I would say the biggest takeaway for me this semester is the importance of utilizing technology in my library. In a school environment, it is important to be an educator as well as a student. Knowing how to incorporate new technology into lesson plans and how to use it to engage with students is important to creating a modern library space. That requires me to constantly be learning about new tools and technology, so I can share them with teachers and students.
I greatly enjoyed working on our digital curation assignment, as it gave me a reason to delve deeper into makerspaces and ways to implement them. I want to continue to add to my materials on the subject, so I can hopefully create or add to makerspace materials in my future library space. The blog post I did on makerspaces also allowed me to seek out more materials, which I greatly enjoyed. I would also like to seek out materials regarding Virtual Reality, as some of the materials I looked into that week were not terribly expensive and would allow me to at least dip my toes into that field and experiment with how to use VR with students.
I want to continue to grow and learn how to use new materials and technologies with students, to engage them in ways that are unique and different. Every student is different, and sometimes the difference in understanding for students is being presented with the same material in a different way. Working as a school librarian, it is just as much my job to deal with books as it is to collaborate with teachers and students to ensure that meaningful learning can occur.
Going into this week’s blog post, I am excited to learn about new VR and AR tools and resources. I have seen VR headsets used for science and history classes, allowing students to see cells and look at a WWI trench among other things. The experience is highly immersive, and really brings the information students learn about in class to life in a unique way. For this reason, this is one resource I want to try to incorporate into my future library. Looking over Jennifer Snelling’s article “25 resources for bringing AR and VR to the classroom,” I was impressed about the wide range of resources available.
Nearpod had multiple features that were of interest for users. There were many ways to incorporate interactive learning tools into teaching, including adding questions into videos for students to answer, short answer, and questions throughout the lesson. There is a massive library of ready-made lessons to choose from, or teachers can create their own lessons using detailed video guides on their website. There are a number of accessibility features as well as integration with numerous other tools, from Google to Blackboard to everything in between. To see some of their basic tools, check out this video explaining the features of Nearpod.
One thing I noted that is great for distance learning as well as hybrid learning is the 3 different ways teachers can deliver their lesson or video: live participation, student paced, and front of class. Live participation works great for districts that are 1:1 with every student having access to some kind of technology to go through the lesson with the teacher at their desk. Student paced is good for students learning at home, or for some courses it might benefit some students to have the ability to work through the material in their own time. Teachers can keep track of where students are and know exactly how well students are picking up the material. Front of class is perfect for districts who may not be 1:1, and still rely on learning through teachers showing the material on the board in front of the whole class. The usability of the Nearpod tools is just as valuable no matter how the material is presented. The flexibility this allows teachers cannot be understated, especially as teachers are trying to assist students who are struggling with learning the material.
I was drawn to Nearpod in part due to their most basic plan being free to teachers. There are also plans for school or district wide usage, which may be something to consider if individual teachers enjoy the program. If nothing else, its vast array of functionalities and interactive tools makes it something I would recommend at least trying out. This is a VR-based curriculum and allows for interactive activities and functionalities in a digital space. Giving students the ability to work with the material over the course of a lesson may help them retain and take in the information, as they are able to see how to use it and ask questions as they go.
Makerspaces are a concept that has been of interest to me for a while now. School libraries in recent years have become more synonymous with learning and teaching than just books, and creating makerspaces within the library help cement this for students. A makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. This video explains the concept and its value for libraries.
One important part of makerspaces is that they encourage students to think outside the box, develop problem solving skills, and provide opportunities for hands on learning.
One blog that showcased specific examples of students interacting with makerspace resources is Tinkering Child. The owner of the blog, Jackie Child, is still active and posting on this blog and has many different resources for encouraging learning through making. She showcases hand on activities that students use to develop new skills that they can use in the future. A recent post from her looked at 3D printing and HTML & CSS. In a digital world, learning how to use new technology tools is great for students, especially with regards to practicing basic website design skills. The post describes using tutorials from Splat3D to teach students how to create 3D objects. The program Tinkercad was also introduced and used by students to design and create their own avatars or objects. Tutorials on HTML and CSS were then used to teach students how to build a website with information about their 3D printed object. I love the idea of using multifaceted teaching tools to develop multiple different skills that all relate back to one project. Instead of just learning how to make a simple shape using the 3D printer, students are encouraged to be creative and challenge themselves to create more detailed creations. Using this as a jumping off point to teach students website design was a great way of teaching additional skills as part of this challenge.
