April 2012

I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN : VISUAL LITERACY K–8 (2ND ED)
by Steve Moline
(Stenhouse, 2011, 265 p. $25.00, ISBN: 9781571108401)
Tired of death by PowerPoint? Moline’s book as an essential companion to any books you have on information literacy. We all grew up in an era where it was said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Now, more than ever, in an era of data and more data, visualization of data and information becomes one of the few ways kids and adults can wrap their minds around major concepts. And if we grew up in the era of lying with statistics, this book helps us help young learners represent accurate and meaningful representations of ideas. Moline takes us through the process of reading, writing, and thinking visually. Then he teaches us the power of simple diagrams, maps of all kinds, analytic diagrams, process diagrams, structure diagrams, graphs, and graphic designs. Teacher librarians are already familiar with mind mapping and such programs as Inspiration and Inspire Data, so we are beginning to appreciate the use of visualization. Moline pushes us even further, demonstrating how visualization can help us along the path of understanding and presentation of ideas in visual form. It is an essential skill in all disciplines, and teacher librarians should be masters at visualization in all forms as students work in the world of the Internet. DL

STEM STUDENT RESEARCH HANDBOOK
by Darci J. Harland
(NSTA, 2011, 218 p., $23.95, ISBN: 9781936137244)
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During the past few years, the United States has been trying to encourage more schools to focus on STEM education in order to compete globally and fill the needs of our scientific industries. The purpose of this volume is to teach students to be scientists by performing research like real scientists do. “The Notebook” is the long-used paper and pencil document that tracks a formal piece of research from beginning to end. Thus this handbook is designed to take students completely through the scientific experiment step by step. So what does this have to do with the teacher librarian? A great deal, if you look at the research model to be used in a formal science project. It is actually the basis on which all the information literacy models in the 1990s were created. Note the steps in abbreviated form: generate ideas; develop a research design; know my topic; write the proposal; set up and conduct the experiment; perform statistical analysis; interpret the data; report the results. Knowing that both the teacher librarian and the STEM teachers are on the same track, the discussion of two heads are better than one gains some traction as students build questions and understanding through the use of informational databases, create a method of investigation and gather quality data, do analysis and synthesis, and finally create a product complete with some type of reflection. One is mystified at the author’s use of a paper and pencil notebook for all the recording and reflection when technology would dictate the use of digital notebooks, particularly when groups of students might be working on an experiment in concert. However, the process is here and familiar to teacher librarians. So pick up a copy of this book. Read through it and prepare yourself as a teacher librarian to be a scientific partner. Then start the discussion. Experiment with a few teachers who are interested in real science. And the rest will be history. DL

TEACHING GENERATION TEXT: USING CELL PHONES TO ENHANCE LEARNING
by Lisa Nielsen and Willyn Webb

(Jossey-Bass, 2011, 304 p., $22.95, ISBN: 9781118076873)
If you show this book to some administrators, tech directors, or parents, you might find yourself in the midst of a book burning. The thought of using text messaging and cell phones in the classroom? Sin and degradation! Cool off. Calm down. Every kid who possibly can is texting, texting, and texting some more. It is the number-one technology used by kids and teens. Let’s get real! Let’s use this technology to boost learning and at the same time teach responsibility in digital space. These authors provide a common-sense and forward-thinking book of ideas for capturing the most common tool and bending it over into an academic benefit. Just calm down. Read and discuss a chapter. Think. Ask the kids. Do an experiment. Let everyone know you are experimenting. Do something that boosts learning and brag, brag, brag about it. Yes, there are equity issues when kids don’t have texting plans on their cell phones. But there are ways around that, and with a bit of creativity and kid involvement, they will help the adults figure it out. This book is a must-read. Controversial? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. Let’s face the real world. It’s past time. DL

