Monday, July 21, 2014

FlipGrid - Why be an active member of IASL?

IASL has a flipgrid!  
flipgrid is a place to ask questions and receive responses video style.  Get into the groove back to school teacher librarian style and put in your two cents worth.

Kathy Kaldenberg recommends viewing the flipgrid by Joyce Valenza.

Communicating with your legislators

Do you have a relationship with your local representative? Do they know how students are impacted by Teacher Librarians and their library programs?

Legislators can only focus on what they hear from their constituents. They need to hear what we teach, how we help students and teachers, how we lead in technology integration, and our vision for Iowa's School Libraries.

Call, tweet, email, or have coffee with your representatives. Prepare a short anecdote about your experiences in your school community - better yet, share a story from a student or teacher who has seen what library programs can do for you.  

Collect a few statistics to share about your program - especially if you could compare it to a school with or without a strong library program.

Not sure what to talk about with your legislator? Check the IASL website for our legislative agenda, position statements on issuing affecting Iowa, or our Advocacy Toolkit for ideas.

Want to know if your legislator is on Twitter?  Check the spreadsheet here!

Another great avenue for communicating with legislators is letters to the editor. Get your message into local opinion pages and they will hear it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Multiple Literacies Series: Digital Literacy

How are our discussions changing?  Are we all the experts in our participatory culture and learning?

After writing a series about the digital divide, I would like to springboard into investigating multiple literacies and how they enhance our roles as teacher librarians. The literacies include digital literacy, mass literacy, transliteracy, transmedia, media literacy, information literacy, and anything else I stumble upon.  Perhaps learning more about these topics will expand your current library practices into something unexpectedly good. I like taking ideas and concepts and make them my own.

This quote signifies my focus and purpose as to why I am writing the literacies series.
"Kids are coming up with the content then helping to promote it back to themselves. In an endless feedback loop between broadcast and social media." Generation Like l Frontline

Most posts will contain a definition, article highlights and questions to consider. Accompanying the information from the article will be a list of recommended readings.

What is Digital Literacy?
Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.

A Digitally Literate Person:
•Possesses the variety of skills – technical and cognitive – required to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information in a wide variety of formats;

•Is able to use diverse technologies appropriately and effectively to retrieve information, interpret results, and judge the quality of that information;  

•Understands the relationship between technology, life-long learning, personal privacy, and stewardship of information;

•Uses these skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and on occasion, the general public; and

•Uses these skills to actively participate in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community.

Source: ALA Connect

Article about digital literacy.

Rheingold, Howard. "Stewards Of Digital Literacies." Knowledge Quest: American Association of School Librarians 41.1 (2012): 53-55. Print.

Highlights from the article.
  • "You can't participate without knowing how.  And cultural participation depends on a social component that is not easily learned alone or in a manual.  That's where school libraries and school librarians have a critically important part to play."
  • "I use the word "literacies" to ecompass the social element as well as the individual ability to encode and decode the medium."
  • "Digital literacy specialists...In school libraries and librarians, we already have a public place and a community of experts to help us learn the cognitive and social skills as well as the technical skills for navigating today's infosphere."
  • "Who else but school librarians are better equipped to facilitate these new literacies?  And with the massive bypassing of gatekeepers, how do we deal with the massive floods of inaccurate information, misinformation, disinformation?"
  • "Is all this digital stuff any good for us? Some people benefit; others left behind...the economic and education divide between the world's have and have nots is a real depends on now many people know how to detect bogus information online, mange their information, participate as a contributing digital citizen."
  • "Crap detection...thinking like a detective...if nothing else, helping people understand a little more than they do now about how to find information online and how to test that information, whether they find it on their own or someone else feeds it to them, is a crucial mission for today's librarians."
  • "School librarians have the opportunity to increase the amount of good information by helping their constituents learn how to become productive, mindful. effective participants."
  • "How teach those billions to become active participants...and use tools?"
  • Literacies are infectious, but they need stewards, catalysts, and teacher librarians to spread fast and far."

If you want to learn more about digital literacy and learning.

Feel free to add additional articles about digital literacy and learning in the comments section below. 

Next on the multiple literacy series mass literacy.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Digital Divide Series: The End of the Digital Divide?

Dear education administrators,

This letter is about the digital divide and how it relates to school libraries.  Here is a quote about net neutrality an issue that will impact your students and staff’s access to quality information in the future.   

“To control traffic is to control information”-David Carr

The purpose of this letter is to nudge administrators to become more active supporters of school libraries. Yes I understand that your educational courses may have not included information about school libraries but I am here to help clarify the potential of a school library. Those administrators who make it a priority to include school libraries with their action plans thank you.   