Makerspaces are a great way to encourage students to develop new skills using hands on learning techniques and new technologies. It is important to ensure that activities are self-paced and open ended enough to spark creativity, so that students learn not only how to use new skills and technology but are also free to further develop those skills on their own projects in the future.
Social media is nearly impossible to avoid. We are more social than we have ever been in the history of mankind, and yet there are still ways we isolate ourselves. As the internet grows, and individuals discover how to best harness its power, we must stop and consider the impact this growing change will have on the younger generation. In the past, I have done research on the impact social media has on individuals and the overwhelming consensus is that social media can become a double-edged sword. Being able to speak with those who are so far away and still remain in contact through the internet is a big pro, but there is a tendency to only share the best or the worst of ones self online. When showing off your best self, it is plastered over social media and paraded for all the world to see. The worst part of individuals gets drawn out from anonymity, when one can speak their mind openly without repercussions. Sometimes, this anonymity is used to encourage awful behavior towards others, because there is a screen to protect your identity. There are so many avenues that allow for this behavior, so knowing how to recognize it is crucial to teaching our children how to defend against it.
Everyone knows what bullying is. There has always been that person in your life that physically stands over you and intimidates you, teases you, puts you down, and makes you feel defeated. Those individuals and their behavior are easy to notice, hard to miss. Now, we live in a world where individuals can cause the same emotional pain without even speaking a word out loud. They can post on Twitter, they can text, they can use Snapchat. More and more individuals are seeing the results of cyber bullying, the silent pain of an individual until something finally snaps and they break completely. Students growing up in this social media heavy world are constantly bombarded by the messages of “the dangers of cyberbullying” and how much hurt can be caused by it. Yet researchers still see results like those of Faucher, Cassidy, & Jackson (2015) where 36% of students reported they had been victims of cyberbullying and 32% admitted to cyberbullying themselves. (p. 115)
We as educators should always do our part to be aware of what is going on in our classrooms, in our libraries, in our schools. We should be considered confidants and the type of individuals students can reach out to if they need help. Even being aware and checking in on them can make such a difference. So many students feel like they cannot speak out about their experiences, for reasons like fear of repercussions and retaliation or adults not understanding, believing, or being able to help. There is sometimes even overlap between bullying and cyberbullying, which leads to a greater sense of isolation. (p. 115) We need to show students that we are available and will do our best to help them as best we can. I appreciate the way this video describes the way individuals should treat each other while online, and part of that is recognizing and correcting online behavior that is negative and harmful.
Faucher, C., Cassidy, W., & Jackson, M. (2015). From the sandbox to the inbox: Comparing the acts, impacts, and solutions of bullying in k-12, higher education, and the workplace. Journal of Education And Training Studies, 3(6), 111-125.
When it came to choosing a social media account for the (fictional) Ravenwood High School library, Instagram stood out as the best choice. I have not personally used Instagram much, but I have seen other libraries use it for various purposes, and it seems to be the preferred social media site for high school aged students along with Snapchat. I was unsure on how to approach utilizing this social media platform for teenage students. In her article Make Your Library More Visible, Jan Wilson (2017) says that the strategy of taking and sharing photos is a great way to share what is going on in the library. This allows not only individuals within the school to see what events and materials are provided by the library, but also shares this with the local community.
My first posts will involve sharing our newest book additions, and highlighting reading preferences of library staff, faculty, and students. In the future I would want to use Instagram to promote upcoming events to get students and faculty excited about coming to the library. These are all great ways to use your library Instagram account according to Wetta (2016) and I believe this will help get students excited about the resources the library offers.
Using Instagram to Instruct and Collaborate
I would love to encourage students to post their own book reviews on Instagram that link back to the library Instagram page using hashtags. Making full use of hashtags to promote specific programs within the library as well as general daily posts (new collection items, book recommendations, library events, etc.) is the best way to ensure that students can see the variety of events happening in the library. It is also good to collaborate with other local public libraries and other businesses to promote events. By engaging with other libraries, we can collaborate to ensure that we all are creating a larger audience that is aware of what we each have going on (Wetta, 2016).
Instagram is going to be great for communicating with students about events going on in the Ravenwood High Library. By promoting upcoming events and activities, students will have a better idea of the types of events happening in and around the school library. Wetta (2016) suggests not only using Instagram to promote big events ahead of time, but also provide frequent reminders in the hours leading up to them. These frequent reminders could be a way to get the attention of students who may be otherwise unaware of these events, or uncommitted to attending an event so far in the future.
