Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thing 10: Final Learning Activity

I found this professional development to be helpful in someways, but also not as I expected, but mostly because I found that I had less time this year for my own professional development due to projects at work.  In the past I have had more time to devote to my own learning and this year my role as the library media specialist has grown with the implementation of Google Apps for Education in our district.  I was hoping to complete all 10 activities, and found I really struggled to complete only five.   This type of learning is second nature to me.  This is the way that I do most of my individual learning, whether it is to find out more about a new tool a teacher would like to use in the classroom or for any type of personal information I want to acquire.  That is why I thought this would be a good way to look at new tools and learn new things.  Unfortunately for me, time was not on my side.  

I did find the tools I chose to be worth looking into.  The photo activity taught me more about copyright, which I believe is important and students should be responsible for at the very least the basics.  I find teachers don't know much about it either and it is my job to help educate them.  I also want to incorporate more photography and photo use into my classes.  The personal learning activity has helped me to expand my network, although the challenge for me will be to organize all the messages and information I receive so it is manageable.   The last tool is one I will continue to research as I can see it becoming something my teachers will be clamoring to use.

I will definitely continue to use this type of learning as I am familiar and comfortable with the style.  My challenge will be to make time for this as opposed to just searching the calendar to find time.

DIY - Breakout Edu

I am always on the lookout for new and exciting things to present to the students and teachers in my school (and my daughter's school).  They don't always have to do with technology, but they do always have to do with new ways to learn and present materials.

This weekend at the Google Summit I will be presenting about the newest tool I have been researching this spring called a 'Breakout Box.'  This is new for me for a variety of reasons.  The first reason is it has been a long time since I have presented to a large adult audience.  While it is easy for me to get up in front of students and teach, presenting to peers seem to always be a different animal for me.  While my nerves may get the best of me inside, I won't let it show on the outside, and know once I get started I should be ok.  It will help to have a co-presenter as well. What is going to make this presentation easier is I am so excited about one of the tools I will be presenting.

The breakout box is the newest thing I've found to use in the classroom.  It's basically a mystery room in a box.  Where you use clues to solve mysteries (or in this case unlock locks.)  The benefits are many.  For the teacher this resource is able to be customized, used with any age group (including adults for PD), with any subject and with any number of students.  For the students it teaches them teamwork and collaboration, to think outside the box, higher order thinking skills, time management as well as other classroom benefits all while being fun.  I have even written my own breakout game which is the game I will use this weekend at the conference.

As they say 'here goes nothing!'

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Online Communities and Personal Learning Networks

This is something I have just started to explore this past year after getting my GET certificate.  The more I think of it, this is something I should have been pursing professional much earlier.  It falls right in with the role of the librarian, to help others, answer questions and find information.  The only difference is you don't have someone standing right in front of you.  But this too is just an evolution, the library has evolved from beyond the 4 walls of its building to become a virtual space, so too should the librarian expand beyond the physical into the virtual world to help those that enter the space.  In doing so she/he will learn more than they would have just sitting behind a desk reading a book.

I am always looking for new ways to engage my students and make life easy (and interesting) for my teachers.  In reading through the articles posted in the Cool Tools assignments, I found that there are more ways to incorporate twitter into the classroom than I previously thought.  Two that particularly stood out to me are in the article "20 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom," and they were, analyzing how social messages (tweets) and private thoughts differ and analyzing 5 ways tone can be conveyed in a tweet.  The only stumbling block I see is the district restrictions, no one in the district is allowed to access social media (not even teachers).  I had to beg to have Google+ turned on so I could complete my Google Educator Training Certificate.  I would love to be able to incorporate this type of PLN into my Library/Tech classes.  Students need to have experience with online communities that deal with aspects other than just their social life.

Since I was able to get Google+ turned on, this year my focus has been expanding my PLN through Google+.  Prior to this year, PLN were something I used for my personal life only.  I didn't even refer to them as PLN, they were social media, facebook, twitter.  And I certainly would not combine the two, and I still won't.  I am a big believe in my personal life, is my personal life and I will post what I want to post, but it was not until the fall that I realized how helpful this could actually be to my teaching and librarianship.  I was able to reach out to people who had issues similar to mine, get answers that I could use, but more importantly help others, which to me is my job.  This added a new facet to my library.  The resources available to me grew by leaps and bounds in a matter of minutes.

One of the issues I did find was when I joined these communities, I had a whole load of emails to go through.  To keep up with this became quite the job.  I did have to cut back on some of the community notices I was receiving, and I do find that I go to these boards less.  Even just receiving notifications doesn't get me to the boards.  There has to be a happy medium, but I just haven't found it yet.  That will be one of the goals that I continue to work toward.

Photo Fun

I am pretty experienced with the taking and posting of pictures on social networks since in my personal life I take pictures for my daughters cheer gym and post them to a private group with much frequency.  I also (when there is time) do some post production.  But I decided to follow and look more closely into the "Getting Your Feet Wet" option because for me this had the most application in the classroom and I feel that you can never know enough about copyright.  This is one of the topics I cover in my sixth grade Library/Tech class and feel that it is important for students to understand the basics of copyright and follow the rules.  

For students, they find it easy to just google different images, and I would like to break them of this habit by giving them alternatives to use to search and make it easy for them to cite the images and videos they are using.  I found the article "14 copyright essentials teachers and students must know," posted in the comments to be full of information I was unaware of and will now incorporate into my lessons.  

The photo I chose to upload was from Pixabay and I picked this topic becuase it is one of the submjects the students can choose from in the introduction to research part of our class.  

Hensler, Karin. Stonehenge. Digital image. Pixabay. Pixabay, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2016. <>.

I then modeled the actions the students would have to follow to correctly cite the photos that they choose to use.  The process becomes a little different and students usually don't go to other pages to look for the required information necessary to compete a work cited sheet.   I did find the use of simple and "easy" (pun intended) to cite these resources.  Since it works so well with Google Tools I will definitely continue to incorporate that into the work cited lessons.

As far as the other parts of the lesson, the applications are vast not just outside the classroom in afterschool activities like Photography Club or TV/Media club, but in the classroom as well.  I plan to continue to explore using photography in lessons to make them more engaging as well as more relevant for the students.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thing 1: Blogging

I'm kind of excited, not that technology is new to me but as a librarian my district, RCS, has really been embracing the use of technology with our students over the last two years.  I have been a librarian for about 13 years and have always tried to introduce technology some way into my library instruction.  But this past year, my district has started the implementation of Google Apps for Educators and its use with students at the middle (where I work) and high school levels.  The project has grown and the interest continues to grow as time goes on.

I got interested in this program because it will allow me to cover many tools in a short time, and I hope will introduce me to different ways to introduce these tool into the classroom.  I have already seen this with the use of Andrea Hernandez's Blogfolio's.  This is something that I would love to do with my students.   We have tried blogging in the past with a literacy class but the results were not exactly what I had hoped.  The students did not seem enthused with the blogging, probably because they were blogging to prompts and not about things that interested them.  The blogging didn't continue past the class year.  I would like this to be a program my ELA and Literacy teachers can get behind.  I am going to do more research before starting again, and have a much more detailed and long term plan before I start with the students.