Monday, January 25, 2010

Under the Shade of a Coolibah Tree

"Once a jolly swagman sat beside the billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me"
Waltzing Matilda

Through Twitter and Plurk, I've become acquainted with a number of educators from the Land Down Under.

I can roughly estimate the time of day there, and have a working knowledge of Australian seasons, weather, and school calendars.

One of the Celtic tunes my husband and I listen to, Back Home in Derry, begins:
In 1803 we sailed out to sea
Out from the sweet town of Derry
For Australia bound if we didn't all drown
And the marks of our fetters we carried
In rusty iron chains we sighed for our wains
Our good women we left in sorrow
As the mainsails unfurled, our curses we hurled
On the English, and thoughts of tomorrow
and ends:
Van Diemen's land is a hell for a man
To live out his whole life in slavery
Where the climate is raw and the gun makes the law
Neither wind nor rain care for bravery
Twenty years have gone by, I've ended my bond
My comrades ghosts walk behind me
A rebel I came - I'm still the same
On the cold winters night you will find me

Oh..... I wish I was back home in Derry
Oh..... I wish I was back home in Derry

It's a common perception in the U.S. that Australia was exclusively a penal colony, a wild and barren place of exile and punishment. We often fail to take into account the large numbers of others who chose to settle there: those in search of adventure, fortune, refuge or freedom.

To my online friends Jo, Sue, Judy, Amanda, Dean, Jenny, Anne, Sue and to all those who live in Oz, I send my wishes for a joyful Australia Day in your beautiful homeland.

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly. -Dorothea Mackellar, My Country

"Australia Day BBQ sur la Cotter - 13" by Pascal Vuylsteker

Friday, January 22, 2010

EduCon 2.2

"EduCon 2.2 is both a conversation and a conference." -EduCon wiki

One week from today, I'll be checking in at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, ready to participate in three days of connecting, learning, and sharing.

SLA Principal Chris Lehmann and his staff have once again put together an outstanding schedule featuring "conversations" led by an impressive group of educational leaders and innovators.

Among the unique features of this event are the Friday tours, where guests can attend class and interact with SLA students, and the Friday evening panel discussion held at the Franklin Institute.

This will be EduCon's third year and my second time there. For those unable to travel to Pennsylvania, virtual attendance is an option.

For more details, visit the EduCon 2.2 wiki. Lists of attendees can be found on the Who's Coming page and via the Liz B. Davis Twitter list.

SLA Principal Chris Lehman

SLA students in a science lab

Conversation leaders Lisa Thumann and Liz Davis

Authentic Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches from the Saturday evening "Philly Classic Dinner"

The Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA

See other photos from EduCon 2.1 (2009) in this slideshow

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's In A Name?

"Whereas, the overarching strategic goal of the American Association of School Librarians is to achieve universal recognition of school librarians as indispensable educational leaders; and

Whereas, the AASL Affiliate Assembly requested that the AASL Board of Directors choose a title for its professionals that is clear to other educators, administrators, and the public; and

Whereas, a recent AASL survey indicated confusion, misperceptions, and inconsistencies about various job titles in our profession; and

Whereas, AASL needed to agree on a common nomenclature for all publications and advocacy efforts; and

Whereas, the AASL’s leadership reviewed the data, identified the advantages and disadvantages of the various titles, and held a focused and extensive discussion.

Therefore be it resolved, AASL officially adopts 'school librarian' as the title which reflects the roles of the 21st century school library professional as leader, instructional partner, information specialist, teacher, and program administrator; be it further resolved that AASL will advance and promote the title 'school librarian' to ensure universal recognition of school librarians as indispensible educational leaders.

The following guiding principles govern these actions: Open dialog concerning knowledge of our stakeholders’ needs, wants, and preferences; the current realities and evolving dynamics of our environment; the capacity and strategic position of our organization; and the ethical implications relevant to this decision." -motion presented to, and approved by, the AASL Board

During the ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference, the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) division officially adopted the title of "School Librarian" to designate those professionals who work in a K-12 school setting.

