DeSTEMber is sponsored by Girlstart, an organization whose mission involves empowering girls to continue STEM studies, an ambitious goal considering the White House estimates only a mere 24% of scientists and engineers are women. If you’re not particularly science-oriented, promoting STEM can seem daunting, bit Girlstart’s associated website provides a wealth of programming ideas, many in online modules, as well as an archive of DeSTEMber content from 2012. There are synchronous guest lectures planned from many top-flight science centers and zoos around the country as well, so all you have to do is dial in.
Ways to connect with DeSTEMber 2013 from Girlstart:
1. Join Girlstart’s exclusive ‘Girlstart for Educators’ Google+ community‘ to receive our DeSTEMber activities before we release them to the public.
2. Request to get your classroom involved to participate live with virtual guest speakers here.
3. Download State and National Standards aligned DeSTEMber calendar here: 2012 and 2013.
4. Follow #deSTEMber to share your classroom photos on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
5. Click here for DeSTEMber 2012!
The YALSAblog will join in DeSTEMber throughout the month, sharing exceptional STEM programming and resources for teens and tweens. And Kelly Czarnecki will be highlighting a range of Learning Labs supported by the Macarthur Foundation, and your imagination is bound to be sparked by these spaces and programs in museums and libraries across the country. We hope this constructivist movement will provide a nice antidote to the consumerism of the season.
Format: iOS and Android
Any school librarian knows that audiobooks of curricular reading will, at some point, be required to help support students with learning differences. But those might not always require a line item in your budget. LibriVox, an app offering ”acoustical liberation of books in the public domain,” offers an easy way for students to stream or download high-quality audiofiles to their own devices, so they can follow along with the print or to suit their own learning modalities.
For an open, volunteer-driven project, the selection of available titles in LibriVox is impressive. Jane Austen fanatics can find juvenilia, letters, and the memoir written by Austen’s nephew, in addition to multiple recordings, most available either voiced by solo readers or dramatized by a full cast, for each of Austen’s novels. And teen listeners have preferences in reader gender and accent, so the availability of a choice of narrators can’t be underestimated.
The same files accessed via the app are available via the LibriVox website. Some of these books are also being fed, selectively, into the Project Gutenberg audiobook collection (which does have the advantage of conversion of each book into a multiplicity of audio file formats). A small ad at the bottom of app display seems a small concession for access.
As I work with students and teachers, I keep close tabs on my email and RSS feeds throughout the day. It’s not killing time, it’s keeping up, and it’s essential to my work as a school librarian. And I’m just as quick to respond to a request from a colleague thousands of miles away as to help those in my building. And when I have a question, I throw it out to my PLN, educators and librarians across the country and around the world using a vast variety of networks, automation systems, and applications in a diverse range of settings. And the response is always useful, and often thought-provoking.
It’s what’s called being a Connected Educator, and this is how it’s described by the eponymous organization: ”Online communities and learning networks are helping hundreds of thousands of educators learn, reducing isolation and providing “just in time” access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration. However, many educators are not yet participating and others aren’t realizing the full benefits. In many cases, schools, districts, and states also are not recognizing and rewarding this essential professional learning.”
I’d venture to say that many school librarians were connected educators before connected educators were a thing.If you’ve worked in this field for more than a decade, I’m sure you can remember earlier incarnations of burning up the bush telegraph, via listservs, gopher-esque discussion boards, or text-based email between buildings or across the state. Then blogs and RSS started cropping up, making it even easier to pull the information you want, rather than just the information you need, or to push your own information to others.
So many youth services librarians work alone — as either the only information professional, or the only teen specialist, in a larger institution. And I hope that our professional preparation armed us for combating this this isolation. I remember signing up for two listservs as a requirement in an introductory class in library school in the late 1990s. I chose one for art librarians (I had majored in art as an undergraduate) and one for newspaper librarians. And I now know ridiculous amounts about working in those type of special libraries, just because of that passive exposure years ago.
As a librarian working with teens, I often think of one of my most important roles is encouraging connections between young people and the wider world. I’ve done a project where students up-cycled magazines into PostSecret-type confessions to unburden themselves, but even looking for PostSecret examples to share with teens can be a little like Russian roulette, given that so many of the messages are NSFW.
