The Learning Librarian

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Planet Esme – a Librarian’s Dream!

I was volunteering in my school library after school this week when I came across a book entitled Educating Esme by Chicago librarian Esme Codell. I began reading and quickly found myself unable to put it down. The book, which chronicled Ms. Codell’s first year teaching in a challenging inner city school, was both informative and entertaining. I could identify with many of her thoughts and experiences. As Ms. Codell’s year of teaching went on, she gradually began mentioning library more and more. She slowly comes to realize that as much as she loves teaching, she loves spending time in the library even more. She is passionate about read alouds, literacy, writing and technology. The books ends with her decision to transition into a library position.
I was curious about what had happened after the book was published, and when I looked her up l I was amazed by all of her projects and accomplishments. She is currently a librarian at a Chicago Public School, and she has written several books – fiction for students and non-fiction resource books for teachers and librarians – and she writes blogs geared towards both students and teachers. One of her websites is http://planetesme.blogspot.com/. I love this blog because it is so fun and easy to read. Ms. Codell posts a “book of the day” each day. Along with an image of the book, she provides a brief summary, review, and suggestions for similar books. For example, one post discusses The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers. Codell summarizes the story and sings its’ praises. She also recommends Big Bad Bunny and Watch Out! Big Bro’s Coming! as related reading if the first book struck your interest.

I think this resource would be extremely beneficial for librarians and students. For me, sometimes long lists of books are overwhelming, but to learn about new books in this nice one-at-a-time format seems very manageable. I love her brief summaries and ideas for related books. This would be an extremely useful resource for a librarian. If you recommend one book to a student and he/she likes it, you can have a few similar titles at your disposal already ready to go. Older students can use this resource themselves; it also might be a fun project for them to create their own Codell-inspired blogs. Students could write brief summaries and reviews of books and list other titles that are similar. This would really require them to think critically about a book in several different ways; it would also ask them to compare what they’ve read with other books and connect them through similarities.

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Goodreads

This week I decided to explore Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). I have heard a lot about this resource and created an account last year but never really used it. I was able to re-discover my account (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8926227) and was so excited to find the books I had marked as “want to read” last year. I’ve been looking for some new titles lately and I definitely still want to read the ones I bookmarked so long ago!

I am extremely impressed with Goodreads (and a little scared that I’m going to spend WAY too much time on it) because it is so easy to use – and fun! The links at the top make it extremely easy to find books, read reviews and see what friends are reading. The main page also gives you suggestions of new releases you might like in a variety of categories. I also love how the site is set up like a social networking page. Like most social sites, you are able to find people you know and add them to your list of friends. Then you are able to see what they’re currently reading, what they’ve read in the past and what they’ve reviewed. While I currently only have one friend on the site (more to come!), I enjoyed spending some time looking through several of her well-researched reviews and recommendations. Since I often ask friends for tips on what to read, this website is exactly what I need. After I add more friends, it will be so nice to see all of their recommendations in one place!

I think this would be a phenomenal resource to use with students, especially those in middle and high school. Because of the social networking format, the site will strongly appeal to students. I think the social aspect will also encourage them to contribute; they’re not writing book reviews because they have to for their teachers, they’re writing them for their friends. This is a website I can see students really wanting to use.

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Many Ways to Define Information Literacy

