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

Posts tagged ‘social media’

Intellectual Freedom & Online Safety

From “Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” – ALA

“Prohibiting children and young adults from using social networking sites does not teach safe behavior and leaves youth without the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their privacy or engage in responsible speech.  Instead of restricting or denying access to the Internet, librarians and teachers should educate minors to participate responsibly, ethically, and safely.”

This statement, I feel, was the clearest and most undramatic that emerged from this week’s IST 611 readings. I particularly appreciate the effort ALA makes to ensure that their guidelines and suggestions apply to librarians and teachers while preserving the right of parents to make the best choice for their child.

One of the questions posed to use this week is:
How important should / will the teacher-librarian be in providing the additional educational component required of CIPA?

The educational component referred to is as such, “The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act directs E-rate applicants to also certify that their CIPA-required Internet safety policies provide for the education of students regarding appropriate online behavior including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and regarding cyberbullying awareness and response.” More information on this revision is available via the Federal Communication Commission 11-125 Report.

What do I conclude based on the above two readings (and numerous others which I shan’t direct you to)? Not only should we be educating our students, as school librarians, in how to act and conduct ourselves on social media, social networks, chat rooms, and other corners of the wide Internet space, but we must do so.

Classroom teachers are often strapped to get through the curriculum within the school year. The additional burden of the Common Core standards implementation is time-consuming and most likely to be a long process for many teachers. In the meantime, and continuing through, we have an opportunity to teach students (as demanded above) in conjunction with our belief in intellectual freedom, our knowledge of information fluency skills and societal demands upon today’s students, and the immediacy with which we must approach our students and begin teaching not only appropriate behavior, but appropriate and useful applications.

What do you think? Do we have time in our school day to accomplish this? Will we be supported if we do? I, personally, think we’re in a great position to take on this role – assuming we find the time to do so.


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!

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!

A few thoughts on: Twitter for Organizations

I’ll be the first person to admit that I can be a luddite. However, I’m a luddite in my personal life. I’m fully aware that my profession demands that I not only keep up to date on technology, but embrace those technologies which have been proven — or perhaps need to be tested — in the education and information fields. I promise you I get that. But in my personal life… well, I’m one of those people who thinks that it isn’t a real vacation if you have to drag your phone and computer along to get work done. Wanna take your phone so you can communicate with people? Cool. Wanna take your laptop so you can write blogposts in airports at 5 AM? Cool – been there done that. But I really don’t like the idea of technology becoming an appendage instead of a tool… in my personal life.

This is the look on my face while trying to use an iPad. It was February last year, hence the amazingly deliciously green Shammy Shake at my side. But yeah, I'm not known for my iPad skillz.

This is the look on my face while trying to use an iPad. It was February last year, hence the amazingly deliciously green Shammy Shake at my side.
But yeah, I’m not known for my iPad skillz.

That said, I’m taking IST 611: Information Technology in Educational Organizations this semester. So far, it’s been both interesting AND informative. I’m interacting with new things I’ve never heard of – Stixy, anyone? – and testing/analyzing tech that is still in beta mode. Fun! But… I might have a comment to make, and that’s this: I’d much rather experiment with technology to learn it, as opposed to read about it. That’s probably surprising if you know me well — I love reading before doing — but not when it comes to tech. If I’m going to spend an hour or three of my time… I want to emerge with a product – with a satisfactory experience – with a sense of “yes, that’s useful; no, that’s not useful; I’d have to play with it some more before deciding”. For me, reading about technology is just… not that fun.

But I do it anyway. You never know when you’ll read something informative/new/interesting/exciting/mindblowing/mindboggling, after all. A few thoughts on this week’s reading for 611:

When you’re as well-versed in twitter as I am (I have multiple accounts, spanning multiple purposes, and I may have sent upwards of 40,000 tweets at this point) reading about it is almost painful.

  1. The advice to lock/protect your twitter account? Not nearly as cut-and-dry as Linda Braun makes it sound in her article. Perhaps with time (there’s no date on the article) she has changed her mind. My advice, however, would be to have an open account especially if you’re using it to represent your organization or school library. Nothing says “open and accessible” like a protected twitter account! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
  2. But why that advice? Because thus: if your account is open, anyone can go to and read all your tweets. If your account is locked, they need to create their own twitter account (which requires giving personal information) just to request to read your tweets. Is what you’re saying that personal that the thought of it being accessible bothers you immensely? If so, I’d recommend…
  3. Have a twitter account for your organization/library/etc that you use to speak personally and professionally. Respond to questions the way a human responds, for goodness sake! But keep a separate account for your own personal interests, and if you wish, lock/protect that account. make sense?

If you’re not quite up on twitter yet — or you find it cumbersome/too complex/etc — just try to spend some time every day using it. Download a twitter app like Tweetdeck or Janetter or HootSuite, and spend a little time just getting comfortable with it. Your organization/future library may not need a twitter account… but if they do, you can get to work immediately setting it up or taking over the existing account!

One last note: if you want to see how some organizations use twitter incredibly well to share information and handle questions/requests/inquiries/comments, look at:

Wegmans Food Markets on Twitter. Hands down, best example I can give you.

Check out your favorite sports network – The NHL or MLB, maybe?

If you’d prefer to read, pick up a copy of “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk who tweets as GaryVee. Reading that book changed how I approach my relationships especially on the internet and social media… as well as just how I interact with people. You won’t regret it!

On that note, I’m off to read the Junco, Heigerbert, and Loken piece on “The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and Grades”. I’m certain I’ll have something to say on this later… 🙂