Course 5 Project: LIS Reads – LIS Lê Game On!

Well, I don’t have any fingernails left, but the movie is finally done.  Be kind, world. Course 5, it’s been real.

If you’re interesting in visiting the sites associated with this project, check out the LIS Reads – LIS Lê posts on the LIS secondary library blog and the short-lived LIS Reads – LIS Lê House competition tumblr.

I would like to note that approximately 2/3 of the way through Course 5, my iPad was stolen (I am actually still hoping that I just hid it from myself somewhere in my library, but that is seeming less and less likely) and I lost a lot of the media I had intended to use in this video. I think it turned out all right in the end, but I apologize for the occasionally heavy reliance on screenshots.  You can see my UBD “unit” plan below.

Course Two Final Project: Responsible Use Policy

Writing a Responsible Use Policy was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. I thought it would be quite boring-and wondered why I should bother when there are so many good ones already out there-but it was an interesting exercise in reflection, language and collaboration.

The Process

Ju, Julie and I worked together using a series of Google Docs in a shared folder. First we shared our schools’ AUPs, model AUPS and other resources related to the development of AUPs.  Then, within an AUP Project Notes page set up by Julie, the discussion began.  We listed what we liked, brainstormed agreements and had an asynchronous conversation through questions and comments within the Google Doc. This past week, we realized we needed to have some live chatting to work out some of the finer details and make sure we were on the same page.  While we wanted to talk through a Google Hangout, we ended up settling for chatting within the document.  This worked wonderfully, because we are able to see the document shifting and changing as all three of us edited while discussing it.  This was an excellent lesson in collaboration, and it is an opportunity I hope I will be able to structure for my students in the future. Julie and Ju were great to work with, and I would be lucky to collaborate with either of them in the future.

The Priorities

The IB Learner Profile – Julie shared Sheldon Bradshaw’s Framing Your Acceptable Use Policy Through the Learner Profile presentation with us, and we all agreed that this seemed the obvious way to structure our project. Focusing on the learner profile attributes gave us a shared language and allowed us to create a policy that could easily work for any IB school.

K-12 Scope – All three of us work in different IB programs (Ju-PYP, Julie- MYP, Katy -MYP & DP) so we decided we’d like to have one set of guiding statements to apply to the whole school.  Then, as responsible use looks different at different ages, we decided to break it down into program-specific agreements for each guiding statement.

I Will Statements –  Come from the perspective of writing a Responsible Use Policy and not an Acceptable Use Policy, we agreed that writing the statements with “I will” was the only way to go.  It ensured that the language is student centered and positive.  There are tons of behaviors you can ban in schools, but I’ve always found that coming from what you want to see instead of what you don’t want to see offers better results.

Brevity – While maybe it doesn’t feel brief coming in at 5 pages, we found that we really had to prioritize to keep it to a maximum of three guiding statements for each agreement.  In the end, this forced us to focus our RUP and kept it from becoming a laundry list of all possible actions related to technology.

Visual – We agreed that there needed to be a visual component. Keeping in mind that AUPs are often shared at the beginning of the year with students (and often not read!) we decided to design accompanying presentations that supports the AUPs for each level. The DP presentation I designed is currently made up of Creative Commons licensed images; however, as Julie mentioned, if our school were to adopt this RUP, I would like to see the students create these presentations with photos taken by them.

The Results

What started off as an exercise for class became an authentic product I am looking forward to sharing with my LIS colleagues. I am very happy with our final result, shared below.  We have a K-12 set of guiding statements, supported by a set of agreements each for the PYP, MYP and DP.  For better formatting, you can view our RUP  and RUP in the DP presentation in Google Drive. To view the PYP presentation, please visit Ju’s post.  To view the MYP presentation, please visit Julie’s post.

Responsible Use Policy

Responsible Use in the Diploma Program

I would love feedback!  What do you like about this policy?  What would you change?  Did we miss anything essential?

Book Review: Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous WeaponBomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply Amazing. Sheinkin was deservedly well-awarded for this fascinating narrative non-fiction on the international intrigue surrounding the making and explosion of the world’s first atomic bomb.

From the opening moments of the prologue as a 1950 Harry Gold races around his home attempting to destroy seventeen years worth of espionage to the closing words where the author reminds the reader that the story of the first atomic bom and nuclear weapons is “a story with no end in sight. And like it or not, you’re in it”, Sheinkin has created an absolute masterpiece. This fascinating historical tale can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike. It has the feel of a fast-paced, accessible Clancy novel (all the good bits minus the blabbering on about the inner workings of submarines). The characters are all fully developed, with their personal histories and motivations interwoven through the story so well that it feels natural to discover the paths that led them to Los Alamos or the frozen mountains of Norway or the halls of UC Berkeley. Sheinkin pays strict attention to details which are often left out in historical non-fiction: the striking blue of Oppenheimer’s eyes and the sweat on Szilard’s head as he asks a young boy of seven years old if he knows where Einstein is living (the answer, of course, is yes).

