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!



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