Reflecting on Hispanic Heritage Month

Did you know that September 15th through October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month? Like other “monthly” celebrations, this one first began as a week-long acknowledgment of one group of “Americans” in an attempt to raise everyone’s awareness of their contributions1. Over time, these seven days grew to thirty days, but through the quirkiness of history and legislation, Hispanic Heritage Month began in the middle of one month and ended in the middle of the next.

The terms Hispanic, Latino, Spanish and now, Latinx, all describe a subset of people, and I have heard them used interchangeably, however, they describe different groups, depending on who you ask. There are many articles available2 that explain the difference between these terms, but a short version of the difference is that Latinos come from Latin America (and include Mexico, Central America, Brazil, and all the Caribbean Islands), but not Spain3. Hispanics, on the other hand, all hail from any predominantly Spanish speaking country. Technically speaking, only Spaniards are “Spanish”, though in the US the term is often assigned to those of us who speak the language. Latinx4 is a new term being used here and there in an effort to create a gender-neutral term for the group now called Latinos or Latinas, though not everyone is on board.

While all these terms may be useful for agencies tracking data, they do little to express the diversity of the individual people they are supposed to represent. Take the term “American”, for example, an expression favored by US citizens. Everyone in the Western Hemisphere who hails from one of the Americas (South, Central, North) is an “American”. That means all the people, everyone from the Bering Strait near the northern tip of Alaska to the hellish Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina; they are all “Americans”.

Of course, what I am talking about above is more a question of semantics than identity. But personal identity is created by the culture that surrounds it, and the tools are language, media, and representation. For me, what these kinds of monthly celebrations (Black History, Hispanic Heritage and Women’s History Months) remind me of, is that there has long been a dominant narrative of exclusion. We have been told a story about who we are, where we come from and how we got here, that doesn’t quite include all the actors.

True, some of this has been corrected since the Civil Rights, counterculture and Women’s movements have brought to light the undeniable contributions of previously unacknowledged individuals. But we are still a long way from truly rewriting our collective history as one that includes all our voices. Perhaps this will always remain impossible, since we seem fixated on what makes us different, rather than what binds us in common.

The truth is that each one of us is a complex and dynamic mixture of multiple identities. We spend our lives forming and reforming ourselves, attempting to find some whole costume, some complete self that feels unified and true. We all have racial, regional, religious, national, linguistic, sexual, political selves that help to describe us, but can never fully define us.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a thirty-day period meant to recognize the contributions of the Spanish speaking populations to the history of the United States. It is a long, often contentious history, marked by division and focused on our differences. Especially in the age of Trump, being a Hispanic or Latino in the United States has meant being reminded of our “outsider” status. But we are not outsiders and we are not minorities.  The Spanish speaking people of the Americas have been here just as long as their English, French, Portuguese and Dutch-speaking European counterparts. In fact, the western half of the United States testifies to this with places named Los Angeles (the angels), Nevada (snowy), Colorado (reddish), Montana (mountain), Rio Grande (big river), Palo Alto (high pole) and on and on.

The monthly celebrations started in the 60s and 70s were meant to serve as national reminders that our country had been built by a patchwork of people from all over the world. It was meant to disrupt the narrative that “true Americans” arrived on the Mayflower, had ties to the thirteen colonies and spoke English. There are still more stories that need to be told, more voices that need to be heard, and most of all a message that needs to be spread: The “American Dream” belongs to all of us.

References:

  1. https://history.house.gov/HistoricalHighlight/Detail/15032398402
  2. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/difference-between-hispanic-latino-and-spanish_n_55a7ec20e4b0c5f0322c9e44
  3. https://www.britannica.com/story/whats-the-difference-between-hispanic-and-latino
  4. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/latinx-elitist-some-push-back-word-s-growing-use-n957036

Resources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics

https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2012/hispanic_heritage/

Hispanic Heritage Month Website

https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

Events at the Library of Congress

https://www.loc.gov/events/?q=hispanic+heritage+month

Smithsonian Institute

https://www.si.edu/events/heritagemonth

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

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New to our shelves, October 2019

(Yes, this was posted in September … but I couldn’t wait)

While we are still waiting for our new books to arrive from our orders, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have additions to our shelves. Thanks to our generous teachers, staff, students, and community, we are always getting book donations. Though not all the titles make it to our shelves (some because of their physical conditions, others because of inappropriate content) we do find many gems in the donations.

