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A Game Based Approach to Website Evaluation

Yes! That caught my attention as well. This is from Learning Times, and seems an intriguing way to look at information literacy within the context of all of the interest out there over video games.

Join Dr. Carl Heine and Dennis O’Connor from the IMSA 21st Century Information Fluency Project for a webinar presenting game based methods for learning digital resource evaluation skills. You will have a chance to preview and play several flash based online learning games including a new website evaluation simulation. A discussion of how to teach evaluation of digital materials will follow. Participants will be given access to free online games about Information Fluency as well as other professional development materials. An educational gaming pre-session will be available one half hour before start-up.

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50 Million going for Research into Digital Media and Learning

http://davidwarlick.com/images/macarthur.jpgThis is an interesting announcement that I goot from the TechLearning News update. I do not know much about the MacArthor Foundation, and haven’t given the site a good going over, but the intent seems to indicate an encouraging trend to starting to respect our students adopted realm.

The MacArthur Foundation launched its five-year, $50 million digital media and learning initiative in 2006 to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.

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On my way home…

Photo Uploaded by David Warlick
[Moblogged]

Last night’s flight home got canceled, so American Airlines put me up in a local Ramada. It’s ok. Nothing this morning but a doctor checkup, though I don’t know how that will go after only a few hours of sleep.

I just realized that I have not written lately about my new adventure in mobile computing. My Motorola Q has changed my thinking about handhelds in a number of ways. The screen is not a problem. You simply need a good pair of bifocals. My web access is a little better than dial-up, but that’s fine for what I do, sitting at the airport, resting at a conference, or being driven somewhere. I still hate the OS but having access to the information has significantly changed my travel experience.

This mornng, I have read a bunch of blogs, news, posted a coment response on my blog, and I am posting this entry through flickr.

They are boarding now, and I am looking forward to seeing the skyline of NYC and the East Coast of rhe US on my way home.

Oh my goodness. The flight attendent just walked up. Is it really Halloween?

Empowering Learners

I’m in the middle of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians conference. The keynote was this morning, and I was nervous. I’m always nervous. But I was especially nervous this morning, because this seems like an especially bookie conference. The address went well, and people were very thankful and hospitable. One person told me that he overheard another library administrator leave the room after the address saying, “I feel like a cave man!” That’s not my goal, and it disturbs me a bit. The talk was not really about technology, but about this time of rapid change. Perhaps you can be my age, hear about rapid change, and not feel like neanderthal.

Another librarian told me a story, which she gave me permission to report here. She manages a high school library, and has for 39 years. Pause! She told me about a project that she had coordinated with a chemistry teacher, where students were required to produce a multimedia presentation on one of the elements, and that they were to convince the rest of the class that their’s was the greatest element — in some way. She told me about one student who was constantly in the principal’s office, constantly missing class, but that during this project he was never sent to the office and did not miss a single day.

She also told me about another student who was completely deaf. She had a sign interpreter who worded with her each day, and she worked very hard on her product. When the day arrived for the presentations to be delivered to the class, her interpreter was out sick, and a substitute was there. The girl was devastated, because she didn’t feel comfortable with the new person. She went to the librarian, not knowing what to do. She didn’t want to mess it up, but she had worked so hard on the presentation that she didn’t want to not do it. The librarian urged her to do the presentation with the substitute, to go for it.

Instead, the girl presented it herself. She spoke it in language that was barely understandable, but did it. The librarian told me that the class paid attention to that presentation more intensely than any of the others, because many had never heard her speak at all. She said that from that point on, the girl started speaking out in class, when she never did before.

Many people talk about how technology is so much more engaging to kids, that it’s why they work harder on projects such as this. This is true, but I think it’s much more fundamental. I think its about power. The purpose of most classrooms is to disempower students. We sentence them to a desk, to a chapter in a text book, to listen to, note, and remember a lecture, to passively receive, accept, and repeat. When students are given access to information and asked to use it as a raw material, and the technology to work the information, they become information artisans — they become empowered learners.

I am so Lucky!

I’m sitting here with a group of AUTHORS, and they are all vivacious and stunning, obviously their words. They are highly intelligent, and would be happy to visit your school. In case you can’t tell, this is a collaborative blog, and I’m just typing in what they say. We’re all wondering now, where the cookies went, and the wonderful egg sandwichs. All of the ham sandwich are still there, because author are notorious vegegarians and they’ve all read Charlotte’s Web, so “No Ham.”

