Monday, April 21, 2008

Goodbye Athena, Hello Destiny, etc.

This week, our media center is making the switch from Sagebrush's Athena to Follette's Destiny. We're doing a lot of check-outs by hand due to the fact that Track 4 returned today and they all need new books. We hope to get onto a remote check-out tomorrow so that we won't have so many circulation records to manage once we're back online. We're excited about the changes and hope all goes well tomorrow.

I'm reading The World is Flat version 3 by Thomas Friedman - no actually I'm listening to it on CD. The book discusses globalization and how successful businesses have changed how they do business to keep up with the demands of the market. What a great wake-up call for all of us - from the Bush administration to educators in the classroom. Friedman presents the staggering numbers of just how far behind China and India the US has slipped. What this book does is give us reason to think, act and understand the collaborative ways of the global community and how we will need to work in the future. I recommend that if you haven't read any of the versions, please get the latest one and read it so that you can learn more about why we need to embrace the collaborative new tools offered on the web. Not only do we need to take them on for our own knowledge but we need to lead the way in our schools to make sure that the teachers are informed.

Last week on Friday, the learningteammiddle group met for our monthly meeting. We learned about the WCPSS's ESL program and heard a great presentation from their department. How does this impact our LMC programming? Lots of helpful information that we will all take back to our schools to address the needs of the LEP and ESL students. Next, we ventured out for a brown bag lunch at the Friday Institute on the NCSU's Centennial Campus to hear Donald Leu speak about literacy, reading and the different ways that students learn to read webpages vs. reading print texts. His research has shown that many proficient readers struggle with reading on the screen where as struggling print readers many times can manage reading on the screen/web better than with print text. The discussion was interesting and I hope to continue to follow his research with reading and new technologies.

So long for now. Happy Earth Day tomorrow, April 22.

Friday, March 21, 2008

After NCCAT and still learning

Tonight I've been reading Bob Sprankle's article in PBS Teachers titled Four Weeks to a Flatter You. What a great way to step through setting up web 2.0 tools. I use for my feeds but to learn more, I watched the tutorial screencast recommended by Sprankle and it is much easier to understand than anything else I've seen. I'm looking forward to going through the next tutorials. Bob Sprankle is from Wells, Maine where they implemented a laptop for all 7th and 8th graders. He played an important part in setting up the programming and training the teachers for laptop program. The Mooresville City School System could probably take notes from Bob. His blog is Bit by Bit. My good friends live in Fryeburg, Maine and have talked about this program. I have lots of questions for implementation like who takes care of setting printers, fixing broken keys, reimaging when they lose the network connection, setting up wireless and on and on. I guess they have to hire a slew of tech specialists - I hope!

It's getting late so I must close my laptop and get upstairs. Goodnight to all. Dude.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday already

It is truly amazing how much information is coming at us this week. Isn't that what the Web 2.0 tools can help with. My burning question for today is "Once we equip ourselves with these tools, what is the best way to integrate into learning?" Susan read an exerpt from an article by David Warlick giving 8 steps to how to begin.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cullowhee and the Librarians

Happy St. Patrick's Day. A young, Mooresville, Irish girl gave us all green necklaces to wear for celebrating and to keep from getting pinched.

Let me introduce this week to you. Our WCPSS middle school media specialists' PLC (learningteammiddle) applied to and received a scholars' week here at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching better known as NCCAT. The purpose of our study is to investigate 21st century skills and the role of the media specialist. For those of you who don't know about NCCAT, it is available to NC teachers, free of charge, for a full week that is heavenly. The folks up here treat us like royalty and provide a place to learn and study - without interruptions. Teachers are very fortunate here in NC to have a space to learn and renew.

So it's the end of the day on Monday - faces plastered to laptops - creating 21st Century learning. Here are the voicethreads we created. The next question is, how will we use Voicethread with the teachers and students? We had fun figuring out our avatars and stage names which we would never have time for on a normal work day. Mindy created a pbwiki for us to post ideas and links. Susan posted some great links on the pbwiki. She is continuing to read and deeply understand 21st Century Skills. She got a delightful Skype call today from her daughter and granddaughter. Pat (Book Face) commandeered the Voicethread learning. Kim led us through the Google docs details. Angie created a blog and also took some pictures on the wildflower hiking trail. Bev (nuttylibrarian) worked very hard to get her webcam loaded but will try again later. Deborah set her personal goals and is working on a transition program for Martin and we are sad to say that she is planning to retire at the end of this school year. An of course they did much more than that but we don't have the space to cover it all. As for me, I worked on my pbwiki site, looked at some inquiry lesson plans to prepare for an upcoming lesson, learned voicethread from Pat, practiced Google docs, and generally tried out many other ideas that have been floating around today.

As for eating, we had a great big breakfast, lunch and we will be going to dinner in 1 hour. I have time to check out which was recommended from Gayle Holmes. I accidentally called her last night on Skype and she was kind to me and offered her help anytime that our group needs it.

Peace and harmony in the mountains.

Until later, be still.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Video the Eclipse?

As I wait on the eclipse of the moon, I'm reading this weeks' articles, the first about using video in teaching and learning. As a media specialist, I think of all the equipment needed to practice the lesson examples mentioned in Video Goes to School, Part 1. Yesterday, a teacher asked for a fire wire accessory that I've never heard of but I sure is available at Radio Shack or Circuit City. Connectivity always makes me stop and think - how! Cameras and storage formats change so rapidly - especially for a school system's pocketbook. The best part of the article for me is encouragement to get the cameras out into the hands of the students more often. We use Windows Movie Maker for student projects and I'd like to download their own videos for editing rather than just using still photos. Another idea to put forth as a project option.

Ahh Podcasting. I'm wondering about the best recording device for walking around the media center to capture information on various topics from students. One qustion of interest would be "what is the appeal of graphic novels?" Another topic worth recording is "what exactly are you doing this morning in the Media Center?" We're filled with students every morning before the start of school so it may be of interest to those who don't actually get into the Media Center to hear from the students who take advantage of using the Media Center. It would be good PR.

Wesley Fryer said "One of the most basic and powerful ways to increase student motivation to write and communicate is to change student perceptions of audience." Wouldn't it be wonderful if 7th grade students would podcast their 5 paragraph essays for everyone else to hear?? I'm wriing this down as a reminder of what to do next. His links are contageous.

More later on this week's assignments.

Pod-dy on.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wiki Week

I got a late start on the course assignment this week so here it is Sunday night and I'm still working on it. Most people in the real world have tomorrow off work (President's Day) but in the world of Year-Round school, it's just another day. So on to the world of wiki. I created a Salem Reads wiki so that our students can start writing about the books that they are reading. We'll create a new page for each book and I'd like to stick to newly published books. Our Newbery book club will be the first to use the wiki and then we'll spread out to others. Starting with a small group will help me figure out the details. I have other ideas to use a wiki with the AG (academically gifted) students to engage them in further inquiry of the topics in their Social Studies class. I have a teacher who I'll work with and his AG students will meet with me so that I can introduce the extensions of the lesson. Fun!