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Handouts for AASL restricted?

Turns out that some folks on LM_Net are a little put out that AASL restricts access to the online handouts to those who were registered. Sound "bid-ness," I'm sure, but not exactly a big help to the general over all profession.

Since at least 1998, I have made all my support materials (formerly known as handouts) available on my wiki where they are clearly marked with a Creative Commons license.  When I remember, I bring note cards like the one below that help those attending find the wiki.

This works for me on a number of levels:

  1. The support materials are easy to update on the wiki. (Remember that one Internet year is equal to twenty human years.) Easy for me to find as well. 
  2. Fewer trees are needlessly sacrificed. What percentage of handouts actually get read? (Not saved, but read and used?)
  3. Everybody's suitcase and back are less strained going home.
  4. Online handouts support virtual conferences such as Steve Hargadon's Library 2.011. (Shameless self-promotion: I am doing two sessions (Libraries in the Cloud and Changed But Critical) for the conference tomorrow. Check it out since the price is right.)
  5. Those who can't afford to attend a conference can still get some goodie out of the support materials.
  6. I get to use a smart-ass card like the one above and explain how doing so makes both people who love handouts and people who hate handouts sort of mad.
  7. Such cards make good bookmarks for those who still read books made out of cellulose. 

I've never been sure what goes on in collective mind of not-for-profit professional associations when they limit or charge for online materials and services. Heaven knows professional associations wouldn't want to help anyone who can't won't pony up the hundreds of dollars for membership dues, conference and workshop fees, and travel costs. Such educators are probably just blowing their astonomical paychecks on things like rent and food for their children.

That's it. Little rant over.

Special shout-out to Chris Harris who gave the best presentation of the AASL Conference on Friday morning. His talk about e-books was both more useful and his speaking style more engaging than either keynote speaker. (I am also relieved that he admits there are really no great options for libraries when it comes to e-book provision to patrons.)

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Reader Comments (12)


Chris Anderson's book Free is sitting on my desk for a reason.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Foote

Amen, Doug. I started using a wiki for all my resources after I saw how you do it. It not only saves paper, but also saves you having to create new handouts everytime you add a resource or make an update.

As for AASL, after I aid to join ALA, AASL, and the $290 to attend the conference, they darn well should be giving people the keys to the kingdom.


November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary M

Love the card you hand out! And we poor teachers paying our mortgages and feeding our kids appreciate the access to your resources.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShelley

Thanks, Carolyn. (Good to hear from BTW.) I am pretty well convinced that anything I give away comes back to me multiplied many times over - if not financially, spiritually.


Hi Mary,

Yes, I figured out wikis just after I invented the Internet.

I always emphasize to teacher that the reason to use wikis, GoogleDocs and Moodle is as much for them as a time-saver as anything!


Thanks, Shelly. I like the card too.


November 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Listening to the new Steve Jobs biography. What you're writing about is kind of like the Waz v. Jobs debate or Gates v. Homebrew Computer Club. Waz wanted to give the Apple away...Jobs wanted to make a fortune. Unfortunately for AASL there isn't the upside to protecting conference content as there was in the personal computing market of the early 80s. Have to weight the pros and cons and decide what upside there is to holding content hostage...

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Mielke

Hi Nathan,

Old mindsets of organizations like these die hard. Not sure ISTE is much better. They all need a revenue stream. I am not a person to give financial advice!


November 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

While AASL did have an official parking lot for presenters to post materials in a space for registered participants, presenters were also invited numerous times through direct communications from AASL as well as social media streams to post their handouts and presentation links on the AASL Conference Ning. As of right now, very few presenters made the choice to do this--that is a choice beyond the control of AASL, and I think some of the criticism I've seen in multiple discussion spaces is misdirected.

If any presenter somehow missed these communications, it's not too late to post your materials--instructions are available at

Buffy Hamilton
AASL 2011 National Conference Committee Social Media Chair

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Hamilton

Hi Buffy,

Thanks for providing readers with this additional information. I do often wonder if the Ning is there because of AASL leadership or despite it, but it's nice to know there is a work-around. Just too bad there has to be one.


November 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Actually, Joyce Valenza is is the one who originally advocated for a conference Ning back in 2009, and as you know, AASL was not quite ready for that step at that time. Since I was trying to build on what Joyce had started, I asked AASL for the conference to have a Ning site. When I requested it for this conference two years ago, there was absolutely no resistance, and the concept received 100% support; ditto for an expanded and more open Learning Commons. Perhaps in 2013 the official website and something Ning-like can be integrated together--I've not seen any other conference sites that have married the two, but I would think it would be possible.

I don't know if there is an overwhelming need or desire from the majority of the conference goers for the Learning Commons in 2013 or at least as it has been conceptualized at the last two conferences, but I will leave that for the new committee to decide.


November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Hamilton

Hi Buffy,

Glad to hear AASL is coming around. I try to stay out of the politcs - I'll leave it to you young people.

I don't know about the Learning Commons, but I do enjoy the Bloggers Cafe at ISTE. Maybe the informal gathering place is better than the formal presentations. I am sure you will hit on the right formula.

I gave your name to Judy Dzowski at the Syracuse BOCES as a potential conference keynoter. I had good time with them today. Judy is a "strong" personality, but she runs a good show.

All the best,


November 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Im using your pic with your blessings. Today. 12-12-2011. Right??

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Jo Nelson

Hi Cathy,

I am always pleased when someone can use anything I've created. Remember all work on my blog, wiki and website is under Creative Commons.

Good luck!


December 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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