Friday, March 27, 2009

Professional Development that Works?

5. THOU SHALT MODEL THE MODEL " - (unknown author)

I look forward to professional development days because usually I get to choose what it is that I want to learn about. In the past, this has meant that I could focus on some aspect of English or social studies - I definitely wouldn't consider anything to do with technology because I felt that I was competent, and that students would figure this out for themselves. I can look back on this now and laugh at how truly closed-minded I was.

However, sometimes I don't have a choice as to what I am doing on these days because the decision is made for me by the school administration and pro-d person. Often times, this was frustrating because it meant that we were once again learning about some aspect of Microsoft Word, or worse yet, we were going to be reviewing how to use our marks program (which I was already very familiar and comfortable with). There would be the typical grumbling of frustrated staff members who were competent in these areas, and usually by after lunch there seemed to be noticeably fewer people in the session.

The best decision that I made with regards to professional development came two years ago when I played with the idea of pursuing my Masters. This was a tough decision in that I had to figure out how to juggle the many different aspects of my real life while trying to fit in coursework. Then someone mentioned to me that there were universities which offered online courses. Great, but likely not in the area of librarianship which is where I was hoping to go. I mean seriously, how can you offer an online course that deals with being a librarian? After all, a librarian doesn't have that much to do with computers. Oh, how WRONG I was!

Since I have started doing coursework, my brain has been thinking again, and I have a new enthusiasm for sharing what I am learning with my colleagues. I have learned much more in the courses that I have taken than in any form of pro-d that I have participated in. Why is that?
Simple, because I:

  • was able to choose my pro-d
  • can fit it in to my schedule
  • have, for the length of the course, a professional learning community
  • am immersed in technology
  • am encouraged to check out new sites, tools, etc. by my classmates and professor
  • am constantly revisiting what I have learned about through assignments, projects and discussions.

This scenario has worked for me, but when it comes to pro-d, one size doesn't fit all, as we read about in the articles of the same title. In Judi Harris' 4 part series entitled "One size doesn't fit all," she refers to educational technology professional development (ETPD) and she believes that "[g]iven whatever amount of times is already allocated . . . . we can 'work smarter' in designing effective [ETPD]." She proposes several different models that can be used and links them to goals and the ultimate effect that this has on one's teaching style. It makes sense to have different models to suit different school situations even though the desired end result may be the same for many schools. Two points that she makes in the February 2008 article that I think are essential considerations when implementing ETPD are that:

  1. "[b]efore most teachers are willing to integrate the use of new tools or resources into their teaching, they need to recognize the relative advantages of doing so"

  2. "continued on-site support as [teachers] experiment with new tools and techniques in their classrooms is essential to ensuring continued and productive use of new tools and ideas."

We know this to be true in any scenario, not just education; however, it seems to be the most true in education because teaching is such an isolated profession that doesn't require people to change in order to keep up with the the day-to-day life of a school. Without support, or continual contact with someone (a mentor, colleague or t-l) who is working with and successfully integrating technology, it is too easy for educators to fall into "old habits."

With regards to ETPD, I think that the t-l can be an excellent "knowledge broker" (Plair, 2008) for teachers because she cannot only "whet their appetites," but also provide the appropriate "menu" for teachers, as explained in Kimberely Ketterer's "A Professional Development Menu." After hearing about what some t-l's are doing, I am more aware of the support that they can potentially provide. T-l's are perhaps the only people in the school house who really need to be aware of what the curriculum is for all of the teachers therein. She can be a great professional development resource by providing support to teachers and offering to team teach with them. In some cases, all that teachers need is someone to help them feel comfortable with their use of technology in a lesson. Although there is perhaps no ideal way to present professional development with regards to technology integration, as educators, we need to continue to consider how we can integrate technology into our lessons, because it is not going away, and we need to engage our students.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Technology in the classroom

"With these [digital] tools, students act like scientists and innovators, rather than serve as empty vessels. They arrive at their own conclusions through controlled experimentation and what scientists call enlightened trial and error." Marc Prensky

