Thing 30: Final Reflection

I have taken your two previous Cool Tools workshops and all were very insightful! Schedules are so crazy during the school year, between work and family, that I believe I benefited a great deal from the summer offering of this course.  I was able to really dig deeper into the modules and absorb how beneficial the resources were to my specific age group.  As far as challenges. I mentioned it before that I believe “we” …..the educators….are the biggest challenges.  I can locate and post all the information that I feel is important, but I can’t force my colleagues to use it.  We must embrace technology and see it for all its benefits. My hope is to take away some of the resistance by removing the amount of information into manageable amounts. I plan on using Pinterest as my form of posting sites and resources to staff members. I find it so easy to use and for many of my colleagues it is a site they are familiar using. I already spoke with my principal about addressing the staff members at our first faculty meeting.  Staff will also be asked to fill out the survey I created using Google Forms, so I may better meet their needs.

I learned so many great tools from this workshop! My extension bar grew….I made amazing charts using Easelly and Piktochart…..created a a survey using Google Docs…..and cant’s wait to implement a Makerspace in my library.  My plan is to implement a Makerspace area sometime in the spring.  The library I am in half a day is in need of a great deal of organization.  Once this task is complemented, then I can move forward with this project.  Being I have a new principal to the district….this being her first year….I believe she will definitely be on board creating an engaging library setting.

Thank you so much for a fantastic workshop!  The summer truly allowed me to dig much deeper than if I had taken this class during the school year! I look forward to another 50 “Things” to complete!  🙂

Thing 29: Student Response Tools

All of the classroom teachers do what is called “Morning Meeting”, where a greeting is written on chart paper….the agenda for the day…..and a simple question where students post their response right on the chart paper. A few teacher’s are lucky to have a Smart Board and let the students write a response using that technology. Flip Grid would be a perfect tool for them to use!  It was so colorful and geared toward elementary aged students.

It is so interesting to read the articles posted and be not only inspired, but to see a benefit of the technology that you never realized before. Andy Plemmon commented that children open up to commenting in greater detail using an electronic device, rather than in person. Of course! Hence, the increase on bullying through phones and other devices, but that’s a whole other topic. However, using it in a positive way has a world of benefits. It made total sense and I didn’t see it before. Children feel more comfortable using technology, therefore teacher’s can have students engaged on a deeper level.

I was going through the activity for this module and I decided to create a short form using Google Forms.  I am split this school year between two buildings and need to know from the staff how I can serve them to the best of my ability. Believe it or not creating 4 questions took a great amount of thought!  I wanted it to be short and not overwhelming for staff members, but direct.  I also didn’t want my questions to offend the librarian that I am replacing, who is being moved backed to the middle school. If you could think of another question to add or change I would appreciate it!

Lenape Survey

Thing 28: Emerging Tech: Scanning the Horizon

I definitely feel overwhelmed with the vast amount of information, websites, and tools that are available. The articles for this module confirmed that for me! However, this is something that I already knew. I did like that the articles discussed more of the outcomes or benefits of such changes in technology.  Joyce Valenza had such a great point about embracing social media and noticing the learning, connecting, and creative aspects.  I never looked at social media as a learning tool.

Reading Heidi Hayes Jacobs article and her outlook on global literacy provided a great perspective about the changing world around us.  Students and teachers must be able to examine the world, report ideas, and take action on those ideas were excellent points.  It was refreshing to read articles that highlighted the outcomes from the use of technology in home and at school.

Joan Ackroyd totally impressed me!  Maker Spaces are the new form of creating a totally engaging experience, whether in the library or classroom setting. I can totally see myself utilizing my library space to create such a learning environment.  It is amazing the community that begins to reveal itself….students train one another through social learning. I feel that this behavior will definitely continue outside of the classroom.

In regards to the challenges….. any implementation of a program will experience obstacles.  However, if you can prove to administrators that the program has value,  then everything always has a way of working out.  I loved that Joan Ackroyd used recycled or out of date computers to create a Maker Space and that the library was always noisy…..but in an engaging way.

The library setting has changed over the past decade. It is up to us as educators to embrace these changes. I believe we are the biggest challenge! We need to alter our teaching style in order to connect with today’s generation. In today’s day and age, the trends revolve around technology and teaching on a variety of styles. Students today need to be actively involved in their learning. Spaces that allow for this will create a love for exploring and creating.

