Category Archives: Research
AASL’s longitudinal study of school library programs is well underway but as of last weekend only 20 libraries in Georgia had submitted their data. So let’s make sure Georgia school libraries are well represented by taking the time to complete the survey.
And please share ways you’ve used the data from previous years to advocate for your program!
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs […], yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it”
With that said, the CCGPS looks like the most exciting development for library media programs that I have seen in as long as I can remember. It is built on the concept of integrating “21st Century” skills into every subject, a concept which we in library media have been calling “information literacy” since way back in the 20th Century. It requires students to do much more research, and use research to answer “self-generated” questions. It requires that students read text that is at a higher level than what is in their textbooks. And it requires teachers to step outside their comfort zones.
ALL of these thing play right into our hands. Language arts teachers need a partner who is more comfortable with non-fiction informational texts. Teachers in social studies, science, and technical subjects need a partner who is more comfortable teaching literacy skills, source citation, and the like. All of them will be clamoring for help with research projects and help finding non-fiction sources beyond their textbooks. They will need someone experienced in matching the right text level to the right student, someone experienced in teaching these newfangled “21st Century” skills.
Any library media specialist who has spent their career solely promoting fiction, who has failed in 14 years to get on board with the whole Information Power thing, or who has ceded the direction of their program over to AR probably should be panicking. The rest of us should be seizing this incredible opportunity! Finally, the state curriculum is fully coming around to agree with what we have been saying is most important for students to learn since 1998. Will we have all the perfect resources to support it right away? Of course not, but we are already far better prepared for it than any individual classroom teacher. We have GALILEO, our existing non-fiction print collections, expertise in research and literacy, and an eagerness to collaborate. That will be plenty to get us started, and when the needs arise in the coming years, we will be better able to make the case that funding, staffing, and supporting library media programs is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
In January and February I worked with 5th grade on a unit called Bigger, Better, Faster. Before the unit started, one 5th grade teacher came to me with an idea of grouping students together in triads and assigning each group standards from the 5th grade GPS related to the turn of the century. The groups would have students from each of the 3 fifth grade classes and would be formed based on the student’s strengths. Her original hope was for students to create a final product such as a brochure or tri-board. Once we began collaborating, I suggested that we think about giving students multiple options that included some technology-based final products so that students could use one or more of the options in their products. We decided on Glogster, Animoto, Power Point, and the paper-based brochures.
I created a pathfinder with links to various resources in Galileo and on the web. At the bottom of the pathfinder, I included a double entry journal for students to use as they researched so they could copy and paste direct quotes from websites and put the quotes in their own words. Students spent several weeks researching their topics. Students also created their own united streaming accounts and watched videos about their topics. We explored Creative Commons as a resource for finding images to include in products, and students got to work creating.
Classes took turns rotating through our media center computer lab so that I could support them, but they also used laptops in their classrooms. During the last week, the entire 5th grade met in the media center and used the laptops and the lab. If I did this unit again, I would have done this format of work session during the entire unit. Although it was loud and chaotic, amazing things began to happen. As students began using tools like glogster, they figured out tips and tricks. When one group discovered something, they immediately began sharing their new-found knowledge with the other groups. Soon, groups established themselves as experts on particular technology areas, and other groups quickly realized who they needed to go to for help. This student-to-student collaboration was the ideal situation you want and it built a community of learners among the whole fifth grade.
This was my first venture into Glogster, and while it hasn’t been a perfect experience, I’ve been amazed at what the students have figured out how to do by just going in and exploring. I showed them Glogster as one option for their final products, but I did not go into great detail about how to use it. The most frustrating thing for them so far has been that the free basic educator account does not allow them to upload files. I’ve temporarily fixed that by subscribing to a one-month trial of the premium account so that we can see how well we actually like using Glogster. All in all, using tools like Glogster to create a final product has been a motivating experience for most students. Instead of creating tri-boards and paper brochures and posters, they are creating digital content that can be easily shared with a wider audience. They have worked collaboratively, and we’ve seen that each student is bringing his or her strengths to the groups. I’ve stood in awe as I’ve watched one student pull up from the research phase of the project, which contains both quotes directly from the source and information in student words, while the other students had the final product pulled up to input the information. I’ve watched students split themselves between 3 computers to do individual work, email their work to one another, and then find ways of putting it all together. Some students in the groups used Animoto, Power Point, or searched resources like School Tube to locate or create pieces that were then embedded in their group’s Glogster or other product. This project has reaffirmed the power of doing initial instruction and then giving students a space to create, at which point the teachers and media specialist become facilitators and supporters of learning as students need guidance or run into barriers.
Now that the project has come to a close and students have shared their learning with the whole 5th grade, I plan to subscribe to the premium version of glogster ($99 for 50 accounts) and use this with other classes. I already have a 2nd grade class that will be using Glogster to document their exploration of inventions. My plan is to bring in some of the 5th graders who just used Glogster to sit alongside the 2nd graders as they begin their own projects. I hope to do more student-to-student collaboration across classes within a grade level and across grade levels in the future.
You can view 2 of the Glogsters below.
David C. Barrow Elementary
The 2011 Horizon Report was recently released by the New Media Consortium and Educause. Each edition of the Horizon Report examines six emerging technologies and their potential impact on teaching and learning in the next 5 years. The six chosen technologies are the result of a series of discussions by the 2011 Horizon Report Advisory Board and selection process than can be analyzed at the Horizon Report Wiki.
The report recognizes the following trends that are affecting teaching, learning, and creative inquiry:
- The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
- People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want.
- The world of work is increasingly collaborative, giving rise to reflection about the way student projects are structured.
- The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
The report also recognizes the following challenges to technology adoption:
- Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
- Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching.
- Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university.
- Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike.
Each section of the report about an emerging technology includes an overview, relevance to teaching and learning, how it is in current practice (with links), and further reading (also with links). The following are the final topics for the 2011 report and are arranged by a Time-to-Adoption Horizon:
It is interesting to compare the final 2011 topics with the 2010 finalists as outlined in this post by the Unquiet Librarian. Some of the technologies have continually been on the list with evolved names and adjustments on their time-to-adoption.
What does this all mean to us as educators? Never before has the technology demand out-paced the availability of resources at such a rate. How will we incorporate these emerging technologies in our practice? I look forward to learning with you.
Hall County Schools