Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's Your Web Presence?

Can't see the movie above? Try the YouTube Version below!


Because Joyce writes better than me in her sleep and i should be asleep right now.... i'm re-posting what she wrote from her AWEsome #1 Edublog Award Winning Never Ending Search Blog! (ok, so i'm lazy! :P)

"Tomorrow is the second of our first-Monday TL Virtual Cafés! Please plan to attend and take away some brilliant ideas to incorporate into your own virtual practice.

Join colleagues across the U.S. (and beyond!) for a free webinar on school library Web presence, Monday evening, March 1, at 8:00 p.m. EST. (That's 5 PM Pacific!)

Our esteemed practitioner guests for this session include: Buffy Hamilton, Carolyn Foote, Barb Jansen, Christina Bentheim. Gwyneth Jones and I will be hosting.

Find out how to support your students and faculty in a virtual environment. Join the conversation with presenters from Georgia, Texas, and Nevada, facilitators from Pennsylvania and Maryland, and participants from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong. All from the comfort of your kitchen chair or sofa!

Find the details here at the TL Café Wiki and on the TLNing. If you are new to Elluminate as a learning platform, you may want to spend a few minutes on this tutorial.

You'll find our TL Café Webinar room HERE!

Please take our poll to tell us what your are currently using for your library's web presence.

Feel free to share this post widely with school administrators, as well as technology administrators, and librarian colleagues who may not be readers of the blog."

Hope to see you tomorrow at the TL Café!"
Joyce Valenza Ph.D
TL Virtual Cafe: On Web presence
February 28, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't Be a Rotary Phone: Librarians Step Up

OR, What kind of phone are you?
The game has changed. Libraries have changed....and librarians must change with them. Telephony has changed, too! But has it, really?.....
Ok, just go with me on this. From candlestick phones, crank powered wall phones, rotary phones....the touch tone innovation to blue tooth smart phones and iPhones....telephones have moved forward, evolved, improved, and sometimes gotten more difficult to use as new features were added.

But do people still talk on the phone?

Do you foresee a time when people won't be communicating with each other in SOME way? Maybe through Voip or Skype but we'll ALWAYS talk to each other. It might not be the same WAY but we will communicate.

Same thing with libraries and books....the technology has changed from etchings on cave wall, parchment scroll, wax tablet to Kindle but we're still reading. I LOVES me my Kindle! But I really believe that the Kindle is more of an addition than a replacement to books. I could be wrong, but people LOVE to HOLD a BOOK. I know I do! I also like to smell new books (yes, i'm weird Mmm new book i the only one?) Heck, after the CD, MP3 there are still people who love their vinyl records!
So books....on shelves...for kids. That won't's the how but not the what.

With those changes librarians must change, too. The plaintive cry "I went to Library school not technology school" doesn't fly anymore. Obstinate and proud "old school" school librarians need to step up. Our profession is not going to freeze in static time just because you learned how to use the Sears Subject guide, do your own cataloging but don't know a wiki from a blog or a plurk from a tweet.

A doctor doesn't stop learning new surgery techniques in a 30 year practice nor should we. If we stay stagnant in our profession who are we to blame when we are deemed obsolete?

In this day and age when we are literally fighting to keep our school libraries open and keep our more than EVER we need to keep relevant and up to date and proficient with the changes in our profession.

Yes, it's a pain to learn new things - but to stay vibrant, relevant, and effective practitioners of information technology we must bite the bullet and learn. There are SO many ways to learn and to advance our professional development out there. FREE webinars from the TL Virtual Cafe, Learn Central, personal learning networks like TL Library and Classroom 2.0 Ning, and organizations like AASL, ISTE and attending conferences like ISTE10.

We need to ride that crest of the SMART phone not the Rotary phone!...take the challenge. And i have to admit...when it comes to cellular telephony I've been a Luddite for YEARS! I just got my first "real" cell phone a year ago to the daily teasing of all my friends (I'm still keeping my landline & answering machine, TYVM!) SO, i get that sometimes we dig our heels in obstinately (I'm admittedly oppositional defiant!) but this is a time where we have to bite the bullet and move forward.