Below you can find a handful of these “new to our shelves” titles, that I think are noteworthy and deserving of our attention. I also provide a summary, lifted from the publishers’ product description, because I’ve only skimmed through the books.

 

The superhero book: the ultimate encyclopedia of comic-book icons and Hollywood heroes by Gina Misiroglu published 2012.

“Appealing to the casual comic book reader as well as the hardcore graphic novel fan, this ultimate A to Z compendium describes everyone’s favorite participants in the eternal battle between good and evil. With nearly 200 entries examining more than 1,000 heroes, icons and their place in popular culture, it is the first comprehensive profile of superheroes across all media, following their path from comic book stardom to radio, television, movies, and novels.”

 

Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us by Daniel H. Pink published 2011.

“Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink. In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life.”

 

It’s good to be Gronk by Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski with Jason Rosenhaus published 2015.

“From hamming it up at Super Bowl Media Day, to spicing up interviews with “Gronk-esque” dance moves, to cuddling with kittens in the pages of ESPN The Magazine, to christening a used party bus his ride of choice, Gronk’s good humor and playful persona make it seem like other players are “living in black and white, and Gronk is in color” (CBS Sports) … Gronk takes fans from the field to the locker room to the VIP room to the talk show green room to his parents’ kitchen table—a full tour of the world according to Gronk.”

 

Neaderthal by John Darton, published 1996.

“When a paleoanthropologist mysteriously disappears in the remote upper regions of the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, two of his former students, once lovers and now competitors, set off in search of him. Along the way, they make an astounding discovery: a remnant band of Neanderthals, the ancient rivals to Homo sapiens, live on. The shocking find sparks a struggle that replays a conflict from thirty thousand years ago and delves into the heart of modern humanity.”

 

Illustrated Classics, Various titles

“Ageless and timeless, the stories in the Great Illustrated Classics have been designed with illustrations on every other page. Our books are used by grade school teachers, school librarians, and parents to encourage skill development in boys and girls at various reading levels. ( On their website, “The reading level and Lexile of each title in the series can be found in the “About This Book” section of each title you click on”.)

I’d like to give a personal endorsement for the Illustrated Classics series, having grown up reading these “graphic novels” before they were called that. As a young, Spanish-speaking boy with limited English, I found the illustrations on every other page of the book a great visual aid to help me understand the context of some of the words I was reading, describing worlds that were really foreign; culturally, and in time. I also found that having read these “classics” as a youngster made them easier to grasp in their unabridged, high school versions because I had already encountered the characters, settings, and most importantly “action” or plot. I highly recommend these books, especially for emerging or reluctant readers.

So there you have just a few of the notable additions to our collection. I hope you found something you might want to check out, and thank you for reading.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

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Freshman Orientation

I love welcoming our new students to the Library Media Center (LMC), introducing myself and talking about what we have available. This year, Ms. Parent and her freshman classes were the first to visit the library to check out books, and that gave me a chance to give them a brief orientation.

I began by talking about the LMC and how it is a hub of the high school and a space that is often shared by one than one group. I reminded the students that this means we need to be respectful of each other and mindful that the LMC is an academic workplace. And what a place it is.

Unlike libraries of the past which were quiet and tended to be isolated from other activities, the HHS LMC reflects the modern vision of how libraries have evolved to adapt to their changing roles in our lives. I have provided a map below to help anyone unfamiliar with the LMC to get an idea of how multi-faceted the space is.

Housed in the library are three computer-related classrooms, the EMT/ Nursing class, Gradpoint and the ERC (where students serve in-house detention). What used to be the library staffroom and archiving area now serves as the Family Resource Center. There’s also an area reserved for the Robotics classes to construct and test their robots. In short, the LMC is a heavily trafficked area, even when no one is checking out books.

Ms. Parent’s classes, however, came precisely to do just that, so after talking about the library space, I introduced them to the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) available via the HPS Launchpad. This handy little tool is something that even teachers often forget they have available to them, and since it exists online, it means anyone can access it through their smartphones.