The authors are:

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Librarians in the Digital Age: Part 2

After working at the New Jersey library media conference, and then another TechForum in Seattle, I will have an opportunity to participate in a leadership summit in Chicago, organized by the School Library Journal. This will be a working conference, attempting to map out a route for libraries and librarians as they move into an unpredictable future. I will have a couple of minor opportunities to contribute ideas, but most of my participation will be in conversations.

I have ideas, of which some of you are already familiar. But I would like to start this conversation today, by asking you to comment on this blog, your answers to the following question.

What happens to libraries and librarians when virtually all of the information that we need on a daily basis is only a mouse-click away?

I sincerely look forward to your ideas.


Inju, “Radical Militant Librarian.” Inju’s Photostream. 22 Dec 2005. 29 Oct 2006 <http://flickr.com/photos/inju/76287724/>.

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Librarians in the Digital Age: Part 1

I seem to be on a library/media tear right now. Last week I spoke at the Michigan librarians conference (MAME) and tomorrow it will be the New Jersey conference. Coincidentally, the PEW Internet and American Life project published a PowerPoint presentation delivered by the projects founding director, Lee Rainie, to the Metro – New York Library Council.

Most of the presentation was a fairly standard examination of the history of the digital native generation (PC to WWW to Palm to Napster to iPod to blogs to Wikipedia to del.icio.us to Skype to podcasts to YouTube), and a listing and descriptions of the DN’s choice of personal information devices and how they use them. There was also a sprinkling of Smart Mobs and Long Tail.

What caught my attention was the final few slides, where Rainie listed ten reasons why the future can belong to librarians. I’m listing them here, and inserting some comments from the perspective of someone with no formal knowledge of library science, but 25 years of experience in exploring the emerging digital information landscape.

  1. Nobody knows better than you how to manage information.
  2. Nobody knows better than you how to track down information.

    [One and to are undisputed. However, the library is seen as an institution of walls and the digital realm is something outside of those walls. I suspect that librarians need to figure out how to bring those walls down, or make them effectively transparent.]

  3. Nobody knows better than you about the importance of information standards – common ways to categorize, sort, and act on things.

    [Anyone who is struggling with Google, Wikipedia, hundreds of channels, seventy-five e-mails a day, etc. is starting to get this. However, all of these rules are changing as well, as the digital landscape becomes more participatory (read/write web). Librarians need to become vocal spokesmen and leaders in helping people learn to cope with and leverage the networked, digital, overwhelming information realm.]

  4. Nobody’s word about what’s truthful and what’s important has more credibility than yours.

    [Again, this is uncontested. However, the selling point is that "truthfulness" and "importance" have become fluid, and that the task of gatekeeper has become a personal responsibility, not simply the responsibility of the authorities. New skills. Who's in a better position to teach them.]

  5. Nobody is in a better position than you to teach people about information and media literacy. Nobody is in a better position to be a watchdog of new systems of sorting information than you.

    [But what is information and media literacy? How many people ever talk about it? I believe that a case needs to be made that there is only one literacy, those basic skills necessary to effectively and responsibly use information to accomplish goals. That literacy has recently become many times more rich and exciting. Again, no one is in a better position.]

  6. Nobody is in a better position to be a watchdog of new systems of sorting information than you.

    [So pay attention and share.]

  7. Nobody is in a better position than you to teach the world about the history and built-in wisdom of credibility-assessment systems.
  8. Nobody is more empowered by professional creeds and training to articulate the rationale for freedom of speech than you.
  9. Nobody is in better shape to play a thoughtful, constructive role in debates about the value of information “property” and the meaning of copyright in an age where it takes a couple of minutes to download a brand new movie on BitTorrent – for free.
  10. Nobody can be as constructive in helping us think through the new norms and even new laws we need to develop about what information is public and what is private.

    [Seven through ten are no-brainers. However, librarians must learn to network. (Have any of you ever subscribed to the LM-NET mailing list for even a week? Sheesh! My hard drive was bulging from the strain.) No one knows better how to collaborate. But you have to get it outside your walls, and become an essential part of your community's conversation. Get a column in the local newspaper. Attend city council meetings. Build a float for the your town's most popular parade. Figure out how to make information about the information part of people's conversations.]

I find it interesting that in selecting a picture for this blog from the Creative Commons collection at flickr, I had to go through three pages of photos before finding information (books). All of the previous pictures were of library buildings — the walls.


