in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Archive for February, 2013

A Few Thoughts On: Digital Footprints

We all know digital footprints exist. We all have one. Whether you’re reading this blog from your phone, or from a public access computer in a library, you have a digital footprint. That’s not the question.

Here’s the question:
what image does your digital footprint create of you? Think of each link, image, post, etc., that’s linked to your name… does it make an accurate representation of you? Does it disguise who you really are? If you want people to find certain things — are they? If you don’t want people to find certain things — do they?

So often the focus of discussions on digital footprint focuses on, hide the bad stuff, highlight the good stuff, and hope it all ends up seemingly neutral! Excuse me for a moment, but… how absolutely ridiculous. The internet doesn’t care if you look good, bad, ugly, or neutral. How you appear is partly your responsibility… and partly the work of search engine optimization and different search terms.

I’m teaching a few classes this week on digital citizenship, particularly in regards to creating and curating a digital footprint. Don’t let IT create YOU. Our focus is going to be on ways that we can creative a positive footprint. What do I mean by that? I mean, leaving imprints in places we want to be imprinted.

Create a blog. Share your work with an audience outside your classmates. Share your photography on Flickr, and learn about different licensing agreements and how you can share (or not share!) and remix (or not remix)! Set up a GoogleSite for yourself, or build a portfolio. The list goes on. And so there’s a sneak peek into my week!

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To Blog Or Not To Blog (In Schmedia Land)

Imagine that you are designing a web site for your library (this will be an actual task in Assignment #2 so this is a good time to start thinking about it). Reflect on how a blog might be a tool you could use to support the library program. Would it be a blog of your own? Or one that involved students? Some combination? What aspects of the Common Core State Standards and the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner might your blog address? If you choose this topic for reflection, please post to your blog and return to this thread to let us know it is ready; include the link.

If a blog is going to be part of the library website, I think the two should be integrated. What do I mean by ‘integrated’? I mean that snippets of blogposts should appear on the homepage of the website, to entice viewers to click through and read more. I mean that some of the time, the blogposts should redirect readers to important/new/updated/useful information on the website itself. Having a blog that isn’t in any way linked to what is going on in the library or the digital library presence is a no-go!

Whether the blog would be student-curated, librarian-curated, or curated by a combination of people, would rely on a few important things that have come to mind.
1.) The age-level of the students in the school. Can they help, or no?
2.) The time needed to maintain the blog. Is it going to be a source of news, or a constantly-updated place to share information of all sorts? What is the purpose of the blog? Who is the intended audience? What informational needs do they have, that will be served by the curation of a blog?

To be honest, I wouldn’t start or begin implementing a blog into my library program until these concerns and questions had been addressed, analyzed, and answered. Building a blog audience is difficult. Starting from scratch – ALSO difficult. Managing your time in regards to blogging – difficult. Finding the mental wherewithal to write things that other people might find interesting. (See also: preaching to the choir is easy; who are you preaching to?)

I think, in a high school setting where I felt I had the necessary support from both the school system and my students and teachers, I would implement a blog as a necessary and vital component of my digital library presence. I would most likely take on the task of sharing news and important information (like, yo, new databases! Check ’em out! or perhaps something slightly more professional). If I could, I would build a blog team of several students to help me out in this endeavor. If the numbers of students I see taking multiple high schools is any indication, they might have some free time.

The benefits for my student blog team:

  • diversity of perspectives. Maybe a 9th grade student wants to share what’s going in class and how they’re using the learning commons, a vastly different experience from a 12th graders.
  • an opportunity for the students to collaborate with those they wouldn’t normally encounter during the school experience. (Oh hey, AASL standard 1.1.9: Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding. and responsibility 1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community.)
  • a voice and platform that the students can use to announce “I learned this awesome stuff and here’s how it relates to you, whoever you are, blog reader!” (Check it out. AASL responsibility 2.3.1 asks our students to Connect understanding to the real world. And AASL skill standard 3.1.5 asks them to Connect learning to community issues.)
  • Blogging, especially on a public platform accessible through the learning commons website and available via RSS subscription, allows students to “Contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community.” (Go figure. That’s AASL responsibility 3.3.5.)
  • My students would demonstrate an ability to –> “Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.” (AASL 4.1.7, conveniently enough.)

If it isn’t enough for you…

Common Core, Reading Informational Texts, Standard 6, Grades 9/10:
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.

Common Core, Speaking and Listening, Standard 5, Grades 9/10:
Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

So yes, I think I’d like to have a student blogging team regularly writing under my supervision and direction in the library. Will that happen? See the caveats above; I can’t necessarily predict everything!

What about you?
Blog with reckless abandon? Ban blogging? Thoughts?

Someone Convince Me That Goodreads is…Fun.

Here’s the thing, I’m not a technology hater!  I am occasionally a late-adopter. (Okay, all the time). I use a cell phone that doesn’t even have voicemail capabilities, though I’ve realized that’s a little problematic…but haven’t decided to do anything about it. Yet. So, taking IST 611 is really good for me because not only am I being exposed to new technologies, I’m being re-exposed to technologies that I’ve tried and found wanting. I’m a harsh critic, or something.

We’re talking about social bookmarking this week. Diigo, Delicious, and Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing. I have tried a few of these. I have an account on Goodreads, which I created of my own volition and an account on Shelfari that I created under compulsion. I’m not particularly drawn to either of them. A few quick reasons why I’m just not feeling it:

  • I don’t really care what other people think of my reading choices.
  • I’d rather discuss reading, literature, or interests in person, not on a social network with random strangers. (Ignore the part where this contradicts my like of twitter. Twitter is for ALL subjects, I justify…)
  • I read because… I want to read. Not because I want to necessarily talk about reading. Reading is, occasionally, my escape from people.

Now. That’s a pretty limited list. Your job, dear blog reader, is to convince me that Goodreads/Shelfari/LibraryThing is useful and FUN. Because I’ve tried, time and again, and just not found the ‘fun’ factor. Is the fun factor something I’m missing? Or is it that the social network/social tagging/crowdsourced talk-about-what-we’re-reading stuff just isn’t that great to begin with?

Tell me your experiences. Convince me!