Teacher Librarian 2.0

Learning About Web 2.0 for School Libraries

I believe in teacher librarians.

April 10, 2013 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

To listen to my recording of this post, click on the link below.

I believe in teacher librarians

I believe in teacher librarians. I am at the end of my career, having completed my degree in school librarianship post-retirement, so I have known plenty of tls. I am lucky to have had great role models in my time, but as a grandmother with two young boys soon to enter the school system, I find myself looking forward. What will Lucca and Cole find in their school libraries? Will there be someone there to feed their obsession for reading? Will someone help them navigate the new literacies so they learn, grow, and create online? Most important, will someone in their school libraries welcome, accept, and support them as they grow? Thinking about the tls I’ve met in this program, if their schools have professional teacher librarians, the answer to all these questions is yes. How do I know this? Because I know what teacher librarians do.

Teacher librarians provide high quality print and online curricular resources. I believe in Rhonda, who provides her high school students not only with the latest and greatest digital resources, but also with a vibrant print collection including hard-to-find novels by Canadian First Nations writers.

Teacher librarians build a collection and a space that encourages students to read and to learn. I believe in Lissa, who in one-half day of library time per week has transformed the dismal, discouraging library she inherited. Now she leads literacy in a warm and vibrant hub where her students and teachers love to read and work.

Teacher librarians develop events and programs that promote reading. I believe in Joanie, who decided her students needed graphic novels as part of their reading experiences. She planned with her principal, sought expert advice, bought judiciously, solicited input from students, promoted creatively, and invited a knowledgeable guest speaker to her school. She also thoughtfully introduced her teachers to graphic novels. The results? More excitement about reading, and a wider variety of choices for student learning.

Teacher librarians collaborate with teachers to integrate information literacy, inquiry, literature and technology into the curriculum. I believe in Amanda, who eagerly shares her knowledge of teaching reading and writing with her colleagues, and is continually improving her teaching.

I believe in Renae, who as the information literacy leader in her school collaborates with her teachers to implement inquiry-based, information processing projects with all students. Her grade 7 class researched the impact of a proposed mine on a local salmon spawning stream, and used Web 2.0 tools to create an interactive presentation so they could share their concerns at a public forum.

Teacher librarians serve on leadership teams to implement initiatives that improve student learning. I believe in Kelly, part of the literacy committee at her school, who gave copies of The Book Whisperer to all her language arts teachers, Now they are planning to implement free voluntary reading and book challenges in her school. I believe in Terri, who serves other teacher librarians as webmaster for the Alberta School Library Council.

Teacher librarians use instructional technology to teach, to support reading, to facilitate learning and content creation, and to build a virtual library. I believe in Shelly, who reads fan fiction with her students and encourages them in writing their own. She helps them see themselves as both writers and readers. She envisions doing action research on using new technologies with students, both as a way to build their learning, and as a way to advocate for technology funding.

I believe in Brenda, who welcomes a group of grade five boys to the library every day after school so they can chat with her about the books they are reading for her 40-book challenge or tell her a joke or debate which fast food fries are the best. With her colleague, Leslie, Brenda has 400 students recording what they read on their free voluntary reading web sites and discussing online what they read and recommend to others. One result is more student book requests in one year than in the previous eight combined.

Teacher librarians promote reading for pleasure and free voluntary reading in school. I believe in Heather, who fought to eliminate scheduled book exchanges in favor of flexibility. Circulation dramatically increased, formerly reluctant teachers see the value of student choice, and students can get books when they need them.

I believe in Jess, who builds relationships with her students by helping each of them find just the right book. She sees her reader’s advisory as time to get to know her students as they share their questions, their concerns, and their thoughts about the world in which they live.

I believe in Anne, who loves the power of story and the insight her students’ stories give her into their lives. Her goal is to ensure that her students trust themselves as readers capable of making their own reading choices.

Teacher librarians model lifelong learning and reading for pleasure. I believe in Deborah, the enabling adult and model expert reader. She shares with her students her love of literature and the idea that reading is fun. One of her great ideas is the book swap project that reinforces her effort to develop a school culture that celebrates reading and honours choice.

I believe in Melissa, who takes such joy in getting to know every student in her school and passing on her passion for reading. For her reading is a social activity, nurtured by a community of readers.

Teacher librarians involve parents in their children’s learning. I believe in Natasha, who sees parent education, involvement and collaboration in information literacy as a way to teach a whole community, not just its children.

I believe that professional teacher librarians are indispensable to our 21st century learners. I fervently hope that as my two grandsons grow, they are lucky enough to have a teacher librarian in their school. To all the wonderful teacher librarians I have met in the TL-DL program, I want you to know that I believe in you.

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Vision of the Future

April 24, 2010 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

I am very proud to share the collaborative project  which my EDES 545 classmates and I created as our final assignment. Please visit our wiki, Vision of the Future – Using Web 2.0 in Schools, and enjoy our VoiceThread below:


 
For me this quote from Marcel Proust sums up what I have experienced in this collaborative project and in this course.

“The only true exploration, the only true fountain of youth would not be to visit foreign lands, but to possess other eyes, to look at the universe through the eyes of others.”

I have had an opportunity few teachers are lucky enough to experience. After a lifetime spent teaching, I have become a student in the digital age. While like Kathy Shrock, I am in fact a digital pioneer, through this project I’ve been given a chance to look at the possibilities of the digital native world through other eyes; through the collective intelligence of my classmates as we built our learning space in the participatory culture on the read/write/reflect web.

In January when this class began I thought I knew a lot about web 2.0. I had taken the introductory class, used the tools for two years, and as a consultant shared them with others. I realize now that I had only scratched the surface. What did I learn?

This class has profoundly changed me, and I want to acknowledge each of my classmates for their part in this change.

Ruth taught me the transformative power of web 2.0 for the global good as she used Twitter to help those devastated by the earthquake in Haiti.