This time around, my intro to the OPAC was very brief, as experience has taught me that most kids would rather ramble through the shelves when they are looking for something to read independently. Since most students were looking for fiction titles, it was important to familiarize them with how we organize the largest collection in our library. We have over 6,000 novels and their call numbers all begin with F (for fiction, obviously) followed by the first three letters of the AUTHOR’S LAST NAME. So, for example, any book by John Green (Looking for Alaska, Turtles All the Way Down, The Fault in Our Stars, etc) can be found under the call # F GRE. If you can find one book by your favorite author, you can find them all, because they should all be shelved together.

But, as I said before, unless the student already has a title or author in mind, most reluctant readers are looking for a cover or title that catches their eye … despite the old adage about judgment and book covers.

To help our students find their way without having to use the OPAC, we recently put up new labels such as “Diseases”, “Animals”, “World War II”, “Sports” and “Shakespeare” on the shelves where these topics are concentrated. We also have visual cues, such as pictures of animals or WWII planes, to assist them in their search. With that, I sent them off to find a book and welcomed them to Hillie Nation.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you found something worthwhile.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

 

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Welcome back, Hillies! 2019 edition

The 2019-2020 school year has begun and we have noted many changes. I want to welcome all the new faces, incoming freshmen, transfer students, and new faculty and staff, to Haverhill High. We also have new programs, copiers, room assignments, and so much more that it certainly promises to be an exciting school year.

As is usual for my first post of the new school year, I would like to begin by introducing myself and listing what is available for our students and faculty at the HHS Library Media Center (LMC).

Contact Information

School Extension:    1143

Henry Toromoreno, Librarian           htoromoreno@haverhill-ps.org

 

Library Media Center Hours:     Monday – Friday, 7 am – 3:15 pm

Students that want to use the LMC computers or space before or after-school, do not need to make an appointment. We are open before classes start so that students may print their assignments and teachers can make their copies. Many clubs, groups and other people book the library for meetings or other events, and students may, on rare occasions, be asked to leave if there is an ongoing activity or meeting. We can give students a pass for the late bus (T, W, TH) but they are expected to be in the library working, reading or otherwise engaged in a school-related activity.

 

Haverhill High School OPAC:        https://home.haverhill-ps.org/

Anyone can access our collection through the “HPS Library” link at the bottom of the HPS Launchpad. We have a great selection of books for a high school library, that includes an expanding collection of graphic novels, including many which are non-fiction.

 

Class Visits

Teachers that would like to bring their class to the library can arrange their visits by checking the LMC log kept at the circulation desk. There is no online version of this to book the library. Please call us (xt. 1143) to check if we have room to accommodate you and/or your group if you have NOT already booked a visit in the LMC log. We love to see our space full of students, teachers, aides, counselors and everyone else who makes HHS a great place to work.

 

Study Students

Students who would like to come to the LMC during their study periods must have a pass from their teacher. Study teachers, please limit to 2 students per class. Sometimes, the library may be fully booked by classes or be hosting an event, which may mean study students have to return to their classrooms. We encourage study students to bring schoolwork or reading that needs to be completed so that we can keep the LMC a productive and inviting communal space.

 

Equipment

The LMC has two banks of computers.

  • Lab 1 is on the left-hand side of the “pit” and has 15 PCs.
  • Lab 2 is on the right-hand side of the “pit” and has 15 PCs.

We have one color and one mono printer/copier which both get heavy use throughout the day and are especially busy each morning.

There is a laminating machine for staff use only. Currently we only have 12” wide laminate available.

 

Copiers, projectors, overheads, etc.

As a media specialist, I am here to get you through some of your frustrating technology encounters. I know how much our faculty and staff rely on copies, printouts and scans to get their work done, so please make sure you call me whenever you’re having trouble with one of our many Toshiba machines. Contact me if your local machine needs its toner or staples replaced, if you’re experiencing chronic paper jams, or if you get an error message of any kind. I am also able to assist you if you still use a television, VCR (what?), DVD player (huh?), overhead projector (why?), CD player/radio (how?) or other antiquated machine that helps you do your thing in the classroom.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

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Reflecting on what I teach

            Whenever I am invited nowadays to teach a class (yes I know I wrote about this last time, but now I am reflecting) about doing online research, I’m conflicted as to what I should teach. On the one hand, I want our students to have the critical thinking skills required for navigating the online world. On the other hand, I want to direct them to sites that I know are reliable and trustworthy.  Because my time with each class tends to be limited to one or two visits, I often go with the latter approach.

