Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sometimes I don't like the Web.

This week, my love-hate relationship with online technology almost drove me insane. I was so busy trying to get everything done that I almost forgot to write on my blog. It’s not that I don’t like the Web, but I don’t particularly enjoy spending hours on it. In all honesty, classes that require me working constantly online become stressful to me. I fidget, get up from the desk, stretch my arms up and down and still can’t seem to concentrate for long periods of time on the Internet.

This leads me to this past week’s discussion on wikis and blogs. We have read about the potential benefits these tools can have for students, but I am not convinced that they are being used as much. In my local school district, I have yet to see any of the school media specialists using wikis or blogs. What is being used is the library webpage. On the webpages librarians are setting up book review segments, trivia contests, and other library information. I wonder if the avoidance of using wikis and blogs is because these require constant updating. It makes sense that if you are providing students with information by way of wikis or blogs, it should be up to date. One of the most important details about using Web 2.0 tools in the school library is having a person who will dedicate themselves to its maintenance. And of course it wouldn’t hurt if this person enjoyed spending hours working on the Internet.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Conondrum of Romans 7:15.

As my kid’s spent a week off from school, I did my best not to feel like I was off too. The week before had been extremely busy and I began to question whether I really wanted to add a school library media certificate to my background. I also thought about the copyright issue. Do school teachers learn about this and if so do they talk about it?

I’ve worked around teachers for a long time and had never heard about movie licensing or copyright infringement until I took a communications course. And the only time I’ve heard public librarians speak on these issues, was during a pre-summer reading program meeting. The term movie licensing came up when a Children’s Librarian mentioned how their library had purchased one. She advised us to do the same if we wanted to show movies during our summer reading program. Our manager never spoke of such things. Looking back, many copyright laws were broken on a daily basis.
I think sometimes we just see what we want to see. You know the see no evil, hear no evil thing.

I remember taking a family member’s advice on a site for movie downloads. This was before taking the communications course, and I thought the site was people just sharing files. Boy, as soon as I found out what it really was, I erased it from my computer. I also had a talk with my children and explained that what I had done was wrong. We talked about illegal downloads and file sharing websites. I explained to them, that it didn’t matter that someone was willing to “share” the movie or song with me. That movie or song was someone else’s creation and we needed to purchase it.
I learned a lot from that particular experience. And it’s still a point of conversation in our family.
Now if we would only talk about it in libraries, and schools and continue to re-enforce it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Teaching what we've learned.

This week’s visits to school media centers left me pondering the question of what happened to the theories learned in library school. I know that district and school politics play big roles in what a media specialist does in her media library, but I still wonder how the theories are being applied. This week we are learning about search engines, Internet searching methods and how a library catalog can be efficient, but will we be able to teach it to our students? Will we be able to equip students with the necessary technological library tools for high school, college and beyond?
Some of the librarians I spent time with, told me there wasn’t time for curriculum based learning. Others said the teachers just wanted to send the unruly students to the library and the library is not a detention center. And while I agree with them, I squirm a little inside of me and I hope for that something “extra” to be taught in school media centers. (I say “extra” because the librarians are doing what they can while being limited by all sorts of red tape). But more needs to be done to teach the knowledge we are learning.
Oh boy! Have I opened a can of worms with these comments? I can imagine some of the media specialists shaking their heads at me and saying “just you wait”. But I have high hopes, and I hope to be able to share the lessons of this course with my students when the time comes.
Fortunately for me that plea of hope was answered when I saw a library media specialist prepare a lesson on searching for books by call number this week. I could’ve cried for joy. It was truly one of the highlights of my day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do you know how to IL or ICT?

As a librarian, I thought I knew "everything" about information technology. At the public library we always referred to this as information literacy and we sort of group everything under that title. But this week I learned the two very distinct terms of IL and ICT. IL (Information Literacy) is defined as not only knowing how and where to find the information online, but also being able to identify, locate, and evaluate said information. This is big because most people who do know how to use a computer, fall short in this area. And I believe the ability to identify, locate and evaluate material found online is essential for a SLMS. I remember some years ago, my branch manager sent me to a class at the RRLC about searching online. It was enlightening to say the least. We were given websites to evaluate and it was humbling to see how many experienced librarians really thought some of the websites were legitimate. At that seminar, I learned the differences between .com, .net, .org etc. What a class! I left that seminar informed and empowered. Sadly, I don’t see much of those seminars being offered anymore. And boy do we need them because there is too much of what I call nonsense information in cyberspace.
The ICT (Information and Communication Technology) aspect refers to what I call the “techy” side. This is when we know how to use the computer and its components. When information can be properly collected and retrieved. It’s when you know how to move around in the digital world. These of course are my own definitions. I have to be honest and say that I kind of like this world because I love collecting information on the Internet. I’ll admit there are still some tools I dislike, such as templates, but it’s still an exciting environment to move around in.
This week discussion left me hungry for more on the subject. I downloaded the webquest on my desktop and have gone over it many times. I’d like to see this type of information available to students and teachers and the public library. They should be taught in the schools. We need them. In today’s society of advanced technology, we need both IL and ICT skills.