SLM 508 Learning Technologies

Learning in the 21st Century

The Holy Grail of Library Blogs June 20, 2012

Filed under: Blog Reviews,Library Blogs,Technology — Mrs.Hamilton @ 2:54 pm

I just came across the blog A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet as I was looking for a good resource on infographics and had a minor geek out moment.  There are a ton of great resources that span many genres of Education.  I am considering turning my course syllabus into an infographic next year and have been doing some preliminary research…I will let you know what I come up with.


A Blog Post Worth Reading June 15, 2012

Filed under: Blog Reviews,Library Blogs,SLM 508 — Mrs.Hamilton @ 11:21 pm

Ok.  I know that I have already posted my blog reviews but I had to share one more post.  This post is from The Adventures of Library Girl and it is entitled 5 Conversations [About Libraries] I Don’t Want To Have Anymore.  It is like she went into my brain and wrote a blog post about it.  Definitely worth reading.


Libriarians Rocking Technology

Filed under: Blog Reviews,Library Blogs,SLM 508,Technology — Mrs.Hamilton @ 10:08 pm

I have always loved the library. It is one of the key reasons that I decided to become an English teacher.  I love the books, I love the freedom, and I love to escape to the magical place that comes when I read.  It wasn’t until I became an English teacher that I realized that a library is about more then the books it holds. The modern librarian is one of the most technologically savvy educators in the school community.  Librarians have had to change their focus as today’s students begin to explore and access knowledge in whole new ways.  With this in mind I have compiled a list of three great and inspiring blogs from librarian educators with great ideas.

Lets start by checking out this Power Point presentation from Jennifer LaGarde about the changing role of the modern “Rock Star” librarian.

View more PowerPoint from Jennifer LaGarde  Adventures of Library Girl (Jennifer LaGarde) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Jennifer LaGarde is the author of The Adventures of Library Girl a blog about her adventures with as a school librarian in North Carolina.  Her blog posts are filled with ideas, links to articles, videos and pictures that show how she is meeting the needs of the new generation of learners in her own library.  One particularly fun post From Tech Trend to Teaching Tool: Taking the QR Code Plunge! explains how she uses QR codes to encourage creativity and exploration with students.  She also gives some great ideas for ways to use QR codes to make parent contacts, book explorations and scavenger hunts.  She also provides advice from her own experiences with using them with students.  Another great post is The 10 Web 2.0 Tools/Apps I Use Most As A Teacher, Learner & Leader.  In this post she talks about her 10 go-to tools that she uses and why.  She gives a brief review of each and explains how she uses these tools.  Overall, I find her writing to be entertaining and her honesty to be refreshing…Definitely worth following.
Another blog worth following is Tales from a Loud Librarian.  This middle school librarian’s blog covers everything from current reads and recent author visits to classroom practices and professional development experiences.    While at times mundane, this blog has some great ideas about how to engage kids in literacy through technology.  In her posts Last Day of School, Last Author Visit, Sort of and Rick Riordan Webcast to Launch the Serpent’s Shadow she uses web tools to port the authors into her school.  It is neat to see how students can experience an author without the expense of an actual author’s visit.  She also has a verity of posts on Teen Tech week and how they technology to explore new places. I could definitely learn a thing or two from her and she sets a inspiring example.
The last librarian blog that I would like to talk about today is the Never Ending Search sponsored by School Library Journal.  While the format is not as visually appealing as some of the other blogs out there it’s content is top notch.  This blog is devoted to highlighting fun and exciting features in technology that help kids become better readers and writers. In YALSA’s Teen Book Finder App (love it!) the author review a new apple app that was released by YALSA to help find summer reading.  She reviews the features, price and availability. I downloaded the app after reading this…it is pretty neat.    In her blog posts New info-infographics from EasyBib & Turnitin and Big NoodleTools news she discusses some of the issues when dealing with citations and digital citizenship.  She includes links to other blogs, graphics, and slideshows to make her point and leaves the reader with some valuable solutions to reduce plagiarism  in schools.  Because of it’s connection with School Library Journal there is a lot of cross referencing at the end of each blogpost.  This allows the reader to continue exploring the topic in depth.
One of the coolest realizations I came to as I was exploring blogs and deciding what to post was that there are so many cool ideas out there waiting to be read.  Before the internet we educators had to rely on the experience of our co-workers and district gatherings to share ideas and get fresh perspectives.  With blogging, I can collaborate across the world.  Blogging also opens interesting opportunities for students to share what they are doing with their community.  It is a great place to share work, experiences and ideas.