Mark reminded me that education should be playful and fun. By sharing his experiences teaching up north, he reminded me that when you truly value your students, you make a huge difference in your community.

Dawn taught me the beauty and utility of multi-tasking as we Skyped, edited, created, and laughed together, and reminded me that making learning transparent for our students makes us better teachers.

Shirley modelled grace and class and perseverance. Her knowledge of and empathy for her students shines.

Natasha is the perfect 21st century teacher librarian, mentoring teachers and students with grace, respect and expertise.

Jackie quietly stepped in as needed, encouraging here, adding deft touches there, unstinting of her time and expertise. I want to be just like Jackie when I grow up.

One of the highs of the final project was being able to step in and do some of the administriva that has to be done – setting up the VoiceThread account, doing the initial wiki build, sending the emails to keep us on the same page. Sometimes it felt like herding cats, but I find I like that feeling! I love being retired but I do miss helping people.

There were some lows. There’s nothing like being linked to a group of brilliant teachers to remind of you of your own shortcomings – but of course, that’s good for me. And we did hit the depths as we came to grips with the breadth of what we had decided to do, but fortunately the strength of the group came though as we called in the cavalry – and they arrived in time. I don’t think we could have so internalized all the 21st century skills in any more effective way.

For that I thank Joanne, who honoured her students by allowing them the freedom to take a huge risk by doing our final project collaboratively. Through the content, process, trust, and guidance Joanne shared with us over this course, she gave us wings and set us free.

My classmates and I created our “digital tapestry”, where our individual talents, expertise, and creativity are woven together, and each individual strand is worthy in and of itself, but made stronger, more beautiful, and more useful as part of the splendid whole. Joanne, you made that possible.

Professional Development: With a Little Help From My Friends

April 5, 2010 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Stages of PLN adoption - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jutecht/2384289406/

Stages of PLN adoption - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jutecht/2384289406/

I laughed out loud when I saw this illustration by Jeff Utecht about professional learning networks. I am one of those people who gets carried away with the excitement of new learning. I can lose hours on the computer, following those “rabbit trails,” as my classmate, Shirley, calls them, as I move from one blog post or RSS feed or tweet to the next. I laughed even more when I read that Jeff, like me, has a spouse who reminds him that “PLNs are very powerful, but they are not all there is to life.”

As we discussed professional development in class this week, our discussion leader, Dawn, asked a challenging and important question: “How do we begin to support teachers’ pedagogical change?” We talked a lot about personal learning networks. I like David Kapuler’s description

A Personal Learning Network or PLN is a dedicated learning environment unique to each individual.  . . . this is a place where people create their own environment which helps them to grow/learn. This can be done in many different ways through collaborating, blogging, social networking, etc.  [The] goal is to learn and share knowledge and to find a passion and follow it to the best of your ability.

I began to think about my own change and growth over a 38 year career. How did I follow my passion? To paraphrase Fulghum, All I really need to know I didn’t learn in school. I learned it from colleagues, mentors, and friends. I had a personal learning network long before I ever heard the term, but of course I’ve been involved in many types of professional development.

Judi Harris wrote a  four-article series (all available online here) published in ISTE‘s Learning & Leading with Technology f(February – June/July, 2008.) She writes

Educational technology-related professional development (ETPD) can take many forms. It varies by:

  • general purposes and goals;
  • the specific learning objectives that ETPD sessions and programs address;
  • the curriculum content areas to which they are related;
  • the student grade levels for which the strategies and tools presented are appropriate;
  • the instructional approaches recommended;
  • the professional development models used to structure the ETPD sessions;
  • and the ways in which the professional development is evaluated and/or teacher learning is assessed.

I first encountered Judi Harris through the Telus Learning Connection, or 2Learn.ca . Her research and guidance helped shape this Alberta endavour, which is ‘organized in a “cascading” or “train-the-trainer” model, in which teacher-leaders participate, then provide ETPD for their peers’ (Harris, 2008). I remember being elated when I was chosen as a teacher-leader, thinking I would be given training in technology implementation. Turns out I was expected to deliver the training. Fortunately the collegial nature of the participants allowed me to learn on the job as I partnered with various mentors.

Another valuable professional development experience was collaborative learning, which Harris describes as “The most desired—but unfortunately, also one of the least frequently practiced—collaborative learning model is one in which teachers engage in classroom visits.” Our district instituted instructional walkthroughs  like these (thanks, Ruth) as a way of looking at teachers’ best practices in the classroom. Instead of bringing in outside experts who preached about the latest and greatest, we utilized the expertise in our own schools.

Teachers volunteered to be observed and a group of teachers, administrators, and central office staff spent a day at a school. They would visit 6-8 classrooms, observe for 10 minutes in each, and then discuss their observations. Next we began using professional development time to do this in our own school. We set up days where teachers and administrators would visit 6-8 classrooms where teachers would share a best practice.

These were incredibly popular pd days. Later teachers were given release time to do more observations. Lots of teachers volunteered  — the message was that every teacher is an expert in something. This practice built our school of 100 teachers into a pln. It also opened our principal’s eyes about some heretofore unacknowledged great teachers, and encouraged teachers to ask administrators into their classrooms.

Another major pd tool for me was the listservHere Peter Milbury describes how the incredible resource LM_NET (short for Library and Media Network), began in 1992, growing from 60 to over 10,000 members worldwide. Through this resource I was introduced to top library/information professionals, including Joyce Valenza, Doug Johnson, Mike Eisenberg, Alice Yucht, Kathy Shrock, and many more. I felt like this tl commenting on VoiceThread, “Instead of feeling like the “only one” in my building, my PLN . . . reminds me that I’m part of a community.”

I learned more about being a tl from LM_NET than from any other single resource. I still subscribe today, and consider the members an essential part of my pln. A bonus is that, as Cathy Nelson describes, now I can follow their blogs via RSS feeds and keep up with the latest news of them on Twitter.

