Tag Archives: reflection

Kindle Update

Kindles have been in circulation at the library since Friday. As of today, all 17 Kindles are out in the hands of students. We have one student who is waiting for someone to return their Kindle so she can borrow one–I expect that the longest she’ll have to wait is Friday.

I’m pleased to report that there have been very few glitches:

  • one student did not understand that students aren’t allowed to purchase content for our devices–fortunately, Amazon customer service took care of the return shortly after me requesting a refund!
  • one student returned the Kindle because peer attention to it was distracting from education in the classroom–the good news is, kids are interested! :)
  • only a few students were prohibited from borrowing due to outstanding obligations; several of them cleared obligations immediately so they could check one out.
  • Kindles are losing their connection to the High School wifi which has prohibited downloading content. When I tried to fix this for a student yesterday, it wouldn’t connect. It was probably user error, but the pressure of the kid standing over me and trying to keep the password from him was part of my challenge.

It’s been fun and a learning experience! I’ve added two new pages to this Library site, one indexes Kindle books by author and the other by title. Hopefully it will be helpful to students and a quick reference for me when we’re trying to organize information. It might be better if it were a spreadsheet, but this is working for now. It’s support for the Kindle FAQ which is also preloaded on each Kindle.

There’s a really interesting-sounding Stephen King book coming out early next month and I’d love to get it for Kindle, but the publisher pricing is ridiculous. I’ll wait and see if there’s demand before I make a decision about buying it; there’s not much sense in buying if they don’t want to read it!

Wikipedia is not a bad word!

Ways you CAN use Wikipedia for research–a guide from The Daring LibarianThe Daring Librarian's Comic Tutorial on using Wikipedia

Don't cite it, but that doesn't mean it's not useful in your research.

I admit that I spent a few years discouraging students from using Wikipedia, however, I’ve changed my mind since coming to the high school. I still talk about the fact that it can be edited by anyone (unless there’s a lock visible on the article.) However, when you are given a topic that you know little about, I wouldn’t discourage you from using the World Book Encyclopedia–it’s a great way to get an overview of a subject, help you identify key events, people, places, etc. and I decided that if I would “let” kids use good old WB, I needed to talk about how to best use their favorite online tool Wikipedia. That being said, I wouldn’t encourage any of my students to list Wikipedia as a source in their works cited because they really need to be using something more meaningful and in-depth than any encyclopedia at this point in their education.

My favorite way to use it, is to follow the links that the entry creators used and cited in the course of writing what they had to say.

I also have promoted the use of the images uploaded and shared there in Wikimedia Commons, that is, until I was told last year when I asked it to be unblocked “If you search naked woman, you should see the pictures that come up.” (Please don’t check this at school!) I pointed out that this is an instructional issue, not a filter issue, but I lost round one.

Be sure to check out The Daring Librarian‘s Comic Tutorial to see more things that you can use Wikipedia to do. You may also want to check out these links from a recent Washington Post article.

Further reading on the subject:
Should I use or cite Wikipedia? Probably not
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4 ways to use Wikipedia (hint: never cite it)

Teachers: Please stop prohibiting the use of Wikipedia

20 Little Known Ways to Use Wikipedia

Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica

Schiff, Stacy. “Know it all: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?The New Yorker, February 26, 2006
Yes students, there’s a world beyond Wikipedia

Check Out Twelve Ways To Be More Search Savvy

I spent today helping US History Honors begin some biographical research. They’re initially going to create an annotated bibliography with a long-term goal of creating a project to introduce their hero to elementary students in the district. All the time I was working on this project, Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need a Hero” was running through my head–sometimes while I was talking! I’m a child of the ’80s for sure!

We talked about Google and how to effectively search. We did a quick tour of effective web searching from CLIP and either signed up for or renewed their access to NoodleTools where they can create their Annotated Bibliography and share it with their teacher.

As I wrapped up my afternoon at my desk, I found a reference to a blog post from Mind Shift with 12 Ways to Be More Search Savvy. Here are some useful things that I didn’t highlight in my lesson:

  • Command + F (or Control + F on PCs) to quickly locate your search terms in results
  • define:word will give you the definition of a word right from the search screen, no looking for dictionaries, it will give you results from a variety of dictionaries, searching them automatically
  • Google’s Instant Search function will suggest search terms based on most commonly sought information/topics–this can help you generate keywords and ideas to cover about a topic
  • Link: www.yourwebsitename.com will tell you all of the sites/postings that mention a particular website, giving you an idea of others’ perception of your source