Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thing #11.5

1. Favorite discoveries - I loved finding out how easy Screencasting is! Wish I'd known about it long ago so that I could have created myriad "how-to-do-it-online" demos.

2. Toward lifelong learning goals - Rather than being drowned in new tech apps, I am at least treading water! Many school librarians that I know haven't even put on their floaties yet...

3. Unexpected outcomes - Delighted with the sheer quantity of offerings on Slideshare for great presentations that I never could attend in person. I'll never run out of things to explore and learn there.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? Thing 10 took so much more time than the other Things because SL has a steeper learning curve than most of the other tools explored. Perhaps need to divide it into smaller parts with specific focus, like reading about SL in education in one Thing and exploring SL with your avatar in another Thing.

Thanks again to Spring Branch ISD, Dr. BB and all our great Lifeguards for developing the 23 Library Things and the 11.5 Things and allowing the out-of-towners to come over and play! I would have never discovered all these things on my own...

Next stop - Italy! Heading for the International Association for School Librarianship conference in Abano Terme, Italy (with a few days in Venice, too!)

Thing #11

Digital Citizenship lesson for 9th graders (H.S. Freshmen) - based on Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship found at http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html
In junior high, students have limited access to technology and online resources due to equipment and scheduling constraints. Therefore freshmen need to be introduced to the ground rules of digital citizenship before they are set loose in the more freewheeling world of high school online access.

The lesson will focus on 5 Key Principles (conversation points for librarians to present are in quotation marks):
1) Digital access - "School technology resources are tools for all students. Using just your fair share of computer time, bandwidth, printer ink/toner, and paper are ways to show you are prepared to be a good digital citizen." [Reinforces school rules on computer time and printer limitations in a positive way]

2) Digital rights & responsibilities - "With the right of free speech online comes the responsibility to communicate appropriately online. The right to use information found online brings the responsibility to give proper credit for the sources of that information. By signing on to any computer in OurSchool ISD, you agree that you will act responsibly as you exercise your rights." [Reminds of rights & restrictions contained in AUP which they and their parents have already agreed to in writing]

3) Digital communications - "As a school user of information technology, you will use a more limited set of digital communications than you would at home. Your use of school-approved e-mail, wikis, blogs and other communication options will continue as you prove that you can use them effectively and correctly." [Reminds that responsible online communication is allowed on school computers even though several limiting factors prevent use of cell phones, instant messaging, social sites, etc. at school]

4) Digital law - "You are responsible for your actions online and must act ethically when it comes to the property of others, including their websites, coding, music, and so on. Avoiding unethical behavior online means knowing the difference between sharing and stealing - it's not just a good idea, it's the law!" [Remind that downloading music, plagiarism, hacking, etc are illegal and unethical and can result in real legal penalties from the school district and law enforcement agencies]

5) Digital literacy - "Learning to locate, assess, and utilize information from online sources should occur in many of your classes and projects, not just in computer/BCIS class. It's up to you to practice these skills until you are good at them so that you will be prepared for the new technology tools and skills that are ahead of you." [Reinforce IT-based skills and learning throughout the curriculum and as widely applicable to a wide range of projects and problems].

Applicable portions of the AUP will be briefly noted in each section. Finishing off with an exploration of a "spoof site" like Tree Octopus or Whale-Watching in the Great Lakes can reinforce that all online sources are not equal, that digital literacy tools will help students sift the true from the false, and will foster critical thinking.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thing #10

Wow, it's harder to walk and turn and pick things up than it seems when "your fingers do the walking" on keyboard to keep your SecondLife avatar moving... I don't think I've graduated to being a toddler yet!

I love the museums and demos in SL and can see the benefit of allowing students to view, try, and do things in those scenarios. Alas, most school districts won't allow students to experience SL and the problem-solving that it takes to accomplish the smallest functions because of the the small potential hazards on SL. Also, the 'strain' on the school/district networks and computing resources for such graphic-intensive app usually limit the use of such resources at school.

I tried to attend a virtual seminar, but had so much trouble getting from place A to place B that I decided to step out of SL for a while (so I can read up on using movement commands and such).

Someday, Katri Easterwood will stroll with confidence through SL, discovering new, cool things serendipitously, just like wandering the stacks of a new library to see what neat books come into view! Except I cannot fly in a physical world library!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thing #9

What a treasure trove Slideshare is! I'd definitely use Jean-Luc Niezette's "Presentation Cookbook" to show PowerPoint novices how to effectively create their presentations, then have them upload their work to Slideshare.
As Joyce Valenza notes, the ability to add voice to AuthorStream presentations would make it an ideal place/way to store class presentations by students - for later grading, as peer-teaching tools, as part of student portfolios. Of course, teachers could save presentations on AuthorStream so that substitutes could show those lessons in the teacher's absence, for use of homebound and distance learning students, or just to ensure that identical content was presented to each class.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thing #8

Oh, I've always wanted to be able to create screencasts, but never dreamed that it could be this simple...and free!

