Feed, Tag, Research: Remixing for Library 2.5

Okay so I’m still reeling from our session at NECC (so titled in the above blog title.) You can visit our wiki handout here. It is very surreal to even now reflect and realize that I have done 2 presentations (both panel style) with Joyce Valenza. My other panelists, Carolyn Foote, Diane Cordell, Judy O’Connell, and Anita Beaman, all could have held down the session alone too. I am astonished at the content I alone learned in our session, and all was pulled together with only a little interaction before hand. We each sort of divvied up the topics, and went our own way with them, not sharing a whole lot until right before the conference. I think this is why I was able to enjoy listening after my contribution.

Time was ticking

Speaking of that, we began with Joyce going first. I was stunned at the number of slides she used, considering we had all decided before hand to just use pictures, and leave the text for our voices. Not a single bullet or visible powerpoint template to be seen, which seemed to go over really well. I had nine slides, Joyce had twenty-seven last time I counted. OUCH. I was following her, and we had decided before beginning that we each had seven minutes to talk. Seven minutes times seven people (Kim Cofino had a part that was pre-taped using Voice Thread) would mean forty-nine minutes, leaving ten minutes for discussion and questions/answers in a perfect world. I worked hard to make sure my part was seven minutes, and so having nine slides should have made that easy. I saw as we all loaded our slides on the wiki in the days leading up to our session that some had a large set of slides. I wasn’t worried though b/c Joyce had said seven minutes, and she had a large number, so I just figured if she could cover hers in seven minutes, we all could create that many and be successful.

Sometimes it’s a perfect world…

Well it wasn’t a perfect world, b/c even with a timer, some of the group went over their allotted seven minutes. I was just after Joyce (what huge shoes to fill) and so felt at ease thinking I would probably be done with mine well before my time was up. Low and behold the timer gave a warning of one minute and I still had 2 slides to go! I wrapped it up in just exactly seven minutes, whew! Our time did not allow though for Kim’s video, but it is available for any who still haven’t seen it. Awesome work too.

I became a sponge

After my part, I just sat back and absorbed like crazy b/c shockingly enough each panelist was FANTASTIC. I am proud to report that I learned so much from the other panelists. It is worth your time and effort to go back and watch/listen to the session, which is on the wiki in an archived u-stream (THANKS Derrall G.)

One of my OMG Moments

One surprise I had in our session was when just after we began I saw David Loertscher–yes, THE David Loertscher–come in the back of room. Since we had a full back channell (from the Ustream chat–53 was the highest number I saw–and then the “cover-it-live” live blog that Carolyne Foote was trying to maintain, I decided to let it be known that he had joined us. I tweeted, added it in the Ustream Chat, and added it in Carolyn’s live blog. Shocking to me, about a third of the room turned around to get a glimpse of David Loertscher. WOW. That is truly a powerful feeling–1) he chose our session (and that he was AT NECC), and 2) other people in our room were apparently live in the various chats and visibly turned to look for him. (He even has a blog–though its not as up to date as I like. Still, I’m impressed.)

Now What?

This has made me realize that we in SC should also do a session like this for SCEdTech, SCASL, SCASA, SC Middle School Conference, and any number of other conferences held around our state. So, I’m looking for recruits. Who’s in? Chris? MaryAnn? Julia? Bob? Fran? Come on!! I also think its time for me (and all the other panelists as well) to step up to the bigger conferences on our own. It’s Independence Day, right?

Want to see some other streamed sessions from NECC? Visit here.

