Watch this Stephen Colbert spot about the recent Texas take on critical thinking.


See on Scoop.itJFKS HS School Library

Keith Ferrell (@k_ferrell on Twitter) is an educational technology coach at Singapore American School.


A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2011-12 school year, and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here is a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of personal preference or coolness.

Happy summer!

See on www.edutopia.org

Hello Fellow LSC597ers!

We are indeed coming to the end of the semester, and many of us are coming to the end of our time at URI. Wow. It went fast. Thank you to everyone for many enjoyable posts, discussions, links, ideas and well wishing.

Here are some of my thoughts on the course, on social media, on blogging and what comes next- my opinions, naturally, and not necessarily very sensible ones!

1. The course: I think a component addressing the use of social media tools in the library belongs in the core courses, and its curriculum has to stay current with developments. Whether the topic needs to be a stand alone course like 597 (a class I have really felt has made an impact on my ability to use social media, and probably one of the most useful courses I’ve taken to improve my repertoire of skills!) or whether it should be part of 502 or 508 is moot. It  probably depends very much on the realities of budget and faculty capacity, but I do think it’s vital to address  SMNs and communication/marketing/PR etc.  Maybe it will naturally evolve as a part of many courses because the students and instructors of the next years will automatically use 2.0- and-beyond tools in every aspect of their daily lives.

2. The Library 2.0 /Social Media Tools: I want to blaspheme here, thinking of Ranganathan’s five laws. Just substitute “Social Media Tool” for “Book(s)” and sometimes “user” for “reader” in 1-4 and 5 stays the same:

  1. Books/SMTs are for use.
  2. Every reader/user his [or her] book/SMT.
  3. Every book/SMT its reader/user.
  4. Save the time of the reader/user.
  5. The library is a growing organism.

I bet that’s not an original thought. In fact, I wonder if we haven’t read something of the sort over the course of the semester.

That leads me to another problem, whether exclusive to me or shared I don’t really know, though there is plenty written about superficial reading and clicking in search behavior. I do not absorb information as well when I am flipping back and forth through lots of online reading with hyperlinks to ever more information. Unfortunately, I find that is how I often approach blogs and the linked reading from tweets. Yes, I have developed all sorts of nifty ways to “hold that thought” by tags, bookmarks etc. using Diigo, Evernote and “Read It Later” (my three remaining favorites after much trial and exploration) but it still leaves me feeling fuzzy brained. I return to Ranganathan # 4.

Onward with musings and opinions: I was surprised how effective Facebook has been for interactive discussions in a closed group. I found we were more coherently communicative there than through tweets and blogs. Is it the layout of comments cascading down from the original post? Dunno, but something seemed to work better, and not just for me by the look of it. Twitter is great for quick “pass it on” messages. Really, far the most effective tool in that way, but I find it too disjointed for following a thread, even if using a hashtag.

The future: I think it makes tremendous sense for libraries to assess their unique communities for which traditional and social media communication tools are prevalent. They should build their marketing based on those conduits. This will probably vary considerably in different communities. Whatever the form, 2.0 tools should be integrated in the library web presence.

For me personally, I’ll be continuing at least a blog, linked to my reading (probably Library Thing rather than shelfari because Library Thing will show German libraries too) and my Pinterest. We’ll see how far I go from once a week updates. Eventually, I really would like to have an interactive site for students, teachers, parents… I had better start small, though, so it will be a modest little library blog.

Last but not least, I recommend reading at least the Social Network part of Cites & Insights 12:4 (May 2012). It starts on page 33 with discussion and citations from dana boyd on what problems can arise when using social media sites. Boyd has had quite a few issues apparently with Tumblr, e-mail providers, domain names… It’s quite a treat. I haven’t dared follow all the links yet. (Go back to Ranganathan #4 once again. Am I getting too repetitive?)

Alas, I am reluctant to sign off. Thank you all 597ers, and thank you Suellen. It has been an interesting journey!

Second Life

I watch Rheingold a week ago, but wanted to chime in with those who liked the interactive stuff he had on his virtual wall. I also think it would drive me crazy to hold class that way – unless the course goal was to learn how to set up a Second Life alter ego.

About a year ago I saw a documentary about people using Second Life who in reality had severe physical handicaps (paraplegic, multiple Sclerosis). The virtual world gave them an enriching dimension.

I’ve also read some articles recently (Terrance Newell, I think?) about virtual world Information Literacy lessons being more effective than the same lessons given in the physical library.  i think it probably depends on what your learning style is, and what the assigned task is…

Once again, fellow LSC 597ers, I have been away from the blogs for awhile.

