Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm not the only one...

Walter at The Monkey Speaks is also making a case for those things that are dying in our society - he is talking about the cassette tape!

I do love his quote:  "Libraries accept and give up technology reluctantly" - that is certainly the case in school libraries.  In my current situation, the school is only ten years old, so I didn't have too many obsolete items to go through (but we do have a HUGE number of cassette players), but in my last library, we had things I couldn't believe we had - film strip players, RECORD players - actually quite a few record players - and even an 8-track player!

I will say this, many times in the school library setting (and I am sure this goes for public libraries too) it is our Patrons (in my case, the teachers) who are more reluctant to give up the old "technology" and so we keep it to keep them happy.  You should hear my teachers when I tell them I am only purchasing DVD's instead of videos!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Newspapers

So the other day I went into school to go through my mail and do a few things and I get a package from the local newspaper (The Atlanta Journal Constitution - the AJC) about their news for kids program.  I have a few teachers that use this program with their classes, they (used to) get a class set of newspapers delivered on Monday and the teachers would use them in different ways. One 2nd grade teacher has a cocoa and news time once a week where she makes hot cocoa and the class reads the paper together and then they talk about it - cool idea.

WELL, she will have to change her plans this year because the AJC is no longer sending paper editions to schools for their news for kids program - this year it is all electronic!

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

As I said before, although I LOVE technology and the web, I LOVE me some newspaper - the kind that you sit with on a Sunday morning with your coffee on the back deck. The kind that gets your fingers black.  The kind you can cut things out of for future use (I still have the clippings of my letter to the editor of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, circa 1985, it was criticizing a review of the Ratt/Bon Jovi concert -  tangible evidence that I have loved Jon Bon Jovi since 1985 - scary, I know!)

I know that the paper newspaper is going the way of cassette tape players and vcr's - they are still around, but on their last hurrah - this makes me sad. The other challenge is, most schools do not have a classroom set of computers in their classroom. So, doing a "newspaper" lesson will require time in the computer lab OR having the teacher project the electronic version using a projector (which in my school we will be getting in each classroom by the end December).

As far as I know, we will still be getting a daily copy of the newspaper for the media center, but there isn't much you can do with a whole class and one copy of the paper.

If newspapers are an endangered species, what is next, magazines?  Books?

In related news in the demise of the printed word, Monica at Educating Alice has a link to a debate on whether the Internet is helping literacy or hurting it - a very interesting debate!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Irlen Syndrome- and an ode to Newspapers

This was an interesting article in the Cape Cod Times this week on a rare reading disorder called Irlen syndrome.

Seems like this syndrome causes problems with the nervous systems ability to understand and process visual information, such as printing. Like with many rare disorders, it seems like many teachers/doctors/parents know little about this disorder and it goes undiagnosed. I had never heard of it until I read this article.

I plan to share the article with my teachers this year, one of those things that you never know who it might help.

On a seperate note, I love reading the newspaper - but in Atlanta there is one game in town - The AJC, but in Massachusetts, there is the Boston Globe, the "rag" the Herald (which is my personal favorite) and then area papers, such as The Cape Cod Times. When I am on the Cape I buy 3 newspapers a day - the Globe, the CCTimes and the Herald (the latter is a tabloid, the best to read on the beach!) and I am going home on Sunday with a bag full of articles I have clipped from all 3 papers over the past 3 weeks. I think that I need to start doing something in school so that kids can appreciate the newspaper, you never know what kind of information you might find in there! And while being able to access my hometown papers online is great, there is NOTHING like the feeling of a newspaper in your hands and newsprint on your fingers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Technology Vacation

I am on vacation, I am at my parents house on Cape Cod - my favorite place to be - except for the fact that the house does not have internet access!! My dad has a card that lets him connect to the internet anywhere - but I do not (I am lucky I have a laptop!) so here I sit at the Dennis, MA public library porch using their wifi - while nice, I still wish I could connect from the house! It does amaze me how much I rely on cetain things - like wifi access and caller id - they don't have that at the house either (the main occupant of the house is my 87 year old grandfather, who is legally blind, so really, no need for caller id or wifi). They do have cable and a tv, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much, the cottage here that I grew up with didn't even have a phone - we had to use the pay phone up the street!

In other news we are having a fabulous time, eating lots of ice cream, playing mini golf, going to lots of Cape Cod Baseball league games and getting in some nice beach time. I also love to visit the many independent book stores that are here on the Cape - and as it happens EVERY year (or so it seems) Tomie DePaola will be visiting the Brewster Bookstore a few days after we leave the Cape - one of these days I will get to meet him!

Hard to believe that school starts for me in just a few weeks - I will be going back in the week of the 28th to do a little work and then "official" teacher work days start August 3rd - where did the summer go???

and no Massachusetts vacation would be complete without a Red Sox game - we almost didn't get to go, but my brother in law came through and we'll be sitting a few rows behind home plate on Saturday night - hopefully we can break the curse we had in April!