Friday, May 29, 2009

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)

The Governor's Digital Literacy Executive Order on Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Digital Literacy is an important document.

You will want to focus on #4 d. (of 9):
  1. The Leadership Council, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, shall also develop a California Action Plan for ICT Digital Literacy (Action Plan). The Action Plan shall include:
d. Strategies and actions for incorporating Digital Literacy into K-12 and higher education.

This is specifically where CSLA recommendations can be directed.
Doug Achterman's statistics related to equitable access to school libraries should be of interest to the above mentioned Leadership Council and Advisory Committee.

WHEREAS Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Digital Literacy is a defining component of California's competitiveness for a knowledge-based economy and is growing in importance to attract capital investment that will generate higher quality jobs; and
complete text at:

Stephen Wolfram's Computational Knowledge Engine

CALIBK12 post from Darla Magana:

THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2009

Things Just Changed. Again.

Do you teach math? Science? Geography? Economics? Health? Business? Language Arts?

Wait, let me start over.

Do you teach?

Wait, let me start over again.

Are you alive, and curious?

Okay, that's better. I think this is worth 13 minutes of your time. Go watch it, then come back.

I believe Wolfram Alpha is supposed to go live tomorrow. It's obviously still very, very new (will they change its name to Wolfram Beta later? That will mess up the URL's. Kidding.) It will be interesting to see what kinds of searches lend themselves to this more computational approach and what kinds don't, but I still think this is another big step in how humans find, access, digest and repurpose information. Designed to "compute answers to your specific questions," this once again should make us examine what we are doing in our classrooms, and how we should best prepare our students to be successful in an age with this much computational firepower.

What facts (discrete pieces of information?) do we need to know in order to develop deep understandings of important concepts, and what facts can we just google or wolfram (or will the verb be alpha)? What previously unknown relationships might be teased out of the data by the Wolfrom Alpha algorithms, or what will humans looking at this data in new and unique ways discover? What new questions will we learn to ask, or will we learn to ask old questions in new ways? (You can also view a much longer talk by Stephen Wolfram at the Berkman Center.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

NASA images on Facebook

If you already have a Facebook account, you may want to become a fan of NASA. It is a fun way to keep up with what is happening and to have access to some really fine images. My favorite is the Jupiter rings.

Recommendation: If/when you become a NASA fan, comment about how you and your students are using the NASA information, images, and what else you'd like to see. This is a good opportunity to be visible as a librarian. Be sure to reference curriculum standards that support projects using the NASA information.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Internet Archive - Brewster Kahle

Brewster Kahle, director and co-founder of the Internet Archive, spoke on "Universal Access to Knowledge" at the May 13th BayNet Libraries meeting in San Francisco. Brewster's presentation was an updated version of his earlier presentation, which is available on video.

BayNet is a multi-type library organization that seeks to strengthen connections among all types of San Francisco Bay Area Libraries and Information Centers, and to promote communication, professional development, cooperation, and innovative resource sharing. BayNet President Craig Cruz Jr. introduced incoming president Andrea Mitchel, who invited Brewster to speak to area librarians about the Internet Archives and issues related to open content.

"Now is a good time to be a librarian" says Brewster. A lot is happening. There are struggles over who will own what (content). This is also a time to determine how to spend money better for libraries.

The Internet Archives is a non-profit organization that was created in San Francisco in 1996. It has grown in several ways. It now has 18 book scanning centers on several continents, including a center in San Francisco. The Internet Archives captures and stores:
  • BOOKS (1,000 books/day at 10 cents/page);
  • AUDIO (3,600 bands and concert recordings including rock n' roll);
  • MOVING IMAGES (about 1,000 early movies and 1950-type public service, PR, lectures);
  • MAPS;
  • SOFTWARE (new!).
  • New collections are regularly added.
Worried that these archives are vulnerable? It was comforting to learn that there are now a few "swap" backups, although Brewster would sleep better if there were 4-5 server locations that keep and maintain complete copies.

Open Content. Google is the biggest competitor to the Internet Archives, but has a commercial business plan rather than a non-profit approach. Brewster urged the audience to petition Congress to "Let the Orphans free". Orphan works are items whose copyrights are unclaimed. Pending legislation is controversial because it favors Google and keeps these works from being open to all. Internet Archives has recently hired Peter Brantly to get activists on board with the Open Content issue, including digitization, the Google Book Search Settlement, and the future of books and libraries .

