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Wednesday
Dec102008

AASL Toolkit

I promised to help Ann Martin, AASL President, spread the word about some new resources that may be of help to you in times of financial difficulty in your district. This release dovetails nicely with my post about When Your Job is on the Line from a few days ago. Also see Joyce Valenza's post on these toolkits and an advocacy* institute here.

To All

I want to thank Doug Johnson for bringing attention to the fact that this is the time to step forward. He is absolutely right that the only one who can save your program is you and your constituents. AASL is dedicated to helping in any way we can and should you find your program in danger please do email me. As the spokesperson for AASL I will send letters to the leadership of your district. That does have an impact. But as Doug stated it will be the grassroots support of the voters in your community, your parents, your teachers, and your students telling the decision makers that libraries are essential that will make the difference.

In addition, here are some strategies that will prove helpful. The AASL Advocacy Committee worked over the summer and into the fall to create two toolkits to help you take leadership of your library advocacy. They worked hard so that you could have these practical and useful materials for NOW which is Budget time in most school districts throughout the country.

Please read the following press release.
<http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2008/december2008/aaslecontoolkits.cfm>

Then to view and use the Toolkits follow these links.
AASL Crisis Toolkit
<http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslproftools/toolkits/advocacycrisis.cfm>

AASL Health and Wellness Toolkit
<http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslproftools/toolkits/slmhealthandwellness.cfm>

I hope you will never need the Crisis Kit ˆ Please take action now and start implementing the steps in the Health and Wellness Toolkit.

Many thanks to Deb Logan and the AASL Advocacy Committee for creating these useful kits.

Ann

**********************
Ann M. Martin
AASL President
5039 Bonnie Brae Rd.
Richmond, VA 23234
804.271.6717 (H)
804.652.3700 (W)
libraryann (a) comcast.net

 

OK, you've got the tools. Now make the effort.

*The word advocacy makes me nervous. Please remember that one does not advocate for libraries or librarians. One advocates for students, staff and other users of library services and materials. There is a huge difference.

Wednesday
Dec102008

The danger of irrelevance

For those like Bob Herbert who fear that the young are amusing themselves to death, they are both right and wrong. For at least six hours a day, they’re not amused or even interested. For the other 12 hours, young people I know spend hours becoming experts at those parts of the world they find interesting. The two worlds rarely intersect and the young get precious little guidance and shared input from adult experts about the world they are fascinated by. What’s wrong with schools, and with the ways we measure them, is that we are ignoring what young people’s “interested minds” could accomplish if we re-examined this puzzle together. Deborah Meier*

I've said for a long time that today's kids like to learn. They just don't like how we oldies like to teach.

Children's and especially young adults' lose of "guidance and shared input from adult experts" is my biggest fear in watching an increasing number of students turn away from an irrelevant school system and toward peers, the media and Google. I was horrified that my grandson who is an excellent reader is being required to read all the dumbed-down and dull basals to meet a district requirement in Fargo. Such idiocy means he may well be not just turned off reading, but turned off school completely.

In response to the misperception that kids know more about technology than their teachers do, I wrote a column called "Old Folks and Technology" some years ago. This was the meat of the piece:

We need to help make sure our students not only know how to use these new electronic marvels, but use them well. A short list of tools is below with some of the sensibilities about their use with which we geezers can still help:

Some technologies -> Some things with which old people can still help
Spreadsheets Math sense, numeracy, efficiency in design
Charting and graphing software Selecting the right graph for the right purpose
Database design End user consideration, making valid data-driven decisions
Word processing The writing process, organization, editing, grammar, style
Presentation software Speaking skills, graphic design, organization, clarity
Web-page design Design, writing skills, ethical information distribution
Online research Citation of sources, designing good questions, checking validity of data, understanding biases
Video-editing Storyboarding, copyright issues when using film clips and audio
Chat room use/Instant messaging Safety, courtesy, time management

No matter how sophisticated the N-Geners are technologically, in matters of ethics, aesthetics, veracity, and other important judgments, they are, after all, still green. By virtue of our training and life experiences, we can apply the standards of older technologies (the pencil, the podium, the book) to those which are now technology enhanced. And we’d better. Given the choice of having Socrates or Bill Gates as a teacher, I know whom I would choose.

I like to think that today's young people still need us old people called teachers. Our perceived irrelevance is not in their best interest.

* The (validating) quote above comes from a dialog being conducted between Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch, two national educational policy wonks, on school reform on an Education Week blog, Bridging Differences. It's worth reading. If NCLB has taught us nothing else, it's that we need to start paying attention to national education policy. 'Cause stuff rolls downhill.

Saturday
Dec062008

ISTE and OLPC

 

Cranky person, Gary Stager, criticizes ISTE for not doing more to promote the OLPC project:

Since ISTE seeks to be the premiere educational technology advocacy group in the world, it seems curious they have done nothing whatsoerver to promote the efforts of One Laptop Per Child or the Give One, Get One promotion ending at the end of the year.

Why not take a minute to contact some of the folks listed here on the ISTE web site or its Board of Directors and ask them why the International Society for Technology in Education is silent on connecting the world's poorest children to the 21st Century?

My response left on Gary's blog:

Hi Gary,

I can't let this one slip by unchallenged.

While I am no longer an ISTE board member, I do know that during my tenure on the board, our organization invited Nicholas Negroponte to be a Keynote at NECC – one of the most visible live speaking opportunities there is in the global ed tech community – to talk about the OLPC initiative. NECC has also had full labs of the OLPC computers available for people to use in workshop settings. ISTE has actually done a tremendous amount through NECC to support this initiative.

May I ask you in return what you have done to work with ISTE on getting the word out? Or is your only role criticizing the work of others?

Doug

Somehow I don't think the world will be made a better place by writing snarky blog posts - no matter how many XOs are floating around.

Oh, I will agree with Gary about one thing. Please DO contact your ISTE board members and executive officers if there is an issue that concerns you. I've always been proud that ISTE is an organization that listens and responds to its members.

Cranky person Doug's XO that he got last year as a part of the Give One, Get One Program