Under Jinny’s invitation (as mentioned earlier), I made my way to Cheektowaga Central High School at 9am for the SLAWNY Spring Sharing event. Organized by the School Librarians’ Association of Western New York (SLAWNY), it was going to be a day workshops, talks and mingling among librarians from various local community and school libraries. Check out how it all went after the jump…
For my session at 11am, I presented a discussion on Wikis in education, by sharing my experience using wikis with students. On time, I had a full classroom of more than twenty librarians, all intrigued with how they could better integrate Wikipedia and the use of wikis in education.
Most of them acknowledged how we couldn’t simply deny students from using resources like Wikipedia, so the answer would be to figure out how to do it in a more informed manner. We covered some issues about how to better reference wikipedia articles, by using static snapshots Wikipedia pages (using a wiki’s history feature) and by using any Wikipedia article’s citations, rather than referencing the Wikipedia page itself (as seen on the page footer). I recalled what Alex Halavais once mentioned before, that “Wikipedia is a great place to start, not end, your research”.
We later switched gears to producing a class wiki, where I demonstrated Wikispaces.com for the ease of use, customizability and privacy options necessary for the needs of educators. You can see how my COM125 Internet class (Spring 2007) took to Wikispaces.
On a personal note, it was my first time in a real American High School, so this was a treat. As I was telling Jan, one of the SLAWNY organizers, that all I knew of American high schools was from those teenage TV drama series.
As I hung out for lunch, I got to know more friendly librarians (mostly women of course) and listened to several impressive speakers at the event. It was really something to peer into the world of librarianship, where one of the biggest concepts I took home was how the role of the librarian has transformed from the idea of cataloguing media, to facilitating information sharing, to a whole social movement of improving youth development in local communities.
As discussed with Jan, I might pay a visit to the Cheektowaga Central High School soon again to chat with our young students about how they’re using the Internet and how they could possibly use it for school work.
To Jinny and Jan of SLAWNY: Thanks for this great learning opportunity! 🙂