Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Intellectual Property...and Passion

This Autumn, I had the pleasure of visiting a digital photography class at Fort Ann Central School to discuss copyright, plagiarism and fair use, particularly in regard to digital images. I shared some resources with the students, then told them the story of educator Alec Couros's experience with  the uncredited use of one of his original photos.

A few months later, I was blindsided by an even more egregious example of copyright violation.

As an amateur, but passionate, photographer, I take pleasure in sharing my original captures with others, via Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking venues. Except for the photos of family members, I usually attach a Creative Commons license to my work, allowing others to use individual shots with attribution.

If you are a Flickr user, you probably know that there is a mail option on the site, accessed by hovering over your icon in the top right corner of the site. I am occasionally contacted, via this mailbox, by people or organizations who wish to use my content.

"Flickr mail" by dmcordell http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcordell/11670679986/

On 12/06/13, I opened this message:

"Stolen Picture" by dmcordell http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcordell/11670043525/

To backtrack just a bit... on September 13, one of my photos, There Is A Crack In Everything, was selected for Flickr Explore. This is quite an honor, and means that an image gets an amazing number of views (6,468 as of this moment). The "thief" mentioned in the above email had posted my photograph in his/her photostream with no attribution (evidently an ongoing practice for him/her, since others have contacted me about their photos also being stolen).

Fortunately, Flickr has a mechanism for dealing with these types of issues.

After clicking into "Report Abuse" and "Someone is posting photos that I have taken in their Flickr account," I was redirected to the Yahoo page dealing with Copyright and Intellectual Property. I followed the procedure indicated, and within a few hours, the photo was removed from the offending site. The poster had tried to disguise the theft by changing the date of the photo, but since Flickr itself had chosen the image from my photostream, such a lame tactic was doomed to failure.

"Copyright infringement" by dmcordell http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcordell/11670526275/

I sincerely thank the person who alerted me to this blatant theft of my original work. Monetarily, there was little or nothing at stake. But when it's your passion that is trampled upon and discounted, strong action is indicated.

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead.” -Joss Whedon

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Power of We

My first tweet, on September 29, 2007, was not exactly brimming with enthusiasm:

Fortunately, I stuck around, eventually adding other sites (Flickr, Facebook, Plurk) to my social networking neighborhood.

Where my blogging has slowed down, the connections I make with professional colleagues, friends, and family are frequent and vibrant. We share resources and photos, make plans to meet, and keep in touch where physical distance precludes face-to-face interaction.

I often refer to myself as an embedded librarian, but social librarian would be just as apt. Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends, Karen Wright-Balbier, along with her collaborators Andrea Keller, Michael Soskil, and Dyane Smokorowski, posted a link to the Kid Wish Project:

"Greetings and welcome to our Kid Wishes 2013-14 Project where we link Life Skills Special Needs Classrooms with Mainstream Classrooms for a Holiday Card and New Years Wish for the World Exchange.  Our hope is by partnering students across the continent for a cultural exchange, we can begin a dialogue of personal perspectives for global positive impact.   We would love for your classrooms to participate for our quick turnaround adventure, make new friends, and share what wishes your students have for 2014."
Andrea has also written a blog posting further explaining the Kid Wish Project.

Since I no longer have students of my own, I volunteered to spread the word on my network. I've received some responses already, and may even get to visit a local classroom to see the project in action.

While Karen, Andrea, Michael, and Dyane are connected educators, their contact lists obviously differ from mine. One voice on Twitter or Facebook is powerful. Our combined voices magnify that power to a significant degree.

Social networking isn't just for idle chitchat. Used in a positive way, it can expand our horizons and enrich the lives of our students.

If it's appropriate for your situation, please consider participating in Kid Wish. If that isn't possible, then take a minute to spread the good word. It's a worthwhile project and a true reflection of what the upcoming holidays are really all about.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In My Life

"Icy reflection" by dmcordell http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcordell/8197019133/
The house is quiet, on the cusp of a busy Thanksgiving gathering. Time to take a moment for reflection.