One of the best ways to promote and advocate your library is to show it off. Pictures are a great way to do that, which is perfect for Instagram’s format. Showing off library spaces, resources, activities, and events on Instagram allows individuals both in the school as well as the community all the resources the library has to offer. Having posts showing students and faculty using the library resources shows the multitude of benefits your library provides to its wide range of patrons, which makes it easier to seek out support and funding for future projects.
Wetta, M. (2016). Instagram now: Engage young users with the image-based social media tool. School Library Journal, 62(2), 30-32.
Wilson, J. (2017). Make your library more visible. School Library Journal, 63(12), 16-17.
Many students use at least some tools created by Google on a daily basis, both inside and outside the classroom. Some schools are even using Google Chromebooks with their students to encourage new ways of teaching and distributing materials. For this reason, I wanted to see what other tools could be utilized by a student using their Chromebook. I was surprised to see a number of different accessibility tools offered through Google. One that stood out to me was using Voice Typing in Google Docs. I remember several years ago seeking out a program that would do voice to text on my laptop and finding a multitude of options, some paid and some free. I do not remember if this one ever came up in my search, but it seems to work well and is built into Google Docs. This functionality is only available in the Google Chrome browser, but can be used in a variety of different ways. This help page from Google goes over some interesting functions that can be achieved with this.
Check out Voice Typing on Google Docs now! (Only works in Google Chrome browser)
This is great for students who may have difficulty typing on a keyboard, and the fact that this functionality is built into this program is awesome. While typing this blog post, I used it to dictate some of my notes to test its accuracy. Apart from a handful of times that it did not recognize what I was saying, it was fairly accurate. I even discovered while using it that it recognizes words related to math terms (times= x, over= /). This is also great for a student writing a paper for a subject that requires mathematical terms, as it also recognizes certain phrases and changes them to mathematical symbols. I thought it was cool that it seemed to work just as well for numbers as it does for words.
I could see this being an interesting tool to make students aware of, as it may help students who struggle with typing, or have difficulty getting their thoughts across through writing. In some ways, this tool could be used to have a student speak their response out loud and transcribe it into a written format. Pairing the basic functionality of being able to dictate speech into a Google Doc, the other functions of this tool make it possible for a student to dictate and edit their document without ever having to touch their keyboard. It recognizes different vocal commands, which can be brought up by the user by simply saying “Voice commands list.” It brings up the help page mentioned earlier in this post and shows many different commands that can be understood by this program. These commands allow users to select text, format and edit their document, add and edit tables, move around the document, and stop or resume voice typing. By utilizing these commands, it becomes possible for a user to write and edit their document using only their voice.
This adheres well to the idea of Universal Design (UD). According to Spina (2017) UD involves designing things in such a way that “makes them as functional as possible for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.” By taking advantage of the voice commands, it makes it possible for students who may have difficulties typing to still dictate their thoughts into Google Docs. I was genuinely impressed by the amount of functionality Google Doc Voice Typing had, and I could see it being a great low-cost resource for students and educators.
This week I am looking at technology hardware that could be potentially used in the classroom. There are honestly more options for technology implementation than I ever could have realized, and once I get settled in my own school environment for work and determine their specific needs, I am eager to see what options are available and best suited for my future students. I generally have more interest in topics that relate to high school age learning environments, as that is my primary focus of study. However, since there could be a possibility that I might be working in a school environment that has K-12 students, I wanted to investigate a technology that could be used with students of all different ages.
I settled on VR headsets, as it is something that students may find interesting and help teachers develop lessons that are more interactive and engaging. My only real experience with VR in a learning environment was during my undergraduate studies, where I was able to sit in on high school history and biology classes using the technology to look at WWI trenches and 3D models of cells. I recognize that how this technology is implemented may look very different for younger students, but I think even elementary school students may get enjoyment out of being able to interact with the information they are learning about in a more hands-on way.
When looking at library websites for another assignment for this course, I saw another high school library that was utilizing Google Cardboard with their students, allowing them to make short interactive 360 videos. I will link to the Monticello High School Library’s website so you can see the videos for yourself, as several of them were very creative and used the functionality of being able to turn the camera in the recorded video to tell compelling stories.
From the options I looked at, the most cost-effective option on the market right now is Google Cardboard, as one headset costs about $9 at the lowest. These headsets can be made of cardboard or plastic and use android or iOS smart phones to show visuals. They are fairly easy to set up and provide awesome features related to the 360 camera. Students can tour other countries, take 360 videos with narration, or watch normal videos that float in the air around them. These two blogs share a few ideas for ways to utilize this technology as part of a classroom lesson.
