getting ready for China

Posted on 12 June, 2007 in Alaska,China,Personal by robint

Yes, I’m off to China in a couple of weeks. I intend to use the blog to share my travels before, during and after the trip. I’ll be participating in a study tour through NCTA- Unversity of Washington and the Freeman Foundation. 18 teachers and 4 group leaders. We will be visiting Beijing, a few other places, Lhasa and Shanghai. Among the many cultural opportunities we will also be visiting schools. I hope to make some contacts on the trip and set up some kind joint project with students this year. So, this site will transform a little to include info on Alaska and China.

CBC News In Depth: Technology

Posted on 18 March, 2007 in blogs,School,Teaching by robint

CBC News In Depth: Technology

Not sure how I ended up at this article- clicking through numerous blogs this morning…

Some great examples of how teachers are reaching for global participation in local classrooms.  At least that’s what impressed me.  Yes, there is a lot of tech talk that I would have to research to understand- or students could.  I like the idea of students using a blog to submit a daily summary of class learning using any format they wish.  Let the students find, learn and share all of the incredible new- free tools out there!

NEA: March 2007 NEA Today – Podcasting the 1600s

Posted on 11 March, 2007 in Library,Teaching,technology by robint

NEA: March 2007 NEA Today – Podcasting the 1600s

Every once in a while NEA picks up some great features. This one is just what I have been looking for… without taking the time to look. I’ve wanted to do podcasts with teachers/students, have it all setup ready to go, and no takers. So, I need to put together some demos right. Well, that is where everything comes to a stop, because I just don’t get to it.

This NEA article will serve as a great intro to teachers and, the connecting article from Will Richardson with tips on podcasts is a lead to step 2.

I already have Richardson’s book Blogs, Podcasts and Wikis- so everything is in place.

I think my pitch should be – “Engergize your end of year projects and keep kids motivated through those glorius May days!”

Another article I’ve found recently gives some other tips…

Interestingly, this article led to another by Stuart Glogoff, who introduced me to blogging 4-5 years ago. I love all the connections!  This article focuses mostly on college level instruction using blogs, but has some great examples and results from surveys that support the dynamic results that blogging can bring.  (You do have to join the free website to read the article)

January 2007: Why Johnny Cant Search

Posted on 29 January, 2007 in Internet,School,Teaching by robint

January 2007: Why Johnny Cant Search

I was glad to read this article by Joseph Janes in American Libraries this month, not because it is a good thing, but gives me support and ammunition when trying to get teachers to allow time before beginning research to review evaluating websites with students.

Too often teachers plan projects with no time for IL instruction built in. This year I tried to teach some “stand-alone” lessons and always get the dreaded question- Why are we doing this? or Is this graded? When I can connect with actual research projects the success is usually pretty good.

It seems that every year I try a new approach, so I like the criteria used in the ETS test described by Janes, “objectivity, authority, and timelines.” These three cover the basics and fit for the 8th graders preparing for debates on stem-cell research. They are really into the topic and will be a great project.

As many students are- they think they know everything about searching already, but a comment from a top student gave me faith that I still need to teach…

“Ms. Turk I found a great site. It has a lot of information I need and it supports my point of view.”

“Great! What is the site? Where is it from?”

“Oh- It’s from Google.”

ALA | Filter-Savvy Students Barred from Most of Web

Posted on 13 November, 2006 in Internet,Library by robint

ALA | Filter-Savvy Students Barred from Most of Web

Yes, this is the place I work.   I have spent the last two months working many extra hours, like most librarians do, helping teachers, planning, collaborating, running book fairs, and all the other stuff we do. This one hit is in the face.

Not as the article implies-librarians had no voice or input into the decision to restrict Internet access for students.  I personally had a 1/2 day notice before the restrictions were announced to principals.  Most had no advance notice.  Librarians were not ever even close to consulted.

The full restrictions only lasted two days.  The plan was to block all sites for students and only open sites on the firewall requested by teachers.  This quickly overloaded the server, and the district is now working on a new solution with our local phone company.  Things seem pretty spotty right now some websites work and others are blocked. 

Frustrations are high and communication is low.  We have no district librarian, so we have no official voice.  We work from grass roots and will work through this too.

It seems clear that student abuses (accessing music, videos and -yes-porn) sighted in the news were mostlythe result of students not being supervised, and inadequate implementation of filters or other security options.   The whole thing has sparked quite a conversation between community, students, teachers and the news.  Conversation is always good.  It allows us to see what people are really thinking out there.  Pretty scary! 