Integration of technology in the classroom is not easy for most educators, despite the inspiring articles that were part of this week's readings, and the discussion that ensued. There are many obstacles that need to be overcome such as financial barriers, lack of access, training and perhaps one of the biggest deterrents - lack of time. Many educators would agree that it is essential in today's digital world to be able to integrate technology into classroom instruction in a meaningful way. In order for this to occur successfully, an environment similar to that of the Hong Kong International School as discussed in David and Margaret Carpenter's article "All Aboard!" needs to be consciously created where they "harnessed the talents and time of various stakeholders through a carefully orchestrated and collaborative process." Clearly this is an example of an ideal situation where the school and its administration valued innovative uses of technology, and therefore provided a select group of educators, which included "the instructional technologist, the library media specialist, and the gifted-and-talented coordinator," the time to collaborate and evaluate curriculum.

Pedagogically it does not suffice just to throw in a random lesson including technology here and there as the class moves through the curriculum. In a close-to-ideal situation, teachers would be provided with basic technology such as a computer (or perhaps several) and an LCD projector in the classroom. This would allow them to begin to incorporate some web-based images and videos into their lessons, and teachers could enhance the "teachable" moments that often arise. Not only would teachers' lessons be enhanced, but invariably students' interest and understanding of what is being taught would increase.

I think the key to successful integration of technology is for teachers to be exposed (through pro-d, or after school sessions) to one or two digital tools and then they should be encouraged to go away for a few weeks or months, and play with it in their classrooms. Certain grades or departments could support each other by sharing how they are using the technology in their classrooms. The best case scenario is when a teacher who is meeting with success using technology, as a means to reach curricular objectives, is able to share with and mentor a colleague. The organic benefit of having something develop from within as opposed to being delivered top down lends itself well to both quality and staying power.

This idea is further reinforced by the TeacherTube video demonstrating how Keri Hem, a preservice teacher, plans to use Google Earth to teach a social studies lesson. Her description of how she plans to use this tool for her lesson shows a how she will seamlessly integrate technology, and she gave me many ideas that I can work from with my social studies classes. Not having ever used Google Earth before, I am intrigued by what it can offer me and my students. Further to this was the video found at Edutopia which was a great example of how one school has integrated technology in all aspects across the curriculum, creating authentic learning experiences for its students. These visual examples are excellent resources which could be shared with colleagues to encourage the integration of technology.

Ultimately, as educators, we need to be able to move away from twentieth-century teaching practices and embrace what the twenty-first century has to offer us and our students. If we are not using technology, then it is entirely likely that we are not engaging or adequately preparing our learners. Speaking from the perspective of a teacher who up until recently was afraid of integrating technology into the classroom, it is entirely possible to learn about new digital tools and to use them with confidence.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Does Privacy Matter?

“Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.” Marlon Brando

I am a firm believer in privacy. I have made several conscious decisions about what information I do and do not share about myself on the Internet. Not only that, but because I am a private person, and despite all of the hype surrounding social networking sites, I have chosen not to join one. I am generally quite cautious about what I use the Internet for, and as a result, this week's topic gave me a few more reasons to feel comfortable in my decision not share all with the World Wide Web.

I began my exploration of this week's topic with the YouTube videos about Google and its efforts to maintain its user's privacy. I found these videos informative because I really didn't understand the function of IP addresses and cookies. At least now I have a better understanding of what these are and how they identify my computer. I, perhaps naively, found these videos reassuring in that they seemed to indicate that people's privacy was important to Google, and that they were making efforts to ensure privacy. However, with all of the security measures that the U.S.A. has implemented in recent years, one has to wonder if these videos are only a means to pacify members of society who are questioning what information is being collected about them.

Most importantly, I had a chance to think about the privacy of my students, which is of utmost importance to me. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner makes a good point when it states that "[w]hile many young people recognize the risks associated with their online activities, they lack the knowledge and the tools to mitigate those risks." Working with high school students, this is very evident to me. Almost daily I am surprised with what my students are willing to reveal or share about themselves on line. Not only that, but they freely admit that they do not read the privacy policies, because they are confident that there is nothing for them to worry about because so many people are using the same sites that they are joining. Beliefs such as these concern me, and I try my best to explain to students that they should be wary about what they share, because once the information is on the Internet, it is almost impossible to revoke it.

