Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
CC image by Texast
In the past, many homes would have contained a large print dictionary whose purpose was to assist with homework and settle the inevitable arguments that accompanied family games of Scrabble. Not so any longer!
Today dictionaries are ubiquitous, available to us 24/7, standard on our laptops, available when we send a text or email, embedded in our digital devices, a definition is now no more than a simple Google search away.
Digital dictionaries are responsive, they adapt more quickly to current usage as well as to changes in technology, science and culture. With fewer space constraints, entries contain more usage guidelines and examples. Entries now include sounds as well as meanings of words. Sites like Vocabulary.com include quizzes and language learning games. Issuing regular updates makes it easy to include new words and revisions of existing terminology.
The digital environment not only puts a wealth of information in the hands of dictionary users, it delivers information back to the dictionary makers as well – our dictionaries are reading us! In the past lexicographers would have relied on field research to collect examples of words and usages – we would now call this crowd sourcing. This practice of gathering information can be continued and expanded online. For example most online dictionaries invite readers to nominate new words. Dictionaries now respond to patterns of usage that are triggered by current events. For example in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 people looked up words associated with the nature of the event: “rubble” and “triage”. Subsequently, as people tried to make sense of what had happened more abstract terms such as “surreal” were searched. Dictionary makers also monitor unsuccessful “look-ups” to identify searches that don’t produce satisfactory results, and identify words that haven’t made it into the dictionary yet or whose definition needs to be up-dated.
From the user’s point of view differences between dictionaries are harder to see when you are searching for a definition online. The definition that is most easily found may not be the most robust or up-to-date, and it can be difficult to tell how reliable a source is. Who has developed the definition that turns up after a quick Google search, or is embedded in your digital device? As educators it is therefore vital we equip students with the skills to distinguish a reliable source from a poor one.
Do you want to promote use of digital dictionaries amongst your students? Remember that Oxford English Dictionary Online is available through EPIC . If you are thinking about the criteria that could be used to assess online dictionaries refer to the Reference resources guide.
While it’s still difficult to recreate the pleasure of browsing through a print dictionary and finding something you didn’t know you were looking for, and your digital dictionary will never be able to prop open the door, this format is here to stay and we need to embrace and understand the gains that are available to all users.
By Lisa A
Developed by Marcus Asplund and Carl Wedefelt of Gothenburg, Sweden, Newspaper Map is an online mash-up using Google maps and displaying the locations of over 10,000 online newspapers from around the world. It was voted one of the best free reference websites in 2012 by the American Library Association.
Whether you want to find out what is happening in Gujarat or Gisborne, links are provided to online newspapers, and give readers a unique local perspective on the news of the day, both internationally and closer to home. You can limit your search by language, location or newspaper title.
This resource can broaden your language and reference collection by providing mother tongue materials for your students who are not native English speakers, allowing them to see themselves in their new environment. It is also a great resource for those studying another language. Newspapers appear in their original scripts.
One of other plusses to this website is that is also provides translations of the newspapers at the click of a button. While the translations are a bit less than perfect, they do allow us a look into the news and perspectives of other countries and cultures. Newspaper Maps translates into over 40 languages including English, French, German, Russian, Arabic, and Korean.
Consider adding this site to your online reference collection and bring the world to your students’ fingertips.
As Asplund and Wedefelt say “All news is local news”
Phat Poetry provides a new take on the creative art of poetry by offering a very interactive, multimedia poetry experience. Phat Poetry is a FUSE (Find, Use, Share, Educate) project supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Australia).
I started my journey through the site on the homepage listening to the Featured Poem, The Jabberwocky, being recited. What a wonderful way of being introduced to such a classic poem.
Then there was the opportunity to explore the images, sounds, and videos presented on the homepage. These newly created pieces represent what Phat Poetry is all about “…a creative and innovative way of enhancing literacy learning in the classroom and exciting students about poetry through technology.”
There are many ways to explore and use this site including:
For anyone wanting to bring poetry alive for students in new and interesting ways Phat Poetry is definitely worth exploring further.
Are you looking for resources to support your learners throughout the year? Do you want new and exciting material; books to engage and inspire students; digital resources that educate, stimulate, and motivate.
Curriculum Services offers this and more. All around New Zealand, every school has access to the very best information, support, professional knowledge and resources available.
Over the next several weeks ANZAC and Matariki will be at the forefront. Along with our print collections, we have a wonderful selection of digital material, which you can access at any time to support classroom learning.
The High Interest Topics area on our Services to Schools site has an extensive list of authoritative, quality web resources specially selected by Curriculum Services Librarians on subject areas that are constantly in high demand.
There is also wonderful content in the Primary Sources section. These galleries include material that has been digitised from the Turnbull collections in Wellington, along with supplementary material: explanations of what primary sources are; guides for using primary sources and educator resources too.
Have a look at the Primary Sources ANZAC gallery.
For more information on Matariki take a look at Many Answers, which collates responses from librarians around New Zealand to students’ questions on this topic. The focus is on developing student information literacy skills.
Now is the time to be placing your order for resources with your nearest Curriculum Services Centre. You can order classroom resources online. If you would like any of the digital resources mentioned above sent to you please tick the appropriate box on the order form and provide us with your email address. Otherwise these resources are easily available to you on our Services to Schools page.
We look forward to sending you resources and would love to hear what you and your students have done with the material. What have you created? What have you learnt? How did the material strengthen and assist the inquiry process? If you have stories or feedback your nearest centre would love to hear from you.
I follow a blog Free Technology for Teachers. Don’t get put off by the title … there’s often treasures in here for ALL educators, especially librarians.
