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Monday
Jun302014

The teacher-librarian's role in 1:1

 

LaGarde, Jennifer and Doug Johnson. “Why Do I Still Need a Library When I Have One in My Pocket?: The Teacher-Librarian’s Role in 1:1/BYOD Learning Environments." Teacher-Librarian, June 2014.

I was delighted last week to receive the June 2014 issue of Teacher-Librarian magazine in which Jennifer LaGarde and my article appeared. Jennifer and I make a great team - she does the work and I take the credit. 

Anyway, if your schools has or is planning to have a 1:1 or BYOD environment and you are a librarian or supervise one, get access to this issue and this article! 

Very proud to have worked with LibraryGirl on this and forthcoming book on the same topic.

Articles I have previously published in Teacher-Librarian aka Emergency Librarian:

 

 

Graphic by Jennifer LaGarde.

Sunday
Jun292014

BFTP: Ban the lectern

Bore: one who has the power of speech but not the capacity for conversation. Benjamin Disraeli

Computerized slideshows have been much maligned of late. No more bullet points. Death by PowerPoint. PowerPointlessness. You've heard them all. And probably seen more than a few examples of poor slide show use.

But let me tell you, the only thing worse than a bad speech with PowerPoint is a bad speech without it. Not long ago I listened to a very smart man with very good ideas give a very poor keynote. He started off by bragging of his "lack of slides," but then went on to read (yes, read) his talk directly from the text he assured us would be online verbatim in a few days. Uniformly formal, ceaselessly forceful, and demeaningly parental, this audience member left feeling unconnected, unmoved, and feeling like a kid who was read the riot act by the principal for about an hour. When the speaker later asked me what I thought of his talk, I tactfully replied, "It was challenging." I didn't elaborate that the challenging part was staying for all of it.

I wonder if the speaker might have been more natural and made a better connection had he not been provided a lectern on which to prop his notes. Just might a major cause of bad "speeches" be the lectern itself - that large slab of wood originally designed to protect speakers' vital organs from sharp objects thrown by displeased listeners? (I just made that up.)

While I always request a wireless lapel microphone so I can wander a bit when speech - ifying, there are time when the only voice amplification is hardwired right to the lecture and one is pretty much forced to stay behind it in one place. And as much as I try to overcome it, this restraint changes my message:

  • I am more formal.
  • I am more likely to "read" the slides on my laptop sitting right in front of me.
  • There is less give and take between the audience and me.
  • There is a physical barrier creating a "me, the expert" and "you, the receiver" rather than an open space that says "let's form a partnership though which we can solve some mutual problems."

OK, it is somewhat comforting to know that when using a lectern the second "Is my fly zipped?" check is not necessary and that most lecterns are slimming. But let's expand our suggestions for the improvement of public speaking beyond "ban the bullet points." Whether the message is read from paper on a lectern or digits in a PowerPoint screen, it's all poor communication.

 

Original post April 19, 2009. This one's for all my buddies in Atlanta enjoying the ISTE conference. 

 

 

Tuesday
May132014

Are you bringing your browser history to school?

I love the convenience and security of the cloud. Any online app, any file in GoogleDrive, DropBox, or Evernote, and the history of any website I've looked at anywhere or at anytime.

Oh, wait. My browser history? That will show up on my school computer, too?

Many web browsers, including my favorites Chrome and Firefox, have the option of creating an account that syncs one's preferences, one's bookmarks, one's helper applications, and other convenient bits of information among the computers one uses. Add that bookmark at home and when you log into your browser at work, the bookmark is there. Nice.

However, by default (in Chrome, anyway), these browsers also sync one's history.

What this means is that if last night in the privacy of your own home and from your own computer, you were visiting some potentially embarrassing websites (porn, stalk-your-ex.com, Sarah Palin fansites, WebMD's "What that weird rash might be", or whatever), a record of this activity will appear on your school computer when you access your browser the next morning.

Unless :

  1. You create separate browser accounts for school and personal use.
  2. You specifically tell your browser not to sync history settings.
  3. You always use the private or incognito mode in the browser that never tracks history.
  4. You always remember to delete your history each time you log out.
  5. You lead an online life completely free of any potential embarrassment. Like me ;-)

Since most school AUPs give employees a "limited right to privacy," one's chance of having one's browser history viewed is possible and legal. Happily unless one's activity is illegal or one is using a school computer, activity outside school and school hours is more embarrassing than job-threatening.

But who needs any more embarrassing moments in their lives?

and