Here's one way to use Follett's Titlewave in a way you might not have considered before -

The GoView interface is pretty straightforward, and I found that editing was simple. It was easy to add titles, too. The screencast was available for sharing in under a minute after saving.

Thing #7

Loved the Remix Culture video! Covers the subject well, in interesting way.

One video that I'd use in a high school library deals with learning how to tie a necktie - http://www.blinkx.com/video/how-to-tie-a-tie-expert-instructional-video-on-how-to-tie-a-tie/uywPsE-ceEq9QSrEGFIx3w - for our jobseekers and prom-goers. Yes, a number of young ladies wear ties at their workplace and as a fashion statement, as well.

And we'd bring "Tornado in a Can" to spark discussion on using physics and math to design houses and buildings that can withstand tornadoes.

So many cool videos! Let's go learn how to do something else...

Thing #6

Too bad I wasn't on this LibraryThing when Josh and his iPhone were visiting us in July! The number of cool, free Apps that are education-usable seems to grow daily.

Wouldn't it be fun to load the iLevel app, then have students guesstimate the angles of objects (whether it was level or not), then verify their observations with the iPhone? (Always looking for ways that the library can support the math department!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thing #5

I do Facebook, but not Twitter (at the request of my 20-something kids). I'll "friend" former students on my personal account, but not current students, just as a matter of form.

If my library/school had a Facebook account, it could be used to put out information quickly, highlight new services, answer reference questions, and such.

For the dual-credit classes and others taught on campus by non-ISD personnel, having a back-channel capability would be critical, since questions from students so often arise after class time is over. Backchannelling could also facilitate study groups, project brainstorming, etc.

But as long as the average ISD and its administrators put the big nix on accessing social networking sites at school, none of these simple-to-implement scenarios will take place. As well-meaning, but reactionary, school officials continue to deny that Facebook & Twitter have any educational validity, their districts and schools will continue to present an environment that is further and further removed from the ways that so many of our youngsters learn and discover information today. And what about the future??

Thing #4

Thank goodness for TeacherTube, especially for schools without access to Discovery Learning or other for-fee educational video sites.

A well-selected video can quickly demonstrate a concept that would take much time to explain. Additionally, many of our students are visual learners, so being able to "show" as well as "tell" is a plus for most classes.

And having student work uploaded gives our kiddos an opportunity to be the teachers for their peers. (Gotta watch that performances of copyrighted works aren't uploaded to TeacherTube without permission, since it's an open-access site.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing #3

As long as the school library has sufficient bandwidth to carry a Skype (or Skype-like) conversation without audio blips or video stutter, it can be a hub for all the wonderful opportunities for learning 'extra muros' that are outlined in the articles (esp. 50 Awesome ways to use Skype in the classroom ) .

In fact, with travel costs rising and school budgets shrinking, using Skype et al. can be the best way to expose our students to the Big World through visual field trips, author conferences, class-to-class exchanges, and the like.

My favorite idea is performing live for another group, like having the High School drama kids acting out a scene for the elementary students across town. Imagine the savings in bus costs, time, etc, as well as the potential for the big kids to watch the littlies perform in turn!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thing #2

Enjoying Wordle, of course http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/1002052/Sunshine_Foundation_grants_wish but in comparison, Wordsift's results seem rather staid. The Wordsift related images and potential links are okay, but after Wordle-ing, it would be boring to have so little control over layout & color of the word cloud in Wordsift.

I think that VoiceThread may have a slight edge over Glogster for student projects, because it allows comments from viewers/listeners and is more linear than the all-on-a-screen layout of Glogster. It is cool that video & audio can be embedded on either one.

Animoto wins easily in the next pair of tools, since students could concentrate on selecting the best photos and the arrangement that conveys their story/text/presentation best, accented by nifty music and professional appearance. Not sure how much educational value there is in Voki after the novelty of changing accents and the animated-paperdoll features of changing the avatar's appearance wears off.

Bookr is seriously fun! I can well imagine the searching practice that students could get by finding the best flickr photo to illustrate a set of terms, define colors in foreign language, and so on.

I like kangaroos...

Thing #1

Of course, you could substitute the term "school librarian" for "teacher" in the Networked Student video. (that's why "teacher-librarian" is the preferred term in Australia, etc)

Helping students learn how to discern authoritative information sources, to use the best tools for capturing and keeping up with their info, and to create knowledge products appropriate to the source, focus and audience - these are all tasks which fill the days of secondary school librarians - WHEN their administrative teams allow such learning strands to exist and thrive in the school library.

We must prepare our students to be learners-in-community - no one will have skills or knowledge enough to go it alone in the future (or even now). As the saying goes, "All of us is smarter than each of us."

Give a look at what Elvis says about learning and knowing (not that Elvis...) related to music

Will it turn out that our students have left the building to learn what they need to succeed in the info world, or will school librarians give them the knowledge tools that transcend the walls?