Kaplan, Tali Balas; Dolloff, Andrea K.; Giffard, Sue; Still-Schiff, Jennifer (2012). Are Dewey’s days numbered? School Library Journal, 58(10), 24-28, Retrieved from
This article explains the process from idea to conception of doing away with Dewey and creating a new system–categories, subcategories, order, call numbers, and labels–that met the needs of the users at Ethical Cultural Fieldston School in New York City. Two of their earliest questions were “Why are we using decimals in a children’s library, when they don’t learn that until fourth-grade math? And why are our picture books arranged by author, when most children are more interested in the content than in who wrote the book?” (p26) They turned to the work of Linda Cooper, a professor at New York’s Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Science who studied the ways that children categorize topics and themes, and integrated students thoughts into the planning of the new system. They also developed three guiding principles to keep them on track. The new system had to be child-centered, browsable, and flexible. After two years of hard work, they have found that students, teachers, parents, and the rest of the community love the new system, and that they are “better able to collaborate and support the school-wide curriculum.” (28)
It was very validating for me to read this article and discovering that colleagues have had the same questions as I have. For instance, one of my primary challenges has been teaching decimals to students who haven’t learned them yet in their math curriculum! The authors explained the process, challenges, and opportunities thoroughly which would be very useful for others wanting to go through a similar process. They also mentioned the work of Linda Cooper, they also listed the URL for the website they created so others can share their ideas and work. Finally, there’s plenty of anecdotal information to use if needed when discussing these changes with teachers, students, and administrators.
Reece, G. J. (2005). Critical thinking and cognitive transfer: Implications for the development of online information literacy tutorials. Science Direct, 20(4), pp. 482-493. doi:10.1016/j.resstr.2006.12.018
Specifically focusing on how critical thinking skills and abilities will allow people to better process and use the information that they are given during class instruction or from an information provider, the core focus of this article describes how critical thinking skills can be used to better process and understand information. Knowing how to verify and authenticate information, how to vet sources of information, how to provide information are all necessary critical thinking abilities that information provides like librarians need to take into account before providing information to patrons. The same is true from the perspective of the patron or learner, knowing how to verify the information given to them will help prevent faulty or unreliable information from spreading.
As information literacy is the goal many librarians strive for when assisting patrons, it is essential that patrons have the critical literacy skills necessary to comprehend and make use of the information being provided to them. What point is there to giving information to someone who neither understand it or makes use of it? I enjoyed reading this article as critical literacy skills (critical thinking skills) are something I feel people should pay more attention to and invest more time in using throughout their daily lives. It would make things so much easier to accomplish and deal with for everyone.
Hidden Genius is a program in Oakland for Black and Latino males. Here, they learn to code and ultimately use their skills to develop their own apps in a Hack-a-Thon. Young people develop collaboration skills as well as tech skills while creating these apps. Finally, the students pitch their apps to potential funders. This program is developed to keep the young men of Oakland off the streets. Many underserved communities, especially youth, are consumers of technology; here the idea is to make these young people producers of technology. The tech entrepreneur who started this program, Kalimah Priforce says, “If we
want to build an app that could have saved Trayvon Martin’s life, one of the best approaches is to
make sure that Trayvon Martin is able to build that app.”
The young men interviewed in this program are so impressive. In the midst of all the gentrification in the Bay Area right now pushing Black and Latino families and all working class residents out of the area, I find this program really important. The tech industry desperately lacks diversity and what a way to help change the demographics of that field. As a teacher librarian at an urban school in SF, I want to make sure all of my students have access and opportunity to the newest technology. I also want to advocate for them to have these opportunities in the library and in the school as a whole.
- Users should be able to locate high-level information within three clicks
- Eliminate library jargon from navigational system using concise language
- Improve readability of site
- Design a visually appealing site
- Create a site that was easily changeable and expandable
- Market the libraries services and resources through the site
- Find a book using online library catalog
- Find library hours
- Get help from a librarian using QuestionPoint
- Find a journal article
- Find a reference article
- Find journals by title
- Find circulation policies
- Find books on reserve
- Find magazines by title
- Find the library staff contact information
- Find contact information for the branch libraries
Tucker, B. (2012). The flipped classroom: Online instruction at home frees class time for learning. Education Next, 12(1), 82-83. Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/files/ednext_20121_BTucker.pdf
Having read several articles about flipped classrooms, I decided to review this article because it functions well as a quick, concise overview of an introduction to flipped classrooms. It begins with a brief history; five years ago, two science teachers in Colorado, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, decided to record some of their lectures to support students who missed class. As is often the case in education, something new grew from this original goal. The teachers received feedback that other students were using the recorded lessons as a way to reinforce the concepts from class, entirely by choice. Since then, these educators have written a book about the flipped classroom and the Khan Academy has posted over 4000 educational videos. Ted TALKS are also a popular choice for online videos that may introduce, or more thoroughly explore, a subject.
Flipping a classroom can be very effective for presenting content—in forms of lectures, demonstrations, etc. If students are watching (at their own pace and with the ability to go back and re-watch as is needed) these lessons as homework, then they can practice the skills in class, with individualized support of the teacher. Teachers also have reported that it is easier to provide remediation and differentiate for advanced students this way. But teachers are careful to point out that it is not the lessons themselves (though they need to be thoughtfully created or chosen) but the way that they are integrated into the classroom that is key to the success and the improvement of practice. Also—that individual teachers should not be expected to purchase the technology needed, except by choice.
Despite the positive experience many teachers and students are having with varying degrees of flipping their classrooms, the article reminds the educational community of several aspects to consider with this revolutionary way of changing classroom practice. The article cautions, “And, in today’s highly polarized political environment, it also runs the risk of being falsely pigeonholed into one of education’s many false dichotomies, such as the age-old pedagogical debate between content knowledge and skills acquisition.” It is something to keep at the forefront of the discussion—that it is another option for creative, effective instruction—not a fix-all. It may work better for some subjects and some lessons within a subject. Also, it is not something to leap into, but to change in incremental, thoughtful ways. Schools need to consider the access to technology that their students have outside of class, as well as how something engaging and special could become tedious if it’s what every teacher is doing, or if the videos are not engaging or of high-quality instruction. The bottom line is it is an exciting practice that teachers/librarians should continue exploring and using in a measured and creative way, combined with the other best practices we are already doing.