Having a web presence as a librarian and a school library is not an option any longer. Does it have to be a fancy web page with FLASH, animations and all the bells and whistles?... NO!....actually i find those distracting. It can be just a blog, a wiki or a simple clean easy to navigate iWeb page. But SOMEthing! Something to communicate your mission and the things that you're doing in your school to the kids and out to the community. But don't worry...there's help out there for this!

This Monday March 1st, the TL Virtual Cafe is presenting a FREE webinar on Learn Central about this very issue. Please take a second to answer this poll:

How is your library available to students via the web? What is your library web presence in the community? Are you a web wallflower or dancing with the stars - web-wise? A discussion of effective practice and essential elements for making your library instruction, program, and tools more accessible for students and the community
visit our TL Virtual Cafe Wiki for more information

I worried this blog posting was too mean & tweeted it out asking that:

@gwynethjones not mean but maybe harsh (some don't have time/tech support to do things). Need to understand small steps are ok, too.

Absolutely! So...words to the wise:

Keep your appetite large but your plate small! Challenge yourself to try new things every day, week, month, or year. Whatever feels right and not too overwhelming to you! Give yourself a challenge! Push yourself but don't pressure yourself. So many times we go to conferences or webinars and see things and get EXCITED and ENERGIZED and then feel immediately DEFEATED thinking "OMG! how can i do all of that??!" Well, you don't need to do ALL of that just try to do some of that! You'll be amazed and proud of yourself at what you can accomplish when you stretch your tech muscles and jump! Most of all have fun and GROW!

Top 4 easy things to try if you don't have a web presence:
  • Create a FREE teacher wiki page for professional development or to list your research tips or database links. Here is an awesome example of that from Joyce Valenza and if that intimidates you then you can look at my not too shabby but less fancy research database wikipage! If you don't have a wikipage yet, you'll LOVE how EASY it is to publish fast!
  • Create a free Sqworl account so you can squirrel away visually great links & ideas for use in school and/or for yourself professionally! Directions
  • Start building your PLN and join Twitter, or a Ning. (see examples & more) even if you don't contribute much at first, you can lurk & learn!
  • Challenge yourself! Pick a App from this list and try it this year! 25 Free Apps And Websites For Tech-Loving Teachers or visit my site and pick one of those!

Got an idea for a good goal!? Please post to the wall!

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

photo credits:
Blue rotary by AZAdam
textured rotary phone by carlos Restrepo

Old Phone~New Phone by kc~Karen...studying.... ..
Smart Phone by Coated
Wall phone Antique Trader

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MSET: the Maryland ISTE Affiliate

MSET, (formerly MICCA), is an ISTE affiliate and organization for everyone interested in Technology and Education.
Breaking NEWS! We just started our own Ning! If you're a Maryland technology educator please join us!

It's a wonderful community of learners and the yearly conferences held at the convention center in Baltimore have set the standard for cutting edge professional development in the state of Maryland.
We've had the shakers and movers of technology education as keynote speakers and concurrent session leaders (like Will Richardson below [swoon]) . ..and it just keeps getting better!

New at the MSET10 conference this year!

Digital Sandbox
This year at MSET we are planning on holding a Digital Sandbox at the conference. A Digital Sandbox is a gathering place to relax, recharge your laptops, and hang out with your friends. It's part Bloggers' Cafe and part stand up for geeks. Have something to share, but for whatever reason you are not scheduled for a concurrent session? Consider signing up to present your stuff at our Digital Sandbox, the Unconference side of the MSET Conference.
Presentation equipment and internet connection will be available. More details to come!

