Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 7 Pt 2 - OLA Superconference 2011

Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2011

“The Power of C: Collaboration”

Conference Reflections by Diana Maliszewski

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 9:05 a.m.

Session #303: The Virtual School Libr@ry Website by Joanie Proske

Summary = Joanie, a TL from BC, shared her M.Ed. research on the benefits of creating a virtual school library website. She talked about switching from an elementary to a secondary school and the ways she transformed the spaces.

3 Key Points

· You as the TL should be directly involved in creating your library website because it should reflect your personality and your philosophy of what a school library program should be

· Even the greats, like Joyce Valenza, can make changes to maximize the virtual school library as a useful space / place (e.g. her site is pretty but scattered and not readable by assistive technology)

· Work on making your virtual space as appealing as your physical space

So What? Now What? =Joanie is a good friend of mine and I convened the session. Joanie said to me afterwards that re-examining her Masters capping paper was beneficial to her because it made her re-evaluate the work with a few months of distance away from the grind of writing it. I think I need to do that with my own capping paper on exemplary school library programs with fresh eyes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 10:20 a.m.

Forest of Reading Student Interviews

Summary = Students from Tom Longboat Jr. P.S. and Mary Shadd P.S. attended session #301 (The Forest of Reading Showcase) and then interviewed the authors afterwards. I helped coordinate this portion. We were thankful that the teachers used cars and GO trains to arrive so that, for the first time ever, students could attend the workshop before the interviews. There were a few scheduling glitches but we got most of the interviews done. The Mary Shadd students had a 40 minute interview with Susie Nielsen and their teacher escort was so grateful and appreciative. The students and their teachers stayed until about 2:00 p.m. wandering the Vendor Hall Expo and enjoying themselves.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 10:40 a.m.

Session #424: Check Out A Human Book @ Your Library by Sophie Gorski, Greg Marshall & Janet Kaufman

Summary = A public, academic, and school library describe their experiences with running a human book event, in which people representing marginalized or underrepresented populations are trained and available to be “borrowed” by library users for 30 minute periods.

3 Key Points

· Students are totally engaged by this real-life way of addressing issues of equity and diversity in a way that dwarfs the effectiveness of written texts

· Being a human book takes courage but most participants say they get a lot out of it and often volunteer to return as human books the following years

· A tool kit will be produced by the committee, headed by Sophie as part of a Larry Moore Challenge Grant

So What? Now What? = With a lot of planning (and by using the tool kit to guide me through treacherous waters), this sounds like something that would benefit my students and school. I collected Greg’s email (he made me cry with his YouTube video and honest confession about how his discovered his own preconceived notions) and I will check with him ( as a resource for running this program in the future. I also saw my friends from Manitoba and we touched base briefly about doing a collaborative literature circle project via Skype.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 12:00 p.m.

Access OLA Editorial Board Meeting

Summary = AccessOLA is the magazine of the Ontario Library Association and I am the OSLA liaison editor. This was the first meeting I attended and most of the discussion centered on the web presence for the magazine, the new cover style, and the balance of features vs. columns.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 2:10 p.m.

Session # 500: All-Conference Plenary by Michael Wesch

Summary = Wesch is a cultural anthropologist with Kansas State University and talked about the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.

3 Key Points

· Wesch’s time in Papua New Guinea was a very trying time in his life, as he realized that everything that defined him was absent in this environment; his identity was so tied to media that in a society without TV or even writing, he was lost

So What? Now What? = I missed a great deal of this presentation because I had to meet my students and prepare them for our workshop. That’s why I could only include one point. Thankfully, I heard that the entire session was videotaped and will be available as a free Education Institute webinar. I need to watch the presentation in its entirety before I realize the impact of his talk on me and the potential it has.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 3:45 p.m.

Session #607: Students Speak Out by Diana Maliszewski, Venus Cheung, Jonathan Martin, Haran Sureshkumar and Melanie Sureshkumar

Summary = The teacher-librarian and four representatives from each grade division in an elementary school spoke about how their school is evolving into a Learning Commons.

3 Key Points

· The students may not know the proper definition of a Learning Commons, but Is knowing the vocabulary as vital as doing and living the concepts behind it, such as collaboration, access, and engagement?