How is this retirement gig playing out? Well, I still attend, and give presentations at, professional conferences. I'm active in social networking, and participate in the photo-a-day 365 project (many people I meet f2f for the first time know me through my photos). Occasionally, I visit classrooms via Skype or interact with students as a collaborating teacher at my former school. My online work for CyberSmart Education is interesting and accommodates itself to my travel and family schedule.

What do I value most? Top priority these days is interacting with my granddaughter. Although I was a stay-at-home mom myself, I find that I had forgotten (or maybe I was too busy to fully appreciate) the wonder of discovering the world anew with a young child. I teach her sign language and read stories; she shares her toys and her kisses and her unconditional love. We are a pair.

Another source of satisfaction is functioning as as embedded librarian for my far-flung network of friends and acquaintances. In my definition of the term, that means I find and share resources, connect people, do a bit of research on topics of interest: it's not that I have special talents, it's the fact that I have the unencumbered time that others might lack. I spent years acquiring my teaching and librarian skills, and I'm not about to turn my back on the profession that I love. Besides, I'd be terrible at shuffleboard.

I am thankful for family and friends, reasonable health, travel opportunities, and a comfortable home to anchor my journeys.

I remember the past. I dream of the future. I love the now.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

"Playground fun with Grandma" by Ellen White http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcordell/9608127567/

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

There's Plenty of Room at the Top

summit: the highest level or degree that can be attained; a conference or meeting of high-level leaders, usually called to shape a program of action. -TheFreeDictionary

Last week, I again had the pleasure of attending the SLJ (School Library Journal) Leadership Summit, held this year in Austin, Texas.

This gathering is purposely kept small, but it is by no means "exclusive." Teacher Librarians and their education partners need only apply before the list is filled. While attendees must cover their own travel and lodging expenses, there is no registration fee.

The Summit theme was "Transformation Through Effective Collaboration." Keynote speakers Annie Murphy Paul and Antero Garcia addressed this topic from their unique perspectives. Ms. Paul, talking about "The Science of Interest," explored how learning works, linking the nurturing of interest to the growing of knowledge. Mr. Garcia's presentation on "Participation and Collaboration as Critical Transformation" may be viewed on the SLJ website.

The Keynote Panel,  an administrative team from Vancouver, WA Public Schools, discussed "Pivot Points and Opportunities for Teacher Librarians." A follow-up Leadership Exchange offered attendees the chance to pose questions about collaboration strategies in small breakout groups.

Two additional panels viewed collaboration from other perspectives. During "Storytelling in Transition," authors and other creators examined how the art of sharing stories continues to evolve, with readers/viewers increasingly becoming part of the experience rather than passive consumers.

"Smart Stakeholders" featured representatives of the publishing companies that helped sponsor the Summit. Their message was that a business-librarian partnership is essential, as publishers seek to create resources that complement the needs of the students for whom they are purchased.

American Library Association President, Barbara Stripling, eloquently spoke about how "School Libraries Change Lives," and offered those present an opportunity to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

Also valuable were the Fast Learning short presentations by Beth Yoke, Carolyn Foote, Stephanie Ham, Deborah Jones, Jennifer D. LaBoon & Cindy Buchanan, and Joel Castro.

I'd like to take a moment to recognize the approach taken by the Summit's corporate sponsors, Capstone, Brain Hive, Gale, Junior Library Guild, Lerner, Mackin, Rosen, and Rourke. They gave us gifts,  hosted dinners, and went out of their way to generate positive interactions. While representatives were available to answer questions about products and services, there were no hard sell tactics. They were there to thank us, and, by extension, all their library customers. It was a class act all the way.

There were a number of people present whom I already knew, either through social networking sites or past conference interactions; others I met for the first time. As wonderful as virtual connections can be, nothing compares to a face-to-face conversation, which might veer off into unexpected, enlightening, or delightful directions.

Summit Sites
Editorial Director, Rebecca T. Miller, told me that SLJ wants the Summit to fulfill many needs: to be informative, empowering, and enjoyable. Host cities are chosen as destinations that will offer opportunities for attendees to relax and explore a bit when formal events are over. Austin certainly met and exceeded that requirement. I'm sure the SLJ Summit 2014 location, St. Paul, MN, will be just as much fun to visit.

