Part of the job of a media specialist is to share professional information and sources with colleagues and to get students interested and involved in information and technology literacy. A blog is the perfect forum to provide links to numerous resources, professional development and reviews. A great example of this type of blog is Information Literacy Weblog.
http://information-literacy.blogspot.com/ The purpose of this blog is to disperse news about information literacy. It is very effective at achieving this goal with numerous informative, up to date posts and very brief comments from the blogger. It contains many different types of posts such as bulletins about upcoming literacy conferences and events, links to related articles, posts describing other websites, links to recent presentations, recently published papers, available seminars and webinars, links to online journals and book reviews. This blog is full of resources that explore information literacy and information about where you can receive instruction on topics in information literacy. One post announces, “Library and Support Staff webinar: Rising to the digital literacy challenge, 28th February 2013”
http://wiki.rscwmsystems.org.uk/index.php/Library_and_Support_Staff_webinar:_Rising_to_the_digital_literacy_challenge,_28th_February_2013 This seminar, presented on February 28, 2013, had subjects such as: “Embedding digital literacy in the classroom”, “Addressing the Digital Literacy Void”, and “The risks of NOT addressing digital literacy with staff.” The blogger posted a link to the webinar, which has links to the PowerPoints for each of the subjects, presenters’ contact information and the session recording. Another post on this blog is about a case study called, “Project CoPILOT: Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching” http://delilaopen.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/bham-final.pdf This is a case study on open educational resources (OERs) to promote information and digital literacy and for sharing resources internationally. It involved two librarians in the United Kingdom who were hired to create what they refer to as reusable learning objects that would later be adapted as OERs. These objects were to be created under a Creative Commons license and would then be tracked to see how they were repeatedly used. A third post on this blog is about an online journal, “New articles in Information Research”
This post, for the open-access journal, Information Research, lists eleven different articles and a link to this issue. The subjects of the articles range from what motivates engagement, Google’s News Alerts, models of information search, and the research process of international students in North America. This online journal with international authors is dedicated to making the research results from information-related disciplines accessible to everyone and includes a Creative Commons License.
Another example of a useful library blog is “On an e-Journey with Generation Y: Immersing technology in the classroom and beyond into the globe!” http://murcha.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/learning-with-librarians/. The purpose of this blog is to connect the blogger’s students to information and people from around the world; I think that it easily fulfills this purpose. My first impression of this blog is just the incredible amount of content that appears on the home page, including multiple Web 2.0 tools that are being taught at a workshop. The librarian, whose motto is “Learning about Teaching, Teaching to Learn,” is at a rural prep school in Australia and is connected all over the world through her blog. One of her resource links is “library 2.0: the future of libraries in the digital age.” http://www.library20.com/
This site has information for librarians, including logistics about the upcoming Library 2.013 Worldwide Virtual Conference, professional development videos, other valuable network links, and blog posts about student learning, Read Across America, and Virtual Student Fairs. Another post is a recording of “FLATs Webinar Presentation – Big Little Classrooms” http://flatactiontalks.podomatic.com/player/web/2011-12-07T19_03_42-08_00
This video is a student reflection on the interactions of one of the blogger’s classes with another class from Beijing, China and a Skype lunch hour with students in Indonesia. This webinar was presented by the blogger as part of the Flat Classroom Projects and shows how significant these learning opportunities can be. There is also a section of her blog dedicated to collaborative works. One such work is “Photo Fridays.” http://www.flickr.com/groups/photofridays/ where people post pictures that they’ve taken, or that they’ve come across, and also post their comments on the composition of the photo or anything else that strikes them about the photograph. One of the pictures posted was of a single stalk of Queen Anne’s Lace and the person who posted the photograph was inspired to write a poem, which was posted with it.
An excellent model of a student friendly library blog is “The MHMS Daring School Library Blog”
http://daringlibrary.edublogs.org/2011/12/05/edublog-nominations-shameless-campaigning/ The purpose of this blog is to provide links to information for students and teachers and a place for teachers to connect with each other. The first thing that I noticed about this blog is its great visual appeal. At the top it has an animated librarian and students superimposed on a photograph of the media center and a cartoon speech bubble that says, “Learning Happens Here!” I could see that this would appeal to the student population and get them to use this library blog. It’s not surprising that the first post on the home page is about the “The MHMS Harlem Shake (& Why It’s So Popular!) http://daringlibrary.edublogs.org/2013/03/04/the-mhms-harlem-shake-why-its-so-popular/ This is a video of the teachers at this school doing their version of The Harlem Shake, a dance, with an explanation of an Internet MEME, which is something on the internet that has gone viral due to popularity. There is also a link to the “MHMS Learning Wiki.” http://murrayhill.wikispaces.com/home The school wiki home page has a picture of a superhero and the caption “Avatar Generators & Creators.” This page has the same visual appeal as the blog with a lot of color graphics advertising “Google Apps for Education” and “QR Code Quest: a Library Media Scavenger Hunt.” The wiki, also maintained by the Daring Librarian and linked to the blog, contains a link to an amazing number of “Research Databases” for both students and teachers to use. http://murrayhill.wikispaces.com/Research_Databases On this page the librarian has organized links to World Book, Culture Grams, Sirs, NoodleTools, Howard County Library and many more resources. This blog definitely fulfills its purpose, with a couple of clicks students and teachers can access whatever information they need.
All of these blogs contain numerous links to resources for librarians, teachers and students. Having the ability to link to so many resources from one location makes these blogs an incredible source for anyone looking for information. These blogs demonstrate the tremendous potential for use in any media center. According to the article “Eide Neurolearning Blog Post: Brain of a Blogger” by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide, blogging is becoming an “influential sociocultural force.” They also maintain that blogging can change the blogger’s brain structure because it causes the user to activate their brains differently, and promotes critical and analogical thinking, which corresponds to the first of the AASL Standards for The 21st Century Learner. Eide Nurolearning Blog Post: Brain of a Blogger The “Designing and implementing e-learning” site describes blogs as “An ease-to-update web site publishing tool ideal for online journals, diaries, portfolios and web communities. Can include text, audio, video and “feeds” from other blogs.” http://designing.flexiblelearning.net.au/gallery/activities/blogs.htm
With all of the activities that can be done and the skills that students can use when participating on a blog, many skills from the other AASL Standards for The 21st Century Learner can be covered such as: 2.1.5 Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems, 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners, and 4.1.7 use social networks and information tools to gather and share information (AASL). Using blogs in the media center is a very effective way to incorporate all four AASL standards.
It is evident that blogs have a variety of uses, but in order to share the power of blogging with teachers in my building and other school librarians in my district I would need to lead the way by example. If I could create a blog that gave my colleagues links to valuable and practical information, then that would give them a reason to follow my library blog. There, I would suggest that they check out posted links to other professional and classroom blogs. After seeing so many examples of how blogs can be used and the kind of information that can be posted, they might be willing to try blogging themselves. Professional blogs are the perfect place to save time with professional development. I intend to use this valuable resource to connect to information in the library field posted by experts willing to share their experience. After investigating library blogs, the conclusion that I have reached is that blogs are a valuable, flexible tool that should be incorporated into any thriving 21st century media center.
AASL. Standards For The 21st Century Learner. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2007.