As teacher librarians we are asked to deliver pd to our staff. Harris reminds us that One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Guhlin advises us to Light the Flame, ”to move from professional development as a special event  . . to a continuous flow of learning.” Ketterer (June/July 2008) offers “A Professional Development Menu,” with choices ranging from “whetting the appetite” - ”Trainings: Focus on how to use a specific . . . application” to “the fuel to keep going,” a “common scheduled lunch focused around a tech teaching tip.”

 In ”Coach, Nurture, or Nudge How Do You Learn Technology Best?” Ketterer (May, 2007) reminds us that teachers learners have a preferred style. You’ll recognize these people in your staff room.

  • Coaching Style learner - willing to take risks at integrating technology into their curriculum with support from a colleague they can trust—a “coach.”
  • Nurturing Style Learners want to be nurtured as they learn new technology skills.
  • Nudging Style Learners - often traditional teachers with big success in the “way things are;” skeptical about “where technology is going today.” They need to be gently pushed, prodded, and cajoled into learning how to integrate technology.

As you develop your own personal learning network (see Sue Waters’ wiki for even more tips), and help build and support the one in your school, I recommend to you this video from  Will Richardson, web 2.0 in schools guru. And I do hope you will make me part of your pln – I am @cjpeterso on Twitter. See you online!

References (Non-hyperlinked)

Ketterer, K. (June/July 2008). A Professional Development Menu. Learning & Leading with Technology, p.11.

Ketterer, K. (May 2007). Coach, nurture, or nudge: How do you learn technology best? Learning and Leading with Technology, p. 21.

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Privacy – Please Adjust Your Settings

March 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

“Privacy is the right or opportunity to decide who has access to your personal information and how that information should be used.” - Teen Privacy Online

We now live in an age where this is becoming the expectation for public exposure, and people seem to be quite willing to accept it:

 

Privacy, health fears over airport X-ray

 
Despite the fact that Airport body scans reveal all, apparently 99% of passengers have chosen these over the traditional body-search-via-wand-and sometimes-pat-down technique most commonly used. Is this a real choice in terms of maintaining personal dignity and privacy? I think not.

As technology advances it seems that privacy becomes more and more difficult to maintain. Some say that our attitudes towards privacy are changing as online social networking becomes more popular. The problem is that, as with airport screening, we allow our choices to be determined by the technology, and unwanted public exposure is the result.

While we may not have control over security measures at airports, we most certainly do have control over online exposure. As educators we must understand how and why to exert control over our personas and privacy online, and we must share that knowledge with our students.

Making Private Matters Public

This video from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada frames social networking from the site owner’s point of view.

 

There are plenty of examples of the perils of online ignorance and stupidity on social networking sites. Some are due to careless or negligent of users; some are due to the shortcomings or negligence of technology providers, and some are due to criminal intent.

 Social networking comes with a price  says, “According to the most recent data from comScore Inc., nearly 17 million Canadians have a Facebook profile, 4.5 million are on MySpace, 14.5 million visit YouTube every month, 3.6 million upload photos to the sharing site Flickr.com.”  Many of these people risk identity theft, permanent damage to their reputations, and may even court personal harm by leaving profiles open to all.  Reporters collected detailed and specific information (phone number, address, maps to workplaces and homes) and photographs, some sexually explicit, about 12 Canadians, including several under 18, by looking at their public profiles.

When Social Media Bites cites several “online acts of idiocy,” such as the burglar who checked his Facebook profile in mid-crime and the woman who applied for a job, used the company name in a tweet to friends about how she’d hate the work, then was surprised that a company employee read her tweet.

Some sites make it almost impossible for users to maintain privacy. Privacy complaint filed against Edmonton-based social-networking site details issues with Nexopia, where “users can upload a variety of information from age and interests, to e-mail addresses and photos, all of which then becomes searchable. Privacy settings can later be set to hide personal information, however, four details — username, sex, location and age — can never be changed or deleted.”

In addition, unscrupulous scammers capitalize on our privacy fears.  Who’s watching you really? shares that just two phishing sites collected Facebook log-in information from 350,000+ people so eager to find out ‘who was “spying” on their profile (there’s been a lot of media about insurance companies accessing social media sites as a way to deny claims), that they fell for the bait – hook, line and sinker.’

Please do adjust your set

Please do adjust your set

 

In Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity, danah boyd points out that with many social networking sites , “the conversation is public by default, private through effort.” For many users it isn’t always easy to figure out how and when it’s appropriate to set the mode to private.

Watch Social Media Risks below for a much more detailed look at the issues.

 

 

What can we as educators do?

While our government is moving to protect online privacy for us and for our children, we need to be pro-active with our students. There are many resources available to help us teach our students (and their parents) about privacy and social networking.  

danah boyd provides excellent advice on how to begin. She says,

“Rather than approaching teens and telling them how things should be, why they shouldn’t be putting material online, please consider the value of opening up a dialogue. You have a lot to learn from what teens are trying to do; you once had to make sense of public life too. The difference is that they are doing it in the new environment. Take what you know and then actively listen to teens. Through their struggles, you can see what is new and different.

The key to guiding teens – and for that matter, yourselves – is to start by asking questions. What are you trying to achieve? Who do you think you’re talking to? How would you feel if someone else was looking? What if what you said could be misinterpreted? Start these conversations when your children are young and help them learn how to evolve. There’s no formula for them either.”

What works for me…: Owning Your Digital Identity – Start by investigating/cleaning up your own online presence. Establish your online identity, reputation, and persona, and protect it with these invaluable guide. Then teach these techniques to your students.

Educate yourself, your colleagues, and your students with these Google videos:

Data Privacy Day provides a variety of resources for teens, young adults, parents, and teachers.

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada – My Privacy, My Choice, My Life – site for young people about protecting one’s privacy, including videos created by teens such as this one.

