Time to check out Maang?

A few of us have spent way too much of our vacation playing around on Maang, the NSW DEC’s new microblogging facility that replaces Yammer. It has been like two weeks of the really fun bits of a professional development day, mixed with watercooler talk. So much to learn, so much to discover, so much to share. I know that I’ve explored only the tip of the Maang iceberg and that it holds many more surprises as we learn more.

Maang logo

If you have never dabbled in Facebook or Twitter, but feel like you probably should know something about how social media works – and so many of our students spend a lot of their time (seemingly) perfecting their skills in same – Maang is an ideal opportunity for you to go beyond the possibilities of a professional listserv and to do so among curious colleagues who are also learning. What I’ve enjoyed so far is not just socialising and sharing with TLs in the dedicated Maang groups (there is a Teacher Librarian group with 142 members so far, a Bookweek group, a blogEd group, and many others), but conversing with principals, beginning teachers, IT specialists, teachers located in schools where I used to teach, etc. There have been several online reunions with colleagues from previous schools, and that has been stimulating, too.

Listservs have their own conveniences, plusses and minuses, but it’s important to investigate what else is out there in Web 2.0 Land, and to practise, practise, practise.

New South Wales Department of Education and Communities staff can find Maang by clicking on the hyperlink that now appears in the DEC Portal’s “Quick links”. Or go to:

Some browsers will mention a “certificate” problem, but it is a glitch in Internet Explorer.

Hope to see you over at Maang!

World Book Day: April 23

I’m fortunate enough to share the same literary agent as Tara Moss, the successful Canadian Australian novelist, model and TV celebrity. Tara has decided to get behind the concept of “World Book Day”, and is happy for me to pass on her recent Facebook posts about it, should you wish to mobilise and get something happening in Australian schools. She says:

“Let’s celebrate ‘World Book Day’ on April 23, and encourage it to become a recognized and significant day on the Australian calendar.

“The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain, as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of Saint George’s Day (also 23 April) in the region, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and, since 1925, for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia take place around ‘World Book Day’, with over 400,000 sold (and about 4 million roses). In 1996, the United Nations (UNESCO) declared April 23 ‘World Book and Copyright Day’ and, in 1998, Tony Blair launched ‘World Book Day’ in the UK, where there have been strong programs each year since, involving booksellers, schools, publishers, parents, writers and readers.

“Can we be next?

“Books are key in my life, and I believe that an officially recognized and notable celebration of ‘World Book Day’ in Australia could go some way to ensuring a future where books continue to hold an important place in Australian lives.

‘If you share my interest in making this happen, please join this [“Facebook”] group, and give a book to someone you love on April 23. (The rose, I dare say, is optional.)

“… Let’s get the word out there so that ‘World Book Day’ becomes a notable date on the Australian calendar each year. ‘Book Day’ eclipses ‘Valentine’s Day’ in Spain, so I say, ‘Enough with the Hallmark greetings. Let’s get all of Australia to give their love a book on April 23 instead. Am I asking too much?’

“Happy reading, Tara Moss.”

So there you go! Now, of course, the “Facebook” group won’t be accessible through many educational institution firewalls, but if you celebrate in your school, post your ideas here and I’ll relay them back to Tara. Maybe all those great “Library Lovers” ideas from February 14 can be recycled more than once a year?