Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ASLA Twitter Chat Session May 8, 2012

A tie vote resulted in a quick discussion on the topics: 
Censorship and Open Educational Resources

Like many of our monthly ASLA Twitter Chat Sessions enough is gained from a session to wet the appetite to delve further into the subject matter after the session has concluded.  The face of education today is changing rapidly as is the role of school librarians.  More than ever, school librarians are (or should be) the leaders to which administration and teachers alike look to for guidance, after all, we are the information specialists in our schools!

Censorship, especially in regards to banned books is a topic all school librarians deal with on one level or another.  Some challenges and censorship make headlines while others may simply be through conscious or unconscious self censorship when ordering and or displaying books, periodicals, and other materials.  The book, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries (, depicts stories from school librarians who have dealt with censorship issues.  In the book one librarian shares how during Banned Book Week she wore a "I Read Banned Books" t shirt to work and was sent home by her principal to change her shirt to something appropriate.

I think Deven Black, a middle school teacher-librarian from New York City expressed how I feel quite well:

One of our own Alabama librarians stated during the chat that she has faced challenges every school year but has been fortunate the process has never gone too far due to their challenged materials policy that is in place and followed.  

If you do experience a censorship issue in your school library please be sure to report it through the American Library Associations Online Challenge Form:

I'd Like to Find the *BLEEP* is a cute video about censorship:

One time I attended a library conference session in which the presenter proceeded to tell us how she refuses to order books for LGBT students because "we don't need that filth in our high school".  This type of self censorship should be closely examined.  As librarians, we are here to serve the needs of all, not just those that correspond to our personal and/or religious beliefs.  In fact, our personal and religious beliefs should have nothing to do with the selection of books and other materials purchased for our libraries.  

(stepping off my soapbox now)

Let's move on along to our next topic of conversation:

Open Educational Resources or OERs:
OERs are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assign., quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations.  OERs can come in the form of online museums, lectures, podcasts & videos, media, online networks, libraries, archives & reference.

Before I began investigating blogs and other librarian sites for current topic trends for the ASLA Twitter Chat vote I didn't know very much regarding OERs and the role school librarians play in the curation of these materials. Once I learned more about OERs the more I realized that for school librarians it is the modern equivalent to the vertical file (remember those!).

OERs & Information Literacy go hand in hand with each other:  Not quite sure what an OER is?  Perhaps one of the most known OERs is HippoCampus, Khan Academy, Curriki, TED, and Thinkfinity are just a few examples of OERs. (,,,,

I think many school librarians are already curating/bookmarking/pinning OERs for their teachers and students already, they may just not have known the new fangled jargon identifying it.

Here are several other sites with links to OERs:

As you delve deeper into exploring either or both of these topics, please be sure to share what you find out on Twitter using the hashtag: #aslachat.

A special thank you goes out to our librarian and Instructional Technology teachers from Madison City Schools: 
Gina Ashley (@gashleylms), Sandy Brand (@MCSTechCoach), and Jennifer Hogan (@Jennifer_Hogan).

Also thank you to those who joined the conversation from other states, re tweeted, favorited and added to the conversation after the session was over: 
Deven Black (@devenkblack) a middle grades teacher librarian from New York City, Jean Jaudon (@jean_jaudon) from Auburn, AL with Lee Scott Academy, Karen Tisdale (@irmoreader) a high school librarian from South Carolina, Jen Meyer Wells (@madamewells) a Jr. High School Librarian from Indiana, Kathleen M. Thomas (@KMThomas) a retired high school librarian from Wisconsin, Kathy Dawson Shields (@KathyDShields) an elementary school teacher from Georgia, and Donna Baumbach (@AuntyTech) a retired educator from North Carolina.  

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