An Interesting Mash-Up

OK, this is kinda cool.

Enter a zip code anywhere in the United States:

Following the Dollars: Map Political Campaign Contributions in Your Area

It’s a mash-up that scraps data from The Fundrace Project, which features data on funding of political campaigns. With Follow the Dollars, you enter your/a zip code and then gives you a number of graphs indicating the amount of money being donated to the Republican party from that area, and donated to the Democrats. You can also view a map, with pens for places from which money has been donated.

I’m happy to see that my neighborhood is leaning in the “correct” direction.

A mashup is a web site that takes data from one or more other web sites, and then does something with the data to add value. My Hitchhikr site is a mashup, of sorts. It takes information from Technorati searches and from flickr, and creates pages listing blog postings and fickr images from registered conferences.

My favorite mashup is BuzzTracker. It scraps data from Google News, and then creates a map of the world indicating where news it happening at that moment. Very cool!

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock

Saturday Morning Keynote by Joan Frye Williams

I am so buzzed, carrying being part of these conversations with librarians. I’m mostly listening, but it makes me fell so smart. I just got through talking to Joyce Valenza about libraries as containers, and how evil the file cabinet is. This morning we will hear from Joan Frye Williams.

Joan says that when she dies, its going to be like the chesher cat, fading away, with the mouse staying behind – talking about libraries.  We need a new initial welcome from libraries.  To many think of Madam Irma Pince (Harry Potter) and a library that is more penal then enjoyable.  She says that the students’ experience is the library’s product.

  • Williams is making a case for a green library, one that recycles and then teaches about it.
  • She says that in order to look like you are an information specialist you should be wireless (the librarian that is) — Information and technology have converged!  This is pass/fail.  It’s the entry test.  If the teacher or librarian says, “I don’t know much about this technology.” Students year, “I don’t know much of anything.”  If you whine about the technology, then you are losing credibility.
  • Libraries must not be a warehouse.  It should be an Idea Factory — where work is done.  It’s not bunsen burners anymore, it’s data files.  Think about it, librarians!
  • Furnishings for different learning styles.  Carrolls are not popular.  Students want to work and learn together.  If you want to feel comfortable, you take your buds with you, and you want to face each other.  Arrange for groups.
  • Emphasize the pleasure of learning.  Too often, people are not there by choice.  Think of the consumer technologies that are out there.  They are developed to be a playful tool.  Think of the photo contests.  We seem, lately, to even be stripping fun out of the learning experience.  Don’t call your bibliographis, bibliographies, or lesson plans, lesson plans.  Call them easter eggs and cheat codes.
  • Students ask, as they enter a library, “Will I succeed?”  They are looking for a success experience that does not require assistance.  The library should be a candy store, with what they need, lying around for the taking.  If they get stuck, then we can help them get unstuck, and then go away.
  • Simplify finding.  As Michael said yesterday, make things findable.  For librarians, information is how they give LUV.  That isn’t the same for others.  Restrain yourself.
  • Merchandize your colletion.  The spin of a book is not it’s best side.  Interesting!  Make information stumbleable.  Make it easy for people to sumble upon something.
  • Set up information neighborhoods.  Signs of sections of the library might be changable.  Librarians enjoy searching.  Everyone else enjoys finding.
  • Go with touch screens.  Make it easy and quick.
  • another question that students ask is, “Does this integrate with the rest of my (online) life?”  We must understand that we are now in an open info-system.  Many of us became librarians in an age of information-scarcity.  The general condition now is information-ubiquity.  We can firewall it out!  It’s a crime (that’s my words).  We’ve already lost that one.  A lot of learning happens nights and weekends when we’re not looking.
  • In surveys, students did not consider libraries better than a search engine an any aspect.  Student identify with the term extreme googling.
  • Put your digital library on the toolbar of your school browsers.
  • Outreach to external forums, social networks (Wikipedia, YouTube,, myspace.  Shouldn’t you have an entry for your library in the Wikipedia.  They don’t start with the library, so put sign posts out where they are looking.
  • Podcasting is easy and cheap.  If you are generating content, set it up to be podcasted.  Don’t call it a lesson.  Call it a podcast.
  • Don’t overlook IM.  It will give you street cred.
  • Here is a phenomenon, continuous partial attention.  Need a system that faclilitates this and focus.
  • Students may be asking, “May I partricipate?”  Yahoo use to say, “Find Use Shae and Expand.”  Libraries should be doing the same thing.  It’s a great opportunity for getting kids involved in learning.  Participating can be blogs, vlogs, and wikis, and much more.
  • Williams also like the idea of collaborative filtering.  It’s the student version of peer review.
  • Plug into life cacheing and mash-ups.

An outstanding Presentation.

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock

K12 Online Conference is Climbing

I was just shocked when I quickly scanned the listing of conferences registered on Hitchhikr.  The list is sorted by popularity.  The conferences viewed the most are at the top and the ones seen the least are at the bottom.  The top listings are fairly static, because conference page viewings usually peek right after the event and then stablize.  What surprised me was that the K12 Online Conference is now at the top.  It is just barely behind Alan November’s Building Learning Communities and still a distant third to the National Educational Computing Conference.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

L2 Manifesto

I had such plans for a good night’s sleep, after getting so few hours the night before. But this School Library Journal Summit just has me going. I woke up at 3:00 (4:00 AM my time, to be fair), with brainstorms going off in my head. The thunderbolts got so loud that they woke my wife, and I had to retreat to the Drake Room, the site of our summit work, where I could continue to think and also to feed off of the free WiFi here.

Chris Harris challenged us at the end of our meeting yesterday, to come up with a definition of Library 2.0. I would suggest that we expand this assignment. Instead of a definition, perhaps what might be even more useful, and easier to construct as a group, is a Library 2.0 manifesto, The L2 Manifesto.

