Monday, January 31, 2011

Cell phone usage

----------Update:  The link in this post is no longer active------------

Very interesting data on cell phones and their use...
Cell Phone Usage

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So, what is my job?

I received an email asking me to have a practicum student. It made me stop and think...what do I have to offer a new librarian?

I am a new librarian. I am still struggling to get my feet under me. I am trying to figure out what my priorities are and how to best use my time. What in the world do I have to offer?

Reality! That is what I can offer. My job is the changing librarian in our midst.
A little tech, a little books, a little teaching, a little secretarial, a little collaborating. None of these are done to my best abilities, none of these are monumental. But they add up to a very important role in our school system.

I am in the very unique position of being able to see the entire district picture. I also have the luxury of flexibility. I am able to rearrange and manipulate my schedule to fit with a classroom project.I can spend time finding websites or print material for a specific teacher and activity. I can serve on time-consuming district committees.

And every day I wonder if I am doing enough...if I can use my time in a better way...if I can impact students differently. And most days the answers are no, yes and yes...

So, how in the world could I be of help to a practicum students???

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


A link to a blog reporting NEA contributions last year. This ticks me off...
In a time of declining union enrollment in our district and others these decisions speed up that process.

Association of American Educators

My List of Three

Jason Glass, the nominated head of Iowa Education has asked three questions on his website Education Elements

1. What should we stop doing?

2. What should we keep doing?

3. What should we start doing?

Here are my ideas...

Stop: Gutting school libraries!
Research shows how important an integrated librarian and library collection are to the learning process- research skills, digital citizenship, literacy, collaboration. These are all integral parts of a librarian’s knowledge base and SO needed in today’s schools – yet our voice is completely lost in the clamor for new and better. We are the voice of literacy and reading yet too often we are not even invited to the conversation.

Keep: Iowa Core
Many have more clearly articulated this important aspect of our curriculum

Start: Narrowing our focus to the essentials – students.
We have removed the face of the child from most of our conversations – they are subjects and items and numbers. We need to begin with who they are today. As others have said, we are preparing them for a world that doesn’t exist. So, we need to start with the skills of flexibility and problem solving. You can’t do that when our testing focused curriculum requires a regurgitation of list of dates.

It's Official

Yesterday was the dear friend, mentor and fellow librarian has announced her retirement. (I have to say my fingers are shaking a bit as I type this.)

She has been my rock and my inspiration for many years.

She has also been the face of technology in our district as her role of librarian has evolved. She pulled and prodded and drug our district from the dark ages of technology to a truly wonderful place - honoring those teachers who didn't, wouldn't or just couldn't with gentle prodding and amazing examples. She has been the diplomat and the behind the scenes worker - making sure the yearly District Tech Plan was finished, heading the District Tech Committee (chairing endless meetings both in the fun days when the money was plentiful and in today's absent budget), all the while pushing herself to present, teach, promote and purchase. She has made herself face her fears and presented tech info at conferences both local and national.

She changed the elementary schedule to flexible scheduling years ago to allow more project based learning. She developed a library curriculum for K-5 which included a technology infused research based activity long before districts realized this was an important thing. She collaborated with teachers before it was a buzzword and became Laura Ingalls Wilder before the blogosphere told us that was the way to teach.

She is the perfect example of a 21st century librarian - picking up skills and books and seamlessly weaving them into a presentation style that welcomes children to her.

And I will miss her infinetly.

Thank you for mentoring me, for encouraging me and for inspiring me!!!

Skills for the 21st century teacher

This is list of skills purported by Digital Learning Environments

20 Technology Skills that Every Educator Should Have

By Laura Turner

Technology has changed a great deal in the last 5-6 years and the skills we need have changed along with it. Although no one would use all of these technologies, we should be knowledgeable in what each of them is and how it could be/might be used in a classroom.

1. Google Tools Knowledge
2. Google Earth Knowledge
3. Wiki Knowledge
4. Blogging Knowledge
5. Spreadsheets Skills
6. Database Skills
7. Social Bookmarking Knowledge
8. Social Networking Knowledge
9. Web Resources in content area
10. Web Searching skills
11. Web2.0 Tools
12. Interactive White Board skills (SmartBoard and Promethium)
13. Website design and management skills
14. Presentation Tools
15. IM knowledge
16. Video and Podcasting
17. RSS feeds
18. Mobile and Handheld Computing
19. Virtual Worlds
20. Collaboration & Communication Tools

Skills 1-5
Skills 6-10

I think it's a pretty good list - but it's just a list. I feel like I keep looking or the perfect list, the perfect starting place, the perfect ticket. And then staff and students will be ready - if we just have the magic list.

Reality is - it's time to stop looking and start honing this list. It's time to move from what someone else thinks to what really works for us. As long as we continue to research what others think we need we will be blown from place to place - not really planting our roots and knowing what and where we are.

So - it's time to begin taking root!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011