An interesting thing happened on the way to building readership of our school library blog.
One of our staff wrote a post about Robert Pattinson. (You know him, he plays Edward in this film that’s done pretty well at the box office of late. Twilight, that’s the one. If you work in a library you’d know all about it. It’s the series of books by Stephanie Meyer that haven’t sat on the shelves in months; they’ve been from one schoolbag to the next and are lucky to be still in one piece after the countless times their pages have been thumbed.)
And our stats went through the roof.
We now have this cluster map showing big red dots from all over the world and blog stats showing 4,524 hits. The biggest day registered 357 hits on the blog, and we’ve been averaging 230 hits or so a day since it was posted. Already today the 2rak info 4 u blog has had 50 hits while I’ve registered a paltry nine!
So, what does it mean. Not a lot in terms of the meaningful readership of our blog that we are aiming for. We are trying to have our school community access the blog and use it to learn about events we are promoting and new ideas they may find helpful. I’d say maybe 800 or so (quite possibly less) of the 4,254 hits we’ve had are from our school community. We’ve still got a lot of work to do in shifting the mindset of our staff and students in terms of having them access this resource as a natural course of action. We, too, need to try very hard to get posts up; invariably we get caught up in the reactive nature of school library operations and find time is against us. At this early stage we still have to send out emails alerting staff to posts we’ve written.
What does it mean? It means that Robert Pattinson is very hot property and can probably pretty much name his price for his appearance in the next movie I’d expect.
It also means I’m about to conduct my own market research into the effect of writing a post about a popular movie icon and what this does to your blog stats. I’m well aware that this may cause inflated stats that do not reflect the quality of posts appearing on this blog that deserve readership. It will reflect the number of (predominantly) teenage girls who are accessing the web to find information about the much desired Robert.
It’s going to be interesting. Keep an eye on those stats.
Today we had a planning afternoon for our PLP group at Toorak College. It was just what we needed. Time to talk things over, show one another what we have done, teach one another some new skills and contemplate what all this means for teaching and learning. It was great. By the end of the session there was a sense that we have purpose and direction.
Seeing people excited about possibilities enthuses me. One of our teachers has set up Artrak, a blog to showcase the talented students we have and to provide our girls with links and updates about happenings in the creative world that will interest them. Sue, who works with me, is excited about developing the libray blog, 2rak info 4 u. I was able to show people the dynamic environment our Yr 9 ning has become as four classrooms work together. Amanda has created a wiki supporting Business Studies and has introduced them to Working together 2 make a difference where the students are creating pages and building their digital footprints. There are other projects starting and our group is working towards supporting the efforts of one another. We are forming connections across our subject areas and classrooms.
My experience with Powerful Learning Practice has seen me benefit from the connections I have made with like minded educators who are active in our ning environment. People like our community leader, Darren Kuropatwa, Tania Sheko, Susan Carter Morgan, Carey Pohanka, Frances Manning, Alex Ragone, Jennifer Clark Evans, Amanda Ritter, Hiram Cuevas, Melanie Hutchinson, Adrian Camm, Rhonda Powling and others who value the sharing nature of the ning. It’s had a huge impact on my understanding of virtual learning communities and the power of the connections you make. Yes, it does take time but the rewards come in the form of support, encouragement and professional learning.
Our journey continues with PLP and we will see the impact it has on teacher adoption of new ideas as they are embedded into practice. Today was a good day. I’m hopeful of more to come.
This year, we’re trying to make Web 2.0 more meaningful in our School Library. Last year we moved most of our pathfinders over to wiki format to encourage collaboration and input into the development of resources to support subject areas and projects. The take up was pretty good and most people know what a wiki is now, but you run the risk of getting ‘wikiied out’. Sometimes you could hear the collective groan of ‘not another wiki’ and that is something you want to avoid at all costs.
We’re not giving up on Wikis, but we are trying something new. We used to put out a monthly newsletter with interesting websites, news and book reviews, but it went to staff only. It was very good, but not frequent enough and got lost in the barrage of emails that hits the computers at my school. We wanted to do something that delivers information, but more frequently and something that encourages the two way exchange of ideas that Web.2.0 typifies. So we’ve started a Library blog that’s open, not one that’s operating within our Sharepoint Scholaris platform.
Last year when I attended Learning 2.008, I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Krembs. She talked of her Dear Librarian blog that she runs at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India. I’ve been inspired by Ann’s efforts and have set up 2rak info 4 u to serve our school’s information needs, and perhaps the information needs of others.
We launched it just over a week ago and although it hasn’t set the world on fire, it has had quite a few hits. We need to find ways to have it become part of the culture of the school and something that staff and students use as a ‘go to’ place for information. We are trying to set up an RSS feed to it within our Scholaris platform so that posts will be visible, updated and in the face of our staff and students. This have proven to be problematic but we’re working on it.
All of the library staff have been set up as authors and all of them have been uploading posts. This is learning curve stuff for most of them but they are rising to the challenge and are pretty chuffed when they see their efforts. It’s proving to be excellent professional development; they are ‘doing’, not just reading about what can be done. The clustr map has certainly generated some interest; it really does have an impact when you realise that people from far and wide are viewing your work.
Hopefully we’ll see it become part of the fabric of our school. Take a visit and see what you think. I’d appreciate your feedback if you feel so inclined to offer your thoughts.