A new book by Keri Smith, encourage users to use the public postal mail format to share in a more targeted way. Smith, the creator of Wreck This Journal, uses a similar creative scaffolding in her new project Everything is Connected: Reimagining the World One Postcard at a Time (Perigee; October 1).
Smith’s partially-designed postcards offer space for readers to confess their secrets, become superheroes, travel through time, create a secret identity profile and interact with people yet unknown. And it will provide teen librarians with an easy, fool-proof programming resource, as well a great jumping-off point for conversations about the shared challenges of the human condition.
The result of the postcards, Smith hopes, is a deviation from life as usual and the discovery of human connections—new and old.
Title: Wallpapers 2
Platform: iOS 7.0 or later
Wallpapers 2 (which, as recentlly as last week, was known as ScreenMotion iOS7) is a teen-recommended solution to a teen-voiced conundrum. Why don’t you have the ability to “zoom out” when you set a picture as your iPhone wallpaper? Too much can get lost, cropped out by that process.
Wallpapers 2 lock screen preview
As one student told another about the free app with a range of art optimized for iOS7 devices, I downloaded it as well. There are hundreds (at the least) of very attractive HD pictures, ranging from pets and nature to cityscapes and abstract digital images. I didn’t see any that weren’t “school appropriate,” though the advertising is a little bit spicier. (more…)
At the beginning of every school year, some school librarians inevitably grouse about sitting through whole-faculty professional development because they have to get the library — both patron records and the collection — ready to circulate. They often say their needs differ from those of classroom teachers, and their professional learning should reflect that.
I would argue that school librarians need that learning and more. School librarians actually need more ongoing professional development than anyone else in the building. Why? It’s not because we’re bad at our jobs. It’s because, in this critical, school-spanning role, we have to stay ahead of the curve to support the needs of students and teachers. This means we need to know the school things and also the library things, and maybe the technology things as well… (more…)
It’s our sister division AASL’s Banned Website Awareness Day, reminding us that books aren’t the only information sources whose access can be challenged.
For the past ten years, by law, libraries must be CIPA-compliant. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) stipulates that public and school libraries receiving federal e-rate funding must implement technology that prohibits Internet access to visual images of child pornography, obscenity, and material that is “harmful to minors.” As a recent YALSA blog post pointed out, this does not translate into blocking social media.
Over the past two years, I’ve worked in two different systems with radically different approaches to filtering, so I’ve seen first-hand how those policies affect students. (more…)
Platform: iOS and Android
It’s the electronic equivalent of passing notes without lifting a finger. The Chirp app by Animal Systems promotes near-passive communication, sending and receiving links, images, and notes through the exchange of a synthesizer tone.
Download and launch the app, then play this video to experience the process:
In our second week of school, we had our first 2013 graduate return from college to visit.
She had popped in on her way from work — she is working a morning shift at fast food and taking 15 semester hours at the community college — and as she looked around our temporary space, she wanted to know when the new school library would become open. “And will it be public?” she said, “I remember they said the library would be public…”
The construction is barely underway, so I told her it would be a while. While the planned space would be available for the community, I wasn’t certain if the library collection would be.
The problem with the library at the community college, she asserted, was there wasn’t anything good to read. “It’s all encyclopedias,” she said.
As I looked at this book-loving girl, a girl who dressed as Effie Trinket for costume day during homecoming week, who was thrilled to tell me that she has the sixth Mortal Instruments book preordered, and I realized I didn’t prepare her for the community college library. (more…)
Andrea or Drea (either is fine!) Sowers, Joliet Public Library (IL) – Teen Services Librarian
Where you’ll find me…. Online: Twitter: YALibrarianDrea Blog: www.bookblather.net
When I’m not working, I… playing geeky board games, reading, writing, knitting, taking pictures, or just catching up on shows/snuggling with the puppy & kitty.
My favorite things to do online include… play games & chat
Last awesome YA book you’ve read… Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? Information that can help our members’ job easier/better. (more…)