Monday, July 14, 2014

ALA 2014 Highlights - #ALAAC14 Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about some of my personal highlights from Friday and Saturday at the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas. In this post, I will share some take aways from Sunday and Monday.

Paul Rusebagina 

Sunday morning, I attended a breakfast generously hosted by Alexander Street Press, with guest speaker Paul Rusebagina, the hotel manager who protected over 1,200 refugees during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 and whose story is dramatized in the film "Hotel Rowanda." Here is a recording that was made at the breakfast: 

I look forward to reading and adding his autobiography, An Ordinary Man, to my library collection. It describes his background and courage during the genocide. I know, based on his talk that morning, that it will be inspiring to my students to learn about how even one person can make a difference in the face of incredible adversity.

IRRT Panel on Expanding the School Library Program

One of the sessions I attended Sunday afternoon was an International Relations Round Table panel on "Expanding the School Library Program: Connecting Students with Students, Across International Boundaries, Using Modern Technology."  Carol Brey-Casiano shared about exchange programs available through the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and ALA's sister city program. George Braez shared practical tips from his experiences connecting students at his school since 1996.

And Joyce Valenza, who constantly inspires me with new ideas and motivates me to want to do more, shared that "We are at a point where we can easily connect students from all over the world for really meaningful inquiry." Even language is no longer a barrier; she showed us a video demo in which two people were conversing online together in different languages using a real time translation tool developed by Microsoft and Skype. Here are the slides from her talk:

Global TL: Librarians without Borders from Joyce Valenza

She invited us to join a Google+ community she recently established: Global TL: Librarians without borders to make connections and create meaningful networked learning opportunities for our students. I am already a member of the group and getting lots of ideas of new ways I can build connections for my students next fall. Do join, if you haven't already, and use the #GlobalTL hashtag when you post on Twitter. She reminded us that "Librarians are the ones to hit the start button on global connections in schools. We are the scouts."

Play, Play, Learn: Games and the Common Core Library

Chris Harris's session on Monday sold me on the value of finding and sharing board games as learning tools. Chris shared a large variety of games, all tied to Common Core Standards skills. Here is a link to his presentation slides and to his new website. After seeing his talk, I was inspired to start a collection at my library. I was excited right after I returned from the conference to get a notice through the AASLForum about International Gaming Day @Your Library on November 15. I signed up indicating my plans to participate, and the signup form offered the option of requesting lots of free games from manufacturers. These will help me jumpstart my collection. I'm getting off topic here, but one of the activities for International Gaming Day I'm especially intrigued by is the Global Gossip Game that will be part of the day. Since International Gaming Day is on a Saturday, I am hoping that there will be a way to participate in the Global Gossip Game on the Friday before or Monday after. I feel pretty confident that my connections with the GlobalTL group can make that happen!

Odyssey Awards

Monday's program also included the Odyssey Awards, which recognize outstanding audiobooks for children and young adults. There was one winner, Scowler, and four Honor books. At the event, we got to listen to the narrators of the winning and honor books perform a segment of their books live. I had only listened to one of the honor books so far, Eleanor & Park, and was delighted to get to hear narrators Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra, both of whose voices I had come to love, talk about the book and then read from it.

The surprise highlight of the event was seeing Kirby Heyborne, Scowler narrator, perform a rap librarian appreciation song. Here is a recording:

The conference had so much more to offer than I have covered here. I know I will be drawing from my experiences there throughout the coming year. I will also be checking ALA's YouTube highlights video archive and the sessions with handouts in the coming weeks, and looking forward to the full-video recordings of selected sessions coming soon for conference attendees.

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