Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ISTE Update - Two Days to Departure

Since I need to take care of some family business tomorrow, my ISTE11 packing is beginning a bit early for my Thursday departure. I already have a good idea of what I'll be bringing with me, so the only challenge should be fitting things in (and whittling down, if necessary). In addition to clothing*, I'm including small items for friends, healthy snacks, and a few little boxes of wine. Essential stuff.

*If you're unsure of how to dress for a summer conference, my stylish friend, Buffy Hamilton, offers a few tips on the Tumblr blog, Librarian Wardrobe.

I've added an exciting event to my ISTE planner: TEDxPhiladelphiaED. This (naturally) creates a conflict in my schedule, but a group of us will be leaving EduBloggerCon a bit early so that we can attend both events.

Check the site to see if there are any more tickets available for TEDxPhiladelphiaED. As for EduBloggerCon, organizer Steve Hargadon writes,
"Remember, you don't need to be registered for ISTE to attend EduBloggerCon (hurray to ISTE for everything associated with our putting on EduBloggerCon--room, wireless access, promotion, and this liberal entrance policy!). So please spread the word to educators within striking distance of Philadelphia, as everyone is most welcome and, since we are in a huge ballroom (Ballroom A) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, there's room for as many as want to come! You don't need to let anyone know you are coming, but it is definitely fun to see who's attending, so you can use the following pages to indicate your attendance: The Classroom 2.0 event page or the Facebook Event Page."

And if you haven't reserved a spot at SIGMS Forum: There is No Better Time: A Dawning Era for School Librarians better do so - it's free, but you must pre-register. Here's a little taste of what you might expect from some of the presenters:

Gwyneth Jones

"Viva La Social Media RevoluciĆ³n! Tough times call for tough measures! Invisible librarians are vulnerable and invisible library programs can be visibly cut. But take heart! This is a dawning era of librarianship - we are now and we always have been educational revolutionaries! Making a few daring digital shifts in your practice & program will show the world that we are vital to vision and future of learning and more indispensable than ever!"

Buffy Hamilton

Another Forum presenter, Shannon Miller urges us to Bring It! to ISTE:
"Bring that spark, that urge to connect. Bring those ideas with you. Bring your passion for wanting to try something completely out of the box.

Because all it takes is that one connection with someone else to truly make a difference in not just the lives of your students, but also in yours!"

You could do worse than to follow her advice.

See you there!

"June 9" by radarxlove

"ISTE11_SigmsForum_Viva_La_Revolucion" by The Daring Librarian

Monday, June 13, 2011

Events and Opportunities

In ten days, I will arrive in Philadelphia to attend ISTE 2011. The following are a few items I've already put on my calendar.

From my ISTE Planner:

Saturday, 6/25/2011, 8:00am–5:00pm PACC Grand Ballroom A
Steve Hargadon, Elluminate/Blackboard Collaborate

  • Learning Tools Family Feud: Crowdsourced Edition

Monday, 6/27/2011, 12:45pm–1:45pm PACC 103BC
Joyce Valenza, School District of Springfield Township with Steve Dembo, Gwyneth Jones, Chad Lehman, Shannon McClintock Miller, Nicholas Provenzano and Matthew Winner
A favorite 70s game show with a fabulous 21st century twist. Listen in while our lively panel illustrates the results of a learning tools survey.

  • SIGMS Forum: A Dawning Era for School Librarians
Tuesday, 6/28/2011, 10:30am–12:30pm PACC 108 *ticketed event
Lisa Perez, Chicago Public School Dept of Libraries with Doug Johnson
Featuring Amy Oberts, Anita Beaman, Buffy Hamilton, Cathy Jo Nelson, Gwyneth Jones, Shannon Miller.
It is an exciting time for librarians as we seek new definitions for our profession. Attend and help create a vision for school libraries.

  • SIGMS Breakfast and Annual Meeting: Swimming in the Flow
Wednesday, 6/29/2011, 8:00am–9:30am PACC 108 *ticketed event - SOLD OUT
Lisa Perez, Chicago Public School Dept of Libraries with Will Richardson
How do we become literate at seeking, evaluating, synthesizing, and sharing relevant information to meet our learning goals? Discover how you can succeed in the new information landscape with blogger Will Richardson.

  • Personal Learning Environments for the Digital Age
Wednesday, 6/29/2011, 11:45am–12:45pm PACC 204B
Laura Deisley, The Lovett School with Wendy Drexler and Buffy Hamilton
Hear three case studies that explore student construction of personal learning environments that uniquely support authentic networked learning.

