Schools Out For the Summer!

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“Schools Out for Summer …  Out till fall, We might not go back at all”  - Schools Out by Alice Cooper

Wow, seems like just yesterday we started back and now the year is done.  This was a crazy and busy year and I am very glad to have it over; however, the end also brings students and faculty moving on to better endeavors.

Friday we celebrated our 87 seniors graduating – their last official act as students of Wagener-Salley HS.  May their futures bring them all they dream and desire.   A bright spot of graduation was seeing former students there to see their family and friends graduate.  Two former drama club members, one a founding member, were there to see their sister graduate.  I don’t know how I’m going to deal with no longer having a Parsons with me next year!

Friday also marked the end of our time with the faculty who will not be returning next year.  I will especially miss seeing Ms. Blizzard’s smiling face and our talks of God, art, family and sharing.  I will miss the ladies of Special Ed – it has been a joy to work with you guys and you will be hard to replace!  Kyle, I would have loved to have worked with you more to incorporate our shared interest in technology with your students’ learning.  I hope we continue to learn and share from each other.

The one teacher that is hardest for me to have to say goodbye is, of course, Carrie.  Carrie, are you sure you have to go?  I know, it is time to move on, but I’m loosing too many of my dear friends.  Who am I going to rely on for PowerTeacher backup?  Who’s gonna be my collaboration buddy now?

DON”T LEAVE ME!!!!

But seriously, I wish you and all of the folks heading out that you live your dreams and find happiness where ever you land.  Knowing you all, you’ll have no problems making new friends.  I also believe that those who will have your positions next year, while they can never replace you guys, they will find their place and we’ll build new friendships, too!

On the library side, my End of the Year Report can be found on the library webpage - scroll down the left side and you’ll find a section called Reports.  While the format is the same as last year, I’ve added some sections and lots of photos to make it more visually pleasing.  I’ve also created an iMove from the photos taken in the library and at library events.  Unfortunately, I cannot post it to the public web as I don’t have student permissions.  I will try to load it to my Dropbox account and if you want to view it, let me know and I’ll send you the shared link.

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Summer plans:

If you don’t have plans already, why not come join me at the Upstate Technology Conference June 22nd and 23rd?  I’ll be co-presenting with Cathy Nelson, LMS at Dorman HS and Fran Bullington, LMS at Boiling Springs HS.  Our session, There’s an App for That: Using Web Apps to Organize, Simplify, and Enrich Your Life is Wednesday, June 23rd from 1-2pm.

Well also be presenting the same session at the ETV Technology Workshops July 27th – 29th.  I’ll also be presenting a session titled Web 2.0 Speed Dating. I’d love to see some of you guys there!  (but don’t feel you have to come to my sessions, just come learn and share with us!)

I plan to keep myself very busy this summer – I was really bored last year since I didn’t go anywhere or do anything.  This year I will be at three conference (UTC, ETV, and the High School’s That Works National Conference in Kentucky).  I will be spending a week in Orlando, Florida.  I’m meeting with former teachers and my co-presenters this week.  I’m meeting another fellow librarian in Charleston one weekend.  Then there’s my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday and we’re planning a huge party and it just so happens to be on the SAME day as my 20th High School Reunion (ye-gads!  20 years – where did the time go?)

But most of all, I will be reading, reading, reading.  I have 80+ books still to read from the consideration list for the SC Young Adult Book Award Committee.  The goal is to have them all read before our August meeting, so keep you fingers crossed for me!

Have a Spectacular Summer!

Creative Commons Flickr Photo Credits:  “Summer” by Teo’s Photo  and “Summer Feet” by aussiegall

Internet: Part 1 – Please define?

