Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Library Week and Win!

Change is good; you go first - Doug Johnson

The first NESA Library Technology Week, November 16-20, 2009, is over, and I would like to evaluate this project and brainstorm ideas for next year.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that NESA Library Technology Week started a new tradition in school libraries of the Near East South Asia region, a tradition of professional collaboration and cultural exchange. Five NESA school librarians and students from their schools celebrated reading and technology.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who helped plan the Library Week, contributed to its activities, and participated in the project. Special thanks to Kirk, Kathleen, and Peggy for making the Library Week exciting.

Our celebration could not have been successful without the kind cooperation and support we received from Lorna (the American International School of Cyprus). The collection of digital projects, questions for Scavenger Hunt, and her vigorous participation colored not only the Library Week wiki but the whole event.

One of the major results of the Library Technology Week was the growth of the professional community and development of connections among NESA librarians. This project strengthened the network of librarians and allowed new librarians to join the group.

Activities offered for Elementary students included Where the WILD THINGS Are. Kindergarten - Grade One were looking for Wild Things in their schools. Wild Things were then compiled and posted on the NESA Library Week wiki page.

Kirk’s butterflies, bats, and Mr. Maurice Mouse deserve special attention (Udhailiah School – Saudi-Aramco). It is a great inspiration for those who work with Elementary School students.

Our first attempt to write a inter-school story using the online StoryBird application is still at work. WBAIS students wrote the first page or two and passed the story along for additions to AISC. If your school would like to try it, you will need a password that can be given to you upon special request. The more schools which participate, the more interesting stories will be!

Scavenger Hunt questions checked High and Middle school students' skills to search the Internet and directed them to check web pages and library catalogs of NESA schools. You are welcome to suggest to your students to find answers to these questions. We had fun!

One of four topics suggested for discussion touched the widely discussed question about the library of the future. This theme became a center of other librarians' attention. You can read some interesting articles on the subject linked to the topic in their responses.

We also wanted to hear what students like most in the library, and share their opinions on the one-to-one laptop program at WBAIS. Parents also added their opinions. "What is special in being a student of the International School" was discussed with six and nine grade students in the beginning of the school year at WBAIS. It would be interesting to hear from students of other overseas International schools to see how they evaluate their unique experience.

Please feel free to reply to any of the discussions and ask your students to participate. It's never too late. WBAIS students had a great time participating in discussions and felt significant when answering essential questions.

A collection of digital projects displayed in the wiki demonstrate librarians' and teachers' talents in making use of the Internet, implementing the 21st century tools into their curriculum, and working on collaborative units. This assortment of works is an exclusive way to share efforts in the area of Media and Information literacy, librarian/teacher collaboration including teachers of English language, Art, Social Studies, and Technology. Sharing is a necessary element in the learning process, and displaying our works facilitates professional growth. It also helps build communication and provides positive outcomes in education.

Projects presented by AISC, BBS, and WBAIS demonstrate how digital natives – Middle and High school students – use of Web 2.0 tools, master their blogging, post in VoiceThread, make sound recording, and do digital video taping. Don’t miss the Writers’ Workshop blog of ninth graders posted by Kathleen (Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait), Media Literacy and Book Club blogs, Information Literacy and AP European History class discussions presented in VoiceThread (WBAIS).

Our hope is that next year more schools will participate in the project and students' motivation will lead them to participation in discussions and interaction with peers online. Student interrelations would let kids learn more about themselves and other schools as well.

Finally, I would like to say that LTW this year was very helpful to learn the planning and management of the event .
It was a mistake to think that summer was perfect time for planning the Library Week and practicing new technologies. According to our last year experience, it’s more pleasant to quench summer day heat with cool water found in a swimming pool than with reading a VoiceThread or Library Week blog posting. So next year we wouId like to spend some time for planning in the Fall and running the Library Week in the Spring. Please give me your feedback if March or April of 2011 better suits your schedule to run the next Library Week.

We also felt that we didn’t have enough time to coordinate the activities and communicate them to teachers and students. What if we organize online training sessions?

Please send me your thoughts, ideas, wishes, and hopes for the Library Technology Week. It would be helpful if those of you who didn't participate in the project this year could answer as well. What was the reason you could not participate in the week?

- time frame
- activities were not enough challenging
- other (please specify)
- will Spring be better for you next year?

Thank you again!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

NESA Library Week

Librarians work on a variety of projects and are pushed in many directions. NESA Library Week may not be the priority right now but it's coming soon. Only a month separates us from the actual event!

The week of November 16 2009 is assigned to be a joint project for NESA school librarians.

Meet Me @ My Library is a slogan that promotes the idea of introducing students from different NESA schools to each other.

Here at WBAIS, Peggy and I are planning a variety of activities to engage students from Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.

Peggy invites you to join the following activities (I am citing from her document that she wrote for this blog post):

1) Writing Workshop – Our 4th and 5th graders have busy writing personal narratives as part of Lucy Caulkin’s writing workshop program. They would like to share them. Do your students have writing they would like to share with us? I was thinking of a one-to-one exchange type program if it could be worked out. Anyone interested?

