Course 5 Project: LIS Reads – LIS Lê Game On!

Well, I don’t have any fingernails left, but the movie is finally done.  Be kind, world. Course 5, it’s been real.

If you’re interesting in visiting the sites associated with this project, check out the LIS Reads – LIS Lê posts on the LIS secondary library blog and the short-lived LIS Reads – LIS Lê House competition tumblr.

I would like to note that approximately 2/3 of the way through Course 5, my iPad was stolen (I am actually still hoping that I just hid it from myself somewhere in my library, but that is seeming less and less likely) and I lost a lot of the media I had intended to use in this video. I think it turned out all right in the end, but I apologize for the occasionally heavy reliance on screenshots.  You can see my UBD “unit” plan below.

LIS Reads – LIS Lê: Books & Images!

Combining Text and Imagery

WonderWe’re doing a year of reading at LIS, and the primary librarian and I recently held our LIS Reads kick-off celebration to start the year off. Since we’re reading Wonder as a whole school (with alternatives for both our youngest and Portuguese readers), the evening centered around issues related to that novel.  We started off with activity stations, followed that with a whole group discussion of questions related to the novel, and finished the evening off with read-alouds of Oh No, George!, Wonder and Uma Questao de Cor.  You can read more about the evening over at my school library blog.

I tried to incorporate visual literacy into this evening included in two different ways.  One of the key threads throughout Wonder is the monthly precept shared in Mr. Browne’s class.  In preparing for our event, my student volunteers each chose a precept and searched for a Creative Commons licensed photo that would bring their precept to life in a new and different way. At first they were selecting very obvious photos, but I challenged them to choose photos which would make the viewer think critically about the why of their image and how it supported their precept.  You can see a selection of the final images shared below, some of which were created by students and others by me.  I think some of the combinations were quite powerful, and discussing their photo choices made it obvious to me that they were thinking critically about the visual created by the intersections of language and images.

On the evening of our LIS Reads celebration, these precepts were displayed in the entryway to the library. Participants were given stickers as they entered the library and asked to place a sticker on the “Quotetastic Image” that resonated with them most deeply. This was an easy way to get people involved right as they entered and allowed even our non-readers to participate. My apologies for the double “Dr. Wayne Deyer”.  It’s a conversion issue from Keynote to PowerPoint when uploading to Slideshare. #sigh

Responding to Visuals

If you haven’t read Wonder yet, you really must.  The main character, Auggie Pullman, has a severe facial deformity. So, to spark some thinking about imagery and physical differences, we shared images of people with physical deformities and asked viewers to write one word or phrase describing their reaction on the surrounding paper.  One of the images I used for this activity was the image of this track athlete from the Australian Paralympic Committee’s Flickr account under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

141100 - Athletics track female arm amputee close up - 3b - 2000 Sydney race photo

In contrast to some of the other photos, many of which elicited strongly negative responses, this photo elicited a wide variety of responses. Certainly, some viewers were struck by the loss of this athlete’s arm, but many more were impressed by her courage, perseverance, and strength.

I was that I was asking students to respond to issues related to the text Wonder visually, but I felt particularly proud that not only was I sharing and using images ethically with my community, I was also giving my students the opportunity to engage with Creative Commons outside of your typical classroom assignment.  Overall, this evening was one of the most satisfying of my career.  I am looking forward to sharing the digital story of it once Ju is finished making her movie with the photos she took of the evening.

Course Two Final Project: Responsible Use Policy

Writing a Responsible Use Policy was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. I thought it would be quite boring-and wondered why I should bother when there are so many good ones already out there-but it was an interesting exercise in reflection, language and collaboration.

The Process

Ju, Julie and I worked together using a series of Google Docs in a shared folder. First we shared our schools’ AUPs, model AUPS and other resources related to the development of AUPs.  Then, within an AUP Project Notes page set up by Julie, the discussion began.  We listed what we liked, brainstormed agreements and had an asynchronous conversation through questions and comments within the Google Doc. This past week, we realized we needed to have some live chatting to work out some of the finer details and make sure we were on the same page.  While we wanted to talk through a Google Hangout, we ended up settling for chatting within the document.  This worked wonderfully, because we are able to see the document shifting and changing as all three of us edited while discussing it.  This was an excellent lesson in collaboration, and it is an opportunity I hope I will be able to structure for my students in the future. Julie and Ju were great to work with, and I would be lucky to collaborate with either of them in the future.

