can influence a school culture through developing relationships. Relationships with students and staff that promotes trust and a learning environment. I find it very intersting in Lesson where it states: "Policy drives good practice and enables a school to match practice to school goals." Unfortunately the overwhelming trend in my school school and I believe my district as whole are goals are based on graduation and course completion rates. As a result, administrators have put all available resources to achieve this. My feeling is the library programs not seen as an essential part of student success but rather as an"extra" or enrichment aspect of the school....a shame really.I realize that if I becomre the TL in a few years, I will have a ton of work to change the culture of the library to more than a spot to do homework. As well, I will have to show teachers how the library can be more than an extra in their course but instead an integral part of the curriculum that will in fact INCREASE student achievement.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Facebook in thoughts

I use Facebook on a semiregular basis as a great way to keep in touch with family, friends and former students. I made it my own personal policy to not "add" current students although I have had requests from many. I very much enjoy seeing what former students are doing and although I sometimes have to wade through pictures of there "party antics", for the most part it is positive. Many of them comment to me when I run into them how they enjoy seeing my family and keeping in touch.

My next struggle is adding current students. The only reason I dont have any students as friends is the fact many colleagues warned me that I was certain to find myself in front of the College of Teachers if I did. Because I really didnt understand Facebook, I took there word for it. However, after using it for over a year now, I am wondering what the paranoia is about. I am an upstanding citizen with nothing to hide. My friends are lawabiding citizens as well. I am very careful what I post and treat Facebook as I would a socila event. If I wouldn't say or do it in public, it doesnt go on Facebook. Any personal comments or discussions with friends are sent as a private message and nevr written on the"wall". I am still waiting to hear of an incident where a teacher has used common sense and gotten into trouble.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Web 2.0....what is it?

I will admit I had heard the term before but truly did not understand it. I use web 2.0 tools regularly as I have a class blog for my SS 10 class. I store documents on Google docs and I regularly use Youtube for short clips to show my classes or for my own entertainment. I have very little experience with Wikis and I will admit am struggling to see the value in them other than as an introductory reseach tool (i.e. Wikipedia).

Library 2.0 is a concept that I am trying to envision in our school. I will admit it is a concept that excites me because of the endless possibilities and opprotunities to help students learn but at the same time I would like to SEE it in action to get a true understanding. Here is a cool librarian manifesto....a commitment to Library 2.0.

I do understand how the use of social networking sites like Facebook etc. can be used in classroom settings but I am struggling with the role of the library space in their use. Also, what is the Tl's role? Moderating blogs, Wikis and message boards? So many questions.....

The Changing Library

I have witnessed first hand how the role of the school library has changed over the past 5, 10 and even 15 years because of advancing technology. Unfortunately in the case of my school library, it has not been for the better in my opinion.

Our library was once a thriving learning center with classes coming in regularly to research and teachers and teacher librarians collaborating on projects. I can remember having to book my class in weeks in advance to get in the library. Today, our library rarely has full classes come in and acts as a place students can quietly do homework or check their email.

Several changes in education have changed this. The emphasis on provincial exams (especially at the Grade 10 level) have made many teachers hesitant to spend large amounts of time on research projects that they see as non essential to performing well on these tests. Secondly, our school has access to over 400 laptops that are scattered on carts throughout the school and when teachers do do research they are far more likely to use these computers than bring their class to the library.

Hopefully in a year and a half when if all stars align correctly, I will get an opportunity to become the TL and incorporate a new outlook and fresh ideas to the library. A huge part of this will be incorporating both Web2.0 and library 2.0 concepts and tools that I will learn. Undoubtedly, in those 18 months there will be tools and information literacy tools that are not even designed today that will be the most effective.....


Here is my blog for 477. Time to get to work!