Beginning Again

As the librarian at a Track E school, we have begun work four weeks earlier than the rest of Chicago Public Schools. I’m now edging towards wrapping up my third week with students.

I’m trying this year to maintain my tech focus. It may be more difficult this year since the person who maintained the computer lab last year was moved into the classroom and the computer position has been closed due to budget cuts.

I have kept my position, though and for that I am thankful. I have started the year by updated my Wiki. I cleaned up some of the old student work I had posted and just kept some of the best examples. I have been presenting the old student work to some of my classes to give them ideas of what kind of projects I’d like to do with the this year. So far they are excited and so am I.

I still have to complete a student Wiki project and I have been discussing ideas with the 6th grade teachers. I am hoping to make the project very collaborative and work in sync with the teachers, since that is partly why my attempt last year turned out so disastrous.

I also hope to maintain my blog. I like that it gives me a chance to reflect on what I am doing (even if nobody else actually reads it anymore). Also, writing down what I am planning makes it feel more concrete and gives me more incentive to follow through. Hopefully this year will be even better than last.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher

I just learned about a new eBook published by Michael Zimmer called Tools for the 21st Century Teacher. It has some great information about several web-based tools that can be used in just about any classroom. It starts off with three common misconceptions:

  1. New teachers have more experience with technology and therefore don’t need help with technology.
  2. Current teachers have no desire to learn technology or are afraid of technology.
  3. You need to pay for technology in order to integrate it into the classroom.

I think as librarians and technology leaders in the school it is important to understand and overcome these misconceptions. The more we are aware of our own preconceived notions, the faster we can move past them.

Many of the technologies covered in the eBook are the ones we have been experimenting with in ProjectELITE. There are good descriptions of them, however, including links to tutorials that would be helpful if you are conducting a PD.

Published in: on June 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm  Comments (1)  


I know at this point that I will not be completing a class of Wikis. I gave it a try and they did not quite work, but the experience has prepared me to try again next year with a new batch of kids.

However, I did not want to end the year without giving Animoto a good try with some students. I’ve played around a little with it on my own and I really love the program, so I wanted to make sure I introduced it to some students.

This morning I brought 8 students into the library. I have 2 desktop computers and I borrowed 6 laptops from the computer lab to help me with this project. While I got the LCD projector hooked up, I had the students write about their favorite book. I then showed them the two book trailers that I had made and told them that they would be making their own.

Their first task was to find their photos. I taught the students how to search for only photos that were labeled for reuse and I also showed them how to copy the web addresses of the pictures. They were instructed to find about 8 photos they wanted to use. This was the part that took the longest. Some difficulty was added because the laptops were all Macs and the computer I was projecting with was a PC. I had to explain everything twice and on a few occasions I had to borrow a Mac to figure out the right commands.

After that, the rest was fairly easy. We uploaded the photos into Animoto using the generic accounts I set up. Then the students were able to rearrange the photos and add text. I found the students’ grammar skills very frustrating. They  didn’t have to write in complete sentences, but there were lots of problems with capitalization. I tried to fix what I could, but I still saw several errors after the students finished their videos. I’d like to go back and edit them, but I don’t want to mess too much with their work. Next time I just might have to be more rigorous about checking them before the videos are finalized.

The results were very nice. Even with the errors, Animoto does such a  good job putting the videos together that they are fantastic. The students were very impressed with their work. I’ve already uploaded them to the library Wiki under Book Recommendations. I might try to do a few more, but I also have to work on my presentation for the ELITE culminating event. We’ll see how much time I have.

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 10:38 pm  Comments (1)  

My SlideShare

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  


I finished my Slide Share presentation today. I wasn’t quite sure what to do it on. I felt that many of my ideas could easily be handled by VoiceThread and I’ve grown so far away from doing Power Point it seemed very “old school.” The benefit of SlideShare is that the presentation can be embeded into a site while VoiceThreads must be a link. I’ll have to play around with them a little more in the future to figure out when I want to use each of these presentations.

The presentation I made just lists some of the ways I can help teachers with their teaching as well as some of the materials available. I embeded it into the “Teacher” page of my Wiki. On that note, I have really been enjoying the Wiki. I keep doing things and showing them to teachers and saying. “You can find it on the Wiki if you want to look at it later.” I hope this is a subtle way to drive teachers to use this new resource.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 10:55 pm  Comments (1)