Saturday, November 2, 2013

IL2013: Summing Up Is Hard To Do...

Conference Presentations are at this link:
Name and Password are both the same: il2013
Take a look around and see what sounds interesting to you!

Every year after attending Internet Librarian/Internet@School I say the same thing: This was the best conference ever! I depend on this gathering to give me food for thought, ideas for instruction, and topics for articles and presentations. These tend to carry me through the next year. There are many things that I have heard first at Internet Librarian that then become common knowledge as trends to follow. I took a look at my vita and was reminded that I have presented at IL since 2004, making this my 9th year. After every conference I have returned invigorated and inspired, and this year is no exception. Here are some things that stood out:
  • During the first session, Peter Morville exhorted us to be inspiration agents in our jobs. This struck a nerve with me because I am quite concerned about the negativity and poor morale stemming from the current trend toward denigrating teachers and schools coupled with the inflated emphasis on mandated tests. He reminded us of the book Nudge and our need to promote a climate of encouragement and even humor in our classrooms and libraries. 
  • The sessions I attended were relevant and energizing. On the first day I was particularly taken with these ideas:
    • Zoe Midler has the wonderful title of "Google Czar" at her school, Flagstaff Academy, Longmont CO. She works with both students and teachers to promote the use of technology in lessons and projects. My biggest takeaway was her emphasis on assessment at the end of endeavors. She employs not one but three follow-ups as described in a previous post to this blog. Together these tools, shared via Google Forms, help her know how to improve and also recount what she does so that there is clear documentation of her value in order to meet any questions that arise about her position.
    • Tasha Bergson-Michelson from Castelleja School in Palo Alto reminded us that there cannot be one prescribed model that will work in all classrooms. Rather school librarians must build on existing tacit knowledge held by patrons and craft activities that build and expand upon that. 
    • In the 3rd Monday session, Mobile and Digital--Flipping the Library for 21st Century Learners, I picked up a list of great apps to try in the library: PicStich, InstaCollage, Flash Cards, Brainscape, Schoology. 
    • The 4th session, Making it Real: Institutionalizing a 21st Century Mindset, shared great things happening at Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. I picked up on a couple of catchwords that I need to explore: makerspaces and backward design. I hope to discuss these in future blog entries.
    • The afternoon session called STEM to STEAM put me right at the edge of information overload and was a great end-of-day workshop. We learned about the STEM lab at and how bringing in Arts and Design means that all areas of curriculum should now be valued. This was my first time to meet and hear Melissa Techman though I have followed her for years on Twitter. One advocacy idea she shared is something for all school librarians to consider. Do you often hear from parents that they appreciate what you do or that they are grateful for what you bring to their children? Whenever she gets such a compliment, she asks if she might have that person's email address. She is building a email list of library supporters in this way. If at some point her job's value is questioned, she will be able to send out a message to people that can vouch for her importance. 
  • I went into Tuesday's keynote with high expectations because the presenter, Lee Rainie from PEW Internet and American Life Project never disappoints. He shared significant trends from the previous year relating to librarianship. He reminded us that today's library patrons have different needs and interests from past users. Data from surveys shows encouraging news that Americans still value public and school libraries and respect and appreciate librarians. Still there is the ongoing need for better PR to get the word out about what libraries have to offer and how librarians can help users of all ages. One phrase he used seemed to really get traction in tweets from the session: "Quizes are like catnip to Internet users." My frequent use of Survey Monkey bears this out and validates future use for me. You can and should visit the PEW site and take  advantage of the wonderful resources but getting to hear Mr. Rainie's commentary was, as always, a great treat.
    • Tuesday's sessions were no less edifying than those from the day before:
      • Jean Hellwege's inspiring account of a school project that is turning into a national movement to inspire kids to make a difference in the world was compelling. Your best bet is to go to her preso and see how a relatively limited classroom/library project grew into a life-changing movement for all concerned.
      • The inimitable Carolyn Foote and her colleagues shared insights about eBooks. They offered a combination valuable information about the increasing and ongoing trend toward eBooks, along with some great practical tips. One thing Carolyn mentioned almost in passing was that she has a Bathroom Newsletter which she posts in the loo with enticing information about new and exciting materials and goings-on in the library. She also has a Teacher's Lounge Newsletter that she posts and updates. These are easy and fun ideas for getting the news out about your library or program. As with all sessions you will do well to go to her session at the conference site and pick up on all the great tips there.
    •  The last session I attended was a fitting finale to a great conference. I have heard Gary Price present at this venue a number of times over the year. Like Lee Rainie, he never disappoints. Gary used to be known for his site called Resource Shelf but now has a new site, Infodocket. Once again I was writing down ideas at a furious pace. Just go to his site for a treat. This year he exhorts us to use authentic real-life resources rather than just those specifically for teachers, students and librarians. Then we should work these sites into authentic lessons with lasting carryover for students. Here are a few of the resources he mentioned and which I want to explore:
      • eBookshelf from DPLA (Digital Public Library of America)
      • Stacklife
      • MondoWindow
      • FlightTracker--both this and previous are for following airline flights.
      • Amtrack equivalent of plane tracker
      • CSPAN Video Library
      • Internet Archive--many of us know this site of course but he informed us that they have started TV News Archive
      • Tunein and Uberstations for streaming audio from around the world
      • Topomapper--worldwide topographic maps
      • Docracy lets you track privacy statements
      • camelcamelcamel tracks all products in Amazon!
      • LA Public library database
      • Journal TOCs lets you see tables of contents from many journals 
      • CoursePacker
      • Word Lens...this is an app. Point your camera at text and it will translate it into another language!
      • Use Google Street View to with students to have them make tours.
      • Archive-It--directories of web pages by topic
      • OpenDoar--OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories
  • I thought I would round out my account with another list...these are catchwords and phrases that I want to remember and explore. Some are completely new to me and others are things about which I have some familiarity but need to learn more about.
    • Backward design
    • Makerspaces, makey makey, MakerFaires
    • mindcraft
    • Ira Sokol
    • Museum collaborations and Nina Simon's blog, Museum 2.0
    • Chad Sanseng, Nerd Camp, and Classroots
    • Writing is Making! NWP...National Writing Project
    • Meme posters
    • Scratch plug and play programming
    • scichat
    • mozfest
    • Duxbury Free Library little bits
    • Learn to SEARCH Pinterest
    • Book: Invent to Learn
    • librarymakers website
    • thiskindylife blog--Kindergarten teacher blog
    • MOOCs in library world
    • Mozilla Thimble
  • I am so grateful and fortunate to be a part of this conference. To me it is invaluable and has been a major influence on my thinking, writing, teaching, and presenting over the years. Thanks again to David Hoffman and Carolyn Foote for pulling off a huge success again this year!
  • APOLOGIA: I did not give websites for each tidbit I mentioned. It would simply take too long and I want to get this posted today. I DID, however, look up each one and got to a site using terms as listed. So Google on!