Rainie, Lee. “DIGITAL NATIVES:How today’s youth are different from their ‘digital immigrant’ eldersand what that means for libraries.” PEW Internet and American Life Project.27 Oct 2006. PEW Internet and American Life Project. 29 Oct 2006<http://www.pewinternet.org/presentation_display.asp?r=71>.

Dredrewhonolulu, “La Bibliotheque Publique Juive de Montreal.” Dredrewhonolulu’s Photostream. 28 Oct 2006. 29 Oct 2006 <http://flickr.com/photos/drdrewhonolulu/281254777/>.

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Portal to the Ethers

Photo Uploaded by David Warlick
This is a kiosk-style vender booth where one can print a document, upload or download a file using a thumb drive, check e-mail, or even rent a laptop for $6.00 an hour. It’s not really such a big deal, except that as I think of the ICT advancements of the past 10 years, and then try to imagine what we might be seeing in the next 10, I wonder when it might be that I can leave my bulky laptop at home and be satisfied with the work I can do with a device that carry in my pocket– kinda like the cell phone I’m posting this blog with.

If only I could change the time zone on this phone with out screwing up the calendar. It might not wake me up in the morning at 3:00 for a 4:30 cab ride to the airport.

2¢ Worth!

David Jakes telling stories…

(This is being mobloged, so please forgive misspelling and awkwardness)

You can still buy mimeograph materials. He found the ordering information. People are still using this stuff. He just showed us a picture of one of the old optic projector, and reminded us of the smell of your book starting to catch on fire. He’s got the crowd going, especially considering his opening. I’ll write about that later!

He’s now showing a picture of a classroom, next to a typical starbucks. One is real, and one is fantasy. There is a real disconnect between classrooms and work and play rooms.

Woe! RateMyTeacher is now RSS syndicated. Interesting in lots of ways. He’s talking about a John Mayer concert that he attended with his sister. All of the kids had their cell phones out, where text messaging and calling each other from different points in the concert hall, and people out side. Conversations, conversation, conversations, on many levels.

David just went through four pages of company logos, that everyone recognized, dozens of them. Then he posted a list of statistics, and asked us what they represented. The statistics were staggering, representing the growth of Moodle, Wikipedia, Flickr, Blogs, and YouTube.

    They’re obviously sticky
      But not in our classrooms

    To be sticky:

    1. Innovation must have multiple entry points for a spectrum of usership. Lots of uses for lots of users.
    2. The teacher becomes a confident, active, and visible user.
    3. High degree of organizational readiness. (You need Connectors and Mavens)
    4. The innovation must in clearly address an instructional need, with benefits for both teachers and students
    5. The technology has been taken out of the technology, or innovation.
    6. The innovations must add value to an instructional process.
    7. There must be visible and tangible results indicating that the innovation improves student learning.

    Teachers are making amazing use of Blackboard in David’s school district. He’s demonstrating a science teacher’s blackboard, where she merely posts an essential question, and student create their own wiki page in Blackboard, and then use it as a research tool for compiling and then formating their reports. They didn’t have to teach the students how to use the wiki.

    Now he’s just demonstrated using PhotoStory 3, and in a matter of seconds produced a nice little video about not being from texas. When students are doing this, the video is easy. What’s hard is the writing, the literacy. But kids want to do it, when they can show it.

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    TechForum in Texas

    Today, I have an incredible treat.  I’m going to watch a keynote
    address by someone I respect immensely.  David Jakes, director of
    technology for the Downers Grove High School District of Illinois will
    be delivering the opening keynote address at the Technology &
    Learning TechForum in Austin Texas.  It was touch and go last night as
    Chicago was sacked in with fog and his flight to Austin was canceled. 
    Judy Salpeter called me at the Grand Rapids airport to check on my
    progress, and I had already received my boarding pass to fly into
    Chicago.  When I asked, the good folks at American Airlines gave me a ticket to take
    a Delta flight through Cincinnati, and then on to Austin, arriving at
    the hotel around midnight last night.  Just one of those things.

    David
    is a great person to pay attention to.  He is, at the same time, a
    skeptic, grounded in reality (since he’s still gainfully employed), and
    also an original thinker, able to connect concepts together to make good things happen.  

    Dave also makes it his sport of choice to heckle me in conferences.  So, “Watch out!”

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