I understand how difficult it can be for Teacher Librarians to get administrative approval for professional conferences. If you can only attend one program next year, you might want to consider SLJ Summit...it's a mighty "little" conference, where EVERYONE is a leader.

"Glorious and sublime Librarians." -Annie Murphy Paul

See these and other photos at SLJ Summit, Austin, Texas

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Flickr Explore

"There Is A Crack In Everything" by dmcordell http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmcordell/9736748802/
One of the ways that I choose to connect with others, in a visible and (I hope) meaningful way is through photography.

For the past five years, I've been active in a few 365 challenge groups, posting a new photo on Flickr every day. Some of my images tell a story, others attempt to capture the beauty of nature or the uniqueness of the people with whom I interact in my daily life. These photosets serve as a visual diary as well as an impromptu "course" in the art of the photograph. Seeing the work of others, having them offer praise for my more successful efforts, helps me to grow as - yes - an artist.

In addition to uploading them to Flickr, I share the images on Twitter, Facebook, and Plurk, thus broadening the reach of my offerings. On a good day, my daily photo might get 50-100 views, with possibly a few comments and/or favorites. An exceptionally striking or timely shot might draw an even larger audience. Extensive use of tagging contributes to the number of hits recorded.

Last week, I posted the above photo. I had just finished reading Louise Penny's latest Inspector Gamache novel, How the Light Gets In, and was struck by the Leonard Cohen lyrics that inspired both the title and the plot:
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
 As I tracked the history of my photo, I noticed first an upswell, then a tidal wave of interest. The numbers began to zoom: 500, 1,000 views...crazy numbers. I didn't understand some of the comments, until someone in my network asked if the image had been chosen for Flickr Explore. Therein lies the answer.

According to some information that I found on the site,
"Explore is Flickr's way of showcasing the most interesting photos within a given point in time -- usually over a 24 hour period. Flickr receives about 6,000 uploads every minute -- That's about 8.6 million photos a day! From this huge group of images, the Flickr Interestingness algorithm chooses only 500 images to showcase for each 24-hour period. That's only one image in every 17,000!"

And how does Flickr define "Interestingness"?
"There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr."

My photo, There Is A Crack In Everything, was selected for Explore on September 13. So far, it has had 6,162 views and was favorited 169 times. Fourteen people, from countries around the world, have left comments. [I have seen some Explore images with over 25,000 views!]

While I am proud of this photograph, I don't consider it my "best" one. It was a combination of the Interestingness factors, mentioned previously, that brought it to Flickr's attention. For a few days, I tried to follow some of the tips that supposedly increase your chances of being selected for Explore. But I found that such mindfulness took the fun out of my daily shoots. So now I'm back to setting my own agenda. If lightning strikes again, I would be gratified, certainly, but I don't take photos to win recognition; I take them to satisfy my creative urges.

The most satisfying return for me is having others ask to use my images for various reasons of their own: to illustrate an article, to share in a family or genealogy newsletter, to clarify a point in a slideshow (I use a variety of CC licenses, but am quite willing to give permission for other uses, when contacted).

I would highly recommend that you visit Flickr Explore to enjoy the mix of quirky, innovative, and hauntingly beautiful photographs displayed there. 

“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.” -Dorothea Lange

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” -Robert Frank

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Maker Fun at the Farmers' Market

"Glens Falls Farmers' Market" by dmcordell

 A drizzly Saturday morning seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit our weekly Farmers' Market. I bought some fresh vegetables, homemade bread, and a molasses cookie to nibble on.

In addition to produce, flowers, and baked goods, today's market featured a Maker Space. Although the volunteers in charge had never heard the term before, they were happy to embrace the concept and asked me to blog about their efforts.

"Maker space" by dmcordell

 The activity, run by the Warren County 4-H Club and Tri-County Transition Town (a sustainable living group), invited visitors to create upcycled t-shirt bags. Supplies and sewing machines were available, along with free samples and printed instructions (adapted from instructables) for future projects. A fact sheet about plastic bags added to the educational value of the project.

