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Review – How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

The main character of this book, Tom Hazard, has a strange condition which means that he only ages 1 year for every approximately 15 normal years. This means that he lives for a VERY LOOOOOOOOOONG time! Born in 1581, he currently only looks about 41 years old. People like this have to keep moving and changing identities to avoid awkward questions and in fact his mother was killed as a witch once his aging stopping when he reached puberty. There’s a secret society of people with this condition, calling themselves the Albatross Society which helps to protect them from governments or biotech companies which might want to exploit them to work out their aging secrets.

After falling in love as a young man, and having to leave his wife and daughter to avoid the suspicions of people around him, his broken heart leaves him unable to form strong relationships. He spends his time pining for his daughter, who turned out to be long-lived like him but who disappeared before he found out. He begins to work as a history teacher in London (obviously he’s pretty knowledgeable about history in general, he’s lived it) and he starts to question his life when he meets the beautiful French teacher.

Jumping back and forth through historical eras makes this story really fun and exciting and he meets a number of historical characters, including Shakespeare. The book also has a wistful feel as he philosophises on time and memory and finding yourself and having a purpose in life.

I’d recommend this book to both adults and students from middle school up. In the vein of the Time Traveller’s Wife, I thought it was both a lovely story and a rollicking adventure.

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Posted by on November 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Review – The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I chose to read this book as I’d seen there were rumours that it’s being made into a film and I was surprised I hadn’t heard about it as I’ve read a large number of these kinds of books.

The premise of this book is fairly standard for the YA dystopian genre. A virus has wiped out almost all American children and those that have survived have suddenly developed ‘powers’. The why and how of this is not really explained but I suspect it may be revealed in a further book of the trilogy (these kinds of books usually do). Fearful of these children, the government has herded them into ‘rehabilitation camps’ where they are treated very badly. The kids are divided into five categories of powers: ‘reds’ who can manipulate fire;‘oranges’ who can force their way into people’s minds and make them do things; ‘yellows’ who can control electricity; ‘blues’ who can move objects with their minds; and ‘greens’ who don’t seem to have much going for them except maybe they’re pretty smart(?). Seen as the most dangerous, the reds and oranges have pretty much disappeared, it is to be assumed killed. The main character, 16-year-old Ruby, is an orange who managed to convince the testers that she was green and has been keeping a low profile for the last  six years. She is afraid of her powers after she accidentally removed all memory of herself from her parent’s minds before being sent away to the camp. She manages to escape the camp, aided by a shadowy resistance movement of adults, who she then also escapes from and falls in with a small group of other kids trying to find their way back to their parents.

Of course there is the obligatory romance storyline, as she tries to accept that she can be loved and accepted despite her belief that she is a monster. It’s also an exciting action story as they try to avoid capture by all number of bad guys. So basically it’s Divergent meets Fault in our Stars meets Carrie. I can certainly see why it’d be a good movie adaptation, it’s got all the right ingredients although I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up bombing like The Fifth Wave movie did.  I quite enjoyed it despite it being a bit beyond believable at times. They certainly manage to escape some pretty tight situations again and again and evade notice easily despite there being almost no other children/teens around anywhere.

I’d recommend this book for any middle school students looking for something after The Hunger Games, I Am Number Four or Divergent series. It could fit into the dystopian and science fiction book time lists.

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Posted by on November 8, 2017 in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

 

Change is not safe

I get it. Change is scary. It takes you outside of your safe bubble of normalcy.

Perhaps the older you get, the more you worry about how change is going to affect you. We talk a lot in libraries about how our role is changing, about resistance to change and how we need to embrace all the changes we’re going to face in the future. Just because it’s how we’ve always done things, doesn’t mean we have the privilege of blindly clinging to old ways and old ideas. We also talk a lot in libraries about lifelong learning. Which is not only acquiring new skills but also gaining new insights and knowledge which can lead us to new understandings. So instead of hiding behind statements like “but this is how I’ve always thought of marriage” and “but we’ve always celebrated Australia Day on 26 January”*, now is the time to consider some other points of view and to accept that change is inevitable and it’s coming. Flexibility and critical thinking are traits that we need to cultivate as a profession, as responsible adults and as a country. 

