Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Month on the Pro D Circuit

The End of a 9-Day Conference?

For some of us, it has just begun. It was hard to get into the Transforming School Libraries Online Conference, to find the time to stay current on the presentations, and to learn our ways around. We will be in much better shape for the next one, I can assure you. Occasionally as I popped in an out of places, I virtually ran into people I knew. Thankfully, the conference will remain "up" for us to poke around and consider the artifacts for a month or two longer, and I found some fascinating things.
But first, you just have to listen to and watch this beautiful international/global video version of the song Stand By Me where, performing together but in vastly separate stages, are artists from around the world. There is a youtube version of this, but the original and other songs performed on the global stage and the articulation of a vision of peace through music are found on the Playing for Change website. I found this, as I wandered through information about various conference presenters, on Edmonton TL Arlene Lipkewich's short-lived blog. She challenged her students to consider the youtube version (both blog and youtube are Web 2.0 tools) and the way in which it was created.
As I started to say, some of us were just a little overwhelmed by arriving just-in-time at the very complicated Sosius platform and the various places and formats in which information and conversations were happening. I really enjoyed Arlene's voicethread presentation on various Technologies for Learning, old and new. In this Web 2.0 presentation, we looked at how hardware, software, and 'webware' can be used for both teacher and student learning. Now there remains no evidence I attended the session as I didn't actually log in, just observed and kept an eye on the discussions ... but you will find others we know there, like Pat from Gladstone and Karen from Victoria too.
Arriving at a presentation a few days late didn't matter as participation was asynchronous. Notice that some of the participants in this discussion presented themselves in text and others used audio features. This was my first ever voicethread discussion; I think it offered a great learning opportunity for many of the conference attendees and you will see and hear their learning as they go along. While this is ultimately a long presentation and discussion, it is really interesting: how might this format be useful for working with teachers as well as students?

I also participated in a regional meeting of the westcoast conference attendees using a webtool new to me called Mobee. Needless to say, it cannot be accessed through our district filters as it is a chat program, or so we discovered at the TL Studio this week ... but you can enter the chat rooms at home using any chat tool. That is, you don't have to be using the same tool. I don't chat much but my gmail has chat capacity, so in I went to the "tsl" (transforming school libraries) chat room for a fun two hours of library-chatting one evening. James Henri and Sandra Lee were there too. I will have to go back as there were some fantastic "library" videos added to the discussion wall.

Not all the sessions are accessible from the outside but I am happy to be able to show you some of the tools being used for TL discussions and professional growth. Another open-access site within the conference is Coquitlam TL Judith Comfort's online consideration of the seamless and blended nature of collaboration between Ts and TLs at bestlibrary for online learning support, both for Ts and for students.

I also went to Anne Robinson's Librain blog of the online conference. Anne is in the UK. I think you will find lots here to think about from Anne's report and I see no need to repeat, only to recommend you peruse her discussions of the event at this link. Thanks, Anne, for this.

Does social networking produce cognitive side effects?

Facebook and Bebo risk ‘infantilising’ the human mind

Posted to IASL listserv by Gerald Brown, Winnipeg, from The Guardian (U.K.), Feb. 2

British physiologist Lady Susan Greenfield warns that social-network sites risk infantilizing the 21st-century mind, leaving it characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathize, and a shaky sense of identity. Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, told the House of Lords that children's experiences on social-networking sites "are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance ...."

Here is the audio link to Lady Greenfield speaking on social networking and your health.

BCTF Conference for New/er Teachers

What? These don't look "new/er" to you?

I stopped by the Radisson Hotel to see how Janet, Katharine, and Michele were doing in their presentation at the BCTF New/er Teachers' Conference about the ways they could collaborate with TLs. Put on out in Richmond on Friday, Val H was on duty for the provincial association at the BCTLA table. I scored lunch which was fantastic. So was this presentation. Thanks to all for the work that went into the session, as well as the commitment, to promoting collaboration with our teacher-colleagues to create meaningful learning experiences and enjoyable learning communities.

Did you know?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is 40 years old!

From Twitter / School Library Journal: "Librarians and other educators are encouraged to download an activity kit,which includes a free commemorative 40th anniversary poster featuring classroom activities on the back, and a booklet with cross-curricular lesson plans, booklists, and arts and crafts projects such as a make your own Very Hungry Caterpillar mobile."

Posted from IASL: Manitoba - Brown / Stinson

And that, dear collagues, was quite a month of professional development, wasn't it! Don't worry if you couldn't keep the pace. I never quite caught up to the pace. Needless to say, we all have lots to learn. We can perhaps claim ground as leaders in modelling teachers-as-lifelong-learners!

See you next week.

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