New read: Born Digital

I came across this today and am thinking about adding it to my ever-growing book list: Born Digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser. The book is borne (no pun) of an initiative of the Digital Natives project, a collaboration between the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

After reading a few blog posts about it, I’m ready to run right out and buy it. Anyone planning to read this book or have read it already? Is it a must-read or more-hype? Let us know!

In which we promote teacher love…

Yesterday, we found this:

The New York State Education Department and the Multimedia Lab at New York University teamed up to develop a series of videos, called Teachers of the Year.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AZzba4boGg%5D

Most of the videos follow Elizabeth Day, the 2005 Teacher of the Year for New York State. The videos are interviews and footage of Day talking about how she faces the challenges she has as a teacher and her strategies for everything from reaching the hardest to reach students to teaching math. They’re terrific. I’d like to see more teachers share their knowledge in such a powerful way!

The project was designed to recognize the achievements of acclaimed New York State teachers, as well as to foster a more enriching learning community for their fellow instructors. Our videos provide a platform for exceptional teachers to share their techniques, experiences, advice, and philosophies.

Viewers are taken into the classrooms for an intimate experience of the innovative and effective teaching methods utilized by select teachers. They show firsthand how these instructors have gone beyond the classroom and reached their students on a personal, as well as academic, level.

The videos are inspiring and interesting and engaging…enjoy…and happy back to school!

In defense of grammar…

Good for a Monday Morning Chuckle…

This summer, the grammar police have been patrolling the US in the form of Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson–members of the Typo Eradication Advancement League–who have traveled the country correcting punctuation on government signs. Unfortunately these grammarians were caught by the actual police at the Grand Canyon after Deck “discovered a hand-rendered sign inside that, I regret to report, contained a few errors.” According to the Associated Press:

The fiberboard sign has yellow lettering with a black background. Deck wrote that they used a marker to cover an erroneous apostrophe, put the apostrophe in its proper place with white-out and added a comma.

The misspelled word “emense” was not fixed, Deck wrote, because “I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further. … Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity, emense, in my train-whistle-blighted dreams tonight.”

It’s no secret that at OOM, we are endlessly supportive of those who fight the neverending battle for truth, justice and the use of the right word.

Just not with Sharpies. At historical landmarks.

The high school English ‘teaching conundrum’

I read this Washington Post op-ed this morning and it was the perfect, thought-provoking start to the week. THANKS to this teacher for explaining more eloquently than I ever could why most students are turned off by reading in their English classes (I was too!).

“One of my recent juniors was particularly eloquent on the subject. After having sat in my classroom for a year forcefully projecting his boredom, he started an e-mail dialogue with me over the summer. ‘The reason for studying fiction escapes me,’ he wrote. ‘Why waste time thinking about fabricated situations when there are plenty of real situations that need solutions? Cloning, ozone depletion, and alternate fuels are a few of the countless problems that need to be addressed by the next generation, my generation.'”

This student goes on to say he loves fiction, but personally wishes he could have read more non-fiction in school — something many boys feel is more relevant to their lives.

And here’s the nut:

“…if we really want to recruit teen readers, we’re going to have to be strenuous advocates for fresh and innovative reading incentives. If that means an end to business as usual — abolishing dry-bones literature tests, cutting back on fact-based quizzes, adding works of science fiction or popular nonfiction to the reading list — so be it. We can continue to alienate teen readers, or we can hear them, acknowledge their tastes, engage directly with their resistance to serious reading and move gradually, with sensitivity to what’s age-appropriate, toward the realm of great literature.”

We’re trying to help solve this problem at Scholastic. What else can we do to help?

Are you ready, Democrats?

Because here comes the Scholastic Kids Press Corps! Five Kid Reporters will be reporting from the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week. Let’s meet the correspondents, shall we?

The Domann siblings from Colorado Springs— Brock Domann, 9, brother JoJo, 10, and sister Rylee, 12— are going from the Super Bowl to national politics. (I’ll be curious to ask them if they see any differences.) They were recruited to cover the Super Bowl media summit back in January. In fact, Brock got the quote of the day when he asked Eli Manning of the New York Giants whether he or his brother played quarterback during pickup games as kids. (Eli said that Peyton was always quarterback and Eli was the “permanent center.”)

Ashlyn Stewart, from nearby Salida has been a Kid Reporter for two years. Her most recent story was about cutting her hair for the “Locks of Love” project. This Saturday she’ll be doing a walk-through of the Pepsi Center where convention will be held. This will be Ashlyn’s first foray into election reporting, but she has been actively following the race. When asked what she thought of the prolonged Democratic primary race she said: “I actually wish Hillary hadn’t dropped out, so the decision would be made at the convention.”

Last but not least, flying in from West Haven, Connecticut is Jack Greenberg. Jack has been incredibly active this election season, covering everything from a John McCain rally to the last Democratic Debate in Philadelphia, where he interviewed David Axelrod, Howard Wolfson and Wesley Clark. You might also remember that Jack also interviewed Brian Williams and Tim Russert earlier this year.

Read the Kid Reporters’ stories and election blog at www.scholastic.com/election2008, and now you can follow them on Twitter!

Who is David Levithan and why is he so cool?

We at OOM are clearly fans of young adult literature, so I’m excited about this interview with PUSH imprint editor David Levithan by SLJ Teen (School Library Journal’s YA e-newsletter)

Every three years, David edits an anthology of the best young writers and artists in America–that’s cool. This year, a movie based on a book that he co-wrote, will be in wide release. And he appears in said movie with Michael Cera (okay, fleetingly, but still). How cool is that?

Election Fever – Catch it! Still!

The 2008 Presidential election continues to heat up, even in educational publishing, as kids head back to school and teachers get ready to talk about election and democracy with their students.

Check out “Explore the Election,” a new feature on the Scholastic election site with games and activities for kids…and adults (we’ll admit we play them). A staff favorite is “You’re the Candidate,” where you can decide how much time and money to spend across the country, then see if you made better campaigning decisions than your opponent. And if you’re a teacher or know one, be sure to check out the free lesson plans and downloadables.

In other election news, Scholastic News and classroom magazines just launched the 2008 Presidential Election Poll, a chance for students to voice their opinions (and practice voting). Since 1940, the outcome of the Scholastic Election Poll has mirrored the outcome of the general election, in every election but two! Heads up: the first three people to correctly guess WHICH TWO, will win a special prize. Seriously. It’s a pretty awesome prize.