Monthly Archives: August 2011

I wish (it was 50 years ago)

I have wanted to be a teacher-librarian since August 2008. Shortly after returning from my very first teaching placement, I was struggling with the dissatisfaction and disillusionment of having not enjoyed the experience. I was nineteen and completely unsure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (in retrospect, not at all an unusual situation for a nineteen year old to be in). But I was aware that the aspect of my placement which I had most enjoyed were the hours I had spent in the school library.

There was nothing terribly special about this school library – it had a range of books, and around twenty computers scattered throughout for student use. Just like any other. But the experience of being in the library, surrounded by hundreds of books, hundreds of sources of information, had remained in my mind as a particular highlight. And that, I realised, was where I wanted to be…

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Filed under Librarianship, Ranting, Teaching

Concerning Wikipedia…

Wikipedia logo

Wikipedia. A word that can shivers of dread down any educator’s spine.

Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has experienced an almost viral spread that has seen it become the go-to source of information all around the world. The online encyclopaedia contains information on pretty much any topic that can, and has, been thought up: from the strange corners of science to largely unknown historical figures and influential inventors. Wikipedia is clearly a source of basic (and sometimes in-depth) knowledge on many a topic. And yet many educators refuse to acknowledge it as a useful resource.

During my previous university studies, I completed eighteen weeks of practical teaching placement in four different secondary schools. And at each of these schools I witnessed a teacher emphatically tell their students that on no account was Wikipedia to be used as a reference for school assignments. I myself have been guilty of flat-out refusing students the use of Wikipedia as a resource. But why is this?

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Filed under Information Literacy, Librarianship, Ranting, Teaching, Uncategorized

Can’t get you out of my head…

All day today there has been a single word running amok in my mind. What word is that, you may ask?

Palimpsest is the answer.

I can’t tell you when last I heard this word, have no idea why it would be running around in my mind. But there it ws. All day. In all it’s glory. Finally, I looked up the definition (hell, I wasn’t even sure if it WAS a word at first!) and that definition struck me. It resounded throughout every fibre of my being. Uncontrollably. Inexplicably. There is was.

Palimpsest: something used or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

If this defnition is taken to be true, what is not a palimpsest?

What or who cannot be defined in such a way? (As long as we ignore the whole part about scraping off a part of yourself..) I know that I have change enormously over recent years, would hardly recognise myself if I ran into me on the street! And yet…. And yet I am still so veryvery me. I still laugh at the same ridiculous things, I stil tear up when watching a drama, fail to laugh at the comedic videos that everyone else find hilarious. I am stil so very, very Alison.

But, at the same time, in my own way, I am a palimpsest.

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