Saturday Family PlayZone
Explore the digital world with your children!
This year, MSET will provide a PlayZone on Saturday for conference participants as well as their family members to have a hands-on opportunity to "play" with digital teaching tools. We are always learning from our students as well as each other. What a perfect opportunity for them to explore the learning tools of the 21st century! Let us know if you would be interested in attending. More details to come!

Go to our NEW!-- Ready, MSET, Go! website for more information

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why We Need to Teach Google Search

and Computer Literacy.

10 or so days ago...during the Snowpocalypse 2010 ...something amazing happened on the interwebs. a meme was born! the awesome technology blog Read Write Web wrote a posting about Facebook and AOL getting together to be the one true login.

and then the problems started.
Internet un-aware people who don't know how to type in a URL, make a toolbar button or a bookmark and just Google to get everywhere were upset and distraught because when they typed in

Facebook Login

they got the RWW blog......and they started whining. then screaming. incoherently and sometimes with bad language! (be careful if you show these to teens) and with MANY typographical & grammar errors.... 1800+ comments later of "where's my facebook i want it back!" of pure Internet comedy gold MEME happened and the people at RWW couldn't understand why their traffic was going HAYwire!
apparently the GOOGLE search result of Facebook and Login was the 2nd from the top result AS the article! People thought FB had changed its format again but couldn't figure out how to login. Hilarity Ensued.

This is a teachable moment people. It's not just WHAT you Google but it's HOW you READ the page when you get there! And what about computer literacy???

"Thank you for all of the new features, Facebook owner-guy! I am especially fond of all the articles that you have published here. Where were they all this time?! What I wanted out of Facebook all this time were reports on current trends and products that would affect me and other high-tech geeks. Thanks for getting rid of all that Farmville crap... not sure why you ever thought that was a good idea anyway!" /sarcasm

Obviously, the RWW readers started striking back.
A perfect storm of Internet iD10T errors collided with the tech savvy AND SNARKY crowd of readers at Read Write Web! And the regulars sent their tech savvy friends to the comment board as still MORE and MORE lost and angry people kept commenting!

Honestly, read as many as you can....BUT Cover your keyboard with Saran wrap if you read this at lunch or are sipping coffee. You. Have. Been. Warned.

Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login

another classic quote:
"LMFAO! This has to be the biggest facepalm in the history of the Internet"..

"Read/Write Web are being very polite about their incident and resisting the urge to mock. They wrote a follow-up post saying:

“We could laugh (and we did), but we could also consider that these are our customers and users – the people we make the Web for. How can we balance making the Web simple enough for all users while still creating tech cool enough to satisfy geeks like us?”

A day later, another post was published saying the whole thing was Google’s fault:

“Google had completely failed its users. It put us, with a post about how an AOL partnership foreshadowed Facebook becoming the de facto user database, above the most logical search result possible – Facebook’s login page.” -

I can see RWW’s point but I think they’re going a little far in their effort to be understanding. Facebook has 400 million users. Only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of those users mistook Read/Write Web, with its bright red masthead that, unsurprisingly, says Read/Write Web on it, for Facebook – a site that looks completely different and says Facebook on it." - UK's Shane Richmond

Oh and for a lesson on Computer ETHICS:

Clueless Woman Calls Tech Show When Her Stolen Wi-FI Disappears ...

Related Articles:
The Internet Inept Mistake ReadWriteWeb for Facebook, Hilarity Ensues
Reminder Of Who's On The Web: I Just Want To Login To Facebook!!!
Facebook Login Fiasco Demonstrates Challenge in Competing with Google
Facebook login, Cancel Google and the perfect storm of idiots

Friday, February 19, 2010

Letters for Libraries: Advocacy & Action!

Letters for Libraries: It's Not Just About Books.
Funding for school libraries and funding for other student literacy programs (like the National Writing Project) is being threatened both federally and in states across the country. In the 21st century information environment, our students deserve and need your help in keeping their library/information literacy programs strong.

Join us for a National time of Letter Writing...NOW!

Please, If you're reading this...the time is now....Here is a helpful SAMPLE LETTER from Carolyn Foote ...just copy & paste and do your part to save our profession!

