Archive for August, 2011

Education under construction

A short documentary on the tukutahi approach at Wellington High School in New Zealand.  The principal, Prue Kelly is the main speaker in the video.

Lots of interesting teacher comment in this video about teaching and learning  in New Zealand, how it hasn’t changed, how it has changed and how it can change in the future.  This might be something to share with your staff or SMT.  It was made by a Year 12 student at Wellington High School in October 1010.  Interesting comment on learning styles, inquiry learning and the changes that technology is bringing to education.



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What is your library?

I found the image above on this blog.  I was interested that that the word reading was so small.  These things work on the number of times a word crops up, the more times it sees the word in the document the bigger it gets.  I was a bit shocked.  While I am all about shiny new toys, information literacy and all the new things we can do in the library especially the technology, there is a big part of my job which is all about the reading.  Without the reading I’d lose my mojo, the biggest thrill for me is still the connection of brain with book or reading material.  Right book at the right time, that is something that makes me very proud.  Engaging the student who has practised reading avoidance all his life and who was lurking at the back of the library during a booktalk, he comes up and grabs the book before anyone else can get it.  I love that.

I’m interested in what you guys think about this.  Is reading still your reason de et re?  How you get the blend of bookish goodness and technology working together?  Is it a natural mix?

In my opinion (and as always I’m happy to share it) a modern school library runs the risk of only being seen for one or the other. Technology and information seeking or the book reading place.   So, my booktalks are snappy, sassy and slightly surreal, but my skills on a computer are also well and truly on show, but often not to the same people, or with the same students, I think many of them see me as one thing or the other,  when I want them to see me as both, something for me to work on.  How does it work for you guys?

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Hunger Games Trailer


Finally we get a little sneak view of what is to come in March next year.  Far more exciting than the Rugby World Cup if you ask me. It isn’t viewable on YouTube in our area so if you want to see it you will have to click here and go see it on the IMBD.

Head on over to  this site where you can see the photos of the stars and descriptions of their characters from the Hunger Games.  So do the cast look like you hoped they would, do they look like you imagined when you read the books?

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Next Chapter – Reimagining school libraries

Next Chapter National Summit in September will reimagine school libraries.  In attendance will be movers and shakers of the US school library world.  It will be interesting to watch and see what they come up with.  There are plans for video talks similar to TED talks, there will be lots of links and flurries of postings about where these guys think school libraries are heading.

There is a Twitter hashtag #nxtchp2011 which will make interesting following I think.

Next Chapter > The Future of K-12 Libraries will assemble leaders and practitioners to engage one another in design teams to reimagine libraries that are dynamic hubs and catalysts for learning and change. The three-day summit in September and our virtual learning community will offer participants the opportunity to learn about and assist in the design of the Next Chapter for libraries.”

In the meantime I love this quote from Buffy Hamilton.

“Libraries are very much like a “commonplace” book—the experiences, needs, and contributions of people—both librarians and the members of the communities they serve—are what create an organic, intertextual story of the past, present, and future possibilities for library. I see libraries as what Dr. Dennis Sumara calls “commonplace locations–collecting places–for ongoing interpretation” where literate communities can form and where relationships to ideas and people, not containers or objects, encourage participation and communal knowledge construction.”

– Buffy J. Hamilton, Re:Ed Advisor and Library Journal Mover and Shaker 2011





QR codes – could you use them in your library?

The answer to this is a resounding YES.  Check out the links below and then tell me you couldn’t easily manage to put QR codes around the place to engage your students and your staff.  You don’t need a dedicated QR code scanner if you work in a secondary school (although of course you wouldn’t say no if one was available) but you could instead encourage your students, many of whom are toting smart phones already, to get themselves a barcode scanner app freely available from the Android Market or from the App store in Apple and even on Blackberries – though in our experience they haven’t worked as well – and get into it.  I’ve been talking with one of our Maths teachers and he is keen to get his class working on the maths part of the coding and they are going to have a go at designing their own QR codes.

I have installed QR codes on the the shelves just in front of where the books are.  My books do not sit at the front of the shelves, I like them pushed to the back – library purists will cringe but I don’t have time to constantly keep books sitting at the front of the shelves.  My QR codes link popular, or interesting books to booktrailers, author websites, reviews and of course there are extra codes for the Library Blog on random places around the library.  So far I have only done the fiction section, and I have about three codes on either side of each bay.  I don’t want too many because I want the guys to be curious, but not use up all their data. This is just the beginning, I have plans to link displays with codes, with the Rugby World Cup coming I can see opportunities there, maybe for player profiles, historical stuff about rugby and links to team profiles.

So, what do my students think?  They love the idea, are interested in playing along, the Hunger games code is the big hit so far, and also one to Lee Child’s website.  This could be because they are in the Cs and therefore are the first ones they see. On open night a couple of parents were scanning the codes, my plan was to have them installed for Open Night and I was really pleased I’d made the effort to get them in there.  They initiated lots of conversation and I want the library to be seen as an ICT forward place. We may not have huge banks of computers or laptops but we are fully onboard with phone functionality!

The barriers so far are that they don’t have lots of data on their plans, it is expensive to have data plans here in NZ. It is also quite a lot of work to get them all organised, search out interesting places to link the codes to and get them installed.  Worth it?  I think so.

So I’ve been collecting links for a while to sites with useful information for school libraries on QR codes and am inserting them below.  What do you think?  Give us some comments on what you think about the QR code phenomenon.  Do you think they would work in your library?

A Google Presentation.  40 interesting ways to use QR codes in the classroom (remember your library is a classroom!)

A treasure hunt using QR Codes by Allanah King

Implementation of QR Codes by The Cool Cat Teacher

Hot QR codes in the classroom by The Daring Librarian (one of my heroines)

Will QR codes become the standard for enhancing print books? by Publishing Perspectives

Stephen Anderson blogging on QR codes in the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom

Scoop-it topic QR codes for learning

I have a whole bunch more but this is enough for now.

If you have a smart phone then you could try it out here.  Scan the codes below!



 Scan these codes and see where you end up!


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Web Browsing Helps Boost Your Efficiency and Work Rate

Flickr image by Spencer E Holtaway

Have to share this one: a new study just published reveals that workers that take regular breaks to browse the internet, checking on sites they choose make for a more productive worker.  The study, entitled ‘Impact on Cyberloafing  on Psychological Engagement’ showed that the pleasure incurred by visiting sites they like rejuvenates the worker and helps boost their efficiency and work rate.

“The study recommends that employers don’t over-restrict worker’s web access and to allow time for limited personal web browsing to help boost productivity.”

Well, forget any guilt – web browsing makes us more productive and effective workers. I propose we use this study as ammunition to ask management to unblock our social media sites at school. What do you think?

Source: Quinton O’Reilly, Simply Zesty

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Web 2.0 Tools in Education explained

Wondering what Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Diigo, Elluminate, Blogs etc etc can do, and what they can do for you. Maybe this will help.  It is detailed, guides you step by step and is rather well done.


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