I love that Capstone has created such a rich and wonderful advocacy tool for us!
A South Carolina Educator Blog
I love that Capstone has created such a rich and wonderful advocacy tool for us!
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What’s with #Prezi pushing me to download a computer app? Almost feels SPAMMY. Advertise SOME OTHER WAY. Free for short time will not = my $
— Cathy Jo Nelson (@cathyjo) October 12, 2014
After getting an email BOTH at school and at home, I put that tweet out hoping maybe someone who monitors Prezi PR via Twitter will see it and understand I don’t appreciate spammy emails. If you have an account, I’m sure you’ve gotten this email:
Am I the only who feels this tactic is a little spammy? Is Prezi trying to guilt me into a Pro account? I’ve suggested Prezi to numerous students and teachers as a possibility for presentations over the years, and I’ve been fairly pleased to see my school community try many of the presentation tools I have showcased, including Prezi.
I guess this email just rubbed me the wrong way. Sorry Prezi, but you just got pushed way down the list as a suggestion I will make to students and teachers for presentation programs. No, I won’t eliminate you completely, but I didn’t like this email.
Anyone else have similar feelings??
Sep 10th, 2014 by Cathy Jo Nelson
Just about three years ago, Joyce Valenza shared in her Neverending Search blog the idea that she and Shannon Miller came up with to connect their school library book clubs into a “somewhat virtual book club” for joint discussions. And, she generously invited other TLs to participate. I was one of the readers who responded asking to join in. And, in October 2011, we had our first virtual event. You can read my reflection on our early meetings in my December 2011 blog posting.
We’ve experienced a variety of bumps in the road keeping this going, but I am so proud of my students and of all the students who have participated and shared their insights on reading with other students across the country. It was also especially exciting for all of us to have authors accept our invitations to talk with us. Many thanks to Libba Bray, Lauren Myracle, and Ellen Hopkins for joining us! Regular TL and student participants over the last three years have included Joyce Valenza’s Springfield Township High School in Springfield Township, PA; Shannon Miller’s Van Meter Community Schools in Van Meter, IA; Michelle Luhtala’s New Canaan HS in New Canaan, CT; Colette Cassinelli’s La Salle Catholic College Prep in Milwaukee, OR; Cathy Jo Nelson’s Dorman HS in Roebuck, SC; and Debbie Bobolin’s James Caldwell HS in West Caldwell, NJ.
And, this year, the “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” (#SWVBC) is ready to expand, and we invite everyone interested to join us.
Here’s the plan so far:
Watching trends in school library again, I see a new one taking root: the Learning Commons. I love this video made using Powtoon, one of our AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2014. I never did get on that library genrefication bandwagon, though many of my friends did–and they are still riding it and doing well. I just could not wrap my mind around it, particularly with a large collection in my library (+24,000 books alone.)
The Learning Commons concept has been calling my name though. With the removal of our large CPUs/old boxy monitors over the summer, replaced now with updated laptops that can provide mobility in our library, we can actually begin to rethink our layout and how we arrange furniture. We can consider some options that before were out of the question. The new challenge now is selling the concept to the powers that be, and acquiring some flexibly designed furniture.
I was happy to dismiss genrefication when it came along. I don’t want to dismiss the Learning Commons wave. It may just be the magic bullet to revitalizing the library.
It’s coming as a new initiative for us.
I’ve been in some trainings recently, getting acclimated to the LMS coming to my district. Do I like it over Google’s Classroom? As a recent graduate of the Google Teacher Academy (#GTAATL) and now sporting a shiny new endorsement, Google Certified Teacher, one would think I would be a holdout. Yes, I wish we had gone with Google’s Classroom, but alas, even though we are a GAFE district, we chose a different program, ItsLearning.
I will not lie–I was disappointed we opted for this one over Google’s Classroom, especially after my introduction and exposure through my Google Teacher Academy experience this summer. Each day as I become more acclimated to ItsLearning, I become a fan, an enthusiastic one. I’m sure this is true with any LMS, but I really think this has potential to be a panacea for teachers and their ownership of technology learning. I’m sure the scale of implementation will be appropriate to the levels of technology comfort our teachers have, and I can say that since I am tapped as a trainer in my district.
My initial worry with the plan for implementation is that teachers would approach it like many other initiatives we are introduced to each “back to school” fiscal year:
Do those reactions ring true for anyone else? I must confess I have muttered these sayings myself over the years. Where was my inner “team player” thinking cap?
But this time I’m very excited about our new initiative. I can envision a bright future using this LMS. I don’t think it will magically cure all that ails teachers, especially with their adoption of seamlessly integrated technology in the classroom. But I do think we are definitely on the right track. I realize there will be some who get on the bandwagon immediately, and these will serve as models to others. There will be those who will adopt, but not without a lot of support. And there will be those who need a lot of side-by-side “thinking out loud” and brainstorming to wrap their minds around using it. What really makes me happy is that our students will be using a program K-12, and for the first time, I feel teachers will look forward to newer technologies I share.
Okay, so maybe panacea is too strong a description of the impact ItsLearning might have. I do feel it will help us turn the corner to more authentic use of technology in our schools. I hope as a district trainer, I can be instrumental in casting the vision for this LMS and its use/impact in my district. So for now it IS the panacea we need.
