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Featured Education Students of the Day: Ashley Kinder and Ashley McCollum Tackle the Mighty EFD 500 Monster

“EFD 500 is your first graduate class?” I asked the Two Ashleys in disbelief. 

EFD 500 (Research in Education) is one of the most challenging education graduate courses. It is also the course that brings me, as a librarian, in contact with many of our graduate education students because much of the course involves locating the scholarly, research-based articles students must use to write lengthy literature reviews. Many of the students I have assisted over the years have told me that they waited to take the class until the end of their graduate course work, admitting incredible research anxiety and paralyzing fear.

Ashley Kinder & Ashley McCollum hard at work

Ashley Kinder & Ashley McCollum hard at work

However, brave students Ashley Kinder and Ashley McCollum have looked the EFD 500 monster in the syllabus face and said “bring it on!” You heard correct. The Two Ashleys, both working on their Masters in Elementary Education, decided to sign up for Dr. Staub’s EFD 500 class at the beginning of their course work.  Every day this week, Ms. Kinder and Ms. McCollum have been hard at work in the library typing vigorously on their laptops with their multitude of research articles sprawled out all over the library carrels. When I leave for lunch, I wave goodbye to the Two Ashleys. When I come back from lunch, I wave hello to the Two Ashleys. When I leave work, I wave goodbye to them. When I come into work, I wave hello to them. It’s been a while since I have seen students in the library demonstrating such persistence and dedication to their studies, and it is a welcome sight on my floor.

I asked Ms. Kinder and Ms. McCollum why they decided to take the EFD 500 class first in their graduate work. Ms. McCollum told me she was advised by Dr. Lowry to take the class. Plus, she wanted to “get it out of the way.” Ms. Kinder was talked into taking the course by Dr. Staubs who told her the class was “very manageable.” I thought I detected a “Hmmph!” expression on Ms. Kinder’s face, but it was probably my imagination. Ms. Kinder said she had no idea what the class entailed and how much work was required.

Ashley McCollum

Ashley McCollum

When I asked the Two Ashleys what they thought were some of the greatest challenges about the EFD 500 class their top concern was how to avoid plagiarism. Since the majority of their work involves summarizing the research studies of other authors for their literature reviews, they both expressed concern over how to avoid plagiarism when expressing the ideas of other authors, writing indirect quotes, and paraphrasing. Furthermore, they had been exposed to the MLA style of writing during their undergraduate careers. Now they were having to learn how to cite sources and write their papers in APA style (apparently Dr. Staubs is a big stickler when it comes to APA citation). 

Brave Student Warriors Tackling the Mighty EFD 500!

Brave Student Warriors Tackling the Mighty EFD 500!

Another big challenge Ms. Kinder and Ms. McCollum encountered was finding enough research articles relevant to their topics. Both experienced situations in which there was not enough research conducted on their specific topic of research. They had to learn how to broaden their search in the databases in order to find enough related research. This was particularly challenging because it meant having to weed out a lot of irrelevant research and also involved having to brainstorm for different key words and think outside the box in order to locate relevant studies.

 Ms. McCollum discussed the challenge of writing a literature review without simply summarizing the research studies. Reading the articles, synthesizing them, and trying to find a way to present the studies in a meaningful manner involves a lot of trial and error.

 When asked if they have any advice for students just beginning their graduate work in education, Ms. Kinder and Ms. McCollum both agreed that, even though the course is a lot of work, it’s a good idea to take it first. They feel that taking this class will be of value to them in future graduate courses, as it familiarized them with APA style and the language and writing style used in scholarly education research.

 When I asked if they were going to save their research, perhaps to develop into possible dissertations in the future, they both gave me exasperated looks and told me to ask them that question a few months from now. Right now they just want to conclude their papers. After tackling this class, Ms. Kinder and Ms. McCollum plan to celebrate their accomplishments at the beach. Bon Voyage, Ms. Kinder and Ms. McCollum! You’re almost there!

 P.S. While you’re at the beach, don’t forget to send a postcard to the 5th floor. L.C.

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Featured Website of the Day: Xtranormal.com

Education Student Meets Education Librarian
Education Student Meets Education Librarian

The Video

I discovered the Xtranormal/ Text-to-Movies Website from Ms. Yingqi Tang’s Library Access off -Campus Blog.  Ms. Tang is the Houston Cole Library’s Distance Education Librarian. I couldn’t resist trying out the Website because it looked kind of fun. The site allows users to select  different characters, scenes, languages, and backgrounds. The users, then, simply type in whatever they want their characters to say, choose different animations, noises, and expressions and publish their work as videos.  Here is my attempt, for what it’s worth. Yeah, I know it’s rather lame but it was my first try. This version of WordPress doesn’t allow me to embed the video directly into the post, so you will have to click on this video link to view.

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California School Books Going Digital

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to lighten the backpack loads of school children by “phasing out school textbooks” for digital ones. Read all about “California School Books Going Digital” from Google News (AFP). 

Not sure what to think about this one. The students’  backs might suffer less from not having to lug around those huge textbooks but are their poor eyes going to explode from reading large portions
of text from a screen? If I were a kid, I would pray the power would go out so I would have an excuse to skip my homework. Maybe they should create little textbooks they can read for free in Second Life and then they can even cut out the school buildings and save a  whole

My dog, George, thinks it's a great idea.

My dog, George, thinks it's a great idea.

lot of money.

Sarcasm aside, maybe it is a good idea. Get rid of those huge textbooks and make more room in the students’  backpacks for books from the library! Hey, now there’s an idea…provided books are still being purchased for school libraries.