(* Australia Day has only been consistently celebrated as a public holiday on this date since 1994, the Big Day Out is older)

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Coming back around

It’s a wonder they don’t delete these blogs when they aren’t used for two years, but it looks like my account is still active. Well, here I am, still working in libraries, still trying to live a good life. Whether or not I actually have anything to say is debatable. However I guess this is a good a place as any to actually debate it. So here we go again.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Make The Web Work For You – Course Reflection

  • Look back over the course and record the key concepts and tools from each module that you felt were useful and relevant to you. Record how you applied relevant ideas and tools to your project

I think from the first module, searching out new blogs and looking at alternative ways to see updates from them was relevant for me. I found some blogs that were relevant to my project and found some useful information. From the second module, Google’s search tools and specialised search engines re-introduced me to some things I’d known previously but had forgotten about. I was then able to use some of the search tools to find a specific article that I was asked to find. Module 3 prompted me to reconsider how I evaluate information on the internet, and encouraged me to expand my professional networks. Module 4 introduced me to a number of citation tools which are good resources to recommend to students. It also made me think about my current workflows and where I’m not being particularly effective in my information gathering. I created a Diigo account for my project, collecting links to relevant pages. Module 5 prompted me to use Twitter more proactively as part of my PLN. With regards the presentation tools, I have used Animoto and Storybird before for a previous course, but I decided toe to try Glogster for my project.

  • Reflect on the ideas and tools you plan to apply in your day-to-day work

I am definitely going to use Twitter more for my PLN. I’d like to consider more the whole idea of digital citizenship, especially in how I contribute on the web. I’m also interested in exploring Diigo further, particularly the next time I have any kind of project to work on.

  • Think about how you feel about the web after completing the course. Has your attitude changed?

I don’t think my attitude has changed dramatically after completing this course. It has perhaps piqued my interest a little in some tools or perhaps made me think more about problems in my current workflows. I’m not sure yet if I’ve found the right tools to fix these problems, I think it’ll take a bit more thinking and testing. I am planning on developing my PLN and being more proactive with my blog but we’ll have to see how that develops as life gets in the way.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Make The Web Work For You

 

Make The Web Work For You – Final Project Presentation

So my idea for my final project was to plan a (fictional) makerday for a library. I was reminded by Linda at SLV that I had not done a Lotus template document earlier in the course, so I realised that by filling out one of these I could organise and note down the ideas that had been swirling around in my head. It also helped me to clarify to myself a range of points comparing the different issues facing this kind of activity in a school library as opposed to a public library. Lotus template – makerday

Next I used a Diigo account to collect some links I found while doing my research. https://www.diigo.com/user/librarysnoozer

Finally I used Glogster to create a poster for my school library Makerday. http://karaby.edu.glogster.com/school-makerday/ (don’t try showing up on the advertised day though, I’m afraid it’s not really happening…unless I start getting organised REALLY quickly!)

I found all these tools really useful in this project. As usually happens, reading about them didn’t necessarily instill a huge sense of excitement but once I actually started using them, their value became much more apparent. I think I’ll be continuing to use the Diigo account in the future for keeping track of interesting links.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Make The Web Work For You

 

Make The Web Work For You – Project Plan Reflection (Module 5/Unit5)

  • How do you feel about different publishing platforms? How can you see yourself using them, particularly in relation to your project? Which of the two platforms (Facebook and Twitter) appeal to you most? How can you see yourself using them?

I do like to publish content on my blog, even if I don’t expect anyone to ever read it (apart from fellow course participants and maybe future employers). I like to use Facebook on a personal level but I can’t imagine taking the time and effort to set up a separate professional profile. I do have a few friends who work in libraries who do post relevant information and find this is enough for now. I currently have a Twitter account, which I occasionally use in a professional capacity, so I think of that and the blog as my professional face. In relation to my project, I’d possibly use Twitter to share my learnings if appropriate.

  • What do you think makes a good online citizen and how do we become one?

I think online citizenship shouldn’t be that different from the broader concept of citizenship in society. We need to protect ourselves and our community, be tolerant of others and their differences, treat others as we would wish to be treated, and endeavour to make our world a better place in any ways we can.

  • How do you feel about privacy and sharing ideas online after reading this module?

I think the concept of online privacy is an evolving one. Young people today have a very different idea of privacy than those of us who can remember a pre-internet time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, they live in a different world than the one we grew up in. They will need to learn that there are consequences and dangers in their behavior online the same as everybody else has had to as they discover the internet. Particularly in an educational library setting but also in a public library it’s important to try to teach young people about privacy issues whenever the opportunity is there. In fact, in my experience in a public library setting it can also be older people who need to be educated. However, we can’t let a fear of sharing too much stop us from sharing our ideas and expertise online. The internet has become such a rich and rewarding place due to the input of a wide range of people and perhaps an onus of online citizenship should be to try to contribute where you can.

Document of the Project plan

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Make The Web Work For You