According to AASL blogger Floyd Pentlin,
"...the Affiliate Assembly brought the issue to the Board’s table because of the lack of clarity of the various names we call ourselves was thought to be muddying our message and even our advocacy efforts.

When all of the dust settled (and actually there wasn’t much dust that was kicked up) 'school librarian' was the overwhelming choice of those in attendance."

A number of "school librarians" questioned this decision.

Alice Yucht asked, "Can you tell us how/why teacher-librarian ‘fell by the wayside.’" Cathy Nelson wondered, "Is there an available recording or transcript of the Affiliate Assembly’s discussion available at least to members? If I continue to call myself a Teacher Librarian, is this hurting our cause?"

Replied Mr. Pentlin,

"This was the information that was part of the packet when we started discussing the issue: Annual 2009 Affiliate Assembly statement of concern requested action of AASL 'for future publications, AASL should remove the "media" from the naming of professionals. Whether we are called School Librarians, Teacher Librarians, Library Teachers, or Teaching Librarians is a state option. The American Association of School Librarians should choose a term for its professionals that is clear to other educators, administrators, and the public and also indicative of our role as teachers.'”

He goes on to reassure Cathy that,

"I can’t imagine that what title you choose to use will 'hurt our cause.' There was a lot of discussion about the fact that perhaps the title wasn’t very important in the long run but what we actually did in our job that will make the difference."

Terry immediately responded,

"...Why select a moniker so anchored to the past? Labels matter. Some of our constituents (policymakers, legislators, BOE’s, administrators, parents) still see “school librarians” as the position holders of the past. In states where “school librarians” are categorized as “instructional support” instead of teachers, “school librarians” are among the first to fall under the budget axe..."

I find myself in total agreement with those who question this decision.

Although requirements vary from state to state, in New York, to receive permanent state certification as a "school media specialist, school media specialist (library), school media specialist (educational communications)":

"The candidate shall have completed two years of school experience as a media specialist and a master's degree in the field of school media or school media (library) or school media (educational communications). The total program of preparation shall include 12 semester hours in professional education, 36 hours in school media or school media (library) or school media (educational communications), and a college-supervised practicum."

As Terry pointed out, labels matter. Too many parents, community members, legislators and, yes, teachers and administrators, fail to acknowledge the diversity of responsibilities and level of professionalism required of "school librarians."

Public and academic librarians are rarely, if ever, seen performing the routine clerical tasks that are necessary in a library: checking materials in or out, shelving books, requesting interlibrary loans, etc. School librarians may or may not have aides or assistants available to take care of these mundane but vital jobs.

"Outsiders" don't see the informal collaboration, reader guidance, and information search assistance that is part of the school day. They aren't there to watch a school librarian jettison a lesson plan in order to accommodate a classroom teacher's request for student research time. They don't understand the passion and commitment required to maintain a balanced and responsive program.

I worked hard to achieve my status as a Teacher/Librarian and will continue to refer to myself in those terms.

What's in a name? A world of experience and knowledge, that's what.

"What's in a Name?" by Mike Licht,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Buffy the Filter Slayer

In case you missed the tweets and retweets, the plurks, or the blog postings from Doug (who started the photo madness), Gwyneth, Joyce and me, among others...tonight is the ISTE SIGMS free webinar, "Free the Filter," presented by Buffy Hamilton.

Gwyneth Jones has kindly allowed me to copy both her informational summary and the Buffy poster. If you work in a school or any type of library, you NEED to participate in this webinar!

"Fight the Filter" ISTE SIGMS
2nd Webinar!

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 at 8 pm E.S.T., 7 pm C.S.T., 6 pm M.S.T., 5 pm P.S.T Presenter: Buffy Hamilton

Want to start your new year off by making a positive difference in your library program? Join ISTE SIGMS for our second FREE webinar on January 13 at 8 pm E.S.T. when Buffy Hamilton, The Unquiet Librarian, will share her ideas on "fighting the filter."

Directions to join the SIGMS webinar event
1. Check that your computer is set up for Adobe Connect by visiting Adobe Connect Pro Connection Test
2. Use this URL to enter the webinar room 10 - 15 minutes before starting time:
3. Enter as a guest and type your first and last name.
4. Here is a link to a Visual Quick Start guide (pdf) to help you if this is your first webinar event.

"Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest of cowardice."
- Holbrook Jackson

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fight the Stereotype!

While skimming Google Reader this morning, I came across this poster, via The MLexperience:

zachary levi
see more Lol Celebs

You can visit the originating site and use their recaption option to create an alternative version.

I came up with:

Help fight the stereotype of libraries - and librarians! - by creating your own pro-library Lol. Then add the link for your masterpiece to Marianne's posting.

While the Lolz are funny, belittling libraries at a time when some question their relevance is not a laughing matter.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

At Any Time and Place

"learning can occur at any time and place..." -Philosophy statement of TPLC

Frigid temperatures, heavy snow, and gusting winds led to the cancellation of school in parts of the U.S. Even some of our southern states had Snow Days today.

Many districts have a set number of emergency closing days built into their schedules. But for some unlucky students (and staff), Snow Days must be made up via an extension of the school year. What seems like a gift in January becomes a burden in May or June.

Turning Point Learning Center (TPLC), a K-8 charter school in Emporia Kansas, takes a different approach.

When classes were canceled this morning, TPLC Director/teacher Ginger Lewman's students opened a Scribd page to access their schedule for the day. Says Ginger,
"We meet via iChat, then they just work away. If a kid can't chat, then they get the assignment via email. If they don't have internet or electricity, they just call us and we count them absent. No biggie. If they don't call us, we call them and ask what's up to the parents. Parents know this. See, it's [doing schoolwork] not a 'have to' thing... And we'd prefer to work and not have to go an extra day during the beautiful month of May. AND the kids really do care about meeting their deadlines."

TPLC students have been utilizing online tools all year, and are used to "getting together, chatting and working. When we come back to school, they'll expect that everyone worked and no one will have to wait to have the others catch up."

As one member of my PLN remarked, "If more schools operated like TPLC does we would not have the educational issues that we do in this country."

Ginger gave us permission to share her resources, only asking,
"If you blog, please do share the link back with us. I'd love to show the kids that we're being looked at and that their hard work's worth it. I always tell them we're changing the face of education, but it's hard to believe when you're a kid."

If students from the Turning Point Learning Center would like to comment on their Snow Day activities - or on any other aspect of education - I'm sure we'd all love to hear their Voices.

"School bus covered in snow" by ecksunderscore

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English

"Character is much easier kept than recovered." -Thomas Paine

Another fantastic offering from the folks at Common Craft:
"Aimed at young or inexperienced Web users, this video explains the long term risks of sharing inappropriate information online."
Check out an evaluation copy of "Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English" here

Related postings
Long After the Tide Goes Out
Beyond the Wall

"Mother in the mirror" by crunklygrill

Blogger Widgets

"Free Widgets from a Gnome @ Gnomedex" by mil8

One of my Plurk friends had a question this morning:

"on blogger, how do I get those little boxes that people can rate my posts?"

A quick search turned up these possibilities

and some other potentially useful widgets

What widgets do you consider valuable? Can you add to our list?

In the immortal words of Geek Squad member Robin Williams, "Where there's a widget, there's a way."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't Fence Me In

"Fences are made for those who cannot fly." -Elbert Hubbard

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law mandating "technology protection measures" be enacted by schools and libraries which receive certain categories of government funding.

While few would argue against filtering access to sites that are obscene or display child pornography, determining what is "harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors)" is a bit more challenging.

Teachers and students frequently find themselves unable to access information because their school districts and public libraries block legitimate websites containing red flag words like "sex" or "weapons," regardless of the context in which these terms appear.

In June 2003, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) released Internet Blocking in Public Schools: A Study on Internet Access in Educational Institutions. According to a press release, "The study found that blocking software overblocked state-mandated curriculum topics extensively -- for every web page correctly blocked as advertised, one or more was blocked incorrectly. "

On Wednesday, January 13, 2010 ISTE-SIGMS is hosting a webinar, "Fight the Filter," at 8 pm E.S.T. Presenter Buffy Hamilton will help participants "explore the reasons for the current state of restrictive filtering policies and discuss concrete strategies for effectively challenging and changing filtering policies."

