In a recent Voya online exclusive super school librarian Joyce Valenza shared her “Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians.” I knew right away that I wanted to share what she had to say on the GLMA blog so I started to read to look for her most thought-provoking statement to use as the subject line. I ended up choosing the last item on her list of things school librarians should unlearn. Is your practice at the point where you are doing so many things differently that you really can’t identify the box you’re thinking outside of? That is a powerful idea!
The creator of this image (creative commons attribution) says it is a tornado on a “squared sky afternoon.” That seemed like a perfect match for Joyce’s powerful ideas!
Judi Repman, Georgia Southern University
One of the real challenges for educators at any level is keeping our focus on instructional challenges and not becoming tool-centric, where we just use Web 2.0 tools because they are cool and fun. BUT at the same time, we all need real experiences with Web 2.0 tools before we can begin to understand what new capabilities they bring to the table. One thing I am committed to is putting my school-librarians-in-training students more in charge of their own learning, which means we have to explore the tools both individually and collectively.
This summer I’m teaching an elective about using new tools to teach new literacies. The class is online so typically we’d use the discussion board included in the course management system a lot. To practice what I preach this summer I’m trying 3 new approaches.
The first approach was VoiceThread. In the first week of a two week activity, I built a list of 10 videos using LiveBinders and Mag.ma (I really wanted to compare the two tools). I used SurveyMonkey and the students voted on the video they wanted to discuss in Week 2. “A Vision of K-12 Students Today” was the winner (technically it was a tie so I cast the deciding vote). I used zamzar to convert the video and put it in a VoiceThread. I provided some introductory comments/directions then each student added her own comment-check it out here!
For the next two weeks we moved into a collaborative online discussion of The Horizon Report K-12 using the comment/sticky note tools available in diigo. To me that was a logical next step in the thoughtful use of tools approach. Diigo allows a class to do some things that would be a real challenge to do in a traditional classroom.
Next week we’re really venturing beyond my comfort zone when we hold an article discussion using Twitter.
At the end of the semester I’m going to ask my students to reflect on each of these three approaches to see what each approach had to offer. I’ll share the results with all of you!
I also wanted to share my favorite new tool of the week, discovered by one of the students in the same class, Jog the Web. This nifty tool allows you to create a list of web sites on the fly, with the real bonus of being able to add comments/narration/instructions as you go. So far the class consensus seems to be that this is one of the most useful tools we’ve discovered this summer!
Georgia Southern University