Archive for SYP
March 11, 2008
Today I had a young 20 something year old teacher share with me the ringtones that students use that supposedly adults can’t hear (but she can–she’s but a babe!). She invited five of us into her empty room, and played the tone (which apparently is a free download.) I had heard of it before, but not sought it out to test it. And to be honest, I was leery of whether or not the tone existed. Of the five of us, one other teacher was a young 20 something year-old, and she suddenly clutched her ears and begged for the sound to be stopped, exclaiming how uncomfortable a sound it was. Amazingly enough, the three forty-something year-olds in the room did not hear it at all. We were surprised at the demonstration, and quite taken aback. I shared with some network friends and CRStengel of Pittsburg sent this link to me. Horrors I’m getting old! See my scores at the bottom! (<blush>)
This opened an interesting conversation anyway, both at school and with my network. You see the same teacher shared with me that her students could manipulate a streaming video in her class with their little bluetooth phones (which according to our school policy, must be OFF during the school day.) The video would stop and start for no apparent reason. She tested her suspicions with her own phone after class and discovered the kids’ phones were indeed causing interference (though she wasn’t sure if it was intentional or not.). So she remembered me showing that you could use the bluetooth on the computer to detect active bluetooth devices in the room, and has since each day showed her students that she can “see” their phones which are supposed to be off. Her students have also tested her with the ringtone that is supposed to be silent for adults, and they know she can hear it. So she has a power I do not have–young ears that can hear. But I enabled her to be able to see and count the number of devices interacting or interferring with learning, though I’m sure this teacher could probably find a way to channel this ito something positive. It was an enlightening experience today even still.
Don’t laugh at my scores from the ringtone test. Try it. You may be surprised.
|You’re in a mid life crisis|
|Your ears aren’t what they once were and you have resorted to doing online hearing tests.The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 12kHz|
|Find out which ultrasonic ringtones you can hear!|
January 5, 2008
Yesterday I conducted an experiment to see if new flooring in sections of my library were causing my sunburn-like, itchy discomfort, and swelling around my eyes that I have been suffering with since early November.
Hypothesis: New flooring/carpeting in the library office and video editing studio are causing me to have an allergic reaction (as described above.)
Test: Stay away from the library office and production studio all day Friday, January 4 (which means stay out of the library all day)
Observable Results: I had no swelling, itching, or suburned look around my eyes all day Friday, Jan 4.
Here are two photos–one taken in August 07 as I was sharing about my eye surgery, and then the same eye in mid November 07.
Implications: A district office person in charge of construction & renovation came over to inquire about it, and he will investigate replacing the flooring in the two rooms, the library office and studio.
In the mean-time: I will return to the library Monday (second test) but stay out of the office and the studio, keeping the doors totally closed. The students who do the morning news program will have to be temporarily supervised by someone else until the flooring is replaced.
Other notes: no one else has indicated they may be having the same problems I have had, but from my own informal observation, I am the only one who has been in the studio and the office for long lengths of time. I have spent each morning from 7:30 through 8:45 daily in there, and then in the library office I have spent roughly 1/4 of the day, including lunchtime, where myself, my assistance, and various visitors, including the curr. specialist, school resource officer, and assorted others eat lunch each day.
Final thoughts–if the flooring is not removed in an expeditious manner, I will be forced to resort to asking for workman’s comp to seek medical attention for the symptoms that seem to be increasing in severity as each day passes. Wednesday and Thursday last week were the worst I had ever been up to date. Bummer.
January 3, 2008
Now I’ve heard it all! I think I may be allergic to work, but allow me to explain. I am new at a school that just underwent a major renovation. The library acquired a state of the art video production studio and new shelving. The office was carpeted along with the renovations. This was finalized on November 8th, and I was allowed to begin scheduling the studio for use. We jumped in with both feet and never looked back.
