Summer Institute: Session One

Overall Theme of the Institute: New Tools for New Generations: Viable Tools for Effective Student Learning

  • creation of a library with fluid boundaries
  • focus on a flexible learning environment influenced by the interactive global community
  • respond to diverse learning needs
  • teaching multiple literacies

Featured books, a focus on Standards:

Dr. Jackie Lakin from the Kansas State Department of Education (Education Program Consultant — Information Management; Advocate for Kansas School Libraries & School Librarians), briefly talked about standards and the coming common core standards. She also briefly covered the latest with state assessments and upcoming changes.

Buffy Hamilton (The Unquiet Librarian, @buffyjhamilton) is today’s speaker. She’ll be covering:

  1. Tools for Participatory Learning
  2. Tools for Content Creation and Networked Learning
  3. Tools for Transliteracy
  4. Tools for Transparency, Advocacy, and Instructional Leadership

The day’s resources, and topics can be found at the LibGuide for the workshop.

Day’s plan for the different sessions: Buffy will share ideas, time to work in small groups, and then come back as a large group.

– Foursquare librarianship: unlocking worlds of learning

Foursquare: Some libraries using this as incentives to patrons.

Buffy’s school is “The Unquiet Library, Creekview HIgh School, Canton, GA” When the library first opened at the new high school, Buffy envisioned it would be place for conversations, and would disrupt the traditional library environment. The name based off Matthew Battle’s book, “Library: An Unquiet History”

Session One: Tools for Participatory Learning (aka Reference; this topic is covered in chapter 1 of empowered learners; it replaces “Information Power”.)

  • need to create and nurture a participatory culture that invites conversations for learning, multiple forms of literacy, and multiple modes of learning

– How to we spark conversations, face to face and virtually? values learning as conversation over objects; knowledge construction and creation.

(Trying to catch all her points but missing some; will link to the slidedeck when it is posted).

  • Heart of library is inquiry: asking question, and learning process.
  • Librares are in the change business. (changing needs of learners, education system, and learners); we can either embrace the change, in a “playful endeavor”. Must show students that learning is not static and can be positive.
  • “Why” AND “Why Not?” (funny, considering Will Richardson’s post this morning, Yeah, You’ve Got Problems, So Solve Them)
  • Go beyond the walls and barriers — getting beyond the obstacles to achieve a better learning environment for students
  • open doors to invite spaces for conversation and learning (Face to Face & virtually)
  • Nurture creativity and learning experiences (lose the joy when facing pressure of mandates & responsibilities)

Creating Conversations for formal learning

  • aasl standard 1 : inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge (Creating knowledge, also)
  • aasl standard 2: draw conclusions….
  • aasl standard 3: digital citizenship…
  • aasl standard 4: pursue personal and aesthetic growth (this one can get lost in the shuffle)

How to create conversations about info evaluation and social scholarship with research pathfinders?

Used to know traditional sources of information clearly. Now need to evaluating wikipedia, youtube, blog posts, twitter streams.

  • Research Pathfinders & subject guides: may be using pbwiki, frontpage, google sites, dreamweaver, wikispaces; regardless of the tool used, you’re creating an online medium for class resources, to help students know which resources are valid for that topic, and these can be accessed later. Teacher may not have their finger on the pulse of the changing landscape of information.
  • RSS Feeds into the pathfinder
  • Google Books (can point students toward good resources)

Collaborative knowledge building through wikis:

  • Speed dating interviews: students were reading articles, and students would then interview each other in pairs; the results of the interviews were posted onto the class wiki. Responses were then used as a springboard for a larger essay assignment on the pros and cons of social media, that was a persuasive essay all students wrote.
  • literature circle wiki: students were reading fiction and non-fiction; engaging in research on those topics/issues. Teacher used Google Sites to share the results & students were able to comment on their classmates’ work, even those in other class sections.
  • Wikispaces is most K-12 friendly; Wetpaint no longer as ad-free option for educators
  • Post-it-notes: Students read articles about Twitter and used post-it-notes to share their thoughts on twitter


  • not just posting about what you’re reading, but also blog about the research you’re carrying out. Talk about obstacles; successes; overcoming challenges, about resources used. It’s active reflection and metacognition.
  • Younger students could be video-taped and could talk about what they’re learning
  • Students at Buffy’s school said blogging was their favorite activity. Weren’t going through the motions, but had to think about the process, plus were able to see what other students were doing, comment on their work, plus opened up their writing to outside experts in the real world.