I am very aware of my students' privacy, and since I have been trying to implement/use many of the Web 2.0 applications that are available to me, I have had to come up with some ways to ensure that they are able to use these "collaborative" tools in a somewhat "private" way.
  • When using blogs, VoiceThread and Animoto with my students, I ask them to use only their first names and last initial to identify themselves.
  • I do not allow students to post a photo of themselves on Blogger or VoiceThread, rather I ask them to find a photo on the Internet that represents them (I will have to remember to encourage them to use Creative Commons photos from now on).
  • I have all of my students' blogs connected to my Bloglines, but I have them listed as private so not everyone can view what my students are writing.
  • When students set up their blogs they adjust their settings so that search engines cannot find their blogs, and their blogs are not added to Blogger's listings.

Having students set up these applications using the above criteria does limit the "collaborative" aspect of Web 2.0, but because I am still "playing" with these tools, I haven't worked out all of the details yet.

What I have come to realize after this week's readings, is that it is up to me and other educators to teach students about online safety and privacy. Even though our students are digital natives, we can't expect them to know everything about the digital world. I appreciated Doug Johnson's sage advice in the Bloggers Cafe article "Lighting Lamps", and I think that I will share these points with my students:

  • Write assuming your boss [mom, teacher, friend] is reading
  • Gripe globally; praise locally
  • Write for edited publications
  • Write out of goodness.

Also, the YouTube videos Privacy and Social Networks and Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook? are a couple of videos that I am going to share with my students. The more informed they are about the information that is collected about them, the more likely they are to be a little more discrete. Furthermore, it would be a good idea to have students look at some of the privacy policies and really read them to see what they say.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Intellectual Property - Free or Not?

This week's topic has been a brutal slap in the face for me, as I became aware of the fact that I, quite unintentionally, have not been appropriately respectful of intellectual property. First of all, according to Wherry as quoted in Butler's article "Social Responsibility: Intellectual Property Defined," intellectual property is "the fruit of one's intellect." This definition wasn't quite enough for me, so I looked a little further. The World Intellectual Property Organization provided me with a much more detailed definition: "Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce."
Once I knew this, and started to read a couple of the articles, it became obvious to me that I have been a copyright offender, and as a result so have my students. Let me explain. . . The Internet has been a great tool for teachers in allowing them to enhance projects and lessons in many ways. It has helped to enhance my lessons by giving me access to literally millions of articles, poems, song lyrics, and so on, which can be easily printed and copied. I have used these to develop synthesis response questions for my senior English students; lessons on analysis of song lyrics, using these same lyrics as links to periods in history, and as springboards for class discussions, and this is only a short list of how I have used the Internet's "treasures" in my lessons. I have freely used the works of others without asking their permission; however, I have always credited the sources, but according to copyright laws, this is not enough.

As for my students, I can't count the times when I have allowed them to include graphics from the Internet for their projects such as powerpoints and posters. In fact, I have encouraged them to use graphics to make their projects aesthetically pleasing. At the same time, I have insisted that they copy and paste the URL where they have taken these from, but after this week's discussion, I realize that this does not quite cover it when it comes down to copyright laws.

I am still a little confused when it comes to copyright on the Internet, and I clearly need to do some more research/reading when it comes to this topic. For example, when I have my students do their poetry analysis project are they not allowed to use music lyrics from the Internet, or use other poems posted there? I am also not quite sure about the pre-Creative Commons materials. How difficult or easy is it to make contact with people who posted materials on the Internet 7 years ago? Unfortunately, there are numerous pictures on the Internet (Flickr is a prime example) that might be great to include in student or teacher works, but cannot be used because permission is not granted in time for the project's completion. The difficulty arises when the original owners of the work no longer visit or check the site where they originally posted their materials.

This past week I made a concerted effort to only use materials covered under Creative Commons - this was not easy! Partly because this is a relatively new form of dealing with intellectual property, so there still isn't that much out there. However, I did find an article that had a Creative Commons licence, for my discussion on moral dilemma's, and this tied in nicely with the short story "Just Lather, That's All" that I teach in grade 12. So, I realize it is not impossible to find materials that support my teaching, but it is certainly more time consuming. What this means for me, and for my colleagues who adhere to Creative Commons, is that we need to allow ourselves enough time to sift through the information located on the Web. We also need to make ourselves aware of websites that promote Creative Commons.