Then the gradual discomfort and itching began. I attributed it to allergies in general, after all who wasn’t walking around with a sniffle? In SC, we have allergens of different kinds all year around–there is no off season. Then I began thinking I was reacting to a sinus infection, though I’d never had that kind of reaction before. I began consulting “doctor internet” and “doctor twitter,” asking for advice and what on earth it could be. I posted pictures to twitter so my friends could see what I was facing. (I had even let dr internet convince me I had shingles in my eyes–ouch!) The first post to twitter about the issue was made on November 18th.
I even posted a picture (I am so brave) to share so folks could grasp the severity of the situation.
Since this picture is really embarrassing, you can just visit the flickr picture to get a good view (and laugh). Most of my Twitter friends were strongly recommending I go to the doctor. But I had an eye doctor appointment coming on the next Friday, and would be leaving to go back home to Rock Hill (170 miles away) for that appointment. So I delayed the visit, leaving Myrtle Beach Thursday right after school, and spending the night at home before going to a 2:00PM appointment. But miraculously the next morning 90% of the swelling was gone, and I wasn’t itching at all. It was a miracle, or so I thought.
At my doctor’s appointment I did not even mention the rash or swelling. No evidence of it anyway…But I did return to school the next week. But by this time, I had a full scale head cold that I suffered through right up to Thanksgiving, and so attributed the returned rash and itching to being sick (again, even though I’d never had that reaction before.) After the head cold subsided, the itchiness remained. So I began to think I was having an allergic reaction to possibly my cats, which I only see on the weekends now. It was the only rational thing I could think of, so I began taking Clariton daily, which did seem to help some. The itchiness was still there, but only a minor nuisance, and by this time I had become increasingly aware of it, and tried desperately to NOT rub or scratch my eyes. So there was a significant decrease in the redness or swelling. During my two week break I had NO signs or symptoms. None. But was taking a Clariton daily, and assumed that it was finally keeping the discomfort to a minimum.
Fast forward to yesterday, January 2, a workday at school. I spent a lot of time at my desk doing things and time in the studio getting it ready for a live broadcast from the studio and from a remote location. I was clear and fine when I arrived at school. But by lunch time all those symptoms had returned with a vengeance. At home last night, most of it went away. Note to self-at school, irritation flares up; away from school, irritation fades and disappears. Today at school, once again, the irritation flared up with a nasty vengeance again. As I was talking with a friend at school, we both realized the itchiness started around the time all the construction was done. The studio was finished and made available to us, and the library offices were carpeted (they had previously been tile.) Notice date on this tweet. November 8.
This is almost exactly when I noticed that my eyes were constantly itching. I just never made a connection to the construction or perhaps even the new flooring.
But I did ask my twitter network if anyone thought I could be be allergic to mold, mildew, or allergens in the library, getting several responses to make me beleive this. I even picked up the phone and called my principal, asking if we might could have the library tested for somethng causing my discomfort. Her suggestion is to come to school tomorrow but stay out of the library–to see if the irritation returns. She is the one that suggested it may be the new carpeting that was laid down in the office and the studio…So tomorrow I work all around the building and not in the library. I will be in the auditoruim for class meetings (helping kids with PPT presentations for 3 different class meetings,) and then I’m going shopping for some school accessories we have determined we need. I’ll drive back to Myrtle Beach for this shopping trip. If at the end of the school day I am free of irritation, my principal is going to call the district office to see what kinds of tests they can conduct. What do I think needs to happen? I want a air cleaner (thanks for the idea Carolyn) and I want to go back to tile in the office and studio. I don’t know if the studio will have sound problems with a tile floor, but by golly I’ll be a heck of a lot healthier and happier.
Last, if it hadn’t been for my Twitter network tonight, I wouldn’t have even thought about the “library” possibly causing all my discomfort. Thanks, network! I hope this is resolved soon, as the irritation makes me look ten years OLDER. Arggg.