· Students like their technology tools, and several initiatives, such as the K-2 Inquiry project, dovetail nicely with the aims and strategies used in a Learning Commons

· Parents are just one of the many partnerships, and the two dads present to hear their children speak were part of that

So What? Now What? This was one of my sessions, so it’s hard to be impartial. The students were very nervous at first, but after speaking to Peggy MacInnis’ high school student Candice in the Speakers Lounge beforehand and after performing in front of a very welcoming audience, they loved it. (People cracked up when Jonathan, after nearly revealing his password, tells the audience in a dead-pan voice: “Actually, my name is Mark.”) I think my next steps are to educate the staff and start introducing the vocabulary and explanations directly to the students. I also promised someone I’d share statistics on the number of kids who use these tools at home – I must remember to do that.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 5:15 p.m.

Session #703: Ontario School Library Association Annual General Meeting and Award Presentation / Reception

Summary = 2010 President Ruth Hall described OSLA’s activities from the past year and 2011 President Roger Nevin shared his goals and introduced the new council.

3 key points

· Paula McNamera from Simcoe County DSB won the Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award

· Michael Bowman from Durham DBS won the Administrator of the Year Award

· David Thornley and Peter Rogers from Knowledge Ontario won the Award for Special Achievement Award

So What? Now What? Paula’s group made me cry because all of “her boys” (her grown-up sons) traveled from far and near, leaving young families, to be with their mom as she won her prize. I had great conversations during the reception with Jeanne Buckley about IASL (their conference is in Jamaica this year) and with Paul Kay and Joel Krentz. I need to investigate presenting at IASL, as it is part of my annual learning plan goals to continue to present internationally (even beyond the continent).

Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 8:00 p.m.

OSLA Spotlight Session Working Group Final Planning Session

Summary = All the people involved in the big workshop on Friday (with the exception of Carol and David) met in the Speakers Lounge to finalize plans. All of our work previously was done on line and this was the first time that many of us had met in person. We reviewed the timeline, the technological requirements, the logistics, and the process. We then walked down to the room where the session was to be held to visualize and plot how this would go. We didn’t end until 10:00 p.m. and although this was not as late as past evenings at Superconference, I was exhausted because of the constant go-go-go between meetings and sessions.

Friday, February 4, 2011 – 9:05 a.m.

Session #1000: The Great Web 2.0 Face-Off by Carol Koechlin, Mark Carbone, Anita Brooks-Kirkland, the “Red Team”, the “Blue Team” and the “Tech Crew”

Summary = This was the OSLA Spotlight Session (OSLA’s “must-see” session) and was in the style of a hockey game. Teams had just 5 minutes per period to present a tool and all the possible learning uses (and types of learning it invoked). The shoot out last portion involved tossing tools at the other side and having them fire off uses.

3 key points

· Give students “sandbox” time to explore / play with the tools – it’s worthwhile.

· Through the use of Twitter (and microphones at the actual session), learning became more interactive (although it’s too bad that the Convention Centre did not provide wi-fi access)

· The conversation will and must continue using the Google site >

So What? Now What? = Once again, because I was involved, it was hard to gauge how much learning took place. It was very fast paced and well received. There were some scary points at 7:45 a.m. when we showed up and the room wasn’t ready, but all the people involved (Anita Brooks-Kirkland, Diane Bedard, Rebecca Brouse, Doug Peterson, Colleen Rampelt, Rick Budding, Zoe Branigan-Pip, Roger Nevin, etc.) did a super job of going with the flow. I was told “you make me look calm” and “you’d make coffee jumpy” (all of which were compliments on my energy and enthusiasm on stage). I have significantly increased my Twitter PLN because of this session and there are many follow-ups in store (such as Colleen and I co-creating a Bitstrips comic summarizing the event, or new conversations happening about determining the best tool out there with some audience members that tweeted)

Friday, February 5, 2011 – 10:40 a.m.