As for students, I believe many students understand what plagiarism is, but I agree with Tammy Morris' perspective in "Do Students Respect Intellectual Property?" that they do not necessarily understand the issues surrounding copyright, and this can be attributed to the fact that their teachers do not understand it either. Furthermore, I don't know how many of them have heard of Creative Commons. So, I went in search of something that would assist me in trying to explain to my students about Creative Commons, and arrived at this website, which I found quite useful. In particular the Sharing Creative Works slideshow, which has a simple, clear explanation of how Creative Commons works (I think this is accessible to students starting in grade 4, but I am just guessing here).

I believe that most teachers understand what copyright is when it comes to paper materials, but I really believe that there is a misconception that the information found on the Internet is "free for all." After all, if someone is posting something on the Web for the world to see, shouldn't they be prepared to have others use it??? Well the reality is no, the person should have the right to stipulate how he wants the materials used or not used. I believe that it is just a matter of bringing teachers and students up to speed with regards to Creative Commons and copyright on the Internet.

One of the discussion questions this week asked who should be responsible for copyright in the schoolhouse. There was mention made that it is everyone's responsibility, but I tend to think that perhaps one person (and I do believe it should be the teacher-librarian) should be the one to help keep teacher's up-to-date. It would be helpful to have someone who could periodically put on a brief after-school presentation on copyright, Creative Commons, etc. This would hopefully encourage teachers to become aware of what they are doing, and adhere to these laws. I also see this as being beneficial to the new teachers coming into the school. No where in my pre-service training do I remember any discussion of copyright, and I would hazard to guess that this is the case for many teachers currently entering the profession.

I believe in this case it is not easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. We need to be respectful of people's intellectual property.

Photo courtesy of Bettina Tizzy

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bridging the Digital Divide

"The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential." Steve Ballmer

Before getting too far into this post, I have to admit that I really didn't know what the digital divide referred to until I read the wikipedia definition. I was under the false impression that it was more to do with the divide between digitally aware students and digitally unaware educators. Was I ever wrong! Although, I do believe it is possible that digitally unaware educators can contribute to the digital divide.

I really liked the simple, yet straightforward model that shows the "four levels of influence that take the form of 'digital divides' in schools" found at the AASLBlog Web 2.0 in Schools: Our Digital Divides Are Showing!

So, for this post, I am going to focus on this model and ways in which we can bridge the digital divide by addressing each level.

* Access - This seems to be one of the largest areas of the digital divide, and there was much information to mull over on this topic, as I began to think outside of my relatively urban community, and contemplate what ICT access or lack of access could mean for students who live in more rural and remote areas of Canada (I am going to narrow my focus to Canadian children, as the global digital divide is such a huge issue). The realization that came to me as I read the 2003 study The digital divide in Canadian schools: factors affecting student access to the use of information technology is that there is a difference between access to computers and access to the Internet. It hadn't really crossed my mind that there are still some schools that use computers as "glorified typewriters" because they are still unable to access the Internet. This clearly puts these students and teachers at a disadvantage in many aspects, in particular when it comes to all of the collaborative web tools available. However, upon further investigation, I had some hope that perhaps access was becoming less of an issue, as I came across Canadian Internet Use Survey completed in 2007. According to this study, the access to the Internet numbers are slightly higher than shown in the 2005 study, with "65% of residents living in small towns or rural areas access[ing] the Internet, well below the national average, while just over three-quarters (76%) of urban residents d[o] so." This study only looked at home access, so I would assume that students would have access at school.

Further to the access to technology issue is that of bandwidth which seems to be a constant battle that I am dealing with at my school. It seems that students' bandwidth is being constantly decreased, whereas teachers' bandwidth is at an "acceptable" size. The problems that arise are significant in that when a teacher investigates whether or not students can access a Web 2.0 site such as Animoto ,for example, she has no difficulty, but once students try to access it and upload pictures, the entire library lab moves at a snail's pace. The frustration level that results for both the students and teachers is imense, and discourages everyone from using web tools to enhance learning.