November 29, 2007
My sixth grade students ( a group of about 8 girls) put together a video for our morning news show on locker care. Not expert, but good enough! I’m sharing here. All was made here at school. Almost 3 minutes in length. A little rough around the edges.lockersmov.mov
Guess I need to upload to YouTube or teacherTube to have it play here. Bummer. Still trying to figure it out.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://technotuesday.edublogs.org/files/2007/11/lockersmov.mov" width="400" height="300" wmode="transparent" /]
November 25, 2007
I read where Kathy Schrock and Doug Johnson recently provided a history or timeline of sorts to document their careers, so thought I’d take a moment to do mine. I am no comparison to those two who are quite accomplished educators. But it does help me when I reflect over my growth. In taking this walk down memory lane, I realize my professional growth has only just started to be independent of my husband’s career. You see he is a retired football coach, so the several moves I’ve made have been a direct result of his job changes as he moved from assistant to head football coach, and then from small schools to larger ones. Now that he is out of the coaching world, and is working as a school administrator, my work does not seem to revolve around where he is working. It is shocking to realize how big an impact it has had over the years I’ve been teaching. But now I am the driving force behind where I work and what I do. It almost feels “grown-up.” For anyone who knows me, this year I am working 170 miles away from my family, but am happier professionally than I have ever been. Some day I will share why I was so unhappy before coming to my current job, but the purpose of this post is just to walk down memory lane, and create a professional history of sorts. Specifics about this list can be gleaned for my resume, or curriculum vita here.
My professional history:
• 1986 – began teaching (5th grade) in Orangeburg County (South Carolina)
• 1988 – Enrolled in graduate school (University of South Carolina); looked into specialty areas like Guidance, Reading Specialist, Administration. None interested me so I chose a generic Master’s degree. After all, it was simply a pay raise, nothing more. I drove back and forth for every class–roughly an hours drive. During my last class, a math methods course of all courses, I realized the library was a place where I felt I could make a difference.
• 1990 – Master’s Degree in Education; plan in place to re-enroll in graduate school in five years when time for recertification – work towards library certification. (In hindsight, why did I wait so long? It could be that I had two children by now, both small.)
• 1995 – Re-enrolled in the Library & Information Science program at USC; seeking certification as a school library media specialist. I was in luck though as most othe classes were offered through distance education methods, so I only drove to Columbia for a few classes. The rest were taken using viewing sites and Blackboard.• 1997 – Certification in school library, family relocated to Aiken, SC; first job as school librarian in a middle school that did not even have a full time slms. I taught two classes of ELA (7th grade) and worked the rest of the day in the library. After one nineweeks, my principal hired a part time teacher to take over my ELA classes so I could work full time in the library. Implemented school news program, created school website from scratch, and began a quest to get innovative programs and equipment through grant writing. Was awarded teacher of the year. Also attended first SCASL and EdTech conferences, and decided I had MUCH to contribute. Since then, I have presented at either/or (and sometimes ALL 4) SCASL, SC EdTech, SCASA, and SCMSA conferences each year. My last three years I was the vice pres (1 year) and then president of the Aiken County Media Educators Association (2 years).
• 2001 – relocated for family purposes. Worked in a high school library one year. Continued successful grant writing, and presenting at state conferences
• 2002 – transferred to district closer to home—went against my heart and accepted a position in an elementary school. Continued presenting at various state conferences, but branched out to larger conferences, and presented at FETC in 2005. Attended my first NECC in 2005 as well—Philadelphia. Attended NECC in 06 San Diego and 07 Atlanta as well. Continued successful grant writing; expanded presentations by adding arts education conference to my resume. Developed skills as video editor, podcaster, & blogger. In 2004 was awarded teacher of the year; earned National Board Certificate in Early Childhood through Young Adult Library Media. Taught several teacher education professional development courses. In 2005 was invited to Nashville to give a three day workshop to LMS’s –>topic: the LMS as a Catalyst for Technology Integration. I worked as the Instructional Technology Chair for SCASL in 2005, earning me a spot on the SC Association of Educational Technology planning board for the annual conference (SC EdTech).
• Presently – Blogger, budding (once again) Podcaster; presence in Twitter (Cathyjo) and Second Life (Bentley Noel). Middle school librarian in new district. Enrolled in Educational Administration program, but interest waning once again….
