The journey of a future librarian

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are filters "restrictive overkill"

This is an argument where I can see both sides from which most people come. I can see why there are parents who are concerned about their children accessing inappropriate material. However, is this really the librarians' responsibility? Shouldn't internet safety be taught at home, and monitoring be the responsibility of the parent or guardian. On the other side, I can see why there are those that feel as though restrictions go against a person's rights. That all the restrictions cause teachers to not be able to utilize the best educational benefits of the internet. However, there are too many people that have misused this freedom, causing the need to evaluate whether filters are needed. 

That is my opinion on the matter and there are many others that have voiced how they feel about this matter.

Recently I read an article by Mary Ann Bell, where she puts forth the idea that internet filters, banning access to certain sites, are actually limiting children's education. She does a really good job of giving and supporting her reasoning behind her beliefs.

The first point that Bell makes, goes a bit with the opinion that I stated earlier. She talks about the fact that having less filters allows for students to be taught the difference between good and bad sites. If students are not being taught this at home, at least they can be taught it somewhere. And when we are talking about good or bad sites, this isn't refering to the authority of the site. Bell mentions that filters don't block sites that are not authoritive, so this still needs to be taught. Therefore, internet education should encompass many topics.

Not only does Bell give reasoning of why filters are to restrictive, but she gives to great suggestions of what can be done. I agree with the idea that it is important for the educators to be educated in safe and smart internet use. It is just as important for them to practice what they preach as it is for them to teach their students. Bell's other suggestion is that of making sure that there are several trustworthy people with in the district that can over ride the filters. The examples see gives in the article, such as checking on students with a suicidal thought, really make you think about the importance of some being able to access the whole internet.

 I think that Bell made many valuable points to consider. This will most likely always be a bit of a touchy subject; difficult to make everyone happy. My final thought is that there needs to be procedures set for the district that are followed when such issues arise. It is hard to be prepared for all the possible options, however, it will be even more difficult to solve issues once they have gotten out of hand.    


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ah... the QR code

Last fall, in IST 605, I first learned of the illustrious QR codes. I even did a post with a QR code in it. If you want to take a look here it is.

QR codes are clever little guys. Not only can they link to websites, they can lead you to download documents or produce text when scanned. They are very versatile. Here are the ideas for using QR codes in an educational setting:
  • Library Hours or other general information
  • Link to the library website
  • Style manual download
  • Access to databases, research tools
  • Teacher specific links for projects
As with all technology, QR codes are not perfect, they to have flaws. If a link were to go dead, the QR code is not going to be smart enough to change. The information the code presents needs to be imputed by a human. Therefore, if you have generated codes that link to urls, they will need to be checked.

There is also the issue that not ever one has a QR reader, though I image that it won't be long till they do. Therefore, the information being provided cannot be exclusive to the code. You cannot expect every student to access the information in this way. However, it is nice to have the option available (and they look pretty cool).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Like Google Docs, try this:

I have become quite a fan of Google Docs, how wonderful is it to have a place were you can write down your ideas on some project and then share it with other who can add their own contributions. I have found it to be a valuable tool in group projects, because it is hard to always be able to get together, so Google Docs provides the environment to come together with all our ideas in one place. No need to worry about lost emails anymore, it is all right there. 

However, there is an other online collaboration tool that I really like to use: It is actually advertised as a presentation tool, sort of like PowerPoint but not really. However, it has the wonderful ability of allowing multiple contributors on the same presentation. This tool can be easily incorporated into the classroom environment. Students are always asked to do presentations for classes, so why not have them try out something different from PowerPoint. They can put all their ideas down on the Prezi canvas, and then decide what ones they want to present. Again, no need to attach PowerPoints to emails and worry about formatting issues between computers. It's fabulous!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I made a You Tube video!

Okay, this is technically the second video that I have put on You Tube, but this one is just me. In all my splendor! It is for an assignment were we make a video announcement of what is going on in "our library. (Oh and it is even has closed captioning!)

I actually really enjoyed making this video. You Tube makes the whole processes pretty painless. If only I had an newer computer and better lighting, but beggars can't be choosers. Thankfully the video was suppose to be short so it made the process a lot less complicated. But even getting the closed captioning on there was so bad either (thanks to the tutorial Prof. Arnone posted!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I will be the first to admit that I have been slow to jump onto the RSS bandwagon. My biggest issue is that I don't keep up with the constant stream of new blog posts, and then I start thinking what is the point of following all these blogs if I'm not going to read them. GoogleReader is actually my second foray into the world of RSS readers, the first one I had followed craft blogs and Cake Wrecks. Thankfully I gave this technology a second chance, because I feel that it does have real potential to be a very valuable tool. 

Therefore, I do not think that RSS should be on the way out. It should be standing strong and yelling out "You people need me!" RSS is a wonderful organizational tool for accessing information that too few know about, and everyone would benefit from. As I mentioned earlier, I almost got overwhelmed by the number of posts that would come into the reader in a day, I would just stop reading most of them. But think, if I didn't have all those blogs being brought into one location how much more difficult it would be to keep up with any of the information I was looking for. RSS saves time; something that every one seems to be looking for into today's society.

RSS can be of as much value, and possibly more, in a school setting over a personal setting. Teachers are busy, and constantly looking for new, fresh ideas to enhance their instruction. There are limitless blogs and websites out there offering up ideas and opinions, but teachers don't have the time every night to search around the web. That is where the RSS becomes such a valuable tool. All those ideas are pooled into one location; whether it be lesson plans, craft ideas, books discussions. It is all out there on the web just waiting to be feed!