"What is with the whole school turning, like, technologically advanced?" one Casa student asked recently. "Even Todd. We have homework for Todd online," she said. "I don't get it. I'm very confused."
This student was referring to economics teacher Todd Siders, who brought his Green Careers Pathway economics class to the library's new computer lab to discover the real and hidden costs of their ecological footprints.
In an online version of a traditional stations assignment, Todd's students calculated the costs of the various aspects of their lives -- driving, shopping, eating, drinking, smoking, etc. -- they listened to podcasted instructions, added their comments to a collaborative online message board, and reflected on their learnings via an embedded Google form. Here's a link to that assignment.
It was very cool. :)
More and more Casa teachers are bringing their classes to the library and the computer lab lately. It's common for us to have 2 classes per period using the computers at the same time. It's also common for Casa students to have a couple of classes a day that use computers.
Casa teachers get that technology is a tool that their students need to be able to incorporate effectively into their curriculum, because it increases student engagement, which increases student achievement, which better prepares them for the college classrooms and and jobs can expect to encounter in 2010.
This is one reason why Mrs. Kelin Backman brings her English and Event Planning classes to the library to use our computers to do their work on Google Documents. Mrs. Backman would love to see Casa get class sets of the new Apple iPads. "They're awesome!" she said, "and there are so many applications for them in my classes."
It was one of Todd's and Mrs. Backman's students who made the bold comments at the beginning of this blog post. And after having back-to-back classes in the computer lab, I can understand why she wondered what was going on, why Casa was becoming so techy.
I was recording Mrs. Backman's commentary on the new Apple iPad video for a podcast. I recorded this student's comments
as well completely by accident, and I'm so glad I did! To me, what she's saying is a sign (a very good sign, I think) of how far we've come and of where I hope we're heading. :)
the big house library was proud to be a satellite location for this live streaming learning event. :)
the big house had a total of 17 district-librarians, teacher-librarians, and library support staff from all over the north bay area. :)
there were a total of 200 participants -- individuals logging in from home and groups signing in from satellites like ours -- from all over the state and from across the country! :)
some participants just watched, listened, and learned, while others texted and tweeted with attendees from all over the state. it was totally interactive and incredibly fun! :)
the technology worked surprisingly perfectly! :) (at least on our end... some satellites struggled at first, but made it online eventually!)
the organizers used elluminate to conduct the webinar. it allowed for slides, videos, audio, and IM all to used simultaneously. it was efficient, effective, and cool. :) our new computer lab did the job marvelously! this event was exactly what the space was designed to be able to do (and hopefully will do much more of in the very near future).the only casualty was my (expletive) microphone! i cannot explain why it chose today to not work.
the presentation was flawless; it was full of helpful tools, practical information, and inspirational ideas.the chatting was fast and furious; we were full of witty comments and thoughtful questions.we talked about web 2.0 the entire time and the need to do it now! to walk the talk, i took notes using a web 2.0 app called wallwisher: http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/myjvwebinarnotes. there were a lot of really great quotes to ponder and so many awesome new links to explore!
@aprilgeltch said: "i will grow step by step, not all at once"
@glenwarren said: "i wish we could bottle this and put it in every supermarket!"
the famous and fabulous professor of librarianship dr. david loertscher asked the million dollar question: does web 2.0 impact student achievement? i'd sure like to think so! and when i find some research to support that claim, i'll post it here.
dr. loertscher also asked if 2.0 tools impact earning potential. well, to me, it's obvious that they do! when was the last time your employer asked you to prepare a poster board about a project you were working on? why is it then that we're still assigning them to our students? when was the last time your employer told you that you couldn't use a computer all day at work? why is it then that we expect our students to power down at school when we never do?
what we are required to teach our students does not align to what they need to know how to be able to do to succeed in today's workplace. state school library standards will help, no doubt. but we've got to begin now teaching teachers, administrators, policymakers, parents, and of course our students about all this stuff. they just don't know what they don't know; and that's where we come in! :)
i learned so much in this webinar, probably most importantly that i am not alone in my desire to do libraries differently than they've always been done before. we're marching in the right direction. keep heart! the revolution is under way! :)
in response to the "oh-my-gosh-there's-so-much-what-do-i-do-next" feeling that many of us had at the end of the webinar, i would point out dr. valenza's answer to our nagging question: how does she *do* all this???
