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

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?


Comments on: "To Blog Or Not To Blog (In Schmedia Land)" (5)

  1. Marie I enjoyed reading your blog post on blogging! I agree with you that if you have a blog on your library website, it should be integrated with the website and not apart from it. Leading people to read the blog or to other parts of the site is a good way to advocate for your library and let others know about what’s going on in the library.

    I’m also glad that you brought up the idea of audience. It’s really important to establish who your audience is for your blog (who are you writing to and how should you address them?). The type of language you use and in the information you disseminate through the blog will be dictated by who will be reading it. It would be great of the student bloggers could decide who their audience is because I know that in learning to write, one of the first things they have to decide is audience. This would give them a way to practice their writing skills in a positive and fun way.

    • Thanks for the comment Erin! Definitely some good advice re: student bloggers choosing/determining their audience. Ties in with the idea of blogging as a way for students to test/improve/master their literacy and writing skills.

  2. Marie I also loved reading your post. I love the idea of having students get involved in writing blog posts, given they’re in middle or high school. I know when I was interning with Sue at PGMS her iStaff would write book reviews and submit things that I could easily have seen getting posted to the school blog. In fact she may have done that in the past before I was interning there but the blog had lost some of its steam. I think that’s how I feel about blogging because I was blogging avidly on MySpace back in 2005 and later started my own blog that continued pretty much until just before I started this program. I wonder what’s in store for blogs in the next decade when Web 3.0 hits the edusphere?

    Anyways, I thought your point about analyzing your audience truly hit the head on the nail as far as ensuring you’re blogging with a purpose with an intentional set of goals and objectives. Erin also made a really great point about students analyzing their audience. I think another question that Janie Cowan brought up in her article that I have trouble with is the audience’s involvement? I hate the idea of censoring comments but in a school setting and dependent upon your school/district’s policies this would be something to have to consider. Thanks for sharing the standards that relate to blogging and your entertaining post!

  3. Marilyn Arnone said:

    I love the thoughtful responses you are getting from other students in our class. Oh, and your post was a must read for anyone who is trying to figure out how to plan a blog before going out on a limb and doing it. A good plan will make all the difference. I also appreciated your sharing CCSS that support blogging! The clincher, perhaps?!

    • I was pleasantly surprised how many CCSS I was able to apply to the concept of student blogging, so I figured I’d just share ALL the standards! 🙂

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