Here are some points to consider. Working as a teacher librarian our primary role is help others become effective users of information. A teacher librarian works well in the areas of technology, information literacy, research, and reader advisory.  I know that you are busy but if administrators aren't investing their energies to improve library resources that produces higher academic achievement, how are Iowa teacher librarians suppose to meet the criteria for the Outstanding School Library Award? Excelling in the categories below increases the likelihood that a school library will earn the award and I believe lessen the consequences of the digital divide.

  • Qualifications of Staff
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Library Management
  • Administrative Support

How do you view your school library program? Here are a series of questions that you can reflect upon.

  • Can your teacher librarian successfully apply for the Outstanding Library Award? What can you do to help?  
  • What percentage of your budget are you allocating to school libraries? After legislation was passed in Iowa a few years ago there is no requirement of a specific percentage of the budget designated to spend in school libraries.  
  • In terms of the digital divide, how can we keep an even playing field as much as possible? What roles do innovation and imagination play to find solutions?
  • Does your curriculum align with standards in a way that is clear and cohesive? Do you have a Information Literacy Program for K12?
  • How can you rely more on your teacher librarian to bridge the interests of teachers, tech and administration?

Librarians are your secret weapons to push the possibilities during the digital information age.  Feel free to read and ask questions about my previous posts about the digital divide.  My passion in the library is to help people find and apply the information that they need.  By adopting and adjusting our job descriptions to promote our skills, we can benefit educational systems so they can reach its highest potential. For starters check out the Department of Education School Library webpage. Let’s think about what motivates students to be efficient users of information so they are prepared to understand the possibility of “hiding information is a powerful tool of social control” (Popular Resistance).

Still Not Convinced?

Yes I understand that traditionally in Iowa educational decisions are made at the local level but we can make technology less daunting and more empowering by maximizing the skills of a teacher librarian.  Information literacy is here to stay and I think that your staff will rise to the occasion if you raise the bar for technology.  This is important because It is our duty to match our curriculum with jobs skills of the 21st century.  Since technology is changing so rapidly we must be equipped with the ability to adapt our perceptions, react proactively, and encourage collaboration in a positive manner to work towards bridging the digital divide together.  

Expectations, Challenges, and Tools or Potential Solutions

Expect more from your teacher librarians than checking and checking out books. I challenge you to think twice about setting him or her out to supervise more than one school library unless absolutely necessary. We value deep thinking. We need people to view the library as everything between the librarians ears.  Students have varying skills and abilities.  How much more can we widen the gap before bigger and economic and social problems arise? School libraries promote democracy.  By pumping resources into school libraries we are fueling ideas to deal with the issue of the have and the have nots by looking at solutions instead of blaming the victims.  Supporting school libraries means enabling people to take of themselves and each other with the power of knowledge.

The future of America

Sources of My Irritation

Digital Divide...Net Neutrality
Why not invest in libraries? How can you afford not to?
Expectations...teach higher level education to the few?
Communities dying
Worthlessness value less
No relevancy…your help is not needed here
Losing connections, we need connections for human progress
Triumph of the self. Are you opting out?
Resistance to it...learn what you can...move on
Educational equality...access is everything....keeping libraries progressive.
Shout it out! Information is Power!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are you looking for some educational fun?

 Look no further than the Creative Corridor Edu Tweetup.

Who: Ernie Cox, Kathy Kaldenberg and you?
When: Wednesday July 23rd 1-3 pm
Where: 122 2nd St. SE, Swisher, IA @ Kava House Cafe


Big image

For more details and to RSVP click here.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

You Are Invited!

Maggie Stiefvater (author of the Shiver series, the Raven Boys series, and Scorpio Races) will be at the Madrid Public Library this Friday, July 11, at 11:00 am for a Q&A session, made possible by a grant from 

Don't miss the opportunity to meet this amazing author while she is in our area!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Digital Divide Series: Lessons Learned Introduction to Network Information Systems Course

