Teen Content Creators: Can We Please Ask Them to Do More Than Take Notes and Write Single Paragraphs?

According to the  Pew Internet and American Life Project Teen Content Creators report, the most common form of writing in school is taking notes in class.   Don’t get me wrong–taking notes is a valuable skill to support learning, but it bothers me that this is the dominant form of writing on a daily basis for teens.  If you look at slide eight in the presentation, other forms of writing are identified, including essays, shorter forms of writing, lab reports, creative writing, multimedia, journal writing, notes/letters to others, computer programs, and music/lyrics.

For the last five months, I have been thinking much more about an emphasis on content creation in my library.  In reflecting on the implications  of this report (I encourage you to look at the full report/presentation), these are my initial question:

  • how we can as librarians help support and expand the possibilities for  the traditional forms of writing teens are required to create in school?
  • What kinds of experiences can we provide for them through collaborative projects with teachers as well as independently driven, library initiated learning experiences to nurture, legitimize, and publish other forms of writing?
  • How can we apply the findings of this report to our instructional design in our library programs and our collaboration efforts with classroom teachers?
  • How do these findings inform my efforts to take an inquiry stance on information literacy and to posit transliteracy an essential literacy?

While I feel I have made some forward strides in applying these ideas to my work with my Media 21 project, I know I will be thinking more deeply about these questions and ways to better support and more actively publish multiple and varied forms of content creation from students.

You can view all the reports and research related to teens from the Pew Internet and American Life Project by visiting this portal.  Video and program information from The Power of Youth Voice:  What Kids Learn When They Create With Digital Media, the forum where this report and other related research were shared on November 18, 2009, can be found by visiting this site.

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Fighting the Filter

I am honored today to be presenting virtually via Skype at 4:30 PM to my friend and colleague Amy Kearns and the wonderful librarians of the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative.   We’ll be talking about tips for “fighting the filter” and gaining access to social media for instructional use, information delivery, and content creation.  Please feel free to visit the resource page I’ve created to supplement and support the ideas of the presentation.

If you would like to share your ideas, stories, and strategies for “fighting the filter”, please join us in the conversation and post your thoughts on the blog.

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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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Google Sites Now Offers Site Templates!

http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2009/11/google-sites-offers-templates.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+readwriteweb+%28ReadWriteWeb%29
I am jumping for joy at the latest cool addition to my new favorite tool of the 2009-10 school year:  GoogleSites!  They are now offering pre-designed template to help you get started with your web design!  As someone who has used both SharePoint and GoogleSites, I can assure you it IS much easier to work with GoogleSites in terms of editing and filing documents—fewer clicks and a much cleaner interface.  Students and teachers who have used it at my school love it, and so do I!  Google Sites has been a staple in my Media 21 toolbox for my students this semester.
Here is a sneak peek of the templates—they are up and running this morning!  I encourage you to give Google Sites a try!