I was sorry to miss the HVCC Inquiry Forum last week, but understand it was a huge success! It is so great to see that the Inquiry movement is really impacting our area for instructional reform. Delivering instruction that is more student-centered is one way to align delivery with Common Core Objectives. Steve Danna (RTTT facilitator for WSWHE) shared with me that he has not seen a model that is better than ours. When I shared that with Mary, she said “woo hoo!”
AASL 11 was a great opportunity to see that we are on the same page as everyone else around American. Below, I am sharing a bundle of tips that I received from sessions, vendors, and more. Please take time to consider these and try out the new 25 best web sites for Education.
The next AASL conference (2013) will be in Hartford, CT. So, please mark your calendars for October of 2013 and plan to attend! Even if your district won’t pay for the hotel or gas, it is worth is to carpool and split hotels. The conference really broadens your view into our national field. There will be a call for presenters next year, and we’ll be certain to share that. There are many things being done in our area, that we could share with others. I left the conference feeling that we are “right where we should be.” Between our eBook positions, our electronic delivery, our web catalogs as discovery avenues for all our resources, and our focus on Inquiry Based Learning, we are probably in better shape than many people.
John Brock, from NYSED, Barbara Stripling (from NYC) and myself presented a session on Friday morning to share our NYS School Library Media Program Evaluation (SLMPE) rubric with librarians from around the country. They were very interested in seeing what NYS had for evaluating library programs. This was very well attended, and I was frankly, a bit surprised. I wondered how many people would attend this, and yet we found that other states don’t have such a document, and NYS really came out smelling like a rose. In our age of budgetary cuts, librarian reductions, and financial oppression, people are comparing themselves to NYS and asked, “how can I get my state to value our programs be requiring a document like this?” “That is great that NYS has at least a minimum budget of $6.25, even thought is seems like little.” “Can someone please speak to our NJ governor?” “Can we see your APPR document too?”
We left feeling better about where we are teaching, working, and realizing that in NYS, we are recognized as a vital piece of the instructional pie.
Listed below are 8 quick tips from AASL11. Please read this as a little insight into the plethora of information you take away from a conference such as this. Hat's off to all the conference committee members who worked so hard to plan!
Tip 1: Download from the APP store “Puffin” browser to accommodate flash sites. This is .99 but will allow iPads to be used for more tools that we have.
Tip 2: The EBSCO browser that many people are complaining about… should be downloaded from the bottom of your EBSCO database pages. That way you get an authentication “key” which will allow for better searching. If you go through the app store, you won’t have the ability to access your databases. You need to get that authentication key.
Tip 3: Begin to focus your “avenue of discovery” for books by either your catalog or your catalog and your database page. The movement over the next few years will be through federated searching, (whether you like it or not). The amount of products that we will be subscribing to, and the varied locations, might compel us to actually insure that we have records within our catalogs for our resources. This is why you see both Follett and Opals, are beginning to craft their products to accommodate discovery via their homepage. … just keep this in mind.
Check out the new list of the top 25 websites for Educational use. Some are easy, such as the new NASA resources, others are harder, such as Spicynodes.org There are some that are just simple archives that are now at our disposal… National Archives Digital Vaults
One of the most interesting, I found was Dipity.com - a Timeline creator (knowledge products).
Khan Academy Has caused quite a stir as teachers complain about the need for video instruction. Other math teachers are happy to have the resources posted on their teacher pages for at-home review. This Gates Foundation, funded site, has caused quite a stir in education.
There are so many to mention, and I will post a blog later today on some of the highlights. It was interesting to see that we had shared a number of these at our own tech smackdown here in September.
Tip 5: Get familiar with QR codes, and QR readers, and QR generators such as Microsofts’ tag.microsoft.com or i-nigma.com/createBarcodes.html This mode of data transfer is taking off like a jet. Via a QR, you could transfer your webpage to all your students smartphones. The easier we have our resources for students to access, the more likely the students will be to use them. Here’s an experiment: What are your usage statistics before QR codes, and after using QR codes? …
Tip 6: Start an i-Team in your school … Train and certify smart students to be tech-helpers. This has proven invaluable for equipping teachers with students who can help to troubleshoot tech problems. The students become technical ambassadors and can facilitate web-based activities.
Tip 7: Read Nicholas Carr’s book: The Shallows . Before we jump into hyper-connected mode, just as the digital native operates, he cautions against the total connected lifestyle and shared at the conference in his Keynote, that brain patterns have been altered. The few fringe benefits of the hyper-connected have come with a price. I had listened to this book (download mmp3 form Overdrive) the week prior as it was the ‘one book, one conference’ read, and found it fascinating. It actually placed words into the “hunches” we all have as educators. This will help balance your focus on technology and productivity.
Don’t get stuck on Google (especially since they are censoring via data mining), but try out other search engines that are likely to prove effective such as: Blekko.com (“Slash the Web”), Yolink Education (Bring research into the 21st Century with Yolink Education by efficiently mining websites for information and enhancing the search experiences; cite resources seamlessly with Easybib; take notes and share with Google Docs.), SweetSeach.com (http://www.sweetsearch4me.com/, for younger learners) – widgets available on their site!
More to come, but for now… that’s enough.