New Version of 23 Things is Coming!

Image by lukew. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by lukew. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

Over five years ago, the seven regional Minnesota multitype  library systems brought you 23 Things on a Stick, a self-paced learning program about Web 2.0 tools. Over 300 people in our Central Minnesota region engaged in the self-paced online learning fun, and we had a large group of people who finished the program too!

When it comes to technology, five years is a long time and there have been a lot of changes. A big change is the shift to mobile devices. We know that PCs are on the decline and mobile devices are skyrocketing. Therefore, we think it only makes sense to continue the learning with a focus on “mobile.” This version of the program  will  also be a self-paced learning program that will identify 23 types of apps for you to explore or take to a whole new level. As we did in the original program, we will be asking participants to blog about their progress through the program. As noted by a participant from the past program, “the blog posts are where the real sharing happens. By reading the blogs of others in the program, I can easily see how others in the field are using the tools in their work setting, and sometimes in their personal lives too. This application piece is what creates the ‘stickiness’ I need to retain new information”

The program will be open to all staff in any Minnesota library – public, academic, school, or special – as well as members of their Governing Boards, their Friends groups, or Advisory Groups. Experienced users as well as novices and everyone in between are invited to join. Although this is a self-paced and self-directed program, CMLE staffers and additional coaches will be monitoring, coaching, and encouraging bloggers from Aitkin, Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright counties in Minnesota.

CMLE may offer some workshops to support this program, but not for every Thing. This is a self-paced program, and participants are encouraged to work together in their libraries or region and share their discoveries and techniques. Sharing can happen in person or through participant blogs. Registration happens as part of Thing 1 (projected for January), so be thinking about which mobile device you might use, and stay tuned for future updates!

Reluctant Reader Session at MLA

Image by Rob Boudon. Retrieved in Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by Rob Boudon. Retrieved in Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

Last month, I blogged about my son who had become disengaged with reading in a post titled, Books & Boys. So, at this year’s MLA conference when I saw they were hosting a session titled: Reaching the Reluctant Teen Reader: From Creation to Circulation, I knew immediately that I wanted to attend. Because of the popularity of this session, I thought our readers would also find this information helpful. Here are my session notes.

This session was a structured panel discussion with an author, librarian (public) and editor.  First the panelists talked about why some teens aren’t reading which included the following;

  • Active adolescents are unable to sit still for long periods of time.
  • Some  teenagers struggle to make connections between the reality of their world and the world of books.
  • Books don’t have as strong of a pull than other forms of media (TV, video games, internet, etc.)
  • Reading may be perceived as uncool, anti-social or too much like an adult.

Another important conversation that occurred was the identification of books struggling readers might be more prone to read. The physical appearance of these books are generally catchy, action oriented, with larger print and greater amounts of white spaces on each page. In terms of fiction books, reluctant readers have a tendency to gravitate toward books that they can relate to, with a touches of humor, action rather than descriptive text, with limited but well defined characters. The panel also suggested ways in which librarians can help get books in the hands of reluctant readers through displays, shelving “quick reads” together, posting student book reviews, hosting book talks, taking the library (on the go) out into the community, and developing efficient electronic assess to books.

As a result of this session, CMLE would like to bring a reluctant reader event to our area. Watch for it in upcoming events with CMLE this December!

Featured Book: The Falcon in the Glass

This post is a part of an original series created by librarians/media specialists across Central Minnesota featuring booksIf you have a book you would like to showcase, send your review to our offices.

Review by Maria Burnham, SRRHS Library Media Specialist

Book: The Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher

Maria Burnham, SRRH Library Media Specialist
Maria Burnham, SRRH Library Media Specialist

The novel The Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher is technically classified as a middle school-level fantasy novel, although the book reads more like historical fiction than fantasy.  I was hesitant to read the book at first because fantasy is usually one of the last genres I reach for off the shelf.  However, I enjoyed this book immensely and find it appropriate for both high school and middle school students.

The novel follows the life of Renzo, a teenage boy who is working toward becoming a glassblower (his father’s dying wish for his son) in Venice, Italy as a means of supporting his mother and sister. With no one to teach him the trade, Renzo works tirelessly day and night to perfect his skills.  One night, however, he notices a small falcon in the shop; the bird belongs to a girl who has been hiding in the glassworks for warmth and protection.  And it turns out she’s not alone.  She’s one of ten orphaned children with bright green eyes who are condemned as witches thanks to their ability to communicate with birds.  Renzo struggles between helping these needy children and fulfilling the obligations of his future career to support his own family.

