Sunday, April 25, 2010

Looking Forward

At the end of every semester, I usually get very happy that it’s all over. I celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief. However for this course something unusual has happened. I feel like it’s not the end but the beginning. I feel excited and hopeful about all the new information I have learned. It’s like there is a portfolio in my brain rearing to be put to use. And now that I will have some time off from school, I am planning to put all of these ideas in a collective area. I am sure that I will come back to them over and over again once I become a media specialist.
My wish for all of my fellow classmates is one of hope and an open mind. Schools need librarians who are not afraid to dive into the world of technology. And students need school librarians who are knowledgeable and prepared to share their expertise with them. So what does this mean for us who are preparing to be media specialists? We have to be awake and alert. We need to stay current in all topics of technology. And most importantly, we need to be able to say “I didn’t know that, teach me”. Saying those words does not make us weak.
Happy trails everyone!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Feeling Accomplished

As the semester comes to an end, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. The progression of topics and assignments went smoothly and I felt excited about everything we were working on. Prior to this class I felt a bit out of place when I volunteered in the classrooms and the students were working on some computer applications. I often found myself gawking at whatever they were working on. Now I can join in and actively participate. This course has taught me that there are endless possibilities with the Web 2.0. I feel fortunate that my chosen profession is so exciting. Libraries are constantly changing and the role of the media specialist will definitely continue to evolve. We are not only equipping our students with tools that will make them employable in the future. We are also helping ourselves to the ever-growing and expanding world of computer applications.
I know that at the end of every semester students say they have learned a lot of new things. But in my case I did learn new things. I even enjoyed Diigo which I thought would be boring. (I am constantly playing around with the toolbar and coming up with my own “tag” words). The professor mentioned she would keep to herself some of the overt objectives for this course. And in this case I’d like to guess it was getting the students to fully immerse themselves into Web 2.0 tools. Believe me it’s not easy learning new computer lingo and applications, especially under deadlines.
All in all, it was a great class with good flowing discussions and interesting classmates. It’s one that will be kept in my records for a long time to come.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Staying Focused

This week I found myself trying to stay focused in the midst of a flu outbreak in my home. My kids were sick and miserable and by the time they felt better, I felt horrible myself. Still, I did my best to read the weekly materials and review some things about copyright I missed the first time. It seems both the Simpson book and some of my classmates believe the SLMS is completely responsible for enforcing copyright laws in the school. But I still believe that this issue is an administrative one and that it should not fall only upon the shoulders of the school media specialists. In the past months I've personally have witnessed how the media centers are the "catch all" for the school. Staff come in to use the computers, borrow books and media (which they sometimes don't return) and interrupt the story times. The SLMS are really taken for granted and many times overworked. (I just don't know how one person can do story times, book fairs, circulation duties, class visits and put books back on the selves, by themselves. It's just too much. And as if the above duties weren't enough, now the librarian has to monitor the staff and students when it comes to copyright enforcement.
I say let's have a mandatory teacher conference at the beginning of the school year, bring in a copyright attorney, the school superintendent, and the principal and discuss the issue. It's also a good idea for the SLMS to put up signs and have a couple of copies available of Simpson's book for staff to reference. This way everyone is informed and everyone is held accountable.
On another note, I was disappointed in myself for not adding more information about my second half of my presentation. I meant to have it as a hands-on segment but I should have included my thought process behind this. I will keep all of this information for future reference. All in all, I learned a lot while doing the assignment.
On a happy and ending note, I participated in a Web 2.0 activity with PBS. It was my first Webinar (seminar on the Web) and it was awesome. We were connected with educators from around the country and we discussed the upcoming movie "The Diary of Anne Frank". We also discussed how to implement the story of Anne Frank in a curriculum. The chat during the Webinar was very interesting because many of the teachers and students are creating great projects that will inform the world about the Holocaust. This is when the Web becomes a great learning tool.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Winding Down