Commit to writing 3 emails or letters to Congress, the Department of Education, or your state legislature regarding library and other literacy funding.
There are links and information below to help you.

Background information (Joyce Valenza)

Write your congressman:
Write your Representative
Write your Senator
Write your State legislator

Write the Dept. of Education

"Improving Literacy for School Libraries will no longer be available. The FY 2011 budget absorbs this grant program, along with a variety of others, into Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education. The FY2011 budget describes the competitive distribution process for the newly lumped together monies:
. . . the plan includes a restructuring of ESEA program authorities to fundamentally change how the Department operates by increasing the role of competition in awarding Federal education funds, focusing more on programs achieving specific desired outcomes, allowing for expanded State and local flexibility to achieve those outcomes, and reducing the number of programs administered by the Department of Education. For example, the reauthorization proposal would consolidate 38 existing authorities into 11 new programs that give communities more choices in carrying out activities that focus on local needs and that are achieving results. The new programs would emphasize competition, or an increased performance focus in formula programs, while ensuring that geographic location will not dictate results. These expanded funding streams will eliminate inefficiencies at the Federal, State and local levels, allowing grantees to focus on improving outcomes for students and allowing the Department to focus on providing strong support and directing funding to proven or promising practices."

What will be lost:

List of libraries the "Improving Literacy" grants have helped
  • Kuspuk School District in Aniak, Alaska serving students in 8 rural areas is using the grants to hire a full time certified librarian
  • Blytheville School District in Blytheville, Arkansas is using the grants to help students in rural steel-mill communities by adding library staff and adding online resources for over 900 students.
  • Langston Hughes Academy Charter in New Orleans, Lousiana is using the grant to hire a full-time librarian and build a centralized computer lab area for students
  • Copenhagen School District in Copenhagen, New York is using the grant to provide internet access for a rural community with limited internet resources and create a "Library without Limits."
  • Galveston ISD in Galveston, TX is using the grant to restore hurricane damaged libraries and upgrade library collections
  • Lakeland R-III School District in Deepwater, Missouri is using the grant to bring technology to their rural students including providing multiple laptops for each library, adding a computer lab and whiteboard technology, and adding both a librarian and library assistants to the staff of each school.

Many of the other grants ask for the ability to provide longer library hours, summer hours, parental use of libraries, family literacy events, professional development on collaboration for librarians, and addition of books or technology for libraries in rural areas or impoverished areas. Many of the libraries lack computers completely, or have outdated, poor quality equipment, and books are outdated. Several of the grants revolve around special literacy and reading programs implemented in districts to raise student achievement scores and literacy."

from Carolyn Foote and the new Letters from Libraries wiki and please read her eloquent blog posting:

The issue isn’t “books”"

Where she shares: "In fact, an article in this week’s Education Week, “”Libraries Seek Relevance Through Virtual Access” which features a number of vibrant library programs proves that true." Slide1-300x225

From a recent letter from the ALA:
Out of Work Librarians Need Your Help NOW!
Take Action!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that he will bring the Senate's $80 billion version of the Jobs for Main Street Act or the "jobs bill" to the Senate floor sometime next week.

Libraries are not in this bill, and it is more important than ever that you call your Senators and encourage them to include librarians in the $20.5 billion section that is being used to hire and retain teachers, police, and firefighters.

Also, if you are in a state where librarians are represented by a union, please have your local union contact your national union to contact the Senate.

Please call your Senators today at the U.S. Capital switchboard 202-224-3121
Libraries are as essential as schools and public safety and help the economy by helping people find jobs. Yet library jobs are being cut - and, now, not included in this jobs bill. It is vitally important that librarians be as vocal as these other public employees. The reason they are getting funding in this piece of legislation is because they are calling their congressional offices more often and in higher numbers than we are.