"Facts about plastic bags" by dmcordell

Crafting similar t-shirt bags would be a great classroom activity, marrying creativity with authentic learning. Students could make the bags and tuck information about recycling and environmental issues inside.

Coincidentally, today my Twitter feed linked me to an excellent blog posting, Why the Maker Movement matters to educators, by Sylvia Martinex and Gary Stager. 

Maker spaces are not exclusively about building high tech models. Gather up some t-shirts and let your students sew up a useful product with a socially-responsible twist.

"T-shirt bag" by dmcordell

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Reading

"Outside the New York Public Library" by dmcordell
Our local newspaper ran an article today about a nearby public library and its summer reading program.

Evidently one young man has won prizes for the last five years because of the number of books he completed as part of a reading challenge. While the children's room aide applauds this accomplishment and sees no problem in continuing the competition, her director wants to change the procedure to give every child a chance to win by entering participants' name in a random drawing.

Each woman makes some valid points:
"Casey [the library aide] said everyone in the club is on a level playing field because all begin and end the same day and all have the opportunity to read as many books as they wish...My feeling is you work, you get it. That’s just the way it is in anything." 
An opposing viewpoint comes from Gandron, the director, "Tyler 'hogs' the contest every year and he should 'step aside.' Other kids quit because they can’t keep up."

I am a very fast reader. As a child, I could have easily bested my peers in this type of contest - but I read because I loved it, not for praise or prizes. When reading now, I sometimes have to consciously slow myself down, to savor language and grasp nuances.

Some of my school library students devoured books, showing up many times during the week to select new titles. Others were plodders, slowly working through their reading selections. There is room in the world for both approaches to literature, especially when it comes to reading for pleasure rather than solely for information.

Are reading contests beneficial to students? Would a book club be a better choice...or would that seem too "schooly"? I'd be interested in learning how other librarians approach this issue.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Podstock: The Perfect Little Conference

"Podstock Registration" by dmcordell
It's been almost a month since I attended my first Podstock, so I've had time to organize my thoughts and reflect a bit on the experience.

I already knew a lot about this conference from interacting on social networking sites, particularly Plurk and Facebook. Podstock is a (deliberately) small conference, averaging about 300 attendees. All of the keynotes and sessions are held at the Hotel at Old Town Conference Center, in Wichita Kansas. Because of the intimate setting, I felt reasonably sure that I'd have the opportunity to interact with a number of my online acquaintances face-to-face. The slideshow I had prepared for my presentation was uploaded and saved to my laptop, SlideShare, and a flash drive, ready to share with friends old and new.

Realities - The Good
Podstock, the conference, was every bit as welcoming and interactive as I had expected. The ESSDACK staff worked tirelessly to make sure that all attendees had a positive experience. Old Town Wichita, with its historic architecture and abundance of restaurants and shops, provided the perfect setting for exploring and connecting, during meals or informal activities, like our early morning PhotoWalk.

Realities - The Bad
Kansas tends to be HOT in July, so our time outdoors was limited. This wasn't unexpected, so appropriate wardrobe choice and intelligent planning resulted in a reasonably comfortable visit. My own personal disaster occurred when I nodded off in bed and spilled a sticky liquid on my laptop. This resulted in an inoperative keyboard (subsequently fixed, thanks to the Apple Genius Bar) and some pre-presentation stress. Fortunately, the ESSDACK crew provided me with a loaner computer and my flashdrive saved the day.