2) Collaborative Storytelling (grades2/3?) - I was thinking of an activity where NESA school libraries could each contribute a part/page to a create group story. Has anyone used StoryBird to do this? http://storybird.com/ Other ideas on how to do this? Would you be wiling to do a page in your library?

3) FLAT STANLEY (or some other character) in your school library (grades K-1? ) Based on the well-known Flat Stanley idea, we could take a picture of the same character in all our schools and compile the photos in some kind of digital photo album to be shared. Do you have any good ideas for a character?

4) Virtual Author Visit – It may be too late for this event, but I’d like to get an author to visit us via Skype or something similar. Do any of you have experience with this? Any authors you would like to visit? I’m hoping to find someone who can give me some ideas on how to make this happen. This would take place sometime between Nov 16-19.

The list can go on and on if you add Reading Marathon, Story Lunches, and D.E.A.R. Time!

I would like to involve Middle and High School students with a coffee shop in the lobby next to the library for the week (we don't allow food and drinks in the library and don't feel ready to break this rule yet).

High School students can do Scavenger Hunt on the Internet and online databases that the school subscribes. They will answer one question a day. Answers can be SMS'ed to the librarian's cell phone. We can work on questions together, if you wish, and compare how the Internet works in different countries, if there is any difference at all.

During the week we'll create a Parade of Digital Projects run at school. Students and teachers will present the projects they work on digitally and view what is done in other classes and schools. We'll post a link to the presentations for you to view.

Besides running all these activities, we, librarians, can share our ideas, experience, and proficiency by posting successful lesson plans and projects that you would like other librarians know and try as well. Participation in the project will work for teaching our students tolerance and and multicultural awareness through collaboration.

If you think you would like to participate in one of these activities, or if you have an idea for something you would like to try with other schools, let’s talk. We can use the NESA NING to exchange ideas, or you can email me directly. I really hope you can MEET ME @ MY LIBRARY November 16 – 20.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Your replies and further preparations.

"A good library is a place, a palace where the lofty spirits of all nations and generations meet" Samuel Niger (1883-1956).

Thank you everybody for your replies on my posting about the Library Week.
Now, when the school is off and we can relax and do absolutely (or almost) nothing, I can re-read your messages, share them with NESA community and encourage you to continue planning the Library Technology Week project scheduled in November 16 - 20 2009.

In his reply to my last post, Kirk shared his discussion of Three Cups of Tea or Listen of the Wind by Greg Mortenson with K - 9 grade students. Udhailiyah Library students not only read and reviewed the book but also collected money for the project run by the Central Asian Institute on building new schools and educating children (especially girls) in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan (read more about the project at https://www.ikat.org/). Kirk writes that "it's been a wonderful week... One of the very best in my educational career!" His motto was "Promoting Peace through education. Be the Change."

Kathy sent a link to a documentary film created during April Poetry Month at her school in Doha. The video is attractive and can be an example of what we can do during our week as well.

Kathleen and Judyth left their messages in the earlier advertised VoiceThread. All suggestions expressed there are worth your attention. I hope you will open your VoiceThread account and join the discussion.

Now in the middle of the summer it’s more chances that your have time to practice some tools and participate in the discussion. So encouraging!

It's becoming obvious that for better planning of the Library Week and sharing our activities, we need a tool that allows everyone to contribute and participate in the event, express ideas, publish pictures, videos, comments, and feel ownership of their ways of working together.

I've recently tried a ning - one of the social networks - and liked it for its user-friendly interface. Join Ning for NESA Librarians. Participate in the discussion, add your opinion, contribute your ideas! My suggestions are published in "Forum".

Looking forward to listening to your posts in VoiceThread and seeing your additions and revisions in the ning.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

November 16-21, 2009 , its goals and tools.

What about the week of November 16 - 21, 2009 being assigned to the NESA Library Week ?
Does it look good on your calendar? Please let me know.

Our next step would be identifying goals of the week:
  • Do we want our students get in touch with students from other NESA schools and thus extend the walls of our library? - I would say yes, we would like to build and reinforce the connections built during other NESA projects, such as Science Fair in Middle School or festivid (a video contest) in High School.

  • Do we want to try some communication technologies in action? - Definitely, we would like to show our students and teachers how to use Web 2.0 tools for educational purposes.

  • Do we want to promote reading, critical thinking, and our libraries in general? - There is no doubt, we do. These will be main themes of discussions during the week.

There are more questions to consider:
  • Location: class vs. home: Would you like to organize your students during a class period or give them a homework assignment to participate in a discussion?

  • Frequency: If you will do it during your class, would you plan to have only one session or several classes (how many) devoted to the Library Week?

  • Students' age: what grade level will be involved?

  • We would also need to share responsibilities: are you willing to set an account? enroll librarians? create a common base for discussions? Your initiative is greatly appreciated!

    Brainstorm online via VoiceThread.com. An account that I've set up will also help us try this tool, identify and remove possible barriers when we use it with students: VoiceThread.com.