Digital citizenship and ethical use of information:

  • Alternative presentation methods: Presentation Zen: getting away from Death by Powerpoint (AMEN!)
  • Students had conversations about their searching for using images in their presentations. (Using creative commons Flickr photos, for example)
  • Presentations were then carried out; self-assessment through Google Forms.
  • Students talked about how they couldn’t copy & paste anymore, had to actually know the material, plus had to connect with audience

Alternative ways of creating/sharing/organizing knowledge

  • Multi-genre elements (Tom Romano pioneered this)
  • voicethread
  • video (One TrueMedia for remixing)
  • glogster (interactive electronic posters)
  • possibilities are endless
  • songs; original artwork; interpretative dance; Facebook page for a character
  • Google Mashup
  • Book trailer
  • Games
  • Made the element public in a research portfolio; helps other students be inspired and shows alternative methods of knowledge creation & sharing.
  • Netvibes: personal learning environments and learning artifacts

Shared knowledge construction (learning transparent)

  • Cloud Computing: Google Docs (Writing and editing document together)
  • Social Bookmarking: Diigo: Group Bookmarks
  • Diigo: Sticky notes/highlighting
  • Evernote: another notetaking resource
  • Blog comments — engaging in conversations

Creating conversations for community

  • give students a voice and ownership
    • book displays (even simple ones make teens stop and pause)
    • book/genre promotion (ntl’ poetry month)
    • cozy reading areas and displays (Ex. Shakespeare center: have traditional resources + graphic novels and anime versions — students suddenly start reading MacBeth & Romeo and Juliet & talk about it)
    • use of physical space — shows library isn’t just a place of silence
    • collection reflecting student needs (Graphic novels & anime)
    • gift cards and giveaways
    • materials request (suggest library materials)
    • book/magazine requests (Personalized service)
    • poetry slidecasts/podcasts (Supporting student work)
    • student poetry/student favorites (clothesline)
    • Flickr
    • Collection Remix

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” –Joseph Chilton Pearce

  • Reader’s theatre
  • Pokemon cards & gaming
  • Asked students to share their knowledge about these “play” tools on the library blog.
  • These students are often the ones who are marginalized suddenly are looked up to as experts. It speaks volumes to them; they get the sense that the library is a place where they are valued.
  • Get students talking & sharing their expertise.
  • Board games & puzzles
  • Teachers love it too — mind-candy & stress-busters
  • Build report with them & relationship; builds opportunities for collaboration
  • Musical events & performances
  • Trivia days; pizza parties.
  • Students sharing their passions.
  • Promotion: Library Secrets promotion by both students & teachers
  • Polls — voting tools
  • Mobile learning through cell phones
  • Going to where the kids are at.
  • Physical space

After break, look at the resources for Participatory Librarianship, especially the examples on the left.

Pivot Points for Change Session

Connecting the dots of information literacy with social media.

Buffy Hamilton, Internet & Schools East, April 2010.

Presentation slides

Rethinking ways we can instruct our students with information literacy.

– How do we support and scaffold students’ ability to read and write an ever-growing world of information?

– How do we adapt our pracitce as librarians to effectively cultivate informationally fluent students who will thrive in today’s society? — help them learn to analyze/evaluate information.

-Seth Godin: “when industry norms start to die, people panic. it’s difficult to change when you think that you must change everything in order to succeed. Changing everything is too difficult.”

– strategic changes are much more helpful than changing everything.

Don’t reinvent the wheel; instead, find pivot points for change.

Pivot Point #1:

Keep your traditional sources of authoritative information in your research pathfinders, but let the research topic and mode of research guide the integration of social media information sources and tools for delivering that content to help students navigate the maze of today’s information world.

– days of trusting the printed reference book has come and gone. Teachers must get their heads around new authorities.

