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EdTech Update





Wordle-ing a column


Maureen S. Irwin, Director of the Library, in Rye Country Day School, NY sent me the graphic below. She "Wordled" an column I wrote that she'll be using in her school. What a beautiful way to say "thanks"! And thanks back to you, Maureen.

A Wordle cloud for Top Ten Things Baby Teachers Should Know About School Libraries. Note the words WILL, CAN, HELP and STUDENTS are all prominent. Hmmmmm...


ALA Presidential Letter

This letter was formally submitted to each major party's platform committee and delivered through personal contacts, signed by the president of the American Library Association. Pretty good, I thought. It's letters like this that make me feel better about paying my professional association dues - and for giving my time and effort to ALA.

July 24, 2008
Republican National Committee
Platform Drafting Committee
310 First St., SE
Washington, DC 20003
"There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration."
-Andrew Carnegie

"If the founding fathers came back to this country in this day and age, one of the things that would just thrill would be our public library system. . .  Now there is a library in every town, every city, everywhere in the country. [The library] is the pure expression of democracy. . . . It is open to everybody and it's all free. No other country in the world has anything like our public library system. . . . If you get down about the state of American culture, just remember there are still more public libraries in this country than there are McDonalds."  
 -David McCullough

Dear Committee Members:
The grassroots focus of the Republican Party Platform in this election year is highly commendable. Broad outreach to the American public demonstrates a dedication to the founding principles of democracy, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and civil rights. The library community thanks the tireless work of the committee and we hope you will consider how these fundamental American principles are central to libraries as you refine the party’s Platform. We believe these principles embody the ideals of a free, democratic society and must be promoted by the new Administration.
A Core Value: Access to Information
Access to information is a core value of the library community. Libraries are major sources of information and, more generally, they serve as guardians of the public’s access to information. Americans must be ensured access to the information they need – regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers.

Providing public access to information must be affordable to libraries. Public access to key segments of information (e.g., federal government) should be made available to the general public at no cost. Public information should flow unencumbered by digital rights management or unnecessary complexity; and software tools should be accessible, especially to audiences with specialized needs. Additionally, publicly funded research (e.g., National Institute of Health funded journal articles) should be made available to the public free of charge. Quality access to information is fundamental to an informed society and empowered citizenry.

Widespread and Affordable Broadband
Widespread and affordable broadband is essential to ensuring ongoing economic competitiveness, leading-edge educational programs, effective access to government information, and every other important need in society. Broadband is the technological backbone of the knowledge economy and society. However, the United States is lagging behind many other countries in broadband deployment. ALA concludes that a national broadband policy and the corresponding urgent initiatives are needed to return America to the top tier of nations in this crucial technology.
Libraries serve as a major Internet access point for many of our citizens – particularly for those in rural or less-affluent areas. Yet libraries often have great difficulty in obtaining broadband service because of cost. The E-rate program provides greatly needed financial support to these libraries – without which many libraries could not obtain broadband service. Strengthening and simplifying the E-rate program would help more libraries across the nation obtain badly needed assistance.
Protecting Privacy
For libraries to flourish as centers for unencumbered access to information, librarians must stand behind their patrons’ right to privacy and freedom of inquiry. Users should feel comfortable in using library materials and services and secure in the knowledge that their choice to utilize them is not monitored. ALA has consistently stated that while librarians fully support the efforts of law enforcement in legitimate investigations, those efforts must be balanced against the right to privacy.

As ALA’s resolution on the use of National Security Letters states, “the freedom of thought is the most basic of all freedoms and is inextricably linked to freedom of inquiry; and freedom of inquiry can be preserved only in a society in which privacy rights are rigorously protected.”

We stand by that belief and will continue to fight for the right to privacy for all Americans.

The School Library’s Vital Role in Education
Historically regarded as the cornerstone of the school community, school libraries are no longer limited to books and reference materials. Instead, they have become sophisticated 21st century learning environments offering a full range of print and electronic resources that provide equal learning opportunities for all students, regardless of the socio-economic or education levels of the community. School libraries can only be effective when they are staffed by school library media specialists trained to collaborate with teachers, working toward the mutual goal of enriching students with information that matters to them both in the classroom and in the real world.

Since 1965, more than 60 studies have affirmed the link between school library media specialists and student achievement. Across the United States, research has shown that students in schools with good school libraries learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized test scores than their peers in schools without libraries.

School libraries and school library media specialists must be a part of any legislation that impacts our country’s schools.

Education Is Central to Internet Safety
Safe computing has become one of today’s most important Internet issues, especially for parents. ALA has long held that education and parental involvement are the best tools to keep kids safe online and to ensure that they can make the right decisions. Libraries and schools are venues where children learn essential information literacy skills that go far beyond computer instruction and web searching.

Preemptive blocking of social networking and other similar websites prevents librarians and instructors from teaching students the safe way to use these services.

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world with some 66,000 members, primarily school, public, academic, and some special librarians, but also trustees, publishers, and friends of libraries. The Association provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. For more on ALA, please visit <> .
Thank you for your time and we at the American Library Association look forward to working with you to further develop the Republican Party Platform.
Jim Rettig
President, American Library Association

ISTE Leadership, what does your letter look like?


I never looked better

Thanks to Cathy Jo Nelson for sharing this site, Cameroid.* (Sort of an online version of Photobooth that that comes with the Mac)

Evidence of Intelligent Design?

Using Abby Normal's brain.

This wasn't really what I intended to do this morning!

*Are there any attractive words that end in 'oid"?