Scenes from the Unquiet Library: Four Classes Researching, Learning, and Collaborating

I’m always amazed by how beautifully classes co-exist in our learning space when we max out with four classes.  I thought it would be fun this morning to capture a quick snapshot of what learning looks like at The Unquiet Library—moments like this are the happiest for me here in the library and validate the vision of a learning-centered library.

Your School Library 6th Annual Online Conference–School Library Advocacy: Evidence & Image

http://yourschoollibrary.org/ 

Your School Library via kwout

I’m honored to be one of the virtual presenters for the Your School Library 6th Annual Online Conference!  This virtual conference, which runs March 4-18, 2011, focuses on school library advocacy and ways to make your practice more effective and visible in your learning community.  My session focuses on framing your practice with a lens of participatory librarianship and how that translates into conversations for learning, community building, and ongoing program advocacy.  You can learn more about this virtual learning opportunity and see the outstanding list of presenters (I’m honored to be part of the team!) by clicking on the course information link.

Creating and Sharing Collection Development Lists with Evernote

Evernote is a web-based service that allows you to bookmark your favorite resources and organize those resources into a notebook about a particular topic.   What makes Evernote unique is that you can also import documents, scans, and photos; you can even download the mobile phone app and import photos, text notes, or voice memos.  Like other social bookmarking services, you can add tags and organize your “notes” to your heart’s desire.

While Evernote is not new and many people have found clever and innovative uses for it, I have been half-heartedly fumbling with it for a few months.  I finally decided a week ago to commit more time to playing with it and exploring it so I could decide if this would be a tool not only to add to my personal information management arsenal, but also to decide how I might pilot it with students via library instruction.

My first major project I started this evening is using Evernote for organizing and sharing my Spring-Summer 2010 collection development wish list.  Although I will probably not know until late May or early June what next year’s budget will be (if there is any money from the state), I thought it would be fun and useful to use Evernote to start collecting “clippings” on items I’d like to purchase over the summer.  While I primarily order print materials through Titlewave, those lists are available for public sharing at this time; in addition, I thought it would be cool to use a tool like Evernote not only to share the library “wish” list for print books, but for other purchases as well, such as more Flip video cameras.  By choosing to make my list public, I can share the list via a link or grab the RSS feed and embed that feed in my library blog or Libguides page! [see screenshots below]

Another advantage to Evernote is that I could use my mobile phone app to capture requests on the fly.  For example, I can snap photos of the latest and best-selling titles in the teen section at places like Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or Target and import those book photos into my collection wish list notebook.  It would also be fun to scan in hand-written student requests or even record voice memos from teachers and students for items they might like the library to purchase over the summer.  I hope to hit a bookstore this weekend; if I do, I will make a video and post it here on the blog so you can see me Evernoting away as I add materials I’d like for next year to my list using my Evernote iPhone app.

Of course, what would be super-cool is if there could be a way to import the Evernote notebook into my Titlewave account.  At this time, I don’t think this cloud computing fantasy can come true, but I can always suggest it as an enhancement to both vendors!

I have created a brief 6 minute screencast on how I can use my Google Chrome Evernote extension (this extension is available for other browsers, too) to “clip” webpages and to share my lists publicly.

If you are interested in learning more about Evernote, I recommend their video tutorials page–here you will find helpful and easy to follow tutorials on how to use Evernote.  I’m looking forward to exploring and playing more with Evernote!

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Join Us for an ISTE-SIGMS Webinar: Fighting the Filter

Internet filtering policies are a significant area of concern and frustration for school library media specialists across the country.   How can school library media specialists create a participatory culture of conversation with filtering policy decision makers?   How can we as school library media specialists become a voice of leadership in our efforts to provide equitable access to web-based information sources?  In this webinar, we’ll explore the reasons for the current state of restrictive filtering policies and discuss concrete strategies for effectively challenging and changing filtering policies.

Join us on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 for the ISTE-SIGMS webinar on “Fight the Filter” at 8 pm E.S.T.   Join the discussion before and after the presentation to share your ideas on the pros and cons of Internet filters and what we as school library media specialists can do to provide our students access to the services and information they need to be successful 21st century learners.

You might want to look at the following websites for additional background information:

http://www.isteconnects.org/2009/06/04/what-does-internet-blocking-…
http://unmaskdigitaltruth.pbworks.com/
http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statementspols/statemen…
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/cipaandschoollib/…
http://www.ncsl.org/IssuesResearch/TelecommunicationsInformationTec…

Use the following questions as a starting point for your response to the discussion:

  • Does your school or district utilize an Internet filter?
  • What do you consider the pros of the filter?
  • What do you consider the cons of the filter?
  • Do you ever need to find ways to work around the filters? How do you do this?
  • What do you think are the best ways to balance Internet safety for our students while protecting our Freedom of Speech?

Then join the webinar on January 13, 2010 at 8 pm E.S.T.!  Directions to join the SIGMS webinar event:
1. Check that your computer is set up for Adobe Connect by visiting
Adobe Connect Pro Connection Test
2. Use this URL to enter the webinar room 10 – 15 minutes before
starting time: http://Montgomery.na4.acrobat.com/SIGMS
4. Here is a link to a Visual Quick Start guide (pdf) to help you if this is your first webinar event.

Extensions Come to Google Chrome

https://chrome.google.com/extensions

Google Chrome Extensions via kwout

I started using Google Chrome as one of my browsers in August as a way of accessing and using my Google toolbelt my efficiently, but I have come to love it as much as Firefox this autumn.  However, until now, Chrome did not offer the myriad of extensions.    While I am sure there will be tweaks to these extensions as they receive feedback from users, I am excited by the possibilities because Chrome is such a fast, stable, and clean browser.  I am especially excited to see the Diigo bookmark extension (not as good as the one designed by Diigo for Firefox but better than nothing) and theShareaholic extensions; I’m also intrigued by the Google Quick Scroll extension and how students might possibly use this tool for information skimming and scanning.  Other fun extensions include NPR News, Music, and Books as well as the Picnik photo editing extension. If you are playing with Google Wave like I am, you will also want to test drive the Google Wave extension to monitor your waves.

After showing the browser to my Media 21 students earlier this semester, many installed it home and report that they love its sleek look and lightning fast performance.   I will be sharing the apps information with them in class this week as I feel confident some will want to experiment and play with these new extensions, too.

If you have not tried Google Chrome, I encourage you to check it out.  If you are heavy user of Google Apps, I especially recommend it as the Google Apps, as you might expect, live more happily in this browser space.

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