 

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is a huge site with a wealth of resources about privacy

In Your I !, a Canadian site, provides a unit on privacy education for teens, with videos, scenarios, discussion guides and much more.

The Media Awareness Network provides Privacy and Internet Life (gr. 7-8) and The Privacy Dilemma (gr. 9-12) .

 Check out bNetS@vvy with articles such as Not Your Parents’ Internet: Understanding “Web 2.0″ Safety by lawyer and educator Nancy Willard.

 Common Sense Media provides extensive resources for parents, educators, and children. Check out the Facebook Privacy Settings: What Parents Need to Know .

And let’s not become so desensitized to our privacy that this also becomes the norm:

http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2007/06/google_home.html

http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2007/06/google_home.html

 

 

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Paralympians: The Heroes We Need

March 13, 2010 by · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Sit-ski

Sit-ski

We have just been in the midst of Olympic frenzy: hours of television, acres of newsprint, gigabytes of bandwdth covering the biggest winter sporting event in the world. The second biggest, the Paralympics, runs March 12-21 and will receive less than one-tenth the media coverage. It’s time that changed.

“The Paralympics? Oh, you mean the Special Olympics,” people say when I mention the Paralympics. Or sometimes, more rarely, “Those are the disabled games, right?”

Wrong both times. The Paralympic Games are most definitely able. The Special Olympics are games for people with mental disabilities where the focus is on participation; the Paralympics are only for elite athletes with physical disabilities. Events are the same as Olympic events, with some modifications of equipment or rules to accommodate athletes’ disabilities. Results are often incredibly close to able-bodied results; in Atlanta, Tony Volpentest, with two prosthetic legs, ran the 100 metres less than one and a half seconds slower than Donovan Bailey. In Whistler, athletes will ski on one leg, or on sit-skis, or with guides, the same slopes as their able-bodied counterparts.

ski3

Amputee skiing

The Paralympic Games are relatively new. They began in England just after World War II when a British neurosurgeon, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, decided to use sport competition as a way to help rehabilitate the formerly active patients in his spinal cord injury ward. From there the movement has grown to include approximately 120 nations. Their elite athletes with a variety of disabilities including cerebral palsy, dwarfism, amputations, visual impairment, mental disabilities, and spinal cord injuries, among others, train and qualify just as Olympic athletes do. Amazingly, despite the wide range of material available in video and text on the Olympic Games, there is almost nothing available on the Paralympics.

So why should we as teachers care about the Paralympics? As one of the slogans developed by Joey Reiman (Brighthouse Ad Agency) for the Atlanta Games says, “The Olympic Games are where heroes are made. The Paralympic Games are where heroes come.”

Sledge hockey

Sledge hockey

Just like the Olympics, the Paralympics are all about sport: achievement, camaraderie, sportsman ship, guts, pain, euphoria: the highly disciplined, superbly trained athlete striving for a personal best. But the Paralympics are about more than that. They are about hope. They are about possibilities. They are about showing the world that those with disabilities can be role models, contributors to society as a whole. In a culture that seems to value physical perfection above all else, the Paralympics send a strong message. Perfection of form is not important. We are more than just our bodies, or our intellects.

Paralympians include people such as Rick Hansen, gold medallist in wheel chair racing, who went on to raise over 20 million dollars for research into spinal cord injury. Cato Zahl Pedersen is a gold medallist in both winter and summer events. Despite two prosthetic arms, he pulled a sledge carrying his equipment as he walked across Antarctica to reach the South Pole. Matthias Berg is a world-renowned French horn player who also medalled in both summer and winter events. He has no arms.

Single-ski

Single-ski

I am very fortunate. For two years I spent a good deal of my time with these people, and many, many others. I am part of a team that published the first ever book on the Paralympics: Paralympics: Where Heroes Come. My co-author is Dr. Bob Steadward, president of the International Paralympic Committee. The project co-ordinator is Bob Peterson, who has been photographing athletes with disabilities for over thirty years. We self-published the book because we wanted all profits to support spinal cord injury research and treatment.

Dr. Steadward agreed to have us do the book because he wants exposure for the Paralympics. My husband did the book because he wants the world to see and know the power of the people in the movement. I actually wrote the book for a boy from Dallas, Texas, whom I likely will never meet. His name is Adam, and I first heard about him on an hour-long bus ride in Atlanta in 1996. We were on our way to the fencing venue, and another passenger, Michael Massik, head of the U. S. Fencing Association, told us about his cousin, whom he’d brought along to see the Paralympics. Adam was thirteen, and although he functioned extremely well with his prosthetic leg, he never really felt he “belonged.”

Going to Atlanta literally changed Adam’s life. For the first time, Adam felt part of the mainstream. Everywhere he looked, there were people in wheel chairs, people on respirators, people with artificial limbs. And all these people were going about their normal, everyday lives and then competing with incredible results in world class events. For the first time, Adam felt his dreams too could be possible.

Probably Adam affected me so deeply because I spent a good deal of my life with thirteen-year-olds. How much, like all teachers, I want them to see their dreams as possibilities. I want them to have as heroes people who do not accept that disability should stop them from reaching the pinnacle of achievement. In an era when so much of sport is obsessed with money, with physical imperfection making one somehow less of a person, Paralympians truly are the heroes we need today.

For shame, host broadcasters CTV and NBC for providing such little television coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games. Fortunately we can watch extensive video at Paralympic Sport TV and on their YouTube channel. I am hopeful that teachers will share some of the coverage with their students – filters and bandwidth permitting.

Paralympic skier

Paralympic skier

 

Postscript: Our book has reached a new audience. With the help of the Franklin Foundation and Soldier On, Paralympics: Where Heroes Come is being given to wounded Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

All photos here from my photostream – free for you to use.

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Copyright or Copywrong?