As I reflect, I have to wonder where I will grow next…
November 19, 2007
[This open letter is to Wes Fryer and anyone else reading and or seeing all the media coverage of the Megen Meier MySpace/Suicide Tragedy--his comments were closed (even tho his site said otherwise) but I want to speak to the issue. If you are not familiar with this story, click here.]
Wes thanks for posting about this today. As you may have read in Twitter, I am slated to give three 20 minute sessions for parents in early December about SN sites like MySpace and Facebook, two sites I do not even use, at a Parent Night at school. I accepted the daunting task, as I thought it was a great way to make parents particularly aware of the end user license agreement–and primarily that users are supposed to be 14. (The evening allows parents to select three short ws to attend, so I’ll be giving mine to 3 separate groups.) I’ve had several discussions at school about MySpace with our students–through library activities and our library blog, @ the CMS Library. Last time I discussed it with classes, I first polled them on their age as they came in–having them mark a tally on a chart to represent their current age (11, 12, 13, 14). I did this for five 7th grade groups. Of the entire grade that day, only 1 was 14. I then asked for a quick show of hands for who had a blog or myspace page. Almost all said they had a myspace page. ONE had a blog. After gathering that data (in a very unscientific and unreliable manner), I showed kids the rule about being 14. They were suddenly very giggly as they realized the purpose for my informal poll and fact gathering. I told them it was painfully apparent to me that all who had a space had fibbed– the youngest year one can select to represent their birth date wouldn’t let them choose a year that would make them younger than 14. Just as my discussion about p2p file sharing sites and illegally downloading music, the kids were defiant, and said it was okay. I explained that I wasn’t their to “police” them but rather help them make informed decisions, and knowing what I knew, they all needed to go home and delete their pages.
I’m debating showing the Meier Suicide videos available from reputable news organizations (like CNN, MSNBC, others) though in all honesty still think my 13 yo will defy the rules and continue to use it. And I believe many parents are JUST as unschooled on what these sites are, what the EULA says, and how to properly monitor their children even when using the appropriately aged portals. It is sad that MySpace turns a blind eye to the misuse—even my school’s resource officer said she made a profile a good while back as a part of an investigation. She faked her age and everything, but all as part of her job.
So how to approach this workshop? Carolyn Foote, a fellow LMS, says to be sure to focus some on the good–study groups for examples, but I honestly think I’ll find few and far between good uses. (Also her kids are in high school, while mine are middle school.) My gut reaction is to tell parents to sit up and be parents, but I’m sure that will turn them off too. I am really researching to find a good approach, as my principal wants it to be a fifty-fifty kind of thing (good vs. bad). I did think I might use my twitter as an example of a positive use, and then dis the sn sites that are not age appropriate for middle schoolers, leaving them with the age appropriate links you mention in your post today.
As far as the Meiers, I am truly sorry for their loss. But too often today’s parents think their children are safe. When a site like MySpace says it’s for 14 and older, then a 13yo shouldn’t have been allowed to use it, even safely guarded and monitored by loving parents. The young Megen’s reactions and final act speak to the fact that she was emotionally too young to be using it, falling victim to the name calling and bullying we all seek to protect our students and our own children from. It is sad that the lesson of should haves, could haves, and would haves is only being realized now for these parents after such a tragedy. In the media clips I have seen it is painfully obvious they are still quite bitter about the loss, and are seeking some kind of retribution, be it through civil courts or media. Although no names were mentioned saved their daughter’s and her fictitious boyfriend Josh, a quick google allows anyone who wants to know what the name of the mother is who did this horrendous act of cyberbullying. If the Meiers sought to get revenge, I’m sure they have all they could ask for now, but in the end they are all losers. How can anyone win with such a tregedy? They lost a daughter. The other mother lost her mind. They lost their dignity by resorting to childish pranks with the foosball table incident. And now they all will be remembered for the longest time for really rotten choices in general, and not any good that might rise to the top eventually. I hurt for these families. They are all on my prayer list.
Anyway, thanks for a well written and linked post today. Any suggestions? Want to be skyped in for this–Dec 4, 6-7PM Eastern time.