Realities - The Awesome (a partial list)
  • Unconference: This was my first opportunity to connect more personally with people like John Martin, a member of my Network for years - a "real" friend but not one I had met face-to-face before. Another online friend, Sherry Crofut, shared her Google Glass, giving us a literal and figurative peek into the future, or, at least one possibility for digital evolution. Social aspects aside, it was energizing to propose, vote on, and participate in discussions with fellow learners. I chose one conversation about Maker Spaces and another about Badges. Both were lively and thought-provoking. It was the perfect way to seque into the (slightly) more formal conference experience.
  • Opening Keynote: Mark Klassen, a 19-year-old cinematographer, shared the story of how he used his Personal Learning Network and other online resources to learn film-making. Many of the concepts he touched upon, connectedness, passion, life-long learning, were repeated throughout the conference.
  • Sessions I attended (all were excellent): Dean Mantz & Wesley Fryer, CSI: Creative Storytelling Investigation; Dan Whisler, Energy 101 - KidWind & the SHS Chevy Volt Project; Butch Wilson, We Are Irons: Why We Asked Google to Lie to Us; Ginger Lewman, PBL Conversations; and a last-minute replacement presentation by Wesley Fryer on Visual Notetaking.
  • Vendor Reception and Dance - refreshments, swag, music, dancing...what's not to like!
  • Podstock PhotoWalk: John Martin and I led a merry group of photographers on a mini-tour of Old Town. 
  • Closing Keynote: Kevin Honeycutt, Starting and Maintaining a Revolution. Kevin challenged us to change the world by changing ourselves, our expectations, our approach to life and learning. It's a message that applies across the education spectrum, to teachers, yes, but also to students, administrators, parents, all stakeholders in the future.
Final Thoughts
Although I got very positive feedback on my presentation, Seeing is Deceiving, I soon realized that Podstock is best suited for a different approach to sharing and learning. Ginger Lewman and Butch Wilson, in particular, modeled the type of loosely structured, participant-driven conversation which I hope to emulate in the future. Will I submit a proposal next year? Already working on it. Will I return to Podstock? Just try to stop me!

"Photowalk" by dmcordell

Additional Resources
Seeing Is Deceiving Wiki
Podstock '13 Facebook Page
Podstock Ning
Podstock Photoset

Monday, July 15, 2013

Podstock Photowalk

"Self-portrait" by dmcordell
I'm excited to be attending my first Podstock this week, in Wichita, KS. This mighty little conference brings together an eclectic mix of educators from across the country to converse, collaborate, and have fun learning.

Although I wasn't able to be there in person last year, I did participate virtually in the first Podstock Photowalk. By setting out at approximately the same time of day, and choosing a similar location (a small local city with some historic older buildings), I duplicated the feel, if not the "reality," of the experience.

Photowalk resources
Virtual Podstock Photowalk

Here's this year's information...please join us on Friday!

Photowalk  Podstock  2013 Friday,  July  19
With  special  guest  photographers:  John  Martin  and  Diane  Cordell
We  are  excited  to  announce  our  second  annual  Podstock  PhotoWalk!  This  event  will  take place  Friday  morning  (July  19,  2013).  We’ll  be  gathering  to  take  a  walk  and  explore  the surrounding  Wichita  Old  Town  area  around  the  Podstock  conference  center.  It’s  a  great way  to  make  new  friends,  find  some  hidden  gems  for    photos,  as  well  as  stretch  our  legs before/after  a  long  day  of  sessions.
We’ll  gather  at  a  Old  Town  Hotel  Lobby    and  have  planned  stops  for  potential  photo opportunities,  but  participants  are  always  welcome  to  pause  and  shoot  as  the  eye  desires.
There  will  also  be  a  couple  of  geocaches  to  look  for  along  the  way! Afterward,  we’ll  share  our  photos  in  a  Flickr  group  to  see  what  magic  others  have  captured!
If  you’re  interested  in  participating,  keep  reading  for  all  the  details! *Virtual  participants  are  very  welcome  to  participate!  see  details  below
Support  Resources
http://digital-­photography-­school.com/10-­tips-­for-­a-­great-­photowalk http://www.nctp.com/photosafari/PhotoSafari_Ver1.0.pdf  great  book  on  photo  safari
Date  &  Time
July  19,  2013
7am  –  Old  Town  Hotel  Lobby  for  photography  tips,  geocaching  information,  and  group  picture 7:15am  -­  begin  walk
8:30am-­Podstock  sessions  start