With his easy writing style and carefully chosen primary source quotations. Sheinkin makes it easy to understand the intricately woven threads of history as he details the story of the Americans trying to build the bomb, the Soviets trying to steal it, and the Allied forces trying to sabotage the German’s bomb project. Most importantly, he allows the reader to step into the minds of all the different players to empathize with the decisions made along the the way, whether it is to spy on one’s own country, to create a weapon of phenomenal destruction, or to kill another in the name of patriotism.

As a librarian, I deeply appreciate Sheinkin’s detailed source notes, quotation notes and recommended reading. It is well supported by numerous primary source documents in the form of photographs, letters and scientific drawings.  I read this on my Kindle, so not all of the photographs were in context, as I assume they will be in a paper copy.  This book is highly recommended as a purchase for any school library. It is an excellent text to be studied in a history or science class and will appeal to a broad range of students. In particular, I will be recommending this text to my IB MYP science and humanities teachers as a resource to support the exploration of human ingenuity.  I had already purchased this text for our secondary library based on the professional reviews, but I will now also be including as a text in our “LIS Reads” year of reading program for 2013-2014.

View all my reviews

Gone Techie: Shaping the Role of the Library in EdTech

I don’t need a fancy report to tell me that mobile technologies, gaming and social networking have already infiltrated our students’ lives.  I see it everyday when I work with students in the library and as I wander the campus.  You can see it too by visiting our LIS Secondary Library Tumblr.

Exhibit A:

Limitations

What I also know from going to work everyday is that, “too often, it’s education’s own processes and practices that limit broader uptake of new technologies” (Horizon Report, p.10).  I touched on this with my earlier post about filtering (which I swear I will return to… I’m just adding it to my possibilities list) and I discuss it regularly with members of our LIS Tech group.  Many of us want to change our approach to education NOW!  We want our students to be linked in, communicating with students across the world, and going paperless.

The problem is that the other quote from the Horizon report is also true: “As the potential for mobile computing is being demonstarted across an ever-growing list of K-12 education institutions, a successful shift from a traditional to a mobile environment still requires planning and research” (p. 12).  There are so many things to “fix” and “change” in order to support the learning environment are students are already living and working in, and if we do it all at once, we are going to crash and burn.  Six years ago, it was uncommon for our school to have electricity everyday.  Now I complain because the wireless is slow, inconsistent and doesn’t cover our entire campus.  So, while I still reserve my right to complain identify potential for growth and work collaboratively with my colleagues to progress, I also have to recognize the significant amount of progress that has been made over the last several years.

In the secondary school, we are moving in the direction of a BYOD policy.  We are moving agonizingly slowly, but I can see it on our horizon.  To be frank, BYOD has already reached our school, it’s just that it has happened without the support, scaffolding or guidance of the teachers, administration and IT department.  Students are bringing and using their own laptops, tablets, cell phones and ereaders everyday.  A timely example: Several weeks ago I taught a lesson to Year 12 IB DP students on using Diigo in the pre-search stage of their research. The school’s wireless network failed mid-lesson, but the ones who brought their cell phones just used them as their own wireless hub.  We are getting a Technology Advisory Committee off the ground, slowly but surely, and I am hoping we will play a major role in shaping the policies and procedures which will influence how technology will be impacting learning at LIS.

Making It Happen

I need to focus in order to play my role in supporting our school in meeting our students not just where they are but where they will be.

Big Picture Goals

  • Professional Learning for Teachers on Digital Media Literacy – If I still have teachers that argue that Wikipedia is a perfectly reasonable resource for students to cite in an Internal Assessment for IB, we have work left to do.  In an earlier blog post, I talked a little bit about my role in supporting professional learning and got some interesting feedback.  Since then I’ve been exploring creative examples of professional learning, and I am interested in the iTunesU course from Forsyth Public Schools on Flipping Professional Development.
  • Developing Resources for Teachers to Integrate Digital Literacy into Instruction – I can’t train every single teacher at our school, but every single teacher at our school does need to be concerned about digital and information literacy. My goal by the end of the year is to have a bank of search and research lessons available for teachers to adapt to their content area.
  • Collaborate! Harness the Talents of Students and Faculty Members – I can not do everything (and no one expects me to).  I don’t have the knowledge or time.  I am incredibly lucky to have supportive colleagues (Like the 13 other LIS faculty members participating in COETAIL) and a supportive administration.  We also have many very tech savvy students at our school.  One step I’ve already taken is the development our library assistant program.  I’m creating it with Kim Cofino’s Student Tech Team in mind, although I have departments for Reading Promotion, Administrative Duties and Events & Activities in addition to a Student Tech Support Desk.  I am also working to collaborate with and be a champion for innovative teachers at our school who are trying new things in new ways with new tools.

