Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reflections on the semester of reading

This semester, I added 7 new professional blogs to my Google reader, and started a twitter account. I now follow about 30 people and have 10 followers. I was inspired to do these things because of the requirement that we read and write about 100 additional items. I had a careful plan to write one post per day in this blog, to meet the required 100 item assignment. I haven't written 100--I've only written 43. I also posted in the class blog 6 times.

In addition to this more informal reading of blogs, I read reports, as well as a lot of research articles. For the other class I took, I wrote abstracts, an integrated literature review, and then a research proposal. I read about 30 research papers from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals for that assignment. None of that made it into this blog. I read at least 4 or 5 blog entries from various library and school-related blogs each day, as shown in my PLE. Some of those things made it into this blog, but most didn't. I think that my PLE demonstrated that I do keep up with new and innovative professional ideas, even if I didn't write 100 summaries about what I've read.

I've appreciated being pushed to read more this semester, and I definitely learned a lot!

California School Library Standards

I read the document titled:
Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools Supporting
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts &
Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

It laid out certain Common Core standards and then the corresponding  school library standard, to help librarians make the link between the two. This is a helpful document that I will be able to use even more as I continue getting to know the new common cores and begin planning learning experiences with the teachers.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final research journal entry

I would like to make this a bit longer...but the stomach flu running rampant in my household is going to make it a bit difficult.

I've found this journal both useful and challenging, at various times during the semester. As I got deeper into the research for my lit review and final project, there were more things swirling through my head and this became a great space for reflection. I also appreciated how my reading this semester dovetailed between my two classes--I am also taking the learning commons class with Loertscher. Although I didn't write as much about the overlap, I did think about it a fair amount.

I think that I will keep a research journal again in the future if I have a big project such as the literature review and final proposal again.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Your search engine is your best friend

This article is a great window into the autocomplete/autosuggest features of some search engines. It specifically talks about Google and Bing. I will admit that I pretty much just use Google, so I don't know if there are other search engines that also do this. One line made me laugh and I think it is so true:

“Your search engine is your best friend, and you talk to it about everything, even things you might not talk about to your real best friends,” said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, a Web site that covers the search industry. “It’s a way that search engines reflect society. "

I thought this was just brilliant! I have certainly "Googled" things that I wouldn't talk with other people about--or at least, not before Googling the topic and seeing what I could figure out!!

I also think that it's important to think about this type of feature from the perspective of kids who are trying to type one thing in, and another thing comes up. Sometimes autocomplete is helpful because they don't know how to spell a word, but the one they want pops up when they start entering it. But oftentimes it can really sidetrack you or make you think that you are supposed to use their question, when really it's just a suggestion. I believe you can also turn it off, which might be a good skill to teach students.

Hardy, Q. and Richtel, M. (2012, Nov. 21). Don't ask? Internet still tells. Retrieved from

Research Journal -- Musings on action research

This website has a variety of interesting resources, including a bunch of examples of action research. I plan to read through some of them as I design my research proposal.

My research question is as follows: Do one-to-one laptop programs help students to meet the information literacy requirements of the Common Core State Standards?

I am very excited about this  question because I'm excited about the new Common Core State Standards and the role that I can play as a librarian. I am starting to do my own research--so far, through my personal learning network--about the Common Cores, as they are called. I reached out through Facebook and got responses from three different people for three very different types of information. My goal is to use the Common Cores to focus my information literacy ideas and instruction at my school. The other thrilling piece is that in the Nov. 6 election, a parcel tax for my school district was renewed and my job is funded through 2019 if I choose to stay that long. I certainly hope that I keep loving my job as much as I love it now.

I don't see much potential for a 1:1 laptop program at my school, and that's okay. We will move to a new site in a few years with lots of awesome technology. In the meantime, I intend to figure out what I want to do with tablets, and then procure about 10 of them to use in the library for teaching information literacy. Our PTSA is also buying updated, faster computers for the library. Exciting times!! But I still want to envision this project as a 1:1 program, to give students access to the tools they need anytime they need them.

When thinking through my research proposal, I am trying to decide on qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. I think that maybe qualitative data in the form of interviews of teachers, students, and parents, plus quantitative in the form of analyzing student work before and after, to triangulate the data. Triangulation was something I learned about this semester that I really didn't know about before this. Turner (2011) wrote about an action research project in an after-school program where students conducated community interviews and then developed raps and music videos that critiqued social issues in their community. The students self-reported changes in their information literacy skills and their understanding of community issues. Turner also spoke with students' teachers, and watched the videos, to triangulate the data. I'd like to learn some more about triangulation to see how I could integrate that into a mixed-methods approach.

I am also considering the research methods employed by Spector-Levy and Granot-Gilat (2012) to assess information literacy skills. They designed a set of tasks that required students to select reliable information, write argumentatively using that information, process and represent information, and present new knowledge.They assessed 7th and 9th graders, some of whom had participated in 1:1 laptop programs and some of whom hadn't. They did find that the students who had participated in 1:1 laptop programs completed the set of tasks more successfully and at a higher rate than the students who didn't participate in the laptop programs. I like this idea of a standardized task for all students to complete. Objectively assessing student work for information literacy would be impossible. Of course, there is subjectivity in all research, but looking at student projects that were self-directed seems that it would not be a sufficient measurement for a research project. I do think it could be a component, but a standardized task like that used by Spector-Levy and Granot-Gilat (2012) seems like it could also be useful. I think this would be considered a quantitative measure.

Spector-Levy, O. & Granot-Gilat, Y. (2012). The impact of learning with laptops in 1:1 classes on the development of learning skills and information literacy among middle school students. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 8, 83-96.

Turner, K.C.N. 2011. "Rap universal": Using multimodal media production to develop ICT literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(8), 613-623. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.54.5.6.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

safety on the Internet--from 4th graders!

This is a great blog post from Shannon Miller, the librarian at Van Meter school. Her fourth graders created Animoto "videos" about Internet safety, addressing password issues, talking to strangers, the age requirement for Facebook, and being careful of what you say online. It's great to see that young kids are learning these things and then sharing them in interesting and creative ways. This is a great inspiration and certainly a fun use for Animoto. I am curious about what led up to this in terms of teaching the information, what it means, and how to use Animoto.

Miller, S. (2012, Nov. 20). No title. Retrieved from

local school voices

I just read a blog post here about the achievement gap in the Berkeley Unified School District, which is where I live and where my daughter will go to school when she is old enough. It details the point spread between the highest API group (White, at 922) and the lowest API group (African-American, at 658). These kids are all going to high school together! There is a very wide range of achievement within the school district, and the woman who started the blog has decided to open up a dialogue. I'm very excited about this blog and I'm trying to share it via my social media outlets.

Mulholland-Beahrs, J. (2012, Nov. 14). "Taking a look at the achievement gap in Berkeley public schools." Retrieved from