From my personal calendar

  • Mural Mile Walking Tour (Shannon Miller and I are bringing our cameras on this tour!)
Friday, 6/24/2011, 11:30am-1:00pm
Guided walking tours depart daily from the Independence Visitor Center (6th & Market Sts.). See Philadelphia’s iconic Mural Mile, which includes 17 murals that provide an introduction to the Mural Arts Program. Tours often sell out, reservations are strongly suggested. $17 per person.

  • Rethinking Education, Sponsored by Follett Software Company
Monday, 6/27/2011, 5:30pm-7:00pm
Marriott Downtown Philadelphia Salon B Free registration required
Chris Lehmann, Shannon Miller, Dean Mantz, Diane Cordell, Kevin Honeycutt, Vicki Davis
This informal panel discussion will present an image of what could be for 21st century public education in America.

  • Edmodo Meetup
Tuesday, 6/28/2011, 6:00pm
Field House Sports Bar, 1150 Filbert St

  • Edtech Karaoke Tweetup
Tuesday, 6/28/2011, 7:30pm
Public House Philadelphia, 2 Logan Square (18th St between Arch & Cherry)


The thread that will run throughout this experience will be, as always, the people with whom I'll connect. I eagerly anticipate reunions with dear friends, face-to-face meetings with online colleagues, and the chance to become acquainted with a diverse group of educators and innovators from around the world.

"It‘s not where we stand but in what direction we are moving." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." -Henry Miller

"ISTE11 logo" from ISTE event website
"ISTE11 Family Feud Poster" by The Daring Librarian
"Mural: Reach High and You Will Go Far" by dmcordell
"Friendship" by dmcordell

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Although I am a teacher/librarian by vocation, I am also a public library user by avocation.

Each year, the American Library Association publishes a number of Fact Sheets which summarize various aspects of its State of America's Libraries Report. According to ALA Library Fact Sheet 6, 19 states reported cutting library hours, staff, or services, with additional budget reductions frequently taking place at local levels. Despite these funding issues, the fact sheet notes that:
  • two-thirds of the 1,000-plus adults contacted in the survey said that the library's assistance in starting a business or finding a job was important to them
  • studies show that public libraries have a significant positive economic impact on the local economy and increase property value
  • taxpayers entrusted libraries with their tax dollars by approving 87 percent of operating measures on ballots across the country
  • library visitation per capita has steadily increased over the past 10 years; circulation per capita has also generally increased during the past 10 years
  • computer usage at public libraries continues to increase; 67 percent of libraries report they are the only provider of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities
These last few items confirm what I have seen for myself: our local public library is always buzzing, with people browsing the shelves; parents and children participating in reading activities, both organized and informal; teens wandering in and out of their special area; citizens of all ages using computers. Print books AND music AND DVDs AND electronic resources are all available, a necessary blend for modern life. There is a Folk Life center, with primary source artifacts, and a schedule of exhibitions, lectures and programs. Citizens can do everything from complete tax forms online to watch a movie, in addition to selecting reading material or doing research.

Of particular interest to me were an exhibit and an individual.

The exhibit was a collection of webkinz stuffed animals, curated not by the library staff, but by one of the young patrons. Students sign up to participate in the "Guess What I Collect" program, and are then responsible for arranging their items in a plexiglass display case located in the children's department. Staff members tell me that this is a very popular activity, with a long waiting list. It's a wonderful way to personalize and humanize the library environment (and could easily be adapted to a school setting).

The individual was a young man I encountered in one of the reading rooms. My eye was drawn to a skateboard, resting on the window ledge next to his laptop, and I asked if I could take a photo of both him and his "stuff." After explaining who I was (retired librarian who loved taking photos of libraries and readers), and assuring him that the picture would respect his privacy, he willingly posed for me. This older teen told me that he came to the library to check on jobs and look up information about colleges, since he has no internet access at home. I have no idea whether or not he was telling me the truth about his online activities, but the point is not what he was doing, but that he wanted/needed to connect and the public library is the place that offered him that option.

I believe that libraries are about more than objects, they're about people and their interactions: with these objects, with apps, with other people.

Carl Sagan believed that
"The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries."

School, public, academic, specialty: whatever the type of library, it was created to fill a need, serve a purpose, serve people...like the young man with his laptop, like the older woman reading by a window, like the young children enjoying story time, like me. All of us learners, all of us seeking, and finding, services at our public library.

"That Paradise will be a kind of library" by dmcordell
"Display case" by dmcordell
"Connecting at the Library" by dmcordell
"A Quiet Spot" by dmcordell