School’s out Friday

I first saw this video awhile ago on Chris Betcher’s blog. I’ve never been able to locate it on YouTube and was happy when a colleague sent me the link yesterday and said, “You will love this”. I do too.

I know there are thousands upon thousands of people out there with a deep attachment to the printed book, but I’m not one of them. I do have a deep attachment to attaining information, and I really don’t mind if that information comes from a printed book or a website. And despite what Nicholas Carr might say, I love the fact that a website can pull me in so many different directions and lead me to something I hadn’t even realised I might be interested in. So when I see these kids with their mockumentary take on the book, I’m with them all the way.

I’ve been laid up this week with a viral malady that robbed me of my voice yesterday. That, combined with some hideously awful weather here in Melbourne, have made for a grim week of sorts. I’m looking forward to reinstated vocal chords and some cheery sunshine in the coming days. Hopefully they’ll both be here sooner rather than later. Right now, I’m listening to some serious hail pelting down on our roof, so it’s not looking all that promising!

Hope your weekend treats you well. Enjoy whatever comes your way. : )

10 minutes well spent

If you ever find yourself a spare ten minutes or so, you should do yourself a favour and check out the TED: Ideas worth spreading site. I do so on a regular basis, most often when I’m in bed browsing on my iPad before I head off to sleep. Last night I watched two very different stories being told, both of which led me to think, to contemplate, to reassess.

Watch both of them. They’re worth the investment. The first is the story of two very remarkable women, both marred by the tragedy of 9/11. They come from what some would see as opposing backgrounds, but they share the common thread of motherhood. Both have suffered, and both find comfort from the other. Their story is a lesson in tolerance, forgiveness and empathy for us all, and is one we should be sharing with the students we teach.

The other is a world apart, but it deals with something not apparent to all, but something that will definitely affect us all. Eli Pariser is the author of “The Filter Bubble,” and in this talk he explains how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview. Eli explains how web services that know what we like and direct results to us that meet our likes, are allowing us to get trapped in a “filter bubble.” The filter bubble prevents us from exposure to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Here’s another lesson for not just the adults in the room, our students need this kind of understanding if they are to become architects of their digital lives. After watching this, it’s apparent that personalised search, where organisations are making decisions about what we view, is dangerous territory indeed. Dangerous territory that can lead to lack of tolerance, an inability to forgive, and a decided lack of empathy. There’s the link you need to make these two talks some of the best learning that could take place in a classroom this week.

TED: Ideas worth spreading. Never a truer phrase was uttered. Spread away.

School’s out Friday

I spent $540.00 on these revolutionary new products this afternoon. I sure hope someone picks them up off the shelves to make that expenditure worthwhile!

Another ‘hold my eyes open with toothpicks’ Friday night here after a long and busy week. It’s my long desired hope to share with you this weekend what has been keeping me occupied all of this school year. Hopefully I’ll have the energy to get that post written.

Mother’s Day this weekend in Australia. I’ll be cooking my own Sunday morning breakfast I expect as my husband’s work has deemed it necessary that he attend functions interstate. Good planning gone into that one! If you’re a Mum, Happy Mother’s Day to you. Hope you’re well and truly pampered.

Enjoy your weekend. : )

Where does learning come from today?

Well, according to my son, it’s from the Internet.

Here’s what he told me tonight about his day.

“She gave us a tub of books, random choices off the shelves of books they thought we would like.

My library teacher has no idea of where learning is coming from today.”

I work in a library and I see our non fiction collection losing relevance by the day. Not because the content within the books isn’t worthy, some of it is incredible. But to students with a vast array of online resources available at their fingertips in a 1:1 school, it’s hard to convince them to visit the shelves. In recent times, with some assigned tasks, I’ve recommended the students head to the Internet to find more detail than that available in our books on the shelves. Two paragraphs in  book is sometimes all there is on a topic, and yet they can source web pages with enormous detail. Any wonder they are attracted what is available online.

As Teacher-Librarians, we don’t want to go the way of some books and lose relevance to our students. My son’s comment is something I fear is echoed in the living rooms of countries everywhere. Subscribing to authoritative databases or looking at an ebook platform are important considerations for Teacher-Librarians today. Resources need to be accessible for multitudes of students simultaneously rather than the ‘borrow the book, make it unattainable for others’ model of libraries of the past. To that end, providing school libraries with adequate funding to ensure they can do just that is necessary too. Database providers need to lift their game as well, and make their sites more appealing and user friendly so that our students want to use them.

While I don’t think my son is totally right in his estimation, I do think there are plenty of teenagers out there who’d share his sentiments. In schools’ today, we need to stay relevant and know how to make the most of all the online resources at our disposal.