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Weblogg-ed Visits VSB

An issue raised at the SLJ Summit by the attendees was the need to"start translating 'library speak' into a language that teachers, administrators and maybe the general public could understand." Finding that common language seems to be paramount in all areas of education.

Ironically, the term blog is also part of a growing on-line vernacular (along with RSS, wiki, etc.) that was not only a top 10 word for 2004 , but is also making strong headway in the field of education. In an article in the New York Times, Can Johnny Blog? (courtesy blogs), written by Pamela LiCalzi O'Connell, she reported the following:

"One of the trendsetters among educators is Will Richardson. Students in his class on modern American literature, for instance, created a blog to study the novel "The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. The author posted a 2,300-word message, and a group of parents read along and contributed their thoughts."

Recently, Will agreed to an online interview for the VSB.

A.B. How has blogging impacted your educational communities? I remember you saying an author commented on one of your student's blogs. Please elaborate.
W.R. I think Weblogs have opened up a number of new learning opportunities for teachers and students. We have had a number of authors, writers, scientists, etc. work with our students in their blogs. In the last three years, we've created over 1200 student Weblogs, and I think some really interesting learning has taken place. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here. I don't think blogs per se will last too far into the future, but some form of student personal publishing system will emerge that I think will really reshape the classroom.

A.B. What role do librarians play at your school in regard to their input in integrating resources and technology? Explain what your role is in the Hunterdon school district?
W.R. "Our librarians have a lot to say in terms of what types of technologies might help them serve students more effectively. They have a pretty extensive list of online databases that they employ with teachers and students, and they are expanding the number of computers available in the library. My role is to bring technology to the classroom, whether it's online technology like Weblogs or more traditional software like Inspiration. I try to support teachers' use of technology as much I can."

A.B. Is there a synergy between: teachers, technology people, and librarians in your school district? Meaning collaboration? If so, could you provide some examples?
W.R. "Teachers and the library collaborate often, and we have a large number of classes that are scheduled into the library for classes on research, etc. Most of the collaborations between the tech people and library come from me. For instance, we're talking about how to do a better job of delivering information literacy instruction across the curriculum. I think the natural starting point for that is the library."

-Amy Bowllan