    Another way to hear each other's feedback and suggestions is by using YackPack. You are invited to YackPack account as well.

    While YackPack allows us to share voice messages only, VoiceThread provides other ways to communicate. A conversation around a picture, video, or presentation can be made by videos, microphone, text, or file-upload (view VoiceThread 1 minute movie below). The only requirement to participate in a discussion is that everyone has an account.

    I would like to encourage you to use both of the tools and discover activities that can be used to connect our students during the week.

    Tip: You will be able to leave a comment only after having created your free account. When you log in you will see the thread. If you don't, send me a note with your current email address and I'll send you an invitation.

    Looking forward to seeing you and hearing your voices!

    One Minute Video on VoiceThread

    Library Technology week 2010

    After Spring break everybody starts planning events for next year, and I am afraid to be late to talk through details for NESA Library Technology Week in 2010! Your ideas and willingness to participate in the event inspire me to continue building the plan.
    To run it simultaneously in NESA schools, we would need to define
  • its time and activities that promote interest in books, reading, and using technological tools and methods.

    Time: Last week of October, October 25 - 30, 2009, or November 16 - 20, 2009 looks good on our school calendar. Let me know what time is good for you. An alternative time can be the week of April 11-18, 2010, National Library Week. But it will take us a long time to wait.

  • Activities: sharing stories, pictures and videos about our libraries, and book reviews.

  • After we will have tried some technological tools it'll be more clear which ones suit our collaboration needs the best:
  • VoiceThread is a web-based communication tool that makes it easy to share stories. Students can either record their stories or share them in writing; we can build their discussions around their pictures of the library or library activities and favorite books. To see how this tool works watch a one minute tutorial here.

  • YouTube or other video sharing sites will allow our students to share their two-three minute videos about the library (video project "My library").

  • Create audio files with the help of Audacity with stories about favorite books and library activities and share them online.

  • Flickr or Picassa are good for sharing pictures about the libraries and maps where they were taken, and posting labels.

  • We'll give a try to any of your suggestions. Please email them to me or post as a comment.

  • These tools are not new, but it's always helpful to go over and try one in a time before we pass them on students and start the big project. We'll do it together over next months before the Library Week in October.

    Let me know which week would work for you:
    October 25-30, 2009, November 16 - 20, 2009 or April 11-18, 2010.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Building a bridge with Web 2.0 tools


    While preparing a presentation for AIS parents on Web 2.0 tools (Library Buzz: Parents Edition)I was thinking about NESA librarians and how Web 2.0 tools could be used during Library Technology Week next year to strengthen our communication and ties.

    Library Technology Week run simultaneously in a number of NESA schools could help our students connect and communicate with peers and share their passion for reading.

    Students can post their book reviews, describe their favorite library activities in blogs, pod- and vod- casts, make videos about their library, and create VoiceThreads.

    Last year Kirk (SAUS) shared his library lessons with us(see Library Week 2008 at AIS .

    Next year Lorna (AISC) and I are thinking about connecting our students via a video project. We hope that "My Library" videos shared through YouTube will expand the walls of our libraries and allow students see another International school in the Near East, its library, and students.

    By practicing Web 2.0 tools, our students will gain new experiences and knowledge, build new connections, and definitely have a lot of fun!

    Do you wanna join?

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Looking for a speaker

    The Advisory Group of Librarians is looking for a speaker to be invited to one of NESA conferences next year (Training Institutes in Bahrain in October, New Delhi at the end of January, or the Spring Educator Conference in Bangkok in March next year).

    Please help us organize sessions for librarians we all would be anxious to attend. Make your contribution:
    1. Choose one of the conferences you can attend (we will invite the speaker for the conference where and when most of us can come)
    2. Specify a topic(s)of your interest in the poll on the right menu of the blog.
    3. Give us names of library media specialists who you think would be good speakers, if you have some one in mind.

    We don't have much time. Do it now!

    Monday, February 2, 2009

    Advisory Group of NESA Librarians (AGL)

    Hello everyone,

    Once again we realize that our NESA librarians' blog is a digital bridge connecting us over different locations!

    We would like to see the blog as a communication tool: several email addresses we received at the conference last Fall bounce our messages back. If your email address has been changed please let me know and it will be updated in our NESA librarians mailing list.

    We hope that you have become a blog follower to keep up with professional news in the region:

    We are happy to share a message we've received today from David Chojnacki, NESA Executive Director, that a group of librarians is formally registered as "advisory group". The members of the group are: Martha Langille - TAISM, Gwen Martin – RVIS, Dawn Walle – Dhahran Hills – ARAMCO, Suzie Rampling – Jubail Academy – SA, Kathy Patterson – ASD – Doha, Peggy Knudson and Marina Brodsky – WBAIS.

    The group will be working under the aegis of the Professional Learning Advisory Committee (chaired by Gail Seay of AS-Doha), providing the group with input regarding
    the professional development needs of library/media professionals in the NESA region.

    Next step is to choose someone to be designated as the official contact person.

    Any suggestions?

    Keep in touch.