Project Vote Smart -- A Just the Facts Library

Project Vote Smart = Democracy in Action!

This week, our US History students will be creating websites that summarize and analyze local, state, and national elections (more about this in another post). I will definitely be recommending they consult Project Vote Smart.

Here's what you'll find at Vote Smart (among other things):

Biographical Information on Officials and Candidates
Voting Records
Issue Positions - Political Courage Test
Campaign Finance Data

Be sure to check out Project Vote Smart before the November 2 election!


Our School is One in Ten Million!

Full-blown educational cloud computing -- love it!

Google Apps for Education Users Grow to 10 Million

By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Copy Editor

The idea of the classroom being the only outlet for students to learn from and interact with faculty is almost antiquated, as the development of out-of-the-classroom tools continues to skyrocket.

One of these includes Google’s (News - Alert) Apps for Education, a version of Google’s online productivity tools geared toward K-12 schools and universities. Since the beginning of the school year, Google said the application has gained a substantial amount of new users – a staggering 2 million on top of its 8 million students, staff, faculty and alumni from a few weeks ago, bringing the total to almost 10 million.

Blogger Audrey Watters recently pointed out in a post that more and more school districts are choosing to move to cloud-based offerings such as Google’s Apps for Education, saving these educational institutions a significant amount of money.

Oregon was the first state to take a swing at the program, which Google said it plans to continue as a free offering. By using the application, Oregon school districts were able to save about $1.5 million for e-mail, as well as cut down the budget in hardware and software upgrades since the OS is in the browser.

Also, Howard Chan, director of technology for K-12 public charter schools in San Diego, helped eight schools make the move to Google Apps for Education. According to Chan, this saved the school time and money since e-mail servers did not have to be administered. He also cited the development of new tools such as a Tech Support System using Google Voice and Google Docs.

The service currently offers filtered e-mail, calendar, online documents, video conferencing and website development. Schools are granted their own domain that is managed by IT departments, while the school staff manages the amount and type of e-mail messages that pass through the system.

The three C’s – communication, collaboration and customization – enable faculty, staff and students to work together and learn more effectively, according to Google. Community dialogue is enhanced with hosted e-mail, shared calendars and integrated video chat; students and teachers can share documents online at any time and location via Google Docs and Google sites; and IT systems can be easily integrated with Google.

Google is not alone in its attempt to break into the educational sector with its tools. The search engine giant and Microsoft (News - Alert) are going head-to-head, as Microsoft offers Live@edu, a similar suite of online productivity tools for students and faculty.

According to a recent article, Live@edu has close to a whopping 50 million users. It will be interesting to see if Google will be able to catch up.

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet copy editor. Previously she was assistant to the editor at The Darien Times, a weekly newspaper in Darien, Conn., where she edited submissions, did page layout and design and helped manage the newspaper’s website. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

This article embedded from:

One Man Teaching Math to the World

The power of one -- quite impressive.

The Khan Academy is "a not-for-profit organization with the mission of giving access to knowledge to anyone, anywhere."

Thank you, Aimee, for letting us know about this website of free, short video lessons of math, with more subjects to come.

Khan Academy is Harvard MBA and fund manager Sal Khan's non-profit baby and has received a lot of press. Check out Money's article about Khan being "Bill Gates'  favorite teacher".

Khan's lessons are colorful, simple, and best of all, repeatable to match the pace of the learner. He narrates and records the lessons in a converted closet in his house and has spent very little on video equipment.

Khan Academy's YouTube Channel boasts 1831 videos.

Here's a sample, about the Quadratic Equation:

Check out Frequently Asked Questions about Khan Academy

How popular is the site? The live tracker at the top left of the site shows how many people are "learning right now" (2111 at this moment).

Khan is an amazing success story, and Khan Academy is a superb model of online education.


Speaking OUT about Bullying -- A List of Resources

The American Library Association has put together a terrific list of resources about bullying:

Speaking OUT about Bullying

Here's the embedded article:

Immediate Help

The Trevor Project

A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.

Youth are Speaking OUT

The Equality Project

An organization founded on Facebook by openly gay public high school students. They strive to eliminate bullying and attain equality for all school students.

Make it Better Project

In response to columnist Dan Savage's "It Gets Better," video project (linked below), the Make it Better Project gives youth the tools they need to make their lives better now. "Through our website and YouTube channel, youth and adults can work together to make schools safer for LGBT youth right now. We aren’t waiting until high school is over for our lives to get better. We are taking action now! Join us!"

Everyone is Speaking OUT

It Gets Better Project

The project that started it all. "Hearing about these kids that have committed suicide, the reaction as a gay adult is always, 'God, I wish I could have talked to them for fifteen minutes or five minutes and told them it gets better,'" said gay columnist Dan Savage. collects true LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) stories from all over the world--from the smallest towns to the biggest cities--to help gay youth feel not so alone.

