Monday, December 8, 2014

Jouornal Reflection #6

Stucker, H. (2005). Digital 'natives' are growing restless. School Library Journal, 51(6), B9-B10. 

     Digital Natives are getting bored.  They are learning in an environment that is not conducive to how they naturally learn on their own.  Learning straight from books is not the only option anymore.  However, even though students are experts at searching for and retrieving the data, they still have no idea how to properly evaluate the information for proper use.  "Joyce Valenza, media specialist at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania, said that Internet proficiency often gives students a deceptive sense of self-sufficiency, and the challenge for educators is to figure out how to respect that self-sufficiency yet "intrude in a graceful way"."
     Having online resources through the library at all times is a way for them to self-evaluate once they find what they are looking for.  This way they can ask the important questions in regards to their article or website they want to use in their report.  The library needs to prepare the students to use these tools effectively, so they just won't head to a website and add information from it without really thinking about the point.  
     Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), states that "Our ultimate outcome for students is that they live, learn, and work successfully by becoming information-seekers, analyzers, and evaluators, that they become problem-solvers and decision-makers...,"   This needs to be done by all, but librarians need to step up to the responsibility and make sure that students are proper researchers and then evaluators of the research as well.

     Finding the balance to let students feel powerful and smart enough to find the information that they want, but then assisting them in evaluating them for proper use can be tricky; I run into this problem all the time, but it is crucial to do this lesson, constantly!  This is not just about articles and websites for information.  I am always teaching my students on how to evaluate what program is the best to present your information or what is the best way share the information.  To try something different, but to make sure that it works for the idea and to look at it with a skeptical eye is the same important skill.   

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Journal Reflection #5

Barack, L. (2013). Talking teen engagement. School Library Journal, 59(6), 12-n/a.

     The Chicago Public library teen section has a podcast that started off with the youth librarian learning as the kids learned.  They did this together, even though Taylor Bayless, the librarian, had no previous knowledge present.  Not knowing how to do something is not an option.  Bayless states that "Someone working with youth has to have the capacity and desire to learn new technology."  It is important to bring out the creative talents of all students who enter the library and if media is one of these outlets, it must be fostered.
     However, if social media is also being used, there needs to be lessons in regards to digital citizenship.  Privacy issues, fair use, digital footprints, these are all lessons and conversations that need to happen.  At times, students are not aware of who may be viewing the information they share, how that can reflect on them, and how they can post on social media, yet still protect themselves.  Chris Shoemaker, states that this is important to do before anything is posted so that you are not having a teenager pull something down after the fact.  By talking about proper social media use instead of having rules and regulations to determine their behavior, the students are able to take ownership of what they create and what it is reflecting.
     Once you have students taking ownership and being proud of the work they are doing in social media, it can only benefit the library and the program after that.  Bringing friends to the library to share in the fun and work they have been doing shows that the use of media can be successful.  When the students then decide to post on their own social media pages about where they are at and what they are doing, it will only encourage questions and conversations about where all these amazing things are happening.  "Brother Mike" Hawkins, associate director and lead mentor at YOUmedia's Digital Youth Network says it best when he states that "If students see something cool, and they see a place where adults care about them, they're going to promote it more than we ever could."  This could be the huge difference for a library with no marketing budget to bring students into their space.

     I think this is a smart way to use media in the library.  Even if nothing is going online and the media stays in house, the students will see a safe place for them to create and explore.  This is a great place to teach digital citizenship as well.  To then turn media use into social media use to promote the library is brilliant.  I have always believed that ownership is the most important thing for a student to have, regardless of what they are doing.  It works when you have them putting together a library display and it works when you have them creating something with media, even if it never gets posted.  However, for it to them be posted online can create another level of a sense of accomplishment.

Journal Reflection #4

Byrne, R. (2014). Multimedia assessments. School Library Journal, 60(2), 15. 

     Could using multimedia assessment tools help students who struggle taking tests and those with special differentiation requirements?  Five different online tools are examined to look at how they can assist in helping those who need deeper understanding or those who need the test read aloud to them.
     The first tool is Metta ( where the instructor can add YouTube videos, pictures, and voice recordings into a presentation.  You can add multiple choice questions through out the presentation and then the student must look over the material and then answer the questions.  Students can't move forward in the presentation until they answer the questions.  These can be saved by giving the students a URL, however, if you are using Google classroom it can be delivered by that using the url option.  These can also be saved in Google drive.
     The next tool is ImageQuiz (  This tool helps build quizzes based on images.  The teacher can create questions, once they have uploaded an image, by adding outlines around the part of the image that has the answer.  Then you write the questions that go with that image.  The students would answer the questions by clicking on certain parts of the image.  This would be helpful in determining certain body parts or muscle groups in the human body.  This quiz is also given by sharing a url.
     EduCanon ( is helpful if you are interested in trying flip teaching.  This tool has you create, assign, and track the progress of the student as they go through the flip teaching lesson.  Creating a lesson is easy and does not necessarily require that you make your own lesson.  Once you know what you are teaching, you can search for videos through educanon to find the right one.  Then you create multiple choice questions through the video, like a time line of questions.
     Perhaps a tool that many students love is Kahoot (  This is a great resource to check for understanding as well as using for review before a larger test.  You create a multiple choice test that kahoot then sets up with the answers being attached to symbols and colors.  You can create a time limit and even add background music, like a real game show.  Students will need internet access on a decide to participate.  Phones, laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets work well.  When students go to kahoot, they will be prompted to join the game by entering an ID.  This will be attached to your quiz.  They must create a username and then once everyone is in, the quiz can start.  After each question the class can see who is in the lead.  Points are awarded, not only for the correct answer, but how quickly the correct answer is given.
     The last tool mentioned is one that may not need any introduction.  Google Forms has been used to make quizzes for quite some time.  However, it has recently started supporting the ability to add YouTube videos and images into the quiz.  This may create some different options for assessment.

