Thursday, March 27, 2008

Need some help with your administrator?

Joyce Valenza wrote a great blog post today about a project she has been working on for schools in her area. Inspired by the Did you Know video, she has created her own piece to advocate that certified media specialists/teacher librarians be in place in all schools Well put together and good supportive material.
Take a look:
Libraries- a tale of inequity

For her complete post, click here: NeverEnding Search

Monday, March 24, 2008

What TIME is it?

After finishing a research project on great poets in the AP English the students posted them in their classroom Google presentation account. They were to use this information to map the poet's birth or life span on a time line.

Some students used the new stylish looking Mnemograph time line creator. It is easy to get into so the students begin creating some pretty slick looking time lines. After about nine students, we had difficult seeing all the time lines though. **Note- just got an email from Michael R. from Mnemograph who thanked us for the feedback and said this would be a good addition. Within just a short time, Michael had adjusted the problems and we are good to go for today.

Some of the students chose to use Xtimeliner which is a social time line creation tool. Our students also found this easy to use and fairly quick to navigate. It has different options like collaborative editing and time line sharing that are kind of nice.

Since we were trying something new, it was hard for the students (and me!). Crashing computers, stalled work...but the student stuck with it and created most of their charts. The main goal was for them to begin to see patterns in the artists lives- and who was influenced by whom.

Turns out both tools work well for this. Even though we got stuck a few times the students liked the looks and feel of Mnemograph better. (At least today- we'll try with another class tomorrow!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grab 'N Gab

Today, upon completion of CSAP I invited all the staff up to the library for a kind an open house we called Grab 'n Gab!

It was a showcase of materials that we offer teachers that they don't normally see. We had district book sets like HS poetry, Forensics, audio books and DVD's playing. Cyberbully lessons from Netsmartz. I set out SLJ and Booklist for teachers to select books for me to purchase.

We provided mini-cheesecakes, cream filled strawberries, chocolate truffles and hot cider. There was a display of Information Literacy Standards. We even had book scavenger hunts for every subject area (yes even including PE and math). Lastly- we had cheesy prizes and opportunities to share some conversations.

It was a good lunch hour- Science, English, Foreign Language, Special Ed, administrators and even Math departments stopped by for a visit. Several of the books sets went straight into teachers classrooms. I even picked up some more work with ESL and special ed...great opportunities for future planning! Many thanks to my friend Kim for letting me copy her idea, my great clerk and new intern for making this possible. What a fun day! ~guybrarian

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Question # Dos

As a spin off from Teen Tech Week, my Spanish teacher is now using VOKI avatars.
Her current assignment is to have students tell their favorite restaurants, and foods. Even though it is not required, then can create a VOKI and respond right on her blog. She has been very pleased with the variety and amount of responses. Because of the technology, her year 1 Spanish students are loving it and doing good work.

Check out her blog: Clase de Espanol. Make sure to click on the little clipboard/notebook to hear and see the students responses!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Teen Tech Week Workshops - part three

(I almost called this THE REVENGE OF TTTW! ARGHHHH! This is part 3- read from below up to here! :) ~guybrarian)

Evaluation: Wow. Did I learn a lot! Here are some highlights:
1) Informal statistics
From my little polls I determined that 1/2-2/3's of my students have their own My Space accounts (only one student out of the 8 classes said they had Facebook).
About 1/3 of the students use an online photo tool, most use Photobucket
Most of them have been creating powerpoint presentations since about 4th or 5th grade.
There were 8 blocks of students that attended, filling every IMC computer. (Also a handful of teachers!)

2) What they don't know
They don't really know whats available to them online.
Most of the students had never seen the applications I previewed for them, much less used them for classroom work

They don't know too much about how to tag information
When we talked about online photo accounts, they used them but had never tagged their info in order to organize or even RSS them. Even the term TAG or TAGGING was new to them. I think this puts them at a disadvantage when they to sort information or research.

They don't know too much about RSS.
Making friends in my space- you bet! But we also talked about push/pull technology and it was pretty clear that they didn't know they could create spaces that would bring all their information to them in order to create meaning.