This week, my teacher (hi Ruth!) gave the assignment to think about our dream library team. That is, if we could work with anyone – and were not limited by silly things like money, resources, and distance – who would we most like to collaborate with in the library media center? This assignment inspired me to conduct some research on (somewhat) local library enthusiasts who I could possibly really work with someday. I came across an article by Dane Ward, a librarian and information literacy specialist, which can be found here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:WiD9dHAGrZsJ:intranet.lib.wvu.edu/committees/instruction/files/Ward1147282985.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjWuf_EWQfh2WFKe55hoLY3utr58VWlf62rv-c4H9isGKNjwUwmiFptzcOh0oQh5Cw9_zH58xgw4f280T0_oVEmx6E8R8JaD89-1ZxiVRdyWNHFubbyHymTPe_MZiiZzBtSsa8T&sig=AHIEtbQmegHDbvKNqfz9-0VK4vr7ZIFWqA. The article first caught my interest because of the author’s background and experiences, and kept me interested with the unique information it provided. The article discusses information literacy’s multiple definitions. Yes, it is technically defined as the way students locate and process information, but Ward elaborates on the definition, mentioning that information literacy should also involve how we experience and value information internally. He insists that students also need to be taught to care about information and think critically about all types of information we receive on a daily basis. He argues that our self-awareness comes from the information we receive and how we choose to interpret it. It also comes from within, in the form of dreams, hopes, fears and goals. Ward provides suggestions for teachers and librarians to teach this self-awareness. He first suggests teaching students to love questions and questioning. He encourages us to engage student curiosity and creativity and allow them to feel the joy in simply having a question and the means to answer it, not necessarily making our sole focus on the question’s answer. He suggests that teachers and librarians offer students opportunities to explore their self-awareness. Identifying who they are as people and learners can be very beneficial to developing questions and conducting research. Ward concludes that we must collaborate in order to revision information literacy; we need to allow students to understand themselves and find meaning in their questions and curiosity. By communicating well with students and building positive relationships with them, we can encourage this self-awareness as well as the desire to become a lifelong learner. Ward also mentions that librarians and teachers must go the extra mile to constantly be collaborating with one another in order for students to succeed. 

This article was very appealing to me because I strongly agree with many of the points Ward makes. Too often is information literacy thought of as solely finding and learning information. We tend to imagine information literacy as students sitting on computers or with books, digging for answers to questions. While this is a substantial definition of information literacy, we need to remember that a lot of information also comes from within, and that information needs to be processed, too. Students who are self-aware and able to process their own thoughts, ideas and questions are likely to experience more success in an academic setting because they know what they need to do to achieve their goals. As a teacher, I always encourage my students to look within themselves for answers as well as within various sources. If we help students develop a genuine love of learning, they will be excited to look both inward and outward to further explore information. 

I would be very interested in reading more articles by Dane Ward as well as more articles that expand on the multiple definitions of information literacy. While this article is not appropriate to share with students, I know that I would like to implement several of his suggestions in my future library.

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Wikispaces

I was looking forward to learning more about Wikispaces this week. I have rarely used Wikis in the past, only once or twice for a class. The website, http://www.wikispaces.com, is extremely easy to read and understand. I like how it is categorized so nicely – you can choose whether you want a Wiki for Education, Business or Personal and choose from more categories within those categories. The home page answers some FAQs and explains how Wikis work by showing several icons and what they mean. When I went to create my own Wiki (http://abbycooper.wikispaces.com), I liked how a box immediately popped up that welcomed me and offered to give me a tour around the page. Using this tour feature, I was quickly able to learn how to edit my Wiki and manage the content. Since I do not really need a Wiki for anything right now, I did not add members or content. However, I played around with the layout and found one I really like. Though my 4-year-old students are way too young to be using a Wiki, I can definitely see myself using this page with older students in the future.

I really like how easy to use this tool is. The site is organized well and creating my Wiki was no headache at all. I also appreciated the tutorial at the beginning; it answered all of my questions by introducing every aspect of the Wiki one at a time. I feel like I have a very clear understanding of the tool after reading the tutorial and following the suggestions and directions it gave. The only thing I did not like was the fact that there were very limited options for backgrounds. I like the one I chose but it is not very unique. It looks like there are more to choose from if you pay a fee of $5. I appreciate tools like this, but I am not willing to pay for them!

I think this would be a fantastic tool to use with middle or high school students. It is a sophisticated way to combine and share information, and it goes more in-depth than a blog or Google Doc. Students can write, edit, share, upload documents, add movies, videos, etc. I believe this is as good as it gets when it comes to synthesizing information, and it teaches and uses all types of literacy. This resource would be especially helpful in developing digital literacy, which requires students to manipulate media and adapt it to new forms. As students create documents, videos, images, etc, they will need to be able to export them to the Wiki. This transfer of information is very beneficial for students to learn, and using a Wiki will allow them to practice presenting information in different ways.

 

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The Neverending Search

This week, I read a blog called The Neverending Search (http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/) written by teacher librarian Joyce Valenza. I am extremely interested in reading blogs by teacher librarians – since I hope to become one, I enjoy learning what those already in the field are learning, teaching and sharing. The blogs I have read so far have given me wonderful insight into the profession, and this one was no exception. I really like how the blog is laid out – there are categories with the following headings: Teacher Librarians, Instruction, Information Literacy, Google, Search Tools, Research and Contact. These headings make it very easy to select a topic you’d like to learn more about and be immediately directed to all blog posts within that subject.