I had such a woven fabric of memories and reactions to reading both our own S. Adams’ “The Case for Video Games in the Library” and Shaffer, Squire, Halverson and Gee’s “Video Games and the Future of Learning”. I’ll work from most current to oldest as far as I can. Sometimes I’ll juxtapose.

I take great delight in witnessing the social side of games in my own family. My son and his friends – all recent graduates from one of those ultra geek tech schools- are phenomenal players, balanced with being pretty amazing athletes. (I do worry about the children growing up playing great computer games but never moving around much.)  And Wii is a great favorite at my brother and sister in law’s. There are always two and sometimes three generations interacting.  I am personally hopeless, but it is FUN. I have to say it’s not intellectually challenging though, unlike some of the Warcraft type games those techies play. The biggest challenge of all (not to mention monetary gain) is for the people who MAKE those games. Rensselaer has one of the most successful game engineering degrees in the country, I believe. I had been totally unaware of the existence of such fields until we were looking at colleges with our son back in 2006. Those games teach kids a lot of facts as well as skills. One of my daughter’s favorite CD ROMS was a simulation of the Amazon jungle, and she could rattle off in great detail impressive information about the plight of ecosystems and the individual endangered flora and fauna. She could also calculate just how long the meat she had in Oregon Trail would last a family of four – despite doing less than stellar math in class.

What about when some of us “long in the tooth” types were young? Let’s go for a trip in the WayBack machine. Was our world less rich for being pre video games, online games or even CD ROM simulation games?  Dare I say it…I could describe the interactions of “Twister” in much the same way as Wii: it was social, you had to move a lot and strreetchhh. Hmm, and then there were the endless summer months of playing outside until parents called us in to go to bed (dirty- except we had to wash feet cuz we’d been barefoot). We interacted, ran around strenuously, and developed amazing survival tactics not getting found or caught, and we succeeded in freeing someone else or capturing the flag. I know it isn’t realistic to think that can be a majority lifestyle for children today, I just feel it’s important to remember there was plenty of community building, interaction, mutual support and oh so devious tactical practice going on through all the ages we’ve been around at more than just subsistence/ survival of the fittest level. (The latter, by the way, having a lot to do with games and psychology too.) Our board games were just as exciting, and there were all the facial signals to process, body movements, subtle voice changes that fed us plenty of information about our game opponents.

As for facts versus competencies/skills. If you are old enough and a teacher, you’ll remember, perhaps, Sid Simon, or any number of speakers on the educational convention round talking about how it wasn’t enough to teach facts, we had to prepare our student for a future full of inventions we hadn’t even dreamed of. Well, that was in the 1980’s. The early 1980’s. That is a topic for other blog postings, though. Education is – and has been- abysmally behind the times for, uh, a very long time. Still there is the baby in the bath water that hasn’t been thrown out, either.

I do want to add I’m all for games in libraries and schools. Simulations in school are fantastic, and at least now they don’t take six weeks to complete the way they did when the simulation was a packet of student booklets, dice, situation cards and a wall map to chart your way across the West as a pioneer or across the Atlantic as a discoverer in Columbus’ little flotilla. Long live the Online and computer games, but live long card games, board games and the great outdoors, too!

Elizabeth Stark gives a clear lecture. Well, she might be a bit difficult to follow if you have hearing or auditory processing issues, because she delivers in a clipped, occasionally accelerated voice. Still, I thought this was a good overview of some of the pitfalls of copyright and licensing in an age for which copyright really wasn’t made and very big guns are out there bending the rules to suit their ends.

I understand Adrian’s frustration, given how much of what Stark said was also contained in Doctorow’s “©ontent”, and if you didn’t like reading that, this video might give you the screaming heebie jeebies. The Russian researchers story was directly from Doctorow’s book, for instance. And, like Doctorow, Stark mentions the power that sharing content has to create a wider audience.

And my last crabby comment (I haven’t had my morning coffee) Stark played the “Alice” video just toooo long.

I am sure most of you know this gem? It’s from Eric Faden, a prof at Bucknell and it’s already been around for five years, so you GSLIS crowd (and lawyerlibrarian twice over) all might find it ho-hum. I still get a kick out of it, even if it’s not entirely substantial defense in case “they” come after you!

More after coffee and another day’s work.

My Friend Flickr

Here’s a post I began six days ago. Gee, what happened? Why didn’t I post? Could it be—ZAP—ZAP!, that I’m slightly distracted? Well, now that I’m back on this page, I’ll post.

I don’t use Flickr often, and I’m not much of a photographer myself, but I do love browsing.

Here’s one of my favorites.

I guess I’m naturally more of a lurker on just about any type of social media.  One thing I’ve noticed since we began the class Facebook page, FB is MUCH more conducive to banter and feedback than blogging. Blogging really feels more like broadcasting with little received. FB is dialogue.