Image Attribution:

Image: ‘David Loertscher
http://davidloertscher.wordpress.com/

Image: ‘Flat time
www.flickr.com/photos/45451323@N00/108818423

Image: ‘Panel
http://necclibrarians08.wikispaces.com/

Image: ‘Sponges
www.flickr.com/photos/96878569@N00/826064663

San Antonio Bound

I’ll be in San Antonio for ISTE’s NECC very soon. It seems surreal to think I’m on the list for presenting in a panel discussion. So what if it is not like a real preso? Instead of my own presentation it is rather a group who talk about how the newer tools have changed the way we do things, particularly in the school library. My contribution (voice of expertise) is supposed to be using the tools for professional development. I hope I can hold a candle to the other experts on the panel. I am so in awe of Joyce Valenza, Carolyn Foote, and Judy O’Connell! Oh and some how one of the expert voices is not showing in the list–>Diane M Cordell-a wonderful friend I would have never met had it not been for the tools we use to network (blogs, Twitter, Skype, etc.) So looking forward to this one! Here’s the description from the NECC planner.

When does your own off switch turn on?

This is really a meme–yes another one.  No rules really, but author Joyce Valenza began by asking for blogging advice, and then ended it with the question listed above.   So I will answer the question with a few thoughts:

  1. And this is the BIG 1:  My off switch turns on when I must choose between family and the virtual friends and locations.  I would MUCH RATHER spend an evening with them–eating out, going to the movies, watching fireworks, hang, even driving with my husband back to the office late in an evening if he forgot something is so much more fun than blogging, my reader, twitter, Second Life, or any other online presence I might have.  It doesn’t have to be fun or special either–it can be simple, like the drive back to the office, watching a silly tv show together, or dealing with sickness or pain. When it revolves around them, they come first. Period.
  2. I will turn the off switch on when I think people are rude, unnecessarily mean, or insensitive. You know the old saying (biblical based) turn the other cheek?  Well I turn the cheek to remove myself. I will avoid things, people, and places that cause me pain or discomfort. It’s only natural. And that can be something mean online or off-line (i.e. that nasty driver who flipped me off b/c I unknowingly cut him off–just steer clear of him.)  I really try not to dwell on these things, just remove myself from them.  It can be difficult though when friends or family dwell on them.  Advice–try to take the high road and don’t dwell on the negative.   I find myself every now and then trying to heed my own advice.

Okay since this is a meme, let’s tag a few people.  She did not say to, so you can disregard if you like.

Okay now back to the task at hand–dinner with my family at home, sweet home.

Attribution:

Image: ‘Prius Power Button
www.flickr.com/photos/73621375@N00/1132365

SCASL Conference Reflections

Today ended the SCASL conference that I attended in Columbia, SC. It is always a rewarding experience, as being a librarian makes you a singleton in your building most of the time, so what fun and excitement all of us like minded people can have when we are all together. There was never a dull moment. Here I am setting up my Exploratorium booth and getting ready to show and tell Flickr and SCASL Blogs!

Columbia was warm and sunny the whole conference (March 12-14, 2008) and I rekindled old friendships and made some new ones.

Fondest memories:

Sitting with Susan Henley and Camillia Harris (from Charleston School District) in Larry Johnson’s pre-conference session was so much fun–We talked almost through the whole presentation! But I had my laptop so we were pulling up the links to things he was talking about, so it was somewhat related. He never seemed to get annoyed with us, but I do think we were a tad distracting. Apologies Larry!

Eating dinner @ California Dreaming with Heather Loy and Mary (from Busbee Elementary). Although the three of us come from different school levels–Heather is from a high school, Mary from an elementary school, and I am from middle–each of us seem to face a lot of similar issues in our libraries.

Sitting through Joyce Valenza’s sessions were probably the highlight of the conference. She is leading with such an awesome example of what a true 21st century teacher librarian should look like, and I have set her as my own personal role model of what I want to be. I just want to thank Joyce for raising that bar SO high. One of my friends made fun of me for sitting on the front rows of the sessions Joyce gave. I just asked isn’t that what all kiss-ups do? But I truly wanted some of her knowledge & wisdom to touch me, if not physically, than spiritually from her aura. I don’t know why, but I felt the need to be right there. I think Joyce may have been surprised at the lack of knowledge on 2.0 tools, and she even fretted to some of us after her first session that perhaps she needs to slow down or chunk some of the content for easier digestion. I said no, please keep the bar raised high so our state librarians will know what they need to work towards. Note to Joyce: While there may have been fear in some eyes as you presented, there was a spark that we need to fan into a fire on utilizing today’s tools to engage learners. Many came to my session just thelp them understand better, and I thank you for that.

