Thursday, June 28, 2018

LBS 850 Module 5

In the library, one of my big goals to grow a pleasure reading culture, which is something that can be tough in an environment where barriers to learning are many. One of the ways to pump it up is to make book recommending exciting. Students were wild for a unit on emoji book reviews, and I'm taking it to the next level next year by trying out 90 second book review videos using Flipgrid.

I've done a test video to get started, which you can find by going here: You Don't Have To Take My Word 4 It and using the password Swicker18 to see the topic starter. If you're feeling adventurous, I'd love to have you record a book review in response to my demo! Any age level of book is fine, as I won't actually use this one with my students when we roll this out. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LBS 850 Module 4- Applications

This week we did more exploring, this time of applications that provide one singular use. This was another “don’t fall down the rabbit hole!” week, and I spent most of the time trying to keep my interest surface level, as I am a person who can get hyper focused on a single thing and the world is too full for that!

In organizing these apps, I’m trying to find a single “frame” to have things fall under. I’m spending some summer PD time on developing my Google skills, because my school uses Google a ton. I want students to be able to track reading and share presentations that are NOT Google slides (because they use this a lot in the classroom), as well as more of a social outreach in general. This brought things like Flipgrid to mind, for sharing information and book reviews- I really want students to replicate the 1 minute book review format that Reading Rainbow has at the end of each episode- and Voki, for reenacting historical situations we might learn about. I would also love to share more student work on our Instagram and website, and I can see that apps that let you create graphics, like Piktochart, could be helpful here.

Ending my first year in the library, I’m in reflection mode and this is the perfect time to be wading through these apps- I know what I got to this year and what I hope to focus on next year. I’m trying to find apps to strengthen the goals I’ve already identified and resisting the urge to add a million more projects. Mastering things one at a time!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

LBS 850 Module Three- Tools

“Men have become the tools of their tools”
Shut up, Thoreau, we're trying to learn here...

The above notes from our class materials made me laugh. This week we delved into tools and apps, a huge umbrella under which so many different things can fall. We roughly split things into three types of tools- things for organizing, things for finding new things, and things for keeping track of your books.

I'm going to be honest- this type of week/exploration can be very overwhelming for me. So many great resources and as I explore each one, I start to ping around- "I could use this for X, Y,  and Z, and should probably go check with administration right now let me immediately sign up." To avoid this, I tried to be very selective with what I dove into, but I also was worried that I'd have some FOMO about the other apps I didn't spend time with this week. For that reason, I am going to group some resources in general lists below so I can revisit.

Even though is is an area where I have a lot of organization already in place, I was really drawn to the book organization tools shared this week. I'm already an active Goodreads user (my account is here!) and I was really excited when a classmate shared that you can set up your email signature to show your currently reading selection. This is such a good idea. I also use a reading spreadsheet developed by a Book Riot contributor, Rachel Manwill, to keep track of my statistics within a year. I wanted to share it here so others might experience the magic I have this year tracking so far! There are tons more details in this article.

For further tool research, I felt most comforted by the articles and posts that rounded up a ton of links for exploring down the road. The list of best websites for teaching and learning from AASL is definitely one I'll be returning to. I was also really drawn to Livebinders- especially the examples set up to walk students through certain units or summer reading programs. This is something I can see myself setting up as I gather resources for grade levels or teachers around standards and yearly projects.

More for further reading later:
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. 31 Educational Web Tools Every Teacher Should Know About. Links to an external site.
Google Tools for Educators - Links to an external site.
Joquetta Johnson. Google LiveBinder. - Links to an external site.
In summation, from the Kellet article: If you have multiple tools/apps to do the same job something is wrong. DAMN!

Basically, I'm going to need to secure my learning targets before I commit to certain tools. I'm far too susceptible to the flashiness of new things to trust myself as all this terrific technology is presented to me. Teaching on a weekly schedule in the library as opposed to teaching on a daily schedule in the classroom really lets me set up units and use universal design to set up my year. For my first year in the library I kept a printed monthly calendar and a single paper notebook, keeping notes as things popped up that I either wanted to avoid, repeat, or anticipate for next year. As I look ahead for 2018-2019, I'll return to both my notes and these posts to pick and "perfect" (as much as possible) the tool I want myself and my students to use.

Monday, June 4, 2018

LBS 850- Assistive and Adaptive Technology

This week we were asked to explore Adaptive and Assistive Technologies from a librarian’s point of view. We reached out to experts and point people in our district, read articles about the need for accessible and welcoming spaces, and were encouraged to begin crafting a plan for evaluating accessibility in our Media Centers.

There were two articles from Janet Hopkins, both of which included punch lists of actionable items to help librarians ensure accessibility for all their patrons. The first one (written for the journal Teacher Librarian in 2004) gives background on what Assistive Technology is and then shares very simple steps that librarians can use to evaluate things in their own spaces. These tips are very elementary, and I suspect this is on purpose. Asking librarians to start by reaching out to special education colleagues and commit to viewing the library space from other perspectives is non-threatening and reinforces the idea that, while very important, this change will not happen overnight. Librarians are given permission, in this article, to seek professional development before diving deeply in.

The following article, written two years later, seems to encourage librarians to reach further beyond the planning stage. This article has more explanations about aspects of AT in the media center and planning for a longer haul commitment. Although the articles are framed differently and weren't published consecutively, they really compliment each other and continue to urge librarians to go further in providing accessibility.

I also spent some time this week exploring Project Enable, a service through Syracuse University specifically targeted to librarians. While the 20-hour training seems very intriguing, the resource list is also extremely helpful.

At the intersection of the book world and the need for accessibility is an issue that came up this weekend at Book Expo, one of the largest publishing conventions in the country. One of the invited authors, Tee Franklin, uses a wheelchair and accommodations were not taken into account when she was asked to speak on a panel about comics. She arrived to the panel with no way to join the other authors on stage, in an embarrassing position in front of the audience already gathered. This is the emotional video she posted on Twitter soon after she chose to leave the panel and sign her comic elsewhere. It's a real life face on these issues we discuss academically, and extremely important.