Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why It's Worth the Time... News from the TLEdCamp!

One of my presentations at the TL Edcamp for RCSD

News From the #rcsdtlcamp

This week I was involved in helping to co-ordinate and facilitate a Teacher Librarian Digital EdCamp for my school division. It was a great opportunity for me to share a little of what I have learned in this class, and explore how the role of the Teacher Librarian is changing with 21st Century Learning. Some of the sessions we offered included:

Exploring Digital PD - Exploring MOOCs and Twitter and the role in the PD and PLN
*One of my sessions!

Genius Hour - What is Genius Hour and how can the Teacher Librarian support this student driven project in the classroom.
*One of my sessions!

Library Website Development - Reasons to set up a School Library page and how to do it via Weebly.

The Power of QR Codes - What are QR codes? How do you make them or use them? How using QR codes can transform a project from being static to inactive spaces.

Digital Curation - Why TL's need to become digital curators. It's more than being a "manager of the books".

Copyleft in the 21st Century - How do you give attribution? What are the rules and regulations??

Digital Book Clubs - How to start a Digital Book Club and resources to the Digital Dystopian Book Club project.
*A project that I explored with several teachers last year, as a grade 8 teacher and Teacher Librarian.

Flatclassrooms - What is a "Flat classroom?" How do you launch it in your own classroom?

Skype in the Classroom - How can Skype be used in the classroom to connect with experts? Connect with other classrooms via the Mystery Skype.

Easy Bib - How to use this citation and research management tool in the classroom

Battle of the Books Goes Digital - How do you incorporate a digital component to Battle of the Books? Why is it worth your while?
* One of my sessions!

Reactions and Fallout

Overall it was a fantastic and energizing day. Many of the Teacher Librarians were a little unsure about where to begin with some of the ways TL's and the school library can "go digital".  However, just as any new digital user,  I think many of them came to the realization that it's about starting small and building from there. Most importantly, I think many realized that it's about not going about things in isolation. As teachers we encourage our students to learn collaboratively as it promotes looking at different perspectives as well as "Group Think" in tackling problems, therefore as teachers we should do the same.

Many of the TL's embraced collaborative opportunities by joining the Teacher Genius Hour Group #rcsdgenius or "Reasonably Intelligent Teachers Who Teach Geniuses". This was something that I started last week using Office 365 (my school division is committed to using Microsoft Office, so I'm determined to find all the collaborative solutions that the product may offer... I know it's not Google, but I think it will work!)

Is It Worth Your Time?

Over and over again, as I conducted my sessions,  I noticed a few raised eyebrows. Some eyebrows were raised in excitement about where to begin... Others - skepticism. One TL even said, "Sounds great, but I don't have time." Hmmm...Time...  Is it about finding time or is it about using our time better? In my own experience I have found that by following some of the best "Guru Educators" (see the links I posted on our Digital PD page) out there, I am able to create my own personal PD or PLN. No longer do I have to wait for a conference to be offered within my division or to use up all my measly professional development funds on a conference, I can find my own presenters by learning about what is out there. With social media, I am finding ways to save time by looking at what's current, relevant and innovative in education. Through social media I can get a taste of what's new and innovative in teaching. I don't have to wait for a consultant or administrator to tell me what is innovative, I can find out for myself.  Anyways that's basically a recap on reasons I explained to TL's on why they should take time for social media to launch their professional learning.

That day, there were a few more Twitter followers who joined the ranks of teachers who saw it as worth a second look, and that it could be used more than just Facebook. Going back to those eyebrows that were raised in skepticism, I think a few were furrowed in concentration as they signed up and learned how to navigate Twitter!

Take a look at a few of the screenshots of our conversations that blossomed!

Where Do We Go From Here??

I think that as a teacher you get a feeling of satisfaction when you see one of your students so excited by what they learned, that they start teaching others. That has got to be one of the best parts about teaching. After my session on MOOCs and Twitter, and after the TL's got fired-up about Twitter, I explored  the open world of MOOCs. Many were stunned by some of the universities who offered MOOCs like MIT and Stanford and the topics that were offered via Coursera and Canvas Network. Digital Storytelling and Minecraft gathered a lot of enthusiasm, especially when we briefly discussed the role Minecraft would play in AR (Augmented Reality) and Maker Movement. I think there were a couple who signed up that day, and I have a feeling that the MinecraftEdu session that I wanted to start in January might be filled up!

Okay... without giving you a play-by-play of the day, I just wanted to say that a lot of what I've learned by being involved in this class helped with setting up ideas for our TL Edcamp sessions. Through more support, I think that Teacher Librarians have the potential to become ALL-ROUND LITERACY  and DIGITAL LITERACY SPECIALIST in the building. All aspects of literacy... from early reading intervention to informational literacy and digital literacy. Many of the TL's get it... for others it will be extending their comfort zone. However the most important thing is that we are all trying to extend ourselves and try new ideas. As educators we all need to ensure that we stay relevant to the times, regardless of teaching assignment. If you look at Teacher Librarians like @JenniferLagarde (Library Girl),  @JoyceValenza or @GwynethJones (the Daring Librarian) one can see the potential of the Teacher Librarian as becoming that SUPER LITERACY SPECIALIST!

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