Saturday, August 25, 2007


Bacn-It's better than Spam. For once, I am on the cutting edge. A brand new term was coined last week at Podcamp Pittsburgh-and I was there for it! I am shocked at how quickly it's spreading through the webosphere but it's a term that addresses a problem invading my email inbox daily. Rarely am I on such a cutting edge for anything, but it's pretty exciting!

According to Lifehacker Blog, Bacn (yet another 2.0 term missing a vowel) is:

“Email you receive that isn’t spam… And isn’t personal mail. It’s the middle class of email. It’s notifications of a new post to your Facebook wall or a new follower on Twitter. It’s the Google alert for your name and the newsletter from your favorite company.”

Within my three email accounts, I probably average 60 messages a day. Typically about 20 are Spam that are deleted quickly, 30 are personal emails (usually requests of some sort) and the last 10 fall in that Bacn category--updates that I would like to read...just not right away.

So, there you have it. If you want the full story of the birth of bacn, you can read about it here. Until then, you can begin to sort your bacn into categories in your inbox: Turkey Bacn, Canadian Bacn, Shakin Bacn, Six Degrees of Kevn Bacn...

Photo taken from

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Did You Know?

Yesterday marked the first day of in-service to kick-off the 2007-2008 school year. Besides the pointed crayons and the smell of new nylon backpacks, I just love the feeling of starting over in August. This year, with a new superintendent, a new principal, a bounty of new teachers, and a new vision for my job as a librarian, I am optimistic that my students will be better people in June because of the village it will take to "raise them."

As an introduction to the year, I thought it was worthwhile to highlight the "Did You Know" video that is blasting through the educational airwaves. They are reminders about our students--these digital natives--and how they are intuitive to technologies.

My favorites: Did you know:

-Over 70% of 4-year olds know how to use a computer

-Jobs that students are majoring in now did not exist when they were in high school

"We are currently preparing our students for jobs that don't exist yet in order to solve problems we don't know are problems."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Podcamp Pittsburgh

Podcamp Pittsburgh is underway. This two day workshop takes place at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and has over 250 participants. The day started with a native Pittsburgher sitting in front of me, trying to explain to her Los Angeles table-mate (who flew in just for the weekend), the nature and meaning of the word, “Yinz.” Entertaining. I digress.

The varied crowd consisted of professionals and amateurs of varying abilities and ages (including a six year old--where are the Foster students?!) and the sessions were appropriate for everyone. Of course, all concurrent sessions were streamed and archived on Check it out.

I was relieved that I already knew most of what the presenters shared during the Intro to Blogging session so I decided to attend the advanced web hosting session next. Mini mistake--That's why we have a Tech Dep't. I should have brushed up on my html...

Blogging Best Practices was highly informative and shared some interesting local blogs--re: Pittsburgh, Steelers, etc. My Bloglines are getting much longer. Cynthia reminded us of the basic rules of blogging: 1. Post regularly 2. Link to others 3. Use tags for easy access 4. Respond to comments to engage the reader

The afternoon sessions consisted of video documentaries, creating a mini-video that will air tomorrow, 2.0 tools, and tours of Second Life. I'm still not using Second Life to its fullest potential, but my avatar looks good! I even picked up a free Discovery laptop on EduIsland.

Despite the slight PC-bashing, I networked, ate well, and now off to Bossa Nova for dinner... Next step? Can you say, “PodCruise?”

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Administrator 2.0 Academy

Web 2.0 Tools: $0. One-on-one Professional Development: $0. Open-minded and creative Administrators: Priceless.

Chris Stengel and I finished our third full day of the "Administrator 2.0 Academy" today. Over the course of these trainings, we took our traveling "show" to the desks of about half of the Mt. Lebo administrators--with the next half expecting us within the next few weeks. Armed with diet ginger ale and Red Bull (uh, the ginger ale for me, Red Bull for Chris--The thought of that mixture is an interesting one...), we gathered around each fearless leader's computer to examine and discuss the 2.0 wiki.

We travel with 2 goals in mind: 1. To give each administrator a common understanding of the 2.0 tools that are easily accessible and currently usable in Mt. Lebanon 2. To plant the seedlings of ideas about how administrators can utilize these tools within departments and buildings with the expectation it will trickle to the teachers for proper implementation with students. We target blogs, wikis, the widgets on our Mtlsd home pages, and customizable forms. I think it is fair to say that each administrator has found at least one practical tool they will implement this year.

Even though Chris and I are halfway through the sessions, I can't help but feel optimistic that that these leaders will be open to these tools in order to make our district a model of communication and collaboration. From the Superintendent to building principals, from the Facilities Director to Human Resources, I expect to see some changes this year. Ultimately, each decision we make is toward the same goal: student achievement and preparing these students for their flat, digital future.

Photo from via Mathew Ingram

Thursday, August 9, 2007

8 Random Facts

Jen Dorman tagged me to give 8 random facts about myself:
The Rules
  • Post these rules before you give your facts
  • List 8 random facts about yourself
  • At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
  • Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged
In no particular order:
1. I could watch Friends and Seinfeld reruns all day long.
2. The Clarks, "Let It Go" cd is the only cd I can listen to the entire way through (except mixes).
3. My all-time favorite movie is "Troop Beverly Hills."
4. Burton Morris artwork graces several walls of my house.
5. I'm scared of weather--thunderstorms, snow, lightning...
6. Just visited the Chihuly glass exhibit and now can't get enough (see photo)
7. I'm obsessed with diet ginger ale--drink it all day but never actually finish the whole can
8. Still keep all appointments on a paper calendar (until I get a Blackberry)--just can't seem to convert yet...

Looks like all of my blog contacts have already been tagged...Let me keep looking!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The New Librarian

I never aspired to be a librarian. My memories of library time in school are filled with stamping, shushing, controlling librarians sitting behind a desk and a chart with the Dewey Decimal System we had to memorize. The books were dirty and I always wanted to spend my money on books rather than borrow some and give them back.

Last Friday brought my graduation from Pitt with the letters MLIS attached to my name. It's only now, 18 months after I began the graduate program, that I know what a Masters in Library and Information Sciences means and how it should impact school libraries across the country.

School librarians are not just custodians of information. School librarians should be leaders, pathfinders and integrators of technology. They should be collaborators and network promoters with teachers, administrators, and other librarians. Librarians are the nodes that connect information to others. Most of all, librarians instrumental in preparing students for their future. We are preparing them for college majors and jobs that do not even exist yet. The best we can do is teach students how to learn.