            Teaching students critical thinking skills requires more time than I usually have and it also means you need foundational knowledge that many high school aged people are still developing. Take, for example, lateral reading which is a critical thinking skill covered in the Crash Course episode three on “Navigating Digital Information” (1). The idea behind lateral reading is that instead of scanning up and down a webpage for evidence of its reliability, you open up a tab next to the original page and do some research on the source that you were using. 

            First of all, this is an extra step that I know many of my students will not take. Secondly, even if they find a source about the original webpage they were reading, they are still left with the same problem they started with. How will they know if this second page is reliable?

            The problem with this strategy is that many of our students have grown up completely digital and have never stopped at a newsstand or magazine rack (2).  Many of our students are unable to come up with a list of ten print sources. I say this because I have taught lessons where I give students two minutes to list as many newspapers and magazines as they can. I used to give students five minutes, but today’s audiences don’t even need a minute’s time to exhaust their knowledge of paper and ink publications. (We have links to 38 publications in our Magazines page, in case you were wondering where to start) 

            The same can be said about what used to be known as mainstream media outlets. Gone are the days of the three or four major networks along with the local public broadcasting channel, and formats such as a six and 11 o’clock news. I mean, sure they still exist, but most high school aged students I know are not watching these programs to get their information. If recent research (3) is to be believed, then young people are relying more and more on their social network feeds as a means of getting their information about the world around them. (We have links to 20 news outlets on our News page). 

            One of the realities of this development is that most of us don’t care to fact check the information as it spreads since it comes from a “friend”. Besides, many times the ideas are distilled into one-liners with an ironic graphic attached, not meant to be taken seriously, or at least, not quite so seriously that you would have to fact check it. This kind of behavior may be acceptable in social networks, but it’s not what we expect when it comes to academic research.

             Knowing these things about my students nowadays means that I start my lessons about doing online research, by introducing them to the link for our school’s online public access catalog (OPAC), through which they can find a book in our collection. We then talk about the difference between keyword and subject searches, which series of books we have available, and how to read the bibliographic information the OPAC retrieves.  We talk about the call numbers and what they mean in the Dewey decimal language, and how those numbers help us find the books on our shelves. Book in hand, we then discuss how to find the particular subject we are researching by using the table of contents and the index, allowing us to focus on only those pages we need.

            “Why”, I hear you asking, “would your lesson about doing online research begin by showing the students how to find a book?”

            Mainly because I want my students to spend more time researching their subjects rather than researching their sources.  By directing them to books, many of which have multiple writers, I also hope to expose them to authors and publishers they can trust.  Finally, I want my students to be familiar with how the library is organized so that they feel comfortable walking into a stack of books, confident that they will be able to find what they are looking for.

            Once I am finished showing them how to find and use a good book for their research, the lesson can go in many directions, depending on the teachers’ needs.  The next step, however, is usually to introduce the class to our friends at the Haverhill Public Library. They have much to offer our students and faculty, and they are always happy to help us out. Maybe next time I will talk about some of their resources.

             As always, thank you for stopping by and I hope you found something interesting and useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

Sources:

  1. Crash Course: Lateral Reading, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoQG6Tin-1E
  2. Barthel, Michael. “Circulation, Revenue Fall for US Newspapers Overall despite Gains for Some.” Fact Tank, Pew Research Center, 1 June 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/01/circulation-and-revenue-fall-for-newspaper-industry/.
  3. Twenge, J. M., Martin, G. N., & Spitzberg, B. H. (2018, August 16). Trends in U.S. Adolescents’ Media Use, 1976–2016: The Rise of Digital Media, the Decline of TV, and the (Near) Demise of Print. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance online publication https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/ppm-ppm0000203.pdf
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I’m back (to posting here)

Part I: I talk about coming back

            Happy day-after-President’s Day to everyone. I hope you are surrounded by people you love and make you happy. After a 13-month hiatus from posting here, I am back. I hope to continue sharing not just useful online resources for school, but interesting insights about living and learning. I miss having a place to not just share my thoughts about the work I am doing, but actually documenting the ever-evolving role of the school librarian.  