The SCASL Bag Fashion Show was a hoot-and yes, I participated. I hope to get more of the pictures posted and Ida Thompson’s rather funny diatribe that was read as we walked the fashion runway!

Supper at Damon’s with Julia Davis, MaryAnn Sansonetti, and Chris Craft was a delightful way to end the day, and we have some plans underway–watch for them to be revealed soon. Collective wisdom is awesome.

After two full days of “sit and get” style presentations, I was worried about my own presentation on RSS Feeds. I returned to my room Thursday evening set on revamping my preso, removing the little text that I already had in it, and retooling it to be less like the “sit and get” sessions I had been in the two previous days. I tried hard to come up with interactivity, but never could formulate a plan that I thought would work. So I decided to turn to my network. I asked for shout outs at the beginning of my session, asking Twitter to greet my group and tell how they use RSS. I had 24 tweets to share, and I used them to start and finish my session. I was dumbfounded to realize that Joyce Valenza herself and Kathy Shrock, both of whom have been at SCASL before, and both in my reader’s “expert” folder, tweeted to my group. (Joyce had already returned to PA, but sent warm wishes and thanks for the fun she’d had in SC the day before.) I also got a skype chat from Tim Van Heule while presenting, which was rather funny b/c he did not know I was in the middle of my preso. Really cute and funny, and it went something like this:

Tim Van Heule
Sessions already? 8:13 AM

Cathy Nelson
ready 8:13 AM
hi Tim Van Heule 8:13 AM

Tim Van Heule
What’s going on, Cathy Nelson? 8:13 AM

Cathy Nelson
in the middle of a presentation 8:14 AM

Tim Van Heule
Ah… Fun… leaving you to it. 8:14 AM

Cathy Nelson
bye 8:14 AM

My audience got a real kick out of the fact that I briefly chatted (using Skype chat as a text) with Tim. Since I had Skype open there was no disregarding it, so I just pulled it in as part of my preso! I had arranged to get Dennis Richards of Massachusetts to skype in, so instead of waiting for him to call (which is why i had Skype open) I just went ahead and called him. He was at the ASCD Conference in New Orleans. Using wireless on a conference connection is risky business indeed, too, but I forged ahead. It was a stop and go call, but Dennis did a fabulous job telling all how we knew each other from networking with the tools. He introduced himself as a school superintendent in his area, catching many LMS’s there off guard to know that a supt was using the tools as well. He shared that he had only been using RSS since last summer, but now thinks a whole new way about learning, particularly personal learning, now that he uses RSS. I didn’t drag out the conversation long since it was choppy, but do feel I left a strong impression about how RSS can help you develop a PLN (professional learning network) to grow and learn. In the mix I had the RSS in Plain English video as well as a video interview of Will Richardson where he spoke to the fact that educators must first learn the tools themselves before tryng to use them in school with kids. I also showed a short segment of an archived Ustream that Dennis Richards had on his blog where Sheryl Nussbaum Beach is talking about how a network can supplement your learning, and it was form the day before at her keynote at the NCAET Conference no less, going on simultaneously with SCASL–just about 175 miles up the road. Read about her keynote, and even view it here. I hope today I did teach how RSS can play a lead role in professional development, and I think I embodied the example of taking advantage of generous people in my network who helped me out. I thought this was one of the best presentations I have ever done. Of course, I’m biased too.

My audience seemed receptive to my message and now I have a TON of homework to do. I promised all the links I used would appear in the presentation link of this blog, and so I must set out to create that. I also have a 3-hour workshop to prepare for Monday. Am feeling very swamped!!

