Monday, July 6, 2015

Professional Reading--Should Students Have a Role in Professional Development?

Boss, Suzie (2015, February 26).  Should Students Have a Role in Professional Development?  Retrieved from

This article shows how professional development can come from anywhere!  Thinking outside the box can get teachers learning and experimenting within the community and with those they influence everyday.

How would you feel being taught by those who teach you?  Even if they know the subject inside-out, it could be intimidating.  However, some schools are seeing the benefit.  In Montana, students, who were knowledgeable in the technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), were used in a professional development program for staff.  The students were to plan and facilitate the lesson, which ended up being a hands-on learning experience for the teachers (Boss, 2015).

I think this is important to consider because we never know where our learning can come from.  Perhaps the students may not be able to provide us with strong pedagogy reasoning for doing things a certain way, but they can show us tools and techniques, while also making sure that we see them in a different light.  This can foster empathy and make us think about how we plan units or assess (Boss, 2015).  

We did something similar to this a few years ago when we had students in the middle school teach sessions during professional development time.  Three students each taught a different lesson.  They were Prezi, Pinterest, and WeVideo.  It was very successful; the staff learned something, the students felt empowered, and they received an understanding for what planning for a lesson could entail.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Journey to the Student-Centered Makerspace

Waldron, Abbe (2015, February 5).  Journey to the Student-Centered Makerspace.  Retrieved from

Makerspaces is a huge trend in libraries, school and public.  Makerspaces is just like it sounds, a space to make.  Create, design, collaborate, construct, problem-solve, using technology or not.  “We wanted to create an environment where students could extend their learning, take risks, and build capacity as leaders (Waldron, 2015).”  Isn't this what we want for all our students?  A place to go beyond in the thought process?  To step into that critical thinking aspect and feel empowered while doing it?  And to plan properly to make sure that this could happen was key.  “It was important to consider how our program would fit with both the established core values of our school and our 21st century learning expectations...We knew it all began with the students (Waldron, 2015).”  Bringing the students into their own learning and creating their own expectations is crucial to the buy-in of learning.

Makerspaces have looked differently in the past.  Woods, home economics, mechanics class are all examples of makerspaces, however with technology playing a part, we see coding, video recording and editing, and 3-d printers entering the game.  Students learned as teachers learned, sometimes on youtube.  They took their skills and shared them with others to collaborate differently.  They saw what was being established in the makerspace and went their own direction.  They were inspired to create and design differently than what was being taught and that was encouraged.  This was a program done in the school library, and now “The makerspace is both a social and creative hub for our students in the library (Waldron, 2015).”  Teachers can use the makerspace if they want, but are not required to do so.

I love the concept of makerspaces and I know many fellow librarians who have taken that leap, old school and with low technology.  A elementary librarian is having students create plush dolls and animals.  All kids are loving it.  The older students are learning to make outfits on the sewing machine for these plush creatures.  There is a waiting list for this program that includes all ages and gender, and they do this during recess time.  What is it about makerspaces that has kids running to them?  “The makerspace experience has enriched the learning environment at our school and created a place where students are free to take risks and pursue their interests (Waldron, 2015).”  When students are invested, they will pursue, learn, challenge, and take chances.  This is what we want them to do.  This is how we can foster learning!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jouornal Reflection #6

Stucker, H. (2005). Digital 'natives' are growing restless. School Library Journal, 51(6), B9-B10. 

     Digital Natives are getting bored.  They are learning in an environment that is not conducive to how they naturally learn on their own.  Learning straight from books is not the only option anymore.  However, even though students are experts at searching for and retrieving the data, they still have no idea how to properly evaluate the information for proper use.  "Joyce Valenza, media specialist at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania, said that Internet proficiency often gives students a deceptive sense of self-sufficiency, and the challenge for educators is to figure out how to respect that self-sufficiency yet "intrude in a graceful way"."
     Having online resources through the library at all times is a way for them to self-evaluate once they find what they are looking for.  This way they can ask the important questions in regards to their article or website they want to use in their report.  The library needs to prepare the students to use these tools effectively, so they just won't head to a website and add information from it without really thinking about the point.  
     Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), states that "Our ultimate outcome for students is that they live, learn, and work successfully by becoming information-seekers, analyzers, and evaluators, that they become problem-solvers and decision-makers...,"   This needs to be done by all, but librarians need to step up to the responsibility and make sure that students are proper researchers and then evaluators of the research as well.

     Finding the balance to let students feel powerful and smart enough to find the information that they want, but then assisting them in evaluating them for proper use can be tricky; I run into this problem all the time, but it is crucial to do this lesson, constantly!  This is not just about articles and websites for information.  I am always teaching my students on how to evaluate what program is the best to present your information or what is the best way share the information.  To try something different, but to make sure that it works for the idea and to look at it with a skeptical eye is the same important skill.   