Your grassroots efforts are critically important. The omission of librarians in the jobs bill is in addition to the troubling news this week that President Obama's budget proposal freezes the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and consolidates the school library program with literacy programs in the Department of Education. These cuts will lead to a loss of jobs and a loss of services that our communities cannot afford to be without.

Please call both of your U.S. Senators to ask each of them to request that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), include the hiring and retaining of librarians in their jobs bill.

This bill could come up at any moment and it is critically important that you contact your Senators' offices immediately and tell them to push the above Senate leaders to include librarians in the jobs bill. Don't just call once - keep calling until we succeed. Make sure to tell your senators what your library is doing to help people find jobs.

We cannot let this legislation pass without the inclusion of library employees. We have no chance of getting into this legislation without your calls and emails - and the support of all senators!!


NCTE's 'resolution" on supporting school libraries.

ALA: Arne Duncan Talks about the Role of Libraries in Economic Recovery

labels: action, Advocacy, ALA, Carolyn Foote, Joyce Valenza, school libraries

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Literate 4 Life: Librarian Branding Project

corset pic by L. Marie

do you want mad librarian cred when
hanging out in the stacks with your homies?

are you Literate4Life and proud of it?

are you ready, willing, and able to show your love - your devotion - your RESPECT! to our gang of book loving library militants?
Check out kick@$$ Librarian X aka jazzmodeus aka Jason Puckett - he's the Librarian for Communication and Educational Technologies at GSU in Atlanta and he's inked & proud!
(photo from jazzmodeus flickr creative commons tattoo by Ron Hendon of Midnight Iguana Tattooing, Athens GA.)

join the Published, Branded & Proud by participating in the Project Brand Yourself a Librarian Week this summer at ALA DC.

Brainchild of Uber cool 8bitlibrary blog founders Justin The Librarian and Librarian JP. So, whether you're going to ALA in DC this can meet-up and get inked there then go to the appreciation & participation party...
or if you're going to ISTE SIGMS & going to ISTE10 Denver (like me!) can go here
Local business results for tattoo parlors near Denver, CO ...OR i think the AWEsome Bearded JP suggested creating a Flickr group so that wherever you are... if you're branded you can join the tribe it off with pride!

And seriously? In this day and age where school librarians are fighting to show the importance and relevancy of their program, information technology, and 21st century learning strategies in school libraries -- and facing some serious federal cutbacks - the time for advocacy is NOW! Now is the time to step up our game!

or as Joyce Valenza said in her recent Neverending Search Blog....
"All our programs need to deliver high quality, 21st century, learner-centered service and instruction embracing the clear mission of ensuring that our students and staff are effective users [and producers*] of ideas and information.

Funding decisions will be made at the state and local level.

We have to make sure that our SEAs understand how school library information programs improve outcomes for students.....
We must make ourselves visible, relevant, integral to the educational missions of our schools.

We had better start making ourselves known in a positive way to principals, district administrators, superintendents, headmasters, and local legislators, or we will be out of a job."
That means thinking out of the box, being visible, connecting with our kids, being relevant and cutting edge, and keeping the faith with our fellow show...there is no shame in our game!

from Justin the Librarian & 8bitlibrary blog:
"It’s really simple. If you’re up for it, let’s all get tattoos to show our support for libraries and librarians. We are who we are. We are librarians! Let’s show the world how proud we are!

Let’s do this at the ALA Annual Conference (June 24-29). If you’ve got ideas on a tattoo parlor, leave a comment. I’ll gladly be in charge of setting up an appointments for everyone (we should all go together).

1. DOESN’T IT HURT? Honestly, it’s not that bad. I myself am very scared of needles but I don’t mind getting tattoos. The worst part is the healing. WHY? It itches…

2. BUT IT’S FOREVER! Be proud to be a librarian! Do you think you’ll be leaving this profession? See, you won’t.

3. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED ONE…and this is a great chance to finally get one! Think about it! Who else can say that they got their tattoo with a bunch of librarians?"