Photo  Themes
Morning  walk: Basic  Learning  Blocks  (colors,  alphabet,  numbers,  etc) Technology
In  Shadow  /  In  Light
Happiness  is...
Take  a  Closer  Look

Signing  up
Just  join  the  Podstock  group  and  spread  the  word!
Sharing  your  pics
Twitter  Hashtag
Flickr  tags:  PodstockPhotoWalk13,  Podstock13,  and  your  theme  name (virtual  participants  also  tag  with  VirtualPodstock)
You  can  also  choose  a  theme  and  upload  them  pics4learning.com
*Virtual  participation
For  those  who  aren’t  able  to  be  at  Podstock  in  person,  but  who  would  still  like  to  join  in  on  the  fun virtually,  we  have  the  Virtual  Podstock  PhotoWalk!
Here  are  the  rules  of  the  game: 1)  Pick  your  own  time  of  day  (morning  and  evening  light  is  awesome) 2)  Go  shoot  your  stuff! 3)  Upload  to  the  Flickr  just  as  the  rest  of  us  will,  but  be  sure  to  tag  your  photos  with
“VirtualPodstock”  so  we  can  be  sure  to  give  a  little  extra  love  to  your  dedication  and  participation.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Computers in Libraries

This past week marked my first attendance at the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference, held yearly in Washington, DC.

The atmosphere at CIL is low-key, friendly, and inclusive. Attendees are united by a common interest in technology as it affects libraries and their users. There are five tracks, with different themes, but the keynotes are universal and tracks are open to anyone curious about the topic at hand. Cross pollination continues during breaks, at meals, or around the fire pits on the hotel terrace. Keynote videos and many presentation resources are now publicly available on the CIL site.

As a presenter, I was energized by the response to my topic, The Connected Library. Fellow librarians came up to chat afterwards, and I observed some of the audience members accessing tools I had highlighted within minutes of the slideshow. Others have commented on Twitter about how they will use what I shared, the ultimate test of a presentation's relevance, particularly since my focus was on social networking.

An added bonus was the glorious weather in Washington. Many of us were able to take the time to explore a bit. My photographs of the Cherry Blossom Festival, War Memorials, and CIL itself are available in a Flickr set.

Would I go to CIL again? Absolutely! And next year, I plan to stay a bit longer so that I can attend more sessions and visit more local attractions.

The Connected Library wiki

"The Cherry Blossom Festival" by dmcordell

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

National Poetry Month: Walk With Nature

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events. -Poets.org

As I have done for the past few years, I've created a slideshow in honor of National Poetry Month.

My first effort, Poems In Words and Images, featured a combination of my own and Creative Commons photographs:

Last year, I challenged myself to only use my original images to construct Picturing Poetry:

This year, I've selected verses based on a nature theme, pairing them with photos from my Flickr photostream. I hope you enjoy Walk With Nature:

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance." -Carl Sandburg

Monday, March 25, 2013

All Shall Be Well

The Three Desires of Julian of Norwich

Sometimes I do a bit a research just for the fun of it. This morning, a tweet from Liz Burns sent me on my merry way:

I discovered that this quote is attributed to Julian of Norwich, a 14th-15th century Christian mystic. Her visions while seriously ill led her to write Revelations of Divine Love (ca. 1393), purportedly the first book composed in the English language by a woman. Despite living in a time of turmoil, punctuated by peasant revolts and outbreaks of the Black Death, Julian believed in a merciful and loving deity. She claimed that her famous "All will be well..." was spoken directly to her by God.

The lines were incorporated into T. S. Eliot's Little Gidding (1941-42):
"Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching."

In more recent times, Julian's words appear in an amazing variety of song lyrics:

Pete Townshend (from The Iron Man: The Musical, 1989)

Anderson Peterson (from The Far Country, 2005)

A more traditional rendition by OHRWURM Folk Orchestra (c. 2012)

And for Easter, from the Oremus Hymnal (1984)
All shall be well! Lift every voice on high;"Death has no more dominion but shall die."

Poetry, song lyrics, even the title of a murder mystery...Julian of Norwich's words live on. Tracking down the source of this quote, and its modern manifestations, was a lovely little task for a Monday morning.

