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EdTech Update





Betty Marcoux on a Mindset list for librarians

There is the old cliche that "great minds think alike." Below is the internationally know library expert Betty Marcoux's take on the Mindset list. She is far more thoughtful than the Skunk on this topic... Betty's guest post:

Lists like the Beloit College Mindset List for 2013 ( are now out and reflect thoughts about the mindset of incoming college students into higher education schools. While this list is making teachers of these students aware of their mindset, what about the mindset of teacher librarians that are newbies to this field (either in graduate school or newly ensconced in a K-12 school)? Information about how their contextual behaviors may affect the way they work with students K-12 and we need this information to know how to best teach the nuances of being an effective teacher librarian. We learn from this list about the student, but what about the teacher librarian of the student? Does this professional have a contextual lens that helps explain their behavior toward these students?

Just musing - ideas?

Betty Marcoux was a practicing teacher librarian for over 25 years before joining the faculty of the Information School at the University of Washington. She has also been on the faculty of the University of Arizona as an adjunct, and serves on many natonal and state groups that relate to education and school library media programming. Currently she works as the co-editor of the professional journal Teacher Librarian, serves part-time on the faculty of the Information School, and runs her own consulting business about librarianship.


If you had to pay for it, would you still use it?

TANSTAAFL is an acronym for the adage "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" originating in the late 1930s and later popularized by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which discusses the problems caused by not considering the eventual outcome of an unbalanced economy. Wikipedia

Miguel Guhlin at Around the Corner "Borrowing 2.0 Same as Always" asks some interesting questions about "free" Web 2.0 tools:

Should school districts continue to allow teachers to post content online in Web 2.0 services that are "free" now but may result in cost later? And, do all teachers have the "technical flexibility" to adapt to new tools as they arise, shedding the old ones?

Time and time again, we've seen free Web 2.0 services "hook" users with their services and then seek to profit from them.

As a school district administrator, movement into free services--consider GoogleApps for Educators--must be carefully considered. What happens tomorrow when the money runs out and the lender calls in the note?

Something in me shares Miguel's concern about the over-use of free resources on the web. Is this an economic model that is sustainable and what will be lost if a free tool goes away? (Especially as we think about moving into GoogeApps for Education.)

Now I have always been a "belt and suspenders" kind of guy, so when it come to web services that are important to me, I don't mind paying for them. These include:

  • Mozy for file back up
  • SmugMug for photo storage/sharing
  • SquareSpace for blogging

Somehow knowing that these sites want to keep me as a customer makes them more reliable and more attentive to my personal needs. And knowing that they have an economic model that might be helping the owners make their mortgage payments feels reassuried about them being in business this time next year.

I've been thinking that perhaps one way of determining the value of a tool might be to ask oneself if one had to pay for it, would one still use it? Here are my choices. Feel free to disagree. (As if anyone who reads this blog needs to be told that!)

  • Facebook - no, but it's growing on me
  • GoogleMail - definitely
  • GoogleApps - definitely
  • Delicious - definitely
  • iGoogle - probably, but not very much
  • Twitter - they need to pay ME to use it
  • GoogleReader - definitely
  • Motivator - I'd pay a little
  • Online banking - definitely
  • Wikispaces - yes, but probably not very much
  • MapQuest - yes, but probably not very much

Should a person be recommending a tool to others that he/she wouldn't be willing to pay to use? Part of our jobs as librarians and tech specialists is to evaluate and select tools to recommend to others. This might work as a rule of thumb... 

Johnson's Law of New Tools: Never recommend a program that has so little value you wouldn't pay for it.



Mindset List for Librarians

The Beloit College Mindset List for 2013 was published recently. One of things that today's entering college students have never done (according to item #4) is "... used a card catalog to find a book."

Hmmmm, I wonder how many librarians starting their professional careers today know what it means to "file above the rod" and why one would do it?

Do we need a Mindset List for New Librarians?* Let's give this a try...

The Mindset List for Librarians Entering the Field in 2009

Librarians entering the field today...

  1. Have never had to type a catalog card.
  2. Have never looked something up in the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature.
  3. Have never maintained a vertical file.
  4. Have never attended a F2F graduate school library class.
  5. Have never puchased (or rented) a 16mm film, VHS tape or LaserDisc. (Let alone a filmloop or filmstrip.)
  6. Have never NOT had the Internet as a resource.
  7. Have never checked out 5 1/4 floppy disks of MECC games.
  8. Have never arranged for interlibrary loan of a physical book.
  9. Have ever worked in a library without student workstations or a computer lab.
  10. Have never sent overdue notices to parents by postal mail.

So,  10 off the top of my balding head. And yours....?

*Thanks to Nancy Everhart for this idea.