Just this week, I was made aware of a value added feature from Overdrive that is new to Public Library eMedia offerings. In my experience, although the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s eBook collection is comprehensive and very well curated, items I need are not ALWAYS necessarily available. Now, when going to the digital downloads area of their website, patrons are offered the option of a “Buy It” button. A secondary and even more exciting feature, is that clicking the “buy it” button, allows the patron to select from a menu of bookstores from which to purchase the item. At least for the book I was researching, these options not only included Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but also a “Shop Indie Bookstores” selection. This “Indie Bookstore” option, allows the patron to input a home zip code, and purchase the item through their nearest local bookseller. Another perk of this purchase, is that the public library also gets a portion of the proceeds of the sale kicked back to them, which they can use in turn, to purchase more electronic items.
In my estimation, this is a VERY GOOD THING for EVERYONE involved: Patron, Public Library, Local Booksellers, AND Authors.
I was downtown a few days ago for a professional development workshop and sat next to a colleague who had young children in a school district near to mine. He was describing how his first and third grade children were being asked regularly to participate in very elaborate collaborative projects. He is a ninth grade English teacher and said that he is seriously considering adapting several of the projects for use with HIS high school students. He went on to say that the expectations for these projects were so rigorous that he suspects that all the other parents were as involved as he, in helping the students keep up.
At the same time, sitting to my right, a woman chimed in about the rigorous nature of certain Drama and Theatre Academic Content Standards. ( I didn’t even realize these existed). I asked her to send me a copy and would agree that expectations for grade TWO like the following, are sadly mind numbing for even our older students.
Grade 2:”Communicate Information about the role of a playwrite in terms of story and script development.”
In the final analysis: What are we really accomplishing with our most attentive, eager learners, when we ask them to demonstrate concepts and skill sets and participate in activities that are I believe, far beyond their years and abilities? How will these elaborate inquiry based projects play out for seven and eight year old students in less affluent school districts, where parents and grandparents aren’t as available or informed as those of my colleague?
We reluctantly had to abandon the discussion as the workshop began, but ended it agreeing that we longed for the days of kindergarten rooms with kitchens and rugs with letters on them.
We also doubted our own ability, when we were children, to navigate these heady waters. All I kept thinking afterward was where has all the “fun” of school gone?Image Credit: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/gsc.5a19656/
So I watched a movie over Winter break, called Morning Glory It is about a woman consumed by her profession. She recruits a venerated on-air personality (Harrison Ford), who initially does not see this “new media” as at all, appetizing, but in the end he finds a way to meld his way of reporting the news to her vision for it.
I somewhat unfortunately sympathize with the visionary, yet sometimes naive producer, Rachel McAdams for her passion for her job and how that “work” sometimes becomes her life and her affirmation. I also respect and relate to her commitment to audience. Although this blog for me is written to “find” an audience and “network” for me (that would be a HUGE reward), my passion and commitment is singularly directed to the school district and students that I serve. I need to get the word out HERE. “Sometimes all it Takes is One Voice”.
For the time being, it may NOT be through Twitter or Facebook or the newest tool available, but I am so very sure where my my heart and efforts are oriented. My service to this community, primarily, will provide direction to the tools and resources that I am so eager to share.
I am making a declaration to become the “teacher/student” that I have been asking other professionals in my school district and state to become. I have come to this realization by way of @courosa, and his EC&I 831: Social Media and Education course. I have been reading and consuming content (and am grateful for it), for too long and believe now that creating some is in order. I intend to offer a graduate level class about social media and transformative teaching this spring, and by then, I hope to have created through this blog and other sites, an authentic, sustainable network of my own.
I have tried in the past to use discussion boards, twitter, Nings, etc to access immediate feedback to questions or interests, but have only been mildly successful. That feedback was greatly dependent on the benevolence of others, and there are many of you out there. Now though, I am inspired to share what I know more widely and more confident that it may have some value to someone. That is a commitment, but not the hard part.
The hard part for me is, how will this all translate to being practical within the schedule and requirements of a typical teachers’ day? I have learned how to manage Twitter through Tweetdeck and use #hashtags to search and inquire, but my schedule is flexible and I have a real interest in the social technologies and their benefits to personal learning. Most of the teachers in my school though, have a full day, every day, just planning, grading, managing behavior, reporting, analyzing data, contributing to PLC’s, talking to parents……. I consider it MY job as a librarian to direct them to sites and resources to prevent them from “reinventing the wheel”, but I am at a loss as to how they could reasonably manage monitoring blogs and hashtags to make the effort pay in a practical way.
So, I am forming this first real world wide networking question in 140 characters in my head, and hope that there will be some help out here before this spring. In the meantime, watch for me in these spaces. I intend to contribute my part.