Very helpful starter kit for becoming a "connected educator"

Ramos, Tara

IL

Powerful Learning Practice.  (2015).  Connected educator starter kit.  Retrieved from https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/38904447/connected-educator-month-starter-kit-2015.pdf

Summary: This tool kit was designed to accompany the activities surrounding Connected Educators Month in 2015.  It provides an introduction to what a connected educator is and gives about thirty tools and ideas (one for each day os the month) that teachers can engage with to become more connected.  Examples include tips on using Twitter, building your Personal Learning Network, collaborating online, blogging, Wikis and more!  A favorite quote: “To become a connected educator, you must first become a connected learner.”

Evaluation:  I found this kit to be extremely useful as a budding teacher librarian.  It is exactly the introduction I needed to many tools and ideas that I have heard about surrounding 21st century learning and Web 2.0, but that have yet to become instrumental to my practice as an educator.  Just reading through the suggested activities and engaging with several of them, I am seeing a whole new world open to me before my eyes.  I highly recommend this kit to anyone who considers themselves to be at the beginning stages of becoming a 21st century educator.

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Kelly Roys

Herring, J. E. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A guide
for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing. doi: 10.3233/EFI-2010-0888

Summary: Review of James Herring’s new volume on information literacy skills includes the processing and evaluation on web usage. Herring is a professional who has been publishing works related to teacher librarians and theories for practicum in information literacy for over 30 years. The review of the book details the overarching themes to the nine chapters within the book. The beginning chapters of the book are detailed to introductory on web usage pre-Web 2.0. Herring’s volume promotes a few models of theory for learning when using technology and the author reviewing the book notes that there are parts of the volume that not all will agree with and the reader should be made aware of these sections.

Evaluation: I found this review of Herring’s book to be of value as it notes the background of the author, the preferences towards theories applicable to teacher librarians, teachers and students. The volume is practical and theory based, which allows the reader to both apply what they are learning in a contextual aspect. The review does not lean heavily to one perspective of the author and his work. The review describes the book for its application and relativity in relation to the topic and allows the reader of the review to make their own conclusion as to whether the volume will be of interest to them to read.

New Technologies and 21st Century Skills

Boyer, Allison
IL
New technologies and21st century skills. (2016). Retreived from http://newtech.coe.uh.edu/
Summary: This website is part of an ongoing project by the Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Education.  This site provides an explanation of what it means to be literate in the 21st Century, what skills are considered 21st Century, as well as an ongoing lists of resources to help teachers understand 21st Century skills and ways to incorporate these skills in the classroom for student development.

Review: I found this website to be quite helpful in understanding 21st Century skills.  Not only does it provide an in-depth explanation of these skills, especially in relation to the education field, but the list of resources is extensive and ever-growing. It’s this aspect that I found most interesting.  This website is part of a project organized and maintained by LITE, and the list of resources will only continue to grow.  Resource include links to outside website, videos, Google Docs, etc.  This website is definitely one to remember.  

Use of Technology in Real Classrooms

By Terry Funk
CA 

Moreillon, J., Hunt, J. & Ewing, S. (2009). Learning and teaching in wanda wiki wonderland: Literature circles in the digital commons. Teacher Librarian 37(2), p. 23-28.

Summary: This article discusses the collaborative experience of teacher and teacher librarian (as well as student teacher and graduate information and library science students) designing 8th grade literature circles – allowing students to work in four small groups on books (selected by the students) for a period of 6 to 8 weeks each. Themes included 1) American Southwest 2) Fantasy and Science Fiction 3) Historical Fiction and 4) Author Study. The teachers encouraged self-directed learning while meeting predetermined standards, objectives and deadlines. Successful characteristics of online collaboration includes openness, integrity and self-organization which the teachers modeled, taught through lessons in content, netiquette, design, Web. 2.0 tools, assessed with rubrics and checklists and then faded from as students took more ownership of the process. The students made the most progress in the fourth literature circle, and became more aware of their own thinking and learning processes during the year.

Evaluation: This is a good example of using both traditional print materials (books in literature circles) and Web 2.0 tools to collaborate and create new products digitally. The teachers adjusted teaching to help students become more sophisticated over the course of a year-long project – that is so that they would become better users of fair use, and copyrighted materials (citing when needed), and try new tools rather than leave it to students to learn on their own (self-directed learning). Going to the actual wikis, I see that students were able to participate and share new tech tools, teaching each other how they were able to use them, as well as discuss content (characters, plot summary, setting, defining and using vocabulary) and share original creations (such as artwork).