Monthly Archives: September 2012

Technology Journal- Shelfari/GoodReads- 9/24/12

For this week’s technology journal, I explored Shelfari through Amazon, and made a profile for my school’s library: http://www.shelfari.com/o1514830973. I also further explored GoodReads. I had a GoodReads profile for myself, but had only really used it to find quotations and book reviews.

I chose to explore Shelfari primarily because I like GoodReads, and thought they seemed very similar with one important difference: I could import my books from Amazon. I was drawn to this because when I started my GoodReads account, it was almost overwhelming trying to pick which books to review straight out of my head. With Shelfari, I could import the books that the library has been buying lately rather than having to choose randomly from the stacks.

As mentioned, I like the function of being able to import books from Amazon. I also like being able to look at a list of the popular authors in my library. This should make ordering new books that come out easier. Other than that, I am not a huge fan of Shelfari as a Library tool. A lot of the website is based on being able to interact with “Friends” and other groups which is hard to do because not a lot of people have Shelfari. I created a personal account thinking I would get more use out of it, and still couldn’t really connect with people. On my GoodReads, on the other hand, I have plenty of friends and friend recommendations to choose from.

My experience with the tool overall was good. Before you register there’s a quick tutorial that I watched that was helpful in finding out what Shelfari had to offer and navigating around the website. I also enjoyed reading reviews on different books. In the end, however, I think I would continue to use GoodReads until Shelfari gets more popular.

One way that I already use GoodReads in my library work is for book recommendations. I have a lot of friends who teach high school, so their reviews are a good resource when it comes to what I should and should not order for my library. Shelfari could be beneficial in my library as well (once I have more time) because of the Groups available to join. If I joined one geared toward young adults, I could get a lot of recommendations on what to buy as well.

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Reading Journal- School Library Monthly- 9/17/12

For my reading journal this week, I explored School Library Monthly. The two articles that I found most beneficial were called, “The Changing Role of the School Library’s Physical Space” by Tom Corbett and “Teaching Students to Think in the Digital Environment: Digital Literacy and Digital Inquiry” by Barbara Stripling. I chose these articles specifically to read because I have been attempting to help students research in the library, and their lack of knowledge on how to navigate the Internet is shocking. (For example, in Rhetoric the students are working on the “offensive,” as in the opposite of “defensive,” parts of arguments. They were required to find examples of blame, value, and choice arguments, and some of the students were Googling “offensive arguments.” I’m sure you can infer what kind of videos and articles they were finding.)

The first article by Tom Corbett was about creating digital libraries and turning the library into a place of collaboration by changing the “library software platform” to one more appropriate for today’s web services, including a search engine, and restructuring the “library’s physical space into a collaborative work area.” The second article featured a model on how to help students utilize and ask questions about digital information.

I really liked using the School Library Monthly resource. It is easy to navigate and has information for librarians across the board. While this time I mostly used the “articles” part of the website, if I ever begin teaching library classes the “Into the Curriculum” tab has a lot of great information on how to integrate the library into mainstream classes (for example, there was a “Who’s Who” intro activity for “The Odyssey” I’m definitely going to use with my Freshmen!) I think I will start regularly checking School Library Monthly. Every article or lesson plan I looked at was relevant and useful, so I feel the website curators do a great job of making sure only top-notch information makes it onto their page, and I appreciate that.

As for the content, the articles I read gave me a lot of ideas. The town that I teach/work in has a large Apostolic Christian population. Therefore, depending on how strict the family is, some of them do not own computers (because they take away from family time, which is very important to the AC community.) However, the students are allowed and required to use computers at school for research, but they often do not know where to start. The Corbett article got me thinking about setting up an information database for researching at my school. One suggestion given by Corbett is to use Drupal. I explored Drupal a bit and it seems like an easily-navigated site that would be good for my students. (Obviously I’ll do more research before I choose one.)

Our school library is already a meeting place for learning and collaboration- we just need to start integrating technology and databases in more, and make information more readily-available to students. I think this article gave me a lot of ideas on how to do that. If I can get a strong database up and running, I can give it to the teachers and students as a research resource. In addition, teachers could help me add to it by letting me know what information and websites would be useful in their classrooms, which would get the library more integrated into the classroom.

Okay. I hope this did not turn into a technology entry. Overall, I loved School Library Monthly. I think it has great ideas and is a great resource not only for librarians but for classroom teachers, and I believe I will utilize it regularly in my role as a school librarian.

