Today I attended the first annual (I hope!) SC Midlands Summit - a two day conference focused on Google Apps for Education (with some other tech topics thrown in the mix, too!) I was excited to learn of this professional development “in my own backyard” (sort of!) as I am not going to be able to attend UTC this summer, but still wanted to attend some technology professional development.
Today’s keynote was given by Jamie Casap and focused on how to leverage technology in education to build essential skills our students need to function in today’s global society. A couple “quotes” (’cause I could have mades some of it up!) are:
- our current mode of education is isolation mode and we need to be collaboration mode (need to teach our kids how to collaborate EFFECTIVELY!)
- we need to teach our kids how to process info, not recite facts
- we need to teach our kids how to vet information, crowd source, and analyze!
- only about 10% of the world’s info is online
Next as someone who has heard of Google Apps for Education, but never investigated it, I attended the “Google Apps for Education Overview” session given by Becky Evans. I think this would be awesome for our school (and district, but that’s pie in the sky wishful thinking) – especially with the special project my principal has asked me to investigate over the summer. Google Apps for Ed (and I think Chromebooks) would be a perfect complement to the project.
The third session I attended sure had a lot of media specialists in attendance! I went to the “Google book Search, Book Lists, & eBooks” given by Carol LaRow. You’d think I wouldn’t need this (and you’re right), but I was hoping to learn some more tips and tricks (which I did! – so the session wasn’t a washout!)
Next up I changed my mind from the session I originally planned to attend and decided to go to Donna Teuber’s session on “Hanging Out with Google+” instead. While I have a Google+ account, I don’t really use it! I was hoping to learn more, and I did! I really enjoyed not only seeing Google Hangout in action, but also hearing how other schools across the country have implemented Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.
The last session of the day for me was “Apple Configurator (I’ll Be Back)” given by Janine Sears. What with having to manage 120 iPod touches at my own school, I was hoping to learn some “shortcuts!” While we can’t use this right now as it requires iOS X Lion, I understand the district is looking into Lion and may upgrade next year. Fingers crossed! I liked how much simpler this seamed than using iTunes and the ability to “supervise” and assign iPods. We’ve really got to look at our ‘checkout’ policy and use of iPods and make some changes next year.
That wrapped up today – although I am still disappointed I didn’t win the raffel of a Google Chromebook! Maybe tomorrow! I enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces and folks from my PLN.
I just turned in my school’s votes for this year’s SC Young Adult Book Award Nominees. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. We have 300 students in our school. I sent one ballot for every student to our English classes = 300 ballots. The ballot asks students to circle the titles they have read and write the title they want to win on the line at the bottom. This allows me to track which of the titles are being circulated as well as recording votes for the program. I received a total of 32 ballots back, with only 10 containing votes I could record. Sigh. While the number of votes I can record is usually low, I typically get at least half of the ballots back with some votes on them. Since the number I received back are so few, I can’t run any statistical analysis of the titles this year.
Now, I have to figure out what went wrong this year. Two (of four) teachers emailed me back stating that the kids said they didn’t read any of the titles. Hmm, but the books stayed off the shelves, so SOMEBODY checked them out.
We did all of the usual promotions:
- Bulletin board outside the library
- Display of the books at the circulation desk w/ Follet bookmarks
- Books were taken to classrooms for the book swap activity
- When kids asked me for a good book, I always talked up the YABA books before taking them to the shelves to find books
Possible reasons why “nobody” read them:
- limited copies (only 2 per title)
- our long circulation period (3 weeks) plus ability to renew means one person monopolized a book the whole time = highly possible
- apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in reading them)
- apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in the voting process)
- not enough and/or enthusiastic enough promotion of the books
Possible solutions for next year (in addition to our normal promotions):
- Purchase a class set of at least one title to use for book club and English novel assignments (budget permitting) – Two members of the YABA committee are from Aiken and I’ll get their recommendation on which one(s) to purchase
- Have (ahem – MAKE) English teachers participate in the banner completion
- Utilize the school’s website to promote (both front page and media center page)
- Partner with the public library’s Summer Reading program (“Own the Night”) and have something special (sigh, yeah prizes) if students read a certain number of books from the YABA list AND write a review on our library’s blog 2 Read or Not 2 Read or comment on another person’s review with their own review of the book
What else can I do? Have any suggestions, please comment!
As you may know, the WSHS library has been sponsoring a blog for a over a year now. Well, I was asked by our teacher cadet teacher to help her students create blogs to use for their reflections as part of their grades. Since I am most familiar with Edublogs and because Edublogs isn’t blocked by our district, I’ve been working with the students off and on for the last two months to get their blogs up and running.
We started with a lesson on what is blogging and how to be safe online. I used the worksheets and tools provided by Edublogs. I also showed them the Common Craft video Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English. Another lesson included the students writing their own blogging guidelines after reviewing guidelines from other schools they found online. While most of the students are 18, we still had them return a signed Blog Permission Form
Lastly, I helped them set up their blogs. They had to come up with a unique blog title and usernames then we began building their blogs. Yesterday I helped them add their fellow classmates blogs to their blogroll and made some suggestions on design. They are still rough, but here are the student’s blogs:
Confessions of a Teacher Cadet
It Always Helps to Know
Keys of Wisdom From Teacher Cadet
Jhane’s WSHS Teacher Cadet Bloggings
Strive to Be the Best
As you can see, some are really into the process, and some are struggling a bit. Mostly with what to write. But this is true of everyone who tries something new – some take to it easily while others are more hesitant. At least none are resistant to the task!
So, if it so moves you, please drop them a comment now and again!