Saturday, June 23, 2012

Critical Thinking in a Digital Age

Critical Thinking in a Digital Age:  Presentation from Gwinnett County Schools in Georgia about why social media tools are great for working with elementary (and older) students to help them think critically.  Lots of good ideas for creating projects where kids have to create new products to show what they’ve learned getting away from fill in the information projects.  A great emphasis on “Google-proof” questions.   There were wonderful ideas for using a variety of tools and many good ideas for projects.  Presenting team really emphasized using Twitter to connect with other librarians and teachers using technology to share and connect.  Great stuff at this wiki:

Cooney Center on Digital Research and Children

Presentation from Lori Takeuchi of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop focusing on their new research into the lives of kids aged 5 to 11.  Kids at this age are developing their basic skills in reading and mathematics they will need to access content.  This is also when they first begin truly using digital media independently.  Cooney Center is looking at how digital media impacts kids—especially those from low income and minority families.  One of their studies is called Family Matters and looks at how digital media is used by families in terms of what families are sharing, how they are sharing, what limits they are putting on their children.  Findings include:
  • Older parents control access more than younger parents
  • Parents often share what THEY are interested in online, not kid-friendly content
  • Parents talk about what they most like to do with their children—and top choices are not sharing digital content or games; watching TV, reading print, playing board games
Other study they are just publishing is called Co-Viewing and it is a look at how and when parents are sharing e-books.  Just starting to look at this.  Parents believe some features of e-books are actually useful in helping their children learn to read (e.g., audio features), but do not believe things such as games or video are useful.  Some parents who have e-readers do not share books with their children for a variety of reason—some nostalgic, some practical (they can break them!).  More research is needed to see impact of ebooks with kids…for example, will it bridge gap with low income and ELL kids who need a more print-rich home environment.  Are phones appropriate for accessing books, as more families have these.   Lots of implications for talking to families about using digital media.  For complete reports:  Go to Reports and Initiatives

AASL Affiliate Assembly--what does it do?

The American Association of School Libraries (AASL) Affiliate Assembly meets twice during the ALA annual meeting.  Two delegates from each state (Judi Paradis and Ann Perham represent Massachusetts and Valerie Diggs is on the Board of AASL) meet with delegates from throughout the country to offer commendations for excellent programs and to discuss concerns brought up by delegates.  These are vetted by the AASL board and then brought to the assembly for discussion and voting.   At our Friday night meeting , we split into groups to discuss three major concerns:
·         A perceived need that AASL affiliate members need improved means of communication, especially as we are trying to collaborate on projects across distance
·         State organizations are being asked for advice on reorganizing school library collections by genre (the bookstore model) instead of by Dewey Decimal, and would like some direction from AASL about what to recommend to members
·         A proposed project that would assemble a comprehensive database of school library research in one common format that could be easily searched and understood by library stakeholders; this came about when Pennsylvania School Library Association was asked for this by their state legislators and school administrators and discovered that this did not exist in one easy-to-find place
I sat with the group working on this final concern and we worked to come up with a specific action to be voted on at our Sunday meeting that we believed would lead to the development and ongoing maintenance of a user-friendly, searchable database of school library research that will help members make the case for funding and supporting school library programs.