Power Up @ Your Library

Next week, March 12-14, the South Carolina Association of School Librarians will meet up in Columbia, SC for the annual SCASL Conference. This year’s theme, Power Up @ Your Library, is very fitting, as there are some POWERFUL guest speakers, authors, and more coming to rejuvenate me! Annette Lamb, Larry Johnson, Joyce Valenza, Gail Dickinson…I almost feel like I’m going to a national level conference rather than a state level one. Our President-elect, Valerie Byrd-Fort has one a FANTASTIC job putting our conference together this year. I cannot wait until Wednesday next week!

The conference program was released today, and I have made a preliminary outline of what I want to attend–and guess what? I’m not skipping a single event. I will be exhausted when I get home Friday evening. Here is a rough itinerary (with session titles abbreviated for me) that is subject to change.

WEDNESDAY
Concurrent 1 (4:15-5:15)
James Bryan – Historical Fiction
or
Perry McLeod- Digital Storytelling

Exploratorium and All-Conference Reception (5:30-7:30)
SCASL Blogs! & SCASL Flickrs! (Okay, so you may not know that this is my responsibility and so I will be hosting it–IT! OMG!! I have not even begun to put together a display board or anything. I better get busy!! Late supper too-shucks…Someone wait for me to go eat.

THURSDAY
Concurrent 2 (8:00-9:00)
Joyce Valenza – Library Websites

Concurrent 3 (9:15-10:15)
Gail Dickinson NBPTS–>NBCT Now what?
or
Annette Lamb – PPT Sidekicks
or
Larry Johnson – Re-Imagine…

12:00-1:15 Meet authors/special guests
(Hob-nob with Authors Jaime Adoff, Eloise Greenfield, Will Hobbs, Alan Katz, Michelle Knudsen, and special guests Joyce Valenza, Annette Lab, and Larry Johnson!)
SCASL Business Meeting, 1:30 – 3:00

Concurrent 4 (3:15-4:15)
Gail Dickinson – AASL Standards
or
Annette Lamb – Re-Imagine…
or
Larry Johnson – RSS feeds in classroom

FRIDAY
Concurrent 5 (8:00-9:00)
MINE-Feed the Mind w/ RSS
(Note: there were some awesome sessions planned at the same time as mine, and thankfully some of the ones going on at the same time (Like MaryAnn Sansonetti’s “Ipodabilities” and Carole McGrath’s “T-N-T” I saw previously at a different conference. The only thing I have to worry about–other than an obscene early time to present–is that everyone else might choose theirs over mine. Oh, wait, that would mean fewer people in my session, which translates to an easier preso to give. Ok, I can live with it after-all!)

Concurrent 6 (9:15-10:15)
Debbie Keenan/Margie Edgerton – Flexible schedule
or
Julia Davis – Google Lit Trips
(I need to go to the Keenan/Edgerton session for ideas on a different preso I’m giving…but I want to go to Julias–how will I ever decide?)

Concurrent 7 (10:15-11:15)
Donna Shannon – Building a Knowledge Base in Reading
or
Andi Fansher – Moviemaker Magic

Awards Luncheon, 12:00 – 2:00
Eat with my Horry County LMS colleagues as we wait on the edge of our seats for the announcing of this years’ SC Book Award Nominees.

Okay so everyone can see that I have a jam-packed conference planned for myself, and still have many decisions to make. I’m carrying my laptop, and with free wifi, I plan to be connected to my network everywhere I go. Any of you loyal readers, would you like for me to “Ustream” anything? I have found out in the past I cannot “coveritlive” very well or even semi blog during sessions. I have to reflect and post. So I definitely could Ustream some. I’ll be taking a lot of pictures too, and will be posting them to the SCASL Flickrs photostream. So if you are not coming, you can virtually attend compliments of me. Let me know.

This I believe

Recently Carolyn Foote was contacted by the School Library Journal Technology Editor about an article they are including in the March 2008 edition.  Here is what they wanted (and Carolyn asked me and Joyce Valenza to chime in.)

We’d like to run something about the Educon program in the March issue. Could you give us an idea of the response? Who attended and what did the non-library audience have to say?  Also, we’d love to run a photo from the event. Do you have any Flickr images we could use?
Thanks so much.