WHAT SCHOOL LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA
edited by Scott McLeod and Chris Lehmann
(Jossey-Bass, 2011, 214 p., $27.00, ISBN: 9781118022245)
Two well-known technology leaders have pulled together a star-studded cast of tech professionals to introduce a wide range of tech tools and how they can be used in the classroom. There are other books introducing such tools, but you can sell this one to school administrators and tech directors on the basis of the renowned contributors. First, here is a list of the technologies covered: blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, digital video, virtual schooling, one-to-one computing, free and open source software, educational gaming, social bookmarking, online mind mapping, course management systems, online tool suites, Twitter, online images and virtual literacy, mobile phones, mobile learning, and social networking. Now, let’s suppose you are doing an inservice, a formal discussion, a presentation to parents, or other demo, and you want something quick and authoritative for folks to read beforehand. This is a great collection with the best of the best folks in the field writing the advice. So have the audience read the chapter beforehand if you can and then begin the discussion. The book is arranged in such a way that you could discuss a variety of technologies in small groups. That is, if you purchase a copy of the book and cut it up, each chapter is an entity by itself. So let’s assume that you want to have several small groups talking about various technologies. The group leader can read the chapter beforehand and then lead the group, and you have a very inexpensive but authoritative basis of discussion. On another plane, we still seem to be in the lock of discussing the technology and then its uses. We’d like to see a book that is just the opposite; arrange the volume by type of learning objective and then suggest a few of the best tools to accomplish that objective. Perhaps we will come into that phase of maturity. Right now, the authors emphasize the sparkle of technology. Nevertheless, this is a current and brief but excellent introduction. DL

FUEL FOR THOUGHT: BUILDING ENERGY AWARENESS IN GRADES 9–12
by Steve Metz
(NSTA, 2011, 200p. $25.95, ISBN: 9781936137206)
Many science teachers use the environment in various ways to conduct experiments with young people because they can often get the students to become passionate about the topic and perhaps stimulate a career or some kind of action in the local community. NSTA, the National Science Teachers Association, has an ambitious publishing program and provides many volumes each year of interesting experiments or teaching ideas. This fat volume is no exception. It concentrates on simple but effective ways of doing hands-on science that would work well in a classroom, with simple and available materials. Some of the units recommended in this book beg for the opportunity to investigate data and ideas on the Internet. Metz keeps them close to their desks and perhaps the use of a single website. So what is a teacher librarian to do with learning experiences that have a great objective and could flourish out there in the world of information and technology? You will simply have to convince the science teacher that by allowing an exploration into the world of information, the learning experience will be improved and the thinking pushed up. This tactic goes for so very many idea books published regularly by a variety of presses. So if you purchase this volume for that environmental science teacher, know that there is a sales pitch that must accompany it to turn the quests into higher-level science. DL

WHERE DO I START: A SCHOOL LIBRARY HANDBOOK (2ND ED.)

by Santa Clara County Office of Education, Learning Multimedia Center

(Linworth, 2012, 155 p., $ 45.00, ISBN: 978-1-58683-541-5)
This book is a starter only—and more for a paraprofessional’s work than a professional’s. For instance, collection development is seen as using the rubric “C-U-DO-IT,” which isn’t at all unlike the MUSTY acronym used previously, and while it works to solicit teacher and student input on the collection, it is a completely passive approach. In reviewing the online information, policy and vendor information is most important, but there is little to no collaboration emphasized and no overt connection to other school libraries, public libraries, or academic libraries or how this might extend holdings and information. Bottom line: This book will be useful only to a professional or paraprofessional who knows nothing about a school library. Not recommended. BM

Mostly Manga: A Genre Guide to Popular Mangam Manhwa, Manhua, and Anime

by Elizabeth Kalen

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 150 p., $55.00, ISBN: 9781598849387)
These are fun collections, but watch out—they date FAST! If you aren’t an aficionado of this genre, this book will help you. It can be used not only for collection development but also for a reader’s advisory approach. It provides all kinds of information on all major manga and anime formats. While it starts near the beginning of these genres (1990), it works to be as up to date as possible. Issues about those genres are discussed and commented upon—things like censorship of the genre, developmental maturity of the characters as well as readers, etc. Bottom line: This is helpful to those of us who don’t have a keen aficionado in this area. Recommended. BM

