Media Management Software
Four Districts Review Their Media Management Systems
discovery education mediashare
Reviewer: Mark Edwards, superintendent, Mooresville Graded (NC) School District
How we use it: “Discovery’s MediaShare lets us upload, manage, and distribute user-created or licensed digital content. Teachers map elements and get immediate reporting that will ultimately impact student performance.”
Why I like it: “Teachers and students can easily access this digital media repository from any computer. It helps teachers collaborate on projects, and is perfect for creating podcasts.”
What I wish it could do: “We are still in the prep stage of using MediaShare. The key is to find the most efficient way to retrieve the digital media.”
sirsidynix unicorn OR www.schoolrooms.net
Reviewer: Theresa M. Fredericka, executive director, INFOhio, the Information Network for Ohio Schools
How we use it: “INFOhio is a statewide network serving all our K–12 public, non-public, and community charter schools. We provide standardized software, electronic and other core resources, and training and tech support. This includes a statewide library management system. Our school librarians across the state wanted a robust system that would allow for the whole library community to share resources. Currently 2,394 school libraries are automated with INFOhio/SirsiDynix. The system is scalable, so it also allows us to add new media like digital content.”
Why I like it: “We like the new SchoolRooms portal. SchoolRooms uses subject-oriented ‘virtual rooms’ where students can find relevant resources and information that meets their needs. This portal starts with the curriculum, and then searches for the best content to support the objective. It includes multimedia content, Web links, and search capabilities.”
What I wish it could do: “Our next big hurdle is to align all of our resources for teachers to implement state standards. Once we align resources at INFOhio, all schools will have access to those aligned resources.”
Reviewer: Belinda Cashwell, director of media services and former principal, Cumberland County (NC) Schools
How we use it: “We use the Destiny Web-based
browser and catalog, which connects at all of our schools. Students use the system to look up any of our print and nonprint resources, and they can search by state standard and objective. We’re next to an army installation, so many of our students have one or both of their parents deployed to Iraq. With the Web-based system, parents can still help their children do research and select books from abroad.”
Why I like it: “We believe in targeted teaching and prescriptive learning. We need a sophisticated library management program that targets state standards. Students can disaggregate their data by targeting their weaknesses and finding resources by objective. We like ‘Title Peek,’ which makes our online catalog look like amazon.com. We even use Destiny as a marketing tool. It has a scrolling marquee banner that runs on our school Web site where we can post announcements or even a school security alert. It’s a tremendous catalog that helps us focus on student achievement. Its district reporting capabilities have helped me get money from the board of education and work collaboratively with Title 1.”
What I wish it could do: “I would like to see the yearly prices lower. I would also like to add Lexiles; right
now we have to use another program and merge Lexiles.”
GET A GRIP ON DIGITAL DATES
Remember the days when there was nothing in your library but books? It was tough enough keeping track of all those titles. Today, it’s even harder. The explosion of digital resources has created huge management challenges. So how do you keep up with all the data? We spoke with Andrew Schlessinger, CEO of Safari Montage, to find out what administrators need to know about digital resource management.
1. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:
Your school can get into big trouble if you violate copyright.
Find out exactly what rights your school has for sharing and using digital media. Have tools in place so everyone can easily adhere to any restrictions. Schools need a system that dedicated personnel, most likely the librarian, can use to ensure both the school and the district have current licenses and are using them properly.
2. DISTRIBUTE OVER A WIDE AREA NETWORK:
Instead of spending megabucks on physical media duplication and distribution, use a digital video distribution system and save. Use the district’s private wide area network to deliver video files to schools’ local area networks.
3. CENTRALIZE YOUR TECHNICAL FUNCTIONS: Look for a video distribution system that allows your technical staff to centrally manage LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) file sizes and bitrates, and control remote servers, reporting, and so on.
4. ADD AND MANAGE YOUR OWN MEDIA:
You’ll want a system that allows you to add more media, such as professional development information. You’ll also want the ability to meta-tag content and correlate it to state curriculum standards.
5. CONSIDER THE BOTTOM LINE:
The best thing about digital resource management? The savings. Districts that manage their media digitally rather than using hard copy usually see a big ROI.
Apex RFID and TLC Library solutions (www.integratedtek.com and www.tlcdelivers.com)
Reviewer: Teresa Ortiz, library media specialist, Red Mountain (NM) Middle School
How we use it: “Red Mountain Middle School Library was awarded a federal Improving Literacy Through School Libraries grant of nearly $300,000, which has allowed my dreams for the library to come true. We use two cooperating companies. The Library Corporation provides the Library Solutions Web-based circulation, cataloging, and public access catalog piece. The Integrated Technology Group provides the RFID system. The two components ‘talk’ to each other through an SIP2 interface. Each item that circulates through the library is tagged with an RFID tag. Students and teachers then use the self-checkout that reads the tag, and the system records circulation status into the software. The tags also serve as security so the items can’t just be taken from the library.”
Why I like it: “The RFID self-checkout is the best thing that has ever happened to our library. Before we adopted this system, I had to stay behind the circulation desk to help with checkout. Now I can get out and help students with instruction. Because we have a Web-based public access catalog, students also like that they can access the catalog from any device with Internet service, including their cell phones, MP3 players, or iPods.”
What I wish it could do: “Our community is a rural area 30 miles off the Mexico border and is considered a high-poverty area. I’d like to become instrumental in
assisting the community to further develop its infra-structure and Internet access points."
Okay, maybe you’ve slipped up on occasion and photocopied a textbook page without formal permission. So what’s the big deal if your teachers do the same thing? The answer is simple: Widespread copyright violations can cost your district thousands, and as an administrator, this buck stops with you.
Although copyright lawsuits rarely get to a court, settlements with media producers can be very expensive. Avoid this litigation hailstorm by making sure your district has an institutional copyright compliance policy. In Copyright for Administrators (Linworth Publishing, 2008), Carol Simpson, professor of library and information science at the University of North Texas, says administrators should ask these six questions when creating a school’s copyright policy.
Does your school copyright policy:
1. State the institution’s intent to abide by the letter and spirit of copyright law and associated congressional guidelines?
2. Cover all types of materials, including print, nonprint, graphics, and computer software?
3. Assign liability for noncompliance with copyright to the individual using the work?
4. Mandate training for all personnel who might need to make copies?
5. Oblige the person using the materials to produce, on request, copyright justification for its use?
6. Create the function of copyright officer, which will serve as a point of contact for copyright information both within and outside of the district?
Christine Weiser is a writer and editor who has reported on K-12 education technology for more than 15 years.