Watch, Listen, Learn, and Think: Henry Jenkins and Michael Wesch

The TEDxNYED videos are now up on YouTube—this event featured a stellar lineup of innovative minds of relevance to all librarians and educators, but I want to spotlight two of my favorites here:  Henry Jenkins and Michael Wesch.   Wesch, a significant source of inspiration for me in the last year, and Henry Jenkins, of whom I’ve been a fan for nearly two years but whom I am now inhaling after participating in his free webinar last week (which you can watch here by accessing the archives page), are more than worth your time, so check out their talks from March 2010.

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What Makes a Library a Library? Teens Share Their Musings

Yesterday, I was moved by Sarah Houghton-Jan’s post in which she asked, “What makes a library a library?”  I am in the process of collecting responses from librarians near and far, but I also felt it was important to throw this question out to my teens and hear their thoughts.  In this first volume of responses, I found it fascinating these eleven students primarily focused on relationships, experiences, atmosphere, and library as place.  I will be collecting additional responses tomorrow and sharing those via video as well.

I’m also working on pulling together the responses from my adults peers near and far; I’m looking forward to seeing how their responses may either mirror and/or differ from the teens’ responses!

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Advocacy and Assessment via Flip Video

On Thursday I finally launched my project of using my Flip video camera to be a significant tool in my advocacy and assessment toolboxes.  I would like to upgrade the new second generation Flip Mino HD camera, but for now, my first generation model is an easy to use and effective means for capturing student data for advocacy and assessment purposes.

How can you use the Flip video to advocate and assess in your library?  Here are just a few of the planned uses I have on my agenda:

  • gathering verbal feedback on library services and program design elements that students like or dislike
  • collecting suggestions for improving library services and programs
  • capturing student thinking and reflection
  • documenting students’ thinking processes as they work on collaborative projects in the library
  • celebrations of learning activities in the library
  • celebrations of library events

I invite you to check out my fledgling YouTube Channel for The Unquiet Library that I plan to “grow” in the next few months!  If you have ideas or suggestions for using video as a tool for advocacy and/or assessment, please share your ideas here on the blog!

http://www.youtube.com/user/theunquietlibrary#p/a

YouTube – theunquietlibrary’s Channel via kwout

Here are a few of the videos I captured today:

Love at First Sight: The New GALILEO Toolbar

If you haven’t heard about the new GALILEO toolbar, go and get your toolbar.  NOW!  This is one of the most exciting additions to our GALILEO toobox, and I think it is one that will pump up student usage of what GALILEO has to offer. After watching the YouTube video last week and then seeing Courtney McGough’s fabulous presentation at GALILEO Gold, I am ready to have my tech guys roll out this add-on to give our students and teachers an easy entry point to GALILEO.

If you go to the GALILEO presentations page, you will see two PowerPoints.  The first one is for you as a librarian; the second one is for use with your teachers and students.   You can also download an instructional/informational PDF handout by clicking here.

You can download the toolbar for your institution by going to this page:  http://www.galileo.usg.edu/scholar/databases/libx/?Welcome .  You will need to sign in with your institution’s GALILEO password to get the version for your district.

A few things to know:

  • The add-on will work for Firefox or Internet Explorer—just pick the option that works for the browser you use.
  • You cannot install the institution for multiple institutions  in one browser.  For example, if you are a teacher in Cherokee County and a graduate student at UGA, you must choose which toolbar you want for a particular browser.  However, you could run one toobar in one browser (for instance, Cherokee County in Explorer) and the second institution in another (UGA toolbar in Firefox).
  • Changes can be made to the menu (for example, if you wanted to have NoveList or Academic Search Complete added), but your district must agree—all users within your district would see the changes, not your individual school.
  • You can highlight text in something like a Wikipedia article or Amazon page; right click, and you can then search for the highlighted term or author’s name in the GALILEO database of your choice!
    galileo-toolbar
  • You can adjust settings for your toolbar by location; see your district network guru for assistance with this task.  You would want to customize it with your network administrator before it is pushed out via an image or login script.
  • Additional help options and information are available at http://www.galileo.usg.edu/scholar/databases/libx/?Welcome .

Integrating Social Media as Authoritative Information into Research Pathfinders

*This is a cross-post of an entry I wrote for the AASL blog, July 1, 2009*



The role of social media in reporting the events in Iran in recent weeks has highlighted the increasing role of emerging sources of authority and provides some authentic opportunities to engage in rich conversations with students and teachers about evaluation of information sources.   We are hearing more dialogue and a call for school districts to relax filter restrictions so that students may access social media resources like podcasts, blogs, Twitter, and YouTube.   Even mainstream media like CBS News and Time magazine are recognizing the role that social media networks like YouTube/CitizenTube and Twitter are playing in the reporting of news events and how that reporting is impacting the world event itself.  Clay Shirky illustrates this idea with razor sharp clarity in his TED Talk about the impact of social media on world events.

As we forge this brave new world of social scholarship, students and teachers will look to us for guidance in selecting and evaluating social media as valid sources of information.   In recent months, I have increasingly turned to nontraditional sources of information to use in conjunction with traditional authoritative sources to provide students a balanced research pathfinder.