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Journal Reflection #5

Barack, L. (2013). Talking teen engagement. School Library Journal, 59(6), 12-n/a.

     The Chicago Public library teen section has a podcast that started off with the youth librarian learning as the kids learned.  They did this together, even though Taylor Bayless, the librarian, had no previous knowledge present.  Not knowing how to do something is not an option.  Bayless states that "Someone working with youth has to have the capacity and desire to learn new technology."  It is important to bring out the creative talents of all students who enter the library and if media is one of these outlets, it must be fostered.
     However, if social media is also being used, there needs to be lessons in regards to digital citizenship.  Privacy issues, fair use, digital footprints, these are all lessons and conversations that need to happen.  At times, students are not aware of who may be viewing the information they share, how that can reflect on them, and how they can post on social media, yet still protect themselves.  Chris Shoemaker, states that this is important to do before anything is posted so that you are not having a teenager pull something down after the fact.  By talking about proper social media use instead of having rules and regulations to determine their behavior, the students are able to take ownership of what they create and what it is reflecting.
     Once you have students taking ownership and being proud of the work they are doing in social media, it can only benefit the library and the program after that.  Bringing friends to the library to share in the fun and work they have been doing shows that the use of media can be successful.  When the students then decide to post on their own social media pages about where they are at and what they are doing, it will only encourage questions and conversations about where all these amazing things are happening.  "Brother Mike" Hawkins, associate director and lead mentor at YOUmedia's Digital Youth Network says it best when he states that "If students see something cool, and they see a place where adults care about them, they're going to promote it more than we ever could."  This could be the huge difference for a library with no marketing budget to bring students into their space.

     I think this is a smart way to use media in the library.  Even if nothing is going online and the media stays in house, the students will see a safe place for them to create and explore.  This is a great place to teach digital citizenship as well.  To then turn media use into social media use to promote the library is brilliant.  I have always believed that ownership is the most important thing for a student to have, regardless of what they are doing.  It works when you have them putting together a library display and it works when you have them creating something with media, even if it never gets posted.  However, for it to them be posted online can create another level of a sense of accomplishment.

Journal Reflection #4

Byrne, R. (2014). Multimedia assessments. School Library Journal, 60(2), 15. 

     Could using multimedia assessment tools help students who struggle taking tests and those with special differentiation requirements?  Five different online tools are examined to look at how they can assist in helping those who need deeper understanding or those who need the test read aloud to them.
     The first tool is Metta ( where the instructor can add YouTube videos, pictures, and voice recordings into a presentation.  You can add multiple choice questions through out the presentation and then the student must look over the material and then answer the questions.  Students can't move forward in the presentation until they answer the questions.  These can be saved by giving the students a URL, however, if you are using Google classroom it can be delivered by that using the url option.  These can also be saved in Google drive.
     The next tool is ImageQuiz (  This tool helps build quizzes based on images.  The teacher can create questions, once they have uploaded an image, by adding outlines around the part of the image that has the answer.  Then you write the questions that go with that image.  The students would answer the questions by clicking on certain parts of the image.  This would be helpful in determining certain body parts or muscle groups in the human body.  This quiz is also given by sharing a url.
     EduCanon ( is helpful if you are interested in trying flip teaching.  This tool has you create, assign, and track the progress of the student as they go through the flip teaching lesson.  Creating a lesson is easy and does not necessarily require that you make your own lesson.  Once you know what you are teaching, you can search for videos through educanon to find the right one.  Then you create multiple choice questions through the video, like a time line of questions.
     Perhaps a tool that many students love is Kahoot (  This is a great resource to check for understanding as well as using for review before a larger test.  You create a multiple choice test that kahoot then sets up with the answers being attached to symbols and colors.  You can create a time limit and even add background music, like a real game show.  Students will need internet access on a decide to participate.  Phones, laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets work well.  When students go to kahoot, they will be prompted to join the game by entering an ID.  This will be attached to your quiz.  They must create a username and then once everyone is in, the quiz can start.  After each question the class can see who is in the lead.  Points are awarded, not only for the correct answer, but how quickly the correct answer is given.
     The last tool mentioned is one that may not need any introduction.  Google Forms has been used to make quizzes for quite some time.  However, it has recently started supporting the ability to add YouTube videos and images into the quiz.  This may create some different options for assessment.

     I am a huge fan of assessing in different ways.  Every student has different needs and these tools provides a variety of ways to assist those who are visual, who need to take their time, who are auditory, and those who thrive on competition.  None of the tools here are overly complicated for the teacher to learn and create quizzes with and all are safe, easy to use, and free.  As different online tools come to light, we need to think about what works best for us and for each objective that we have.  If using these tools does not make sense, we should not use it just because.  However, if one of these tools can make the assessment or learning outcome easier for all, it should be tried.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Screencast Video

A tutorial on 'How to put a book on hold' using screencast-o-matic!