I decided to read a blog post under the Search Tools category. I feel that I do not know as much about search tools (besides the typical Google and Yahoo) as I should, and I would like to learn more about different tools so I am able to share that information with my future students. The article I read – http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2013/02/09/whats-izik-introducing-a-swipier-slashier-search/ – discusses Izik, a search engined designed specifically with tablets in mind. According to Valenza, Izik is a good search engine because it gathers results quickly and efficiently. It also categorizes them for you by the following: quick answers, top results, images, books or latest. To focus your search, she suggests adding a “slashtag” which is, essentially, using a slash to separate your search terms and add additional words. At the end of her article, she provides a link to Blekko (http://blekko.com/) a spam-free search engine that she recommends if your device is not in the form of a tablet.

I thought this blog post – as well as the Search Tools section of her blog in general – was extremely helpful. I had never heard of Izik or Blekko, but her post made me excited to try them out. I would be curious to know what other teacher librarians think about these search engines, and I plan to research other blogs and resources to find out. This also makes me wonder what other search engines are out there that I have never heard of, and whether any of them could yield results that are more reliable or more valid than some of the more common search engines I use on a daily basis.

I definitely plan to revisit this blog in the future. It is geared towards teacher librarians, so I do not think I would have students visit it. However, I would absolutely incorporate lessons and/or new information and resources I learn from the site into my teaching. It would be fun to do a project with students based off the information I discovered about the new search engines. I could have the students search for the same term on several different search engines and see what kinds of results they found. A lesson like this would teach students that they need to use multiple resources to ensure they’ve gathered the most accurate information. Opening their minds to new ways of searching will help develop student’s media and information literacy skills.

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Del.icio.us

This week, I decided to look into Del.icio.us, a social bookmarking site I have heard a lot about lately. I was excited to finally be “in the know” about Delicious and to truly understand what a social bookmarking site is used for. My initial reaction was that the site looked a lot like Facebook. Since Facebook has been so successful, it is definitely a good site to use as a model. I created an account on the site which you can view by visiting https://delicious.com/arcoops.

As I just mentioned, the page looked a lot like Facebook. At first I thought this was a little unoriginal, but then I remembered that I use Facebook quite a bit, and that Facebook is familiar to me. The familiarity made me feel more confident about using Delicious, even though I had no idea what it was. I easily found some links to add to my page – dozens of results come up through simply typing a word or phrase in the search box. The website seems very easy to use, and fairly uncomplicated and straightforward. That being said, after exploring for awhile and enjoying what the page had to offer, I couldn’t help but wonder why do I need this? Like I wrote in my post on Google Reader a few weeks ago, (the same Google Reader that is now no longer going to exist, I believe) I believe that time is precious, especially to teachers and librarians. With so much to plan, read and do, it is crucial that the websites we use for organization and professional development allow us to be as efficient and productive as possible. I like this page – the resources are great, it’s nice how you can tag things and leave comments – but I simply feel that it is not necessary. As far as social sharing/networking goes, I have both Twitter and Facebook, and that helps me keep track of what my friends are reading/thinking and lets me share my thoughts with them. Usually when I encounter a great article or link, I post it on Facebook to share. Similarly, I feel that when I come across important links that I would like to refer back to, I simply add them to my bookmarks bar – I do not need a whole website just to list my important links. The website is well put-together and nice, but I do not feel that it offers me anything new, different or better than what I already have access to. While I am eager to learn about and incorporate new technology into my life and career, I don’t want to incorporate it solely for the sake of incorporating it. I want technology that will enhance my organization, learning and teaching in unique, creative ways.

That being said, I do not think I would be overly eager to share this website with students. While it might work for an activity where older students share an article or a link they have read and find interesting, they could just as easily do a similar activity using a Wiki, blog or class Twitter account. I am extremely interested in sharing new, innovative technology with students, but I would prefer that they become extremely proficient with a few forms of technology rather than being just okay with dozens of technology tools. Just as the Common Core is shifting to a curriculum that spans deeper instead of wider, it is more important to me that students know how to use technology well as opposed to only knowing the basics about every single tool. Part of learning information literacy is learning when it is okay to decide not to use a source. By looking at what already exists and pinpointing exactly what kind of information they would like to find – and how they would like to organize it – students will be able to differentiate tools that are necessary from tools that are not. Being able to examine websites with a critical eye will promote higher order thinking skills and information literacy.