The Priorities

The IB Learner Profile – Julie shared Sheldon Bradshaw’s Framing Your Acceptable Use Policy Through the Learner Profile presentation with us, and we all agreed that this seemed the obvious way to structure our project. Focusing on the learner profile attributes gave us a shared language and allowed us to create a policy that could easily work for any IB school.

K-12 Scope – All three of us work in different IB programs (Ju-PYP, Julie- MYP, Katy -MYP & DP) so we decided we’d like to have one set of guiding statements to apply to the whole school.  Then, as responsible use looks different at different ages, we decided to break it down into program-specific agreements for each guiding statement.

I Will Statements –  Come from the perspective of writing a Responsible Use Policy and not an Acceptable Use Policy, we agreed that writing the statements with “I will” was the only way to go.  It ensured that the language is student centered and positive.  There are tons of behaviors you can ban in schools, but I’ve always found that coming from what you want to see instead of what you don’t want to see offers better results.

Brevity – While maybe it doesn’t feel brief coming in at 5 pages, we found that we really had to prioritize to keep it to a maximum of three guiding statements for each agreement.  In the end, this forced us to focus our RUP and kept it from becoming a laundry list of all possible actions related to technology.

Visual – We agreed that there needed to be a visual component. Keeping in mind that AUPs are often shared at the beginning of the year with students (and often not read!) we decided to design accompanying presentations that supports the AUPs for each level. The DP presentation I designed is currently made up of Creative Commons licensed images; however, as Julie mentioned, if our school were to adopt this RUP, I would like to see the students create these presentations with photos taken by them.

The Results

What started off as an exercise for class became an authentic product I am looking forward to sharing with my LIS colleagues. I am very happy with our final result, shared below.  We have a K-12 set of guiding statements, supported by a set of agreements each for the PYP, MYP and DP.  For better formatting, you can view our RUP  and RUP in the DP presentation in Google Drive. To view the PYP presentation, please visit Ju’s post.  To view the MYP presentation, please visit Julie’s post.

Responsible Use Policy

Responsible Use in the Diploma Program

I would love feedback!  What do you like about this policy?  What would you change?  Did we miss anything essential?

Copyright Coaching

coach boom will bring home the W like Obama vs. McCain

I’m guessing when Doug Johnson said, “Be a Copyright Counselor, not a Copyright Cop” this wasn’t the demeanor he was imagining.  As an educator, I’ve struggled with copyright for a long time, and it’s only became more important to me since I became a librarian.  Sometimes I really want to just Coach Boom! people right in their copyright disregarding cajones. But…. I am doing my best to be a counselor, with a smile and an unending patience for the all too common attitude of, “We live in Angola, so who cares?”.

Particularly since I moved to Angola, a developing country in Africa with a complicated relationship with the law, I have decided the best way to go about supporting teachers and students in not breaking the law or the general “what’s rightness” is twofold.

  1. Promote public domain, fair use and Creative Commons licensed resources.  I am a long time fan of Creative Commons, so I regularly work CC into my lessons and professional learning sessions.
At my last job at Lakewood Montessori Middle School, I partnered with the Language Arts teachers to do a collaborative assignment which combined a writing assignment (ABC autobiography) with using Creative Commons licensed images as their illustrations.  I introduced the basics of the case, facilitated discussion, polled students on who they thought should own the rights/make the money, and then led them into a wider lesson on Creative Commons and how to search for photos.

In my current job as the secondary school librarian at LIS, I reprised this lesson with success.  It was interesting because I basically apologized since it was centered on an American example.  The upside, however, was that everybody knew about the image and we were able to have a fruitful discussion. Unlike my old job at a very small school, I can’t reach every student in the school through collaborative teaching.  Therefore, I am trying to develop resources which can be used by teachers and students when I’m not around to be helpful.

