It’s a wrap

ribbonThis school year I have had the opportunity to work on some amazing collaborative projects. Some of the projects that I have written about are the K12 Web Archiving Program, the Exquisite Prompt Writing Challenge, and the Global Partners project with the 5th grade teacher, Kindra DeGregorio. After Spring Break I begin my full-time student teaching at Willamette Primary School and will not be able to devote much more time to these enriching projects.

The archiving program is about wrapped up for this school year; just a survey, party, and one more web/tele-conference to go. The students have learned so much about the importance of preserving their digital heritage and the transient nature of it as well. They have also learned a bit about copyright and how to work with each other as a group.

The Exquisite Prompt will be completed by the students and classroom teachers. My final contribution to that project will be to help scan and send off the writing. I have learned much about how to break down the writing mini-lessons into further mini pieces for the 1st graders. The 1st graders learned about using webs for brainstorming and the importance of rough drafts and editing.

The Global Partners project is well on its way. The 5th grade class in Thailand posted some great videos of themselves saying “hello” in their native language — Kindra’s students had the opportunity to learn some bits of new languages. Just this past week I helped Kindra’s students record their own introductions. As a class we brainstormed some different ideas of what to use to introduce the Edy Ridge Elementary School students to the International School Bangkok (ISB) students. It was decided to have the students interview their parents and grandparents to find out their ancestry. Kindra and I thought this would be a great way for her students to make a connection with the students in Thailand. The hope is that in finding similarities through ancestry, or just making the discovery that their backgrounds are varied as well, they will start to form a better understanding of the world as one global community.

The experience, understanding, and knowledge that I have gained while collaborating with the teachers and students on these projects has been invaluable. I absolutely plan to continue with these types of projects in the future. I am excited to begin my next chapter of learning.

Image attribution: “ribbon,” by Anders Ljungberg http://www.flickr.com/photos/45803937@N00/2099980359

Intellectual Property Thievery

Burglar Alarm at the LaundromatA recent comment on the on-line article in The Oregonian about the  K12 Web Archive Program that I am working with brought up some very interesting thoughts. The commenter wrote, “They *do* have permission of the copyright owner, right? I fear we’re producing a ton of little Intellectual property thieves here.” This brings up the very important issue about copyright and intellectual property on the internet. We must always keep in mind that just because you can ‘Google’ it, does not mean you may use it in any way you see fit.

When I first read the comment my initial reaction was “give me a break!” Obviously a program sponsored by the Internet Archive, the Library of Congress, and the California Digital Library would not be involved in intellectual property thievery.  Then I thought that I should be proactive and get more information in case there were any questions from the Sherwood School District or any community members. I posted a question to the K12 Web Archive list-serv and got immediate response from the director of Web Archiving Services at the Internet Archive.  We spoke briefly on the phone about this and then she forwarded me even more information that I could relay to the school district if needed. I also got quick response from the Educational Resources Specialist at the Library of Congress and one of the teachers from another participating school. What amazing support!

To put it very briefly in archiving the web content for this program there is no re-purposing of the content, the Internet Archive is a library – officially designated by the state of California in 2007, and Archive-it respects any website that uses a robot.txt command which automatically causes their site to not be crawled. Finally, if ever a website owner wished for their site to be removed from the Internet Archive they need only request it.

I find that I am actually quite thankful for the comment on the article regarding the possible creation of “little Intellectual property thieves.” Copyright can be such a murky and mystifying topic for many people including myself. I have touched on this topic very briefly with the middle school students that I am working with and it is a topic that definitely deserves a bit more attention.

The following is a list of some copyright resources that I have found helpful:

Don’t forget to check out the article about the Sherwood students’ involvement in the K12 Web Archiving Program:  Sherwood middle school students participate in nationwide program to archive Web sites

Image attribution: “Burglar Alarm at the Laundromat” by takomabibelot,  http://www.flickr.com/photos/38782010@N00/2134214940

A Little Publicity

newstandLast Tuesday I met with the 8th grade students for the K12 Web Archiving Program again. It seemed to be a productive and fun meeting for us all. They socialized plenty, but also got plenty of work done – a few sites were added and some even with descriptions. I am feeling really good about how the project is coming along. Next week we meet as a whole group and I will be sure to briefly go over the guidelines that I sent out a few weeks ago. The most exciting news is that I finally got started on publicizing the work we are doing. I contacted the local town paper – The Sherwood Gazette, and I also contacted The Oregonian. The editor of The Sherwood Gazette got right back to me and she will be coming to talk to the students at the end of February/beginning of March for the April issue. I haven’t heard back from The Oregonian yet, but I emailed only just yesterday. The students are going to be so excited!

 Image attribution: rutlo http://www.flickr.com/photos/26809429@N02/3228299846

Striking a Balance Between Fun and Work with Students

balancing act by jimpg2_2010.

I met with my group of middle school students for the K12 Web Archiving Program this past Tuesday for our first meeting since winter break. My greatest fear all along has been that the students would become disinterested and not want to participate for the entire program. I have been constantly questioning how can I, an outsider – not a teacher at the school, keep their interest? I want it to be fun, but I also want them to understand the seriousness of the program. How can I communicate what an amazing opportunity this is for them to be a part of something this remarkable? Here they are, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, contributing their ideas to a program that will be a part of history! I am not even sure if some of the students understand enough about the Library of Congress to be able to revere it even a fraction as much as I do. Happily they still are coming to the meetings each month, but we are not as productive as I would hope.

We meet as a whole group once per month and I meet with the three 8th grade student leaders every week to enter the web site urls into the Archive-It application. Ideally, at the whole group meetings the students are adding descriptions to the sites they have selected or finding more web sites they would like to add. When they come in I have been allowing them to play internet games and check email while they wait for all the students to arrive. It seems that they have a very tough time getting down to business though, and most of the time I leave feeling that the meeting time has been wasted. I also have had similar issues with the 8th grade students that meet with me weekly – although definitely not as much and it is more just socializing with each other than games. Unfortunately I think it is time for me to get much more firm with them. I have been way too concerned with keeping them happy so they will stick with the program without giving them enough guidance for what is expected of them. I have underestimated their commitment and because of this I have been doing them a huge disservice by not being clear with my expectations; I will have to remedy that straight away.

Beginnings

doorsTomorrow is the beginning of a new semester and the continuation of various library projects. It has been a relaxing three week winter break with family and friends, sleeping late, and reading “cotton candy” books. This week I will meet with a group of middle school students to work on the K12 Web Archiving Program, I will attempt to find a class partner for the 5th grade E23 Growing Together project, connect with my teacher-librarian student teaching supervisor, and begin my winter term of classes at Portland State University.