Alaska Internet Circle of Safety |

Alaska Internet Circle of Safety |

As we head back to school for the new year we may want to re-visit Internet safety.  The Alaska Internet Circle of Safety website provides excellent annotated links to resources for parents and librarians in one easy to access place.

Be sure to checkout the site that serves as a clearinghouse for anything online.  There are tutorials and resources on a wide range of topics including Child Online Protection, Copyright, Basic Computing, Mobile/Wireless, and much more.

Please share your Internet Safety tips, lessons and resources here, or on the Alaska School Librarians Facebook page.

Electronic Resources

Yes, this is a wide ranging topic!  I’d like to hear from Alaskan school librarians about e-resources in use, and what school librarians are thinking about the future of e-resourceslaptop and books.

How are you (or would you)  use e-books/Listen Alaska?

How can the Statewide Digital Pipeline further support schools and student research?

What emerging needs to you see for schools and electronic resources?

How can schools and districts cooperate or come together to better access and use of electronic resources?

Please respond and forward these questions on to school librarians.  Let us all know how your electronic life is going!

Image credit:  digitalart /

Using Gaming to Teach Information Literacy Skills

Looking for new ideas this school year?  We’ll be looking at some reviews from the 2011 AKLA Conference reports by AkASL members who received Professional Development Grants.  Check out this article by Jennifer Lynch, Campbell Elementary School Librarian.

One of the most interesting sessions that I attended at the 2011 Alaska Library Association Conference was titled “Using Gaming for Instructional Purposes”.  It was presented by Jenny Levine, who works as an Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide for the American Library Association.

The session proved to be a worthy one.  Levine began by discussing how the learning methods of our children are different now than they were in the past, and these methods are also different from the ways many librarians learn.  Levine stated that kids are visual and experiential learners who no longer feel that there is only one way to one answer.  Instead, Millennials focus on finding the best path to the best possible answer of many.  In contrast, most librarians are text learners who focus on finding the one right answer.  Levine summed it up with a Stephen Abram quote: “Librarians are the Lisa Simpsons trying to teach the Bart Simpsons of the world”.

So how do we bridge the gap between the Lisa’s and the Bart’s? One way is to play games! Levine stated that games are great teaching tools because they teach strategy and reflection, two things that are hard to teach in other ways.  They also teach information literacy skills to kids in ways that are vital to them and that they understand.  Games can help kids learn how to synthesize information and apply it, two higher-level thinking skills that are vital parts of information literacy.

Many libraries are putting this idea into practice by bringing in electronic games, but board games work just as well.  Levine suggested choosing games where kids can develop and apply strategy.  She also suggested choosing mainstream games rather than purely educational ones as kids are more likely to reach for those.  They need to be fun for the students, or they won’t leave the shelf. Another great way to incorporate games is to have kids create their own, using programs like Game Maker, which can be downloaded for free.

For those who are interested, there are a variety of gaming grants available to schools and school libraries, but not as many yet for public libraries. Levine suggested visiting the Opportunities Exchange (OppEx) on the ALA’s website ( <> ) to find available grants.  The ALA also offers a Library Gaming Toolkit ( to help libraries establish gaming programs for their patrons.

Retweeting History Brings Those Stories to Life | MindShift

Retweeting History Brings Those Stories to Life | MindShift.

Social media in the classroom is sure the hot topic today.  I wandered to this post introducing TwHistory…

TwHistory, a new, free tool that encourages teachers and students to dig deep into history, get inside the heads of historical figures, and reenact historical events in real time.

I used to somewhat ignore the hype around social media, because it was all blocked in my books and mediadistrict, Mat-Su, and no handheld devices were allowed.  Now, that has all changed.  Our new student policy allows devices for instructional purposes.  Holy cow… not what!

I’m thinking I need to get the jump on student contracts, management techniques, first-time lessons, etc.  All of this needs to come through the library to help teachers jump in with both feet, and not panic!

Of course, I turn to my colleagues.  What has worked for you with social media in the classroom?