Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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In lieu of our regularly scheduled lesson

Posted by lpearle on 15 October 2008

This year I’m teaching our 6th and 8th grade. It’s a course we’ve called “integrated skills” but it’s really “library skills” with a fancy name (kind of like calling a library a media center).

I’ve been talking to the kids about organizing information, how to start a research plan (using Alice Yucht’s FLIP-IT, which they get far easier than they getthe Big 6), how to find books in our catalog and we’ve just started using databases. And then…

Google had a birthday

I’ve been suspending our usual lesson plan to talk to them about personal vs. private, about how things last on the Internet, how Google works, and how to monitor their on-line interactions. Doug has a great post on Googling Thyself, but I’ve gone deeper than that.

I’ve told them about my niece, whose Facebook status this summer repeatedly changed from what party she was prepping for to how hung over she was from said party. I’ve told them about the Chung and Swire e-mail “oopses” (NOTE: I did not go into graphic detail, just enough to let them know that these were messages that should not have been sent). I’ve also talked about how MPOW searches Google, Facebook, MySpace and other sites to see what’s “out there” on potential employees. We touched on one person on an e-list I participate in that is constantly complaining about jobs and the library field (and what that might mean if their resume reached my desk).

One student mentioned that their older sibling had been told that colleges can use IT magic to find Facebook pages that have been rendered private, or deleted.

Then I showed them Google2001. Yep, Google’s index for 2001 is available. We talked about how pages disappear, only to reappear in the Wayback Machine. We talked about someone that had contributed to Thing Two’s POoP list for a couple of years and then asked that the pages be deleted (NOTE: because the original host for these pages is in flux, the entire blog is messed up and access to any archives is limited). What’s there now is a message that “This page was removed by author request” – what would that say to a potential employer?

Deciding to scrap my previous plans and carpe Googlum was the best idea I’ve had this year.


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