Sunday, February 3, 2008

Week 9, #23

Wow! How to summarize this program in one word or sentence? Challenging! Eye-opening! School Library Learning 2.0 provided me with the kind of professional development and learning experience that previously has been available only through CSLA, AASL and ALA annual conferences or weekend workshops. Breaking the tools to learn into manageable pieces reduced the material into a format that became approachable and less intimidating. My personal gratitude goes to Connie Williams, Jackie Siminitus, Rob Darrow, Jamie Boston and all the other CSLA members who give their time and expertise so generously and graciously.
Setting up the program so that the participant completes each element with a blog post creates the kind of learning experience we recommend for our students: looking back over the process to reflect on what was learned and how to capture the positive parts while trying something different for those that weren't satisfactory. This reminds me of the last item in the Big 6, which is the evaluation part. Most often students and teachers do not devote any time to either evaluating the actual process that helped the student develop the final product or to examining how to do the research differently the next time. Keeping these thoughts and reflections in a blog enables the learner to go back and remember each piece of the learning puzzle. I plan to redo several of the elements that I would like to improve, like my librarian trading card "mashup." In addition, getting feedback from others through a blog gives both good suggestions and a friendly boost to the learner. I am interested in looking at other blogs in this program to see the same "things" through other eyes. In addition, the reflection process in creating each blog post helped me think of applications for the tools I was learning. I already have several projects I have reviewed with my district's technology director, and have received the okay to move forward. One is a wiki for students to interact with each other about books and genres they like, and the other is a school history wiki.
Having been a teacher librarian in California since 1973, I am glad to keep learning; this is what keeps the profession up to date and vital!

Week 9, #22

Audiobooks and ebooks present an opportunity to make literary works available to students in a format that fits into their lives, by listening while traveling or during a time when they might be listening to music. Many school libraries have embraced this technology, buying books on tape, CD and playaways as the delivery system advances. Being able to access books free from sites like Project Gutenberg expands on titles that might not be in their school libraries, in either print or audio format. Another advantage is the languages that are available, both for students whose first language is included in those available, or for students who are studying languages for which free ebooks are accessible from these sites. Some titles I saw listed that might appeal to ELL high school students are childrens' books like those by Beatrix Potter or the Wizard of Oz series, not usually found in a secondary school library. One disadvantage is that students will not be able to download titles still in copyright. In addition, I did not see any books listed for either Arabic or Urdu, languages which some of my English language learners speak at home.
Readers who prefer the tactile aspects of reading, browsing physically through library shelves, holding their books and turning the pages, might not adjust easily to the audio component of listening or "hands-free" method of reading the computer screen. Learning styles can also determine which patrons eagerly adopt this format. Those who need the visual experience of seeing the words could still read from the computer screen, but might not absorb the content by listening. However, whether patrons check out audiobooks from their libraries or find them free on sites like the Gutenberg Project, the expanded ability to access material presents an advance .