March 6, 2010 by · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

 “If you’re not feeling disrupted or challenged about your teaching practice right now, you’re not paying attention.” Will Richardson (as quoted by Rodd Lucier)

GALERIEopWEG http://www.flickr.com/photos/galerieopweg/398007721/

GALERIEopWEG http://www.flickr.com/photos/galerieopweg/398007721/

somerights20cc_icon_noncomm

 

This week I’ve been paying attention to copyright, intellectual freedom, intellectual property, fair dealing, and digital citizenship, and how they apply to our remixed, mashed-up world. Up to this point I thought I knew all about copyright. Turns out I didn’t.

I am the only teacher librarian I know with an intellectual property lawyer on retainer. My husband is a professional photographer who photographed Wayne Gretzky’s early years with the Oilers, as well as Princess Diana, Pierre Trudeau, and many others. He’s had extensive experience with copyright infringement, and counts on the law, and our able lawyer, to protect his livelihood.

I had no hesitation whatever about advising teachers about copyright law. When I started at my last school, one of the first teachers I met asked me to dub some videotapes for him. I asked if they were copyrighted (they were), and he looked at me as if I had two heads. Turns out dubbing was standard practice at this school, and the tl had always done it.

I asked the principal about this, and her response was unequivocal: no more illegal copying. I became known as the copyright cop, and I was proud it. I researched what was/ wasn’t legal, shared the information with teachers, took the initiative to apply for permissions for using various resources, and tried to make sure our teachers were protected but still got the resources they needed. I helped students get permission as required to use material found on the Internet, steered them to freely available content, and taught them to cite and paraphrase properly.

Today all of this is totally inadequate – as antique as this ad.

copyright pirates

Ioan Sameli http://www.flickr.com/photos/biwook/145765624/

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
somerights20 
cc_icon_attributioncc_icon_sharealike
 

From Cop to Counselor on Copyright

Doug Johnson’s title above (and his related articles (Beating the No U Turn Syndrome, Creative Commons), gave me the clue to the remix in the library. Johnson tells us that we must ‘re-brand ourselves, “copyright counselors” and do what good counselors have always done – help othersreach good decisions about their actions rather than serve in a judgmental role.’

It is not our job to enforce policies, or report copyright infringements.  It is our job to model appropriate behaviour, refuse to do anything we deem illegal and explain why, and enable others by encouraging the use of creative commons-licensed, public domain, and royalty-free sources.

It is also our job to encourage students to look at copyright from the creator’s viewpoint by encouraging them to apply creative commons licenses to their own creations. Johnson says, “While today’s students want to use others’ digital works, often without regard to the legal protections they may carry, many of these students’ own creative efforts will be the source of their incomes and they will need a means of protecting their own work and want others to respect intellectual property laws.”

In order to do these jobs there are essential concepts about being consumers and producers of content that we must share with colleagues and students.

Digital Citizenship

Part of this new mind set is teaching the responsible use of technology. Mike Ribble describes nine elements of digital citizenship, which “set the stage for how we work with each other in a global, digital society.” Two of these elements deal with intellectual property. We must ask, “Are users aware of laws (rules, policies) that govern the use of digital technologies? (digital law).  “Are users ready to protect the rights of others to defend their own digital rights?” (digital rights and responsibilities).

Too often students are very unclear about content found on the World Wide Web. Chou (et al., 2007) found that high school and college students had three misconceptions about cyber copyright laws:  Internet content is entirely open for the public to use; the Internet is always free; and all educational use is fair use. Specific instruction about cyber copyright and cyber ethics is needed to change these attitudes.

Does instruction make a difference? Janesko and Morris (2008) found that when appropriate behaviour is modelled, and copyright instruction is built into the curriculum, that students do indeed “get it.”

Copyright Basics – What Some Teachers Don’t Know

It’s not just students that have misconceptions. The term “fair use” is often used to describe how content may be used in a classroom. Teachers must understand that “fair use,” part of American law, does not apply in Canada. Instead we must follow “fair dealing,” which is much more restrictive.  Copyright Law – What is “fair dealing”/”fair use”? explains the difference. Fair dealing allows use of copyrighted material only in certain very limited areas, including private study, research, criticism, review and news reporting. Michael Geist, law professor and expert on Internet and intellectual property law issues, states that there are many common activities that are not strictly permitted under Canadian copyright law, which gives no protection for parody or satire, teaching; recording television shows, backing up a DVD, format shifting from a DVD to video player, or transferring music from a CD to an iPod.

Creative Commons

A new copyright permissions system opens up vast free resources that we can use legally. But creative commons does more. Rod Lucier shares 14 tools to Teach About Creative Commons. “Besides providing access to hundreds of thousands of media works that can be used to augment the creative process, the Creative Commons offers a legitimate way for students to license their own creative works, be they audio, video, text or hybrid products.” Watch this video to learn more. Then scroll down to see Lucier’s take on what every educator should know about creative commons.

 

 

 
 
View more presentations from Rodd Lucier.

References (non-hyperlinked)

Chou, C., Pei-Shan Chan, & Huan-Chueh Wu. (2007). Using a two-tier test to assess students’ understanding and alternative conceptions of cyber copyright laws. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(6), 1072-1084.

Janesko, J. and Morris, T. (May 2008). Learning and Leading with Technology. “Do Students Respect Intellectual Property?”

 

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Mind the Gap: My Parents, #hitsunami, and the Digital Divide

February 28, 2010 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

Last Saturday I experienced my own personal digital divide. At 8:49 am I turned on the computer to work on a blog post and saw this CBC headline on  iGoogle: Chile hit by 8.8 earthquake.

Remembering Haiti, where CNN got its updates from social media, I looked at TweetDeck. Many tweets had #chile as hashtags; I set up a feed for that, and then saw several mentioning a tsunami warning for Hawaii (#hitsunami).