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Van Meter Library Voice

This week, I decided to explore Van Meter Library Voice, a library/technology blog, which can be found at http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/. I had never heard of this blog before, so I did not know what to expect from the site. I was pleasantly surprised – the blog is extremely user-friendly, creative, engaging and fun to read. The author, Shannon Miller, includes dozens of photos with every entry that actively detail what her students do in their daily library activities.

I decided to read her blog entry from February 17th, when she chronicled a visit from authors Marybelle and Tom Harris. Miller posts a picture of the book being discussed, as well as photos of students reading the book and participating in discussion with the authors. In another post on that page, Miller describes a Skype visit from illustrator Mercer Mayer. She talks about how students really wanted Mr. Mayer to speak with them and wanted to create something that would show him how much they love his work. The students created http://littlebirdtales.com/, an ebook where students recorded their voices while sharing their own illustrations. Miller posted it on Mayer’s Facebook page, and he agreed to Skype with the students. Miller then shares several pictures and videos from the chat. The videos were so much fun for me to watch – as a lifelong Mercer Mayer fan, it was exciting to see him speak and look on as he drew a Little Critter live for the students. I felt like I was there!

Of all the readings I have done so far, I think this is the blog I will return to the most. It might be because I am more of a visual learner (according to http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=questionnaire)  and this blog includes wonderful amounts of photos, videos, and other interactive media in every entry, so I felt I was able to really gain a lot from it. The blog was also incredibly inspirational to me. I was excited to read what she was posting about, but it also made me excited to have events of my own to blog about. When I become a librarian, I would love to develop a similar blog that chronicles special events and projects in my school library. This would be a wonderful publicity tool and would help to keep students, teachers, parents and community members in the know of what’s going on in their school library. The Van Meter Library Voice would be a great blog to share with students as well. Even though it is geared towards teachers and librarians, I would like to show students what another school library is doing. Students should have input in their own learning, so as a librarian, I would show my students a few things on the Van Meter website and ask if they might like to try one of those things in our library. The possibilities are endless!

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Google Docs

 

For this week’s technology journal, I decided to look into Google Docs. I have never created one before, but I am beginning to understand how important they can be. Google Docs allows multiple people to read and edit one document without having to e-mail it back and forth. I think Google Docs would be a great way for librarians to collaborate with teachers. It seems that a common problem is that teachers and librarians would like to collaborate but neither one has the free time to meet and discuss lessons. The librarian and the teacher could simultaneously work on a Google Doc about a given lesson and collaborate without actually meeting face-to-face. While I prefer the face-to-face method whenever possible, sometimes there just isn’t the time. Google Docs can make it happen.

 

A friend of mine is in the process of creating a non-profit organization. She knows that I am learning how to be a librarian, so she asked me to be in charge of organizing the articles and other resources she and her colleagues are compiling. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to learn how to use Google Docs, because I wanted to create a document that anyone could edit and work on. After hours of hard work, I finished listing the articles she had provided me with. You can visit my Google Doc here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av4JBjtLhIFSdDFZb3VTVXZpdG5PLTZya2xxQUdTcWc#gid=0

 

I was pleased to discover that the process of creating a Google Doc was very simple. It was easy to select spreadsheet and to type in the information. Google Docs is extremely user-friendly; when I accidentally deleted a row, navigating how to put it back was no big deal. Likewise, when I wanted to organize the information alphabetically, I simply clicked “data”, then “sort sheet A-Z”. You can select which column you’d like to alphabetize, which is also nice. I prefer it to be alphabetized by article topic, but others may prefer it to be alphabetized by article title or author. Google Docs will let people change it to accommodate their preferences.

 

Now that I’ve finished creating my document, I have had some confusion regarding how to share it. I e-mailed it to my friend who leads the organization, so I know she has the document, but I’m still figuring out how to make it available to all the members of the group. Luckily I found some fantastic resources to help me figure it out: https://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2494822&topic=2816927&rd=1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wsvhIQj-3E&noredirect=1. Both the article and video are extremely helpful. The video is geared towards students and teachers, so along with solving my current problem, it also gave me some ideas for using this in the library.

