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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tween Virtual Chat Communities Blog#6

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Tween Virtual Chat Communities

Because pre-tweens still require adult supervision, parents place restrictions on their physical mobility. A latchkey child is expected to go directly home or to the public library after school and stay safely inside until the working parent arrives. These children miss the purely social time of hanging out with friends after school.

As younger siblings watch brothers and sisters spend hours communicating with friends in virtual worlds, pre-tweens want a place of their own. Social networks allow children to communicate in a ‘controlled’ space. They can connect with other children even when they are by themselves. Listed below are current online communities that address the wishes of 8-12 year olds and the safety issues parents are desperate for.

http://www.clubpenguin.com/
http://www.whyville.com/
http://www.tweenland.com/
http://www.toontown.com/

On these colorful, interactive sites, a parent’s credit card number and email address are required for a child to register. A fee is charged to join because the sites are free of advertising. Conversations or chats are supervised by real-time, online monitors and screened with word filters. Parents may also request scripts of the dialogues and set controls on the buddy list.

Studies have shown that children who participate on social networks benefit with improved reading and writing skills. Some social networks even offer educational games and challenges where the users earn points to “buy” virtual items. Parents are pleased to see these kid-friendly websites because they are instructive tools that are also safe and fun.


Bower, Bruce. "Growing Up Online." Science News 17 June 2006: 376-378. Middle Search Plus. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.

Gutner, Toddi. "MySpace for the Sandlot Set." Business Week 2 Oct. 2006: 82. MAS Ultra--Public Library Edition. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks

Kornblum, Janet. "Parents and the Web: Complete Dichotomy." USA Today 6 July 2006: p.07d. Middle Search Plus. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Malt Shop Alternative Blog #5

Gone are the days when young people could hang out at the local drug store sipping a milk shake after school. Today’s teens live in a structured environment. After school, they play organized sports, belong to supervised clubs, volunteer, and work at part time jobs. When and where do these kids get to “hang out” with their friends?

Social networks! Websites such as FaceBook and MySpace are available 24 hours every day of the year. Also referred to as the live web or web 2.0, these sites are the malt shops of today. Teens “meet” and share photographs, videos, music, and other interests in their profiles. The networks allow teens to stay in touch with friends while being physically separated.

The popular social networks tend to be community moderated or to have little supervision permitting teens to freely express themselves- alarming parents. Parents read magazine articles or hear news reports of obscene photographs and sexual predators. Although these fears cannot be denied, the stories represent a very small percentage of the members’ experiences.

Teens do not take part in social networks to frighten their parents, but for uninterrupted social time. It is a means to connect with others- to see and be seen. Physical characteristics are not as important on social networks. Young people can experiment with different personas/create a façade/pretend to be someone else. Unfortunately, members may not realize that these sites are not private. They think that because their parents are not reading the profiles or viewing the photographs, that the networks are secure. Young adults may find later that teachers, employers, and police officers access these sites.

Some people believe that the novelty of social networks is starting to wear off. If one talks to a teen member of a social network, it is doubtful that the sites will disappear any time soon. The advantages for teens far out weigh the disadvantages. But… just in case, MySpace is considering anchoring its website with special interest groups such as MySpace Fashion or MySpace Sports.

Check out these social networks.
http://www.blinkx.com/ http://www.peerflix.com/
http://www.collegetonight.com/ http://www.ryze.co/
http://www.hotsoup.com/ http://www.sneakers.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/ http://www.splicemusic.com/

Kornblum, Janet. "Parents and the Web: Complete Dichotomy." USA Today 7 June 2006. MAS Ultra--Public Library Edition. Ebsco.
Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.

Levy, Steven, and Brad Stone. "The New Wisdom of the Web." Newsweek 3 Apr. 2006: 46-53. MAS Ultra--Public Library Edition. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.

Maney, Kevin. "Who Needs a Bowling League to Make Friends When There's..." USA Today 25 Oct. 2006. Middle Search Plus. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Polar Bears Blog #4

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I received an e-mail today from a friend that included several cutesy photographs of polar bears sleeping, dancing, and hugging. The e-mail had been forwarded to several addresses before it was finally forwarded to me. I enjoyed the photos and considered sharing them with my friends.

Could I forward these photos? The forward button is just a mouse click away. Have you ever forwarded an email? You are probably thinking, who hasn’t?

Forwarding an e-mail is a U.S. copyright violation!

According to Carol Simpson in Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide, Fourth Edition, “E-mail is probably the most abused Internet property. It is forwarded, edited, copied and reprinted, sometimes to the point that the original author is long lost.” (p. 121) She is absolutely right. I have no idea who put the series of photographs together, let alone who took the photos. The photographer owns these pictures. Without his or her permission, I cannot forward the photos. “Reproduction in all formats is controlled by the copyright owner.” (p. 17)

Every day I receive personal emails just as a private letter use to be sent through the U.S. Postal Service. I may preserve one copy of an original email for my own files, but I cannot make additional copies and distribute/forward them without permission from the author.