Session #1100: All Conference Plenary by Atom Egoyan

Summary = Atom Egoyan is a Canadian filmmaker. He spoke about the collaborative process of creating screen plays and directing movies. I did not stay for his entire presentation because a) I had to wash my hair to get rid of yellow-and-purple “faux hawk” hairstyle I wore for the previous session, b) I wanted to visit the Vendor Hall Expo, and c) I wanted to examine the Poster Sessions.

3 key points

· Aboriginal Story Circles and Home Language Integrated into Curriculum by Padma Sastri and Mary Chau from Peel District School Board is a great initiative that fits with many Ministry expectations and documents

· Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board Teacher Librarian PLC Project by June Rysinski, Ginny Czaczkowski, and Gayle Scherban showcased the great work June and her team have done creating a TL learning community

· The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board teacher-librarians would like me to present at their Summer Institute on the Learning Commons and would like to continue attending Library Camp OTF. A group of TLs attended the ECOO conference so they were unable to come for all of Superconference but they used their PD day to come for one day at the Expo portion

So What? Now What? I think I didn’t appreciate Atom Egoyan’s talk as much because I have never seen a film he’s made. However, I realized that taking a bit of a breather mid-conference helped with my concentration and energy level. I will definitely be following up with Padma for an article for The Teaching Librarian magazine based on her poster session, and chatting with the folks from Dufferin-Peel Catholic on presentation ideas.

Friday, February 4, 2011 – 2:10 p.m.

Session #1225: From Vision to Action – Building an Online Library Learning Commons by Anita Brooks-Kirkland, Janet Dixon, and Rebecca Rouse

Summary = Part of the team from the Waterloo Region District School Board described why and how they created an improved virtual learning space for their staff and students.

3 key points

· What we learn at past Superconferences help us with our current projects, and make sure that you are truly ready before you launch your website (they had 80% of their content already up there – remember that if you don’t catch an online user right away, it’s easy for them to click elsewhere)

· Items have to be easy to find, clear in purpose, and changeable to your needs (e.g. files both in PDF and in Word so you can alter them, placed on several spots so that if you forget the path you found it the first time, you can get to it via other means)

· Target certain groups and show them how the dynamic website can help them, and then they will become some of your biggest advocates

So What? Now What? = TDSB’s web site recently went through a revamp. It would be neat to do a comparison with WRDSB’s offering to see where they differ. Combined with Joanie’s presentation, I have lots of information for me to use when examining how to collect all our virtual spaces into one spot.

Friday, February 4, 2011 – 3:45 p.m.

Session #1328: Books, Bits and Bytes: Literacy in the 21st Century Librarian by Pat Elliot

Session #1331: ICThinking: Critical Thinking in the Library by Greg Harris, Sally MacDonald, Melissa Jensen and Leslie Whidden

Summary = Pat described how in her newest (and last) school she has attempted to mirror the tasks of the classroom in the library. Greg, Sally, Melissa and Leslie used their TLLP grant to share their wiki learning on infusing critical thinking with information technology tools.

3 key points

· The Simcoe County DSB’s group wiki can be found at

· Many Ministry documents are great fodder for teacher-librarians to use as resources (and to promote to new teachers)

· RAN charts are better than KWL (what we know / confirmed or misconception / new info)

So What? Now What? I wanted to attend both these sessions, but #1331 was moved to this time period instead of its original spot on Saturday. Pat allowed me to skip out of her workshop. I wish her current school was more supportive and less dictatorial (e.g. she had no start-up budget to buy books for her brand-new school, and she actually levelled books in her library, of which I’m not a big fan). I think I will ask if I can become a member of that ICThinking wiki, as it looks like a great support network – I need to look at Glogster and Library Thing. Being part of ABEL would give me a free VoiceThread account (I balk at paying $60 for a year’s subscription, even with 100 accounts).

Friday, February 4, 2011 – 5:15 p.m.

Personal Reflection Time

Summary = The 1400 sessions were meetings for other sub-organizations of OLA (such as the public library). I took the time to go to the Speakers Lounge and begin to think about what I had heard so far and the ramifications. I started to type these reflections before hurrying off to the big evening social.

Friday, February 4, 2011 – 6:15 p.m.

