Hello, privacy. Where did you go?

In a recent article I read, a potential job employee was asked by his interviewers to provide his Facebook user name and password. I had to re-read the article again to make sure I understood this was happening. Hiring managers usually Google your name, or will try to find you on social networks. But this request of user name and password breeches all forms of privacy to me.

I am wary of what I post on my social networks since anyone and everyone can see what is on there. Peoples’ sexual orientation, gender, religious and political views will be made public. Questions like these are not supposed to be asked during the interview process.

Currently, Maryland is working to pass a bill that will ban employers from asking for user names and passwords. If this bill does not go through, it makes me a bit worried. Does this mean then that anyone could ask you for your information? If you do not provide it, will you be flogged or fired?

Though this bill could be passed, it won’t stop potential employers from looking at your social networks. It’s important to maintain sites that are professional and personal. Twitter, my blog and LinkedIn are my professional sites, and Facebook is my personal site. Hopefully these decisions won’t bite me in the butt a few years down the road.


Mobiles & QR Codes in School Libraries

Most students have some kind of access to a mobile device or iPod. Students own these devices, or libraries will lend them out during the school day. Right now, there is debate among school districts as to whether or not to allow students to use mobile devices in the classroom. Some think mobiles enhance education, while others think mobiles are distractions that provide no educational value.

If used properly, mobile devices enable students to become engaged and motivated to learn. One of these uses is through QR codes. These bar codes are easy to create, and they allow students to incorporate technology into learning.

Here are some ways to incorporate QR codes into school libraries and the classroom:

  • Place QR codes in newsletters for parents and community that link to library’s website or blog
  • Hide answers to a study sheet behind a QR code. Students work in groups to check the correct answer
  • Create bookmarks with the QR code to a library event or website-these can be updated frequently
  • If there is a book display, place a QR code next to each book. The QR code will host a book review, or information about the author
  • Place a QR code on a piece of paper to put in  book that was book talked. This will provide links to book trailers or author interviews


Wikis & Google Docs

Wikis and Google Docs are two of my favorite content collaboration tools. Both provide an online space to easily upload and edit content. But what are the differences and strengths for each tool?

Google Docs

  • Most logical choice for synchronous collaboration for one document
  • Users can view other people’s edits instantly if they are simultaneously on the document
  • History of revision is kept for who made edits and when
  • There is a chat room for document users
  • Import and export to PDF or pptx documents
  • Can use a document, spreadsheet or presentation tool
  • Can make public or private
  • Can serve as a template/workspace for a group project or presentation


  • Best for asynchronous collaboration
  • Allows different permissions for users-especially useful for teachers and librarians to monitor student content
  • Keeps a history of revisions, along with who edited what and when
  • Can easily add images, embed links or upload videos and files
  • Multiple design features to choose from
  • Can download HTML backup file
  • Discussion forum for wikis
  • Can serve as a knowledge-base for a research project and literature circles or internal information for educators and administrators

Ghosts of Social Media Past, Present and Future

When I was in high school in 2005, LiveJournal and MySpace were the social-media hot topics. You weren’t cool unless you had a MySpace account. You ranked people in the top friends, and if you weren’t ranked at all, you were pretty much considered a loser. At lunch, my peers would brag about how many new friends and comments they had. People would post the mirror-lips-puckered-out camera shot. It was a virtual popularity contest.

Later, I went to college in 2006. Facebook was the new MySpace. It wasn’t as much as a popularity contest, but some people would try to gain as many friends as possible. Some would friend request each person they met, even if only it was for a second. The goal was to have as many friends as possible.

When I graduated from undergrad in 2009, Facebook and social networks were no longer virtual popularity contests. It was about community building and engagement. Campus organizations would connect with other ones to promote events, news and create two-way conversations. Social networks were now used to create conversation between like-minded people.

Today, the idea of community engagement and two-way communication has increased. Social media is not only popular among individuals, but organizations, educational institutions and businesses. It’s the new way we communicate with other people to promote products, gain customer feedback and foster relationships with people. It’s a new virtual, social-media marketing method.

On a different level, social media has taken more of a personal turn. Some purge Facebook friends and Twitter followers because they do not remember the person, or they have no desire to start a conversation. If someone does not accept or deletes a friend request, it is considered a social insult. Funny how it’s not a popularity contest anymore. There is value and valid content on some social networks now.

Individual social network accounts are personalized to fit individualized tastes. Pinterest, turntable.fm and Shelfari are examples of social networks that allow users to personalize and organize information. You seek to build relationships with people who have similar interests and values as you do. If you do not have some social-media presence online, people wonder “What the heck is wrong with you?”

In a few short years, the culture of social media has rapidly changed. It makes me wonder how we will view social media in the next two years.


Build Your Wild Self

Build Your Wild Self is a website from the New York Zoos and the Wildlife Conservation Society. It allows kids to build themselves with dozens of animal parts, and helps them learn about animals. My fieldwork librarian introduced me to this site.

Students can customize their look, clothing, background and name to look anyway they want. They can choose wacky hair, silly noses wings or arms and tropical or water backgrounds.

I was thinking how this site could be incorporated into a library lesson, and here’s what I came up with:

  • Read a book “Where the Wild Things Are,” and let students imagine and create themselves as a character for the book
  • Have students create their “Wild Self,” and write a short story about the character for ELA
  • Helps students learn about different animals and animal body parts (each part has a description)
  • Have each student design and print “Wild Self.” Then, put all these into a collage for an art project

Try this out-it is fun mixing and matching your “Wild Self!”