 

I have no doubt that I would like to use Google Docs with students. I think it would work best for students in older grades, though it could also work for younger grades if students were closely supervised. Google Docs strikes me as a tool that could be very beneficial for collaboration. This collaboration could happen between groups of students, between students and teachers, and between librarians and teachers. I think it would be great for student group projects – students could work on the projects at home and then come together to edit them during school. It would be a great exercise in compromise and teamwork, as one student may want to make a change that they don’t all agree on.

 

Personally, I’m excited to see how my document goes over with this non-profit group. I left a column for comments and I’m hoping members will take a minute to contribute their thoughts on the various articles and videos. In doing so, my mini-library of resources will become an interactive forum – I am not simply telling them “here are the articles, go read them” but rather encouraging their input and ideas and providing them with sources to inspire the aforementioned input and ideas. Hopefully being able to participate will create more excitement and interest in this project. I think it would have the same effect in a school as well.

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The Horn Book

For this week’s reading, I decided to look into The Horn Book (www.hbook.com), a resource I’ve been hearing about time and time again but haven’t yet read in depth. From what I’ve heard, this sounds like a phenomenal professional resource for librarians, and I was instantly impressed (though slightly overwhelmed) upon my initial visit to the website. With so many categories and headings, I didn’t know what to click on first. However, after an hour or so of browsing, it became much more manageable, and I discovered resources that were extremely valuable.

My favorite part of The Horn Book is the “App Review” section, and I think this section is crucial for all librarians, whether they’re just starting out or have been in the field for decades. Since there are so many apps available – with new ones being constantly added to the mix  – it is very important for teachers and librarians to stay current and know which are most educational and beneficial to use with students. Even though I consider myself to be fairly up-to-date with modern technology, I know I’m nowhere near being familiar with every educational app, so I was excited to read about some I’ve never heard of before. One review I read discussed the “Goodnight Moon App”-http://www.hbook.com/2012/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-moon-app-review/. This instantly caught my attention as I am a huge Goodnight Moon fan and have many fellow fans in the pre-school class that I teach. Since we have been starting to use iPads lately, I thought reading this review could be helpful in determining if I should download that app to use with my students. The review gave a thorough description of the app, talking about everything from visuals and sounds to whether it’s appropriate for ‘before bed’ or not (it isn’t.) The review discussed that the app is interactive (but not TOO interactive – there is a mix between activity and simply listening). The app allows children to further explore the room in the story by using a magnifying glass to see objects more in-depth. The author mentions that the app has several user-friendly options as well – children can choose whether to hear the story read to them or to read it themselves, to listen to soft background music or not to, and return anytime to pages they’d like to see again. The article provides a link to where you can buy the app. It also includes “related posts” so you can easily jump to something similar.

I was really impressed with the quality of this app review – it is clear that the author really studied everything it includes. I feel that I have a good understanding of the app even though I have never used it myself. I think all of the reviews and information on The Horn Book would be helpful when I become a school librarian, but the app reviews would be particularly helpful because the concept of an “app review” is so unique. I haven’t seen them on many other library-related websites. With so many apps available to us, this resource would really help me get a feel for new options and easily select what would be appropriate for use with students. Finding the best apps is important so that students are able to make the most of their limited iPad time. The best apps will encourage and utilize good reading, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. I like the sound of this app because it allows students to gain information in different ways – they can listen to the story, read it themselves, or use the illustrations to understand the meaning. Apps like this encourage multiple learning styles, which I think is very important.

Overall, I think The Horn Book is a fantastic resource for educators. I like how it is both a website and a magazine, and I definitely want to subscribe! It’s nice that there are multiple ways you can follow along with new and interesting information. I like how there are so many author interviews; the “obituary” section is fascinating as well. At first I was confused by it – what are obituaries doing on a family-friendly website? However, the obituaries are amazing – they pay tribute to some of the most prominent and influential authors of our time. The obituaries could be used to help students learn more about the lives and writing of these respected authors. As a librarian, I can definitely see myself referring to The Horn Book often.

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Twitter Adventures, Part 1 and 2

This might sound silly, but I was really excited that Twitter was one of the suggested technologies to explore for this blog project.