READ ON . . . GRAPHIC NOVELS: READING LISTS FOR EVERY TASTE

by Abby Alpert

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 177p., $ 30.00, ISBN: 978-1-59158-825-2.)
Graphic novels are becoming more and more popular, and as such there are just so many to know about that a book full of lists of them like this one can be quite helpful. No longer seen as the lesser of reading, graphic novels are annotated and organized by theme. Both nonfiction and fiction, they also include examples of the Japanese graphic novels, the manga type. Bottom line: This set of lists is an important contribution to a library to enthuse both the anxious reader and the reluctant one. Whether for building a collection or enhancing one, the professional is going to have to consider both reading and developmental levels before adding any of these to the collection. A good index compliments the content organization. Recommended. BM

THE HIDDEN WEB: A SOURCEBOOK

by William Scheeren

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 114 p., $45.00, ISBN: 978-1-59884-627-0)
This is a valuable tome for a web beginner or one who wishes to share some of the information it contains with others. The author has made a significant attempt to explain various issues regarding the web and its contents, but rather than stating how various websites can be used to solicit collaboration or interest in sharing, the author mainly gives an annotation for the site. Chapter 2 is especially interesting, as the author works to define why certain search engines can and cannot work well with the invisible web. His comments on that rationale are excellent and suggested reading for all. Bottom line: There are many web users who can learn better searching techniques. The teacher librarian can help facilitate this learning. Recommended. BM

POP-UP BOOKS: A GUIDE FOR TEACHERS AND LIBRARIANS

by Nancy Bluemel and Rhonda Taylor

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 322 p., $40.00, ISBN: 9781591583981)
There is a dissonance right up front about this issue. The quality of some pop-up or motion/movable books is quite varied, and as such speaks to their ability to interact with students, not to mention their developmental concerns in terms of their information. Many of these are not meant for small hands and have to be manipulated by adults who can find the movable part as well as gingerly move or pop up the page. Yes, they have great appeal, but often many of them deserve a home in a museum rather than a library or classroom. Many a personal adult collection is found in these types of books. In times when budget constraints require judicious use of monies, there are way too many other things that will inform students and teachers over these. Not recommended. BM

SEVEN STEPS TO AN AWARD-WINNING SCHOOL LIBRARY PROGRAM (2ND ED.)

by Ann Martin

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 140 p., $40.00, ISBN: 9781598847666)
Having just won the prestigious award for one of the best school district library programs in the nation in 2011, the author has modeled much of what she talks about. Similar to her first edition of this book, the author takes the ideas a bit further, adding current information about standards and environments. There are great thoughts and tips about how to develop some award-winning habits in a school library, but the author needs to take the issue of technology in schools and in students’ hands a bit further. Visionary this is not, but it is certainly visionary to many a teacher librarian. Bottom line: If you are looking to improve your ways and have more impact, this is worth reading. Recommended. BM

THE LIBRARY CATALOGUE AS SOCIAL SPACE

by Laurel Tarulli

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 150 p., $40.00, ISBN: 9781598846294)
Definitely more a public library tome than a school library, this book offers some key ideas about how to facilitate the catalog as a conversation/discussion piece. Suggestions for how to do this are given, and such issues as how much information a catalog should contain are pursued. This book makes one think about why certain tasks are done the way they are done. Bottom line: If you are thinking about what to do with your catalog to make it more interactive and relevant, this book is for you. Recommended. BM

SUBJECT HEADINGS FOR SCHOOL AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES: BILINGUAL FOURTH EDITION

by Joanna Fountain

(Libraries Unlimited, 2012, 488 p., $85.00, ISBN: 9781591586388)
This is a large tome, and while it is bilingual, it is bilingual for Spanish and English. This type of tool would be manna for a cataloger, but few others. However, it does show how the language of the catalog needs to be considered in other languages. The trouble is that the Spanish used won’t work with certain Spanish-speaking populations, especially some ELL students. Of most interest is the information that the MARC tags give to a professional. Bottom line: This is a ready reference for only certain professionals. Not recommended. BM

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