Thursday, November 12, 2009

Giving Thanks - My PLN

As we approach Thanksgiving, I have to give thanks to my PLN (Personal Learning Network). I should write about the AASL conference, and what I learned and thought about, and I will soon, but today I have my PLN on my mind.
The following diagram illustrates my PLN from the center (the heart), which was also the beginning, out to the also very important periphery, which I check less often but still find very valuable. It represents the layers of my PLN, and although there are some public school librarians and public  librarians I follow avidly (Buffy Hamilton, Joyce Valenza, David Lee King), my coworkers,  local consortium, and other independent school librarians I engage with more frequently about daily issues.

I want to thank the Independent School Library Exchange, ALA's Independent School Section, the Association of Independent School Librarians, and the many librarians and educational technology people I follow, for educating me and engaging in conversation about our profession.

Today I attended a webinar with the educational technologist from my school. David Warlick was presenting at a Linworth webinar about PLNs (he posted his notes about the webinar and handouts), and how to help teachers and co-workers develop them.  Although I feel I have a strong PLN already (thanks!), Mr. Warlick today gave me powerful language to use while talking about the importance of a PLN. He spoke about the PLN as a garden and the need to cultivate it. He acknowledged that fast food (lectures and textbooks) is fine and has its place, but cultivating a garden, an ecosystem with interactions within it, takes time and work to grow better. David Warlick's metaphor spoke to me - I understand my PLN in a new way - I love that! I enjoy gardening, I admire people who find time to garden. I can connect that relationship between gardener and garden to me and the people I follow.
Along with a plan for helping our faculty develop PLNs, the Linworth webinar also gave us a common ground about which to discuss and teach. The educational technologist I work with is relatively new to our school, and I think this webinar has given us place from which to grow together as a team. This professional relationship will need to be cultivated as it is crucial that we, librarian and educational technologist, define our roles and work together well and in a coordinated fashion. Mr. Warlick emphasized the "lifestyle of learning." I experienced it. And I experience it with my Personal Learning Network. Thank You!

Monday, November 2, 2009

NoodleTools and Blogger: Putting your Works Cited on your Site

One of our History teachers is requiring each student make a blog using Blogger. The students will be informing their classmates about famous thinkers and they will be gathering information from several sources, including books. The students are used to using NoodleTools to take notes and format their works cited.

I found that what looks the best is to cut and paste the Works Cited from Word into a gadget. Use the wide gadget option at the bottom of the page and paste the text there. Then no words will be cut off. The URLs will be missing, but URLs are no longer needed in MLA. If the teacher wants the URLs, as our teachers do, students could easily link them in the titles before saving the gadget.
I like how the works cited looks at the bottom of the blog. Also, set as a gadget it will always be there, whether you are looking at the main blog page or just one entry.

I hope this tidbit is helpful to you! I spent time trying out different ways of posting the works cited, and I wanted to share what I think is the best way to do it. Do you have a better way? Or another helpful tip for students using Blogger? Let me know!