I’ll admit, I’ve actually been fairly anti-Twitter in the past. My thought process has always been, “if I have something to say, I’ll just say it on Facebook. Why would I need to say it twice?”

I tend to be extremely affected by the “information sickness” discussed in Marilyn Johnson’s “This Book is Overdue.” As much as I love new technology, it often overwhelms me. Information overload. Opportunity overload. I don’t want to blog on one website, give short thoughts on another, and post pictures on another. I want one site, one central location, where I can do everything. Who has time to check all of these various technologies every day while still eating, breathing, sleeping and tending to other life responsibilities? While I think technology is awesome, I also enjoy going outside.

Then, I realized famous people use Twitter. And I like famous people. So sue me.

I also realized that I just might have things to say that I’d like to say in Twitter’s quick-and-easy format. Things I might not necessarily want to share with my 785 Facebook friends. Things I might want to keep fairly anonymous, but public, if that makes any sense.

If you want specifics, I recently learned that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (More info: http://www.hsperson.com/ and/or http://denmarkguy.hubpages.com/hub/hsp) which generally means that I’m naturally wired to be more easily overwhelmed than others. It means a lot of other things, too. Things that have given me anxiety for years have finally been explained by learning more about this genetic trait, and I’m relieved, but I’m working on how to use it to my advantage in my career/life. And I want to share that with others. Just not necessarily people I know.

Before this assignment came along, I started thinking how now might be a good time to stop being so anti-Twitter for the aforementioned reason. Also, I thought it could be a great platform to post my ‘librarian’ thoughts and follow libraries, librarians and children’s authors I admire. So yesterday, I made an account: https://twitter.com/_AnxiouslyA_

Today, it’s been suspended for no apparent reason, and my Twitter adventure as we know it is over. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My excitement was palpable as I created my account. As a testament to my excitement, I was late for dinner with a friend because of it and I’m NEVER late for dinner, ever. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to set up and get started with. Twitter offered me suggestions on whom to follow, helpful hints for common problems, and brief tutorials on hashtags and retweets and anything else I could possibly want to know. Within minutes, I was following dozens of people, had tweeted a few times myself, and was basically addicted. Admittedly, I spent the better part of my Saturday night reading tweets, retweeting, finding more interesting people to follow, and reading all that I could about the website. The only thing I found confusing was when tweets came up on my home page from folks I hadn’t followed/had no idea who they were – but I discovered, these were tweets that had been retweeted by people I did follow. I’m not sure how I feel about that – while I think the idea of retweeting is great, I really only want to see words from the people I’m following – hence why I’m following them and not the complete strangers they follow.

After a night of dreams filled with little birdies and “@” symbols, I woke up this morning, logged on, and was met with a little yellow bar at the top of the page that read “Your account has been suspended. For more information, see Suspended Accounts.”

Insert minor (okay, major) panic attack here. Seriously? I just joined yesterday; how could I have done something wrong already? I had a thought this morning – how was I going to share it with the world? What would my 10 followers think?!

I immediately sent in a formal “help! What’s going on?” email and was relieved to get the following immediate response:

Hello,

We understand that you’re contesting an account suspension. Please be sure to read this entire email.

Twitter suspends accounts for a variety of reasons. Your account was suspended because it appears you may be managing a number of Twitter accounts. Creating serial or bulk accounts with overlapping uses is a violation of the Twitter Rules; as a result, all of the accounts created have been suspended pending more information being provided.

Please respond with the following information in only one ticket:

a) a list of the accounts that you have created and which of these you would like to have reinstated, andb) your planned use for the accounts.

The Twitter Rules can be found here: http://support.twitter.com/articles/18311

Thanks,

Twitter Support

I wrote back and told them that the only Twitter account I use is the one I JUST CREATED. (But I said that nicely. I think.) There is a chance I may have created an account years ago, just out of curiosity, that I never actually used. But c’mon – really?

After spending the morning researching account suspension, it seems I could be in trouble here. Many people have blog posts where they angrily discuss being suspended and having to wait upwards of 2 weeks to be reinstated. And even after receiving “woohoo, you’re back!” emails, said reinstatement doesn’t actually happen. This is kind of ridiculous. I bet it never happens to the famous people. Also, Twitter doesn’t seem to have a phone number for customer support. You simply have to email your request – and wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. I can’t believe I only started this last night and I’m this upset over it. I feel like a coffee addict who’s just been told from now on there is only decaf left in the world.