Session #1500: All Conference Networking Event – Life is a Cabaret

Summary = As a live band played and concessionaires wandered the crowd offering retro snacks for donations to the Larry Moore fund, conference delegates ate mini hamburgers with fries and socialized. I had great conversations with Gianna Dassios, Tanya Farr, Jennifer Marriott, June Rysinski’s Thunder Bay group, Doug Davey, and many of my other friends. I stayed until well after 8:00 p.m. and then June, Joanie and I went out to dinner at East Side Mario’s.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 – 9:15 a.m.

Session #1708: I’ve Got a Computer Lab. I Need Ideas by Danuta Woloszynowicz

Summary = Danuta works with the Muskoka Catholic DSB and she provided many examples of great tools, all OSAPAC licensed or free, that we can use to do projects with our classes. She can be contacted via

3 Key Points

· The Google Art Project and are two ways in which you can teach about classical art and classical music in an interesting way for the students

· Frames is a useful tool for making movies and combining audio and you can use the chroma key to remove backgrounds and do stuff like having a newscaster report on a key event from Ancient Rome

· Some favourite tools can be replaced with newer, less drill-y ones. Kid Pix can be changed with Pixie, (or WordQ, which sounds a lot like Read & Write 9) and you can see for nice tutorials and ideas (like “when is a beaver not a beaver?” or “if I was ...”)

So What? Now What? I should check out Frames, as Danuta spent a great deal of time on it and seems to like it a lot. It resembles Photoshop. Many of her points were things we had heard before (like or start with goals and then go to tools). Frank Hannah was a member of the audience at this session and from his comments on video editing, I see he would be a great human resource when I start doing video editing with the intermediates.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 – 10:45 a.m.

Session #1822: Kinders in the Library: More Than Controlled Chaos by Denise Colby

Summary = Denise describes her kindergarten library procedures, units, and activities.

3 key points

· You can get grade ideas from kindergarten class on how to set up your library space, by making it happy, safe, and comfortable (and keep similar expectations, like keeping materials in a central location, have visual reminders like a toy on the shelf that matches the topic)

· Start slow and spend a lot of time on basic routines like walking to the library, where to meet, how to treat books but then create and allow kinders to be “experts” (X is the ‘dinosaur expert’ and can show others where to get dinosaur books in the library)

· Use to find cool and silly songs like Baby Shark to end lessons (she uses “who stole the cookie from the cookie jar” to get kids 1 at a time off the carpet and lined up)

So What? Now What? = Denise gave me catchy new tunes to use and some inspiring things to try (like a reading tent or house, Poptropica for the kindies, centres like magnetic poetry, 2 books for the SKs). She and I need to get together more to strengthen our gaming PLC. She promised to send me her units on book care, NF study, author study, ABC/123, and fairy tale stereotypes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 – 12:15 p.m.

Session #1900: Gala Closing Luncheon by Jian Ghomeshi

Summary = Jian is the host and co-creator of Q on CBC Radio 1. He talked about culture and media.

3 Key Points

· Content is king – the format doesn’t matter (and even length is not an issue, despite the claim that people only will pay attention for 10 minutes > people love the hour long interviews he’s done)

· Diversify both in terms of the faces we see and the mediums we use (e.g. Q is a radio show, podcast, webshow)

· Culture is not supposed to be segregated into high culture vs. pop culture, it’s all one (e.g. singing Justin Bieber to poor Pilipino kids who knew all the words, or Obama making a Jay-Z reference)

So What? Now What? = There should be no shame in marrying things like video games with literature. I began to diversify who we see in TingL magazine by approaching tables with school and other librarians and offering my business card and a request to write 3 sentences about their Superconference experience to share with others. The flash mob singing was beautiful and maybe I can post the video on my blog.


  1. Awesome summary Diana! I get ideas as if I had been sitting with you at the session. You inspired me to do a similar one last year on TEL, but now it's disappeared. Any idea how I can find it?

  2. I went looking for old ones of mine, but I suspect that they expired. The only reason I had 2005, 2009, and 2010 was because I found them on my hard drive. Maybe the conference moderators may be able to resurrect them. It'd be a shame to lose that content!

  3. Wow! Thanks for this awesome post and sharing!!