My parents, who are in their eighties, are holidaying in Honolulu. My immediate thought: Indonesia, 2004. While my folks are healthy, I’d just as soon they didn’t have to survive a catastrophe while I was cut off from them –not that my being there would have been much help!  I knew I couldn’t reach them immediately (the phone lines were busy and they were using an Internet cafe to email).

While I waited, I worked on my digital divide post, and tried to apply some of what I had read to what I was doing online.

I began using Twitter in January (up to that point I thought it silly). Now here I was setting up searches for appropriate hashtags, modifying Tweetdeck, sifting genuine tweets from spam, and using Twitter as my source of real-time information. How did I make this leap? All of the requirements I’d read about in this article (thanks, Natasha) were in place:

  • Access (hardware, software, Internet connection, bandwidth) – new laptop, wireless high speed Internet.
  • Skill – I was taught well, had been practicing with Twitter, and learning from those I follow. At one point I read this post – “RT @hawaii: Good information on Twitter. Bad information (35 foot waves not likely) and scammers, too. Retweet wisely… #hitsunami“ While most people were being helpful, some of the dregs were setting up scam sites to take advantage.
  • Policy – No filters restrict my access; I was free to work, to learn, to make my own mistakes.
  • Motivation – I really wanted to find out what was happening, especially when I saw this image of the energy that might be hitting Hawaii.
Energy dispersal visualization

Energy dispersal visualization from Chilean earthquake (http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/chile/chileem.jpg)

 I wasn’t alone; Wes Fryer posted:  “watching #hitsunami TV on ustream along with 75K+ others.” Most worrying, I read: “Next stop #hitsunami . . . 11:35 a.m. Oahu, . . . 9-12 ft. surge estimates.”

As we all know, there was no tsunami. At 5:11 pm Mom emailed to say they were fine — had stayed in their 12th floor room watching the bulletins on TV. While there’s still physical distance between us, the digital gap was bridged.

Time for Educators to “Mind the Gap”

by OwenBlacker CC 2.O http://www.flickr.com/photos/owenblacker/52494131/

by OwenBlacker CC 2.O http://www.flickr.com/photos/owenblacker/52494131/

Too often those on the wrong side of the divide watch as others take off into the future. As educators we need to clearly understand what the digital divide is, and its implications for our classrooms and our world.

Wikipedia defines the digital divide as “the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. It includes the imbalances in physical access to technology as well as the imbalances in resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen.”

A number of recent studies have looked at the extent of this divide. Fairlie found that US children with home computers — more whites than Latinos or blacks – are more likely to go to college, and the divide is wider with children than adults.

Digital Divide in Canadian Schools found students from ”families with low levels of parental education and those from rural areas are less likely to have a computer in their home. Those from lower SES homes tend to spend less time on the computer and . . . report lower levels of computer competency.”

The report mentions the troubling trend in Alberta to get rid of tls, counsellors, and speech pathologists to free up dollars for technology. As more funding goes to computers, “unequal outcomes may stem from differences between affluent and disadvantaged students in what they do with the technology, once they have access.” 

Peña-López points out something that most tls know: access to computers alone doesn’t tranform students into 21st century learners. Competencies are the real concern: ”the digital divide in education . . . is not a matter of physical access but a matter of digital skills and how competent students (and teachers) are at computer and Internet usage.”

While Digital Divide in Canada says that while in some ways the divide in Canada is closing, it is still wide between low/high income groups. Obviously factors other than race, funding, and economics come into play. Inequities in filtering (Nelson), attitudes and assumptions about what constitutes effective use of technology (if everyone I know does this, then it must be universal) (boyd), and disabilities also are part of the digital divide.

Vicente and López (2010) present troubling findings about those with disabilities:

  • 18% of world population has disability
  • Accessibility for people with disabilities neglected by ICT industry
  • Rate of internet access for disabled in US half that of regular population
  • Many barriers: assistive tech doesn’t work with many web sites
  • Assistive tech much more expensive to build and buy
  • 80% of people with disabilities worldwide can’t afford proper food, shelter, rehabilitation.

 The global digital divide is explored in UNESCO’s Annual World Report 2009. ”The digital divide amplifies the already existing social inequalities cumulatively” for economic and social reasons (cost, education), cultural (people have no use for it, no role models), and content reasons (not available in their language, lacking local content). The report highlights the role that culture and regional differences play in how governments choose to develop and implement technology, pointing out that what is appropriate in one area won’t necessarily work elewhere, another lesson that educators must heed.

Bridging the Digital Divide in Our Schools

Access

  • Encourage funding to be devoted to people, not just machines.
  • Switch to free or open source applications, such as Google docs.
  • Use the technology students already posses.
  • Thus you free up dollars to provide technology for those students without it at home, or with disabilities.
  • Encourage wi-fi sharing so that all have 24/7 access. Provide useful resources on library web site 24/7.

Skills

  • Advocate for release/training time for teachers to learn the new technologies/applications themselves, and learn to teach students how to use them. 
  • Teach students 21st century skills.
  • Establish student and teacher mentors.

Policy 

  • Investigate what works in other schools/districts/provinces but determine information policy based on what your school needs.
  • Develop effective acceptable use policies that encourage students to take ownership of their learning;
  • Filter effectively.

Motivation

  • Develop authentic learning experiences based on what students want and need.
  • Do the same for teachers as part of their professional development.

And My Gap?

 My parents will be home in a few days (yes!), and I want to teach my dad to use Twitter.

  

References (Non-hyperlinked)

 Vicente, M., & López, A. (2010). A Multidimensional Analysis of the Disability Digital Divide: Some Evidence for Internet Use. Information Society, 26(1), 48-64.

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Internet Filtering – I’m Hopping Mad!

February 20, 2010 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

crossman

Scott McLeod - CC Attibution 2.0 Generic

Does this picture remind you of how your administration treats its teachers?

