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EdTech Update





Friday Odds and Ends

A number of folks use their blogs as a sort of scrapbook for keeping snippets of information. Not a bad use, I suspect, and I do it myself. Here are a few patches I’m not sure exactly what to do with except store them here for later use. Most were gathered, I suspect, from other blogs. Attribution where I remembered.


A billion minds unleashed from Macleans,Ca by Steve Maich

"Imagine a billion educated minds, and what they might be capable of. Now imagine those minds belonging to people whose desire for discovery is matched only by their hunger for prosperity -- the kind of hunger that can only be born out of grinding poverty. Picture all those minds growing up and learning in Asia, eastern Europe, South America and Africa. Think about just how different the world will be when those minds turn their attention from the lessons of the past to the possibilities of the future.
"Now stop imagining, because that's the world we'll be living in within 30 years."


More on e-paper (My e-book is getting closer and closer!)

hres_image1_thumb.jpg E Ink Imaging Film is an electrophoretic display material that looks like printed ink-on-paper and has been designed for use in paper-like electronic displays. Like paper, the material can be flexed and rolled. The film only consumes battery power while the image is updated.

Thanks to John Dyer for this one.


A "new" Wiki for librarians: Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. And a link to the its creator. Thanks to Shonda Brisco for sharing this one on LM_Net.

Also check out the The Collaborative Guide to Digital Information Technology in K-12 Schools wiki. Thanks to ISTE President Kurt Steinhaus for this one.) 


A few must read articles:
Horton, "Boys are People too: boys and reading, truth and misconceptions." Teacher-Librarian, December, 2005. (Not online as far as I can tell.)

The entire issue of Educational Leadership, Dec/Jan 2005-06 on "Learning in the Digital Age." Articles by Marc Prensky, Lowell Monke, Will Richardson, and Joyce Valenza ought to be shared widely with teachers and administrators in your district. Nice to see technology and library writers preaching to the sinners rather than the choir by publishing with ASCD. (Online access to members of ASCD.)

If you haven’t seen them, ASCD also released two online special reports on educational technology worth looking at

This ASCD SmartBrief special report on educational technology includes a wealth of useful information on using technology to improve teaching and learning. Part I  takes a look at curriculum strategies and leadership development, while Part II  examines public policy and emerging technologies. 

Wikipedia fans take heart. After nasty press for the fake biography of John Seigenthaler Sr, Nature Magazine releases the report “Internet encyclopaedias go head to head” in which a team of experts examine science topics from Brittanica Online and Wikipedia, with Wikipedia looking pretty good.

Firestorm on library listservs ensues.


Minnesota goes high-tech. (Thanks to Nancy Steele’s SMILE Newsletter for these.)

A very cool project for history fans: Minnesota Reflections

Minnesota Reflections brings you more than 5,000 images shared by more than fifty cultural heritage organizations from across the state. This site offers a broad view of Minnesota's history for researchers, educators, students, and the public.

Minnesota eFolio Project

The State of Minnesota has purchased a perpetual license to use Avenet software and makes this available to all Minnesota residents.  This is the largest portfolio program in the world.  What can this do for you?  Teachers in all levels can use it to teach  technology in many ways.  It is especially useful with distance learning.  One of the general uses is to keep a resume up to date and readily accessible.  It can also be used for a class or personal on-line journal that shows development and progress over time.  Since the state provides a perpetual  license it will not go away over time has tutorials.


Oh, and Dr. Don Descy's Mankato MN (spoof) site has a permanent home at: The website that put Mankato on the map!


CoSN’s Essential Leadership Skills Series added two new short articles:

Measuring Success: How Will We Know When We Get There? (PDF)
Comprehensive monograph (backgrounder book) that will help you get the most out of your assessment efforts.
Technology Planning Linked to Educational Goals (PDF)
Comprehensive monograph (backgrounder book) that will help you figure out how to demonstrate the value, in teaching and learning terms, of your technology investment.

Bad Sex award (in books, that is)
The annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Sort of a Bulwer-Lytton contest for sex scenes. But these are unintentional by mainstream writers, unlike the Bulwer-Lytton contest. Be sure to click the “Read all the longlisted passages here” link. (Caution – graphic, but badly drawn.)

Thanks to Ivan Chew, The Rambling Librarian in Singapore for this link (I think).


And finally for you World is Flat fans…



Professional organizations and professional respect

I get a chuckle out of reading Jenny Levin’s The Shifted Librarian blog. One of her more recent entries was a vent about having to pay a full day of conference fees in order to be a part of a conference panel when her non-ALA counterpart did not. (Why I'm Not Joining ALA Right Now After All) She writes:

“… I recently received an email from PLA noting that I have to register in order to speak at their conference, and I’m pretty angry about it. I don’t have any money left in my budget to pay a registration fee (for half a day, no less!) for the privilege of accepting an invitation to speak at their conference. So I pursed this with the person who put my program together, and today I was told that I have to pay a full day’s fee if I’m a member of ALA. If I’m not a member of ALA, I get a complimentary day pass instead.”
She vows:
“I will never accept another invitation to speak at an ALA-related conference until they reverse this ludicrous policy of CHARGING THEIR SPEAKERS TO SPEAK. It’s insane, absurd, surreal, and unethical. You don’t have a conference without your speakers. I understand they can’t reimburse speakers for travel expenses, but the very least they can do is comp their speakers’ conference registration fees. And the whole conference, too, not just a day. You either value your own professionals or you don’t, and the current policy tells me you don’t.”
This one hit home since I have always vociferously advocated for complimentary registration for lead presenters at our state MEMO conferences. Our organization has been divided about doing so in the past, and I believe this decision is now left at the discretion of the conference committee. (I don’t remember one recently that hasn’t.) For our district librarians, this is a real incentive to put in a session proposal. It greatly increases the likelihood of being able to attend the annual conference if our librarians can say, “Gee I am presenting and I don’t have to pay the registration fee.” Gets new blood into the spotlight too. And it says, "Thanks for working on behalf of MEMO."

One problem of course is that conferences tend to be major revenue generators for professional organizations. Sara Johns, in a recent AASLForum listserv posting, states that ALA would lose $100,000 in revenues if it were to comp registrations for session presenters. (At $200 per day registration fees, that would be comping 500! presenters?) IMHO, ALA would be better off diverting some funds from high profile, very expensive keynote speakers who have nothing to teach us about library service or education, and use at least some of these funds to forgive conference fees. It’s a lovely way for an often impersonal organization to say “we value our members expertise and contributions.”  (I may be moved or motivated for an hour by the keynoters, but the things I learn I can put to use come from practitioners’ sessions.

On a side note, I deeply respect and admire the seeming 5-10% of any organization’s members who actually DO  necessary volunteer organizatio work for nothing more than jewels in their crowns. Volunteer organizations exist only because of these folks.

My question is: Why does it seem such a small percentage of people in any organization actually does more than just pay dues? (Oh, and offer “suggestions for improvement?”) This seems to be the rule for Kiwanis, ISTE, AASL, MEMO, the German-Jefferson Lakes Association,  – well, every organization to which I belong. I’ll give people with small children a pass, but everyone else has the same 24 hours in their day that I have. Does Jenny’s complaint suggest a reason?



Blogging ethics statement

Just in case you don't dig down into the comments on the earlier post "May I See Your ID?," here is a direct link to Liz Ditz's thoughts on blogging ethics. Well worth reading.