Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Why Do I Need a Library? I Have an iPad.

As technology increases, librarians have to get creative about ways to incorporate technology in their practice.

 

Librarian Superheroes in a Google World

There is no need for librarians to fight the evils of Google and the internet any longer! Embrace the "enemy" and power up your students for learning using these awesome Google tools.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Make Learning Non-Googleable

We are in a strange time in education. Teachers are gaining more access to technology, but are not all changing the way they teach. This transition has been happening for a decade or so in K12 education in America. When you are using 21st century technology but teaching in a 20th century model, you run into problems.

The internet provides a world of information from any web-connected device. I can find the answer to any question with a simple Google search. This has presented a challenge for school librarians as their role continues to shift away from information gatekeeper to digital curator. This has created a problem for teachers because many of their assignments are now Googleable. This has increased the workload of administrators as more and more students use technology to cheat.

Cheating has always been around. I remember having a Science teacher in middle school that was so disengaged that a student could be talking to him at his desk and copying answers from someone else and the teacher didn't even notice. The movies make cheating look cool: write answers on your body, your shoes, back of your sunglasses. Students haven't changed. Their desire to cheat hasn't changed. Their ability to cheat has just become high tech.

My now seventeen year old daughter came to me with a dilemma back in junior high. She and her friends found an answer key to a worksheet a teacher had assigned by just completing a Google search. This was a great teachable moment for her. Just because they can find the answers online does not mean students should use it. Cheating is wrong. But one has to consider why a teacher assigns a worksheet that can easily be found online by the students.

As technology changes the way our students access and use information, we, educators, have to step up our game. We have to design instruction that incorporates the technology, but not rely on technology to manage the students. Teach them appropriate technology use, teach them cheating is wrong, but don't hand out an assignment that is found for free online and complain they cheated. It's like telling someone trying to lose weight that chocolate cake will make you fat then offering them chocolate cake. Not fair! Create authentic learning opportunities that use technology and then students can't search for the answers online.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tech Integration: Start With Why

I recently became aware of the work of Simon Sinek after watching his TEDTalk, "Start With Why". It is based on the book of the same name he write in 2009. See the TEDTalk below:




Ironically, I presented a session at a regional school board conference a few years ago named "Tech Integration: Forget What. Let's Talk Why and How" without ever having heard of his work.




Although my name and contact information has changed, the sentiment of the session still rings true. Districts can get so hung up in the "What are we going to buy?" that they miss "Why is it important?" and "How will we use it?"

We have all been there. You go to a conference and see something wicked cool. Maybe it is in a session or the exhibit hall, but you just have to have it for your school. You find the money or get a grant to buy it. This new shiny thing arrives, and now what?

More than likely, if you have not put the work in the "why" and "how", getting that shiny new thing will not change the way you teach or how the students learn. Effective technology integration requires forethought and planning before the "what" is ever decided.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tech Learn Coffee - Podcasts for Classroom Innovation

If you are looking for a new source of inspiration and ideas, start following TLC Ninja Teachers. This podcast for Teachers by Teachers is designed to inspire classroom innovation. It is the creation of two California educators, Nancy Minicozzi and Lisa Nowakowski. These podcasts are planned for a 15 minute time slot so they are quick and easy listening.

Their latest podcast feature Sandra Chow talking about Virtual Reality:


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Global Audience Project

When you are ready to break down the walls of your classroom and connect your students with the world, where do you start?

That question is asked by many teachers each year.

Enter The Global Audience Project as a solution. This site, created by Google Innovator Brian Costello, works like an online dating service for school projects. There are several searchable databases. Share your projects so others can connect with you as an audience. Find other classes to work collaboratively together. Meet a coach if you are just getting started with breaking your classrooms walls down.

Brian Costello appeared on the TLC Ninja Podcast talking about this project. Watch below:




Global Green Screen Challenge with PicForward

Here is a simple and fun project that could have a global impact.

Lord Lansdowne School in Toronto, Ontario has started a global green screen challenge called PicForward. Each month, they will post new green screen images on their site. Participating schools can download the images and add them to the background of their choice. You can add other images and text to the picture. When finished, share the image on Twitter with the hashtag #PicForward or add to their Facebook page. It is that simple!

Their site, bit.ly/PicForward, is full of examples, tech tips, and software suggestions. They want to get images from all over the world so students can see the reach of their project and start global conversations. There is even a map on the site to see where the images are coming from.

I sent my students to take pictures that are uniquely our school. Being the Unicorns, we have a some interesting murals and artwork. Here is what we submitted:

Look, Mom! Unicorns do exist!

The students took pictures with my iPad. We used the Green Screen for Do Ink app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-screen-by-do-ink/id730091131?mt=8), which is only $2.99, to create the image. It was incredibly simple to make. I shared it through my Twitter account when it was finished.