November 17, 2007
In recent years (if I must pinpoint a date it would be the summer of 2005) I became aware of the growing trends of podcasts in education. I explored podcast creation briefly, even making a couple of podcasts for my former school, using kids for all the talking, to post episodes that could be subscribed to through iTunes. I was a pod-fader however, because after making a couple of episodes, I lost interest. I cannot even find them on the Internet site I hosted them on, Podomatic. Honestly though, they were not riveting enough to refer back to. (Sue Waters told me recently that Podomatic suffered a glitch some time back, and lost all of her hosted episodes, so maybe that is why I can’t find the ones I had made previously.) But admittedly I am a pod-fader.
I remember being inundated with ideas for podcasts and video projects–never thinking to combine my two interests into a video-podcast. At NECC 2005 I went to every session that would cover podcasting or video editing. Back at school, after successfully recording and uploading the few podcasts I had students create, I let my interest sway, and began focusing more on video editing. I had some good success–I even went out and bought a firewire card for my computer so I could drop raw video from cameras into my computer for editing, and (shock and horror) opened up my computer and installed it myself. (I never asked my IT for help b/c I was so afraid they would say no. I just did it. I’m such a rebel.) Needless to say once I had mastered dropping video I began exploring video editing, and the rest is history. I mastered the freebie Windows Movie Maker, and progressed to Pinnacle (though I’m no expert at it) and even decided to move over to a MAC for better editing possibilities, and have dabbled with the industry standard program, Final Cut Pro.
Recently I was asked to give a podcasting workshop, so I needed to refresh my memory on it. Of course, now having a mac, I found the process simpler and cleaner in Garageband. But my workshop attendees as well as the teachers at my school were all using pcs, so I needed to brush up on my podcasting pc skills. I inquired around to find out who was the nearest district expert in podcasting, and made an appointment to meet with him. I just needed to clear up my fuzzy memory about all the steps to making a podcast. I found that the “expert” knew no more than me, and wound up picking my brain more than I picked his. I will even go so far as saying his podcasts are not podcasts, but rather audio files hosted on a static website. OMG! The part I was fuzzy on was getting them so that they have a feed and could be subscribed to through iTunes! He did not have a clue. Back to the drawing board. (NOTE: It was not a total loss, as I was introduced to a program he uses called Acid Music that really brings out the creative juices if they are there. Also, in his defense as well as many others, many educators feel it’s okay to call an audiofile hosted on a static website a podcast. It’s just me and my own personal refusal to believe an audio file is a podcast if doesn’t have a feed. So I will not slight him or any other educator who does this. I even take back my initial impression that his podcast program is a “poser,” a “wannabe.” It’s more than I had at the time.
I knew that a podcast simply needed an rss feed. So I do began scouring my networks for tips, tricks, ideas, and more to clear up what I fuzzily remembered from before. Thanks to MANY, but mostly John Woodring of Bluffton School District, who literally over the phone walked me through the step that allowed me to give my podcast a feed.
My friend Mr. Granito from school also created his first, and really all I can say that I did was encourage him. He is using feedburner for his feed, while I am using my edublogs site. I did have to delve into the forums to get an extension for my rss address, which translates to adding to the end of the blog’s url “/wp-rss2.php” so that iTunes could pick it up. Speaking of iTunes, John pointed out to me that all I needed to do was go to the iTunes store, point to podcasts, then scroll to the bottom to the section “Learn More” and use the information there. I used the “Submit a podcast” link there, and the rest is history. So I am now once again a podcaster. Will I be a pod-fader again? Only time will tell. I’ve added a podcast feature to the “@ the CMS Library” blog and to a new blog for school called “CMS Tiger Talk.” All are recorded by me, but hopefully I’ll be able to get others on board to help or better, create their own.
I must thank Mr. G for motivating me–his excitement is infectious. I also can thank Dean Shareski who shared the iTunes image and showed me where he hosts his podcast. Now the natural step is to progress to a video podcast. I have the podcast skills and I have the video skills, so now I just need to figure out how to make a video-podcast, right? Let’s just hope the next best thing doesn’t make me lose interest or I will once again be a podfader. I think I will ask for a digital recorder for Christmas. Anyone have recommendations?
