Chapter 5 of Who Owns the Learning? made me think about what it truly does mean to be a global communicator and collaborator. One thing I’m thinking about is how to make the library media center the “global communications center” that November describes. I don’t necessarily think the library has to have a dedicated space for this, but I think it should become a way of thinking in the library. I hope to work to create the thinking where students don’t see Skyping or video chatting with others as an event, but rather a natural part of their learning. I also think such global communication is an area for media specialists and classroom teachers to collaborate. Classroom teachers can share authentic, purposeful ideas for such global communication and collaboration and the media specialist can provide the support, equipment, or even space needed to help teachers make it happen. I really liked the student jobs mentioned by fifth grade teacher Shelly Zavon in the chapter. From my past experiences with video chatting I think having student jobs would be very helpful and I felt the jobs were ones that made sense, especially for our younger students who may need a bit more structure. Teaching students about these jobs and how the video conference process works would be a good lesson for me as the media specialist to teach to students to help prepare them for such communication and collaboration.
I wanted to include a few resources for elementary teachers and librarians who want to get started helping their students in the role of global communicators and collaborators. Last year I worked with a classroom teacher who wanted her class to be come part of the Global Read Aloud project. I think this project gives teachers and students a way to collaborate and communicate globally using technology in a very purposeful and authentic way. The class with which I worked made a connection with a class from Canada and Skyped with them to chat about the book The One and Only Ivan. They also video chatted with them several other times throughout the year about different curriculum content. The book The Global School: Connecting Classrooms and Students Around the World by William Kist is one that is still on my summer reading list, but from what I have read and skimmed so far it seems like a very valuable resource that supports the ideas from Chapter 5, as well. It also includes more ideas from Garth Holman whose work is highlighted in Chapter 6 of Who Owns the Learning?
I enjoyed reading about Holman and Pennington’s work in Chapter 6. I believe that their work is a very relevant example of how all of the jobs in Who Owns the Learning? were utilized and integrated into a meaningful and purposeful project. I think my main take away from this chapter is that students are truly empowered and motivated when they know that there is a real audience for their work and when they know their work will live on for others. These ideas are definitely things to remember when planning for next year.
Thanks to our hosts for this Cyber PD event. I’m so glad that I become involved and shared this new blog through the event. I look forward to our Twitter chat and to continue learning from you all!
I started reading Chapter 3 with the idea that it might not apply that much to the work I do with young students in the school library. However, I quickly realized that like the rest of this book, this chapter gave me lots to think about. First, I really thought about the accountability piece of having every student take on the role of the scribe at some point. As a self-proclaimed introvert I also identified with the idea that by using a blog all students had the chance to participate equally and that students who may not say much in a classroom of peers are given another opportunity to share their thinking by posting their work online. Receiving recognition and feedback is also an important aspect of the student scribe process and I was so happy to read the idea of using “a star and a wish” (p. 43) to give feedback. I have taught students to give feedback in this way (saying something positive and then giving a constructive suggestion) when we view each other’s work in the library and it has made such a difference in the sharing and self-reflection part of our learning process. Finally, I was glad that November included some ideas for how younger learners could become the class scribe. He suggests that they can create audio or video files to post. I think Quicktime would be perfect for younger learners to use to document their learning. It’s easy to use and available on all of the computers in our school. I’m seeing some exploration time with Quicktime happening early in the year in the media center!
I was very excited to read Chapter 4 because as a media specialist helping students learn to become effective and efficient researchers is one of my main priorities and I see research as a place that media specialists can truly support the Common Core standards and work to collaborate with classroom teachers. November made two points that I think teachers and librarians have to remember. First, paper literacy skills can not be used to navigate the web’s architecture of information. Second, just because students are comfortable around digital devices, this does not mean they have the critical thinking skills to successfully find, use, and communicate information. I appreciated the inclusion of Joyce Valenza’s perspective as her work always makes me think and I also thought the tools and techniques included in the chapter would be very helpful to teach to older students (4th-5th graders). Some resources that I have used to teach intermediate students these skills are part of the Information Explorer: Super Smart Information Strategies series of books by Cherry Lake Publishing. Find the Right Site by Ann Truesdell, and Find Your Way Online by Suzy Rabbat, and Know What to Ask by Kristen Fontichiaro and Emily Johnson, would be helpful titles from the series when teaching research skills. They are not really books that you can read aloud in one sitting, but they helped me break the skills into smaller parts and gave me strategies for presenting the information to students in grades 4-8. Another junior set is also available for younger students in grades 1-4. I finished the chapter thinking about the skills that our youngest students need as a foundation in order to be able to research independently using the tools and techniques mentioned. These skills definitely need to be at the top of my list when I plan my instruction for the coming year.
This summer I am joining the #cyberPD discussion of the book Who Owns the Learning: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age by Alan November. Thanks to Cathy Mere, Jill Fisch, and Laura Komos for organizing and hosting the event! This book was not on my Professional Reading list, but once I read a bit about it I was interested in reading it this summer. After I read the first chapter I am even more excited to finish it! My perspective on the book may be a little different since I am a library media specialist. Also, this is a new blog, so thanks for reading!
First things first, to have school librarians mentioned in the first chapter and to be given our own text box about transforming the school library (p.18) was very exciting! As part of his Digital Farm Model November sees libraries as global communications centers where students can connect to collaborate and create work and also as a place from where students can present work to a global audience. He also believes that librarians are critical resources to other teachers who wish to help their students connect globally and work collaboratively. Supporting students in their job as researchers is another critical role of school librarians in the Digital Farm Model. These ideas complement the thinking I have been doing about where school librarians fit into the Common Core research standards, the ways in which I hope to further incorporate media into my physical library space and the teaching I will do, and the ways I can collaborate with classroom teachers in the coming year. I also really identify with giving students more responsibility for their learning and encouraging them to become collaborators, contributors, and researchers. These are goals to strive for in terms of student learning in the library.
I enjoyed reading chapter two, as well, and it made me think about some work that the third graders had done in the library last spring. In groups or on their own the students designed a digital learning object of their choosing to teach younger students to use some aspect of the library or a technology application (they also chose what they wanted to teach others). They created things like movies showing how to find books in the library, step sheets showing how to use our online catalog look up books, screen casts showing how to use PebbleGo, wiki pages with book recommendations, and QR codes for the most used library websites. This project was by far one of the most successful I did last year. It took a long time for students to complete, especially since I see them every four days for forty-five minutes, and I needed lots of support from our district technology support teachers! However, I think the students learned skills in the areas of planning, technology, collaboration, and communication. It was also very motivating to know that younger students would view/ use their work and I also think it helped that the work was not being graded. My next step for this project will be to become the “global publisher” that November describes in Chapter 2. Before the beginning of next year I plan to have the projects displayed on our library wiki page with a link from our library website, so that students and others can view this work. I also need to continue to explore other ways that my students can connect and communicate globally. In addition, I need to play around more with Quicktime (which can be used to create audio, video, and screencast recordings) and Explain Everything, which are available on our library computers and ipads and will be great tools to use to create future tutorials.
I look forward to reading Chapters 3 and 4!