Voting, who Cares about Voting?

Alright, so the post title might seem like it has nothing to do with information literacy, teaching, libraries, anything else I actually said I would discuss on this blog, etc. But actually, voting has everything to do with the mission of getting out information, empowering students and just trying to change the world.

This is an awesome, star-studded video talking about voting in a way that is sure to catch the attention of even the most apathetic student. Seriously, share it with all. And it is not too late to register to vote in California. Oh, and thanks to Judith for the link and agreeing that it makes a great discussion point for any talk about information and power.

After you are done watching this video, check out the Absentee Voter Guide from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. It is an interactive map with information on what is needed to vote absentee and links to all the forms necessary plus deadlines for applying.

Now you have no excuse–you can now rock the vote. And look–application of information literacy to current events and real life outside the classroom!

Another Post Inspired by Back to School Time

I’m still completely in the back-to-school mode of thought and this post reflects it. Think of it as a continuation of Friday’s post: two parts fun and one part seriousness.

I was reflecting on one of my favorite quotes yesterday, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” (Don Swartz). I thought that it was very appropriate in our roles both as librarians and as teachers. We know a lot about a whole lot of things, but no one really does care unless we can help them. Like the best teachers always say about the classes they teach: the class isn’t about the teacher, s/he already knows the content, it is about the students and what we can learn from each other. This concept works with marketing the library as well, but that is another day’s post.

Want proof of the power of caring? Check out Rate My Professor. Do you see your name there? If you check out professors, the ones that actually help their students and care about their students’ learning are the ones who most often get the highest ratings. Caring, not being an easy grader, is the key to becoming a great professor. It is fun to look at the professors responses to their students ratings too.

Here is one of the great interactive sites on the web Free Rice. Here you can improve your vocabulary while getting sponsors who advertise on the site to donate rice to the UN World Hunger Program. For every answer you get right, 20 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Hunger Program. It’s easy, it stretches your brain and you get to help people without ever leaving your computer. And to think that some say interactive web has no good uses!

Do you love music? Do you want a soundtrack to play at work so you aren’t distracted by everyone coming in and out of your office all day? Check out Pandora from the Music Genome Project. You get to design your own radio stations that only play the music you like. You can choose one of their already made stations or create your own station around your favorite artists, songs, genres, etc. Just follow the really simple instructions for creating a free account and start making stations. You can make a station to listen to when writing articles, another for when you need some energy, etc. Go have some fun on Pandora.

I promise the next post will be less about back-to-school and more about diving into the fray of Web2.0 and libraries. Happy Monday!

Fun on a Friday

Today’s post is mostly about having fun with a little bit of food-for-thought thrown in along the way. I think we need some fun because it is a hot Friday and school has started!

Do you know what your sound is? Really-there is a site called Sound Badge that lets you create your own sound badge that you can use on your mobile phone, with Skype or on your blog if it allows JavaScript. I found this cool resource through Librarian in Black blog. While I’m not thrilled that there is no rock option for starting as the base of a sound badge (it will make more sense once you have been to the site, trust me), it is still fun and you could have all your students make a sound badge and compare them online. Mine’s here.

Did you know that many books have teaser trailers that are available on YouTube? Well, it was news to me. Some of the trailers were hilarious while others were very serious. Many were quite professionally done. I think this is a great way to publicize books. I think we need a trailer for our library on YouTube.

Here is the food-for-thought article on Jakob Nielsen’s findings of online literacy. If his name sounds familiar, it is not surprising as he is the big name in usability testing, among other research areas. He makes the case that online reading is not a replacement for reading in print based on his extensive research. This has profound implications for online teaching and online campuses. If students, and people in general, do not process or even read blocks of text online, how do we deliver online classes that require reading long passages of complicated text such as philosophy, history or English? What does this tell us about the whole push of buying ebooks (I’m not thinking of Kindle, etc. here but of ebooks that are read through online platforms such as ebrary, etc.)? Do students use them? Do they retain the information? Like I said, profound implications for online learning and for those of us who are trying to do what is best for our students in this increasingly online environment.

Now, I couldn’t end on such a heavy note for this Friday, so I have for you an article (with photographs) of a completely envy-inspiring library. I want Jay Walker’s library–enough said.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. Comments always welcomed.