Do you see internet filtering as indiscriminate censorship and a challenge to intellectual freedom?

Yes? Then don’t just vent – understand the issues, get busy, and make change happen.

 Time to Act

When it comes to internet filtering in the district where I taught for 38 years, and where my grandson will attend school, “I’m Mad and I’m Not Gonna Take It Anymore,” to quote Mary Ann Bell. Internet filtering in my local school district does not work as it should. Bell  (2008) provides a clear call to action for those fed up with the problems filtering causes teachers and students. She says, “It is time to move past fear mongering and paranoia as guides to internet access in schools.”

Of course this isn’t just a local problem. Cathy Nelson says, “I think the biggest problem at hand is complacency among educators in general. This IS an issue of intellectual freedom. Rights are being infringed here.”

Buffy Hamilton agrees, “I get so frustrated when people complain about the filter issues but then take no constructive action to educate the decision makers about the resources we want unblocked.”

 Can we eliminate filters?

Finnish schools don’t have any; instead they teach responsible use of the internet. “Over there, thanks to solid teaching, the filters are in the students’ heads. Ultimately, that’s where we need to be too.” (Weinstock, 2008; Villano, 2008)

We are nowhere near that point in Alberta, where teacher librarians are almost extinct, teachers have to push students through curricula to pass provincial exams, and we have no mandated curriculum in internet literacy. We can’t get rid of filtering altogether.

Here I agree with Nancy Willard. “There are certainly some benefits from the use of filtering software — if, and only if, filtering companies are not blocking based on viewpoint discrimination, and if educators have the ability and authority to promptly override the filter to access and review any blocked site and to provide access to students when appropriate.”

What Makes Me Hopping Mad?

How about the deceit that internet filtering promotes or tacitly condones in students and some staff? To illustrate:

  • 2¢ Worth » Filters Work – “when [teachers are] asked about getting around the government-required filters, to conduct  . . . research required to find . . . resources, a frequent response is, “I have no idea.” The next most-common response: I have no idea, but when I need to get to a blocked site, I ask a student for help.”
  • From Patrolling web 2.0: “despite the presence of an internet filtering solution, more than 150,000 attempted visits to MySpace were made.
  • To see just a small slice of the rampant bravado of the avoid-the-filter attitude, go to Google, YouTube, Facebook, or Wikihow and search “bypass internet filter.”

This situation reminds me of what Admiral Mike Mullen said to the senate about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell American military policy. ”No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Shouldn’t our policy makers be troubled by a policy that encourages or tacitly condones our teachers and students to break the rules? Don’t misunderstand me — I am not excusing their behaviour. But I agree with Doug Belshaw: “I want clear policies whereby both staff and students know where they stand when it comes to internet access and filtering. As far as I’m concerned, resources should be available for teaching and learning unless a clear case can be made otherwise.”

We need to find a way to protect students without interfering with our teachers’ right to teach and our students’ right to learn. And I don’t think internet filtering as it now exists is the solution. To echo Will Richardson, there is too much “don’t” and not enough “do” going on, and definitely not enough teaching about responsible internet use.

What’s broken?

I’ve identified issues from my own experience, from my reading, and from my conversation with some of my colleagues. Some of the fixes are self-evident. 

  • Teachers don’t know what the filtering policies are, who is in charge of them, or how to request blocking or unblocking of sites.
  • Students, especially at high school, have no input into internet filtering.
  • Filtering increases the divide between students who have access to computers at home, and those who don’t
  • So many sites have YouTube feeds that it is becoming an essential resource (Ross, email communication, 2010)
  • Poor acceptable use policies don’t support responsible use (Media Awareness Network)
  • No consistency in which sites are blocked in which schools on which day (Filters and other annoyances)
  • Lack of bypass rights (Bell, 2006)
  • Time taken to get sites unblocked (Bell, 2006, Filters and other annoyances)
  • No consistent provincial policy, like Nova Scotia has
  • Teachers don’t have time to teach internet skills (Pam’s comment)
  • Social networking sites are routinely blocked (Any interactive website is poison)
  • Sites are blocked because of their format, not content (Format Bigotry)
  • Sites are blocked due to social/political content, e.g., Gay, lesbian, pro-choice (Bell, 2006)
  • Inconsistent filtering makes teachers look inadequate, ill-informed (Bell, 2008).
  • Filtering gives false sense of security, so monitoring/educating don’t happen (Willard)
  • Need to discuss policies as a staff, review, update them regularly as circumstances change (Carla’s comment)
  • Teens need “bystander strategies” to provide effective peer guidance. (Willard)

So how do we effect change?

I urge you to view Buffy Hamilton’s slideshow below, and to visit Fighting the Filter. She provides some common sense ways for tls (and teachers) to assert our professionalism in filtering issues. After all, Hamilton says, “If our goal is for students to be information fluent learners, we must have access to the tools so that students can ultimately act as their own filter.” As a retired teacher librarian, I’m going to start asking questions, writing letters, and advocating for change.

By the time my grandson starts school I want all the “don’ts” of internet usage gone. I want his teachers (hopefully Pam, Carla, and Greg) to tell him, “Do use our network to collaborate with others to change the world in meaningful, positive ways.” (Richardson) Isn’t that what education is all about? 

references

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Internet Filters — I’m Seeking Input

February 17, 2010 by · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

I am planning a blog post about internet filtering in schools. Before I write the actual article, I have set up this post to collect some comments from teachers about how well (or not!) filtering works in their school. When I was a teacher librarian in a high school library two years ago, it seemed that filtering was unpredictable and restrictive, but perhaps that has changed. I’m hoping you have ideas to share. I’d be most grateful for your help.

