Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is Big Brother Watching?

I recently had the most interesting conversation with one of the technology support gurus for my school district. He told me that he does not nor will he ever have an iAnything, Twitter, blog, wiki, Facebook or Google account. He urged me to quickly shut down my accounts as "big brother is watching."  For a moment I thought I was talking to Will Smith in Enemy of the State. 

When did we become so paranoid about social networking?  As an educator, I adore the ease in which the aforementioned sites allow me to communicate with others.  As an educator I love for Big Brother to watch me use:
  • Twitter to stay abreast of educational trends by following leaders in the field.
  • Blogs/Wikis to provide an open forum about issues in my content area for colleagues, students and parents.
  • Facebook to communicate with students and parents as well as provide a relaxed forum to educate my charges about upcoming events within my curriculum.
  • Google to utilize gDocs to show students that you do not have to buy the overpriced Microsoft Office suite to prepare a PowerPoint.  Or use Google+ for communication, project management and collaboration.  Please see the previous post for more on Google+.
  • My Smartphone to detail how apps can improve the value of their educational experience. Or how to do a quick Google search when all of the computers in the library are in use.
Please watch me, Big Brother, as I make strides in education the right way without putting my job in jeopardy yet maintaining strong relationships with my childhood friends. 
If you're not sure where to begin, tweet me as I'm happy to help.  Until then, continue to make strides and don't be afraid of Big Brother.  The more we use these tools, the more secondary schools will allow their use on campus. 

Happy Social Networking!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Google+ Redux

I've talked about Google+ a few months ago but people still have their doubts.  However, many of my colleagues ask me on a weekly basis if we can get Facebook approved on campus.  The answer from our tech gurus will now and for many moons to come be "NO!"  I love Facebook as much as the next person but there are several alternatives that go beyond the realm of simple communication with students and Google+ is the way to go.  There are three stages of integration that I think many of you will find handy whether you're a teacher looking for a an LMS alternative to a student looking for ways to collaborate.  Take a look at the presentation I presented to our staff and contact me should you have additional questions or if you started a Google+ page for your students. 

Click Google+ below to view the presentation.  You'll find my talking points in the NOTES section.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Do you Voicethread? No worries, here's your handy dandy how to guide prepared by myself, the other library diva and our awesome intern, Jess. Please add your comments to the Voicthread as we can all use a little inspiration this time of the year. If you need additional help, e-mail me and I'll walk you through creating your own Voicethread for your students. I look forward to collaborating with you soon.

Voicethread on the go: Not only is Voicethread accessible online but you may update your presentations via your iPhone, iTouch or iPad.

Account information: There is no need to sign up for the educator account. SAVE YOUR MONEY! Each free account comes with 75MB of storage with allows you to make dozens of presentations. Additionally, you may browse the Voicethread library and use them in your lessons. As for students, it is wise for them to create their own accounts. As Voicethread grows in popularity, so will its use in educational institutions. Get your students started on the right path today so they may continue to be technology savvy tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ITES Technology Standards

I have been given the task to relate the new ITES standards to a content area.  Since 2006 my workdays are spent in a school library media center.  However, my past professional life was spent in a Language Arts classroom.  I'm back in high school so let us first take a look at the four standards for 9-12:
  1. SI: Sources of Information: Evauluate resources needed to solve a given problem
  2. TT: Technology as a Tool: Use technology and other resources for assigned tasks
  3. RP: Research Process: Design project-based products that address problems
  4. SE: Safety and Ethical Issues: Analyze issues and practices of responsible behavior when using resources.
Here's a look at the English/Language Arts Standards for High School
My goal is to connect the following Common Core high school English Standard to ITES: 
  • Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
This goal is an important one as it will be applied to the  International Baccalaureate (IB) students as they write the essays that determine their success in achieving the IB Diploma. The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, culminating in a 4,000-word paper. As a required component, it provides:

  • practical preparation for the kinds of undergraduate research required at tertiary level
  • an opportunity for students to engage in an in-depth study of a topic of interest within a chosen subject.
Emphasis is placed on the research process:
  • formulating an appropriate research question
  • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
  • communicating ideas
  • developing an argument.
Participation in this process develops the capacity to:
  • analyse
  • synthesize, and
  • evaluate knowledge.

  1. Standard I: SI: Sources of Information: Evauluate resources needed to solve a given problem: IB Students are given the task to deveop a research question and find an engaging solution or satisfactory evaluation of the situation.
  2. TT: Technology as a Tool: Use technology and other resources for assigned tasks: Part of ther research process is designed not only around books but online databases.  Utiliznig NC Wise Owl, NC Live and working with the UNCG libraries to give students online database access enables students to use technology to complete their research.
  3. RP: Research Process: Design project-based products that address problems: The entire IB essay is designed to find a solution to a problem.  Acting as a guide to provide students with the tools to find online and in-library tools to solve the problem adds to their success.
  4. SE: Safety and Ethical Issues: Analyze issues and practices of responsible behavior when using resources.: As a library media specialist my goal is to enable students to identify reliable websites for research.  Using the 5 point checklist of: validity, currency, content, purpose and accuracy, students are able to use non-online database resources with confidence.