The key to bridging this aspect of the digital divide is for Federal and Provincial ministries to designate funding for ensuring that rural/remote schools have access to the Internet. We need to make it a priority that equal access at school is provided for all Canadian students. Not only is access essential, but adequate bandwidth is also a necessity for students and teachers in order to experience success with the many available web tools. (However, from what I understand of bandwidth, this may be closely linked to the issue of filtering.) If we deny teachers access to these essential elements of digital education, then we are not helping to prepare today's students for the jobs of the 21st Century. Educators need to lobby for easier access, and maybe this means inviting some of the members of school boards to spend a day in the computer lab so that they can witness first hand the frustration experienced by the users. The best thing that I can do in my own school is continue to be the "squeaky wheel.' I will continue to attempt to use Web 2.0 tools, and I will continue to be vocal when we can't upload pictures, videos and music.

* Skill - Another contributing factor to the digital divide is the skill or lack thereof of using Web 2.0 tools in education. There are many teachers who are not familiar with what is available to them through digital technology, and it is essential that time be alloted to educate the educators. In this week's discussion Joanie and Carol had some excellent suggestions about how this could be done by offering monthly sessions for teachers to learn a new Web 2.0 tool, as well as initiating a grassroots approach where Educational Assistants would be shown some of these tools which they could share with students. I believe that both of these would be excellent methods of bridging the digital divide. Further to this, it would be beneficial to have more professional development opportunities to increase awareness of Web 2.0. I have offered to give a little session in April on Voicethread and Blogging for the English Department at my school, and I have also spent some time with the Social Studies Department talking about Voicethread and how it can be used.

* Policy - This seems to be an issue that is becoming more prevalent as technology and its uses are increasing. It revolves around the issues of "technology policies that enforce slow hardware replacement cycles or restrictive use and filtering policies that block Web 2.0 applications" (AASLBlog). It is essential for school districts to allocate sufficient funding for replacement and updating of technology, but perhaps this could be done in a way that would be beneficial to teachers who do not want access to the Internet all of the time, but would like access to computers. Christine expressed frustration with teachers who book computer lab time in order to allow students to do simple word processing activities. However, I think that there are times when teachers need to do this, and unfortunately there are no other options available to them other than to use the school computer lab. I think it would be beneficial for schools to take some of their older computers and set them up to be used for word-processing. Also, I think that it is important that library labs be routinely outfitted with new computers, rather than receive the computers being taken out of the IT labs.

I keep reflecting on last week's discussion on filtering and I still believe that teacher-librarians need to advocate for filter-free environments in order to teach students how to be responsible web surfers. Esther Rosenfeld in blocking Web 2.0 tools in schools: creating a new digital divide argues that " [w]e now have a new digital divide-between, on one side, students and teachers who have access to the tools of 21st-century learning and, on the other, those who have that access blocked.

*Motivation - Finally, the idea of motivation contributing to the digital divide seems to be closely linked to Policy. The idea that students and educators have different "motivations to either adopt, ignore, or actively thwart learning innovation with Web 2.0 tools" is a new concept for me because I am so motivated to share all that I have learned about Web 2.0 with students and teachers. I think in order to bridge this aspect of the digital divide, it is important to have more professional development opportunities to allow educators to "play" with these tools, but also there needs to be some sharing of information that shows how motivated students are to learn using Web 2.0. I can think of a number of Women of Web 2.0 podcasts that could be easily used to inspire others to integrate digital technology into the classroom.

After looking at the 4 quadrants of the model, it is easy to see that each needs to be addressed in order to bridge the digital divide. It is essential that we find ways to overcome the digital divide so that our 21st century youth can be successful in their future careers. The way that I plan to help bridge this divide is by continually advocating for access to digital technology and more importantly Web 2.0, and to work on a grassroots approach by getting other educators interested and excited about these tools.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Filtering or Censoring - Is There a Difference?