What’s your panacea? Inquiring minds want to know.
Jul 22nd, 2014 by Cathy Jo Nelson
The South Carolina Association of School Librarians is accepting proposals NOW for the 2015 Annual Conference. It already sounds EXCITING!! Just get a look at the save the date card that came in the mail. Are you dismissing it? Do you avoid conference because it’s the same old stuff each year? Well STEP into your super hero shoes and make this the best conference ever! Break the mold by presenting something at our conference. You may be just the difference we are looking for. What better way to advocate for school library programs everywhere than by sharing what is working in your own teaching (and learning) context!
What will I propose?
I submitted my proposals today:
These are what I have been thinking about and/or actually doing in my own professional learning, and I just want to share with other librarians, opening the door to learning via conversations at our annual conference. To me, the value of SCASL Conference is not measured by the keynotes and authors (which are always grand) but rather the sharing and learning from librarians just like me facing students day to day. I look forward to sharing my stories, and can’t wait to hear yours, and better, learn from you. Crossing my fingers these proposals are accepted!!
So, what are YOU willing to share?
Keep in mind you have two types to consider. There is the standard concurrent, which typically lasts as hour, and then the Idea Exchange, which are less formal and happen on Wednesday during the opening of the exhibit hall. If you feel nervous presenting, consider a co-presenter or a panel session, which takes the heat off. Crowd sourcing topics is an excellent way to get in on a presentation too. Last spring my “Don’t Worry, Get ‘Appy” session came together because I knew people would sign-up to share if they knew they only had to talk for 3-5 minutes. We had a great session that day last year at SCASL14.
So, get busy. Submit your presentation proposal now! Visit SCASL.net and using the navigation menu on the left, click Conference, then Application to Present. If you need an idea, I can give you some!
I haven’t mentioned too much about my Google Teacher Academy experience in Atlanta this summer. I am just having difficulty putting it into words. The pictures alone still do not effectively relay my experience. Maybe it’s because I had the GCTATL event, followed by ISTE’s precon event Hack Edu. and finally the ISTE conference, so the term overwhelmed is an absolute understatement. So much is swimming in my head STILL weeks later!! I did try to share a few of my favorite sessions at ISTE a few times previously on this blog.
Some of my friends are beginning to share their experiences for GTA, and I want to share AND feature some of their content, especially since they really capture the essence of the experience. Maybe some of my pictures will take care of this for me. We were cautioned about taking too many photos, and to be sure not to capture actual working “Googlers” while in their office. Factor in my AWE, and I didn’t take as many as I thought. I tried to capture the workspaces we were in and the GCT attendees hard at work.
Take a moment to read through these two GCT’s reflections that REALLY resonate with me!!
Of course I have to give a shout out to Chelsi Eminger, who’s five minute pres has inspired me to work with a class or two using this exact project. Prior to GTA, I’d never even heard of Eric Curts. Chelsi, thanks for sharing this, enlightening me, and giving me a real project to work into my teaching context immediately!!
There is much more to process. Hopefully I will eventually pull it into a few posts. I complimented Andy and Chelsi via twitter about their reflections, admitting I had difficulty trying to put any of the experience in writing. So this is my attempt to begin doing just that, as encouraged by Andy. I’m really encouraged to realize I’m not the only one struggling with a sufficient reflection.
@cathyjo it could be better but I finally had to just put some words down. Took forever!
— Andy Plemmons (@plemmonsa) July 22, 2014
This was a repeated theme through sessions I attended and conversations I had while in Atlanta last week. Glad I snapped this photo from the 2nd ISTE Ignite session. I’m going to find a way to replicate this and display it in our Dorman Library. Stay tuned.
I attended this session at ISTE, and I cannot lie, I was floored. The session wasn’t near long enough to cover everything in it, so presenter Steve Dembo encouraged us to return and process what we could on our own time. Summertime TV is the perfect opportunity for me to do that. I say so because summer TV is so bad, I don’t mind sitting in my living room and viewing, interacting, reading and reflecting over my ISTE notes while the guys watch any programming with a ball and scores! I spent a full evening just processing through the wealth of content in Steve’s Prezi. Steve Dembo created a path to highlight content with in the Prezi, but I quickly realized i wasn’t getting to view all the embedded content. I started over to ensure I viewed each and every part of, which took me probably 2 hours if not more. It was time well spent and left my head spinning with ideas and more. Now I’ve challenged myself to take sometime to really learn WeVideo, since I loved the examples shared in this session.
There were three key concepts that were emphasized during this session.
Youtube is blocked where you are? Dembo made sure we understood that this should not dissuade you as a teacher from embracing digital storytelling. There are plenty of tools out there on the Internet where you can apply the takeaways from the session. Instead of thinking of YT as something out of reach due to your school’s filter, implement the YT style of video making. What does that mean? Let kids make videos to demonstrate learning through a variety of sources for a variety of reasons. Students are not intimidated by this because generally video making for this generation is already very much YT-like; short, creative, looking for an audience, wishing to be the next YT viral sensation. Educators need to harness this energy for learning!
Just in case his Prezi is not showing through your digital portal, here is the direct link: http://prezi.com/sefzj_jpnupp/storytelling-for-the-youtube-generation/#