Bridging the Classroom-Library Divide

bridging

The purpose of this presentation is to explain our rationale and to kick start ideas for you to use in your school.  This is definitely not the only way to do things, and in constant tweaking here in our District.  This multi-year project is the result of collaboration among classroom teachers, the media specialist, and the technology department.  As will most everything else in life, relationships are key to successful outcomes.  Links to resources to start your own program is available here.

In short, I collaborated with the Library Media Specialist (Alayna Davies-Smith), the National Junior Honors Society, the Student Council, and the two eighth grade Advanced ELA teachers at our junior highs.  We identified a need for additional resources to cover Common Core standards, including digital literacy.  We created audio books for the elementary classrooms, and added augmented reality (using Aurasma) reviews onto books in the junior high libraries.  Students then created websites using Google Sites that highlighted a book’s author, theme, plot, characters, etc., and we put QR codes to those sites on the appropriate book.  Students with mobile devices can then access a video review by their peers as well as an in-depth analysis of the text, also by their peers.

This is the presentation for the upcoming Midwest Educational Technology Conference.  It was created with Haiku Deck, and to find the nitty-gritty, you need to read the notes.

https://www.haikudeck.com/p/DqlAgjnHLQ/bridging-classroom-library-divide

Advertisements

Why Kids Need Tech Class in School

Crosspost of my January column for my school’s PTO Newsletter:

Over break, I cleaned out our burgeoning bookshelves, and decided to get rid of our single-volume encyclopedia and our unabridged dictionary.  I can’t remember the last time I used them, even with two students in the house.  New technology is everywhere.  Careers and life and more and more tech-based (even 5 years ago, I never thought ‘technology integration’ would be part of my resume!).  Past columns have discussed 21st century learners, and how preparing our kids for jobs which are cutting edge, or even for those that we can predict is doing them a disservice.  We need to be using new teaching standards, such as the Common Core, to teach them how to work well with others, be curious and how to find, manage, and manipulate information – all with this omnipresent technology.

dictionary picMany of the “Top 10 Issues” lists for education in 2013 mention technology.  The trick -the real issue – is actually twofold: teaching teachers how to integrate technology, so that it becomes part of the curriculum, not the curriculum itself, and second, how to teach kids to use technology responsibly.  Just because they are ‘digital natives’ and have grown up surrounded by technology does not mean they know how to efficiently find information, evaluate its relevance, and then how to use it constructively to create something new.  This is one of the school’s new responsibilities.

Hopefully, all of you have been receiving my weekly emails letting you know about what’s going on in computer class.   It has been my goal this year to start integrating my class’s curriculum into that of their regular classroom teacher.  Basically, my goal is to use technology to reinforce topics covered in their other subjects.  We often work on word processing skills by writing with their spelling words or reinforce math by playing money counting or time telling games.  Perhaps you read or heard about plotting the Iditarod’s trail on Google Earth before reading their story in 5th grade?  The kids probably don’t know it, but by teaching them technology skills when they NEED to know them makes them much more memorable than teaching them out of context or ‘just because that’s what was on the syllabus to teach you today.’

But I can’t get it all done in a year.  It is vital that this technology education continues throughout their schooling, partly because I can’t cover everything in 40 minutes per week, and partly because the relevant skills I’m teaching today will probably be obsolete in a couple of years.  It is my wish for all our kids that they receive every opportunity to become successful individuals – in grade school, high school, college, and into their careers.

Maybe next year when I go to clean the bookshelves, I’ll get rid of all of them, because who really uses physical books anymore?

Our Future in Their Hands

I wrote this post as a short article to be included in our school’s monthly PTO Newsletter:

********************

21st Century Learners

Today’s kindergarteners will retire in 2071.  Most likely they will have several careers in their lifetime, most of which haven’t even been imagined yet.  What our students do have in common, however, is that they are 21st century learners.  While there may be some controversy as to exactly what this phrase means, most of us in the educational field understand it to mean that in order to succeed in school, career, and life, students must take the 3 R’s of the 20th century and be able to apply them using the 3 C’s: creatively, collaboratively, and with excellent communication.  Gone are the days when students will learn a little about a lot.  It’s imperative that they now delve deeper into subjects, learning how to evaluate information, synthesize it into something unique, and communicate their findings to peers and colleagues.   Education is shifting to emphasize skill over content, with teachers and parents moving from the role of disseminator of knowledge to facilitator of learning.  With so much information so readily available, it is our responsibility to teach our kids how to find what they need, ensure that it’s reliable, and most importantly, to stay curious.  The world is only going to keep moving faster.  In order to keep up and to develop into productive citizens of the 21st century, our kids must become lifelong learners, able to handle large amounts of information in a responsible manner.

*************

Further Reading/Watching:

Education Week article

YouTube Video

Are you ready?  We’re going – with or without you!