Weebly for education and Mixi

For the whole summer…..

For the whole summer, I kept thinking of what I should do for the final project on course5, which needs getting collaborated/connected with people in/outside of our community. There was a possible idea, which I could not make it due to the lack of infrastructure or readiness in terms of the everything related to it. Then I had another thought about the role of our library, for which my project might be good.

A lot of talks and consultation

My consultation with many people including Kim, Kirsten, Hiromi, Reiko, Jo, Una as our K/JS principal and other COETAIL members at YIS helped me a lot to have a certain level of assurance to start this project, and as I talked to them, my ideas were getting clearer.

I shared this idea with my colleagues and had many feedback from them. In particular, the first person, whom I talked to was Kirsten, who is a librarian teacher of K/JS library. She showed/guided me a lot of tips to get it started. She suggested that I should take a couple of students, who want to start the project during their lunch recess time, which would not lose their class time. I can lead the questions to students as they would find it easier to build up their ideas to create the website. I should negotiate with our principle (Una) to get an approval in order to have our students in our library.

Hiromi showed the direction toward the sustainability of the platform, which should be maintained/managed by autonomous participants eventually. This was one of the most challenging issues to get the project started. I ended up talking to Kim, and explained my current limited situation, where I could not take any responsibility if this project were a part of our library’s resources officially. I would do this project independent of our school community or library management although it should still  follow our school’s philosophy to get this implemented as if this were a part of our school library. If this could work for all users around the world, our kindergarten/junior school students and their siblings in high school or their parents’ library volunteers could keep maintaining the account to monitor the site. In this project, creators/Initiators are our students in grade 4(, which the grade is the eldest in junior school). This platform then should be handed over to the next year’s fourth graders, their voluntary siblings and their parents, who come to our K/JS library or M/HS library for help regularly.

How I’ve decided to use Weebly as a platform

There are a plenty of good examples of how current social network community sites are actually involved/working in our society. The first thing to come up to my mind was Mixi’s(, which is similar version of face book) original concept that only users’ friend could register the community site as a member.

In this way, it could maintain its trustworthiness among users. This idea would work for especially the particular purpose in an educational field, where viewers of the websites/blogs(, to which kindergarten/junior students contribute) could be more reliable. Once all digital resources of a school community especially for kindergarten/junior students are exposed to the public, there should be a certain level of security, which could protect vulnerable students and their work. Here I am intending to have our students use ISSH publication policy created by Mitch, Hiromi, Joy and Garry when they create a platform.

Connected with other side of this world

However at the same time they should not lose any chances to get collaborated with/connected with experts/peers/friends in other side of this world. One of the challenges of transformation level lies here.  If you work for a company or a school or a whatsoever organization, it has got its own system, which needs to be followed according to the philosophy and the regulation.  Within the framework, your ideal project has to to be implemented.

Then I have been looking for a particular web/blog site designed for an educational purpose, which was introduced by my colleague when I explained to her my rough idea about creating a platform to be used for the audience to look for books to be read to students especially for an event like mystery reader.

She introduced Weebly to me as a user-friendly station so that students could also benefit from the ease of use , in particular, when they have to create a web/blogsite by themselves.

Attribution: ‘Weebly review: merits and drawbacks’ posted on @rticlehack.com on the 1st of May,2012.

In addition, Weebly already has been being used in all classes to have their common understanding/communication base, on which for instance students could post their assignments. Their experience of using the site also motivated me to have selected Weebly as a tool for this project. Moreover when I directly talked to our principal about my probable project(since at that time, I assumed I would have to get an approval from admins to start this as a part of our library property although it would not matter at all now due to my project completely independent of our school management), she showed me how each homeroom blog/site, whose host provider is ‘Weebly for education’ has been protected to the public. You need a password to log-in to view the site. I thought this would work for our platform with all necessary conditions considered.

Globalization (Cyberspace) and Risk

As you can see in Virtual job-hunting: Technology fills situations vacant by Rory Cellan-Jones technology correspondent, BBC News,

We all know that how convenient or efficient in terms of time, cost and space it is for both employers and employees to make the best use of social network services as recruiting methods.

On the other hand I have been thinking of how risky or harmful it is for us to live in this cyberspace society if you like it or not. We even don’t choose to live in such a society, yet this is something we have to accept to live with. In other words, this cyberspace age can be something as surprising or unprecedented as enlightenment age and industrial revolution.

Then the risk management would be a crucial thing to get prepared for this coming age. However as I am so amateur about this, this highlights so many savvy areas, in which I have already seem to have involved without realizing it. (I have to admit that more or less I have already expected to see risky sides of cyberspace, yet I have been tamed to use all technological tools  as everyone uses them and so do I although I am not ready for using social network services of Facebooks and LinkedIn.)