Okay, what do teachers mean when they add the statement “students may only use three Internet sources” in their research assignments?  How do you define “Internet” resources?  This question was posed on our SCASL Ning as to whether or not subscription databases (such as the ones found on our state’s DISCUS Virtual Library and others such as EBSCOhost, FactsOnFile, etc.) are “Internet” resources.  It was further explored in a post by my friend Cathy Nelson over at her blog.  (Please read her post then come back here)

Here was my response on the SCASL forum:

“In my opinion, electronic databases should NOT count as Internet resources. Yes, you access them through the Internet (the delivery method), but someone has to pay to access them – hence the name subscription database. In addition, these resources have already been “evaluated” in some form. When teachers refer to the Internet, they are mostly referring to the WWW and/or free web = sites that any john doe can create. Like you said above, electronic databases collect materials that were originally in print – magazines, journals, pamphlets, brochures, reference books, etc. as well as web resources that have been evaluated and approved to be of some authority. My teachers will allow students to use as many references from DISCUS/subscription databases as they can find, but limit the number of free websites/sources.”

But some would argue that you have to pay an Internet Service Provider in order to have access to the Internet.  True, but your ISP isn’t saying that everything you can access through them has been authorized or evaluated as authoritative sources.  I can tell you that I’m pretty sure Gale’s InfoTrac isn’t going to have an article taken from Mrs. Smith’s 5th grade science class webpage and have it indexed in it’s database.  But it will have an article from Scientific American, which was originally posted as a print magazine, which in turn meant that it had to go through some authentication process before it was ever printed.**

Which also brings up the fact that subscription databases contain information that if found on your physical library shelves would be considered PRINT sources.  You wouldn’t tell a student you can’t use that reference book article because you’ve already got three print sources.  Why would you tell the student he/she can’t use the reference article from DISCUS just because he accessed it via the Internet and he already has three WWW/free web sources?  Remember, most subscription databases contain information that was originally published in print (magazines, journals, newspapers, reference books, pamphlets, brochures, etc.)

Bottom line, the Internet is a delivery method.  The Internet IS NOT A SOURCE! Sally student wouldn’t list AT&T as a source, but instead she would cite the telephone interview she conducted with Oncologist Dr. Smith for her cancer research project.  Johnny student wouldn’t list Time Warner Cable as a source, but instead A&E Biography (the specific show) for information he used in his biographical essay on Albert Einstein.

I believe that the real reason teachers put a limit on “Internet” resources is that they want students to use a variety of sources and not just “Google It.”  However, teachers need to be more specific when they write their assignment guidelines.  Instead of saying only three Internet sources, they need to specify only three free web sources.  As Cathy pointed out in her blog, and what I do for my teachers and students, is explain the differences between the free web and subscription databases.   I remind them that they can use as many subscription database/DISCUS articles as they want.

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** Note: I do remind students that articles in subscription databases must still be evaulated, less for “authority” and more for bias, relevance, and timeliness.

Odds & Ends (09/03/08)

Another school year is up and running.  I’ve been very busy with training teachers in Moodle and the gradebook system.  I’ve also assisted with almost all of the English classes in taking the STAR (reading comprehension) and TRAILS (information literacy/research skills) testing and will finish up the last class tomorrow!    Now that I’ve got a few minutes to myself, I’ve been trying to clean out my RSS feeds (again).  Here are some odds & ends I wanted to share:

A Plethora of Technology: Trick My Truck

Blogging on the Bay: The Heart of a Teacher – by Bill Gaskins – All teachers should watch this video of a student giving a keynote address to his school district’s teachers.  It’s an embedded YouTube video, so you may not be able to view from work, but PLEASE take the time to watch from home.  You wont be disappointed.

Self Check #260 – by Emily Lloyd – Toung in cheek, “muliticultural” books.  I really love these doses of humor.  I think it would be a hoot to work with this lady!

CNN.com: “Monster mom’ – how to avoid being one” – 7 tips on how not to alienate your son/daughter’s teachers.

Both BBC News and The New York Times have articles about the Harold, TX school board allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons (guns) on campus.  How scary is that!?

Reader’s Digest: “13 Things Your Computer Person Won’t Tell You” – My personal favorite is #10 – get a MAC!  Hehehe! Told ya so!