One of those is the Media for Free and Fair Use post on our library blog, which I continue to develop as students and I discover new sources of free and fair use materials.  When teachers and students work on projects, I point them to these resources.  Also, we’ve started a student library assistant program in our secondary library, and one of the departments is Technology Support.  Our Tech Support library assistants are currently working on creating resources such as year 8 student Nate’s post on  That same student is currently working on a series of slides introducing people to Creative Commons.

2. Empower teachers and students to license their own creations with Creative Commons licenses

  • If you look at the bottom of Nate’s post about FreeStockMusic, you’ll see a Creative Commons license. Yay!
  • I recently helped students who are creating their own website (I will not share it here, because I am still working with them on making sure they have a positive digital footprint.  Suffice it to say we have different views of what that means. ) to add a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license to their page instead of copying and pasting someone else’s copyright statement…without giving them credit.  Oh the irony!
  • I model use of Creative Commons media and licensing.  Any presentation I create on my own is all fair use licensed media, and I license it with a Creative Commons license, usually CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.
  • I talk about it, talk about it, talk about it.  I haven’t yet gotten teachers to jump on to a project where students create products, license them and share them online, but I know I need to just keep it up. Everybody eventually falls to my smile, unending patience and copyright counselor charm. 🙂

On my to do list: I need to actually learn if there is any copyright law in Angola.  Even if there isn’t any copyright law, I don’t believe that gives residents of Angola carte blanche to do whatever they want with disregard to copyright, international or otherwise.  It would be nice, however, to be able to meet the uninformed with information.  After all, that’s the role of a counselor: forcing you to, when you are ready, face uncomfortable realities like just because it’s easy, doesn’t make it right.

What about you? How are you addressing copyright in your school?  What’s your favorite resource for fair use materials?

Setting My COETAIL Goals


I am writing this post after spending a delightful Saturday morning, struck by how “plugged-in” I’ve been so far today.  I was reading the Living and Learning with New Media report, tweeting about what I’m reading, taking notes in my COETAIL project on my NoodleTools account, switching over to read What is the What on my Kindle, texting on my iPhone with a friend from work about plans for this evening, and playing Lexulous online against my brother  (who lives in the United States while I live in Angola).  It’s an amazing thing that I can have such deep relationships with people who I rarely see in person anymore or have never met, all because of our networked publics (Living with New Media 14).

My hyper-connected self should come as no surprise, really.  I just finished my MSLS in 2011, and part of working my way through UNC’s program was developing a PLN and immersing myself in the amazing online network of librarians. Seriously people, librarians are no joke. Check out #tlchat on Twitter if you don’t believe me. So, I’ve got it all when it comes to a PLN… well, maybe not all, but I’ve got a whole lot.  As a result, I often feel completely overwhelmed by all of the opportunities and information in front me. There’s just so much to do!

At first, I was going to post about the need to strike a balance with myself as I work my way through this COETAIL program.  In the last week, I’ve gone to bed later, tweeted more and read more online than I have since I was in grad school. This morning (actually, it’s now early afternoon in Luanda), both constantly Ju and I have been on one electronic device or another.  Of course, as I got concerned, I got on Google Reader and read Jeff’s post, What Does It Mean to Disconnect?.

It has occurred to me that my problem is not that I spend too much time online but how I am spending that time. I am more a vicious consumer than a creator.  I have been overwhelmed by everything in front of me partly because I am not giving enough back to the online community of librarians and educators who are giving me so much. So my COETAIL goal is to become a more effective participant and a more prolific creator. Creating this blog is the first step, but the next step is making sure that as I develop amazing lessons and unit and materials at LIS with the likes of Sheila, Chris, Chloe, Oscar and Tim, we share these materials (and license them with Creative Commons!) online to do our tiny bit to make the world more awesome.

YouTube Preview Image

As Kid President says, I need to stop being boring. “It’s time to do somethin'”. That something is my COETAIL goal: more creation, less consumption.

Works Cited

Living with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth ProjectDigital Youth Research: Kid’s Informal Learning with Digital Media. Digital Youth Project, 19 Nov. 2008. Web. 9 Feb. 2013. <>.