Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reference Materials- What do our students need?

Library 2.0- Print resources and web resources for student learning- What do we really need?

I recently attended a professional development day designed to help us spend our allocated funds on research materials for our school libraries. I work in the private sector and I do not have the luxury of having a librarian so the day was informative and it did get me thinking about evaluating and maintaining our library. It also raised some very important questions about today's school library which I hope you will help me to answer. In this particular instance the allocated funds had to be spent on print resources and so in choosing those books I struggled with what our students needed.

What do today's students need?

What is the balance between print and web based resources? Is there a balance? Does it matter? What if any print resources do you think are essential? I have a nice chart from the workshop that breaks down by percentage and Dewey categories the rough proportions a elementary or secondary library should follow in building their collection but it does not address the questions I have about print resources.

Please don't misunderstand. I am not against books, in fact an avid reader. But I need you to help me think aloud here... What are essential tools for research for our students and how much of the budget should go to print resources?

We have set a goal to ensure our students are effective researchers* but now I have to considerer and evaluate what tools we need to make sure this happens.

Please share your insights...

*Specifically we state: “St Elisabeth Students will demonstrate effective research and information fluency by developing original conclusions, re-evaluating and interpreting their assumptions, and assessing the reliability and validity of their sources.”

Friday, April 25, 2008

A conference , two tools and getting moving again..

Just so I can restart my engine I am not going to even try to explain why my posting has been so sporadic since the beginning of 2008. Here however are a few quick notes on some recent experiences...

A Conference for Administrators

Last weekend I was in San Fransisco with 200 other principals and administrators for Leadership 3.0. You can read more about this conference in my post on LeaderTalk. The keynote address was made by Sir Ken Robinson who challenged us in our leadership to refit our schools. He addressed a particular concern which we really need to make a priority which is to address, nurture and work toward an environment which values creativity and innovation. To set this up he made an interesting observation that one would generally assume the goal of education is to discover and develop the intrinsic gifts and talents of the students, He suggests however that a great many people pass through he educational system with their talents uncultivated and he suggests that is because the educational system in the United States has ,since its inception ,had a different purpose-preparation for the industrial age. The conclusion- Refit our schools.

A New to Me Tool

Even though you have probably read other posts on this tool I have to put in a link. The Digital Vault is an easy to use tool for work with primary sources. It is a tool which will easily become transparent because its use is intuitive for most students and the primary source history materials are just what teachers need. Check it out for yourself.

I Finally Get PicLens

When I first saw it I thought it was kind of fun but wasn't sure how I would use it. Now I get it and like Digital vault it makes a lot of sense for our students. The application is simple. Once it is downloaded it allows you to “swing” through thousands of photos in an iphone style interface. ( the website calls it an "immersive view”) It works with most image collections and now instead of pulling up page after page of flickr photos to find the right one i can view literally thousands of images in a very short time.

There are a couple more posts that will follow now in short order...Time to think and write really is a critical piece of my own personal learning but sometimes “stuff” just gets in the way.