July is one of my favorite times of year! This is usually the month that I catch up on the reading--professional and otherwise--that I just don't get around to during the school year. I usually have various home improvement projects going during the month--this year, it's tiling the house, which necessitates painting walls, replacing and painting baseboards, napping frequently to avoid all of the above... I spend a lot of time on Twitter with my PLN there as we attempt to recharge our batteries for the coming year.
I also spend a lot of time viewing & thinking about professional conferences & presentations that I've missed during the year, or those that I need to see and think about again! ISTEvision is always a treasure trove of ideas and I love, love, LOVE the openness with which the ISTE approaches their annual conference. Almost everything is online--much of it streamed in real time. It really is phenomenal. ISTE ROCKS
This morning, I was catching up with the amazing Teacher Librarian Smackdown, and got no further than the first round, when I had to stop and go use one of the tools that I learned about! I created this Google Search Story to promote our library and it's theme for this year:
Cute, eh? And they've made it wildly easy to do on Youtube with the Google Search Story Video Creator!
After I created it though, I realized that it will be problematic for me to post on the library web site to share with my students--anything that I want to embed on my page is always a pain, but I can usually figure out a way to make it work in our arcane program!
No, the problem will come with the curriculum department, which has intermittently supported blocking Google over the years, and still maintains an anti-google stance, for the most part. They purchase Nettrekker yearly for student use, and it is a good tool, I admit! I find that it feels "artificial" to me however. While students can use it from home, and some do, the go-to tool for most people is still Google!
As a librarian, of course I encourage my students to use authoritative sources such as our online databases for their research. I want them--and their teachers--to go to these sources first when searching for reliable information! Additionally, I want them to consider using Creative Commons images and music whenever possible, and perhaps even use Nettrekker first, to see if a "safe" web site can be found using those tools. However, I also know that Google is the first place that most students, parents AND teachers go when they need to know something "on the fly." I want my kids to have the information literacy skills to discern which is reliable information--a daunting task these days! And it's a vital one as well. How can they do that if we create an artificial, thoroughly blocked experience for them at school? That certainly won't be the case for most of them when they go home to use technology!
So. Back to my really cute video.
I guess I won't put it on my web site. I may use it with kids later on to make the point that Google is a great tool to find certain types of information. Brings me to the point that my husband, a non-educator, is fond of making. He says that the education machine has an amazing ability to take a great idea and lame it up to the point that it's unappealing to everyone involved. I think he hit the nail on the head.