Podcasts can provide valuable and timely information about a research topic.   The Library of Congress just announced this past Tuesday the debut of their iTunesU site which includes videos and podcasts.   I have also found that most podcasts I find in iTunes are available on the web with a RSS feed you can use so that if students are unable to access iTunes at school, then they can still access the podcasts via the web.    Here are some example of pathfinders I’ve created that utilize podcasts:

In the collaborative research pathfinder I’m designing with Dr. Robert Fernekes, Associate Professor and Information Services Librarian at Georgia Southern University, we created an entire tab of podcasts for our Business studies pathfinder page. By searching the Business Podcasts at iTunes, I was able to find podcasts to use; in the pathfinder, we elected to use the web-based feed for the podcasts rather than the specific iTunes links since not all students may have iTunes installed on their computers, but you can  easily include the link iTunes link if desired.  Even if you don’t link to the iTunes version of the podcast, iTunes is a great “search engine” for finding popular and quality podcasts in a particular topic.  iTunesU is also a great resource for quality podcasts (and videocasts, too)—I encourage you to explore the quality resources available.

Blogs can be another source of information and rich dialogue.  Although many blogs do have an obvious bias, a wealth of blogs reflect the thoughts, analysis, and reflections of experts in the field.  Just as we teach students to evaluate print and web resources, we can also scaffold students’ skills in evaluating social media.  This rubric and set of evaluation questions from Joyce Valenza provide librarians the teaching tools to evaluate the validity of the information in a blog.  Here are two examples  in which I incorporated blogs as valid sources of information:

  • In our Business Resources pathfinder, Dr. Fernekes and I scoured the “blog” section of favorite and frequently used business publications.  In addition, I looked at lists of “top business” blogs from reputable websites to find additional blogs to add to the mix.
  • In my Iran Election 2009 pathfinder, I incorporated blogs from reputable journalists as well as Iranian bloggers recommended by newspapers like The Washington Post; Mashable and the Read Write Web websites also provided suggestions for blogs to follow for first-hand accounts of the events in Tehran.

Twitter has received an incredible amount of attention lately for its role in the Iran Elections and protests of 2009.  Thanks to other librarians and educators in my personal learning network as well as The Washington Post, Mashable, and Read Write Web, I incorporated Twitter feeds from reputable journalists such as Ann Curry (NBC) and Lara Setrakian (ABC)  into my Iran Elections/Protests pathfinder; I also incorporated a Twitter feed from Tehran Bureau as well as a RSS feed for a saved search of the Twitter hashtag #Iranelection.  In our Business Resources pathfinder, Dr. Fernekes and I included Twitter RSS feeds from reputable publications such as Wall Street Journal as well as media outlets such as CNN Money.  Earlier this year, I included a Twitter feed from CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta the CDC Twitter account as part of my Swine Flu pathfinder.

Video is becoming an increasingly important medium and can be a great “hook” to get students’ interest in a topic.  I have used YouTube videos and videos from sources such as CNN,  CBS News, and ABC News  in pathfinders on Iran, Piracy and Somalia, Paris travel, Swine FluGun Control , Threats to Brazil’s Rain Forests ,  the Peanut Butter-Salmonella recall, and White House and Congress 2.0.  Videos are an essential source of information in my bookmarks  for my Veterans’ Issues research pathfinder.

I also included a saved video search of videos as well as a RSS feed from the CitizenTube video blog in my Iran Elections pathfinder.   In our Business Resources pathfinder, we have included video feed from MSNBC and a feed for the videocasts from The Economist.

Google Map mashups are another exciting new medium for illustrating information.  In my Iran Election/Protests 2009 pathfinder, I included a Google Maps  mashup featuring embassies accepting injured protesters.  My Swine Flu pathfinder includes a striking Google Maps mashup that illustrates the number of confirmed Swine flu/H1Ni1 cases.  For more ideas and resources on how to find and integrate Google Maps mashups into your research pathfinders, check out my bookmarks on Google Maps mashups.

As social scholarship continues to evolve, I feel it is imperative librarians tap into the power of social media and social networks for accessing, organizing, sharing, creating, and embedding information.  The use of social media as authoritative information reflects one of the common beliefs of the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners:

The definition of information literacy has become more complex as esources and technologies have changed.  Information literacy has progressed from the simple definition of using reference resources to find information.   Multiple literacies, including digital, visual, textual, and technological, have now joined information literacy as crucial skills for this century.

Although these Social Networking Literacy Competencies are geared toward public and academic librarians, I feel they are competencies we must master as school librarians to prepare our students to be skilled lifelong learners in what is now an ever shifting landscape of information.  By incorporating social media and social networks as sources of information and as tools for learning, we can help our students master skill 4.1.7, “Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.”

These AASL standards are also supported by the use of social media as authoritative information:

  • 1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.
  • 1.1.7 Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias.
  • 1.2.4 Maintain a critical stance by questioning the validity and accuracy of all information.

By using both traditional and emerging sources of authoritative information, we can provide our students a broader menu of information sources for exploration and to ignite learning through research.  If you are interested in more readings on social scholarship, please check out my bookmarked resources. If you have examples of how you are using social media as an information source in your research pathfinders, please post them here to expand our concept how we can integrate social media as an authoritative information source.

Buffy Hamilton, School Library Media Specialist
Creekview High School
Canton, GA