November 11, 2007
The above link goes to a Doonesbury cartoon that hits so close to home. Thanks to my friend Diane Cordell who shared it via Twitter this morning, I had a small chuckle. It reminds me of that new video circulating among bloggers called A Vision of Students Today. If you have not had a chance to see it, please do. I haven’t blogged about it because so many had already–I didn’t want folks to read my post and say been there/done that (since I find myself muttering that all too frequently myself.)
Is this what our schools are afraid of?? Well, I challenge educators to look at it from the perspective of the student. Obviously there is a talking head at the front, and by all indicators, the student is zoned out, but busily working on other content. Yes, he’s physically there, but not mentally. But his network (obviously some right there in the same class) has clued him in to getting ready to be caught OFF TASK. They strategize a plan through their virtual network, giving him time to cover so he can get right back at the task at hand–reading his email. LOL!
I have to admit I have done EXACTLY this myself! Not this school year, but in years past at faculty meetings. I would sit at my desk (b/c the library would be full for faculty meetings) and work straight through oblivious to just about all going on. No, I didn’t have my network to look out for me or clue me in when it was noticed, but I did strategize, none the less. I listened intermittently so I could chime in just enough to give the sense that I was on task and paying attention. I also made sure the focal point for the speaker (guest, principal, etc.) was set up at a table far from me so that i could work away that hour. It’s amazing how my hospitality of setting up a place for the speaker by clearing a specific table, getting them a bottle of ice cold water, and providing an empty basket for exit slips or papers that would be taken up successfully kept the speaker far from me, allowing me to totally go unnoticed in meetings. (I’m so evil with all my ulterior motives!!)
Now I wonder how many kids do this? Just enough “fake involvement” through asking questions, raising hands, agreeing and disagreeing to get by. And I thought I was so smart.
But knowing EXACTLY how I am has made me question the set up of our computer labs at school, the computers in the library, and even seating arrangements at conferences. I know how easily i get sidetracked and my focus can be easily stolen away. I complained vocally to my principal about the rows and rows of tables all facing the front of the room, asking who decided on this layout. I told her they needed to all be facing the wall and the interior be open for flexible use of space. I pointed out that with the workstations facing the wall, a teacher, visitor, or speaker could stand in the middle and simply rotate to see that all were on task. As it is now, there will many opportunities for students to slip under the radar and like me, multitask away the time, or worse, deliberately focus on other things. They will be able to hide right there at their computer b/c as it is now, they will have time to strategize a way to cover their true focus. My own actions have caused me such paranoia.
Ah well, so far this year all faculty meetings have been engaging enough to keep me on task. I haven’t called on my network or read my email a single time this year. But I did do JUST THIS recently at a conference when I went in sessions, sat in the back, stuck my earbud in one ear (leaving the other open so I could be conscious of room activity) and then just chatted away with the other virtual participants of New York’s TechForum so kindly Ustreamed for anyone interested.. I was TOTALLY engaged in that and TOTALLY oblivious to the session I was sitting in, save for being able tp tell when it was over.
This comic has totally made me think now about students who are slick and do the same thing I do. I also have to wonder–is it a bad thing? I’m still undecided.
November 6, 2007
Today I made a huge display out of a section of empty shelves. You see, with the big weeding project almost done, I had two whole cases EMPTY–top to bottom, side by side. What to do? They are mounted on the wall, so there will be no moving them. So I lined the border with a colorful bulletin board paper, made a cute colorful banner to go across the top that reads “New Books,” and then hand picked books to display there from the shelves — the ones that have the overall appearance of being new. They are flying OFF the shelves, I kid you not! My students have noticed the changes in the library, and every shelf has space for at least one book to be displayed. One of my math teachers said yesterday in the faculty meeting after noticing the neat and tidy shelves with displayed books that I must have had some marketing in my background. I shared with her no, but I do love book stores, and I recognize that the top sellers are usually facing out on the shelves. It’s amazing how kids select the displayed book when browsing. I’m just glad to see them suddenly very interested, and browsing has taken on a new meaning at my school. Yes they still use the catalog on the computer, and they attempt to find books that match their Lexile (a heavy emphasis at my school,) but I have encouraged teachers to allow at least one free choice (no Lexile strings attached) to encourage kids to explore their interests. If I think about it, I’ll take a picture to post here. I don’t have as easy access to a digital camera at the time (but am working on it.) I guess I could whip out the cell phone…I have done that before–though then i would not be modeling the school rules, would I? But that is a whole other post waiting to be written (Rules, Smules, which ones are okay to break?)