It would include a basic definition, but would be followed by a list of statements, or theses, that describe the functions of library 2.0 and the librarian 2.0.

This is probably a figment of too little sleep and delusions of grandure that come with staying in The Drake Hotel. My dad would say I’m, “in high cotton!”.

Chris Harris just came down and he liked the idea of a manifesto. However, what SLJ is looking forware are three or four opportunity statements. This is a good thing to get from a two day meeting. The manifesto will continue to be discussed. Stay tuned to a wiki near you.

I like it when my ideas are validated by really smart people who have already thought of them. Michael Stephen, one of yesterday’s SLJ Summit panels, e-mailed me, pointing to an existing L20 Manifesto. Read it!

Image Citation:
Teee, Atelier. “Dragon Light Fixture.” Atelier Teee’s Photostream. 30 Jan 2006. 4 Nov 2006 <>.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

This is a Library Maven

Diane Chen is speaking right now, from the perspective of an elementary librarian. I simply had to hold on to the table when she said,

A smart woman knows everything.
A shrewd person knows everyone.
A librarian knows how to connect the two.

This is a pretty bold person. She’s not going to let any native take over the technology, because she’s a leader, an information leader.

She hijacks classrooms when the substitute is there. There are never enough lesson plans, so she is able to cover things that she’s been trying accomplish.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

David Cavallo the Keynoter


David Cavallo, with MIT and a major leader in the $100 laptop program, maded it to Chicago from Brazil just minutes before the keynote. He’s talking now about education in Brazil. He describes a process that is common in San Paolo, where community grow in poverty, but improve, and grow more affluent, the building materials improve. Interestingly, no one is documenting this process. So one of the first projects that will be engaged in by students with laptops will be to record and reflect on this construct. The laptops all have a digital video camera.

It seems, however, that we are exploring our neurosis over high-stakes testing. So computer labs and libraries are being closed, budgest are being cut, and any materials used by the students are being purchased by the teacher. This is outrageous. Teachers, who are buying the learning materials for their students. What kind of country would devote so little money for the education of their children, that teacher would feel a need to buy materials themselves.


I met a teacher yesterday in Seattle, who purchased, out of her own pocket, a computer and LCD projector for her classroom.

He’s now talking about some of the robotic projects that MIT’s Future of Learning project has been engaged in.  Some of the projects are absolutely intriguing.  They find that when students can plug into something that they care about (basketball playing robots, dancing robots, and much more) then they take off.  They learn like crazy.  I’ve found myself using Doc Searls’ analogy of the snow ball a lot lately.  It happense when children connect.  They start rolling, and growing their own knowledge.

Blogged with Flock

Frustration over the New Web

Twice in the past couple of weeks, I have tried to facilitate Web 2.0 sessions into open discussions, in an attempt to mirror read/write web styles of collaboration. Both times, including a roundtable discussion I participated in yesterday in Seattle, the discussions were almost exclusively about overcoming the barriers to implementing blogging, podcasting, and other applications. I had all kinds of little tips and tricks up my sleaves to while them with, but educators who want to use the tools as educators are deeply frustrated. They are frustrated and angry at their administrators, at their network administrators, at parents who are afraid, and at the federal government.

Three times, yesterday, I encountered a sense of real anxiety and a fear that a clock is ticking, that if things do not turn around very quickly, dire consequences lie ahead. Do you feel like a clock is ticking?

When I suggest that things should turn around, what do I mean? What does that look like?

Let me just suggest this for your reaction. Would vouchers be a bad thing, if public schools were freed up to compete? What if all public schools could act like charter schools?

technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

SLJ Leadership Summit

Last week, I asked people to answer this 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 had alterior motives for posing this thinking activity. Today, I will be attending the School Library Journal’s 2end Leadership Summit. The attendees of the summit will

be rolling up our sleeves and exploring the rapid changes occurring in education; the impact of these changes on learners and educators in the 21st century; and the changing role of the school media specialist in this new landscape.

We’ll be asking you to react to speaker and panel presentations, synthesize information, and collaborate to create vision—and action—statements that respond to these cultural shifts. But don’t worry, we’ll be feeding you too!

It’s an amazing opportunity for me to listen to information professionals who are there treat their libraries like a set of egos, to take thins apart, and put them back together again, to explore new shapes, new structures, and new ways to serve citizens of an information age. If you have more to add, please return back to the original post, or add your comments here about the future of the library.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

School 2.0

I’m participating on a panel right now, with Conn McQuinn and Tim Laurer. Tim is talking now about his school. I am amazed. I have a sense from the flow of information that teaching and learning is accessable at any time, any where. The students write to a wiki that actually resides on the teacher’s laptop. The laptop, evidently serves as a server during the day, students write to it, and the teacher can access the students writing at home. Plus the student’s write is safe.

Everytime I hear Tim talk about his school, it’s like hearing the ideas for the first time. Very amazing. He’s mention Google Earth a lot. One of the most interesting stories is a FireFox extenion that they have installed on the student computers where if they look up a book on Amazon, they also get a reference to that book’s availability at the local bookstore, and at their public library. Now think about that kind of interconnected access to information.

Conn tells a story about loading Apple II computers. He then displayes his new iPod Nano, and says that the memory on his Nano is the equivalent of 5,500 vanloads of computers in early 1980s. McQuinn is impressed with document cameras and projectors. He says that it does allow teachers to protect their position as learning leader, but what happens, invariably, is that the students use the device to share their work. It becomes a point of classroom conversation. The kids love having their finger blown up on the screen, as they point things out.

technorati tags:, , ,

Blogged with Flock