Monday, May 18, 2015

Thing 30: Final Reflections & What’s Next?

I definitely learned a lot again this year in my third track of this workshop.  In reflecting on the nine posts I published this year, though, I would have to say that some lessons were more pertinent to me than others.  I especially think Thing 26 was the "biggie".  We all need to keep a finger on the pulse of our population so we can adapt to what is needed or wanted from us.  I think I had the most fun with Thing 27, though, where I stumbled upon and played with Creaza.  Likewise, Thing 24: Infographics, definitely inspired me with my 6th graders.  I built an entire project around infographics where the students each picked an ancient Egyptian ruler to research and document in a custom infographic.  They organized their research in NoodleTools and found graphics that were relevant to their topics.  They presented both their infographic and bibliography during class, and I was impressed at how responsive they were towards each other's work. 

I would like to echo what I said in my last post, though: each assignment definitely required more than 1 hour to explore and reflect upon.  I think 20 hours PD credit would have been far more fair for the time and effort required.

I already somewhat addressed an example of how I used my new knowledge by describing my Ancient Egyptian Ruler Infographic project.  I also employed my new knowledge of Resource Guides (Thing 22) in January when I was compiling materials for Black History Month.  Another outcome from this year's workshop was the creation of a brand new Library Advisory Committee in my school.  Right now I'm focusing the efforts of this group on getting to know our stakeholders and assessing our programs and services (Thing 26).  Obviously this will be an on-going process, so that's one thing definitely on my personal horizon.

Finally, let me conclude by saying once again how much I like these online, at-your-own-pace workshops.  I know some people really miss live interaction, but this format works incredibly well in my busy schedule.  I'm sure I would learn even more if I made the time to read more of my colleagues' posts, but that may have to wait until summer. 

I'm thinking this third track will be my last track of Cool Tools.  I'm ready to explore something different.  Last Fall, I tried an on-line post-graduate class from SUNY Buffalo, which was interesting.  I'm not sure what I'll find to keep me busy next year, but I have no doubt, Jen Cannell at Questar will provide lots of options :-) 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thing 29: Student Response Tools

I have to say that I am amazed that we are only given 10 hours of PD credit for completing all 10 assignments, because I have yet to undertake one that took under 2-3 hours!!  But credit or no credit, it is invaluable to be given the opportunity to explore these really wonderful web tools that in most cases I otherwise would probably never know about!

I explored FlipGrid, Padlet, Primary Wall, Today's Meet, SeeSaw, Answer Garden, and Google Forms.  I played in each that had a cool tools account, or just browsed the examples when they did not.  That said, I have to admit that I was most impressed with Google Forms.  I really should spend more time exploring Google in general, because every time I turn around, I am delighted with what I can do with it!

I've already put Google Forms to use to generate a custom library survey for my faculty to be administered before the end of the school year.  I have recently formed a Library Advisory Committee to help steer the Library in the direction it needs to be going, and more importantly, to help me build communication and visibility for our library program and services (Thing 26 really has me thinking.....).  That said, we decided from day one that we need to survey everyone - faculty, students, administrators, parents - to determine current perceptions (and misconceptions) and to guide us in our goal setting.  We each came to the table at our last committee meeting with sample surveys we could use or tweak, but having discovered how easy it is to generate and share a Google Forms survey which tabulates results automatically, I'm totally converted!  I'd already been using Google Docs to share my policies and other materials that I want committee feeedback on, and now I'm finding Google Forms is just as wonderful!  Yay, Google - even if it is an evil empire :-)

Let me just spend a moment talking about my experience with some of the other tools, though.  FlipGrid was interesting to look at, but I'd have to see if our school tablets and laptops have video capability before I could entertain using it in any meaningful way.  Primary Wall didn't work (I see you updated that in the assignment). Today's Meet seemed easy to use and I really liked that it required no log in for the students/participants.  See Saw was interesting, but maybe a bit more involved than I want to be right now.  I only have PCs in the library.  All the laptops and tablets are in the classrooms.  Finally, I didn't see much point to Answer Garden, although I entered a response (Inquiry Driven Questions). 

I can't believe we have only one more assignment to go.....