Favorite/Most Enjoyable Module
I think the module I enjoyed the most was Module 4 where we embedded 3 different types of tools into our blog. I’m especially excited about the interactive media abilities of Thinglink (I was also able to figure out how to create and upload a sound-bite using my iPod!) and am exploring ideas to use it for lessons. While not a huge fan of Slideshare, I recently learned about “Slidedocs” (thank you Meg Hunter)—making book-type documents with presentation software like how Jennifer created our Teachers Guide—and am excited to explore the possibilities and make them available through Slideshare.
Most Challenging Module & What I Learned from the Experience
I think a few other folks will agree with me that setting up and working with WordPress in Module 3 was the most challenging tool to learn—and I’m still learning! As a long-time Webpage creator (I started back when it was still text-based!) I’ve used nearly every Website creation tool, both desktop and online, so I was filled with, what I can only describe as, CONSTERNATION when I experienced such difficulty with WordPress.
I think my problem was that WordPress offers so many ways to access and accomplish some tasks—with different landing pages that were initially confusing—yet other tasks have only one avenue for entry. Textual and video tutorials were helpful, but not as comprehensive as I needed, so finally I just opened new browser tabs to probe the features of each pageview, then put screenshots into a document with notes in order to sort out how WordPress works. I’ve used this learning process before and I shared my docs through our FB page file upload to help others learn from my experience.
2 Tools to Use Right Away for Teaching
I haven’t had regular, direct contact with students since I retired, but I’m hoping to rectify that by registering as a substitute teacher for this school year. I probably won’t be able to teach the tools I learned in this course, but my former school district (where I’ll sub) has Interactive Whiteboards in every classroom, so I want to learn more about those so I can be a more valuable substitute.
The tool I see myself using the most is Twitter—I never realized how valuable it is for getting ideas and information! Many of the teachers and staff at my former school use Twitter during the day, and I want to find (or build) a network of substitute teachers to call on when needed. I can use Twitter to ask for assistance in the classroom, and get guidance between class periods to solve a problem I’m having with a classroom assignment or ideas to fill time (teachers never seem to leave enough “stuff” to keep kids busy).
New Tools I Want to Learn
As a retired School Librarian I want to share my knowledge base, so I want to create an Information Literacy curriculum guide with interactive lessons for other librarians to use. I’m not sure about the difference between Flipped Learning tools and Learning Management Systems, and which would be better for what I want to do, so I will be investigating both of those in the coming months. Also, I began doing analog Video Production many years ago and even created a whole learning site for students through Moodle, but it’s outdated with all the new digital and online tools available. I want to explore Magisto and PowToon and over the next year create a new site for video production that will be more technologically engaging for students.
Concrete, Measurable Tech Goals with Target Dates
Being retired affords me a chance to “catch up” on some of the projects I’ve wanted to do for awhile:
- Right now I’m writing a book on Library Lessons and, rather than typing in those goofy URLs, I want to use QR codes to display links to online resources I’m sharing with readers. I’m hoping to submit my book in the fall, so I’m setting a date of September 1st to accomplish this goal.
- An important job for a School Librarian is teaching students how to take proper notes from research sources. Now that most research is done through online sources, it makes sense to takes notes the same way. I want to explore various Note-taking tools and create screen-casts for my Info-Lit curriculum to teach students how to use them properly. I’m allowing myself plenty of time for creating the curriculum, but since I already have the content for note-taking and just need to explore the tools, I’m setting myself a date of December 1st to accomplish this goal.
- For many, many years I maintained a website called DeweyLinks that collected useful websites specifically focused on supporting secondary curricula. While I retired the DeweyLinks site when I did, I want to update and republish it as part of my Info-Lit curriculum. I believe one of the Content Curation tools, such as Symbaloo, will be perfect for this, and I set myself the date of March 1st to accomplish this goal.
Most Important Take-away and Most Important Lesson
My first “COOL” moment was reading how to add the “Previous Page” icon to Acrobat Reader—I can’t tell you how much time that has saved me this month for more than just this course! I was also very interested when Jennifer explained how she used PPT to create our coursebook, so I explored that more, discovering “Slidedocs” through Nancy Duarte, which has opened up many possibilities for sharing knowledge and information with others.
However, my biggest takeaway from this course has been the journey itself, and the guidance we received through the JumpStart concept and the Facebook group. I’ve tried several other online guides for expanding my tech abilities, but this course offered such specific and purposeful ways to apply tools to our classroom (and library) environment; and it’s given me the confidence to learn many other tools in the Tech Guide. Another wonderful part of the journey is the extraordinary networking with other teachers around the world. I will continue reading posts and blog entries from participants, gathering new ideas for engaging students and helping them toward high achievement.
The most important lesson I learned from this course is, with the proper structure, we “old dogs” are NEVER too old to learn something new!