Welcome to Year 2!

The Metronet is entering its second year of collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools on integrating information literacy skills . You can read theYear 1 final report of the Metronet Information Literacy Project here. All of us learned a lot last year--about information literacy, collaboration, and how to run a project. Based on that learning, we have a "new and improved" approach this year.

The Metronet Information Literacy Project (MILP) is based on the premise that student achievement is impacted by a strong school library media program that is staffed by professional media specialists who collaborate with teachers in incorporating information literacy skills into classroom teaching. Lots of research has been done on this, including two studies of Minnesota's library media programs conducted by Metronet. We know, too, that this collaboration takes time, resources, and skills that not all media specialists and teachers have! So, MILP was started to help small learning communities in St. Paul high schools develop the skills and find some time to focus on information literacy.

Another impetus for the project is the Minnesota State Legislature. In 2006, it passed a law that requires the Commissioner of Education to embed Technology & Information Literacy Standards into the Minnesota Academic Standards. This process has already started with the revision of the Math Standards. MILP participants will ahead of the curve on this, since they will be experienced in teaching information literacy!

The Technology & Information Literacy Standards were developed by MEMO, the professional association serving school media and information technology professionals. MILI uses these standards as the foundation of its program and training, too. The Initiative focuses on two of the nine Technology & Information Literacy Standards : (1) Research process, including the use of appropriate resources, and (4) Responsible use of information and information technology. We have expanded the two standards into 3 Rs:

  • Research
  • Reliable Resources
  • Responsibile Use (of Technology and Information)

All of our training focuses on one or more of these Rs.

The Big Change for Year 2

One thing we learned in Year 1 is that accountability is hard—and that we didn’t build it in and make it easy to track for either participants or administrators. When we surveyed the teachers and media specialists on how much time was spent on information literacy and collaboration, we got a wide range of responses. A very wide range.

We also received critical comments on our training sessions (“more structure” and “more formal” with time for discussion, were common). In conversations and visits to schools, we noted that media specialists and teachers were at different points in their use and understanding of technology. And, while we spent time discussing and demonstrating the Research Calculator, not much use was made of it in teaching. So, live and learn.

To improve both of those areas, we are implementing a new structure for all participants and administrators (including the interns that Metronet provides for the media centers).

MILI Information Literacy Things

MILI Information Literacy Things

The concept of “23 Things” has taken off in the library world and other areas to help staff become more familiar with technology and how it impacts library service and library patrons. It started in public libraries and has expanded to school libraries. It has received rave reviews from participants--they love the idea of a reason to focus on their own learning and and to have excuse to play around with technology and the Web.

We have adapted the model for MILI with a series of 23 + 1 Information Literacy Things built around the concepts of information literacy, and the 3 Rs—Research, Reliable Resources, and Responsible Use of technology and information.

How It Works

Teachers and Media Specialists will do all 17 of the Core Things and choose 6 from More Things to explore and learn more about Information Literacy and how to incorporate the concepts of Research, Reliable Resources, and Responsible Use into their teaching. The +1 Thing is to write some final reflections on the entire process. Interns and administrators will do most of the Core Things, since some would not be possible, such as Streaming Video, and make up the difference from the More Things.

And remember that accountability issue? To help with that, each participant will have an individual blog (Thing 2) and regularly update the blog with reflections on the MILI experience, meetings, and Things.

The Things are designed to be accomplished both on your own and in the monthly after school meetings. We don't expect it to take much more than an hour or so a week. While posts should be thoughtful and reflective, they don't have to be extensive or scholarly. We just want to know what you are doing for MILI and how you feel about it. Except for the first 3 Things, you can do them in any order that works for you.

Have fun with the idea and the Things--this is an opportunity to focus on you and your learning--and to use that learning in your teaching.


Oh, and did I mention prizes? We will be reading your posts and keeping track of their frequency. Everyone who does the at least the minimum each month will be entered into a drawing for prizes at the after school meeting. And everyone who completes all of their Things by April 1 will receive a "completion prize."

And these will, of course, be fabulous prizes. Or at least interesting prizes, depending on where we find them.

Toaster oven, anyone?

Required Things

These are the Information Literacy Things that all teachers and media specialists must complete. To reach your 23+1 Things, you choose from the optional Things. Click on the links for the details for each Thing. Remember, once you have done Things 1-3, you can do the Things in any order that works for you.

Thing 1. What Are You Talking About?
Understanding Information Literacy

  • Begin the project by thinking about information literacy & what it means to you and your students.
  • Check out the Standards we keep talking about and learn our vocabulary.

Thing 2. Create Your Blog & Post About It

  • We want to know about your discoveries, your ideas, your thoughts on the project, and more.
  • Weekly posts will do all this. And remember--at least one post a week will get your name in our monthly drawing for door prizes!

Thing 3. RSS & Newsreaders

  • Keep up with your fellow MILI bloggers by setting up a Bloglines account.
  • Add a feed to your blog.

Thing 4. Get to Know Your Public Library

  • Public libraries are a wealth of information resources both in person and virtually. And they are there when you can't be. Take time to learn more.
  • Introduce your students to the world of the public library. That library card really is a key to knowledge.
Thing 5. Create and Maintain a Teacher Web Page
  • Teacher Web pages offer a way to provide students with "one-stop shopping" about your curriculum, assignments, resources, and more. Your Web page is one more way to introduce information literacy and the 3Rs to your students.
  • SPPS offers Urban Planet as an easy, template-based Web page builder. If you don't know how to use it, take a class or arrange for trainers to come to your building.