Thanks for the inspiration, Liz!

"ALL SHALL BE WELL" By Leo Reynolds

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Semi-post About Google Reader

I saw this notice on Google Reader:

Through my social networks, most notably Twitter, I was already aware of the impending demise of GR. Within a relatively short time period, I saw numerous RSS aggregator options suggested, evaluated, and endorsed, all in 140 characters or less. Ultimately I chose Feedly, which seamlessly migrated my Reader content.

It is troubling when well-regarded free sites and services cease operation. I'm still angry at Picnik's termination and skittish about its "reincarnation" as Ribbet. I've moved on.

And although Flickr seems to be thriving, I've also taken steps to back up my photos. Some content is too precious to risk on the vagaries of chance and the Internet gods.

To be honest, the Google Reader situation is less disruptive to my online life than it would have been a few years ago. As you can see in the screenshot above, there are 1000+ unread items in my feed. Where once I religiously scanned GR daily, I now check infrequently. Most of my information, resources, and conversations flow through social networking sites these days.

I laughed at Judy's retweet today, then decided to do a sort of non-post post. Google Reader is old news in the connected life.

Thanks Judy O'Connell and Ian Clark for inspiring this post!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Friends and Yearbook Tips

"Sympathetic souls" by dmcordell
For me, the best part of attending conferences is meeting people outside of my network. At EduCon this year, I serendipitously sat down at a table with this group of powerhouse women: Anne Collier, Peggy Sheehy, and Marianne Malmstrom. Some very interesting conversation ensued, including Marianne's comment that she would love a few photography tips to pass along to her school yearbook committee.

I hope to Skype with these students at some point, but until then, I've created a brief slideshow for them. If anyone has further tips, please be sure to share them in the comments on my blog or on the SlideShare site.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Educon

"Science Leadership Academy" by dmcordell
I just got home from that innovative, energizing, inspiring gathering known as Educon.

Since I'm retired from my position as a K-12 Teacher Librarian (although I still do occasional curriculum writing for CyberSmart! Education Company), and I pay my own way, I can pretty much tailor the experience to suit my personal interests. I feel free to either attend sessions or sit out a time slot and chat with people, usually a blend of both.

A Selection of Sessions
In @remixeducon, I got to interact with George Mayo and Harry Costner, who had already contacted me by email to ask permission to add some of my photos to a resource they were creating. Their remixeducon folder contains CC licensed pictures and video clips made by Educon participants, available for public use. An unexpected bonus was meeting Amanda Lyons, who showed us examples of her visual note taking and suggested creating the Community Mural that was later hung on the second floor.

"Community Mural" by dmcordell

I've become increasingly interested in the concept of "curation,"  and who better to explore it with than Joyce Valenza? She quoted from from Pierre Levy, who envisions knowledge communities where "the members of a thinking community search, inscribe, connect, consult, explore..." In an increasingly complex information age, the ability to archive, organize and retrieve digital assets is vital.  Joyce's slide presentation, and an extensive list of resources addressing this topic, can be found on her curation wiki.

During John Schinker's Mind the Gap session, a diverse group of educators tackled some difficult questions: (1) What can I do to effect change in my school? (2) How can I support and encourage change among the other roles? (3) How can I create a sense of urgency for change in my environment? There were, of course, no definitive solutions. There was, however, an interesting range of responses. This is the sort of interaction that I miss when working on my own, and it served to remind me that there is not a consensus regarding school reform even among forward thinkers in the education field.

Close Encounters of the Best Kind
It's no surprise to those who know me that my favorite part of any conference is interacting with people. I was happy to reunite with some old friends and make some new and promising connections. I chatted with SLA parents and student guides, trying to grasp what makes this school special in their eyes (cropping up again and again were phrases like "authentic student voice," "caring community," "project-based learning"). Conversations frequently took unexpected turns, and off-hand comments sparked interesting discussions. For example, when I flippantly remarked that students should be more like retirees, my tablemates' questions led me to articulate what makes retirement so wonderful...freedom to pursue passions, learning what & when I want to, choosing work hours that suit my personal body clock...that might also make school a better experience for students. I've already added a number of new people to my Network, so that my Educon experience won't end with the last scheduled session.