Thing 27: DIY

I really enjoyed the visual literacy module and wanted to dig deeper in this subject topic area. I created my Twitter poster using Piktochart and found it very easy to use. I decided to try another program and create another visual for my library.  I made this infographic using Easelly. I was so impressed with the amount of free templates. I chose a template and simply added and deleted text/graphics. I was inspired by a physical education poster that is posted in the hallway of my school.  I thought it would be fun to create a poster that will inspire students to exercise their minds, as well as their bodies.

Easelly was easy to navigate and had a large number of free graphics. A few more students/education related would have been nice, but the site offered enough to create visually appealing posters. I wanted to use both genders when making my poster, but free ones were limited. I like to limit my info-graphs from 3 to 5 bullets.  I find anymore than that just seems to lose the interest of the student. I will definitely use programs such as Piktochart and Easelly again.

Reading Workout

Thing 26: Taking the Lead – Connecting with your Stakeholders

My role as a librarian has not changed over the last several years….only the tools. Technology has added such a depth to my profession that our role in student learning is even more valuable. After viewing the video and reading the articles, it made me assess my work and practices in the library. I always felt that I needed to “advertise” books available in the library.  I would display, book talk, and promote by read aloud.  I made a few changes like calling my Easy Readers…..Speedy Readers.  I noticed that children were taking books out that were a bit above their reading level. After I changed the name of the readers they began to fly off the shelf. I also made baskets of book selections with a little sign that read, “Need a Book…..Take a Look!” I noticed in the Heidi Neltner video on “Your Stakeholder Connected Librarian Toolkit”, that she made similar changes in her own collection, such as dividers, baskets, and sections.

I  Liked the catch phrase…..Read….Create….Collaborate.  It basically sums up all we hope to accomplish as librarians.  Heidi inspired me to update my library web page.  I liked the way she used Symbaloo to organize and visually present links to resources.  In a previous module, a TED video highlighted the importance of information being visually organized.  Symbaloo will definitely do that for me.

This year I will be split between two elementary schools.  I worked in the school five years before being transferred. I definitely need to connect with the teachers, so I plan on sending out a form using Google Docs.  I really need to know from the staff what they want or need from their library.  Did it function and serve themselves and the students well? I plan on address the staff on our first faculty meeting and informing them that a form will be sent and their input is vital.

I feel as if I am always marketing my library to the students.  However, I can definitely amp up parent communication.  I believe I can accomplish this by directing more parents to my webpage.  Open House is always the time I promote.  I am hoping this year to have a representative from the public library to come an encourage parents to sign up for a library card.

I believe the main message I left with after reading through the information presented is to think of the four components – parents….teachers….administrators….students as an interconnected entity.

Thing 25: Power Up Your Browser

I have taken a workshop on adding extensions to my browser, but this module allowed me to dig deeper into the topic.  I already had a few added to my toolbar…Pinterest, Ebates, and Evernote Clearly.  However, I gained a better understanding after viewing the short video that you embedded into this module.   I learned that I was not utilizing my browser as well as I could be.

I added the Click & Clean extension in order to delete cookies, history, and just generally clean up my PC.  Managing and storing was a breeze….liked the 5 star rating….and the extension on the toolbar offered a variety of tool options to run.  It is amazing that this feature is free.  I basically scanned for “free” items and found so many useful tools. The reviews and support offered gave me helpful insight into the product.  Color coating each feature also made using Click & Clean easy ….very happy adding this to my toolbar!

The next extension I decided to add was the AdBlock Super.  I find the ad’s so annoying, so I downloaded the blocker and it worked nicely.  I liked that when I opened a page the icons on my toolbar indicated how many ad’s were blocked. It definitely took away some of the clutter.

I also added the Print Friendly & PDF converter.  I am constantly printing out materials for my classes.  I usually need to print a page…cut off or white out what I need removed, then make a new copy.  I know…not the best way, but it worked.  I added the Print Friendly icon and it took a little time to understand how to use it.  I thought once I clicked the button a page would open up and I could make the changes to the document.  It did’t work out that way….I needed to right click….open Print Friendly, then copy the link.  It was easy to use and enjoyed how one can eliminate pictures, ad’s, and other unnecessary items.  It will definitely save me some ink and time! This pin reminded me of View-pure for videos, except Print Friendly is obviously for PDF’s.  Both excellent tools.

I really enjoyed exploring the extensions and customizing my toolbar to better serve my needs.   My bar is definitely growing!


Thing 24: Infographics

This was an such an amazing…fun…and interesting module to explore! I have found so many useful resources that I pinned several to my Pinterest account. I am enjoying Pinterest and the ease of adding to the boards. The TED videos are always  so insightful!  I new the power a photograph, diagram, or any visual presentation holds. However, I was unaware of the the depth in which the data meant until viewing David McCandless: The Beauty of Data Visualization.  His presentation also opened my eyes to read the data carefully and to interpret the material more closely. Interesting on how to detect flaws in the data when compiling information.