Although we will probably never be questioned about our everyday copyright infringements, but we do need to be aware of the violations and educate our library patrons and students of the laws pertaining to copyright protection. Until I read Carol Simpson’s book, I had never even considered this copyright question.

Simpson, Carol. Copyright for Schools: a Practical Guide. 4th ed. Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Books, 2005.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Keeping BusyBlog#3

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October 21, 2006

I attended Something Wicked His Way Comes: The Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival at the Genesee Theatre (http://www.geneseetheatre.com/) in Waukegan, Illinois. Waukegan Public Library (http://www.waukeganpl.org/) sponsored and produced this wonderful event in honor of Ray Bradbury who was born and raised in Waukegan. The program included four storytellers who performed chapters from Bradbury’s book, Dandelion Wine and from several of his 600 short stories for three hours. In film clips, Bradbury (now 86 years old) shared his thoughts and some stories from his youth that influenced his writings.

The ICE COLD Chapter of the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) (www.iceberg.org) offered a half-day conference in Lisle, Illinois where I attended workshops on blogging, Photostory3, and the Web 2.0. The presenters were library media specialists from schools in western Chicago suburbs and Glenda Bequette (gbequett@isbe.net) from the Illinois State Board of Education. This organization’s mission is “to provide support to computer-using professionals involved in education.” The conference was a safe environment for teachers to learn about and use current technology. As one speaker pointed out, “Even recent college graduates enter the school systems as teachers knowing only how to email and to use word processing.”

I mention both experiences because although they are very different in nature, each is related to the field of library science. Both are excellent examples of what libraries and librarians are offering to our communities. We need to take advantage of these resources and share this information with our library users. Not only did I learned a tremendous amount with each experience, I had a wonderful time.

Friday, October 13, 2006

LibraryThing is for me! Blog#2

Virtual communities are commonplace on the Internet today. My Space and FaceBook have thousands of members. Photographers share shots on Flickr and videotapes are viewed on YouTube. But… I am not a photographer and I do not shoot videos. I am too old for FaceBook and My Space. Where is there a social network for me?

Now… book lovers have a specific online community in which to socialize- http://www.librarything.com/.

LibraryThing was originally established to “catalog books online.” In the last 14 months, this public network has grown to over 80,000 members. The website is free to anyone who catalogs under 200 books, requires no software, and caters to book collectors.

After establishing an account, among other services, a subscriber can catalog his/her home library, request book suggestions, and connect with other bookworms who share this common interest.

Once a member catalogs at least five books, s/he can request a list of similar types of books. For example, I cataloged books by the author Kaye Gibbons. LibraryThing listed sixteen recommendations. I had already read eight. I promptly noted the other eight titles for future enjoyment.

In print or at http://www.slj.com/> current issue> A Book Lover’s My Space, John Kilma details the history, the organization, and the nuances of this social network for bibliophiles.

Kilma, John. "A Book Lover's My Space." School Library Journal Oct. 2006: 24.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Encourage fhe joy of learning. Blog#1

If one of the school media librarian’s missions is to encourage the joy of learning by developing the necessary skills to access information and to use technology, then Tom Creed’s article, “Power Point, No! Cyberspace, Yes!” published in The National Teaching Forum http://www.ntlf.com/html/pi/9705/creed_1.htm gives the reader excellent advice on enhancing a student’s learning through student-centered and student controlled assignments taught with electronic communication. Although Mr. Creed is a college instructor, his suggestions can be adapted to elementary and middle school students.

Encouraging young people to be interactive is usually not a problem. In the classroom setting, group assignments allow each student to show off his/her individual talent and use it for the benefit of the whole, as well as, gain knowledge from the other students in their group. Working as a team, the learners determine how to accomplish the teacher’s (or state’s) objective. Although the teacher initiates the assignment, s/he becomes a resource for the students, not the team leader.

But… how is the slower learner or the shy child heard within a work group? Electronic communication such as a blog, a wiki, or email allow for the comfort level and needs of each child. S/he can work at his/her own pace and comment when s/he is ready. It seems that these young students would be more willing to take risks- to put themselves out there- with electronic communication promoting a way of learning that will bring growth and success to each child.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Article Title

Born With a Chip

According to Abram and Luther, NextGens have "the ability to integrate seamlessly and navigate multiple applications, simultaneously combining their worlds in a single environment." Until recently, multitasking meant answering the phone, cooking dinner, throwing in a load of laundry, carpooling, etc. It is time for me to adjust or "shift" into a new type of multitasking and enter the Web 2.0 world of communication. The shift will require a lot of learning and practice, but so much fun.

Believe it or not, I'm blogging!

Hello! A few weeks ago, I had not heard of blogs. Now, I am beginning a blog of my own! as I take a class at Dominican University.