November 3, 2007
I am new in my district this year, even though I’m a 22 year veteran. This week I had a couple of sixth grade science teachers ask about using the library computers (20 in all) for a webquest they were completing, because there were some unavailable times in the computer lab to them. I of course agreed to have them, and the teachers assured me there was nothing I needed to do. Trying to be accommodating, I suggested at the bare minimum, I could have the webquest bookmarked, add it to the library’s home page for one click easy access, or just downright already have it loaded to save the teachers and their kids time. I received no follow up from the teachers, and quite honestly worked on other issues or projects when they came.
But I was alarmed at the neediness of the kids. Problems ranged from not having enough computers to students unable to locate the webquest. I looked at the handout and found a very long crazy URL, and understood completely why so many were having a hard time. But in the middle of this class was not the time to explain how I could have helped avert the issues. So I tried to help as much as I could, and just kept my mouth closed. Obviously I need to have a sit down talk with the sixth grade science teachers. NOTE to self: get with these two teachers. I didn’t need to wait long, as one of them came to me Thursday, asking about bringing a class back to the library one more time since the lab was booked for the next day. The problem she had was that she was going to be absent, and so the class would be with a special ed teacher who normally only works with a few kids in the class who are being served with special services in the “inclusion” format. She wanted me to be available to help. GREAT! Here’s my opportunity to at least explain how to better address this project, and how I could make it easier for the kids to not only find the webquest, but also find answers to the questions. I discovered that the teacher had planned for the kids to “google” their questions, and then copy/paste answers (as well as the URL where it came from) and appropriate pictures. Aye-aye-aaye how wrong! But it was too late to change this, as apparently the kids had been doing just this in the lab across the hall all week. I asked her why not have them use Discus (our state virtual library), Ebsco ( a subscription database), and pictures from United Streaming? She confessed she didn’t understand those resources, and she had been able to find everything they would need just using Google, so she felt they would be able to as well. She said next time they have a similar project, we could talk about those resources, and she would decide for her self whether or not to use them, but for the next day, they were to use Google. So I asked to at least send me the URL so it would be ready for them. She assured me she would. Late Thursday PM I got an email saying here is the URL, but there was no URL. Bummer. She didn’t respond when I replied with that information that there wasn’t a URL.
To say that when the kids came was a train wreck was putting it lightly. They did not know how to find the information, they were copying and pasting everything, and were not even remotely interested in anything accept Google. It was quite ugly how frustrated the kids were.
So here is my action plan:
• Meet with teachers regarding the project
• Show how Discus, Ebsco, and United Streaming would have been a lot easier to use for the research
• Talk about the inappropriate way kids were citing sources, and how teaching that material in ELA classes will not help them in science. Demonstrate that the content about citing should have been taught in the context of this lesson when it was needed (like while doing the webquest in Science)
• Finally, explain how including me in the planning stages will give them a third person who has a totally different perspective and might be able to offer suggestions and/or solutions to potential problems. (Had I known the plan was to turn kids loose on Google in the pre-planning stages, I would have given them good options for research that would have been safer, refereed, more authoritative, and probably closer to the kids grade level too.) And I could have taken the chance to actually teach the kids (and their teachers) about better quality searching.
So—I have my work cut out for me. I hope they are receptive to this. And I am shocked that my teachers do not know about Discus, Ebsco, or using their teacher librarian as a teaching partner. Totally caught me off guard, this did. But it also excites me to no end! I have so much to share.