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.

1 comment:

Karen Kliegman said...

Great insights! I especially like your thought of having the wiki inform how you create displays in the library. Also, I agree with your observation that we can take advantage of the social networking environment for educational purposes. I am confident that when you have your own LMC you will be able to put what you have learned in this course to great use!