Read the whole Project Brand posting to get more information how you can join in!

and why not?

Librarians in Texas have done it!

tattooed ladies of tla

Oh and for ideas (or for those who are too chickensh poop to do it) here are librarian temporary tatoos that you can bring with you for ideas...can be purchased from my favourite shoppe Archie Mc Phee! Where you can also get Glow in the Dark Zombie Hoarde and Mini Ninjas...(i use these for incentives when i teach "who has a ninja worthy answer to this - what is an example of a primary source document!?")
Dag! they're can get them from here!

Photo from Product Page ( $7.95 )

now for me....being a Steampunk grrl i think i might have to get a top hatted Cthulhu or a cephalopod underglass like this guy above...from my factory in New Babbage! Or else something very tasteful and victorian like just the type's also some other tatoos from the pack. (and yes, i do have them!) Whatever you choose to it with passion!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sqworl is More Tasty than Delicious

Sqworl is More Tasty than Delicious
Dear Sqworl...I Love You!
my new obsession is Sqworl! or for my Tweeps....#Sqworl!
i mean, i seriously have a super geek crush on this site! backstory: ever since Backflip has died (RIP) i've tried to find an easy alternative to bookmarking to use for myself and with my kids.

i've never really warmed up to delicious... and i'm a visual kinda when i stumbled across this it was love at first click! My first group was called Addictive Tech Crisps for Education: Web 2.0 Tools : Mmmm tasty techie crisps so good you can't just nibble one! I also created one called: Animation Sites & Education Resources : Animation sites & resources for school use. Some for media/classroom/unit marketing and some to use with kids!

each Sqworl group page is a yummy screenshot thumbnail lightbox of the sites AND with a short url! - SO easy for sharing or adding to a wikipage for students...WITH the added benefit that each time you add sites to it...its automatically updated!

when creating a group of blogs or journal pages - select blog mode = on. that way, each time the page is updated you'll get a nice little star in the corner of the page! yes, that's tracks the RSS feed of a page!

Sqworl also keeps trcks of your views and stats...just click and you'll get a link to how many people have tweeted your group or linked to it! SWEET!

with easy to add bookmarklet button for your toolbar you can add pages on a fly in only 2 clicks!

Using the combination of Sqworl's collections and thumbnails, you may soon be scanning for links based on visual clues - much like the icons on your desktop. If saving URLs with a visual reminder sounds helpful to you, take Sqworl for a spin and start squirreling your URLs away.

Talented wunderkind Caleb Brown created this resource and it's amazing! AND he's very responsive giving out his email address at the bottom of the page and when i had a question - he actually answered it himself within a day or so!

You can even edit the page reposition the links easily!

keep up with new updates by checking out the Sqworl blog

To get to a cheat sheet of this posting to share on your blog or to give out to your staff visit my wiki and snag or link back to it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Computer Engineer Barbie: Girl Geeks RULE!

"The geek revolution is complete. The next Barbie doll will be a computer engineer. What's most interesting about this decision by Mattel is that the career move was decided by popular vote of Barbie fans -half a milion of them - who voted to make her a computer geek.

Barbie - the doll with the impossible figure - will be outfitted with a pink laptop, matching pink glasses, and a binary-code patterned dress.

She was designed with help from the Society of Women Engineers. Maybe that accounts for the sensible shoes."

YAY! Girl Geeks RULE!!!

Photo: Mattel

Source: from Science Friday geek writer Ira Flatow
I So heart IRA~!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Blizzard Blues - Beach Thoughts

This is the memory......the following is the reality.

my deck...the snow is still up to my waist when i slide (carefully) open the door
i've since shoveled it off....fearing collapse and the predicted wet snow coming tuesday night.

my front door...snow blocking me in....Eep!

trying to push my way out....thank goodness for good neighbors!

like Steve, Michelle & little Owen!

my neighborhood.....

today, the aftermath.....i've yet to try and drive yet....maybe today
i need more cream for my coffee!


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