AASL 21st Century Standards

New Resources for Authorities

  1. podcasts — students much more engaged at times if they listen or watch resources. Lots of resources now provide podcast; lots of authoritative information being delivered through podcasts.
    1. PBS
    2. CNN
    3. students weren’t just reading about situations; they were able to experience the situations.
    4. Podcasts can be a free and dynamic way to capture student interests
  2. Blogs — lots of experts blogging about issues.
    1. Homefires Blog (veterans transitioning back into mainstream civilian life)
    2. Netvibes — RSS feeds from several blogs all on one page
    3. Students prefer to read the blogs over a textbook — they are much more organic and students are engaged. Plus blogs are free; textbooks are not.
  3. Twitter
    1. #iranelection
    2. way to get current information about current issues.
  4. Youtube/video
    1. YouTube blocked at schools, use Zamzar to download and convert YouTube videos.
    2. Treasure trove of videos that are free and online and full of information that students can use and explore.
    3. Video used as a teaser; then, students really got excited about learning and researching.
  5. Google Maps/mashups
    1. taking data and putting it into map form
    2. Embassies Accepting Injured People in Iran
    3. Swine Flu Google Map
  6. RSS Feeds
    1. Librarians’ best friends
    2. Database vendors (including Ebscohost & Gale) have RSS feeds
    3. Newspapers, Twitter, Podcasts all have RSS Feeds
    4. Streams of information to push the information out to students
    5. Google News
  7. RSS Feeds/Widgets
    1. Don’t have to be an html expert to create widgets; already created for you.
    2. News, Topics, possibilities are endless

Teaching research is much more fun today, because so many tools available to teach research. Traditional research pathfinders are no longer. So many ways now to display research information in ways students will use them, and they are free

Pivot Point #2:

Keep focusing on teacher collaboration, but focus on creating conversations…

Create conversations about collaboration, leadership, and social responsibility….

  1. research wiki (wetpaint)
    1. building living textbook
    2. continually being updated and created
    3. share with other classes involved with the same project. very rich and informative discussions in class
    4. cross-collaboration with students; no more lone-wolf learner in era of testing; how do we share information & replicate what we see in the real world
  2. literature circle wiki
    1. book trailers
    2. notes on the face-to-face meetings posted to the class wiki.
    3. have follow-up discussions online through the class wiki, through comments on the discussion notes.

Pivot Point #3:

keep assesing student learning using traditinoal tools, but use alternative modes of assessment like blog to engage students in metacognition and to activiely reflect on their research strategities.

create conversation about adaptability and research strategies using blogs.

  1. research student blogs
    1. students get excited about the research. “Life changing, these two words give a perfect summary of what this project has been for me….” –student blog comment
    2. Real world experts comment on student research blogs.
    3. Students engage, think about topics, and connect with real-life experts.
    4. Learning tool not just for one research project. Blogs are a way to have a voice and get ideas out there. Ideas have value and meaning

Pivot Point #4:

Keep teaching students how to access and consume information, but place….


  1. multi-genre artifacts — can differentiate instruction & open up students who have abilities in other areas. Can learn online safety skills through these projects. Presentation Zen ideas covered.
    1. Facebook Page
    2. Voicethread
    3. Glogster
    4. Two Voice Poem
    5. Skit
    6. Song
  2. Presentation Zen: Students had to think about the content, not just regurgitate. Had to learn to connect with the audience.

Pivot Point #5:

Keep creating research pathfinders for students, but teach students how to forge their own paths for learning and building their own information portals

Learning is the process of creating own network…. (student created netvibes portal) (student created netvibes portal)

Students so excited about researching and learning about their topics.


  1. Baby steps are ok.
  2. anticipate some initial pushback, from both students & teachers. –for first time students were being asked, “What do you think?” Some students were ok, some not so much.

Embrace the messiness of social scholarship and questions of authority.

  1. Rules are hard & fast now; not firm. What is authoritative. If students can articulate this, they have mastered these skills.
How do you go about getting some of these tools unblocked? Check out Buffy’s Fighting the Filter Presentation.