Friday, November 21, 2014

From Physical to Digital

When I was going through high school, doing research papers for my language arts classes, internet resources were few and far between. I remember using the CDs for Encarta, and looking for books and magazines in our school's brand new computer catalog. But searching the internet for information was not second nature to us yet. I was trapped in the physical resources world.

One of my first introductions to online resources was when I took English 101 through UWEC during my senior year of high school. We went to the UWEC library one day and got introduced to the massive database warehouse EBSCOhost. Nearly every magazine, journal, and newspaper at your disposal; wow. Doing full-text searches meant I could stay in my pajamas at 11:30 on a Sunday night and get my research done for the paper I had due Monday. A whole world of digital resources had opened up.

Then, just as I was starting my college career, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) started a service called Badgerlink. Designed to be limited to Wisconsin residents, Badgerlink had access to EBSCOhost, which is a paid service. The site also offered links to various websites that offered excellent information. You could say DPI was curating content on a homemade site the way we can all do now with sites like Tumblr, Pinterest, and many other social networking sites.

So where am I going with all this background. Well, Badgerlink has grown and grown. And today I don't know that our school libraries could have the same level of access to digital resources without the help of Badgerlink.

Badgerlink offers various databases that let WI residents search upwards of 20,000 magazines and newspaper. They offer access to educational video content and royalty free music for student multimedia projects. Plus they offer advice on researching and staff to answer questions about databases and research.

What I'm trying to say is that we are lucky to live in a state that supports and encourages quality resources, not just Googleing.

The physical resources we have are still incredibly valuable, and I don't believe that they will ever go away. There's something to say about buying a book and know that you will always have access to the content it holds. But we live in a digital world, and we need to take advantage of the awesome digital resources we have available.

If you'd like to see a listing of some of the things Badgerlink has to offered along with the digital resources SCC has available for it's students you can CLICK HERE.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Books of the Week, Nov 17

High School - Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Middle School - The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy, Plymouth, 1620 by Ann Rinaldi

Elementary - P Is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane

Monday, November 10, 2014

Books of the Week, Nov 10

Elementary - Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy

Middle School - Trapped by Michael Northrop

High School - The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler

Friday, November 7, 2014

The importance of listening

Listening. Such a simple word, but so hard to actually do. How often have you been talking to someone and uttered the question, "Are you listening to me"? Probably more often then you would like.

Is it a problem with our society, our teaching, our parenting, our students? In my opinion (and just my opinion) it's a problem with our society. We live in a world where the media screams at us every day. News reporters make everything into the "story of the century" and social media emphasizes the tragedies and sensationalism of celebrity and thoughtlessness. Wherever you turn someone is trying to get your attention by being as outlandish as possible.

So what do we do to stop and actually hear the things that are important?

Watch Julian Treasure's TED Talk to get some ideas on how to become a better listener.

And my own personal suggestion - be choosy about the things you are listening to. Do you have the TV on for background all the time? What channel is talking at you? Do you need the radio or some other noise playing at all times? If you are more selective about what sounds you surround yourself with, you're more likely to be more aware of what you are listening to.

Just me thoughts. What are yours?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Books of the Week, Nov 3

High School - Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner

Middle School - Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Elementary - The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora & Hans Christian Andersen