Session Two: Tools for Content Creation and Networked Learning

Wrapup comments from last session: Building tribe (Seth Godin’s book Tribes) — getting buy-in. That’s part of participatory librarianship. Helps students see that research in the library isn’t just for school work and homework that stops when you’re out of school.

Look at the resources on the pathfinder — lots of real-life examples are there, at different grade levels.

Part 2: Tools for Student Content Creation and Networked Learning: Media 21 Project

  • “learning is the process of creating connections and developing a network.”
  • connectivism learning theory (how do we help students connect the dots of learning
  • Michael Wesch at K-State was an inspiration for this. Digital Ethnography. Teach Web 2.0
  • Wendy Drexler second inspiration. “Networked Student” focus not on shiny tools, but how you apply them for practical learning.
  • Comment: Media 21 is a district level program
  • Lots of Goals: research is ongoing… (and other points) see slides later.
  • This was not a separate curriculum; it was identified and embedded into a sophomore English class.
  • Empowered students to become own information filters…
  • Two sections of Honors Literature/Composition; Buffy was a co-teacher. Conceptual model of librarian and classroom as co-teachers in the classroom setting.

The chemistry and collaborative partnership with the teacher. Interviews available with the collaborative teacher on the section page. Partnership worked because of teacher’s willingness to take risk & to share the classroom. For so long teaching is seen as a solitary act, but some of that is changing. Librarian can help facilitate this change for 21st century learning.

Beginning of program (august 2009)

  • introduction of concept of “networked student”
  • intro of essential learning tools and cloud computing (wikis, gmail, google docs, blogs) (digital native a myth? many of the students had never heard of these tools; even email attachments was a new concept; can’t assume background knowledge; must be willing to adapt to students’ beginning knowledge & do what’s best for them)
  • exploration of social media & culture at large, as an info source for research (evaluating Wikipedia, for example)
  • Focused on wikis, exploring tools; intro’d class blog.
  • Learned about Google tools
  • Learned you didn’t have to be tied to a flash drive – use cloud computing tools
  • Many students didn’t have computers at home or had software at home (like Microsoft Word)
  • Build in the time for teaching the students the tools; many students won’t pick it up intuitively. Provide the support. If you support them in the beginning, and spend time up front on learning the tools, it will really help with student buy-in and use of the tools.
  • Students brainstormed pros and cons of using social media in education
  • Reflections: time: more needed for this type of immersed learning for the students; For teachers: more time needed for planning, creating, reflecting; students were engaged; embrace the messiness & chaos; students were patient & open-minded

September 2009

  • inquiry into social media for social good (essay & conversations in class)
  • Book tasting Menu. An overall theme was there (Africa). Students sampled the books, reading for 5-7 minutes, and then rated the books, choosing which one they wanted to read in a group.
  • Student reflections were ongoing during the program.
  • “when I blog….I feel like people are listening”
  • students extended learning to real-world situations
  • Students loved the Google tools & blogging
  • Mixed feelings about wetpaint; switched to Google Sites
  • students loved group & collaborative activities
  • students indicated they needed help with certain writing strategies

October – November 2009

  • intro to research initiative
  • original content creation
  • reflection and transparency
  • knowledge building
  • lit circle meetings, maintaining notes from these meetings & reading
  • Diigo used to bookmark web-based resources, also Noodletools (Subscription)

Learning Artifacts: Issues in Africa

  • blog posts
  • lit circle
  • wikis
  • diigo bokmarks
  • noodletools list and notes
  • a written paper, required 3-5 pages, but many students wrote 10-12 page papers of their own free will; students really got into their research; flexibility given for resources.
  • five multigenre articacts and relcections
  • online learning portfolios built using google sites brought all of this together


  • Students loved Google news & Gale Global issues in context database
  • This project was the first time students could take ownership of their learning (Testing generation)
  • Some resistance to this type of learning.
  • Students couldn’t just read off their research; they had to embrace it as their own.
  • Students embraced the principles and concepts of presentation zen
  • Students overcame their fears of public speaking
  • Project was originally only for the semester, but students asked for this type of continued learning, instead of a return to the traditional mode.
  • Assessment felt murky. “New Assessments for New Learning” –Will Richardson post from yesterday.

Veterans’ Issues (March-May 2010) (took a two month break)

  • personal learning environments with netvibes/info dashboards to be shared publicly
  • social bookmarking with evernote
  • google sites portfolios
  • interviews with real world experts <– new requirement for the program
  • presentation zen
  • Class site
  • Students began creating information dashboards for their project. Visual way of telling the story of research. Videos; RSS Feeds from resources + from fellow students; Google Books; Databases widgets; several students went above and beyond, creating multiple tabs for different types of resources.
  • Real student work examples linked on over on the libguide
  • One student had a realworld expert get in touch with him via his project blog; engaged the person online & ended up interviewing him.
  • Most valuable research skill obtained was learning to come up with a realworld expert — letters of inquiry.
  • Students came in on lunch hour on their own free will; students cared about their topics & went above & beyond as a result.

Learned overall

  • baby steps are okay
  • anticipate pushback
  • learning isn’t linear
  • value collaboration and teamwork
  • building own personal learning network; teachers were the guides on the side. Students were taking ownership of their work. Saw fruition of the program’s vision through what the students were doing.
  • Trick is cultivating the partnership with the teachers.

This isn’t THE model, or the way to go. But this is one way to embrace those standards and guidelines for school libraries. More teachers have seen what the class has done, heard the kids talk about it, and now more teachers want to it.

Why Diigo, not Delicious? Diigo has a group feature. Some networking issues also were present. Students were given choice of Evernote or Diigo second semester, since there were mobile apps available for Evernote. If Firefox had been available, Delicious could have been used.

Blogathon: Louisville Public Library flooded; social media for social good being covered, and library world did an online blogathon to raised money for their efforts. Library Society of the World headed it up. Students wrote about why they loved libraries. “libraries are the places where dreams begin,” one student comment. Students were sponsored for their blog posts.

Presentation Zen: minimal text; pictures; not just reading slides word-for-word. Not “death by powerpoint”

Cell Phone Usage: how do you get past schools blocking them? Buffy started emailing principal articles & blog posts about cell phone usage in the classroom in spring 2009. Also talked to him a lot during the summer. He also saw his own kids using these devices. When the school came back in session, he told his teachers that it was permitted for education usage. Cultivated the culture to show why these tools should be used. Even if at first the ideas sound crazy, keep trying & feeding information. Very gently feed them pieces of information & back into it.