Living in a Democratic Society Means Being Responsible About the Digital Divide.
I learned a great deal from an introduction to network information systems course that increased my awareness about the digital divide.  I would like to share information from a one minute paper I wrote.
  • What is the biggest remaining question from this week?
The issue of the digital divide is complex.  After reading the digital divide articles and hearing a fellow teacher librarian’s question at meeting recently, “are people ditching libraries for the Internet?”, I have many questions that lead to more questions that apply to a K-12 educational environment.
A few snippets from my the paper.
  • Digital divide is impacting school libraries with unequal access to software, hardware, and instruction.
  • Information seekers taking the easy street who are unwilling to change and refuse to learn information literacy and technology skills and view these topics as unwanted or not needed, will be adversely affected in an increasingly technology and media rich society.  These types of schools are more likely to suffer the negative consequences of the digital divide. How do we handle the resisters? Even if we encourage small steps towards change how long is that feasible before that digital divide gap is wide open?
  • We need to consider that there are varying cultures of learning.  I think that our educational communities need to believe that learning is a culture.  
Network considerations...Wireless Connections...Internet Speeds
Questions from another assignment: Is WiMAX dead? It peaked in 2012.  If it is dying why do you think that is? Could it be resurrected? What are the benefits to WiMAX?
I don’t think that WiMAX is dead.  There are places outside of America where it is being resurrected by the demand for networks and are unable to access the most cutting edge technology available. The ongoing issue of the digital divide will keep WiMax as a sought after network service until our technology advances over time and transitions to the next phase when something else replaces WiMAX as a viable service.  The benefits of WiMax are working to bridge the digital divide by expanding its markets and areas covered.  For example users in Africa are having opportunities to connect with networks that might not be able to otherwise.
Compare to Wi-Fi
Compared to LTE or WiMAX, Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that has a smaller range of 200 to 300 feet. The digital divide could be lessened with the public having increased access to high speed Wi-Fi and global Wi-Fi roaming capabilities making it convenient to connect with hotspots.  With our technology world changing so rapidly it is a challenge to meet the needs of users who want Internet access. Perhaps technology will advance where different types of networks can connect seeminglessly and services will become more streamlined.
Of the three which one seems to be the strongest option for widespread adoptability? (pick a country)
In Tanzania having access to WiMAX is an innovative way to provide adequate network service compared to modern and developed countries using LTE.  WiMAX is a strong option for Tanzania rural and small communities to have wireless networks.  Tanzania connecting to the Internet using WiMAX may help in bridging the digital divide as people in the Information Communication Technology world are working to upgrade services since Tanzania is confronting technical and nontechnical challenges to increase network access. Using WiMAX is helpful to keep up people connected until the digital divide issue is lessened.  How Tanzania approaches network planning is critical since new technology is rapidly changing making it harder for them to catch up with more advanced network users like America. So making informed decisions based on short and long term goals with the information and resources available at the time impacts allocations of money and time.  Factors to consider during this process are availability of service, infrastructure, policies, literacy rates, cost, and interest of population.  
Digital Demands...How Prepared Are Youth?
Students are entering the real world with varying skills and abilities.  This fact widens the digital divide and contributing to economic and social issues in our society.  Equipping schools with emerging technologies means that there are things to think about in the technology department such as the adoption rate, market saturation, and the digital divide (Ruane). On the personnel front then there attitudes from staff that come into play to deal with when introducing new technologies such as the stragglers and resisters mentalities. (Ruane). Another point to contemplate is location of the users.  For example what challenges may arise in rural America where acquiring hardware is half the battle.

The Have and the Have Nots. Who Has Access to Technology and Who Does Not?

How does the digital divide play out in the future? According to my instructor Ruane, “if you are not versed in area such as touch technology using a touch screen, will it have an impact on a student later in their education or career choice or earning potential? And how do we make sure that technology is an even playing field as much as we can? How will public schools organize technology matters since it plays a huge role in providing access and training? If people can't afford to have technology in their homes they rely on public places to gain access. Sometimes if too much time is spent on tech it doesn't pan out or there are situations where I am too much ahead of my users and then I miss them.  I don’t want to be too far ahead of my users with technology or it will be a challenge to get them on board.” (Ruane).

(Ruane, 2014).

Our class was assigned to create images and texts displaying our interpretations of the digital divide. My colleagues were gracious and gave me consent to post them online.

By Marisa Shank

By Julie Cwik
By Amy Walsh
By Arlene Vespa
Comments based on images above by Colleen Cochran

“In the information economy, nondistributive
social justice issues include demands for increased transparency and accountability in the use of data in the
social service and criminal justice systems, opportunities to design and produce culturally and socially sensitive
software and hardware, freedom from excessive surveillance in the workplace, and proper attention to health and
welfare issues in high-tech work.” P4

“…mismatch between the image of computers as the route to social and economic progress
and these women’s own experience of technology as exploitative, intrusive, and limiting.”

“Have nots” may include:
·         Elderly & young users w/o large amounts of exposure
·         People w/o “typical” knowledge of technology, maybe specialized to their communities?
·         People living in areas w/o infrastructure to support high speed internet access
·         People w/o $ to afford services &/or hardware in home
·         Voluntarily opt-out of digital aspects of contemporary life

“Haves” may include:
·         Users with (long term?) exposure/experience due to education or work requirements
·         People with $ to purchase services and/or hardware
·         People with an interest in technology & internet

Final Project

Our final project consisted of investigating a local public library and writing a grant proposal based on the format in the following link. It was a worthwhile experience to gather the information and write a grant outline.
Eliminate the Digital Divide Program

Next and final post on the digital divide series a letter to administration with a poem.