Friday, November 25, 2011

Wiki Work

I've looked on as others have created very attractive, helpful wikis that allow them to share resources with librarians everywhere, but never had one of my own. I'm very jealous of the Daring Librarian's wiki and the Mighty Little Librarian's newly updated presentation wiki. There is great potential for sharing on a wiki so I wanted to give it a try. I have two wikis that we use for professional development programs, 21 Things and our (so new it isn't finished) Gadget Virtual Tour. These two wikis have been a learning experience, yet we have kept the layout very simple. I claimed the Eliterate Librarian name on Wikispaces a while ago, but finally spent some time working on it today. You can view it here. It is nowhere close to the amazing wikis that I am inspired by, but it is a start. I have a lot to learn when it comes to graphic design and the ins and outs of working with code. To be honest, I'm hesitant to even share it because it isn't to the level I want it to be yet. I'm constantly urging other teachers and librarians to dive into new technology so it was time for me to practice what I preach. Promise not to laugh?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Edublog Nominations

I am very excited to see that the Edublog nominations are open again. I have found out about so many great educators by looking at the nomination and winner list.
Choosing just one person to highlight for these categories is very difficult, but here goes.
  • Best individual tweeter-@SNewco aka Scott Newcomb. I always get the latest and greatest in mobile learning from him.
  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog- Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers. I know he has won this before, but he is amazing. When I introduce other teachers to reading blogs this is the first one I share with everyone.
  • Best twitter hashtag- #tlchat, This is the hashtag that I always check to keep a pulse on library trends and news.
  • Best librarian / library blog- This is the toughest one for me because there are so many wonderful librarian bloggers, but this year my nomination goes to Jennifer LaGarde's Adventures of Library Girl. She has consistently inspired me with her creative ideas and passion.
  • Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast- The Mighty Little Librarian's Tech Tuesdays. I love this series because it helps her teachers learn more about technology, improve their teaching, and advocates for her role as a tech leader in her school. All around a wonderful project.
  • Best educational wiki- Daring Tech Wiki by Gwyneth Jones. Gwyneth is so generous with her materials and the graphics alone are a reason to visit this wonderland of visual stimulation.
  • Best open PD / unconference / webinar series- TL Virtual Cafe- my source for all the latest and greatest in the library world

Good luck to everyone. I can't wait to see the nomination list and start adding to my reader.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A "Smart" Booktalk

I think every librarian can appreciate the power of booktalks. Student booktalks can be even more powerful. Thanks to inspiration from Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones, our library now has Livescribe Pencast booktalks in several books. I was lucky enough (ok, there was strategy and quick fingers involved as well) to win an Echo Smartpen from Livescribe on Twitter at the end of the last school year. Since then I have wanted to use it to create booktalks with the students. Finally I found a willing teacher. Hooray!
I purchased some of the Livescribe sticky notes for the project, but you can use a piece of the notebook paper and cut it out. I made a quick visit to each class and showed them a few examples I created and told them about the project. I created a booktalk handout for the students and teachers to use to prepare. The students were very excited. The teacher offered this as an alternative to a book report type project that they used in the first nine weeks. There were many students that signed up to record a booktalk immediately. They were all very interested in the Smartpen and I know of at least one that went home and asked for a pen for Christmas. That same student described the pen to his Math teacher and asked her to record her lessons so that he could go home and watch them whenever he needed from home. She promptly went out and ordered one. For some reason the pen has been a hard sell to my teachers. I plan to continue to use the pen with library activities and lessons so that the teachers can see it in action.

Yes. This picture is blurry. That's because they are jumping up and down after trying the pen for the first time. Luckily I had my camera nearby when I witnessed this spontaneous outburst of teen enthusiasm. I just love working with middle schoolers.

To date I have 8 boooktalks created by students. I plan to put them on display soon and invite the sixth graders to come in and listen to the booktalks. I know they will love it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

PD With a Twist Update

I was lucky enough to present with Tiff Whitehead about our efforts at professional development for the October edition of the TL Virtual Cafe. You can access the webinar recording, chat and links here. It was a wonderful experience and I have received tweets and emails from librarians thanking me for the ideas and telling me about programs they are trying with their staff. This is so exciting!
The major professional development program I have been focusing on this year is 21 Things. Three librarians, including me, and one teacher worked together to create a wiki that would lead our staff through 21 technology tasks. We chose the tasks based on needs we saw in our staff and tools we have learned about through conferences and online resources. It is geared toward a classroom teacher, but we have alternate assignments so that administrators and staff can also participate. We have already received a great response and we are 5 things into the 21. We have had almost 200 teachers and staff register for the course. There is a group from each school in our district and the best part, almost every group is being facilitated by a librarian. I am so proud of our librarians for stepping up to do this even when some of them are not very comfortable with technology. I believe this has gone a long way in illustrating our value and putting all of us in the position of being a go to person for technology.
You can view our wiki here. Feel free to take this idea and adapt it for your own staff. If you do please let me know how it goes.
Next year we are already thinking about a program specifically for administrators. Learning new things can be intimidating for this group because it is hard to show this weakness in front of your staff. We think a program created just for them might be the answer.
What types of professional development programs are you a part of? Do you think this is a responsibility of the librarian?
Don't forget to come to our next TL Virtual Cafe session with the wonderful, Jennifer LaGarde.