 In all the conversation no one mentions librarians and their role in teaching information literacy and collaborating with teachers on projects.  More collborating, more engagement in learning and more integration of various technologies for students so they become motivated learners. 

This problem is not going away, and neither is the need for students to be tech-savvy and information literate. So we will just keep working on it!

CMSreads wiki

Posted on 9 September, 2006 in Thoughts by robint

 Introduced the CMSreads wiki this week.  Only 1-3 students per class had even heard of wikis and that was only Wikipedia.  And then they didn’t know about the wiki part of wikipedia they just thought it was an online encyclopedia! 

 I asked how many had Myspace sites- about half of the class.  next question – Do you know that Myspace is a social network?  about half of the half….  These were all 7th graders.  Next week I’ll see what I get from the 8th.  I was happy I could introduce new techy thing to them-

Anyway, they liked the idea of the wiki as a place where we can all share things we love and don’t love about books and reading.  Students, of course, had lots of suggestions that I incorporated yesterday… I added a Page Turner for their list of favorites, Battle of the Books pages and Young Readers Choice separate from the genre reviews.

 It will be interesting to see how the Battle groups take to the wiki.  I’ve tried a blog with them before and it was hard to navigate back to comments about books.  So I hope the wiki format works a little better.. a lot better : )

I also upgraded to a paid service so I have separate administrator control, and paid yet even more to be able to get stats.  Afterall- it’s all about the data.

Thanks to Judy for sharing the Pacific MS Library Book Blog

High water in Alaska

Posted on 19 August, 2006 in Thoughts by robint

The wonderful mountain river near my house, the Little Su, is  hitting a 30 year high.  The road is closed to Hatcher Pass and it is a walking – biking haven- except for the unending rain!

We biked it today to see the river, and absolutely got hit with a hard blast of rain on our way down.

Here’s a short flckr slide show!

Slashdot: Voyager Passes 100 AU from the Sun

Posted on 19 August, 2006 in technology,Thoughts by robint


Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Wednesday August 16, @04:29PM
from the they-don’t-build-em-like-they-used-to dept.
An anonymous reader writes “Yesterday, Voyager 1 passed 100 astronomical units from the sun as it continues operating after nearly 30 years in space. That is about 15 billion kilometers or 9.3 billion miles as it travels about 1 million miles per day. Scientists still hope it will find the edge of the solar system and get into interstellar space.”
I can kind of wrap my mind around this.  It might be fun to have kids design a scale model and research points on the history of Voyager 1… might look good on the library wall.

blocked sites

Posted on 15 August, 2006 in blogs,technology,Thoughts by robint

another back to school issue.  As Anne Davis writes in her blog we are all faced with continued WWW security (and of course legislation) to block use of social networks such as flickr, furl, MySpace, blogs etc from our schools.

It is good practice to write justifications for our use of such networks as tools for learning and increasing student achievement.  How do we do it safely? How do we know it works?  How do we collect data?  I will have to incorporate answers to these questions into my teacher handouts… and share with admin.  No telling what new sites will be blocked this year. 



new year, new blog

Posted on 15 August, 2006 in blogs,Library,Teaching,Thoughts by robint

Tomorrow is the first work day for teachers.  We have a new principal who was hired in July, and I have not met yet.  There are several new teachers on board, and therefore, several gone.  Personal feelings aside, I am faced with two great collaborators, role models and friends gone.  Fortunately, both have moved to administrative positions where they will be instrumental in advocating for libraries, collaboration, and a research model focusing on the ever thoughtful essential question–and, yes, blogging.

 I suppose I can feel good that I have worked and grown along with these wonderful teachers, and will continue to nurture the collaborative process with our new teachers.

As I prepare to hand out my teacher packet with all the hows and whys of our library service I will have a new section on blogging and the read/write web. 

For the most part this first day will  be busy with getting new teachers settled with overhead projectors, TVs, computers and making those first connections to open the door for collaborating throughout the year. 

While these words are not terribly insightful or remarkable- the fact that I am writing at all is.  As I attempt to use this space for my own professional reflections, on a regular basis, I can’t be worried what other people may think about what I write.  I write for myself.  I blog to learn from my teaching, and to incorporate what I read, hear, and see from the wide world. 

Blogging is a process-the medium.  Through this process I work, learn and reflect, analyze and archive it all.  If I could accomplish the same process through another medium that would be fine too- but blogs sure are the most motivating process for me-ever.

Next Page »