Monthly Archives: November 2010

Book Post Revisited

Over a year ago I wrote about a prep school giving up it’s library of books and switching to a digital library. As a Bibliophile, I was offended.

Now, Boston Globe revisited the school to find all of its students suddenly using the library and loving the change. They did retain couple book stacks. But the students come into the library to do homework, to research on computers (the teachers also started using e-books in class to make the transition easier) or just to hang out. Before the switch no one seemed to use the room of books, but now the school had to hire another librarian to help with the increase demand.

Big picture wise, this is good for the students because they are ahead of the game in digital literacy. But since the school had to remove so many of its books in order to switch over, does that mean these same students will loose valuable skills in researching from a traditional book? I don’t claim to have the library of congress classification memorized, but I do know how to find a specific book with relative ease among the library stacks.

Sacrificing one side of the coin for favor of the other is not a good idea. Librarians have had over 10 years maybe even 20 years, to integrate the digital world with the world of books. Schools should let them do their job to educate students in BOTH worlds of  literacy.

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MSNBC fail

By suspending and then un-suspending Keith Olbermann over last weekend, MSNBC committed an epic fail. They claim to be objective, but after this stunt, I don’t think any one will believe them.

Olbermann broke the rules by donating to political campaigns. He’s a broadcast journalist, reporting on the news (trying to be objective) and this is a slap in the face of  MSNBC’s perceived objectivity.  But what I din’t get a chance to ponder over in my Chronicle Column is whether there should be a distinction between Olbermann the average citizen and Olbermann who goes on air every night. The only problem is that political donations are public record. Anyone can request that info, so Olbermann’s donations would be easy found by his viewers. While he might be objective on air, his donations would say something different. However should he be denied a chance to donate just because of his job? I can see the argument going both ways.

This experience should at least teach MSNBC something about it’s ‘objectivity. Call me a cynic, but I think objectivity in journalism is a dying practice. It’s been dying a slow death ever since the rise of the 24 hour news cycle and the network news that went along with it. Whenever we are told information or news we need to carefully examine who is giving it to us and why or else we are too easily misled.

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School Pride(!)

So there’s a new reality, but good reality that tugs at your heart strings, TV on NBC called School Pride. It’s basically Extreme Makeover School Edition with lesser-known celebrities. Failing schools submit a video and the renovation is done in a week and is pro-bono. As I was watching the first episode on Hulu one day when I was avoiding work, I thought that it looked great on the surface but didn’t have any substance. That went for the theory too, that they were making things look pretty but not solving the real problems like sub-par teachers or uninvolved parents or just plain old not enough money.

And yet… there are studies out proving that when kids are invested in their learning environment, they perform better. So this show is trying to get kids across the nation invested in how their school looks. In the first episode, there was a post script saying test scores already improved in the six months since the renovation (done during spring break) but the other schools were renovated during the summer so there wasn’t enough time to see if test scores did improve or not.

I wrote my Chronicle Column on the show. Mainly because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, and I was pressed for time too. Maybe I should stop avoiding my work!

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