Presentation given at the University of Connecticut Libraries Fall Forum, October 2011; be sure to check out Char’s wonderful and thought-provoking blog post that is a companion piece to her slidedeck.
Read more about Rainie’s keynote on the Internet Librarian 2011 Conference blog.
I’d like to toss out a few general scenarios for you all to consider:
- Students create and organize their own Facebook group for a specific class; the classroom teacher is invited to participate. Should the teacher be the admin of the group, merely a member, or even a participant? And whether or not the teacher is part of the student created class group, should parents be admitted to the group?
- A teacher creates and organizes a class/course Facebook group for students and is the group admin. Parents request to join the group—should they be admitted?
- If a teacher is posting content to a student organized Facebook class group, such as an informal discussion question that is not a graded assignment, is the teacher obligated to cross-post that discussion on the “official” course page?
- If a teacher posts class content (as a member, not an admin) on a student organized Facebook class group, is it reasonable for a parent to assume that once that teacher posts class content in that space, “he/she has changed the nature of the page, and parents should have access”?
- Is it reasonable for parents to equate a teacher moderating or participating in a student course Facebook group with “friending” students?
These scenarios could also be applied to those who may be using circles in Google Plus, Google Groups, or other similar networks. The need for students to have a space they feel they can share information and express themselves openly is an important one; at the same time, transparent structures that encourage and allow for parental participation and involvement are also important. How do we negotiate these tensions while respecting the needs of both teens and parents, particularly when the communication medium is one like Facebook where students gravitate and dwell?
What are your thoughts on these questions? Does your district have any formal policies for teachers in place about the use of social networks like Facebook whether the network is administered by the teacher or not? If you’re utilizing Facebook or comparable social network tools for learning and/or class conversation, what policies or protocols do you observe?
I rarely cross-post articles for reading as a stand-alone post in this space, but I encourage you to read one of the most powerful pieces I’ve read this year and probably one of the most compelling essays I’ve ever read about No Child Left Behind and its legacy.
I hope the generation of teachers and administrators that follows has learned something from the failure of our generation to ward off those determined to destroy public education. We didn’t stand up to be counted, we didn’t stand in the schoolhouse door and tell them they couldn’t do that to our kids, and we didn’t educate the public about what a gigantic failure another one size fits all education policy would be. In the words of that great educator and philosopher Jimmy Buffet: “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”
We have all been left behind.
Will we stand up to Race to the Top? I have seen the negative impact of NCLB on public education and what learning has been reduced to in schools in the last decade; it is genuinely heartbreaking. How will you as a classroom teacher, administrator, or librarian help disrupt the crippling effects of NCLB?
A few weeks ago, I created a video outlining some of the challenges of bookmarking and sharing database sources to services like Tumblr and Scoop.it. After exploring options for exporting database information source bibliographic data to services like EasyBib and NoodleTools for the last two weeks, I realized that not all vendors provide this information (nor is the integrity of the data always flawless—more on that in a future blog post). I thought it might be helpful to create a chart and something visual to compare the features of the databases we use most frequently at The Unquiet Library-–if you use any of these databases, you might find these resources I’ve created helpful as well.
I’m probably most frustrated by the fact that there are huge gaps in the consistency of sharing/citation tools (not to mention the design and organization) across Gale database platforms and that some databases for K12 (like Student Research Center from EBSCOhost) don’t offer ANY of these options for students. It’s difficult to pitch the value of database resources on “authority” alone when the search interfaces and sharing/posting/exporting options are so vastly different and confusing to young learners.
Why does this matter? Take a look at these skills in the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner:
- 1.2.2 Demonstrate confidence and self-direction by making independent choices in the selection of resources and information.
- 3.1 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.
- 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
- 4.1.6 Organize personal knowledge in a way that can be called upon easily.
- 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.
If database platforms aren’t consistent in basic features for sharing, bookmarking, and exporting bibliographic data, students will experience greater difficulty in utilizing these resources as they create personal learning environments and utilize contemporary curation and bookmarking tools (as well as social media tools for reflection and discussion of learning/research experiences). I’m trying to teach our students how to harness the power of tools we have readily available and to be transparent, reflective networked learners, yet the inconsistencies outlined below make that charge much more challenging as we try to teach skills like those from our AASL standards and processes for taking control and responsibility of their learning.
As we try to incorporate these social media and cloud computing tools for organizing information, sharing information, and creating content, we as librarians must be vocal in letting our vendors know our expectations so that the databases can better interface with these tools for learning and navigating and managing the information landscape. What features are missing or are problematic with your favorite databases?