Librarians, classroom teachers, and other interested educators should plan to attend this timely and important discussion.

Our children need clear, consistent safety policies and guided practice in good digital citizenship...not walls or fences.

“Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and depth; that there are no walls nor fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought..." -Robert Green Ingersoll

"Don't Fence Me In" by ryancboren

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Flickr Badge Generator

Many members of my PLN have decided to participate in a 365 Challenge, taking and posting new photos at regular intervals.

Although some people choose to set up a unique blog for the project, I found it easiest to upload and tag my images in Flickr sets, separate ones for each calendar month and an additional set for the entire year.

If you're a blogger and decide to use Flickr for the Challenge, it's fun to add a badge to your site. Just go to the Make a Badge page and follow the simple directions.

"There are two types of badge to choose from: HTML or Flash. You will be able to select to display things from your own collection, one of your groups, or everyone's uploads. You can also filter any of these options by a tag, if you wish."

Be sure to tag your photographs and send them to your group(s). I also share my "picture of the day" on Facebook, Plurk, and Twitter.

The Greatest Speeches: One Blogger's Choices

In my Google Reader today, I found Dave Schuler's "The Greatest Speeches (Updated)," shared by Clay Burell.

Schuler was inspired by a posting at The Art of Manliness, "The 35 Greatest Speeches in History." Considering the list " too pale, too male, and too American," he included two women and a number of non- American world figures in his own choices.

When passing along the link to my PLN, I remarked that it would have been helpful if the speeches were linked. Later, of course, I realized that there was no reason why I couldn't do a bit of searching, and find the texts myself. Although it took longer than expected, I managed to track down some sort of source for each of Schuler's selections. Surprisingly, it was easier to find Queen Elizabeth I's speech, delivered in 1601, than Nikita Krushchev's 1956 rant.

The most memorable speech I remember hearing, via TV, was John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address, which contained the famous clarion call:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

The following are Dave Schuler's picks for The Greatest Speeches:

Elizabeth I’s Golden Speech

And, though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves.

Napoleon’s farewell to the Old Guard

Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory.

John Quincy Adams’ speech on the Fourth of July, 1837

It is because this day is consecrated to the cause of human liberty, that you are here assembled...

Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech

I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear de lash as well! And ain't I a woman?

Garibaldi’s speech of 1860 to the troops

To arms, then, all of you! all of you! And the oppressors and the mighty shall disappear like dust.

Bismarck’s “Blood and Iron” speech

The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions ... but by iron and blood.

Lenin’s speech on Soviet power

Soviet power is the road to socialism that was discovered by the masses of the working people, and that is why it is the true road, that is why it is invincible.

Nehru’s “Tryst With Destiny” speech

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge...

Mao’s speech of June 30, 1949, the 28th anniversary of the Chinese communist party

Communists the world over are wiser than the bourgeoisie, they understand the laws governing the existence and development of things, they understand dialectics and they can see farther.

Khrushchev’s “We will bury you” speech *no transcript of the entire speech found

Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will dig you in.

Adolf Hitler's January 1937 speech before the Reichstag

Why must we have a new party, and especially why a new revolution?

What would you add to the list of Greatest Speeches?

"Microphones at Press Conference" by chickeninthewoods
"Picture of John F. Kennedy" on Wikimedia Commons
"The Darnley Portrait" on Wikimedia Commons
"David's Portrait of Napoleon" on Wikimedia Commons
"Daguerreotype of Adams" on Wikimedia Commons
"Sojourner Truth" on Wikimedia Commons
Giuseppe Garibaldi as a symbol of Risorgimento" on Wikimedia Commons
"Otto von Bismarck" on Wikimedia Commons
"V.I. Lenin" on Wikimedia Commons
"Nehru: a USSR stamp" on Wikimedia Commons
"Portrait of Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate" on Wikimedia Commons
"Soviet Premier Nikita Khruchchev in Vienna" on Wikimedia Commons
"Portrait of Adolf Hitler" on Wikimedia Commons