Sunday, May 28, 2006

NHEMA talks 2006

gave two talks at the NHEMA conference this past week. I think they went well, other people tell me they went very well.

The first started out to be an overview of the concept of library/web2.0. I wanted to put '2.0' in the title, but the conference organizers had no idea what that concept was, and said the attendees wouldn't, either. So the talk evolved into a brief overview of social software that will be impacting education soon, if it hasn't already, and a more in depth introduction to rss feeds and aggregators as a way to explore 2.oish concepts in more detail than we had time for. My boss attended the talk, and she seems to be still reeling. All the attendees said they learned a lot, but they looked kind of stunned. My boss said I pushed them, and that was good. Not sure, though. At least they are now familiar with a couple concepts they weren't. But it still weirds me out that things I take for granted are totally new to them, especially in light of the fact that there is so much out there, so many people, who are way more cutting edge are way more knowledgable than I. I was sort of hoping by the end of this talk to get some people excited about maybe making a NHEMA blog. Maybe next year.

The other talk was on digital audiobooks, focusing on our own very successful program, but giving a lot of background information, links to research, and lots and lots of nuts&bolts. It was the kind of talk where I got to say two sentences, then there was a question. Good for audience interactivity, bad for trying to keep up with my own slides. Good for keeping me on my feet.

Wrong About Japan, Peter Carey

I ordered this book because I thought our manga/anime crowd might get into it - they've checked out other non-fiction books about Japan and Japanese culture and can't seem to get enough. They haven't gotten into this book at all - I don't know if they haven't found it, if it's just plain unappealing, or what. So I finally took it home myself, and it turns out to be a great book for educators to start to understand teens' obsessions with all things modern Japan. There's a lot of good detail oriented stuff about manga, with history and culture woven into it all. The writing isn't particularly engaging, but it isn't off-putting either. And the length of the book is short enough. Educators and librarians looking for more background info on manga and anime will be pleased with the content of this book.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

iTunes isn't as mean as it pretends to be

A little bit of talk over on Lifehacker seyz that if something happens and you lose all your purchased music, iTunes may let you redownload it. Mebbe. Never hurts to back it up anyway.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Bloggerific v. DOPA

I had a bloggerific day the other day. A reading class (seriously, it is a class where they just read and read and read - mostly whatever they want. On Thursdays the teacher brings them in to read magazines and newspapers, sometimes they need something non-fiction, and there are all sorts of options for assessment - I love this class) stopped by to read and use the computers to blog about what they were reading. I had already introduced this class to the blog, so that was out of the way and many happily, easily blogged. For others, there was a lot of tech support. You need an email address to be invited to be a contributor of our blog - more than a couple kids didn't have email addresses (?! - we are a mostly wealthy, white district - mostly very connected at home - this surprised me, though a few explained they just use MySpace to communicate with friends - a very teachable moment in both directions). There were kids that kept clicking on the 'create a blog' button v. the 'create a post button.' And so on.

Overall, though, the kids wrote about their books, checked previous posts for comments, read other people's posts, and then went back to reading. It was awesome to read their posts, to see them read the other posts and then be interested in the book the other student-blogger recommended (peer reader advisory!), and to generally interact with the blog in terms of the content, not the delivery.

And then I got home and read about DOPA. Something that blindly would put a kabosh on all this good learning - tech learning, peer learning/teaching, personalized, independently paced, individualized learning, learning relevant to the real(virtual) world- all of which are apparently the big education buzz words and things we are supposed to be emphasizing and doing more of.

Punch in the gut.

Except it isn't any sort of done-deal yet, in fact it is barely off the ground. Action, people, action.