     I am a huge fan of assessing in different ways.  Every student has different needs and these tools provides a variety of ways to assist those who are visual, who need to take their time, who are auditory, and those who thrive on competition.  None of the tools here are overly complicated for the teacher to learn and create quizzes with and all are safe, easy to use, and free.  As different online tools come to light, we need to think about what works best for us and for each objective that we have.  If using these tools does not make sense, we should not use it just because.  However, if one of these tools can make the assessment or learning outcome easier for all, it should be tried.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Screencast Video

A tutorial on 'How to put a book on hold' using screencast-o-matic!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Journal Reflection #3

Sansing, C. (2014). On Net Neutrality. Knowledge Quest, 43(1), 14-15.

     This article explains what Net Neutrality is exactly and how it effects schools.  "'Net neutrality' describes an internet that passes along all bits of information at an equal rate" (Sansing, 2014).  However, no net neutrality means that service providers can slow down incoming information by throttling the web site and it can throttle the other way to speed other sites up.  This presents a problem when we are dealing with intellectual freedom.  
     Sansing brings up four concerns of how not having an open internet can effect our students.  The first piece is political, which connects to the last article I wrote.  What happens when the large publishing group and the large service provider decides to team up?  Will information from any of the competitors ever be reaching our students?  Will they have the ability to look at multiple sources to  decide reliability on their own?  Or will time constraints make them choose where to go?
     The second concern is censorship and as a librarian who believes in the freedom of speech, reading, and speaking, this really made me think.  Will schools state that the network is open, but instead of filtering sites will we discover that instead the information is being throttled?
     Standardization of schooling and the hand the corporations have in it is a third concern.  Will we be forced to engage with product (Sansing, 2014) instead of with our peers?  If more money is being spent on a specific site that is not being throttled, will we be highly encouraged to use that website?
     Lastly, are we teaching students what can actually be done on the internet in a way that challenges how they think?  If we buy certain products and services and we use only those, how do we justify teaching, showing, and experimenting with things that are not in that box?  If learning becomes too focused than what we show them and what we do becomes too rigid and we never have to ability to let them see outside that internet box we created.   
     Sansing brings up some great thoughts on why net neutrality is so important to teach students to express themselves as well as to think for themselves.

     I think my favorite quote in this article, by far was "Helping kids do inquiry-based research on a controversial issue is not the same as being free to do those things." (Sansing, 2014).  I feel so strongly about taking chances and learning.  To read about something that makes you uncomfortable gives you the opportunity to really make a decision about it.  In fact, an old professor told me that at least 25% of your library collection should make you uncomfortable.  I believe in that.  So, in theory, 25% of what we let kids research on the internet should make us uncomfortable as well.  In my school we do a large debate project that does focus on topics that are controversial.  It is important to guide them through this process to gather the proper information.  As this is being done, we must let them explore all kinds of sources without having the website on abortion throttled.  The freedom to learn should not come at a cost.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Journal Reflection #2

Watters, A. (2014). How Will the Ed-Tech Industry Shape Student Reading? Knowledge Quest, 43(1), 16-21. 

