Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Procrastinating... II

These have been collected from various word documents, often labelled ‘blog bits’, which are truncated thoughts or starts of blog posts I intended to make. They would have each been much longer if I didn’t have to work... didn’t get distracted by students and teachers... wasn’t worried about losing myself in the land of blog again... actually felt like turning my computer on again once I got home...

I could have started another blog using a program that allows me choose the date of the entry and backdated them all so I look as regular as prunes for brekkie, but one day I want to write a really professional blog. This is a personal blog because a lot of my reflections contain a large amount of whinge and whine (or perhaps more honestly, bitch and moan). I have to learn to cut that out before I can put my name and school to it!
So here they are...

Yesterday I had a conversation that included something I’d read for uni. It’s good to feel that despite me not having done much yet, it had already proved useful (and with any luck will be a motivator to do more…).

The conversation was with a teacher of technology and our head librarian-resource manager-all round good guy (brain says Mama Bear... so maybe henceforth just the Bear) about the misinformation kids get from things like Ask Yahoo!

We have odd purchasing habits. We buy things from booksellers, and completely ad hoc as the requested by students or teachers or recommended by random staff at major booksellers such as Dymocks. The person doing this buying will buy (or not, in the case of The Watchmen) based on their recommendations on their weekend shopping trip and then the money is gone, often to doubles of books we already have. The state library put out a list of books that teens may like if they enjoyed Twilight. The Bear and I discussed the list, themes, links and found which we had in our collection. The Shadow came back with something the sales person had told her was the book “you had to read next after Twilight”. Yep, it was on the list and we already had it and a request from a student to buy the sequels. There has got to be a better way of doing things. There are better ways of doing things but how do we make them happen here?
I read the proper way, I work with a very experienced librarian who knows the right way but is as new to this library as me and one person’s habits to change. So I handball. It’s the Bear’s problem as leader of this ship not mine.

Working on using Diigo with a couple of classes doing research. I am trying to get the hang of it so I can guide teachers who are a little technophobic... technobackward? Techno... I need a term for when teachers just don’t have time to explore the new technologies that are out there. So I guess that’s part of being a Librarian in a school.

Too much to do. I want to re do the library website, but the time I have gets eaten by the little things that constantly need doing in a library. To paraphrase Basil Faulty, this Library would run a lot better without the students (or more probably the teachers). I want, at least my wide reading classes to do some digital reading. But they are not “my” classes and I have to find a teacher not only willing to give it a go but happy to say when? not someday.

Bear taught me about manipulating the database of the library catalogue to tell me what I wanted to know. I thought there must be an easier way, but apparently no longer with the beast that is BiblioTech. It also showed me more of what she does when she checks the cataloguing done by the technicians. Too much to explain succinctly, but it were good. I can see how some things that may seem fiddly or unimportant in cataloguing can actually make life much easier later on. I am not sure that I will learn that sort of practical management of resources in this course, but sometimes it helps me to ask the right questions of the bear to find out what I really need to know.

During book club one of the students told me that she was stressed because the chemist wouldn’t give her the morning after pill without her parents knowing (because of the side effects) and her Mum would kill her, but she wanted to do the responsible thing and deal with in now, not in a month... Her teacher in the next period noticed and moved to deal with the issue. I spoke to her this morning in the Library and things are being sorted. Her Dad was ok about it and mum never needs to know. ...and I was worried I wouldn’t get to know the kids the same way as in the classroom.

Finally got around to reading the comments on my first assignment, just to check there was nothing wrong with the bit I needed to reuse for the next one. I can accept constructive criticism, and accept that I didn’t really understand what was required but the comments on my references I think were a little unfair. The uni recommends and encourages use of EndNote, which is pretty simple to get the right bits in the right feilds. EndNote puts out a reference that the marker doesn’t think is correct – who is right? I’d put my money on EndNote. I also got marked down for providing the list of required/recommended resources in the appendix as the Victorian Government supplied them to me. If they don’t provide complete references, especially for websites, how am I to give the correct ones!?! The reason you provide a date of access is to deal with changes to online information that is not adequately archived. If the government does not give correct references I cannot be sure that I am truly using the same site information as they were. So am I supposed to give something that is not true? Riddle me that!

...and! They mark you down for not referencing the text and readings. How backwards is that! In everything else I’ve done you’d get marked down for relying on the background material and not looking further afield. The fact that you have done the required reading should be obvious from the way you approach the subject (having been useful/powerful enough to influence) and not require direct quotes and references. I guess I have to do it differently to pass this!

Ran another year 9 wide reading class today on reading the net. The kids didn’t get it, couldn’t see the purpose and couldn’t settle. Period 6. My ratbag homegroup. Am going to try the same thing with 2 year 10 classes (1 sports academy) over at the east in the next month – yep, I am lucky enough to be able to override the booking system to get myself computer access eventually! It will be interesting to compare them. Working the data in excel is not simple – it doesn’t like qualitative stuff and I haven’t got time to think of a way to rewrite the survey.

Going to a conference (half day on a Saturday !) next week on reading online, hope to get some good ideas even if I have to be there at 0830! Grrr.

Now I'm up to date and off to bed.

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