After reading the articles, I thought of several topics that I enjoyed teaching and how I can improve the material by making it visually pleasing and memorable.  Since I will be a split librarian this September (k-2nd building and a 3rd-5th building), I decided to tackle a social media infographic poster.  I have yet to teach a lesson on such a topic, but it will be part of my curriculum for the coming year. I decided to use Piktochart and absolutely love it!  So easy to create, import clip art/photos, and add text!  The free account offered plenty!  I am still playing around with it, but I couldn’t figure out how to omit the white square around my pictures.  When I added a color background the space around my imported pictures had a white space or block around it.  I tried to use a different program to save my images in order to delete/remove the space, bu was unable to do it. So, I went with a basic white background and added some color with lines, text boxes, etc. Below is my poster….I did try to pin my poster to my Pinterest board and it wouldn’t let me do it….maybe you can offer me a tip on how to do so 🙂

Thing 23: Makerspaces

I remember watching a video of students in an after school program taking apart old computers, VCR’s, clocks, and various other mechanical devices and thinking how amazing! Students not only took the devices apart, but were able to repair several and/or make a new functioning device out of the parts. It reminded me of some of the toys I grew up with that promoted innovation and creativity….Erector sets….Lego’s……building a derby car for my brother’s Boy Scout troop….weaving loom (I still have pot holders that I made when I was 8 years old), and as simple as a can of Play-Doh or a painting set. Those are still my favorite memories.

I am beyond motivated to begin creating a Makerspace after reading many of the articles!  I read so many articles that you posted and the links embedded in each that my head is spinning, but in a good way!  The bottom line is the Makerspace is what ever you want it to be.  Whether it is craft orientated such as Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show, which is adorable!  If a 2nd grader can create…explain…and post amazing science and craft ideas I, too, can surely be as creative!

I searched for Makerspace Faire information and found a few that had already taken place.  I am hoping to come across one that is taking place over the summer before school begins again. In my search for a faire, I came upon the Staten Island MakerSpace site and DIY online camps that looked interesting. A few of the camps cost a small amount of money….$10…but plenty of activities were online for free.  

Creating a space and collaborating with a classroom teacher would be exciting.  A space can be connected to CC standards addressing all areas.  However, I would begin by asking my art teacher to collaborate with me for a few reasons.  I believe art is a wonderful form of expression, creativity, and standards can easily be connected.  I can include a form of literature to tie into the makerspace. In proposing my plan to my administrator, I could easily justify my idea, by not only the literature that supports the MakerSpace, but by the low cost to achieve such huge gains. Hands-on experience, confidence building skills, and the freedom to explore all lead to success.  I believe that the “failures” are not looked upon as such from the students perspective, but avenues that lead to the end result.

Thing 22: Create a Resource

After reading the suggested resources and exploring a few….I decided to concentrate on utilizing Pinterest.  I use it for not only personal use, such as cooking can craft ideas, but also for ideas for the classroom.  It is so easy that I decided to organize my pins and create boards for teachers to access.  My target audience are the teachers and staff members in my school building.  My go to form of communication has always been email.  I would send out an email and embed links and various other information that I thought might useful to my colleagues.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe many teachers viewed or used the information I provided.  I believe that they are just so overloaded with emails, mine wasn’t high on their priority list. After reading the assignment for “Thing 22: Create a Resource”, I decided to enhance my collection on Pinterest of school related resources and send an email out to teachers informing them of my boards.  I loved the fact that I can make my personal boards “hidden or secret” … colleagues don’t need to see my craft pins or recipes. I will often hear teachers that they are not very technology savvy, but Pinterest is one of those easy tools that require no skill to use.  Simply “click” and “pin”. Another feature that makes it is so easy to maintain my boards.  I added the “Pin it” button to my tool bar making it easy to add information to my teacher and personal boards.

Day 2 – Your were right Polly…..definitely needed to accomplish this Track in steps.  I have to say that I have enjoyed all of the information, but this was my favorite to date.  I believe teachers will visit my boards based on the easy accessibility of Pinterest. It gave me the idea to present in the beginning of the year to the faculty at one of our first meetings and explain how I plan on informing them of tools or websites that I come across. I will be in two buildings this September…my boards are a mix of grade levels on the elementary level.  I plan on adding boards that are specific to each building.