This week was crunch time. I completed all the major projects and now just have to look forward to revamping my resume and the open-book test. I finished my workshop presentation, completed the I-safe training and will finish my other course requirements this coming week.
This week we discussed e-books. And although I find them fascinating, I don’t think they could take the place of books on print. I am curious however about the non-fiction and reference e-books available to schools. I’d like to see the topics available and their content.
Also, this week’s assignment left me thinking about my presentation skills. I am a worrier by nature. (It’s the middle child syndrome. We like to keep the peace). I often find myself with so many things to say that I can’t seem to be able to put them all down on paper. When it’s free writing I do perfectly, but when it’s specific my brain freezes up. I intend to keep the downloaded information on presentations for future use. I have a feeling I will need them again in the future.
Finally, with the semester winding down, it seemed appropriate that the weather this past week was nice. I plan to spend this coming week reading the weekly materials and enjoying the rain.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tools For Growth

This week we discussed the tools we felt were of benefit to a school media specialist. And I have to admit that I have been enjoying the different types of tools we’ve discussed. Google for example is one of my favorites. I use it for email, documents, chatting with family, locating addresses, my own homepage, reader, etc. There is much users can do with Google apps. Case in point, when flights where cancelled a few months ago to the island of Puerto Rico, (due to volcanic ash from the Island of Montserrat), I was able to use Google Earth and see live footage of the eruption. Google has also helped me communicate and collaborate with my family.
Since my sister has dyslexia, I have always had to proof read her papers and then she makes corrections. We use to have to email the document back and forth, which took forever. Now we use Google Docs and can collaborate at the same time. I insert comments in her work and make suggestions on how to make paragraphs flow better. I underline or highlight things that need to be re-written and she changes them. This tool has really helped me, to help her.
I think I have mentioned this before, but I wasn’t too happy about the requirements of this course when I first read the syllabus. I imagined having to be glued to the computer and using these “headache inducing apps”. However, this has been a great introduction to tools I look forward to continue using both personally and professionally.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Learning While Having Fun

I have to admit that I freaked out when read we had to attend all of these presentations. I knew this week was going to be a long and busy one, and I wondered how I could sit still enough to watch them. But boy what a tremendous amount of valuable information did I learn in these presentations. It was like going to a conference in my pajamas. The combination of listening to the presenters and being in the classrooms during the day brought it all together for me. I kept thinking how advanced our children are today. They can Skype with other students from around the world, take quizzes on the smartboard, use Google docs to collaborate on projects, know how to work cell phones, apps and all kinds of Web 2.0 tools. Just the other day my son created a book project with Photo Story 3. I had never seen that before! And I love techy stuff. It was so amazing. My daughter also collaborated with my son and they created a digital movie out of their own drawings. It was so cool to see the still pictures become animated.
This brings me back to Rachel Boyd’s presentation from New Zealand. What an amazing and fun way to teach a class. The children were engaged and actively participating in the lessons. I didn’t see any of the children sleeping or bored. As a matter of fact they spent much of the time moving.
I hope some day we move away from that “sit in your seat with your hands crossed” attitude. Maybe as we continue to find new Web 2.0 tools for use in the classroom, our children will have more opportunities to become active learners. Like Diego Leal expressed in “Kicking it up a Notch”, we have to learn to “entregar las llaves” to the students. And this literally translates to “handing back the keys”.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stellar Presentations

This week I learned new ways of making my PowerPoint presentations stand out. The element mentioned such as logistics, objectives (overt and covert) and topic management, reminded us of how important details can be. I was grateful for the Effective presentation demo. This is a tool that can go in my reference file. That being said, I wish this type of lesson would've been offered in the LIS505 or 506 courses. Most librarians work with PowerPoint at one point or other,and it would've been nice to have this information earlier in the MLS program. Don't get me wrong, this is valuable information and training, and is helpful to me even though I know how to prepare a PowerPoint presentation. It's just that this information on workshops is so crucial that it should have been taught earlier.
Yet, I am grateful for the insights of Professor Allen and Dan. Their collaborative efforts provided me with new things to think about as I prepare my assignment.