Category Archives: Technology

So read me maybe…

We’ve probably all enjoyed some version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe.” (My favorite is probably Cookie Monster’s version.) But thanks to my Pinterest obsession I found this, and with the dedication of some hard-working library science students, we made this bulletin board. Students can scan the QR codes to watch the trailer and then check out the book of the one they like! Fun with a purpose is always a good thing.

 

Holly Frilot, Collins Hill High School

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Infographics

By now you’ve probably seen an infographic or two – they are popping up everywhere. Infographics are an interesting way to display statistics for the media center, whether to administrators or to teachers and students. I also think this has tremendous potential in the classroom as a meaningful way for students to represent information. However, they are not easy to create for those of us who are not graphic designers. That’s where Piktochartcomes in handy!

I’ve played around with and it’s easy enough to use that I’ve recommended it to one of my teachers that is willing to try new web tools with her students. After creating an account, Piktochart provides 5 templates to choose from. (Think making a brochure with Publisher.) Our plan is to have kids use piktochart to represent each time period in American Lit. Last year she said her students had trouble connecting one time period to the next, so we’ll be sure to include that as a requirement in the infographic (i.e. What were the people in this time period reacting to from the previous time period?)  We’ll print them and use them in the classroom as a refresher before tests.

I’ll try to remember to update this post after we complete the project. In the meantime, I wish everyone the best for a happy and productive school year!

~Holly Frilot, CHHS Media Center

21st Century Learning: A visit to the GA DOE Center for Classroom Innovation

What does learning in a 21st century classroom look like?  We had the opportunity to visit the Georgia Department of Education’s Center for Classroom Innovation.  The room is setup with different spaces depending on the kinds of learning and collaboration taking place.  The room also offers flexibility with some mobile furniture such as rolling chairs, rolling tables, and screens that divide the space into different learning areas.  The spaces include:

  • The bar:  a high top table for collaborative group work
  • The Mediascape Area:  a space with a U-shaped couch, 2 Mondo boards, and the ability to easily connect devices for display on the boards
  • The Campfire Area:  Another collaborative space with a couch and a table that has a pad of paper as its top so that you can write on the table and take your ideas with you.
  • The high top:  A high table that can be used for large collaborative projects and hands-on activities
  • The Post and Beam:  An area that can be divided multiple ways such as 4 smaller meeting spaces that contain tables, chairs, and dry erase boards
  • The Node Classroom:  A space that features  “desks” that swivel and have a tray table that can be for either left or right-handed people
The room is also equipped with these technologies:
  • Wireless internet with multiple access points
  • Document camera
  • Xbox with Kinnect
  • Laptop cart
  • 3D projector w/3d glasses for a class
  • 2 Mondo boards (large touch screen computers) w/videoconferencing capabilities
  • Plug and play connections to easily display content from any device
You can view a slideshow of the room and find out more here.  The room is available for any classes to use as long as you schedule the room with Chara Lee (404) 651-9500.

This visit began taking shape several weeks ago when we were invited to bring a class to the space to engage in a lesson and be filmed.  Our collaborative wheels immediately began turning as me, Mrs. Selleck (fourth grade teacher), Mrs. Foretich (art teacher), Mrs. Yawn (2nd grade teacher), and Mrs. Hunter (gifted teacher) began planning.  We chose a 4th grade unit focusing on the social studies standards about how price incentives affect people’s behavior and choices.  Ultimately, students would design a t-shirt for our temporary home at Barrow 2.0 while our new school is being built.  Their role would be to establish themselves as a business, create a design, consider wants/needs/cost, and create a marketing plan for their new shirt.

Several pieces of our project took place at our school before we made the journey to Atlanta.  Our principal created a video charging Mrs. Selleck’s class with the task of designing a new shirt.

In class, Mrs. Selleck established 4 groups of students.  Each group had a manager, an accountant, a designer, a technology specialist, and an advertiser.  The groups created names and logos for their companies.  Mrs. Selleck also did a lot of work with wants and needs as well as developing products and advertising slogans.  In art, Mrs. Foretich worked with the students on their designs and discussed multiple art elements that they might consider in creating an effective design for a shirt.  In the media center, the technology specialists met with Mr. Plemmons and Mrs. Hunter to go over many technology options that the groups might consider while developing their advertising components of the project.  These included Glogster, Animoto, and Prezi.

At the Center for Classroom Innovation, several things happened:

  • Mr. Plemmons introduced the day with the book Have I Got a Book for You by Melanie Watt.  Persuasive strategies were discussed
  • Mrs. Selleck led the group in a needs and wants activity where students split into separate areas of the space to work and then came back together
  • Mrs. Hunter met with all the advertisers.  Mr. Plemmons met with all the technology specialists.  Mrs. Yawn met with all of the managers.  Mrs. Selleck met with all of the accountants.  Mrs. Foretich met with all of the designers.  Each group focused on their specialty and learned more about the role they would play in designing a shirt and marketing the shirt.
  • Groups met in separate meeting spaces within the room to design.  Using Zazzle, groups considered the images they would use, explored options for t-shirt types and colors, and considered how the price was affected by their decisions.  Groups also used giant dry erase boards to take notes and brainstorm as they worked.
  • As needed, groups went to the Mondo boards and Skyped with our graphic design expert, Tony Hart.  His feedback helped groups revise their designs as needed.
  • Students were treated to a great pizza lunch before launching into part 2.
  • Students considered what technology tool they would use to market & persuade people to choose their design.  Three groups chose Animoto and one group chose Glogster.
  • All adults assisted students as needed during their product creation.
  • The day closed with each group presenting their final advertising product.  Mrs. Foretich led the students in a critique session.