dr. valenza said: "i stopped making the beds. i don't inventory every year. i don't catalog completely. and i gather all the help i can (students, parents, grandparents). but not doing it is not an option."
i would like to thank the tireless organizers of this event in the southern section of csla: kathie maier, jane lofton, and my gal pal marie slim! :) i would also like to thank our inspired speaker dr. valenza and our host dr. loertscher. :)
i can't wait for our next webinar! (and, yes, the big house will host!) there will thankfully be one a month from now on. teacher-librarians -- especially ones new to the profession like me and in districts like mine that can no longer afford to have teacher professional development days due to the state budget shortfall -- desperately need school library leaders like dr. valenza and dr. loertscher pushing and prodding us to do more and be better. our kids deserve no less from us.
text-or-treat this halloween!
use your tech to make a difference!
source: american teacher october/november 2009 www.aft.org
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On January 29th, 2009, Casa faculty gathered in the new multi-use room for an unusual but beauitiful introduction to their professional development day: a quintet of Casa students demonstrating musical collaboration and Assistant Principal Eric Backman explaining the symbolism of it. We hope you enjoy our first Casa podcast. :)
So, we're gonna start podcasting here at Casa Grande! And, we're ready to get started small-scale. We've got an Olympus WS-311M digital voice recorder and WMA music player along with a tie-clipping, noise-cancelling microphone. Way cool beans! =) Snaps for Ms. Susan Thompson, the librarian before me, who bought it last year. =) This little baby is cataloged and barcoded so now you or your teachers can check it out from the library! =)
But, while 1 is nice, 1 is not enough! Not when we've got 100+ teachers, 2000+ students, and tons of way-cool curriculum to record! =) So, we're asking for more. 10 more! 10 more Olympus WS-321M digital voice recorders. =) You can see how awesome this thing is in 360º with the super-cool click-and-drag feature! =)
Our wishlist is online at Amazon.com. =) Your donation of 1 or more digital voice recorders will help us bring this amazing technology into more classrooms. And, because our school is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, your gift to our library is full-tax-deductible! =) That's what we call win/win! =)
I prepared this for and presented this to the Administrative Team at Casa Grande High School on January 27, 2009. I hope it helps. :)
back in september i blogged about the super-slow internet connection @ casa...
since then the network has been a little bit better, but we are far from being out of the woods by a long shot! websites are still blocked; wi-fi is still a fantasy; the handful of computers we have are still ancient (and growing older everday); and lcds projectors are still too few and too unavailable.
technology needs on campus abound, at least in my not-so-humble opinion. but i don't care about my opinion. i care about yours -- the students! so please cast your ballot in the two polls above. and, if you feel so inclined, leave some comments (annonymous or not) on this blog post. people in power just might be apparently listening... =)
So, if you've used a computer at school lately, you've probably noticed that the network connection is a little slow. OK, seriously S-L-O-W! We're talking dial-up slow! Slow that makes The Slowskys look fast! =)
One student complained, "Dude! My grandma can run faster than this!" And, "This sucks!" is a common refrain. Don't believe me? Watch this video! As a result, we've had to take drastic measures to communicate with each other when the internet goes down. CLICK HERE to see for yourself. =)
S-L-O-W-L-Y but surely, we're going to bring the Casa Library into the 21st century. I'll make it my mission in life! =)
And, trust me, we're off to a good start. Last Friday, our Assistant Principal and coordinator-of-all-things-tech at Casa, Mr. Mark Molina (a former employee of IBM, a totally-cool computer nerd, and a super-nice guy) and I went to visit the Teacher/Librarian at our feeder school, Kenilworth Junior High, Ms. Connie Williams. CLICK HERE to see pix of our site vist.
At the Kenilworth Library, the three of us took a look at their tech: their wi-fi network, their laptop carts, their computer desks, etc. It was almost unbelievable how modern they are! (And they're middle schoolers! LOL!)
We brainstormed and pow-wowed and came away with some really great ideas and advice on how best to make Casa techier. So, even though it's frustrating for now, just know that your librarian and your a.p. have your back and your best interest and your technology needs in mind, and we're working on fixing your computer problems. For real for real! =)