My bridge metaphor from Educon 2.0 was about how the use of print resources are dwindling as electronic resources gain popularity. So my “This I believe…” statement centered on me being a bridge to bring my patrons back to the library by connecting them to the resources available print or electronic. I also talked about modeling the use of the tools in instructional practice so that teachers can see how students respond when we use 21st century tools, and learn side by side with students (and with me.)  I discussed that the stakeholders all need to see that we are all on a learning journey, and not everyone is at the same place in this journey, and i can act as a friend, guide, teacher, assistant, or whatever the situation calls for in my quest to bridge the gap of yesterday’s way of learning to the new horizon ahead of us.  I want to be that bridge that my learners are willing to take advantage of, and my mission is to model effective and ethical practices along the way. Being in the library gives me the perfect scenery to bring up ethical use and best practice while using or introducing new tools.  I just want to connect my learners (students, teachers, parents, stakeholders) with 21st century tools, and make them associate the use of them with learning from the library.

The SLJ Technology Editor wants more, like reactions by participants, pictures.  I am uploading the pictures I have tomorrow, and  will share reactions from participants. They had many questions, but a reoccurring one was “how do we get our librarian to do these things you do?”  All I could say was one at a time, one at a time.

I compared it to how we get teachers willing to try the new tools out, and take leaps in their instructional practice and instructional design. We share, model, encourage, invite, assist, and more.  I suggested that if their school had a librarian not necessarily up to par on 21st century tools, then be the one who approaches this person, just as I approach teachers. That bridge can be a two-way street, and it doesn’t have to originate from the library.  Plan activities or lessons where the tools (be it blogs, wikis, video, presentations, whatever) are done in the library, and invite the librarian to be a part of the implementation.  At first he or she may sit on the peripheral and be a silent observer, but engaged learning is infectious, and eventually this person will see that taking a risk and getting in this sandbox where we are learning is not so difficult after all, and we don’t have to be the expert.  Our kids certainly know this.  Eventually that paradigm shift in the old way of thinking will swing over to the new way.  Other teachers who come through the library will ask questions, either on the spot or later.  The principal will probably hear about things too, and if not, go tell this person.  Anyone in the school environment that has a vested interest in learning will want to observe and more than likely become involved. I also stressed that you will have your nay-sayers, and you’ll have your reluctant particpants. You’ll also have the “yeah but’s” and you’ll have some that just like with every other “new” thing, jump right in.

It’s just an attitude of willingness–willing to try, learn, fail, try again, and learn more. I never really learned anything until I tried and failed, and then kept trying. If I didn’t struggle then I obviously already knew it. Never stop learning. As my former (and now retired) professor Dan Barron always said—“Grow or Die.”

I had a student ask me this week a strange question.  He said, “Mrs. Nelson, you know so much about technology and computers. Why don’t you work in a job using them? I replied, but I do! He disagreed, saying I could make much more money doing something else, maybe from the business world or even technology world.  I told him my job is a calling, a desire. I teach because I want too, and being in the library also fills my need to use, handle, learn, and teach technology too. I told him I have the best job ever. He was baffled, and so I asked, “Are you glad I’m here?” He said yes. So I said, “See, I’m in the best possible place for both if us, and I like it that way.”

Carolyn, Kathy, Joyce, and others…I have some good photos of the attendees working on their metaphorical drawings of a modern library, and they are on a camera at school.  I will do my BEST to upload them to flickr tomorrow and then share.  Sorry about “sitting” on them. I’ll post again and ping you as soon as it’s done.

Picture Attribution:

NOTE: This is a picture I took while at NECC 2006 in San Diego!