     In the discussion about the education technology industry and how that effects student reading, attentions were brought into how much business and politics played a hand into education.
     Watters (2014) firsts discusses the business side where investments in education-technology companies were higher than $559 million in just the first quarter.  She discusses how this impacts companies that deal with education children in the K-12 format, to college levels, and even professional education.  This is not limited to curriculum based companies.  However, Watters (2014) points out that it is a growing market, regardless.  The reason for this large number ranges from hardware (devices) to software (cloud storage).
     The politics side also had some interesting points.  Strongly focusing on the introduction of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) she points out how schools will be required to purchase aligned materials, such as textbooks and assessment pieces, however, these things can be purchased digitally and that is also a plus in the dollars of tech-ed.  Common Core will also require online assessments which will increase hardware purchasing.  The most interesting piece however, in the political side seems to be the rationale for buying all this technology and equipment in favor of something like CCSS which will prove to make students learn more and to do it faster and better (Watters, 2014).  Because of this CCSS is considered a bonus in the world of ed-tech.
     It seems that reading tends to take a back seat when dispersing funds.  With money going to CC and, because of that, math programs, literacy software seems to be lacking.  CC focuses most of the literary power to the Lexile Framework.  A program which measures text complexity, Lexile tends to be used to lead students away from books because it may be below or above their level.  Many have found this to be disparaging to readers, especially since a recent article by Blaine Greteman from The University of Iowa pointed out that the Lexile Framework has Slaughterhouse Five as less complex than Mr. Popper's Penguins (Watters, 2014).
     Even more frustrating is how is still used and valued.  Because of this, software design will use algorithms and numbers to give reading assignments to students instead of using "human-based recommendations" (Watters, 2014) This will also steer them away from what may interest them and lead them to what the computer thinks they can handle, regardless of content.  
     The questions is brought up as librarians, how do we work with this and realize that the decisions being made are not always what is best for the students but what is profitable.

     This article fascinated me.  Not because I fear that technology and reading don't mix, but because I am always surprised at how people just jump on a bandwagon without really thinking things through.  I always have arguments about how we need to see if things are really working for our students before we just jump and buy the program, because at the end of the day, these companies just want to make money.  The Lexile Framework is a great example of this.  I hate this program.  Very much.  Not because I don't think it provides a good starting point, especially for lower level readers, but because it is always used incorrectly.  It is seen as the final word, the bible of decisions and that is where the problem is.  The article had a great example, but that is just the beginning.  It happens with many books.  Of Mice and Men has a lower lexile than Twilight.  Because Lexile has no reference for content.  That is where the needs of human interaction come into play.  I know that I can give my 7th grade reader, who may be struggling with complex sentences, Twilight because the interest will push her and the content is easy to follow so the only struggle will be the wording.  If I give this same reader Of Mice and Men, she won't even try and I have failed her.  
     The fact that so much money goes into things that are not really working and that so many oft hem are mandated by the state is very frustrating.  However, what is the most frustrating of all is when smart, educated people follow it blindly.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Journal Reflection #1

Ray, M. (2014). Follow the classrooms' lead. School Library Journal, 60(6), 24-n/a.

     In follow the classroom's lead self-directed student activities are brought into focus.  Looking at everything the students are doing and seeing how the library can strengthen those goals brings great opportunities for collaboration and creative instruction.
     An important piece of a 1:1 classroom was how information literacy and problem solving are one and the same.  Students are constantly doing research to solve many of the problems that the past would have had a teacher regurgitating the information.  Students are now free to explore, discover, collaborate, and research, but how can they properly research if they are never taught how?  Once a library skill, this is now an everyday classroom skill.  How do we get students to understand something they find online is credible, accurate, or objective?  How do we get them to analyze the information and make sure that the source is reliable?  This is where the need for information literacy becomes vital.  Having students research on their own and take accountability for their learning is key.
     Ray (2014) also focuses on another way to work with self-direction; having student centers that focus on the use of collaboration.  Technology driven tools such as google drive and edmodo make that possible.  However, we can't underestimate the use of pods of desks, paper, and the ability to communicate.  Librarians need to be experts on all of these matters and if students are using technology tools to collaborate, then the library needs to be ready to support what is happening in the classroom.
     With the use of 1:1, Ray (2014) points out that libraries need to be where the patrons are, not where they once were.  This is important to remember, so we can grow with our students.

     This article really hit home with me on many pieces.  I am always looking at how the library can stay relevant, when so many things are happening in the classroom that I should be a part of.  I can't be everywhere, but it is crucial that books and information literacy are at the forefront of where I need to be.  I see kids doing research on google and taking everything at face value.  I also see teachers doing it.  The need for proper website evaluation is a constant need that I am always addressing in and out of the classroom.  I want students to be information literate and be able to search databases, use the library catalog, and search website for research and to do it seamlessly, so it does not interrupt their learning.  It should be second nature at the point of middle school.  Taking ownership of their learning is key to the way I teach.  I was always the classroom teacher who made the assignment as long as it needed to be to get the job done!  However, I hope that made them think differently about why they were the work.
     I strive everyday to make my library a warm, inviting place to learn and ask questions.  I try to make students feel that there is something there for everyone, even the non-readers.  The library is so much more than a place for books.  It is a place to learn.  By book, collaboration, or technology based; it is a place to learn and hopefully learn to learn.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A New Hope

I wasn't really ready for another master's program.  I was kind of content where I was and with what I had.  However, some opportunities are too good to pass up.  A cohort.  In my building.  On technology.  With some great people.  Sure, I don't mind paying student loans until I die, sign me up!  This journey should be an interesting one.  I'm excited, hopeful, and already tired thinking about it!  Here I am.

And yes, that is a Star Wars reference.