Check out the site. You could easily spend hours on it just exploring. Start with a look at the "Wayback Machine" to see what your website looked like 10-15 years ago. There is a K-12 Web Archiving Project, sponsored by the Internet Archives, the Library of Congress, and the California Digital Library. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Videoconference Discussion

FYI: Here is a photo taken during a videoconference between Santa Clara and Orange County Offices of Education. CSLA Communications VP Pete Doering (Santa Clara COE) and 2.0 Project Manager Jackie Siminitus meet with Glen Warren (Orange CDE). Can you see Glen in the TV monitor? Most Communication Committee work takes place via e-mail, but there is nothing like real time conversations.

How many members are using interactive video in their library, district, or county offices? How are you using it?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wordle - a Fun and Powerful Image Generator

Debbie Stanley alerted us to Wordle, a fun and powerful image-making tool for making word clouds. Kudos go to Jonathan Feinberg, a Senior Software Engineer at IBM Research. Nice tool.

Create images with groups of words that appear in your text. Select fonts, colors to enhance your word image. Words that appear more frequently in your text appear larger or figure more prominently in your word cloud. Go ahead and play! Copy and paste your lesson plan or introductory description for "Information Literacy" or your school's rules. :)

Hit the "create" menu and either enter text or a URL. I experimented with several professional development and two retail-oriented urls:
Discovering Assistive Technology, School Library Learning 2.0, Classroom Learning 2.0 and Nonbook Gifts for Book Lovers.

You can add your image to the gallery, print the image, or get the html code for it. Below are Wordle images created for the Discovering Assistive Technology and School Library Learning 2.0 tutorials and the Gift Guide.
Wordle: Discovering Assistive Technology
Wordle: School Library Learning 2.0
Wordle: Gift Guide for Library and Book Lovers

Friday, May 1, 2009

Advocating for Stimulus Dollars - 4/30 webcast by Capstone

On on Thursday, April 30, Capstone Press hosted a 1/2 hour webcast on "5 Steps to Advocate for Stimulus Dollars for Your Library". The program is archived and handouts are on their website and other websites including the ALA "Know Your Stimulus" site that they referenced. This post has some highlights and links. Kudos to Capstone Press for offering the webcast and supporting material.

5-Step Program:
1- Become informed. Become informed about the stimulus package and what funding and visibility opportunities are available. Think BIG. Money is going to school superintendents. You need a LOUD VOICE. Here are some pots of money:
  • $53.5 BILLION in state stabilization funding. This can be used for school libraries, such as materials budget and positions. NOTE: The state of Illinois chose to use 100% of their share for education.
  • $13 BILLION for Title I schools. Over two years.
  • $650 Million for NCLB EETT (Education Technology) grants for Fall 2009. This is primarily for middle schools.
2- Determine your target. You must show positive impact on student achievement. Identify your school's top priorities or "hot spots" and describe how the school library addresses the priorities.
  • Title I -- learn the estimated allocation for your district. Learn how much is for schoolwide vs specific students. focus on library resources to support these students, implement research-based programs, and include parent involvement.
  • IDEA programs. Identify decision makers (principals, district library and curriculum directors) and influencers (superintendents, school board members). Be proactive -- how can your library goals meet the goals of decision makers?
3- Gather Your Facts. PROVE that strong school libraries increase student achievement by citing data-driven facts. For example about 20 state studies show that more reading, more access, more books increases student achievement. Also USE LOCAL INFORMATION. Back up a statement like "Every dollar invested in the school library pays off in higher student achievement."

4- Make a Plan. Your plan must demonstrate value and have no reoccurring costs. (Caution: funding staff is a reoccurring cost, so focus on other costs.)
  • Set a goal. Be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Use budget estimates such as $20/book average. Reinforce the statement that your proposal has a positive impact on student achievement.
  • Make your Pitch. Practice. Set up a specific appointment with your principal. Consider leave-behinds. Be positive. Follow-up.
5- Be LOUD.

NOW is the time to ACT. You need to act LOCALLY. Read up on the stimulus dollars and the guidelines from ALA, Capstone Press, and others. You need to create a proposal for your specific school or districtwide library program. No one else will do this for you (unless you have or create a library or Friends of the Library team).

Go for it! - Jackie Siminitus