This week's topic has been an eye opener for me, as I truly was unaware of the filtering that happens in schools, and its impact on student learning. My naivete arises from the fact that I am fortunate enough to teach at a school where the level of filtering seems to be quite low. Students and teachers are easily able to access YouTube, blogs, wikis, voicethread and other web 2.0 tools. It was interesting and surprising for me to read as others in the course spoke about their inability to access web 2.0 tools in their schools. Upon further reading, I was surprised by Mary Ann Bell's survey results listed in "I'm Mad and I'm Not Gonna Take It Anymore!" She states that in her survey, 65.2% of the people polled were dissatisfied with the internet access at their schools. I began to wonder why school districts would spend so much money on filters, rather than spend this money on educating students how to use the Internet in a school appropriate way? What does this mean for the students (and educators) at these schools? Should teacher-librarians be advocating for a filter-free environment?

In the discussion, it came up that not having filters could be a liability issue for a school district. Dale McDonald points out in his article "Educating Students to Protect Themselves in Cyberspace" that "[a] 2006 Harris poll conducted on behalf of Cable in the Classroom found that 71 percent of parents believe the responsibility of ensuring children's safety online belongs to the school" (2007). I was a little surprised by this statistic because as a parent, I feel that it is MY responsibility to ensure that my child understands how she should be surfing the Internet, and how to access appropriate sites. I want to be the one who discusses with her how she should deal with certain difficult situations such as coming across inappropriate websites and not providing too much personal information. However, stepping back from this a little bit, I have come to realize that over time I have become more Internet savvy (Thanks for helping with that, Joanne!), and even though I feel comfortable maneuvering my way around, it is very likely that many parents do not feel this way. So what does this mean for our students?

I think it's important for educators to act as "prudent parents" as someone (I think Danielle) put it; however, perhaps we are going too far in this role. I initially argued that I think that it's important to have different levels of filtering at the different school levels, but after this week's discussion I am tending to move away from this view. I think that we need to focus on teaching our students how to be smart searchers, and we need to develop a protocol of what to do in the case that someone happens upon an inappropriate site. After all, "[h]ow does one learn to use something effectively and safely without being able to see and experience actual examples and Web sites" (Abram 2007)? This brings me around to Acceptable Use Policies, which I had never heard of before this week. I think that we need to be moving towards developing and implementing well thought-out AUPs. I tend to believe that these would be much less expensive and intrusive than filtering, and they allow our students to be responsible users of the Internet. All that we do by installing filters is create an environment of distrust; students believe that we don't trust them, and as a result, some go on to try to circumvent the filters, which results in further distrust - this time educators of students.
Another problem surrounding filters is that it is possible "blocking and rating decisions are made by unknown third parties with unknown qualifications and unknown ideological agendas" (Schrader, 1999). The reality is that much of the content that is filtered was chosen by people who do not teach; therefore, it is possible that there is a lot of valuable information and web 2.0 tools for students and teachers that is being filtered. I tend to agree with Schrader (1999) and Ryan (2005) in that it seems filtering can be seen as a form of censorship. Ryan presents both the positive and negative aspects of filtering, but concludes that "[f]ilters cannot be separated from censorship." After reading these articles, and having some time to reflect on the discussion, I am beginning to realize that schools need to adopt a different approach to dealing with the "undesirable" aspects of the internet. We cannot continue to hide behind filters because they provide us with a false sense of security.

As educators, and (future) teacher-librarians, we need to take a stance and demand a filter-free environment. It is our responsibility to teach students how to be smart and safe when using the internet. When I read the Canadian Library Association's Statement on Intellectual Freedom it became even more evident that we should not be inhibiting the intellectual freedom of our students. We need to remember that even though filters might be in place at school, they will not be in place elsewhere in society. We would be better off redirecting the money that is spent on filters and put it towards creating effective Acceptable Use Policies, and educating our students. As "prudent parents" we need to be prepared to trust our children and give them some freedom to make mistakes.
Here's one student's perspective of "censorship" of the internet:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The changing face of the library

The traditional view of the library, and the librarian's role, is beginning to undergo a radical shift with the many digital opportunities available to 21st century library users. With the help of library-change advocates such as Joyce Valenza, Diane Oberg, Ross Todd, Marlene Asselin and Ray Dorion to name but a few, librarians are beginning to emerge in a different role than before. With the increase of literature, such as can be found in School Libraries Worldwide, school librarians are encouraged to analyze and reevaluate their learning and thinking about what a school library is and find ways to facilitate the learning of school library users, which includes both educators and students.

