Friday, July 20, 2012

Schools and Students Class Over use of Technology

I read the blog post Schools and Students Clash Over Use of Technology.  The blog presented the students reasons for wanting to be able to use mobile devices in the classroom.  The post presented statistics on the use of mobile devices in the classroom.  For example, according to a Speak Up 2001 report "46 percent of students have used Facebook to collaborate on school projects, and one in 10 high school students have tweeted about an academic subject."  And "A whopping 45 percent of middle-schoolers and 55 percent of high-schoolers say that they mainly access the Internet through mobile devices. And access to tablets doubled between 2010 and 2011 – up to 26 percent for middle-schoolers and 21percent of high-schoolers."  Although these statistics are interesting, I thought the post was light on facts and specifics.  The post states "full 65 percent of school principals said it was unlikely they would allow personal devices in the coming school year" but nowhere in the post does it state the reasons mobile devices will not be allowed in the classroom.  Are principals concerned students will cheat?  Concerned students will be texting/IMing/Facebooking their friends during class or are they concerned a mobile device will be one more distraction for students?"  In the same vein, the post does not give specific reasons for why the students want to use a mobile device in the classroom.  The post does state "56 percent of middle-schoolers and 59 percent of high-schoolers – reported that they would like to be able to use their own devices and learning tools in the classroom" but again no specifics.  I am not a fan of cell phones in the classroom and the post did provide a strong argument to sway me to being a believer of cell phones in the classroom.

Library of Congress -- Just Because

Library of Congress Commences “Celebration of the Book”

“Books That Shaped America” Exhibition to Begin Project

The Library of Congress – the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information – will begin an ongoing "Celebration of the Book" with an exhibition this summer of "Books That Shaped America." It will be part of a larger series of programs, symposia and other events that explore the important and varied ways that books influence our lives.

The "Books That Shaped America" exhibition will be on view from June 25 through Sept. 29 in the Southwest Gallery, on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C

Full details on the celebration is available at

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Books that Shaped America

The blog I read was called History Tech at 
The blog the list of books that shaped American the Library of Congress created.  The full list is available at
According to the author “the titles are not the best American books, but are intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”  In reviewing the list, a number of the titles may have influenced lives but also shaped society and culture.  Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique played an important role in the feminist and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood was a pioneer in the nonfiction novel/true-crime novel.  The list got me to thinking of novels that influenced my life and thinking.  As an undergraduate at Michigan State University and living away from my friends and family for the first time, I took an English class that was devoted to women authors who were not afraid to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly.   We read Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, etc.  The words of the authors illustrate the importance and power of language.  The Library of Congress list is a story point, what titles would you as readers add to the list?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Agatha Christie Digital Story

For my Digital Story on Agatha Christie, I collected images using Google and uploaded the images as a PowerPoint presentation.  A friend called my Google Voice phone number and recorded the script that I wrote.  I uploaded the Google Voice recordings into Movie Maker and created the short film.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Old and ReTooled PowerPoint Presentations



Strategic Searching Post

 The lesson plan that I selected from Common Sense website was entitled "Searching
Strategic Searching."  The overview of the lesson is "Students learn that to conduct effective and efficient online searches, they must use a variety of searching strategies rather than relying on a single source. They learn a five-step method for planning and carrying out an online search. Students then apply what they have learned to a scenario in which they pretend they are employees in a workplace, searching for information for their job."  The lesson plans specifically states "  emphasizes informal online searching, rather than academic research specifically for school."  The lesson plan is geared toward 9-12 graders and I feel as a librarian they could learn about academic research, as they will be writing papers and providing data to their teachers in high school. 

The lesson opens with the teacher asking the students "how do you find something online?"  A good point is made in the " The point is to remind students that they spend a fair amount of time searching online for a variety of purposes, both in school and in their personal lives ."  Students will be conducting research in the personal, academic, and professional (at some point lives).  The teacher explains to students the difference between efficient and effective an effective online search is one that yields the precise results they are looking for. An efficient search does so without a lot of wasted time or energy – for example, having to scroll through a lot of search results that don’t relate to their desired topic. "   

The one element to the lesson plan that I thought was helpful is the teacher projects a Know Want Learn (KWL) chart on the Smartboard, students are encouraged to "students to think about problems they encounter when searching."  This portion of the lesson is important as students think they do not know something  and this exercise would demonstrate they are not the only student who has issues with research.   The next portion of the lesson is for the teacher to demonstrate searches and/or to group the students into small groups and have them conduct searches.  Hands on is very important in conducting research.

The next portion of the lesson is to teach the students the mnemonic SEARCH.  S is for SELECT research questions and search tools, E is for EXTRACT keywords and terms, A is for APPLY search strategies, R is for RUN your search, and CH is for CHART your search. The students than will work in groups to practice the SEARCH method.

The lesson plans wraps up with the students going back to the KWL chart from the lesson introduction and they share what they’ve learned about how to make their searches more effective and efficient. Responses are added  to the third column of the chart.

Overall the lesson is well developed.  I would be curious to know if the lesson is repeated so the students can work on a particular assignment for a class, and/or reinforced during the term.  It would be helpful for the teachers to use the lesson plan to compare notes and determine what  portions of the lesson were the most and least helpful to the students and what changes each teacher would recommend.

Power Point is Evil Post

Edward R. Tufte raises good points in his article/tirade PowerPoint Is Evil.  Dr. Tufte writes ” Particularly disturbing is the adoption of the PowerPoint cognitive style in our schools. Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials. Elementary school PowerPoint exercises (as seen in teacher guides and in student work posted on the Internet) typically consist of 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art on each slide in a presentation of three to six slides -a total of perhaps 80 words (15 seconds of silent reading) for
a week of work." Yes students should learn how to write and not in blurb or bullet format.   I do believe that students need to learn how to learn how to be good writers, as writing is a skill that will be used in schools and as employees.  Yes, an email can be sent to your boss, but the message needs to be clear, grammatical correct, etc.  

Dr. Tufte raised points regarding PowerPoint that I agree with, but he had few if any positive comments regarding PowerPoint.  I know the Nursing faculty at Marymount use PowerPoints to present material from their lectures.  Students print out the slides and take notes as the faculty lectures.  I think that is a beneficial component to PowerPoint. 
Although I agreed with elements to Dr. Tufte's article, I do think he was extremely biased to one side of the PowerPoint issue and unfortunately the good points he made may be lost in his tirade.