            With that short re-introduction done, let me begin by saying that I am excited about relaunching this project that I began way back in December 2007. The things that have changed in that decade are huge, yet incremental, and therefore, sometimes difficult to note as you are living through them (see my previous post for some numbers).

            As with the original launch of this site, this is still an experiment in online librarianship. I view this blog as an opportunity to collect and connect. More than ever before, I hope that this page can be a launching point for teachers and students looking for reliable, fact-checked sources appropriate for school projects. Over the coming weeks, I will be rechecking and reorganizing the pages, links and recommended sites found here, making sure that they are all working, up-to-date and still worthy of your attention.

Thanks to the Way Back Machine (also known as the internet archive) there is a digital “snapshot” of what this blog looked like in its early incarnation. The post from October 2008 shows that Hulu.com wasn’t yet a subscription streaming service. How the times keep changing.

Part II: I recommend some Crash Course lessons

            I am always delighted when I am asked, mostly by our English teachers, to come into class to discuss how to do good academic research online. My presentations have changed over the years to reflect the evolution of the web and to address the particular needs of my audiences. No matter how much I may try, I always feel like I am leaving something out … because I have to.

A slide from my 2005 presentation shows that I was still recommending videotapes from our collection. We have since weeded out about 90% of that collection (mostly duplicates and programs taped from television).

            What began as a curiosity and a marginal technology, has grown into a ubiquitous and all-encompassing force in our daily lives. The web is where we do everything nowadays, but it wasn’t intended to be used mostly as an academic tool, and it shows. During simpler times, it might have been enough to look at the website URL, its domain extension and the About Us page to determine the reliability of the site. Things have gotten a little more complicated, nowadays, and I rarely have enough time to really cover everything you need to know to do good academic research online.

A slide from my 2014 presentation reflects my growing concerns with “aliteracy” (people who can read, but don’t) and the growing amount of bad information.

            Enter Crash Course, a YouTube channel I have recommended and talked about in the past, and even include on my Video Resources page here on this blog. In December 2018, they announced that they would be filming a series called, “Navigating Digital Information”, which I highly recommend to my students and teachers. In the roughly two-hour-long series, I expect that they will cover much of the same information I have presented over the years … checking URLs, using primary sources, avoiding sites that don’t credit their creators, references or link to other sites, etc.

            The fact that Crash Course, and their sponsors (which they prominently reveal and discuss), find it useful to create a series about dealing with online information as a student (and a citizen) speaks to the need we have for good online content that educates us about online content. I know, it begins to feel a little like a conversation in Inception, or with Russian nesting dolls (for you older folks in the reading audience). Prior to this release, Crash Course had a whole series on Media Literacy, which I also recommend in general, and specifically episode 4, Media and the Mind. This episode focuses on the relationship between people and their devices, and how we shape our technology and it reshapes us. I especially recommend the video since it discusses the intersection of psychology and technology, two areas of study that play out every day in our schools.

            In the past month, I have recommended these two series of videos to a handful of classes and hope they will turn to it as an online resource. I have also been advising my students to return to the print resources we have available in our library media center (LMC) collection.

Part III: I remind people of the HHS OPAC

            I will use this last part as a public service announcement to remind people that the HHS LMC OPAC (what a string of letters meaning our online catalog) is available at the bottom of our school’s Launchpad. Once you have reached our OPAC’s home page, you will find a simple search engine to look through our collection.

            I always remind students of the difference between a Keyword Search (general) and a Subject Search (specific), but lately, I have also been focusing on the Series Search to introduce students to a very specific kind of print resource. Many teachers have students write a persuasive essay, where they are able to pick a subject that interests them and research a position on that issue or idea. We have a number of book series that have short, pro-con type essays on a variety of subjects and, unlike information students may find online, these articles are all fact-checked, reliable and appropriate for school work. The series titles are:

  • At Issue (160 titles)
  • Contemporary Issues (20 titles)
  • Current Controversies (52 titles)
  • Issues in Focus (24 titles)
  • Opposing Viewpoints (185 titles)
  • Reference Shelf (104 titles)

Part IV: Closing thoughts and Bonus Find

            As you can imagine, I have more to say about doing online research, but I will save that for next time. If I don’t stop writing this post, I’ll never get it online … and that was one of the reasons I stopped posting for a year; because I never knew when or what to write or how much or for who, if anyone, I was writing. But I do like sharing this information, and so I will try to post every other week here, until the end of the school year.

