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item3In Command! Kids and Teens Build and Manage Their Own Informaiton Spaces, And... Learn to Manage Themselves in Those Spaces

Robin T. Williams and David Loertscher; Hi Willow Research and Publishing; 2008; Refresh Edition; ISBN 978-1933170-36-7

Thoroughly updated for 2008! Most school libraries have a web site or blog that provide a wealth of resources and links to information. However, young people may be saying, “We love you, library, but we love Google more.” This book and accompanying website takes a new approach in the battle to capture the attention and serve student needs: It asks each child and teen to construct their own home page using iGoogle, and construct three sections of their own information space:

Personal Space (with assignments, calendars, hobbies, and other critical personal tools). This is a very tightly controlled space that the student can change regularly. If the school library has a blog, then information can be fed to every student via an RSS feed. Thus the librarian can notify a class about a particular library assignment, offering helps and deadlines that will assist the student in their daily work

Group Space for doing projects with others often using web 2.0 tools. For example, a class may be doing a project with another class in a foreign country. A ning, a wiki, and blogs can be used to collaboratively share information, do joint planning, and share expertise on a variety of subjects. This capability has really developed over the past 5 years. The concept that multiple students can be seeing and adding to the same page in a word processor is a totally new concept whose time has come.

Outer Space (controlled access to the larger Internet) Students will want to create ways of accessing the entire internet but also learn how to manage those explorations to avoid dangers and pitfalls.

Thus, they learn to manage their own information space. But, even more importantly, they learn to manage themselves within that space. The time has come to offer young people a gift of a lifetime – control over the voices clamouring for their attention and the tools they need to emerge as truly information literates. Unique.

What does it mean to control ourselves within our information space? It would seem that the rules of the road, crossing the road, driving a car safely and other rules that help us go through life need to be taught in information space as well. We learn to cross the street safely, we learn to navigate through information space knowing that there might be predators trying to divert our attention. Thus the librarian and technology staff help kids and teens develop responsibility - the idea is to give every kid or teen a fishing pole rather than a fish. Tech directors may immediately say “no” to such a radical idea. We are betting that developing individual control is far superior to being managed.

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