They don't know how to embed code into their web pages
When finished working with VOKI's it provides a script, and very very few of them knew what it was or what they could do with it. So, they didn't really know that they could adapt their online pages to become something that helps their learning.

They don't know how to create online workspaces that help them to be more efficient and organized.
When I showed them
IGoogle (or pageflakes or netvibes) they had no idea that they could set these types of workspaces up for themselves. A few created them during our time, and saw the value in it.

They need practice on how to have productive live/online conversations.
While I was hoping that they could use the backchannel to clarify and share constructive information, my monitor ended up refereeing much too much for my taste. I just don't think students had a concept of what could really be accomplished here.

What does it mean?
Even though this didn't quite accomplish what I hoped there were some positive things.

A few students registered for online photo accounts and began organizing photos. I thought the avatar creator had less educational value than some of the other applications, so was a little embarrassed when students flocked to it. Then a teacher found a way to embed this cute avatar in her foreign language wiki. She set up an brief response to go with an assignment that I'm sure the students will love. (Check it out!) Lastly, I was very glad to see a few students create IGoogle accounts and began using them. This really seems useful for them and I wonder what it would look like to help students set these up for classes and activities.

The whole experience brought up many questions...

* What do students need to know so that they can create something of value to add to the web?
* How can we coach students to get to deeper levels when researching for themselves (rather than a prescribed assignment for school)?
* How can we best help students to productive and meaningful conversations on the web?
* What are some questions you have? :)

TTWW TOO! (or Teen Tech Week part 2)

(note: if you are lost- read the previous post about how I set up workshops for teen tech week @ Silver Creek library!)

Implementation: I started with my original plan, but changed it every hour. Students didn't know the tools I wanted to go over so it took a little longer. They loved playing with and creating avatars via VOKI, so spent quite a bit of time doing this. Had 3 or four teachers come in during their plan and created an extra handout for them, but they played with the VOKI too.

The night after the 1st presentation, I re-listened to Joyce Valenza's comments on Women of the Web 2.o podcast #65. Amongst other things- she talked about teacher her seniors how to create their own launching pages using IGoogle. So, the second day I incorporated that into the presentation by helping students to set up their own pages that could link to their teachers pages, the library and even have to-do lists.

Oh- and I tried to run a live backchannel chat during each session. It was managed by the Study Hall teacher back in her room and it was my intent that students could ask eachother questions and make helpful comments about the workshop. I also invited other librarians out of the building to poke in from time to time.

Evaluation: How did it go? Oh man! Wait till you read blog post! ~guybrarian

Teen Tech Week Workshops, or TTWW??

Part I: Here at Silver Creek, we tried to set up workshops about emerging and current tech for students and teachers...thanks to a suggestion from Jennifer at Horizon High School.

SETUP: First I reserved the library computers and space for the last 1/2 hour of every block Thursday and Friday. Then I went to study hall teachers, guided study and others to get their students to sign up. I also made this available for students with a free period AND teachers. Classes were taught in the library. "Cheat Sheets" were created for each application if they wanted to explore on their own.

DESIGN: I planned on introducing tools that I think the students should be using: online multimedia tools like Voicethread or Slideshare; online photo sharing/editing tools like Flickr or Photobucket; book sources Library Thing; productivity software like Google and ZOHO and of course how to embed code in your blog/web presence- using VOKI as an example.

Process: 10-15 minutes of intro. 10-15 minutes of hands on work time. Then, 5-10 minutes of final links like, Zamar and wrap up.

Implementation and post!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Teen Literature Conference

Don't forget this is the week to register for the Teen Literature Conference held in Denver.

This years event will be hosted
Saturday | April 5, 2008
On the Auraria Campus (at the Tivoli) in downtown Denver.

Gail Giles and Alane Ferguson will both be speaking to the conference attendees. If you haven't been before, this is a great opportunity for you to take your students and enjoy good workshops and hear about new books. $25 Students and $50 adults.

Registration forms and more information is available online!