Monday, September 21, 2009

Cell Phones in the Classroom

Here is a test avatar I created online and using my cell phone using

Get a Voki now!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Social Network or Networking?

Just viewed an excellent video of a talk given by Dana Boyd at the Teaching & Learning with Technology conference at Penn State University where she talks about her recent research about the use of Social Network Tools by High School students.

Hey it turns out that kids are basically the same. The dislike authority, they like their friends and they just want to hang out with them. Additionally, they don't like everyone and they talk about those they dislike behind their backs. The difference is that they have cooler way to do it! When we grown ups think they are "networking" they are just using the network. We are imposing our values upon their behaviours. It makes sense and when you think about it...pretty much what I see whenever I enter a school.

Her research has found that the Digital Natives aren't wiser than we "Immigrants". They still need our wisdom to guide them. It's just a different landscape to negotiate. She states the disruption is that we have to re-think our power as adults. We need to dialogue with our students and ask them to teach us how they use tools like face book, youtube, MSN and wikipedia. Then we need to talk about things like ownership of information, bias, supporting resources and references. Hey we need to provide a scaffold to engage CRITICAL THINKING to make sense in a broader world!

Students need to have guidance in the use of internet resources, taught how wikipedia works, the importance of appropriate online presence (ie pics). Parents are worried, teachers are afraid...who should take the lead? I'm thinking that educators need to get with the program and administrators need to ensure they are on top of this and staff their schools accordingly. Perhaps a Teacher Librarian??

Sunday, September 13, 2009

TL Shortage in California

Picked up this article from my Twitter feed this am from Joyce Valenza. Apparently California is experiencing a shortage of trained, knowledgeable Teacher Librarians. The reasons cited in the article are pretty clear and frighteningly similar to what we see happening in Ontario. Apparently the average age of administrators and the downturn in placement of trained professionals has created a work environment where administrators do not have a clear idea of the important role of Teacher Librarians in critical literacy instruction because they have never experienced an effective school library program. Can this be described as a shortage or the beginning of obsolescence of the Teacher Librarian assignment in schools?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Technology and Literature

Just finished reading an article in the Saturday September 12/09 Toronto Star about Margaret Atwood and her innovative approach towards her current book tour. Atwood has always challenged ideas with her writing, I admire how she is utilizing web 2.0 tools to promote her latest project.

Her latest title The Year of the Flood builds upon the ideas presented in Oryx & Crake. She has developed a website about the title and is blogging her experiences throughout her tour additionally she is using Twitter [@MargaretAtwood] to tweet out updates. Talk about engaging readers using tools of this century!

Three years ago Atwood was an innovator in the development of the LongPen which allows authors to autograph books in real time from a distance. This was showcased at the OLA Superconference.

I think Atwood's work in this area certainly sets the record straight in regards to Marc Prensky's ideas of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Being of a certain age, as I am, she has embraced today's technologies to suit her purposes and meet the expectations of younger audiences. Yay Margaret!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cory Doctorow Shares portions of book

I think this is an interesting view of the future of books. Cory Doctorow first released this book free online. It then went on to be nominated for one of the forest of reading titles, now he is allowing portions of the book to be downloaded and remixed. Also developing wordle cover art....have a look.

Link to purchase and download this audiobook without Flash interaction