Saturday, March 31, 2012

Linking & Thinking: A Week of Brain Fodder (weekly)

A weekly collection of annotated links to blog posts, articles and websites about information, school and teaching.


Posted from Diigo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Linking & Thinking: A Week of Brain Fodder (3/25/2012)

A weekly collection of annotated links to blog posts, articles and websites about information, school and teaching.


  • Hard science to back up what we've know all along -- the brain can learn emotions, sensitivity and experience from reading, not just living. In tests watching which areas of the brain become active when reading about different things, scientists found that there's no neurological difference between and action and reading about an actionl -- the same parts of the brain go to work. AND, when reading metaphor or evocative description -- a description of a skunky smell activates the smelling regions of the brain as well as the image regions. Reading DOES

  • A better title might be "In Defense of Books" --
    "Books can bridge that gap between very general and very scholarly that is difficult to find in a journal article. They often cover a broad subject in smaller chunks (i.e., chapters), and can provide a good model for narrowing a topic into one that’s manageable for a short research assignments. Books can also help students exercise the muscles that they need for better internet and database searching as they mine chapter titles and the index for keywords."

  • There is so much freely available that was impossible to access only a few years ago, and a motivated student CAN put together a high quality education w/o formal college (or really even high school). The sticking point is, and always has been, motivation -- and that's something no college or university can provide, open online or otherwise.

  • Wow. Arizona has banned Mexican-American studies, including YA novel Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña, in high schools. Imagine banning Asian American studies in California, or African American studies here in Atlanta. How can they do this and get away with it?

  • Yup -- more of the same thing. It's not time to jump into ebook yet, largely because I don't think we can really supply what I believe (though I could be wrong) our Paideia readers want.

Posted from Diigo.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hey, It's John Green!:
Junior High Reading Club

No, not OUR John Greene, the OTHER John Green. The one that writes crazy popular YA novels, including today's Reading Club book, The Fault in Our Stars.

Here's some info to get us started . . .


John Green was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 24, 1977 (making him 35 this year). He grew up in Orlando, Florida before attending Indian Springs School, a boarding and day school outside of Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and Religious Studies. His first book, Looking for Alaska, was largely inspired by his time at Indian Springs School.

He is married to Sarah, has a son, Henry, and a dog, Willy. More bio in the John Green Wikipedia article (because John Green's own website doesn't actually tell you anything much about his life). They all currently live in Indianapolis.


He has published 5 novels:

and some short stories. A list of all the John Green books (and books with his stories in them) in the Paideia Library is right here, on the library catalog.

He's a Blogging Fiend

In January 2007, John and his brother Hank (who's two years younger) started a 365 day project to communicate regularly through videos posted to a blog (so, "vlogs"). They called this project Brotherhood 2.0. At the end of the year, they decided to keep it going, and 4 years later their YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, is going strong. Each entry has thousands and thousands of views; altogether they have almost 2 millions views.

Here are some of the Vlogbrothers entries:

How to Be a Nerdfighter (December 27, 2009)

Quotations (March 29, 2010)

The Fault in Our Stars (January 10, 2012)

Life is Wierd. Also beautiful. (February 21, 2012)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Linking & Thinking: A Week of Brain Fodder (3/18/2012)

A weekly collection of annotated links to blog posts, articles and websites about information, school and teaching.


  • This is by a librarian in the Douglas County, CO system that went DIY with their ebook delivery, and is now a model for other systems wanting to bypass the restrictive and expensive main ebook vendors (OverDrive is the biggest). The article explains why the current model doesn't let libraries serve patrons well, and how they believe their system will work better.

    Of note, though, is that they've not yet signed contracts with any of the major mainstream publishers -- the ones publishing books on best-seller lists and that patrons want to read.

  • The librarians' "candy campaign.”

    "Last spring, librarians bought 500 fun-sized Nestle Crunch bars and attached a note to each that said “Don’t wait till Crunch time!” with a reminder to get started on research and contact information for reference help."

    I wonder if a targeted campaign within the classes doing long-term research projects would be useful (I know it would be fun!!)

  • Another library group goes DIY in providing eBooks to patrons. Adobe Content Server costs about $10K, plus hardware. This consortium started with $30,000 and will purchase ebook files directly from publishers as well as an Adobe Content Server to manage the digital files. We could so do this in Georgia with time and leadership.

  • Text and audio interview on NPR's Morning Edition. The Paideia Library has almost all of Jodi Picoult's novels, and they often end up on the summer reading list. Many of her characters are teenagers wrestling with big issues, and they are popular with our readers.

Posted from Diigo.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Somehow Reading Related"

I have always been drawn to silk-screened posters from the first half of the 20th century. They're simple & bold, and often were the origins of catchy phrases that have become part of our cultural vocabulary ("Uncle Sam Wants YOU!"). Last month, the release of the Red Tails feature film and discovering this great 1943 poster

inspired a Black History Month display of library books on African Americans in the military. The poster is now on my office door - the airman is terribly dashing, isn't he?