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Featured Web Site of the Day: Meet Me at the Corner (Podcasts for and by Children)

Meet Me at the Corner is a cool kind of “YouTube for Children.” Designed by Donna Guthrie, a children’s author, the site appears to be well-moderated in order to create a safe, “kid friendly” space. The authors of the Web site encourage children, aged 7-12, to submit their own podcasts on various topics of interest. Originally created as a venue for children to produce their own podcasts about the people, places, and history of New York City, the Web site’s authors now seek podcasts from children from all corners of the world in order to construct a series of virtual community field trips. 

I decided to feature this site for three reasons. First, I think a site for videos, produced and submitted by children, is a creative idea and one which teachers, students, and parents could utilize. 

I was also personally interested in the site because I have recently been encouraged by my administrators to create podcast library instruction tutorials.  Mark Camp, from JSU’s Office of Distance Education, was extremely helpful in instructing the reference librarians on how to make podcast tutorials and showed us what tools are at our disposal. We were encouraged to submit these library tutorials to JSU’s ITunes U. However, I have sort of been procrastinating, as my video experiences have not been so hot. In fact, my few attempts at creating short little videos have been downright embarrassing. I certainly won’t win a Sundance Award for my feeble contributions to the YouTube Universe, thus far. I thought I might take a look at the podcasts created by the children on this site to motivate me and help build my confidence before attempting an actual professional podcast. There is even a video on MeetMeAtTheCorner.org about how to create podcasts which I watched to give me pointers.

Finally, the most recent podcast featured on the site is an interview with the band, Trout Fishing in America. I absolutely loved hearing this band play years ago at Be Here Now  which is “no longer there” in Asheville, North Carolina. This has nothing to do with the price of peanuts. I just thought it was cool.

My ramblings aside, here is Ms. Guthrie’s own description of the site:
Geared to children ages 7-12, MeetMeAtTheCorner.org is a dynamic, interactive site, which encourages individual expression and participation through video submissions from children worldwide. Through these video podcasts, the site creates a community of children who learn the art of self-expression and storytelling through video. The site is free of charge.

MeetMeAtTheCorner.org currently offers more than 50 three-to four-minute episodes. Recent additions include interviews with famous artists and writers, trips to  New York City, San Diego, and Colorado, and introductions to unusual hobbies.  New trips are added every three weeks

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Featured Book of the Day: Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham

Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham
    
Why Don't Students Like School? LB 1060 .W5435 2009

Why Don't Students Like School? LB 1060 .W5435 2009

Ooh! As one who loves to play memorization games,  I can’t wait to get my hands on this book (it’s currently checked out). A popular idea, supported by many educators and reinforced by cognitive science theories, is that teachers need to teach to different learning styles. But wait…here we have a book, written by a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, which might dispel some of these popular notions and, apparently, even advocates the integration of some form of “rote learning,” a style not supported by progressive education theorists. Rote learning gets such a bad rap so I would like to hear Mr. Willingham’s views on this debate. I’m particularly interested in reading this book to find out what the author has to say about memorization and learning.

Read an excellent review of this book by Bill Evers, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institute. Also, visit Dan Willingham’s Web site.

Product Description from Amazon.com (click on this link to access this description and editorial reviews from Amazon. com).
Kids are naturally curious, but when it comes to school it seems like their minds are turned off. Why is it that they can remember the smallest details from their favorite television program, yet miss the most obvious questions on their history test?

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham has focused his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning and has a deep understanding of the daily challenges faced by classroom teachers. This book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learnrevealing the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences. 

 

 

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A Sunny Day at the Houston Cole Library

View from the 5th Floor
View from the 5th Floor

Well, it’s nearing the end of “Maymester,” and I thought I would take a few pictures of the view from the library today.
The Houston Cole libcorrect1lib7Library (HCL) is the tallest library in the state, with 12 floors (the Education Collection is on the 5th floor). There are so many sofas, chairs, tables, and floors in this building that our “regulars” (those students who frequent the library consistently) have their favorite places to study.

View from the 12th Floor

View from the 12th Floor

 While every floor is unique, the view of our Appalachian foothills gets better and better the higher you go. Each floor provides incredible views. It just occurred to me that it seems appropriate that the History Collection is on the 3rd floor towards the bottom of the library as it sort of serves as a foundation, housing tomes of history, maps, and archives of the past, while the 10th floor (the highest floor containing books) is home to books and journals that pertains to technology, change and the future. My floor, the 5th floor, is the midsection of the library. It seems fittting that the Education Collection serves as a bridge between the old and the new.

The Fifth Floor

The Fifth Floor

 I tend to think of education as the heart of this University, but as the Education Librarian, I might be biased. Okay, maybe I’m reading too much into the layout of the HCL, but this is definitely an interesting library with spectacular views and a plethora of study spaces.

12th Floor Study Area

12th Floor Study Area

 Speaking of study spaces, if I were a student, I think I would prefer to study on the 12th floor because there is a panoramic view of the mountains, the campus, and the cute little square of Jacksonville. The town of Jacksonville is rich with history, much of it centered around education, with its first school house built in 1836 and the evolution of JSU from its recognition as a State Normal School in 1883. Rick Bragg touched on Jacksonville’s mill town history in his latest book, The Prince of Frog Town. The 12th floor always offers a beautiful view of the campus and the town, whether it’s foggy, stormy, brilliantly glimmering with Autumn colors, or a perfect blue sky sunny day, just like today.lib100lib70lib106

 ps. I can just imagine reading The Odyssey while watching the sunset from the 12th floor. Oh, to be a student again. Sighlib20lib34

Towards the The Square (looking out from the 12th floor)
Towards the The Square (looking out from the 12th floor)

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Out on the balcony of the 5th Floor
Out on the balcony of the 5th Floor

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