            In the meantime, let me share one last video series I found on YouTube called “Blank on Blank”. This series’ homepage says it all, “Famous Names. Lost Interviews. Animated Shorts.” Amongst my favorites is Aldous Huxley on Technodictators. Enjoy.

 

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something interesting and useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

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December Post Marks 10 Years

……….In order to officially make it to ten years of writing on this blog, I have to get in at least one more post, and it has to be done this month. It is Sunday, Christmas Eve, 2017 when I start writing this (I won’t be finished tonight). I am home on vacation from a job I still enjoy (most days), with a family I treasure (beyond measure), in a house I purchased nearly twenty years ago with the best friend I have ever had (… I’m the pain in her sash). Those are about the only things that haven’t changed in the world around me since I first started sharing my thoughts and discoveries on this blog ten years ago.

……….A decade is a long time when you really think about it. Ten years ago, I was just entering my forties, the father of two young boys, ages 3 and 7. Back then, I was thinking more about after school meals and activities, than making college visits or having “the talk”. A lot has changed in the world in those intervening 3,652 days. It often happens so slowly, so incrementally, that we barely take notice. Until we stop … and take notice. Below you will find a table comparing a few things that popped into my mind.

2007 2017 % Change
World Population 6.6 Billion 7.6 Billion +15%
Tallest Building Taipei 101, 509m Burj Khalifa, 828m +63%
Price of Gas $3.38 $2.49   -26%
Avg Red Sox Tix $47.71 $54.79 +15%
Median Home           sold in Nov. $249,100 $318,700 +28%
Ounce of Gold $630 $1278.10 +103%
Tuition at Harvard $30,122 $44,990 +49%
Largest Company,     Sales Revenue Walmart, $351B Walmart, $485B +38%
Median Household Income $50,823 $59,039 +16%
Federal Minimum  Wage per Hour $5.85 $7.25 +24%
MSRP Honda       Accord EX $23,145 $30,860 +33%
Wealthiest person Bill Gates, $56B Jeff Bezos, $100.3B +79%
Number of iPhones sold 1.39 M 216.76 M +15490%

……….A lot of things have changed that can’t be measured in terms of money (but still will be by someone, somewhere). I placed the iPhone last on this list intentionally for two reasons. First, 2007 was the year that it was launched and immediately it was hailed as a revolutionary item. Second, even though it wasn’t the first smart phone, Apple’s contribution to the marketplace forever altered our world in ways big and small, good and bad. After the iPhone, no longer were our phones, just our phones … now they were packed with connections to the world, loaded with tools like cameras for video and still shots, teeming with little distractions like puzzles, games and twitter feeds. More than almost anything else that has changed in the last ten years, is the impact that has been made by iPhone and its many competitors on our daily lives, especially in school.

……….When I first started in education, portable phones didn’t exist. When mobile phone began appearing in the late 1990s, most people couldn’t afford one. In the early 2000s, the first affordable cell phones started showing up and our war in the schools against these intrusive items began. In the very beginning, I remember that our school policy was clear that students couldn’t bring their personal electronic devices to school. Back then, you needed a camera for pictures, a video recorder for movies, a music player and headphones for your tunes, a gaming device and a phone. These were all separate items and it was understood that these things were mostly meant for entertainment, and served as a distraction to our students. But little by little we changed our minds (or was it changed for us) and we moved from encouraging students to leaving their devices at home, to allowing them to walk around with one earphone in.

……….As a librarian, I am against most things that discourage you from reading, and by reading I mean long form reading. Having your personal electronic device with you makes it really easy to find a dozen things to do other than read a book. Just having it near you may actually cause you stress. And yes, of course, I understand all the arguments in favor of having your smartphones with you (I wrote about it in 2013), I am not arguing in favor of a zero-tolerance policy. I just wish there was an easy way to convince people to turn off their phones for the school/work day, and when they find themselves with some “free” time, read a book.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

Thank you to everyone to who has stopped by since 2007. I know you are out there.

References

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2017. All rights reserved

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