This week's discussion topic revolves around Valenza's Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarian and articles found in School Libraries Worldwide Volume 14 all of which provided a lot of food for thought. To begin, Valenza's inspiring and enthusiastic presentation was an eye-opener for me and although I am not yet in a library setting, her manifesto forced me to look at how many of her points I could check off as a classroom teacher, and how many of these points I still need to work on. However, her manifesto is not the only one out there; I also found A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto to be equally thought provoking.

Valenza's Manifesto works together with Asselin & Doiron's article, as well as Todd's article in that they challenge librarians to "rethink the school library as a knowledge commons that both intersects with and bridges the digital and print terrain, and provides the intellectual tools across these multiple environments to foster creativity, to enable young people to develop their own personal knowledge and understanding of the curriculum, the world and themselves, to interpret and apply knowledge they interact with, and to foster the intellectual, social and cultural growth of our young people in a 24/7 time-space environment" (Todd, 2008). Asselin and Doiron reiterate the fact that many educators are not prepared to deal with the reality that many of today's students learn differently due to their daily exposure to the digital world, and as a result, we must change our teaching styles to take what students already know, and find ways to connect this in a meaningful way to what they need to know. They refer to literacies for the information generation and argue that these are necessary for learners to be able to "participate in the global networked society" (2008). Two of these that I have been working on with my students are critical literacies and ethics and social responsibility, and I was happy to see that McPherson's article expanded on these literacies. In fact, his article is very useful in that it links to specific lesson plans to teach these literacies, and after having checked out a few, I can see using them with my high school students.

Sanford's article about video games in the library is another article which challenges most people's thinking about school libraries. This article gave me a lot to think about because I am not a "gamer" nor do I really understand why so many people like to play them. Having said that, I have not even tried to play a video game since PacMan and Donkey Kong were popular when I was a teen (Okay - I realize that maybe I need to check the newer games out one day). This article was of particular interest, because this year our school library has decided to allow gaming. Initially, there were only certain computers designated for this activity which was only permitted before school and at lunchtime; however, it seems that now any available computer can be used for this. The problem that has arisen is that there are many students who would like to use the library lab to complete class assignments, but many of these students cannot find an available computer, and they are too timid to ask someone to stop playing an intense game in which the gamer might be at a critical point. As a classroom teacher, I am repeatedly hearing complaints about this. As important as it is to realize that video games allow for new types of learning, we also need to consider the other learners who frequent the library.

Finally, the last three articles that I looked at, but only briefly, were Naslund and Giustini's, Kopak's, and Friese's. I didn't spend a lot of time with these articles because Naslund and Giustini's was like a very brief overview of EDES 501. In fact, if I would have read this article in August, I would have at least had an idea about some of the topics that we were going to cover. I think that this article would be a great professional development topic for all educators to look at, but for the sake of this post, in particular librarians. It is brief enough that it would give them an idea of what each web 2.0 application is about, and then perhaps at follow up meetings a different tool could be investigated. It would be my hope that those who are remotely interested would go away with the article in hand and pursue their own investigations.

Kopak's article was interesting, but I found directed more at college and university level students. The idea of Open Access journals is a good one, but when I checked out some of the articles that are located in the included links, they were much too upper-level for my high school students. This will certainly change as this becomes a more accepted idea, and I can see its benefits for the 21st century library. Further to this, Friese's article was difficult for me to connect with because I am not yet in the library dealing with collection issues. Not only that, but I really am on the periphery of pop-culture. My students always have a good laugh when I ask them about certain aspects of popular culture that they feel I really should know.

Finally, after having spent some time listening to Valenza's podcast, reading the articles in School Libraries Worldwide and checking out some of the video links, it seems obvious to me that the school library is undergoing a great change. It is my hope that the librarians of the 20th century embrace these changes and as a result become those 21st century librarians who follow Valenza's Manifesto. The 21st century library needs to become the "libratory" that Valenza speaks of, where students are encouraged to explore the endless learning possibilities. And who knows, maybe the new libratory will have cookies and milk for the 21st century "cookie monsters", or a Starbucks outlet as so many of the students wished for in the Interviews with Young People video.