The next question we as educators must ask ourselves as we look at how to use technology in the classroom is how this enhances learning in a meaningful way. This should go beyond just substituting lecturing in front of students to a virtual lecture video, and the way we go about this is critical for developing a student’s ability to independently learn and explore. One framework that fits well with this approach is the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), as it describes and targets the use of technology to enhance learning. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal directed. These characteristics are associated with five levels of meaningful technology integration: entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2019). This framework is great for encouraging students to work towards independent learning as they become more familiar with the technology being utilized. For VR technology, that could mean students begin by using the headsets to listen to lectures or watch 360 videos made by their teacher. By the end of the unit, students should be confident enough to create their own video related to the unit. The ways this technology can be implemented into the classroom is quite varied and should help encourage independent learning from students.
For more information about the Technology Integration Matrix, check out this introduction video from Dr. James Welsh.
I was curious about what new types of technology I could find that could be utilized in the classroom as a way to enhance learning. When looking over different blogs to see what other librarians were doing, I found the blog EdTech Vision by Colette Cassinelli. Cassinelli works as a Library and Instructional Technology Teacher at Sunset High School in the Beaverton School District in Oregon. Her blog promotes information literacy and information technology and resources for educators. It is full of information on literacy, new technology, and resources that could be helpful for school librarians and teachers.
During my undergraduate studies, I had the great opportunity to visit several different schools to speak with their librarian about what tools they were encouraging students to use. One that stuck out to me then was WeVideo. It functions as a fairly simple way to edit videos, add pictures and music, and create professional looking presentations as videos. One of the librarians I spoke to told me that his middle school students even used it to create their own news show that was broadcast for the rest of the school each week. They were able to use the school’s iPads to record and edit the footage, and I was impressed with the final product. I downloaded the app on my phone then, but until now have not had much opportunity to utilize it or consider ways it could be used in the classroom.
When I saw WeVideo come up when I was looking through blog posts, I looked into it because I was curious on how other librarians were utilizing this program. I was amazed that this high school librarian was suggesting creating podcasts to test student understanding of materials, and using a program like WeVideo to edit the audio recordings. I really liked this suggestion, as it reminded me of similar projects I did in high school. I remember doing a project my senior year of high school where we created a short slide show presentation with narration talking about a Supreme Court case. I have never been good at public speaking but being able to record the audio ahead of time and turn in what was essentially a video presentation made me feel much more relaxed while recording, and that was probably one of the best reports I did in high school. I love the idea of allowing students a different way to interact with the information they are learning about, and having them present the information using a podcast seems like a great way to involve students who may be more willing to speak up when they can record their responses by themselves. The blog EdTech Vision suggests using snowball microphones for small group recordings, and provides numerous guides on how to get started with podcasting in the classroom.
From our readings this week, Wine (2016) states that “technology is prevalent throughout today’s schools and is a crucial tool in 21st century learning that is infused with multiple literacy requirements” (p. 209). Utilizing technology in the classroom is a way to encourage and explore new avenues for teaching and reviewing materials. Having students create a podcast to create a study guide for a book they read for class is one way this technology can be used, as it requires students to use their own notes and understanding of the material to creating a study guide that best helps them remember the material. A video editing program such as WeVideo is one way to encourage students to work independently or in groups to create their own study materials. This blog post also suggests using other audio recording tools such as https://online-voice-recorder.com/ to get students accustomed to recording audio. This makes it possible to use technology already at your disposal such as Chromebooks or iPads. Using audio recordings and video editing programs such as WeVideo is a way to shake up the way students engage with the material, and may help some students review the material.
I loved the way The Liturgist Podcast described the term “fake news” as it is most often used today. In recent years, the term “fake news” has been thrown around so much that it is sometimes difficult to discern the true meaning of that word, especially since quite often the word is not used correctly. As Clay Johnson states,
“Fake news is when an article is written with the purpose of driving traffic or getting marketing, and it exists to encourage consumers to take notice and look at it. Fake news is not when news outlets make an honest mistake or express a bias without disclosing it. It allows people to turn this fake news label against legitimate sources of information and creates a sense of media nihilism where the determination we make for whether something is real news or fake news is whether we agree with it.” (Gungor, 2017).
I completely agree with this description of how many individuals view this term, especially when referring to politics or other hot button issues. This is one of the reasons we as information professionals teach our students about bias. News outlets, media programs, and blog writers are not the only people who show bias. We as individuals all have preexisting bias that we view the world through, and this can impact our ability to think critically about information. If we only seek out information that appeals to our own view of the world, it can be difficult to consider any other perspective.