Day to Day Goals

  • More Real World Experts: Why not Skype in writing experts and authors during NaNoWriMo to talk about the writing process and get kids inspired? Or during Langauge lessons on writing? Or both?!?
  • Global Collaboration: Chloe (my super co-teacher) and I are talking to a school in Massachusetts about starting some collaborative activities across book clubs.  Hopefully this will grow over time into something like the Sister Classroom Project, but with our schools connecting across many subjects instead of just a book club.
  • Kindles for Checkout: Next September (or October or August, depending on when our shipping container gets released from the snarl that is the Luanda port) we will be piloting Kindles in the secondary library.  I would like to move onto to other mobile technologies in the following year.
  • Apps! Apps! Apps!: Our students use their phones for everything, so I need to more actively promote the available research apps within our student body and our faculty. I dipped my toe in by blogging about World Book Online and Destiny Quest Apps, but I need to have a more comprehensive approach to this.  I think this sort of guerilla, change from the inside work, will go a long way towards changing the culture as we work to have our policies and procedures catch up with our reality.
  • Student PLEs/PLNs:  Personal Learning Environments is something I’ve talked about before, both here and in other online professional communities.  Supporting students in developing their own PLEs or PLNs is a core part of our job as librarians, and I think our Personal Project in Year 11 at LIS would be a great place to launch this idea with students and teachers.

So, while I don’t need a fancy report to tell me we need to make some changes, it is always nice to have reliable resources to share with naysaying colleagues.

 

LIS Diig(o)s Social Bookmarking

In line with my post about developing PLNs with curated collections, I have been working to support my students in more effectively developing their PLNs.  Recently, I led our Extended Essay students in a research workshop on using Diigo for their pre-search.

The post I wrote for the LIS Secondary Library blog, Extended Essay: Planning and Organizing Your Research, details the process we went through during the lesson.  Although there were some internet connectivity issues part way through, most students:

  • created a Diigo account.
  • joined a relevant LIS Extended Essay Diigo group (There’s one for each IB DP subject areas).
  • added a Diigolet or Chrome Highlighter to their browser.
  • bookmarked a relevant resource.
  • highlight, tagged and annotated their resource.
  • shared a relevant resource with their Diigo subject area group.

I hope students will support one another in their research by sharing and exchanging subject specific resources.  At the very least, I hope they will stop using Word documents (or simply leaving 100 tabs open at once!) to save their links.

It is a given that as a school librarian I work to support my students in using technology tools to be more effective researchers.  However, a significant part of my role as a school librarian is also supporting the professional learning of our faculty.  In order to make this Diigo push with my students work, my teachers need to engage in this tool as well.

I may be getting a bit ahead of myself with this title, but here are my goals:

  • IB DP Extended Essay and IB MYP Personal Project students using Diigo to organize their pre-search and share their resources with each other and their supervisors.
  • LIS Faculty using our Faculty Diigo group to share and exchange about resources, research, and strategies related to effective teaching and learning
  • LIS Faculty and IT department collaborating on the LIS Tech Diigo group to share and exchange about resources related to educational technology, best practices and emerging technologies.
  • LIS Business Administration and Leadership streamlining the ordering process by sharing vendors and other purchasing related resources in a LIS Order Diigo group.

I am moving in this direction, slowly but surely. I host a regular Tech Tuesday (with the help of some great teacher friends) before school for primary and secondary faculty, and two of these mornings have focused on Diigo.  My principal also carved an hour into our most recent professional learning day for me to offer a Diigo session to interested teachers.

Compliments of Flickr User Newtown Grafitti – Under CC BY 2.0 License

I’ve gotten our Deputy Director of Operations on board with Diigo, and she wants to start using it for the 2013-2014 ordering process.  In the next few days, I’ll be emailing secondary faculty about the role of Diigo in the students’ extended essay research process and requesting their support.

As a librarian, I am already convinced of the benefits of being a connected learner; geeking out is what I do for a living. Now my job is to become a connected learning evangelist and suck in everyone around me, guiding even the tech haters to the light.