Teaching (and Learning) Technology Through Education Blogs June 13, 2012

Filed under: Blog Reviews,Education Blogs,SLM 508,Technology — Mrs.Hamilton @ 4:16 pm

As an educator in this constantly evolving world it is important to continuously step back and evaluate our practices and tools that we use to accomplish our craft.  Each new wave of students is coming to us with different experiences, new perspectives, and a more intuitive knowledge of technology then the group before.  It is our job as educators to not only keep up, but set the standards for new and innovative ideas in the classroom.  One great way to find these new ideas is through educational blogs.  These blogs can give some great insight on ways to improve and enhance the use of technology in your classroom.  Watch this video from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach about why it is important to be a connected educator.

Ms. Nussbaum-Beach is the author of the blog 21st Century Collaborative.  She uses her blog to share information about the importance of seeking professional development in education.  As an experienced educator, she tracks her process as a professional development provider and connects her readers to new opportunities and ideas that might help them grow in their own learning. Her blog post Walking the Walk explains why she decided to pursue professional development as a way to connect to the education community.  In her blogpost In Defense of Rigor she explores the many definitions of rigor as defined in education.  In both blogposts she links her thought process to other articles and ideas that have informed her opinion and comes to some powerful conclusions about the whys and hows of education.  This is a great blog if you are looking for thought provoking, big picture discussions.  She regularly looks at what educators are doing in the classroom, and perhaps more importantly why are they doing what they are doing in the classroom.

Another educational blog that has some great insight is Voices from the Learning Revolution.  This blog is authored by a variety of educators and sponsored by Powerful Learning Practice Professional Development.  It discusses different ways that new technology are being experimented with in the classroom such as Virtual Field Trips and Skype adventures.  Each post is written by an educator that was actively involved in the experiment and includes the process that they followed, the outcomes that they experienced and some reflections on the process.  The blog also includes blog posts on pedagogy and teaching practices.  In How Do We Teach Critical Thinking in a Connected World? Sr. Geralyn Schmidt reflects on the ways that teachers use critical thinking to refine their own practice.  In Encouraging Teachers to Teach Creatively Margaret Haviland poses a new perspective on Bloom’s taxonomy and the importance of fostering creativity within the learning community.  Overall, the blog presents some great starting points for discussions on classroom practices.  It reads like a continual list of action research abstracts with the conclusions and take-aways stated at the end of each blog post.

The last blog that I would like to discuss today is Teaching English using web 2.0 authored by Ann S. Michaelsen of Norway.  Michaelsen uses her blog to post ideas, articles and thought provoking media about how technology is being used in classrooms around the world.  As an administrator in her school Michaelsen has made it her goal to foster technological practices in every classroom.  In her blog-post Innovative Ideas from Across the Globe she highlights the ways that schools are using technology by posting a video from the Infinite Thinking Machine that explains their “design for giving” contest.  It is inspiring to see what other schools are doing and it could be a great way to present a global perspective on technology.  Another of her blogs titled MIT launches student-produced educational video initiative  explains a new program the MIT is launching to create quality education videos that target STEM initiatives.  In this article she explains the program, includes a short video that shows highlights from the program, and connects links to articles if you would like to read further.  This blog is a neat way to stay connected to the international educational community.  Michaelsen has a keen eye for what is hot and seems to keep her finger on the pulse of technological education.

No matter what blog you choose to read, it is important to constantly reflect on your practices as a teacher.  Blogs are a great way to see what others are doing, and perhaps challenge yourself to try something new.