This novel contains both strong male and female characters alike. It explores the theme of moral obligations in the human race and would be a book that many students would enjoy, appreciate, and could easily discuss.

Halloween How-To

Image by air_jordanpj. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by air_jordanpj. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

Here’s the Trick:

In the spirit of Halloween,in our  Just for Fun this week, CMLE shines a light on the time honored tradition of pumpkin carving  which originated in the mid-1800’s. Learn more about this tradition at Hungry History, The Halloween Pumpkin: An American History (October 2013.) Then click on the following links to inspire your next carved creation;

For an Added Treat:

In 1983, Michael Jackson released his iconic Thriller video.  Just for fun, in the spirit of Halloween, CMLE also links you to an interesting remake by Braulio Cesar Linares called Library Thriller (8:39) featuring a young man struggling to follow library rules.

Your Voice: One-to-One (1:1) Initiatives in Central Minnesota

Central MN Libraries Exchange
Central MN Libraries Exchange

Your Voice is a column that shares Quick Question Poll (QQP) results from libraries/school media centers in the twelve-county, CMLE region. Whether a statistical response or textual response to open ended questions, your voice matters. Invitations to engage in the polls arrive in your email; please participate! Most poll results will be shared in aggregate form unless stated otherwise in the poll or through additional approval arrangements.

Last year in April, we asked a total of five questions of school media center staff in our twelve-county region about 1:1 Initiatives. When we refer to 1:1, we are referring to schools who have moved to an educational setting where each student is furnished with  a dedicated device, sometimes a laptop, sometimes a tablet or other similar portable device (in BYOD schools, students furnish the device). In some schools, students are allowed to take devices home, some schools allow them to use devices in the summer too. In some 1:1 schools, no print textbooks are used, and new needs for simultaneous use of affordable online content is the most pressing issue. Teachers and media specialists often share this pressing issue, and are looking for opportunities to hear what other schools have deemed appropriate for teaching different subjects at various grade levels.

CMLE serves 265 schools, and there is a broad range of interest, adoption and/or engagement in this topic. Our sample size was small, a total of 33 schools participated in this poll, which was a bit disappointing. In part, these results could help inform some of our future programming, so a larger sample would be more useful in future QQPs. However, this data helps us pinpoint the state of 1:1’s for 33 schools. The questions and their results are shown below.

1. Has your school incorporated a “one-to-one” (1:1) initiative? Please select all answers that apply.

  • My “school” currently has a 1:1 initiative (19%)
  • My “school” is currently planning a 1:1 school initiative (22%)
  • There has been some discussion at the “district level”, but no plans to move ahead at this time (31%)
  • We are NOT planning a 1:1 initiative at my “school” (38%)

2. If you answered “yes” to question 2, what types of devices is your school using in their 1:1 work?

  • iPads: 68.97%
  • Laptops: 34.48%
  • Chromebooks: 27.59%
  • iPods: 3.45%

3.     Are you part of a team discussing or implementing 1:1 initiatives at your school/district?

  • Yes: 53%
  • No:  25%
  • Not sure if such a team exists: 22%

4.     Who is the primary contact in your school regarding 1:1 initiatives?

  • Media Specialist or Director: 31%
  • IT Department Staff: 34%
  • Curriculum Director: 9%
  • Tech Integrationists: 9%
  • No one at this time: 28%
  • Other: In most cases, these responses were principals or superintendants

5.      In closing, we asked participants to indicate the grades engaged in 1:1.

  • By far, 1:1 is most heavily implemented in high school, with a slight increase in ninth grade, where students entering high school often receive their device as a beginning high school experience. Middle school grades followed closely behind high school, with lightest, almost no 1:1 engagement until sixth grade.

As CMLE refines its focus on the needs of school media centers, it is important for our staff to understand the changing role of the media specialists in 1:1 schools. Kudos to the media specialists who serve as the primary contact or part of the team at their school  for 1:1. It is an exciting, yet challenging time, and teams that prevail and succeed feel stronger and often re-invigorated in their practice! And, everyone in the school understands the power of having the media specialist as part of the team.

Did you know that the highest ranking need of school media staff in our region (69%) is to  engage in opportunities to talk to/collaborate with peers in the field. Yet, many of those people do not feel they are able to leave their setting to do this important work. See our full post next week to hear other results of that poll and to hear of  ways CMLE is prepared to help meet this need.

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