Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Beginning

It is the final week of classes this semester. I look forward to the coming summer semester, hoping that I learn as much in those classes as I did in the last few months. Looking through the portfolio requirements for the SLMS track students, I was surprised at how many pieces of this culminating project that I have completed this semester. In this class, I have learned how to write and create a newsletter for circulation; I have learned to collaborate with others on a group paper looking specifically at library websites; I have successfully created an entire orignal professional development workshop; I have become certified to teach Internet safety... The list goes on. I can see the value in all of these things since they will be directly applicable to what I will be doing in the future. This week we read an interesting and timely article (despite its 1930's publishing date) about education and curriculum changing and adapting to fit the needs of present students. We are fortunate in the SLMS program to have this adaptability built right into the program with its focus on new technology and new ways to use the technology in a school library. Finally, this week we had an exam on copyright issues. What I will take away from our study of this issue is to proceed with caution in this area, and when in doubt, look up any specific situation to be informed of possible infringement. Having a good resource for this will be absolutely vital.
I really did enjoy this class in computer applications. It introduced me to many new things that I would have never used before... My career as a school librarian will definitely benefit from having taken it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


What is my vision for my future career? My hope is to one day be the librarian in a school that puts the education of the students at the forefront of everyone's thinking. This includes, not only teaching students to pass tests, but to also instill in them life-long skills and characteristics like a love for reading, responsibility, information literacy, and a craving for new knowledge in a variety of formats. Technology integration would be a major part of my program, promoting creativity and collaboration among students and faculty.
During my first year in the school librarian program, I have visited numerous school libraries, and sometimes it seems that there is a large gap between what we learn about in our classes about collaboration and technology integration and what really happens everyday in school libraries... Hopefully, as new school librarians, we will bridge that gap and incorporate the best practices and tools that we now have in our professional toolboxes into our everyday practices in the schools, in hopes of improving the educational experience and learning of today's student in the Information Age.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Week 13 Copyright Police?

This week in Computer Applications we took another look at the issue of copyright in schools, the laws, regulations, and consequences of infringement. As an information specialist, the school library media specialist is in a unique position in the school which allows him/her to monitor a great deal of these issues on a daily basis. Much of the equipment that generates copied material (copiers, printers, computers etc.) are housed in the library, giving the SLMS a good opportunity to monitor, as well as giving the SLMS a great responsibility due to the possible legal ramifications of infringement (to the SLMS personally even). However, much has been said about the school librarian being viewed as a "copyright police," ready to jump all over faculty and students for any slight infraction. This does not generate good working relationships, which is absolultely vital for a collaborative, collegial working environment (which has been shown to increase student learning).
A key in this whole issue is administrative policy and support. If the SLMS is supported by school policy and the administration, copyright problems will become more of an administrative issue, instead of a personal, "look what he is doing" attack by the SLMS. Posting flyers, sending out emails etc. notifying faculty of the school policy is a good start to spread awareness about this important issue without alienating people in the process.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week 12 E books

The semester is fast coming to a close. There are many many assignments all coming due within the next few weeks. It can be easy to lose focus on the goal of my education in favor of simply "getting the assignment" done and over with. Everything we are doing will probably serve me in the future. If I learn it to a high level right now, it will be much easier to implement it into my school library.
This week we learned about ebooks and their place in school libraries, especially in the nonfiction and reference sections. This is a truly interesting topic as some people believe that ebooks have the potential to motivate students to increase their reading and research with print sources (that are no longer "print" anymore as they are in a digital format).
In research and reference especially, ebooks might be a revolution and a great tool to fight against the "Google it" generation. To have another digital resource to consult other than the Internet (this being more reliable), some believe would greatly serve to increase information literacy practices amongst students today. My questions come in regarding cost vs. benefit. The ebooks and their readers continue to be very expensive. Is this expense worth the possible benefits? This is something that I have not really worked out yet in my own vision of a school library...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week 11

This week we have been adding to our professionaly resources, as well as discussing the importance of constantly updating and utilizing these resources in our careers. Technology is constantly changing and growing. There are so so many applications available (many of which are free of charge - a good thing in this uncertain budgetary year) that can serve to incorporate information technology and computer skills into the curriculum of any grade level, as well as simply enriching the educational experience, whether it be through adding excitement to a info tech class by using various new apps or by increasing reading enjoyment through something like Google Lit trips.
I looked through my Diigo account this week and was admittedly overwhelmed at the amount of links and suggestions included there for implementing technology in the school library. I find myself thinking, I am going to have so much going on as a new school librarian. Just learning names of students, becoming acquainted with the school environment and other faculty, drawing up my own curriculum, how will I possibly have time to think about using these things in my library? I have to adopt a view of my future career as a profession, one that will develop over years and years of experience. Once I am adapted to a certain library, I will have more time to think about technology integration, and I do not have to use EVERY new app that comes available, only the ones that serve my particular needs at the time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 10 Conferences and Workshops

This has certainly been a full week. We were given the opportunity to "attend" a conference with numerous presentations done by professionals in our field about integrating technology into the school library. These presentations were helpful in several respects as it gave me numerous ideas of computer applications I had never even heard about. It is also great that these conferences are available online for me to keep to view anytime I might need assistance in the future (as it would be impossible to remember everything).
Also, there were several presentations on professional development at this conference. These were especially helpful this week as I was finishing up my own workshop for a professional development seminar (for this class). I learned many different things about making these workshops useful for those who attend and making teachers (especially the "non-techie" ones) feel welcome and comfortable. Some of these strategies included offering food and beverages as well as time for mingling and networking. This allowed teachers to feel more comfortable instead of simply taking yet another professional development class. Also, I found it to be important to stress the collegial and social aspects to learning technology.
The semester is fast coming to a close and I think we are probably all feeling the pressure of getting projects done before it ends, but even amidst the stress, I can see how far I have come and how much I have learned throughout the course of these classes... It is exciting to look ahead to the future and the opportunies we will have to apply everything we are learning today in a school library.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week 8 Presentations

This week has been a great learning experience for me. The thing that I really like about this class, Computer Applications, is how practical it is... This class is truly preparing me for a future career. Professional development presentations is something I will need to be doing as a school library media specialist. It is a great way to build relationships with fellow isntructors and other school staff members.
We have learned how best to give an effective presentation for staff development. Including knowing your overt and covert objectives, how best to meet these objectives in the presentation, and how to measure the success of the presentation by giving evaluations. There are many things to consider while creating a professional development workshop, incuding audience, time, publicity, duration, scope, location... the list can go on and on... Technology can come can really enhance a presentation (as we saw in the Powerpoint tutorial) through graphics, visuals, animations, but it is important to ask whether or not these things really add to the message we are tring to convey or if they will simply distract the audience.
This week I also have been working on the iSafe certification modules. This issue of internet safety very important today, as children spend many hours a day doing various activites online (especially with web 2.0 technology). To be able to effectively teach students (and teach them to teach eachother) about the dangers of online predators, viruses, identity theft etc. will be a great tool for me as a new school library media specialist.