Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blog Post 4: Technology Leadership Role of School Librarians

Technology is constantly changing on a daily process.  It is the responsibility of the teachers to prepare the children of the 21st Century for jobs that have not even been created yet.  So, it is the responsibility of the schools both in the classroom and in the library to prepare and instruct the children on how to be global thinkers, presenters and doers.  The American Association of School Librarians or the AASL have established the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.  It is through these standards that provide a tool for school librarians as educational leaders to use the guide the direction of learning of students.  Technology should be used to enhance teaching and learning in order to meet the needs of all students of a school.
       According to the AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (2007) state that are four areas that Learners use skills, resources and tools to:
1.       Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
2.      Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new  
3.      Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members or our democratic society.
4.      Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.
Each of the four areas list target objectives that should be followed:  Skills, Dispositions in Action, Responsibilities, and Self-Assessment Strategies. These target objectives identify ways on how teachers and librarians can utilize them in planning and instructing lessons.  According to AASL (2007),  the target objectives are the following:
1.      Skills:  Key abilities needed for understanding, learning, thinking, and mastering subjects.
2.      Dispositions in Action: Ongoing beliefs and attitudes that guide thinking and intellectual behavior that   can be measured through actions taken.
3.      Responsibilities: Common behaviors used by independent learners in researching, investigating, and   problem solving.
4.      Self-Assessment Strategies: Reflections on one’s own learning to determine that they skills,  
dispositions, and responsibilities are effective.
Technology in the schools and the role of the school librarian is crucial in the learning of the 21st Century student.  The role of the school librarian is to instill the educational technology and to promote the effective use of technologies for education in their schools.   
       Today’s students are different from the students of yesterday, they are born in a world that surrounds them with the technology and they know how to use it.  According to Smaldine, Lowther & Russell, 2012, they are known as Digital Students:
Digital students learn in classrooms where the technology is a seamless component of learning that  
expands the educational environment beyond the classroom walls. Devices and digital connections  
extend the existing capabilities of learners in many directions. (p.9)
The more technology resources that are offered to students then the more opportunities to learn are available for all students.  Boles (2011) states that the most important use of technology in a classroom is the internet.  Students are able to access the internet as needed and are able to access learning websites or other useful sites needed to complete assignments or projects.  As a technology leader in the schools, it is the role of the librarian to support the use of technology in the school and help students learn how to be good digital citizens by modeling proper use and responsibility.
        A school librarian needs to be a 21st Century Librarian since the library of today is constantly changing and moving forward.  According to Smaldine, Lowther & Russell, 2012, they stated this about the 21st Century teachers:
The role of the teacher will always include the foundational responsibility of enabling students to learn.    However, differences have been seen over time in how teachers accomplish this goal.  The role of the   21st century teacher still is to improve student learning, but it requires the teacher to have broader 
capabilities than content knowledge, the ability to use pedagogy in the classroom, and basic computer   skills. They also need to be technologically competent and information-literate. (p. 284)
A 21st Century Librarian is one who has embraced technology as a tool and is ready to facilitate and inspire the learning for tomorrow by meeting the needs of all.

Abarbanel, E., Davis, S., Hand, D. & Wittmer, M. (2013, Summer). The new school library - the   
     human connection to digital resources and academic success. Independent School Magazine,
     Retrieved from
American Association of School Librarians, (2007).  Standards for the 21st-Century LEARNER.
Boles, S. R. (2011). Using technology in the classroom. Science Scope , 34(9), 39-43. Retrieved from in Classroom.pdf
Smaldine, S. A., Lowther, D. L., & Russell , J. D. (2012). Instructional technology and media for
     learning. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blog Post 3: Technology Implementation Strategies

Technology plays an important part in children’s lives, both at home and at school.  Because of this, programs need to be implemented in the schools to provide technology so that it can become familiar and comfortable for all students. If teachers are able to implement numerous strategies in the classroom then technology can be used as a teaching and learning tool.  I found this article, “Meaningful Connections - Using Technology in Primary Classrooms” by Karen L. Murphy, Roseanne DePasquale and Erin McNamara, it provides ways to implement technology in the classroom.  As a kindergarten teacher, I can see the importance of having children learn how to use technology in a powerful and authentic ways.
Technology as a tool, should be incorporated in a classroom in enriching ways. According to Murphy, DePasquale and McNamara (2003), they state:
For technology to fulfill its promises as a powerful contributor to learning, it must be             used to deepen children’s engagement in meaningful and intellectual authentic  
curriculum (p. 2)
Teachers must decide what and how students should learn based on the curriculum and then determine the best way to develop teaching practices to implement technology in the classroom.  
Children come to the classroom with limited experiences on technology.  So, they must be taught the necessary basic skills that will allow them to become comfortable and develop the foundational skills needed to produce advanced applications as they grow older and produce purposeful work (Murphy et al, 2003).   When students are in the the primary years of school, Murphy et al states that adults can model other appropriate uses of technology to children in many different ways such as through digital and video cameras, multimedia slideshows, and using websites to find answers to questions and eventually be able to use technology on their own.   
The two technology strategies that I can use to improve my instructional strategies are digital imagery and concept mapping software. Digital imagery can be still or through the use of video. Murphy et al states that video imagery allows the children to be able to relive their experiences and process their learning in many ways.  We can then take these images and use them in writing and in many of other forms of student expression.  I can also use the digital imagery in our classroom blog and facebook page.  This will allow the parents to see and share our classroom learning experiences.  The digital imageries can also be used in student presentations through Movie Maker, Animoto and through Powerpoints. When I first started in LCISD, I was trained in using the following concept mapping software program, Kidspiration but I chose not to use it.  We use a lot of thinking maps in the classroom and they are wonderful but to have the children to be able to create their own webs through Kidspiration.  The children can play with their own ideas and it will allow me to check their understanding and see how they think by choosing their own pictorial symbols and webs.  It will be fun for my Kindergarten class to explore and play around with Kidspiration before I model how we will use it in the classroom.  I can’t wait to see their thinking.  
Technology has had a major impact on our lives and especially how we use it in the classroom.  It should be used in ways that are meaningful and intellectual authentic.  Teachers need to expose technology in a safe and challenging ways so that children can become skilled and confident users as adults.