I've been doing some research on copyright and Fair Use this week, and it's worth noting that a wonderful thing about government published materials is that they are immediately and always in the public domain. After all, we the taxpayers are the publishers. Cool, huh?

There's been a WWII "School Garden Army" poster at the circulation desk, but just been swapped out for this WPA poster (definitely "reading related").

It turns out there are more WPA-created literacy posters at the Library of Congress' American Memory website. Display inspiration for the coming months!

On my iPad for March reading are several free ebooks -- I'm halfway through the first Tom Swift novel (from Project Gutenberg; it's Tom Swift and His Motorcycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road -- did you know that the Taser stun gun name is an acronym of "Thomas A. Swift's electric rifle?") and Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. (on the Kindle Reader app, from Also from Project Gutenberg and on my iPad are Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio (the original), Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. I'm thinking hard about the ebook situation for Paideia, and definitely taking a fresh look at the "vintage" reading available in the public domain. Stay tuned for more on that topic soon.

What's on your "always meant to read" list for March?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Linking & Thinking: A Week of Brain Fodder (3/11/2012)

A weekly collection of annotated links to blog posts, articles and websites about information, school and teaching.


  • Hearing about the 3M Cloud Library a few months ago was one of the first alternates to OverDrive I came across. This article points to new and positive developments that make it seem wise to stay out of the ebook fray for a while yet. The article says that the 'cloud library" of ebooks is integrated into one company's library catalog system, so patrons can find and download ebooks in the same database as the library's physical materials. One-stop shopping! Something to keep an eye on.

  • Wow -- exactly where I am with the whole business. I would LOVE to offer ebooks to our school community, but am stuck by the turbulence in the industry. The way I'd do it is currently illegal (violation of copyright law) and publishers are the biggest roadblock. They are so afraid that library ebook loans will hurt sales, that they can't see the thousands of copies that would be sold to libraries. I did not know that the "right of first sale" (if you buy a book, you get to decided what happens to it, whether you re-sell it, turn it into art, or burn it, because that copy belongs to you).

    So for now, this is my solution: "get [or stay] out at least until there is a better system." Aargh.

  • In a couple of weeks, the Paideia librarians will be attending a professional meeting to go over ebook provider options. If you've ever borrowed and downloaded an ebook from the public library, then you've probably experienced OverDrive. I love how it works and the selection, but 1) it's really expensive, and 2) not only do only LEASE the materials (instead of an outright purchase), you only lease it from OverDrive, so if a better option comes along and switch vendors, you lose all access to the ebook collection you've developed and paid for. Not going there, not yet, for sure. Axis 360 may be something to look into.

  • The End of Nonfiction (a different approach to organizing print material in the library)

    Our library 'downsized' the reference book section 6 or 7 years ago, which helped with physical reorganization and greater likelihood of students finding the materials. It doesn't address the demand for getting the information through the Internet rather than in print, though. We wrestle daily with when/how to enter fully into providing information for our students through ebooks.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Brraaiiins . . . .

We've got plenty of good brains around here (and prefer to keep them intact inside our skulls), which is why it's much better to observe zombies from a distance (and in fiction) than to interact up close. Last spring I wrote about the CDC's emergency packets on zombie invasion preparedness, and added a reading list for the zombocalypse.

Little known, though, is that in the alternate version of 19th century Seattle, in Cherie Priest's steampunk Clockwork Century series, a mad and greedy inventor named Leviticus Blue used a powerful machine to bore underneath the city to rob a bank. He died in the event, so we never find out whether he knew that the digging hit a vent of noxious gas, releasing it through the city and destroying the population. This gas, you see, turns anyone who breathes it into a rotting, mindless thing solely focused on hunting and eating the living. Consume enough of a mind-numbing drug called sap, made from the gas, and you'll become more than just numb. Called "rotters" in Seattle (Boneshaker), "wheezers" in Virginia (Dreadnought), and "zombis" in Marie Levau's New Orleans (Ganymede), these doomed walking dead may just become a harder force to beat than either the Confederate or the Union armies.

Perhaps inspired by the coming invasion, a group of Emory students, including Paideia alum Emma Calabrese '97, entered a short film in the Campus Movie Fest student film competition last year. Look at This F***ing Zombie! (I might cuss too, if faced with a real-live walking-dead zombie) was a campus finalist, and has the second highest views of all the Emory entries. Emma is the supportive roommate, and heroine, in this funny star-crossed romance between a brainy coed and a life-challenged student in her philosophy class. Check it out below. Congrats, Emma!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Linking & Thinking: A Week of Brain Fodder, 3/4/2012

A weekly collection of annotated links to blog posts, articles and websites about information, school and teaching.