Friday, July 25, 2008

Reflection

For our final project, Michael, Kate and I, as School Media Specialists, decided to create a wiki to serve as a forum for the online book club of students at Sunnydale High School called The Readers Among Us. For this project our group selected a wiki, podcasts and a poll as our three technological components. The wiki serves as an effective tool for the creation of our online book clubs. By using a wiki, the book club participants are able to create an additional page for each new book that they read and would like to post for discussion. Each page has discussion tabs that allow readers to easily post reviews and discussion questions about the book. The wiki also allows users to embed podcasts, Photo Story projects, video and other media to enhance booktalking, learning about authors and communication. Podcasts allow creators to effectively broadcast to listeners. The podcasts on the wiki include a booktalk and discussion questions to help and encourage responses from members. The poll allows us to determine what genres are being read most and apply this information in the classroom. We can make displays of particular books and book genres in the library and suggest books to students based on what they have written in their reviews on the wiki.
The relatively new phenomena of wired children presents educators with new challenges and exciting potential uses. First and foremost teacher librarians must teach children to use technology safely and effectively. As educators we must stay abreast of developing and emerging technologies and applicably implement them in the classroom. These tools are those which children will be required to have experience using upon entering the workforce. Ignoring the transition to electronic educational tools would be a disservice to children and only leave them in the dark. Additionally, most children are already using these technologies in their personal lives. Social networking websites like myspace and facebook are popular among the high school sect and those even younger. Although these sites may not be viewed as important learning tools by their parents and citizens who are generally concerned about the welfare of children, these same tools have many educational uses in the classroom. Collaborative tools like wikis, blogs and the like foster group learning and peer to peer communication. These tools also ‘break down the walls’ of the school and enable collaboration with students all over the world. When I was in the third grade I had a pen pal in Hawaii. I vividly recall how this experience put the size of the world into perspective. It also gave me the opportunity to communicate with someone my own age but with a very different life experience than myself. Although she was American, my penpal was in a foreign geographic location, and she was native Hawaiian- a very different culture from the suburban experience that I had growing up. These technologies take this idea to a whole new level. Students can now email or IM their ‘pen’ pals are work collaboratively on electronic projects with them.
There were few technological problems faced while working on this project. As part of this project I would have liked to include a Photo Story project. Unfortuantely, the Photo Story software is not compatible with my MacBook. I opted to create a podcast in lieu of finding a way around this technicality.
Our group collaborated very well. We used email liberally. With careful planning the day of the assignment- that was all the communication that was required to complete this project. My responsibilities included the Awards page and the A Corner of the Universe pages of the wiki.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Podcasting in Libraries Episode 1: Curricular Activities



Podcasting

We spent the morning creating podcasts about podcasts in the school environment. Today I worked with Michael and ours was about how use podcasting with certain curricular activities. Right now everyone is a little stressed trying to upload their podcasts. Ok we'll see if this works:

Wikis

We set up wikis yesterday. Kate, Michael and I were a group. We made a wiki featuring resources for researching the American Revolution. It was a lot like creating a website, or what I remember from using Composer in library school. It was pretty fun and I can see the potential for using them in learning environments.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Social Networking

There are so many social networks-it's hard to choose which to join. A long time Friendster member, its a great way to stay in touch and meet people. This morning I was introduced to TeacherLibrarianNet- a Ning (new vocabulary word) that supports school librarians, fostering the sharing of ideas and collaboration. I also explored LibraryThing. LibraryThing allows you to set up a profile and organize personal libraries. There are groups that you can join and booktalk with other members. Another social networking tool that can foster collaboration is Twitter. Kind of like instant messaging meets blogging, Twitter can supply lots of useful hints and tips.

Joining a network


View my page on TeacherLibrarianNetwork

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Del.icio.us

Del.icio.us is a great tool for bookmarking sites. I'm looking forward to spending some time exploring this great resource.