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Google Reader Creation Technology Blog- 9/10/12

This week, I created a Google Reader which can be viewed here: http://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=yy#overview-page.

After only spending about an hour on Google reader, I really like it so far! I have a “Tumblr” account, and Google Reader seems to be set up similarly to Tumblr, so it is very easy for me to navigate. Specifically, I love that everything in the “Reading list” shows up chronologically, with the most recent posts on top. This way, when I come back to it later, I will not have to dig for things I have not read. Once I hit a post I have read, I will know that I have viewed everything below it and have explored all of the new posts for that day. Of course at the moment I only have Library, Technology, and Young Adult Lit subscriptions, so the information is easy to keep straight. I am afraid that once I am subscribed to more topics, the “reading list” will be too jumbled. Luckily, you can view new articles by subscription as well. I also downloaded the Google Reader App to my phone, so I have all of these blogs right at my fingertips! (Unfortunately, I have very little memory in my “Droid-like” phone; hopefully I can keep it on there!)

So far, my experience with the tool has been great. I think I figured everything out on my own- if there were tutorial videos, I did not see or need them. Of course I will take time to explore what other blogs and journals Google Reader has to offer once I get the hang of using it and catch up on what I have to read so far! One thing I do think I can work on is finding the well-established blogs. For example, I struggled to find a Young Adult Literature blog that had more than a few subscribers. Maybe this is because they are new, or maybe I was doing a poor job of searching. Either way, I think that is something that will come with time and experience with Google Reader.

I am not sure if I would have my students use Google Reader in the library. If I were to use it, I think I would use it as a research tool. For example, the Rhetoric students at my school are doing research presentations right now, and I think subscribing to blogs discussing Rhetoric might give them more to pull from than Google and Wikipedia (which seem to be all they know how to use right now.)

In a less direct way, I already plan on using some of the content that I have taken away from Google Reader. For instance, the students complain that we do not have “good” books in my library, and I honestly understand what they are saying. There are not a lot of current, popular, young adult books on the shelves. I was considering finding a way to loan ebooks or ereaders, and one of the blogs I follow, “Public Libraries” talks all about it! I plan on reading up on it and hopefully pitching the idea to the library board within the next couple of months.

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Reading Journal- 9/3/12

I chose to look at the blog “Nonfiction Matters” by Marc Aronson for this week’s Reading Journal. I mainly chose it because I wanted to learn more about the importance of nonfiction as well as how to use it with my students in the library. (I also recognized Marc Aronson’s name- he came to University High School last year to talk to the Freshmen! He even posted about them here: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters/2012/04/26/more-news-from-the-9th-grade-front/) “Nonfiction Matters” can be found at http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters (Unfortunately he is no longer adding to it; instead, he is writing a column.)

I read quite a few of Marc Aronson’s blog posts, but one that really jumped out at me was called “Big Data? Big Questions.” The post addressed the idea of personal reading being made public via websites such as bitly.com and readsocial.net, as well as the positives and negatives associated with “big data.” Another post that I read, his “goodbye” post entitled “Change Partners and Dance,” led me to Aronson’s website, marcaronson.com. There I found a 30-minute video clip of Aronson explaining how to get young “nonreading” men to read. His solution was simple: give the boys nonfiction pieces that serve as a “pathway to something they are interested in.”

I found the resource itself very useful. Throughout his blog, Aronson addressed a number of different topics such as collaboration within common core standards, legal issues in libraries, his own projects, projects of colleagues, etc. What was most impressive about Aronson’s blog is that he constantly provided the reader with his sources. Because of this tendency, the reader is able to learn from Aronson’s experiences as well as do extra research on the topics he addresses. As a result, I find this to be a great resource I will resort back to when it comes to researching library-related issues as long as it is up and running. Unfortunately, I fear that since he is no longer writing on the blog it will eventually be taken offline.

The information I will utilize most in my school’s library actually came from the video, “Books in Action: An Interview with Dr. Marc Aronson on Young Men and Reading.” Currently, the English 2, 3, and 4 students are required to read a book a month. As a result, many young men have come down to the library asking for book recommendations (usually the shortest one possible.) Watching Aronson’s video reminded me that there are options outside of “Of Mice and Men” and “Animal Farm” for these boys, and that suggesting nonfiction pieces can help them not only fulfill the requirement for class, but can hopefully teach them that reading can be enjoyable for them, too. On that same note, I think the resource readingsocial.net that Aronson wrote about could help the students suggest books to one another (and myself) that are enjoyable and have already been approved for the class.

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