What digital natives want from their library

Out of the mouth of a baby! This is a lovely video to open a conference.

This video of 3 year old Abbey was used launch the 15th Biennial VALA Conference and Exhibition in Melbourne Australia. http://www.vala.org.au #VALA2010

From VALATV: “This is actually Abbey’s voice, she sat in front of the camera and said these things. While Abbey was following a script, she really does like libraries (and books and story time). Actually, she willingly gave up an afternoon playing with friends on the beach to go to the library and make this short film.”


Navify – Searching Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube

My colleague Tania found this tool via the Free technology for teachers blog. I had seen Nibipedia, but Navify was a new tool for me to look at. It is a mash-up of Wikipedia, Flickr, and YouTube.

We all know that many of our students use Wikipedia,which may be developing into the world’s most extensive encyclopedias, as people continue to build on the information it contains. It does sometimes lack visual content, ie. pictures and more often videos, to assist with the written explanations. This can, at times, place a limit on its informative value. 

Navify seeks to redress this problem. Like Nibipedia, it attempts to match videos and images to Wikipedia articles.



To use Navify:

Go to the Navify site and do a standard Wikipedia search (no log in required) by simply entering your search term, just as you would in any search. The results will be returned in a tabbed form displaying:

  • Wikipedia article
  • related images and
  • related videos.

The images tab offers photos added by Wikipedia (or Navify users) and those automatically discovered on Flickr. It is very new at the moment but, as more users come on board, I can see this becoming a great source for relevant and useful images.


Video tab

Video tab

The videos tab works exactly the same way except that it finds related videos from YouTube.

Commenting on articles is also allowed. Navify is also supporting these comments using Disqus, so you will be able to read what people are saying about the Navify article pages.

The service is also planning on offering a music player so that users can listen to full related songs and audio content. So far I have found with my searching that Navify enhances the Wikipediaoption. It is still developing but has potential to become much greater. There seems to be no end to what tools people are thinking up to try and create better searching options. They won’t all survive and it will be the users who decide, in many cases.  It is a very interesting time for those of us interested in information searching.

Students review Ipod Touch and IPhone devices

Joy’s Flatclassroom 2008 project video is a  great video that interviews students who use itouch and the iphone devices. Asks what they think about them and the things they can do with these tools. If your students have itouches and iphones at school they are probably doing things you may not want. Should schools ban them or work on appropriate use and behaviour. A Flat classroom project.
Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Project

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The library fiction collection – taking stock

I have arrived home most nights this week feeling very grimy/dusty. I look forward to a shower. I still have a cough that is worse at the end of the day. The reason for this is that I have been trying to do a combined stocktake of our fiction collection and at the same time cull out the old, the tatty and the unread novels. It is sometimes had to get rid of books that maybe classics in their fields but, if they have not been read for more than 5 years, we have a policy of removing them from the collection. Some I am quite happy to see the last of when they are too damaged to keep (a good excuse). Some of the missing titles are parts of series and I have to find out whether or not I can replace the missing volumes or get rid of the whole series (or trilogy). I have on occasion in the past gone to second-hand books shops to replace out-of-print books. It is at this time of the year I understand just how many books in the collection are out at any one time. Each year when we have sorted the books, we will take those that are is reasonable to various charity shops. We have been told that the fiction always sells well (especially when it is 50cents or $1). Stock taking is such an “Old” library thing to do but it really gives you a feel for the books and what the boys are reading. No print out or computer screen does it with quite the same feel or offer the same understanding that this hands-on approach does. It is also necessary if we are going to have a collection that is relevant to the students, and the space for it!

We have also had to send a lot of letters home to try to encourage boys to bring back the books they still have in their possession. This always brings mixed reactions. Some parents are every supportive and others are less so.

I have also been writing reports for my Pastoral care group. I meet with these boys every morning. My pastoral care group has 4 boys from each of the year levels (7-12). They arrive in my group in year 7 and we are together until they leave at the end of year 12. I therefore get to know these boys and their parents very well. It is good to be able to get the parent perspective about our schools procedures and policies.

A video about how parents can help create great schools from Heidi Hass Gable. Heidi is a mother, from a school parents group, who has eloquently looked at the subject of a child’s education from a family perspective. It is very thoughtful and really puts the case for the parents and the school to work together in educating the young people we both have in our care.

Book Trailers – rubric

The Sorcerer of the North Trailer. Released for US market a few weeks ago. 

I am working on my presentation about using book trailers with students as an alternative way to respond to their reading. I am also creating a wiki about all things to do with reading. This will be my second wiki and I hope to explore more visual options and create something useful for teachers to begin with.

Today I have finished/finalised a rubric I created to assess book trailers created by students. It can be found on this wiki, which is, as I have said, is only in its infancy. I would be interested in any comments on the rubric. It is always interesting deciding what to put in and I think that I will end up with at least 2 rubrics to cover some alternative approaches to using the book trailer as a way of responding to a book, YA Literature or some reading. I think I will incorporate some group assessment as well to allow for a group approach to creating a book trailer, as it might also be used by literature circles groups.

Engaging our students and teaching RE

I have been to a few faculty meetings and have heard about students not focusing on the task, being engaged with the required work and that there is too much “copying and pasting” into the word documents they are to submit for correction. In one meeting the brilliant idea was to go back to kids using exercise books instead of their laptop computers, to force them to “do their own work”. As I am a visitor to the faculty I restrained myself from banging my head on the desk or jumping up and exclaiming that we should be asking why the kids are so disengaged not simply bleating/moaning about it. Here’s another question, why are we asking them to complete tasks that allow them to just cut and paste? Continue reading

The Communist Library Threat

Here is a little bit of fun for Friday (via the Shifted librarian’s blog). The Colbert report is a satirical US television program. This is a warning about the local public library and what is really going on there!