We are the Youth

We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of queer youth in the United States. The project aims to capture the incredible diversity and uniqueness among LGBTQ youth.

Ellen DeGeneres

Kathy Griffin

Organizations are Speaking OUT

Gender Spectrum

Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.

GLSEN: Anti-Bullying Resources

Through research-based interventions, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) provides resources and support for schools to implement effective and age-appropriate anti-bullying programs to improve school climate for all students. While many schools show a willingness to address bullying generally, effective efforts must address the pervasive issue of anti-LGBT bullying as a crucial element of the problem. Listed below are programs and resources to help all members of the school community address bullying in inclusive and effective ways.

Safe Schools Coalition

The Safe Schools Coalition offers resources as a starting point for educators, parents/guardians and youth.

Stomp Out Bullying

A national anti-bullying and cyberbullying program for kids and teens is a signature program of Love Our Children USA who since 1999, has been the national nonprofit leader and ‘Go-To’ prevention organization fighting all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S.

A Thin Line

MTV's A Thin Line campaign was developed to empower youth to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse. The campaign is built on the understanding that there's a "thin line" between what may begin as a harmless joke and something that could end up having a serious impact on you or someone else.

TransYouth Family Allies

TYFA empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers and communities, to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected. We envision a society free of suicide and violence in which ALL children are respected and celebrated.

Welcoming Schools

Welcoming Schools is an LGBT-inclusive approach to addressing family diversity, gender stereotyping and bullying and name-calling in K-5 learning environments. Welcoming Schools provides administrators, educators and parents/guardians with the resources necessary to create learning environments in which all learners are welcomed and respected.

Resources to Help You Speak OUT

Santa Clara University Library Resource Guide on Bullying

David Brian Holt, Electronic Services Reference and Law Librarian at Santa Clara University, maintains Sexual Orientation and the Law: Bullying, a resource guide for his law school students and faculty. The guide lists great resources about bullying.

Gay Author Gives Away Debut Book

Gay Author, Rakesh Satyal is offering his award-winning debut, Blue Boy, as a free Amazon Kindle download.

New Film to Combat Anti-Gay Bullying

Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History, is a documentary film that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.

CNN Resource Guide on Bullying

A great resource page on the diffrent aspects of Bullying from CNN.

Research Article about Bullying

Researchers are exploring ways to leverage online social networks to reach at-risk LGB adolescents and young adults. Their article is available online for free.
Silenzio, Vincent M. B., et al. 2009. Connecting the invisible dots: Reaching lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents and young adults at risk for suicide through online social networks. Social science & medicine 69, no. 3:469-474.

The New Facebook Groups Feature -- Know Who Your Friends Are

Our school has an official Facebook page, so we're always interested in all the Facebook developments.

No doubt about it, the new Groups feature holds a lot of potential for collaboration, including the ability to share documents. Here's an article that describes Groups, from PC World, a source I highly recommend:

New Facebook Groups: Key Facts about Facebook Groups | PC World

But today's news about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg being added to a group by someone else without his knowledge exposed a giant wart about the feature. Your friends can add you to a group without your knowledge. You can opt out, but you can't opt in.

PCWorld advises us about what to do:

Facebook's New Groups: 5 Things You Need to Know

The bottom line? “… using Facebook as a place to connect with people you actually know becomes more important than ever.”


Mobile devices in the classroom!

No-o-o-o, we haven't incorporated iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads into our curriculum yet, but YES we will be experimenting with these devices in the classroom, this year!

Two main reasons we think these devices are worth exploring:
  • They engage students
  • They promote anywhere, anytime learning
But how to create order out of the chaos that is bound to happen with each student having their own device?  Here's a fantastic nitty-gritty how-to article about management:

"The list is for large or small class sets of handhelds; if students are using their own personal iPods you'll have a different set of considerations and technical issues to deal with."  [Conclusion reached by me: best to buy a classroom set that doesn't leave the classroom.]

Miss Davis, Mr. Turbeville and I did a workshop for the MISO (Maui Independent Schools Organization) Conference on Friday on this very topic: "Speed Apping -- Mobile Devices in Your Classroom". 

Check out the site we created. You'll find


What's in a Name?

People have asked me, "Why Charlotte?" in the name of this blog?  My answer: I wanted the name to constantly remind me of the child-like excitement I felt as I learned about the newest technologies at the 14th Annual American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in November of 2009.

Today, I've decided to change the name of this blog to MauiLibrarian2 in Olinda, where every day I feel that same excitement as we experiment using new technologies in our classrooms.

Today is also the Maui Independent School Organization (MISO) Conference, to be hosted by my school. I'll be learning from teachers throughout the island and I'll also be presenting with my colleagues Miss Davis and Mr. Turbeville. Our workshop is called "Speed Apping: Mobile Devices in the Classroom".  I'm very excited; it's the perfect day to change the name of my blog.

... More about the conference and our presentation in my next post.