Saturday, March 13, 2010

Podcast - Technology in the Library

This podcast is a first for me! Although it was required for a graduate course (INST 6031), I enjoyed learning how to create it. The podcast features some important points that I discovered while researching the topic of technology in the library. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Webquest for Technology in the Library

A Vision of Students Today

Technology in the K-12 School Library (2-Page Paper)

In this day and age of rapid technology evolution educators are clamoring to integrate technology into the classroom. This already gigantic task inflates with the need to teach information literacy skills in conjunction with technology literacy skills. As technology opens the floodgates to increased levels of information access for students, educators must teach students how to identify information needs, locate information, use information and evaluate information independently. School Library Media Specialists are primed to play an important role in this technology revolution.

While school librarians have strived to communicate the positive impact that school libraries, staffed with certified teacher librarians, can have on student achievement levels, the impacts of technology in the library have remained largely ignored. Research has indicated that “students in schools with technologically advanced libraries performed up to 18 percent higher on statewide tests than their peers in schools with poorly equipped libraries” (Minkel, 2002). Outfitting libraries with current technologies and training librarians to integrate these technologies is a key component in the quest to make technology meaningful in the school setting. Many schools have poured money into adding computer labs but have neglected funding for libraries. “The number of computers that offer library services—such as subscription databases and the library's automated catalog—links directly to student success on statewide tests” (Minkel, 2002). Integrating technology with school libraries is a proven way to directly impact student achievement.

The librarians of yesteryears focused on teaching reading literacy skills, but the librarians of today are using technology to teach multiple literacies for the management of information (eSchool News, 2009). Libraries “…have become school media centers with computer resources that enable children to engage meaningfully with a wide variety of information” (eSchool News, 2009). Fusing technology with the school library is taking on new forms every day. While online catalogs and databases used to be the extent of technology in the library, many librarians are now working to incorporate Web 2.0 tools. Blogs, social networking sites, podcasts, videocasts, and wikis are just some of the technology tools that school librarians are using today.

The Web 2.0 tools of today are changing the experience of the school library patron from an individual experience to a collaborative learning community. Blogs can connect students to resources, but more importantly they are offering a means to connect with other learners (Richardson, 2007). Wikis are inviting students and teachers to participate in the information experience changing the library from a place where you get information to a place that you use information (Richardson, 2007). Social networking sites such as MySpace offer librarians a way to reach into the lives of teenagers, making the library a relevant place.

Since libraries have long been a hub for information, and technology promotes the use of information, it makes sense that the education community would realize the value of integrating libraries and technology. Teachers, students, and administrators must begin to see the valuable resource that school libraries are as technology gains a primary role in education. Additionally, school librarians must see themselves as “connectors” of information and strive to bridge the gap between students seeking information and the technology that holds the information they need (Richardson, 2007).

eSchool News. (2009, November 20). School libraries key in teaching information skills. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from eSchool News:
Minkel, W. (2002, December 1). Library technology raises test scores, too. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from School Library Journal:
Richardson, W. (2007, January). Online-powered school libraries: Web 2.0 technologies are transforming the school library. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from District Administration:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing #23

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
How can I even begin to narrow down my list? I loved discovering LibraryThing (Thing #11), learning about social bookmarking websites (Thing #13), exploring wikis (Thing #16), looking at Nings (Thing #22) and creating a videocast (Thing #21).

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I was completely inspired by Thing #15 in which we studied some of the takes on Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and libraries in the future. I realized that libraries are in a huge transition time and I want to be part of the change. This means that I must stay ahead of the curve and anticipate how libraries can meaningfully meet the needs of learners everywhere. In order to do this I must embrace being a lifeline learner. This program has also expanded my view of what a life long learner looks like. Life long learning can occur in formal settings such as universities, but learning can also take place on a professional blog, joining a Ning, watching an online tutorial posted on TeacherTube and "playing" with technology.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I did not expect to feel so passionate about the concept of Library 2.0. I really hadn't thought about it much until I watched the video A Vision of Students Today. I suddenly found myself asking "What can I do as a librarian to make learning meaningful for the students of today?" and "How can I help teachers bridge the gap between the teaching strategies of yesterday and the Web 2.0 tools available for use today?" I feel a much heavier sense of purpose and refined focus than I did when I began this program.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I'm not sure. I loved the concept of using a blog to document the learning experience. It has given me both a personal record of my accomplishments and a platform for interactions with others.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
I absolutely would. I have learned more in the past four weeks than I did during two semesters of technology classes for my undergraduate studies.

6. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?

Thing #21

I really enjoyed learning how to use Photostory for videocast purposes. I have used Photostory in the past to create photo slide shows, but I had never played around with adding narration to the presentation. It was a little challenging to figure out, but most new skills are. The most complicated task was setting up the microphone to work with the software. I feel confident that I know enough about this program to be able to teach others how to use it. The thing I love about Photostory is that it is SIMPLE to use, but produces results that look PROFESSIONAL. Photostory would be a great way to produce videos for staff development or for teaching a new skill to students. What fun would it be to create a videocast that promotes the Bluebonnet and Lone Star reading lists? Students could create book reviews or "tutorials" about something they have studied. Videocasts are a technology that I look forward to implementing in the future.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing #22

Who knew that there was a tool out there that would let you create your own social networking website? I certainly didn't. What a great idea. Definitely one of those ideas, yet again, that I wish I had thought of first! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Ning is a website that allows members to build there own social networking websites.

Once again I am blown away by yet another tool designed to connect people. I think that these Web 2.0 tools are really valuable for educators since most spend their day in four walls (with no windows) with a group of twenty two (or so) students. One of the greatest features of professional development is the opportunity to interact with other educators. Social Networking websites provide a way to interact and stay connected with the outside world from inside the four walls of your classroom.

Besides providing great professional interactions, Ning could also be used with students. The teacher could create a Ning for the class to use throughout the year. Students can then bring the social networking tools that they are so comfortable with in their personal life to a website with academic aims. Nings could be created for each classroom and also the school library, allowing students and teachers to connect in a dynamic forum.

Most of all, Ning is a great example of meeting students where they are at and integrating technology tools that they love into the learning experience.