Last night, I was planning to blog about my Twitter experience in an extremely positive way. This is an AMAZING tool for students, I was going to tell you. I already started planning Future Library Lessons in my head. Students could set up a Twitter account and tweet thoughts of a particular character as they read a book, and the teacher/librarian could use that to monitor comprehension. They could tweet responses to blogs, articles, anything. They could respond to tweeted challenges by their librarians – questions like “who can find the best picture of a sunset?” or “if you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?” They could tweet “classroom news” to their parents and communities. They could find differing opinions on a given topic and compare/contrast them by bringing in additional sources to prove/counter the points. The possibilities – I thought – were endless, and exciting. But now I’m not so sure. I would never ask students to put massive amounts of effort into a project that could be instantly taken away for no reason. I am conscientious to the core – a real rule-follower who would NEVER intentionally do something wrong. And the fact that my Twitter is now unavailable to me – and was taken away in such a harsh, quick way without even a warning- is both frustrating and disheartening. Granted, I was only up to 10 followers so far, but still – I put a lot of time into what I wrote, read and followed, and I was looking forward to the possibility of helping others like me in the process of self-discovery.

I still think Twitter is great in theory. When working properly, students would have access to all kinds of opinions and thoughts, and it would be a wonderful exercise for them in discerning fact from opinion. It would be the ultimate test of students’ ability to sort through all of the information available in order to select what is most valid and valuable. Students would be able to explore different points of view on various topics, and even the most reluctant readers would be engaged, as tweets are so quick and easy.

I end this post with a heavy heart and a brain full of brilliant, witty quips that will likely never be written. Not to be depressing or anything. But c’mon, Twitter – really? Also, ppppplllllleeeeeaaaasssseeeeee let me come back????

 

UPDATE!

After the disheartening reality that my new hobby was no more, I was disappointed. But then I had a sneaky, devious thought: I could create a new account under a different e-mail address. I am such a rebel it’s ridiculous.

I tossed the idea around for awhile before succumbing to it. After all, I didn’t want to get in trouble again. (I’m actually a terrible rebel.) But I just wanted to be on Twitter. Is that so wrong? Also, I visited the link Twitter sent me to check in on the progress of my “ticket” (aka complaint…) The link informed me that it was “closed”, but I hadn’t received any kind of email describing said closure. So while it was very much still open in my mind, the Twitter people didn’t seem to agree.

So, I made a new account, which can be found here: https://twitter.com/_AnxiousA_

I’m up to almost 90 followers! And I’m following librarians, teachers, children’s writers (and yes, celebrities. Can’t help myself.) So I really hope Twitter doesn’t kick me out again. I have good intentions, people. I’m really not some crazy spammer advertiser person.

The funny thing is that I finally did get an email back from a person when I least expected it, and it was only about 3 weeks after the initial problem. It said:

Hello,

Twitter has automated systems that find and remove multiple automated spam accounts in bulk. Unfortunately, it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake.

I’ve restored your account; sorry for the inconvenience.

Please note that it may take an hour or so for your follower and following numbers to return to normal.

Confusing. I promptly deleted the account that the person had just restored, not wanting to get in trouble for the same “multiple account” crime that, this time, I would actually be guilty of.

I do appreciate that someone got back to me, and I guess three weeks isn’t so long to wait in the swing of things. But it would be nice if they had a customer service phone number you could call, like Comcast or Apple or any of those places that have frequent issues. I guess they’re not so concerned that a handful of people amongst millions might be dissatisfied, which makes sense from a business standpoint but isn’t so nice on a personal level. If I ran a big company, I would want everyone to be pleased with it and get their problems handled in a timely, efficient manner. But maybe that’s just me.

Since I’ve had more time now to explore Twitter, I can now confidently say that I think it’s a good resource for students, though I wouldn’t want them to get too emotionally invested in it. Many of the librarians and authors I follow post links to professional articles, book reviews and resources that would be extremely beneficial for students doing research projects. I also like how easy it is to connect with people – a student could easily reach out to a popular author and ask a question about his/her book. Students would also have access to the latest news and information. I would want my students to use it, but I wouldn’t want them to let it take over their lives. As I learned the hard way, being on Twitter is NOT worth being late to dinner.

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