Some possibilities:

  • A story about a time when a lesson was sabotaged because a link was blocked, or
  • When a link was blocked that worked before.
  • How you have been involved in the filtering process, such as being consulted about sites to block/unblock, or
  • Were asked to serve on a committee to make these decisions.
  • Whether or not you are clear on just how internet filtering works in your school or your school district as a whole.
  •  Whether or not (and why) we can do without internet filters.
  • Your thoughts on intellectual freedom/internet filters/safety and protection of children.
  • Any other ideas.

Your participation would be much appreciated.

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So Who ARE These Digital Natives?

February 7, 2010 by · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

In his 2001 article, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants: A New Way to Look at Ourselves and Our Kids, Marc Prensky describes digital natives. He says, ‘Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.’ Prensky provides some other characteristics:

 Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work.

This slide show from PEW puts the concept of digital natives, born in 1990, in a historical context.

 

Prensky labels older people as digital immigrants and states that “our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” Many people, including Kathy Shrock and Joyce Valenza, take issue with being labelled digital immigrants. Both Kathy and Joyce are “digital pioneers.” As Kathy says, “This group of users grew up as technology grew up. This group of users has mastered both the skills (learned from years of technology risk-taking and experimentation) and the processes (learned from the real world and the online world) of information literacy and choosing the correct tool for the task.”

 Of  course there must be more flavours than just natives and immigrants. In her article Not just digital natives & immigrants! Anne Collier says, “Digital immigrants/natives is a huge generalization: among other things, it fails to acknowledge how very individual media and tech use is for people of all ages.”

 I found some more labels for people in the digital landscape in an article titled Digital Denizens. I like these because they show that we all go through various stages in terms of integrating technology in our lives.

 * Digital recluse: use of technology is a result of the need to function in the current environment, not used by choice; computers are prohibited at home

* Digital refugee, unwillingly forced to use technology; prefers hard copies, does not trust electronic resources; seeks assistance; may have grown up with technology or adopted it as an adult

* Digital explorer, uses technology to push the envelope; seeks new tools that can do more and work both faster and easier

* Digital innovator, adapts and changes old tools for new tasks; creates new tools

* Digital addict, dependent on technology; will go through withdrawal when technology is not available

 So how do we close this gap? In The digital melting pot: Bridging the digital native-immigrant divide, Sharon Stoerger suggests that there are far too many variations, and that instead of focusing on the divide, we should consider a melting pot. “Instead of segregating individuals based on their skills or lack thereof, the digital melting pot is a place where all individuals, including those with low levels of competency, experience technology in a way that fosters opportunities without barriers.”

The whole idea of degrees and styles of involvement in the digital experience of course makes perfect sense, but I like the term “digital multiculturalism” (Collier cites Prof. Henry Jenkins) much better than “digital melting pot.” Melting pot seems to imply to me that we all have to end up one bland mixture. How about “digital tapestry”, where our individual talents, expertise, and creativity are woven together, and each individual strand is worthy in and of itself, but made stronger, more beautiful, and more useful as part of the splendid whole?

 Brain Research

 So are young people’s brain really so different from ours? I gained more insight into digital natives by watching Digital Nationon Frontline. What stood out for me:

a) not enough research has been done to determine the effect/efficacy of new technologies on and for learners and learning ( Dr. Gary Small, author of iBrain),
b) although the digital natives’ brains do seem to be wired differently, older people’s brains change in similar ways when they use technology( Dr. Gary Small, author of iBrain), and
c) students’ routinely over-estimate their skills and abilities to multi-task efficiently (Clifford Nassprofessor at Stanford University, director of the Communication between Humans and Interactive Media (CHIMe) Lab.)

In Digital Natives and Immigrants: What Brain Research Tells Us , Nancy K Herther cites Apostolos Georgopoulos, director of University of Minnesota Center for Cognitive Sciences. “There is absolutely no scientific basis for claiming that young people’s brains have changed in recent times or that there is such a major difference between the brain at different ages. There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence to back up these claims. This is totally unfounded.”

We as teachers see that our students are young people and individuals no matter their level of “digitality,” and who better than trained teachers to work towards meeting their needs right now.

 Now What?

In “Who Are Today’s Learners?” (Learning & Leading with TechnologySeptember/October 2008) Christine Greenhow says, “As good teachers we always want to know who our students are and where they start from so that we can tap into, reinforce, build on, and extend their knowledge and experiences in learning new things.” She suggests we survey our students to find out their “out-of-school technology access, conditions, and use” and use strategies to “engage” (use technologies in creative and innovative ways) and “prepare” our students for the workplace where they will use social networking and other web 2.0 applications.

Certainly we can agree that our schools don’t all meet the needs of 21st century learners, and that we haven’t kept up with web 2.0 innovations. There are changes we can make now to remove the barriers blocking our progress. Some suggestions:

Lobby for changes:

  • Stop blocking access to YouTube and social media and web 2.0 sites
  • Change district-wide filtering so that sites needed by high school students aren’t blocked because they aren’t suitable for elementary students
  • Add appropriate technology and brain-research training for prospective teachers to teacher education programs (see March 2008 Learning & Leading with Technology: Hilary Goldmann – Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners)
  • Build in training time for current teachers
  • Fund – including evergreen funding—technology (Doug Johnson demonstrates 1 million+ tech $ saved in his district by moving to Google Apps)
  • Stop using labels that limit public perceptions – like digital immigrant
  • Encourage/enable/lead web 2.0 savvy teachers to mentor their peers
  • Survey students to find out their technology abilities, expertise, and shortfalls
  • Ask students how they think more technology can be integrated into your school/library/classes
  • Give Teens the Chance to Think for Themselves -Allow them opportunities to express themselves and share with a global audience
  • Have tech-savvy students create materials and lobby on your behalf, like Josh Porter 

We need to be vocal, focused leaders in our classrooms, our libraries, our administrators’ offices, our parent-teacher meetings, with our superintendents, and with our legislators to ensure the above are enacted.

If we need further inspiration, I’d like to close with 10 year-old Dalton Sherman. Do you believe?

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