"Faces of Educon" by dmcordell

Sometimes learning means taking chances. Because I decided to bring my iPad rather than my Mac, I had fewer options when it came to uploading and editing photos. Apart from some cropping, all of the pictures in my Educon Flickr set (except for the newly created "Faces of Educon" collage) are "raw." This was a bit scary for me, but surprisingly liberating. I used my Nikon D3000, my iPhone, even my iPad to capture images. Sometimes less is more.

I got to travel, take photos, engage in conversations, learn, eat, drink, and be merry. It might not have been your Educon, but it was my Educon, and I loved it.

"Snowy Morning in Philadelphia" by dmcordell

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three To Try

Photo by Ellen White

The following trio of tools proved useful to me this week. Take a look and see if there's anything you might like to test drive.

 #1 Many of the digital resources I use are harvested from interactions on social networking sites. A new service, RebelMouse, aggregates personal updates, making it easy to share Facebook and Twitter content with people who don't choose to connect there.

The RebelMouse page is visually appealing, presenting content in an easily accessible format. In addition to automatically aggregating from multiple streams, RebelMouse allows the user to post supplemental content, highlight "important" items, "stick" links (a la Pinterest pinning), and perform a host of other actions. In the opinion of Technorati blogger, Jim Haughwout, "The value is clear: If I wanted someone to rapidly and easily get a perspective on what interests me, I would recommend they first go to the my Rebel Mouse page (rather than my other of my social media pages)."

#2 Once having realized the merit of RebelMouse, I wanted to add it to contact information on my business cards. In order to do this, I turned to a familiar but still very useful tool,  the QR Code Generator. There are a number of similar sites, but I've used this one before and find it to be quick and intuitive: paste in a URL, generate a code, then download the image and grab permalink information. Sites like Zazzle accommodate custom business card designs, so it's easy to add the QR code to other text and images.

"Business card Back" by dmcordell

#3 Another tool I've recently used is an oldie but a goodie, the Flickr badge creator. A few years ago, I decide to add daily photos from the 365 Project to my blog page. Since the badge is directly linked to a specific photoset, I need to update it yearly. This posting provides a link and further information. You can see my Flickr badge in the right sidebar, under the traffic map.

Any tools you'd like to share with me?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

For the Love of Learning

"First Day of My New Job..." by theunquietlibrarian
Personal friend, and professional inspiration, Buffy Hamilton, recently left her position as a high school teacher librarian to join the staff of the Cleveland Public Library.

Her job title at CPL is "Learning Strategist." Not "School Strategist," or "Library Strategist" but "LEARNING Strategist," an inclusive term embracing a wide range of possibilities.

As a semi-retired, (Medicare) card carrying Senior Citizen, I'm concerned with staying mentally active and professionally involved. While doing the Sudoku and Cryptogram each morning is fun, it's hardly a spur to intellectual growth.  So I'd like to adapt the Learning Strategist concept and apply it to my own life.

I will try to
  • make a conscious effort to leave my comfort zone Volunteering to do an Ignite! presentation at the ALA Annual Conference last year was a challenging, somewhat scary, but ultimately very satisfying experience which taught me a lot about presentation zen.
  • read, analyze, and apply Taking in information isn't enough; creation of new knowledge is the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. Lifelong learning should be authentic and relevant.
  •  interact with others Social isolation may trigger psychological issues; it can affect any age group, but older citizens are especially vulnerable. Networking, both online and face to face, not only forestalls feelings of isolation, but also serves to deepen understanding through dialog and collaboration.
Buffy and I will be moving in different directions as we explore what it means to be a Learning Strategist. But we will continue to share our experiences and LEARN from each other.

"The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you’re learning you’re not old." -Rosalyn S. Yalow

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: My Year in Review

As the New Year begins, I like to take some time to reflect on what has gone before:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” -Søren Kierkegaard