Blog Archives

Another Way to Get to Yes!

Sunday’s post on ReadWriteWeb asks,  “What do kids say is the biggest obstacle to technology at school?”  The answer, based on the results of Speak Up 2010, is two-fold:

  • school filters that block access to content needed for homework, and
  • bans on using their own devices at school.

So much of the answer to both of these issues relates to policies that are either outdated, misguided or both. Which brings me to “The World’s Simplest Online Safety Policy.” Tom Whitby and Lisa Nielsen have put their heads together and come up with a wonderful resource that explains many of the things we need to think about (FERPA, CIPA, and COPPA) in clear and rational terms.  These explanations are used to support a tw0-sentence online safety policy that would clear the way for innovation and engaged 21st century learners.

Judi Repman

Georgia Southern University

Image Source: (Creative Commons)



More on Web 2.0

In my summer school class this year my students worked in learning teams, with one learning team for each of AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Each team needed to create a matrix to show how their standard aligned with the ISTE NETS and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning MILE Guide.

Each team’s main responsibility was to create a resource guide that identified a wide range of Web 2.0 tools that can be used to help students learn these 21st century skills. Resources are provided in many different formats, from articles to blog posts to videos. Each learning team was challenged to use the assignment to extend their own use of different Web 2.0 tools so you’ll see lots of different tools in action.

Our program at Georgia Southern is 100% online so the learning teams had to find ways to use technology to work collaboratively. As long as I’ve been a school library educator (which is a pretty long time) I’ve heard the same issue about collaboration with teachers–nobody has time to meet. Today we have some easy-to-use tools right at our fingertips that can make collaboration easy and fun. But as media specialists, we have to do our homework and make sure that we know how to use the tools ourselves. In my July blog post I shared that we were going to experiment with using Twitter to discuss an article collaboratively. It might have been just bad luck that this coincided with the World Cup, which seems to have been a big twitter event, but this didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped. That doesn’t mean I won’t try it again but I know some more work/research is needed on my end.

In his book Better, Atul Gawande talks about how we should never settle for good enough and makes the point that in medicine we could make huge differences in people’s lives using technology we already have on hand. Larry Arvan takes that book and applies the same experience, experiment, reflection, experiment cycle to education.  That’s a powerful idea from a book that might change the way you think about lots of things!

We all hope you find this work useful!

Judi Repman

Georgia Southern University

Free Web Event: The Future of Books and Reading, June 17!

I would like to alert you to an upcoming web event this week from “The Future of Education” series hosted by the wonderful Steve Hargadon.  This “webinar” is free and open to anyone; if you miss the live show, it will be recorded for viewing at a time that works for you.  The web event will be held via Elluminate, which you can install/download for free; I suggest logging in about 20-30 minutes ahead of time if you have not used Elluminate so that you can configure you audio settings before the web event begins.

On Wednesday, June 17, 8PM EST, you can listen and participate in the web event,  “The Future of Books and Reading”; you can access the event by going to this link at the Future of Education.  Here is how Steve describes the upcoming panel discussion:

There are dramatic changes taking place that seem likely to change our experiences with books and reading. They include: pre-publication “wikified” collaboration, electronic delivery, open licensing, increased author-reader and reader-reader conversation, shared annotations, and more. Join this amazing panel as we peer into the near and long-term future of the reading experience.

For more details about this session, please visit the event page!

Exciting Changes Coming to SIRS Researcher!


After taking a look at the “teaser” video, I am extremely excited about major changes coming to SIRS Researcher, which we here access through GALILEO. The new version will be known as SIRS Issues Researcher, and highlights of the sleeker and more robust version include:

  • Essential research questions
  • A more comprehensive look at an issue, including its historical origins and impact on today’s society
  • More emphasis on the “whys” instead of the “whats” of an issue
  • More emphasis on the global impact of an issue
  • More international information sources
  • More multimedia, primary sources, and statistical data [charts, graphs]
  • More search enhancements
  • Topic/subject/keyword clouds and maps
  • Social bookmarking options (YES!)
  • Notetaking organizers
  • Citation generators
  • New critical thinking modules to help you as students better analyze the issue
  • More global and diverse perspectives
  • An audio read aloud option
  • Print and nonprint sources
  • Article translation into 10 languages
  • Correlation to state and national learning standards


These changes should be in place when we return to school in August!  In the meantime, check out these great “sneak peek” resources!

Buffy Hamilton, Media Specialist
Creekview High School

Another Tool in Your Personal Learning Network: Shared Items via Google Reader


We all know that we can use Google Reader to keep up with our favorite blogs and RSS feeds from various sources, but did you know that you can share items with others via Google Reader?  Not only can you create a public page for sharing your favorite items that come your way in your Google Reader account, but friends and followers can also subscribe to the  RSS feed for your “Shared Items” page to keep up with articles or items you mark as shared in Google Reader!  As you browse and read items in Google Reader, you will discover a “share” icon at the end of each post/item–simply click on “share” to add those items to your “shared” public page for others to enjoy.  I discovered this wonderful personal learning network tool via Kim Cofino, a 21st century learning specialist who is an invaluable part of my PLN.  For more details on how to create your public page and on how to share items, check out this help page from Google Reader Labs.

Feel free to follow and grab the RSS feed for my shared items page!