Murphy, K., DePasquale, R., McNamara, E.  Meaningful Connections: Using Technology in Primary Classrooms, (58)3, 12-18.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Library Leadership Search Engine

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blog Post 2: Handheld Devices

Today, technology is all around us.  It is very common to see kids of all ages using some type of handheld device. Teachers are even using handheld devices in the their classroom.  Are you one of them?  I am a Kindergarten teacher who uses iPods and iPads in her classroom.  I use them as part of my literacy stations and in my math work stations.  There are so many wonderful apps out there that can be downloaded and used in the classroom.  Handheld devices are definitely a great technology tool to use in the classroom and in a library setting. I found this wonderful article, “iPod Implementation in the Elementary Grades” by Stephanie Hinshaw Hatten.  It provides great useful ways in implementing them into your classroom.  
Hatten (2012) states that you should teach the students how to properly handle iPods and use them.  The best way to do this is by training and practice.  Routines need to be established especially in taking them out to getting started then to putting them away correctly.  The training and practice takes place over days with the basics then more details and advance features can be added to the practice over time.  Hatten recommends that students should not use the internet or the devices’ recording capabilities when first starting with an iPod training. Hatten (2012) research found the following:
It’s important to train teachers and students and establish best practices. Often we think we need to use new technologies every lesson to be successful. But successful integration is about quality, not quantity. (p.30)
Then after training and practice then you want to set up iPod stations or centers where students would be able to work with iPods independently so that teachers could work with other students.  
Technology should be used as a learning tool and every child should be given the opportunity.  Devices should be giving to all students and even the ones who cannot sit still or maybe need some motivation.  Hatton also states that we should not withhold learning with technology when punishing students.  
When looking for apps, teachers need to be aware that they will need to update, revise and re-evaluate them often.  Hatten suggests to create different app folders in order to have differentiated iPods for your diverse learners.  Let the students vote and select their favorite apps by including them in the process you are motivating and engaging them in learning.  Strategic games could also be included in your app folders since they can be used to teach problem-solving skills but of course that depends on the teacher.  

As a future librarian, I could see using iPods in many ways in my library.  I would use them along with QR codes for scavenger hunts of books, author studies, characters or even quotes from different books.  Students would scan the QR code and receive the clue and then answer the question and go to their next clue.  The students with the most points could win free books or they get to assist in creating the next scavenger hunt. The other ways to use iPods would be by downloading podcasts of author chats, current events, historical events, and great teacher/classroom tips and even for me to hear information from other librarians on simple tricks and tips for taking my library to the next level.  Students could also use the iPod as a Nook and by having lots of downloadable stories on them for the kids to read.  Study guide apps would also be downloaded to assist students with homework.  I would also set up a iPod station just for the kids to have access on them just for the apps for learning or even for fun! Students would even be allowed to check them out for personal or school use.
The use of iPods in the library as a handheld device are endless and it is exciting time for students and librarians.  They are definitely a great technology tool for education!

Hatten, S.H. (2012). iPod Implementation in the Elementary Grades.  Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(7), 30-31.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blog Post 1: Technology Strengths and Weakness

Technology is a tool that needs to be used and integrated into the classroom.  It is very important as an educator to increase our knowledge and skills.  We should also be willing to learn and adapt in order to meet the needs and raise our level of competence to that of our students. 

I am a Kindergarten teacher in a small community that is outside of the largest city in Texas.  Our school enrollment is 553 students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade.  The total number of students in our district is 26,983.  Our district strives to provide the students and staff with access with the latest technology.  Each summer, teams of teachers from the various schools are selected to attend INTERACT Academy.  This is a week long intensive training where teachers learn how to use technology and integrate it into the classroom.  This summer, I was fortunate to make our school’s team and attend INTERACT Academy. It was amazing!!  We were immersed in technology driven instruction.  It was an eye opening experience and I am excited to use what I have learned in my class this year.  I am no expert but I am willing to learn and adapt and of course ask for help and not be scared to ask questions. I like the idea of using technology to enhance my students learning and allow my students to share their understanding in a creative and meaningful way. 

This year, I am planning on using more technology in my classroom.  Since I teach Kindergarten, there will be a lot that they cannot do on their own at first.  But of course with practice and time, I know that my students will be to develop wonderful products through meaningful activities.  These are some of my technology strengths that I will be using in my classroom:
·        Movie making programs – Movie Maker and i-Movie
·        Beginner to Immediate level on the usage of the Promethean Board for games and interactive flip charts
·        Very comfortable with my use with i-Pads and i-Pods for work stations and various apps for storytelling and for math

As for my weaknesses, I feel that I just need to overcome my fears and just do it.  Our district has a wonderful team of technology specialists and it is their job to assist and train us in technology instructional strategies for the classroom.  I am looking forward to using Activ-Votes and Activ-Expressions with my kids.  I also want to use our technology specialist as a work station in my classroom and have her assist me in having my kinder babies create products and expand their use of technology. 

For my continuing education on technology, I am going to continue following and reading blogs of technology driven educators who are using technology in innovative ways in the classroom.  I am going to look for teachers at my school who are using technology in their classrooms and ask how did they do that?  Teachers are always learners and I am going to be the best learner that I can be!  It will only make me a better teacher and my students better 21st Century learners.  

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