Today’s offering introduced me to Pixabay: direct from the blog, Pixabay is described like this;
“Pixabay is a good place to find and download quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. When you find an image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture.”
This site is another tool we can add to our toolkit of legal-to-reuse photos sites. It offers beautiful photos to support an enormous range of presentations as well as being a visually stunning backdrop to introducing the idea of Creative Commons to classes.
Pixabay are on PIntrest too, so amazingly easy to follow on a smart device too!
“Explore, Play, Discover” from within the Exploratorium museum website.
This San Francisco based museum of science, art, and human perception promotes the asking of questions and the fostering of curiosity as important steps on the path to discovery.
Dr Frank Oppenheimer, who founded the museum in 1969, was the visionary behind this amazing museum and he “…viewed art and science as complementary ways of exploring the world, and incorporated both into the Exploratorium from its earliest days”.
The Explore section includes such gems as:
The Education section includes :
There is a load more to discover and this site would be a great resource to explore further as part of a staff, syndicate, or departmental meeting.
The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, is now available as an interactive app for the iPad and NOOK. It is one of the most incredible book apps I have ever seen and is a worthwhile investment for any school.
The app includes the full text of the diary and also provides video interviews, audio clips, historic documents and archival images. There is a dual timeline featuring images and information about Anne’s life and family as well as historical images and commentary about the war. This gives readers a better understanding of what life was like in the Secret Annexe and also what was happening around the world when Anne was in hiding.
A quick tap on a word will allow you to listen to an audio clip, watch a video, see where a person or event fits into the timeline and read more information. There are also curated ‘Story Trails’ which explore themes in the text. For example, if you follow the ‘Life in Hiding’ trail you are brought to relevant passages in the diary and given further information about both Anne’s life and the world events which drove the family into hiding.
The app has been developed with the cooperation of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel, founded by Anne’s father Otto Frank in 1963. They have made rare and previously unpublished material available and Anne’s only surviving direct relative, her cousin Buddy Elias, is featured. There is also a commentary from Miep Gies, one of the people who risked her life to help Anne and the other occupants of the Secret Annexe.
photo by smiteme
View historical events in the form of a tabloid front page created by The Sun newspaper.
The Hold ye front page website divides major historical events into three subject areas: Sport, History, and Science which can be browsed by thumbnail images in each section.
The first front page in the history section celebrates The Big Bang and is emblazoned with an explosive image and the headline “Bang”. This page is accompanied by a short article and two short video clips explaining some of the science behind the event. There are links to further front pages to take the reader on a journey of discovery.
It’s interesting to examine these front pages from a media perspective and the way a tabloid newspaper might approach major historical events.
This is also a great resource to support high interest non-fiction reading and could work well as a resource for content curation.
image by edtechie99
Released this January, this fourth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report™, biannual national survey is based in the US, but with some insights that could be paralleled here in New Zealand. Kids aged 6-17 and parents shared their views on reading in the increasingly digital landscape along with the influences impacting reading frequency and attitudes toward reading.
Some of the key findings around the increasing significance of eBooks are:
The report also notes the potential for eBooks to motivate boys to read more. EBooks may also be the key to transition moderately frequent readers (defined as kids who read one to four days a week) to frequent readers (those who read five to seven days a week).
Additional findings of note include:
Other findings included that a reading role-model parent or a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids’ reading frequency than household income. Plus, building reading into kids’ daily schedules and regularly bringing home books for children positively impacts kids’ reading frequency.
One encouraging finding was that kids of all ages still love and use print books. Along with evidence of factors influencing children’s reading the report also tracks emerging trends and is well worth downloading from the Scholastic website and sharing amongst your colleagues
By Peter M
I’d like to draw a picture of a teenage boy. He is active. He is social. He likes to do things with his friends.
He is creative. He likes to explore. He likes to takes risks. Test boundaries.
As a young boy he was an avid reader. Harry Potter. The Twilight series. Eragon. Lord of the Rings. Books were Devoured. Enjoyed. Treasured.
He doesn’t read many books nowadays. He says libraries are not cool places to hang out in. Be seen in.
He plays rugby. Has a longboard. Is always on the move. Catching up with his mates.
He loves games. So do his friends. They play together. Sharing strategies.
He has an ipod. Loaded with games, music and videos. He takes it with him everywhere.
He has a facebook page. So do all his friends. They have their own language.
He is almost immediately aware of the latest global sensation on Youtube. Gangnam style. Kony. Harlem shake. He discovers and engages with the world through social media. To understand why teenage boys don’t go to libraries - don’t read books – we need to try to understand their world. A world overwhelmed with possibilities for engagement. A world saturated with media. A world where they are trying to discover and assert themselves as young men.
In a recently updated edition of ‘To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader’, William Brozo argues that what it means to be literate is undergoing perpetual change in an ever evolving digital landscape and that adolescent boys are deeply immersed in these new literacies.
These new literacies include:
Brozo argues that we need to provide an alternative to traditionally formatted print texts in our libraries and embrace alternative texts including digital media, comics, graphic novels and games. We need to enable and value the development of a wide range of literacies and provide linkages between them.
But more than just the redefinition of the library collection to embrace digital media, the social web and gaming, we need to re-imagine our library places and spaces. They need to be Open. Connected. Social. Places where you can make stuff. Share stuff.
If we are to build a bridge between our libraries and teenage boys we need to understand their world. Speak their language. Share ownership of our libraries as place and virtual space. Allow them to shape them and make them places where they want to be. Where they want to be seen. Where their 21st century literacies are valued and supported.
image by help.paulo
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