The methodology for testing news claims that Clay Johnson describes also piqued my interest as a school librarian, because that is something that I absolutely want to be able to keep in mind. I honestly sat down and typed up his bulleted list while I listened, and appreciated how simple some of his suggestions were but also the impact of the extra emphasis he placed on certain aspects of determining credibility. I would highly suggest you listen to the whole podcast yourself to get the full content, the link will be listed below.
The Liturgist Podcast: Fake News & Media Literacy
I found that Clay Johnson’s points related to a blog post by Joyce Valenza on Neverending Search (2016) about news literacy. Even news that has been edited and reviewed prior to publication can end up leaning in a particular direction, and some of that is related to word choice. How a news article uses words to tell its story can have a serious impact on the way that story is received by the audience, and the same story can be told from multiple different lenses and have the meaning be changed as a result. This is one of the reasons one should not rely on only one source of news, and attempt to read about the same story from multiple different news outlets.
I agree with many of Clay Johnson’s points of the necessity of being aware of what information one considers as factual, and why it is important to determine whether an information source is trustworthy prior to spreading it around. I tried to look into his research about information diet, but the link to his website on the podcast page was broken. Upon doing a bit more research into the topic, I found that this term is highly important for school librarians. We as information professionals should always do our best to remain knowledgeable and seek to grasp a more complete view of any given story, since there are an endless number of ways to interpret some news sources. For me personally, I never like to only view a story that interests me from one perspective. If I find one article about a topic that I want to learn more about, I try to go back and see if I can find other articles talking about it. I very rarely only read a news story that interests me from just one source, as I want to make sure that one news source is not painting events or individuals in a specific light to tell a specific narrative.
Just as important as using a variety of information sources is going back and reevaluating information after time has passed to see if there have any changes or new developments, especially when it comes to news stories. As information professionals, we should never draw conclusions based on information from anonymous sources, especially during ongoing events or investigations. It can be very easy to get swept away in the ethos of a news piece, and let anger or fear drive you to share the information without adequately testing its validity. If you found out a week later that the article you shared was incorrect or at minimum seriously misleading, it would be detrimental to one’s own sense of pride in their own credibility as an information professional. That is why it is so critical for us to practice what we preach. If your own librarian is (intentionally or not) spreading misinformation, then what reason should students have to trust their judgement?
The American Association of School Librarians, or AASL, create standards that are utilized nationwide by librarians to develop curriculum. These AASL standards are built upon 6 foundational principles: inquire, include, curate, explore, engage, and collaborate.
These are the AASL Foundation Standards. To learn more about the specifics of each of these foundations according to the AASL, please click the image below to visit the AASL website.
How school librarians use these standards to engage with adolescents is key to understanding the role librarians play in the development of adolescents. One such role is the development of adolescent literacy. An article by Spiering (2019) examines how librarians can engage with adolescent literacies using these standards. Adolescent literacy is defined as the ways that young people make sense of text, images and other media in many different contexts in their everyday and online lives (Spiering, p. 46). This is important for librarians, as they seek to find new ways to engage with students and utilize different tools and resources to teach literacy skills. Spiering connects adolescent literacy to the Shared Foundations of the AASL Standards Framework for Learners (2018). For example, she describes how students can learn about evaluating sources of information for accuracy and purpose by examining social media posts and considering how creators of social media posts use images, texts, and sounds to convey messages. Utilizing non-traditional media in critical inquiry ties into the shared foundations of Inquire and Explore.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has slightly different ways of defining their standards, but these standards still align with the AASL standards in the National School Library Standards Crosswalk with ISTE Standards for Students and Educators (2018).
These are the ISTE Standards for students. To learn more about the specifics of each of these standards for students, please click the image to visit the ISTE website.
The Inquire and Explore foundations from the AASL standards regarding evaluating sources are also seen in the ISTE standards as Knowledge constructor, where students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge (International Society for Technology in Education, 2016). Utilizing social media and other digital resources is a great way to teach students to be analytical and evaluate any information they see, especially when using social media platforms that can become sources of misinformation.
I see the value of using the ISTE and AASL standards together to improve students’ critical thinking skills. With how much students rely on digital resources and engage with social media platforms, it is critical to help students connect the skills they use in the classroom to the resources they use on a daily basis. Learning how to examine social media posts for purpose and perspective is a skill that can be useful in showing students how to be critical of the information they find in their daily life.