Nelson, Cathy. “LASD 442.”  Online image. CNelson’s Photostream.  5 July 2006.  <http://farm1.static.flickr.com/98/212031617_edf0df2976.jpg>

What a WEEK!

neccannounce.jpgWhat a difference a week makes! Saturday the Edublogger awards were announced, and I was so sure I did not win, I did not even go into Second Life to hear who did, nor did I tap into the many portals made available live (like Edtech Talk, Skype, and others…) You see, as I told all my friends, it was enough to be nominated. I even went out of town on a shopping spree Saturday, and around the time the awards ceremony began, my family was sitting down for a wonderful afternoon (early supper) at Carrabba’s. It was divine, and far more enjoyable. I had a few friends and family asking on Saturday, and they were shocked and dismayed that I wouldn’t stay home long enough to at least log in and see. I assured them my Twitter Network and RSS reader would keep me well informed, so well in fact that I need not worry about it all, but instead enjoy my family. I was not let down.

Congratulations to all the winners, and especially the library blog category, I’m especially pleased it is once again a school library blog. I need not have sour grapes, you see, I know what my authority and rank were in Technorati BEFORE the nominations, and I know what it is now after the nominations, and I know how many commenters I’ve had on my blog, and these statistics (which you can find out yourself with a little work) tell me a story that stands on its own, so there is no need for a pity party about the “loss.” My assistant, another colleague at school, and my sisters were all furious that I would not campaign to win, soliciting for votes from all my networks where I am plugged in and connected. But sorry folks–that is not how I operate. I’ll say it again. It was enough to be nominated. It filled me with immense pleasure and is rewarding all on its own. Wonder how I should put that on my resume?

So I returned to work Monday, doing my thing. I worked two basketball games this week, and made two keepsake memory videos for teachers to document and reflect on school performances. I included students in the second one, having them edit for me, select some pictures to go at the beginning and end, and pick out music to add. I think they learned a lot, and I teased them unmercifully, saying I didn’t like giving out all my secrets—pretty soon they would stop thinking I was amazing!

Anyway, to make this week so very jam up for me, yesterday I received an email invitation from Karl Fisch to participate in an exciting event he will be having at his school in January and February. I have not seen it twittered or posted on his blog, so I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say much else. But know that it is truly a reward for be connected to highly successful educators in the blogosphere. I suppose details about his project that I am joining in will be forthcoming soon, but I don’t mind saying it revolves around Dan Pink’s book A Whole New Mind. I am considering asking our 8th grade teachers to use it as a novel study to go along with Karl’s project. My brain is on OVERTIME! (Side Note: There was a cool DEN Webinar tonight w/ Daniel Pink that was AWESOME!!)

As an added bonus this week, today I get the pleasant (although somewhat embarrassing) surprise of getting mentioned in Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog where he is answering questions about a former blog post (where he had just opened his OLPC XO.) It is such a novelty, a lot of people are expressing their curiosity by asking questions via his comments. So Doug chose to answer them in another blog post, and what do you know but my DUMB comment is at the top—as I tease about his cat in the picture, and tell a gushy tale of how cute my cat is. <BLUSH> Okay, so not my best side, or even story. But Doug mentioned me none the less. W00t!

This evening I get the email from Joyce Valenza, exclaiming that our panel discussion session for NECC has been accepted! Joyce’s email began like this: “Good news, friends! We’re on for NECC.” Our session will have a panel of “experts” (I can’t believe I’m saying that!); our session title: Feed, Tag, Research: Remixing for School Library 2.5; session description: School librarians are leading learning and instructional change. Discover how we are re-visioning reading, research, and “library” for 21st century students on the Read/Write Web. And I can honestly say we collaborated for days on the topic and description alone. The group panel includes Joyce Valenza, Carolyn Foote, Diane Cordell, Kim Cofino, Anita Beaman, and me. After hearing from Twitter some of the big names who have been turned down, I feel amazed and honored to be with a session that was accepted.

Oooy, my head is getting so big. Don’t put a pin near me, or I might pop. Tomorrow is Friday, and I can’t imagine what kinds of good things it might bring. No time to be sad or depressed though, as I have so much to be thankful for in this week alone! I suddenly feel SO CONNECTED, not only on a local, state, and national level, but also a global level. Daunting, but exciting.