The problem is that all technological equipments/tools (network devices) relating to cyberspace are too invisible or blind to feel confident in controlling them by oneself. I am so used to using them before I really understand them.

How could one be so responsible for those devices if you don’t know them really well? To make the best use of it requires the problem-solving skill to overcome unexpected troubles, whose infrastructure could relate to one’s familiarity with the mechanism of computer science or any relevant engineering area, which should be learnt by all people (just like the process of getting a driver license for example). This might solve all problems resulting from side-effects of constantly evolving cyberspace community world.

According to Maggie Shiels as technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

 ‘The targeted attack used by hackers to compromise e-mail accounts of top US officials is reaching ‘epidemic’ proportions, say security experts.’

Moreover she describes how easy it is to access to digital citizen’s personal accounts(with my emphasis).

‘Security experts said spear phishing attacks were easy to perpetrate because of the amount of information people put on the internet about themselves on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter……..

The mountain of data lets canny hackers piece together enough information to make e-mails they concoct appear convincing and genuine…………….In this attack, some Gmail users received a message that looked like it came from a work colleague or was linked to a work project.’

Once we become owners of some property, they have to be looked after. This sometimes results in extra money, time and attention. Our essential tools to live with now have been added by invisible entities (such as e-mails, social networking sites and other social activities) within cyberspace. They all include individual accounts, which could identify yourself to be approved of prior to accessing the door to as if contracted cyber formats of organizations.

Even if you visit off-line social places, specific public areas (for example, age restricted public places, embarkation procedure, and duty shops outside of your own country) would ask you to show your ID (such as driver license, health insurance and passport), which would be no longer physical entities anymore but digitally tracked. We cannot avoid from being a part of digital worlds, and our records have been kept without knowing them fully enough for you to oversee, yet no ones care for how your private information has been protected. It seems to be only yourself who could take care of it with your full control.

The whole concept of library from now and then

Writing a reflective blog post on one of the articles remembering to link back to the article you read.

Survival components for the incoming ages

According to the recent release of TV program on air, the essential skills to live in the 21st century especially in Japan  could be programming techniques  in addition to learning a foreign language(, which definitely used to be English yet this certainly could be replaced by Chinese now as one of the promising dominant languages.) There appear to be increasing numbers of  kids starting to learn programmings in addition to their extra-schools after schools. This view can be understood since not only tablet computers or laptops but also digital gadgets such as iPad, smart phones ( iPhone by Apple, Xperia by Sony  and  Regza by Toshiba) and MP3 players are becoming household kits such as TV, refrigerator, land line phones and vacuums. They seem to live with those tools if you like it or not. These portable devices make their social network communication always accessible wherever and whenever you are. This environmental status would change the role of library itself sooner or later and users also would expect library as an evolving organism to be able to support their needs to collaborate with what they do have at home or in remote.

Social reading trends and mobile apps

It seems to me that social network communication results in social reading trends, which could make it possible for each person to own his/her own professional library and become a specific librarian.  Librarything and Goodreads as  results of social reading trends can be users’ own references and preferences. Furthermore they could recommend, comment and categorize books as they like. It does not necessarily have to follow the complicated Dewy Decimal Classification, which institutional/public/school libraries  refer to as the authentic classification.  The most driving force behind your own library is sharing with or connecting with other participants’ direct perspectives and feedback on line. This is truly not what big organizations of libraries could do as easily or flexible as social networks could.

In addition, according to ALA Annual 2011: Top Tech Trends: Apps on the Upswing, mobile apps as the key element of a library’s marketing strategy should be introduced to public libraries as malls and airports have already leveraged them successfully.   Tablet computers will soon replace laptops. In my concerns, every digital component will be likely to serve for fostering social network communication to share the information.

Games and Libraries

Moreover the other article by Liz Danforth via ALA article, what libraries could do to serve for users are engagements in games since nowadays game industries such as reading comic books, watching anime, dressing up costumes belong to not only males but also females. That is to say the large numbers of populations are interested in such areas so that technology class or program teaching are suggested to be offered to users in libraries.

It can be said that during the 20 century no ones could imagine libraries would collaborate with game industries since at that time not much social network has  dominated our lives that far. Due to the advent of the system, all areas now have been connected, in other words there seem to be no more segregated borders among graphic novels,playing games and watching anime. Each element appears to have been integrated with each other and this connection is likely to lead to another unified concept  in the end at some stage. One area exists for one another and vice versa.

Libraries in the future

Therefore the role of library in the future seems to lie in the social network communication, and this digital environment would shift the value of library from library itself to library that brings interrelating effects on social communication and community.