Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Basically I think this voice recorder is pretty cool. Who knew you could record your voice and turns into text

The Trouble With Filters

When my daughters were students at South Middle School and Morgantown High School they were members of what I think is the most marvelous student group ever, Technology Student Association (TSA).  Their main advisor was South's vocational arts teacher Paul Kimbrew.  I remember vividly sitting in a parent meeting at South as Mr. Kimbrew gave guidelines for appropriate non-uniform dress at the conference.
"What plays in Morgantown does not play in the rest of West Virginia.  Heck, what plays in Morgantown does not even play in Fairmont."
(Fairmont is a town about 20 miles south of Morgantown.)

Mr. Kimbrew's point was that Morgantown is a relatively progressive community and more forgiving of extreme fashion trends than many areas in our state.  He suggested, for the sake of students not being removed from mixers due to "inappropriate" attire, that discretion and parental oversight by used when packing for this trip.

Herein lies the problem with filters, particularly those that are imposed over a large geographic area.  Norms of one community may impinge upon the intellectual needs of others.  It is my belief that those who control the filters tend to do so for the more conservative, if not extreme, members of the community.  This limits the rights of others to explore topics that may be of interest to some for fear of possibly offending others.

There is a difference between political correctness and censorship.  In this blog I do not feel it is appropriate to share religious views or personal criticisms of...anyone!  In restraining myself, I am hoping my blog stays accessible to the widest range of educators. But education, lifelong learning in particular, is a personal experience for each recipient.  Ideas should not be censored.  We need access to a wide variety of ideas to learn how to make sound decisions.

There is growing concern that in schools, if we are to continue using the wide technology opportunities available to our students, the use of filters must be radically reduced. As Ian Quillen notes in Education Week's Digital Directions, no one in his right mind would advocate totally open access to everything, filtering restrictions must be relaxed in order to fully take advantage of the resources available to our students.  Quillen's post also notes that too often filters are set not to protect students from inappropriate content, but to protect administrators from inconvenient complaints.  A balance on the side of open access is needed.

Pets are Muggle Patroni. Yep, you heard it here first.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nice to see that three of my students used Destiny Quest over Thanksgiving Break to find new books and update their personal reading lists!
Open library night from 4 to 7!
"Hunger in America is a political condition." Leonard Pitts, Jr. http://ping.fm/nL6bN

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just finished reading my first novel on my kindle app for Android.
Just finished reading my first novel on my kindle app for Android.
Open library tomorrow from 4-7. Come join us!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - North Pole man succumbs to injuries from propane explosion

Check out this website I found at newsminer.com

My best friend's nephew died as a result of this explosion. Prayers for the Reed family.

Posted via email from suzimartin's posterous

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am very grateful to my shelvers Jadyn L., Peyton V. Perry M., and Paige D.
A monthly long technology boycott? A new post to http://ping.fm/lCPU9

A Month-long Technology Boycott

@Librarianbyday Bobbie Newman tweeted that danah boyd, the digital ethnographer, is forsaking all electronic forms of communication during her upcoming vacation.  Essentially, all emails will be bounced back to the server, and no feeds will be waiting for her when she returns from vacation. She will return to work a month later with a clean inbox, a clean feed, and a refreshed mind. Newman comments that she wished she possessed the nerve to do the same. I doubt I could do this.  I don't know that I would want to.

I have learned so much by being plugged in 24/7.  I feel a sense of connectedness with my PLN and my social circle. I learn about trends and best practices in the library world and education. I learn what is relevant in the lives of my Facebook friends. I stay in tune with current events in my community and throughout the world.  It is through my feeds on Google Reader and through Twitter that I learn about new technology and it's applications and about online learning opportunities.  If I disconnected from all this for a month, I would feel like one would if he were in total isolation, solitary confinement.

So, I don't think I could abandon social media for a month, even though I did cut down on Facebook last winter. (Too many complaints about weather were bringing my down, so I chose not to look at status updates, except those of family.)  I think I would be fine for a day or two, but then anxiety would get the better of me, and I would reconnect.

Still, I think there is something very romantic about being alone with your own thoughts.  My writing would be clearer, if without as many references.  I would feel an inner peace and calm without the white noise of media and the dings of email alerts and TweetDeck notifications.  I might even be able to clear my environment of all noise by unplugging everything in my bedroom and truly getting some rest.  It sounds very peaceful and inviting.  I may try it someday, for a short period of time.

But not now!  Too much to do, even on vacation!

Mrs. Johnson Would Be Proud

Our annual Veteran's Day Program at Brookhaven Elementary School was held November 10, 2010.  It was a service, a word I would not use lightly, attended by all faculty, students, family members and active military.  Mrs. Helen B. Johnson would be have been proud.

Helen Johnson was a third grade teacher in our school who retired way too young. I believe she was in her late sixties when she retired, but because her age was a carefully guarded secret, no one really knew.  She met retirement with all the resistance she could muster, finally giving in to the ill health that caused her to give less than what she thought her students deserved.  Her students and colleagues certainly would have disagreed.  Shortly following her retirement she passed away, leaving all her colleagues somewhat lost and forsaken.  Though she is gone, her spirit certainly lives on in our school.

A few years ago, our Partners-in-Education program at our school instituted the Helen B. Johnson Memorial Essay contest.  Each year two winners are chosen who have written the most compelling essays explaining what America means to them.  She would have been pleased with this year's winners, who stressed their freedoms to read and receive an education.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The next big thing is "Us." From the Unquiet Librarian http://ping.fm/JZVr5

Friday, November 12, 2010

Very proud of my November readers! I have seen AR points soar this week!
Very proud of my November readers! I have seen AR points soar this week!
Is it just at my school, or are students sleepwalking through school all across America today? Amazing how one day off can disrupt routine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fourth Grade Book Club in Progress! A new post to http://ping.fm/6OMqo
Finally! A new post to http://ping.fm/dFRdp Are we really the average of the five people we spend the most time with?

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

As I go through my Google Reader account, I always find something that makes me think about life and my purpose.  I don't always have time to reflect upon and to write about my findings, but starring gems of interest allows me to revisit intriguing items when hopefully I have more time to think.  The quote that is the title of this post falls into this category.

I found this quote from motivational speaker Jim Rohn on my feed from LifeHacker. Adam Dachis, the author of the post, invited readers to think about whether we really are the average of those we spend the most time with.  Certainly, I agree that the company you keep can either lift you up or drag you down.  We always want our children to hang out with children who consistently make good choices rather than with those who are constantly in trouble.  Guilt by association is a heavy burden we have all been threatened with.

So, who are the five that compose my average?  At school, I probably associate most with Rob McIe, our physical education teacher, Davene Burks, our principal, and Keith Wolfe, our behavioral disorder teacher.  I can't say I really seek out other people or that other people seek me (we are all too busy!) although I certainly interact and have a cordial relationship with all our faculty.  Since I think these three are wonderful, caring people, I have no problem considering myself the average of these three.

In my personal life, I find myself surrounded most by my husband, my daughter Lora and my dog, Roxy.  Life is certainly interesting and raucous around them.  Am I the average of them? I'm not sure about that!  I think I am more the average of my three cats!

Mathematically, I have to reject this theory:  If we all are the average of five people, how can we contribute to our own individual traits to this equation?  Individually, we have a lot to offer, both at home and at work.  It sure does help if our contributions bring a little more light to those around us!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Open library night until 7PM. Also open on Nov15, Nov29 and Dec13 for kids needing points for the bowling trip. Point cutoff Dec15.
All the books that were returned during the book fair have been checked in. Not shelved, but it's a start.