I don’t want to whoop too soon, so just let me end with a tee-tiny “w00t.”

what’s all the fuss?

Today I met some fellow colleagues after work to talk and have some fancy coffee drinks (which i don’t do…) Being new in the district, I don’t know everyone as well, so Barbara S. and Cathy H. invited me to come gab. We shared about the normal school stuff, and I told about my initiation into the district. If found out that Barbara and I have some common interests–Macs and video editing. And Cathy H and I are connected b/c years ago we both worked in a neighboring district, and she even worked in the same school as my husband.

They were very interested in my knowledge of web 2.0 stuff, and I had to admit to them I don’t know as much as they think. But in our conversations, I talked a whole different language at times, talking about twitter, Ustream, the online conference, webcasts, and name dropping–Will Richardson, David Warlick, and Joyce Valenza. They were familiar with Joyce–what school librarian wouldn’t be? But they did not know of Richardson or Warlick. Oh break my heart!

In visiting the various live shows popping up tonight in Ustream–you folks in my Twitter are awesome–I can remember reflecting that exact sentiment I beleive to Vickie Davis. We practically speak an alien language.

So I have to ask myself–am I an overachiever? I used to think of myself as not as good as most of my colleagues. I aspired to be as good at librarianship as them, and worked hard to hone my skills. Now I am questioned about my knowledge–how do I know about this stuff and where do I have the time? I don’t feel any smarter than my colleagues, that’s for sure. We are just not necessarily speaking the same language. And I still have so much to learn compared to others in my network.

I promise folks, I do have a homelife, and family, and time is made for them. But also I must confess that my entire household is digitally connected–to each other and our networks. So we know and understand that these tools and this language we speak is understood, accepted, and a welcome part of our lives. I read an incredible amount. I feel connected to my network. I miss it when I can’t get it–which is why I am rushing in to read up on twitter since it is blocked at school. My network is educating me better than any professional development I participate in at school, conferences, workshops, or any journal I read. My network IS my professional development. And I am proud of it. But I don’t think I would enjoy it if it made my family unhappy. We all four have laptops, and yes, there are times when we are all together in the living room with a laptop in our lap or at our side. It has just become a way of life for us. It is so nice to know i can chat w/ my son in Chicago anytime I want–i’m 900 miles away, yet only a few keystrokes from connecting to him. So I don’t ask forgiveness for being in tune with my 2.0 tools. I just feel blessed that they are understood in my home.

Last– I celebrate once again this evening as Chris Lehman called me Cathy in a Ustream chat tonight. I am identified only as CNelson there. So I am in his radar in the blogosphere too. WOOT!

Promoting Databases

Database. Such an intimidating word. Most states provide a portal to a list of subscription databases, and I have colleagues who SWEAR by them (Joyce Valenza, Boris Bauer). I can remember sitting in a SCASL conference session several years ago and hearing Boris say, “If you are not offering your users databases, you are doing them a huge disservice.” Edtech Talk webcast show Teachers Teaching Teachers had a three week discussion on the virtues of databases, and how to get our users to utilize the resources. the consensus was we need to make the db sexier to our students. I agree with this, and do feel that if our state subscriptions had the look and feel of Google, they would NOT be such a hard sell. I also think if we sell them to teachers too, perhaps the trickle down effect will transform the students into devoted users. So HOW do we do this? I think the answer is in collaboration with teachers, and our educating our teachers on the usefulness of the clunky, cumbersome tools. Since we cannot convert the subscription databases to a “sexy” mass-appealing simple look and feel, we can create pathfinders that list all the resources for a topic of study that includes books, videos, persons, places, and egads, “databases” (along with search strategies for those databases) in these pathfinders. The homepage of the actual pathfinder can have lettering and simple white backgrounds with the familiar plain lettering in googlized technocolor–a way to surely GRAB the attention of our google freaks everywhere! Soon my school district is changing over to a a new web interface for creating online presence. I am waiting patiently to have web presensence. I am going to googlize the whole concept of pathfinders. Wait and see.