While all of this was going on, the Department of Education had 2 videographers documenting the day.  They will eventually edit this video into a model video for how this space can be used with students.  It was an exciting day.  Our next steps will be to continue the project, but also to reflect on how this space served us in the kinds of work that we want to do with students.  This will inform the design of our new classrooms in our new school.  We loved how productive students were in this space.  The flexible divisions of the space allowed students to create their own private nooks and work spaces.  Even though there was a rumbling energy in the room, groups did not distract one another from the tasks their group was trying to accomplish.  The space was a big component responsible for this success.  The space also supported students with a strong infrastructure for technology.  We did not have any problems with computers connecting and staying connected to wireless.  The large Mondo boards were very dependable for displaying student work as well as video conferencing through Skype.  We had one of the best Skype connections I’ve every experienced.  The size of the room wasn’t extremely large, but again, the divisions of the space provided multiple ways for students to be productive and engage with technology and other forms of documentation.  Seeing students work in this space is inspiring.  We  have already been doing this kind of learning in our media center and classrooms, but today showed us how a space and tools can strengthen 21st century learning.

Here are the 3 Animoto videos created by groups today:

Here’s a  link to the Glog created by one group:

Lightning Minds

 

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons

Senior Presentation Tools

Over the past two years I have worked with the Senior Language Arts teacher to change the “Senior Memory Book Project” into a digital “Senior Portfolio.” Different teachers have varations of the requirements, but basically it includes selections from personal writings they have completed over the year, thoughtful answers to cumulative questions, and illustrations of some kind (pictures, videos, etc.).

Talking about presentations tools with students is one of my favorite things to do. We’ve been working with Prezi, Popplet, SlideRocket, and Mixbook. All of these tools offer something a little different, but they also allow a student to share a link with a teacher. This is important for us, since many teachers want to have something they can refer back to when grading without having to deal with knowing student log-ins and passwords. However, I do warn students to be careful with the personal information they post, as most of the “free” tools are public.

If you know of any other free, student-friendly presentation tools, please comment!

Holly Frilot

www.chhsmediacenter.com

Georgia Children’s Book Award Ideas

James Cambell at Lee Street Elementary in Jonesboro is an awesome Media Specialist with a difficult situation who has come up with a great solution that does a whole lot of things on many different levels.

He is without a clerk or any regular volunteers and has to not only do Specials classes, but has many classes coming through.  He decided he wanted to promote the GA Picture Book nominees but his voice gave out when he tried to read them over and over again.  Also, that can get a bit mind-numbing as I’m sure you’re aware.

So he spends a couple of weeks over the summer with a pile of picture books, a scanner and some software and makes his own Reading Rainbow-style videos of all of the nominees.  Sometimes he even gets other people to read the books.  Examples can be seen on his website here.  These videos engage the kids, save his voice, and allow him some breathing room to check books in and sorted before continuing with a great lesson.

He takes the time to write to each nominee and ask them or their publisher for permission to do this.  Many times this is the first indication the authors and illustrators have that they’ve been nominated!  He’s only posted the ones on his website that he’s gotten explicit permission for, but plays the rest in his media center.  As you can see he also goes to the trouble of adding all kinds of great links for more information surrounding each nominee.  It’s such a great idea that the official GA Children’s Book Award website has a link to Mr. Cambell on their Teacher Resources page.

One more short bit about the GCBA this year.  On Friday afternoon I wasn’t really into any of the breakout sessions and thought I might check out the vendors while it was quiet.  I crossed the autographing area and all the authors and illustrators were still there with no line!  I ran to the bookstore, stocked up and went back to have some one-on-one time at the autographing table.  I had my fancy new smartphone and thought about photos, but was inspired to try shooting some video.  I asked each one if they would mind saying a greeting for my morning announcements show.  They were all delighted to do it!  Carole Boston Weatherford busted out with a poem!  Mike Wimmer said some inspirational things about books.  I also got Meghan McCarthy, Jody Feldman and Barbara O’Connor.  They all said, “Good morning Partee Elementary, I’m _______ and I’m the author (or illustrator of) __________…” and then said whatever they felt like.  It wasn’t the highest quality, obviously.  I didn’t have a tripod and there was some background chatter, but the kids and teachers loved it when I showed a different one each morning for the following week.  Now I will say, if you try to steal this idea, that’s fine but do make sure there’s no line behind you when you ask an author to do this.  You would not make any friends holding up a line trying to shoot a video.

I think I might contact the conference organizers and urge them to set up a camera on a tripod in a corner with a backdrop and get them to do this same thing each year.  They could say “to the students of Georgia” and the GCBA could post the videos on their website for all the media specialists to download and use in their morning shows.  Wouldn’t that be cool?
Here’s a link to Barbara O’Connor’s greeting for an example.  What were some of your conference stories?

Thanks,
Jim Randolph
Partee Elementary
Snellville, GA