Thing 7A Getting into an RSS Feed Reading Habit

Discovering the world of blogs and developing an RSS Feed reading habit has been an interesting new experience. I am still exploring blogs and websites trying to find ones that really resonate for me. This week I read many interesting thoughts from a variety of educators, media specialists, etc. It is all a bit overwhelming but I am starting to get the hang of “reading” my new RSS feed postings. I will definitely be eliminating a few in the weeks to come that are not especially interesting to me.

One posting that I found especially interesting this week was at Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog, and was actually a summary of a posting by Penelope Trunk on her blog. The posting is called, “Hardass View of Reading.”  Penelope says, as quoted by Doug Johnson,

…If I tell people I’m a blogger, they say, “I don’t have time to read blogs.”

Here’s what I am going to start saying to those people: Only losers say they don’t have time to read blogs. Because everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. So it’s not that you somehow are more busy than everyone else – no one is actually too busy for anything – the issue is that reading blogs is not high enough on your priority list to read them.

So the real response, when I say, “I’m a blogger,” should be “I stay away from blogs so I can shield myself from alternative opinions to mainstream media.” …

and she offers (and explicates) three ways to “a grip on your reading pile”:

  • Stop talking about information overload. That term is for weaklings.
  • Stop talking about good and bad media. Just because you don’t read it doesn’t make it bad.
  • Stop talking about time like you need to save it. You just need to use it better.

Follow the link from Doug Johnson to Penelope to get further details on this. My reaction to reading blogs is similar-how do you find the time? Penelope’s comment is, find the time-it’s important to expand your horizons by reading other people’s blogs and other helpful websites. Penelope goes on to say that the “best employees in today’s workplace are information synthesizers.” She talks about being able to process information online quickly. That is what we need to think about as we are teaching our students-how to make them efficient finders of information online, able to sort through and process that information once they find it!

Another interesting website that I discovered from my blog reading was from the School Library Journal blog- Joyce Valenza had a link to Judy O’Connell’s “Hey Jude Blog” to a posting about a great website called NeoK12. NeoK12 is a listing of free educational videos from all over the internet on a variety of subjects, from science to history, etc. This will be a good resource to share with the teachers at my school. The only downside I saw to the videos after viewing one of them is that not all of those videos seem to have an age rating yet, which means teachers will need to view the videos and make that decision for themselves. It sounds like many are short youtube videos that might be good lead ins for teachers for lessons. It is worth checking out NeoK12 since all of the lessons and videos have been screened by K-12 teachers. : So, here’s the link to the actual NeoK12 website.

I have been reading postings about technology in education, about new Jewish books and other children’s books coming out, media centers and technology and, for my own enjoyment, the latest New York Times Book Reviews. All in all, the world of RSS reading is opening new windows for me and it should be interesting to continue reading my RSS Feed in the weeks to come as I progress through this class.

Thing 5 RSS Feeds Wow! Why do schools need libraries?

I am sure that every week will bring new revelations in this Web 2.0 course. RSS Feeds-amazing! I can certainly see how one can spend hours going from one blog to another, and one link to another. (for those of us who have no life outside of the computer)

One of the blog articles that caught my eye was Doug Johnson’s “Whither Libraries? Why do schools need libraries in the age of the internet?” “The Essential Question” The role of the school library has changed so much since the age of the internet and internet research has become the way of the world. I found the responses to Doug Johnson’s question quite intriguing and thought-provoking.

Here is a sampling of a few of the comments from people that were worth considering-many of these ideas are things that we media specialists are doing-we just need to get the good word out to the faculty and staff where we work. The students in my school can use computers in the Media Center as well as in the Computer labs.

-“Students need places to hang out and/or work that are not classrooms.” (Kenn Gorman) THOUGHT-let’s make the Media Center a place where students can come to collaborate on projects on and off the computer.

“My middle school media center is a buss of activity, a place where print and non-print sources are used in research, where projects increasingly integrate web 2.0 collaborative tools and other technology, where students hone information literacy skills. This would not be happening if there was no library media specialist making sure this happened and no library. Perhaps we should change the name of libraries to library lab. I think it would be a better describe of what takes place in a good 21st century library.” (Beverly Rannow) THOUGHT:  I would love to get more middle school students at my school back in the Media Center and not just have them in the computer lab and in their middle school spaces upstairs in our Middle School.

-“We need librarians to teach students how to be critical users of information.” (David Warlick 5/13/09) THOUGHT:  I touched on this in another blog post-sure-our kids can access the internet-but can they do it effectively to retrieve accurate, useful information? That is our job and in my school also the job of the computer instructor-to teach them how to do that!

-“My library is not a passive depository of space. It is the heart of our campus, and I am a teacher librarian technologist (from a high school media specialist)” (Jeanne Swedo 5/13/09) THOUGHT: The library is not just the storage place for books-let’s make it a place students come to for a variety of reasons-to work together on projects on the computer, read a book, etc. Our media center needs to work on this concept for sure.

-“A big issue is that our fellow teachers do not always know the best methods or sources for information retrieval. We need to work with them so they see all of the possibilities and can transfer that to the assignments they require of students. ” (L.Hardin 5/14/09) THOUGHT: We need to sell our services to our faculty.

“At the same time, I think “the library” can take many forms. Books on a cart, the OPAC available everywhere in the building and at home, the librarian teaming with teachers to prepare, teach, and evaluate a project … there are so many more ways to interact. The library is NOT just a room but a service. It should be anywhere and everywhere to support students and staff. “(L..Hardin 5/14/09) THOUGHT: Media Specialists need to think outside the box. The media specialist is a service provider, not just the purchaser of books. I know we have gotten that concept somewhat in place in our school-now we just have to get all of our faculty to pull on our knowledge and expertise.

What about working to instill a love of reading in students? Sure the reference section is outdated – any reference book is probably outdated before it hits the bookstore shelves – but fiction isn’t going anywhere, is it? (e.g. Kindle, audio books). Despite the encroachment of technology on reading for pleasure – there is nothing like finishing a good book. “(Brian Brown 5/15/09) THOUGHT: This is one of my goals. I know we are working with a generation of digital natives but that does not mean that we have to give up on the concept of reading books for pleasure. I think there is still a place for the reading of fiction in our current technological society!

The list goes on and on but I need to move to our next skill, so connect to Doug Johnson’s blog for further thoughts on this subject!