Thing 6. Use the Teacher Guide to the Research Project Calculator (RPC)

  • This new feature of the RPC helps teachers easily integrate the steps of the research process.
  • Take time to review the RPC steps and all the features of the Teacher Guide.

Thing 7. Get to Know the Research Project Calculator (RPC)

  • Introduce the RPC to students to teach the research process and develop their information literacy skills.

Thing 8. Dribbling Lessons for Information Literacy

  • These quick lessons can be dropped into any class to introduce information literacy skills. Browse the lessons by RPC step.
  • Lots more available, too, including lessons by subject area and a bibliography for a more in-depth look at information literacy.

Thing 9. Streaming Video

  • Use those projectors by finding and using streaming video in your classroom.

Thing 10. Copyright & Plagiarism

  • Responsible Use addresses the issues of copyright, proper citation of resources, discussions of plagiarism, and more.

Thing 11. All About Google

  • There's more to Google than "Googling." Take time to explore the features of Google.
  • Google reaches out to teachers and librarians with newsletters and more. Check it out!
Thing 12. Other Search Engines
  • And there are search engines beyond Google. Take a look at various search engines, including metasearch engines that search multiple engines simultaneously.
  • Visual search engines offer a different presentation of results.

Thing 13. Subscription Databases

  • Reliable Resources are rich and deep on the subscription databases that school districts, ELM, and local public libraries offer. Much more targeted and reliable than a typical Internet search.

Thing 14. Reliable Online Resources

  • There are reliable resources available free on the Internet--the challenge is finding them. Use these expert-created sources to find authentic Web sites, obscure documents, and interesting resources.

Thing 15. Collaboration

  • Teacher/media specialist collaboration gives students the best of both worlds--subject specialists combined with research and information specialists.
  • Plan a collaborative lesson incorporating both sets of skills.

Thing 16. MnLINK

  • More resources at your fingertips. MnLINK offers the ability to search hundreds of Minnesota library catalogs at once, find items not available locally, and create requests for journal articles and more.
Thing 17. One New Thing
  • We know you will discover new "Things" as you learn about the Things on the list. Take time to share what you find!

Optional Things

You get to choose what you want to learn about in the rest of your 23 Things. Choose 6 (or more; no limits on learning!). Be sure to blog about each one you do!

Note that you may need to do some of these at home--many districts block video sites, social networking sites, and anything downloadable. But don't let that stop you from choosing the ones that interest you.

Thing 18. One Student Thing

  • What are your students talking about in regard to technology? Anything new out there?Ask them how they think a new technology can be used to enhance teaching.

Thing 19. Just for Fun

  • Have some fun playing around with an online image generator.
  • Explore any site from the Web 2.0 awards list or Edutopia's Top 10.

Thing 20. Podcasts, Downloadable Audio Books and More

  • Learn about podcasts, find some interesting ones, and if you feel up to it, make and share your own.
  • Local public libraries offer audio books to download to your MP3 player or computer.

Thing 21. YouTube and More

  • Looking for that TV episode you missed? Or how about a science fair project recorded on video. That and more is available on YouTube.
  • Explore some other video services aimed at educators. TeacherTube or Yahoo! for Teachers are two.
Thing 22. Ebooks and NetLibrary
  • More online resources available for reference or reading.

Thing 23. Technorati, Tagging, and Del.icio.us

  • Enter the world of blogs and social bookmarking.
  • Read a few perspectives on Web 2. tools, Library 2.0 and the future of libraries.

Thing 24. Online Gaming

  • Metronet sponsored a conference on gaming in libraries a few years ago. Take a look at the speakers' presentations.
  • Have a Second Life?

Thing 25. Digital Map Collections

  • The Internet does open the world--of maps. Take a look at these digitized collections.

Thing 26. Digital Image Collections

  • Museums, libraries and other institutions share their image collections. Browse these for inspiration.
  • Responsible Use applies to images, too.

Thing 27. Customize Your Home Page

  • Want to consolidate all your interests in one spot? Try customizing your homepage.

Thing 28. Photos & Images
  • Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site.

Thing 29. Online Learning

  • There are many tutorials and courses online that can help you learn new skills or brush up on your current skills.

Thing 30. Field Trip Options a. and b.

  • Metronet will pay for one field trip per teacher that is directly related to the information literacy aspects of a research project.

Thing 31.Bibliographic Tools

  • Responsible Use requires proper citation of resources. Learn about free online tools and introduce them to your students.

Thing 32. Wikis

  • Wikipedia is bashed as a poor choice for reliable information. Learn more about it.
  • Wiki software is free--think about how you can use it for a class project.

Thing 33. Some Other Thing

  • Have we missed something? If you find a Thing that we should all do, let us know!

Thing 34.Research Organizers

  • There are many free online resources to help you and your students organize their research. Take a look a few and try them out.
Thing 35. Smart Tips

  • Keep up with what's new and find tips on using what you know better.

Thing 35. Online Productivity Tools

  • Need to create a PDF or an online slide show? Take a look at these free productivity tools and more.

Thing 36. Social Networking

  • Facebook and MySpace can be the bane of a school's daily life. Learn how colleges are using social networking as part of their learning communities.

More for Thing 16.

There is a lot to explore and learn when using MnLINK. Take some time to find and request an item.

  • Request an item on MnLINK with the Get It! Button. How long did it take to arrive?
  • Take a look at the list In Constant Demand. MINITEX publishes this list for libraries to show books and media that are probably not available on ILL due to heavy local use. It is an interesting snapshot of what Minnesota library users are reading and watching. Have you read or watched any o f the items on the lists?