Thing 15: Digital Tattoo & Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship and digital footprints are indeed important topics people need to know about, but how much do people really know? In this week’s activity, I was surprised to see the number of social network sites that students use, such as Oovoo or Yo. I thought I was up-to-date with social networks students years, but not as much as I thought.

To have students become aware of digital citizenship topics, I have created a 10-week blended course using Schoology for my sixth graders. We use a mixture of blogs, discussion forums, videos and case studies to discuss the ins and outs of digital safety. Topics include digital life, cyberbullying, online identities and more. I like to use Schoology because students have the opportunity to practice responsible and respectful actions in a safe environment. For my fourth graders, we have a blogging unit where we discuss respectful and responsible communication, as well as meaningful messages. Fifth grade has a 10-week information literacy course where they learn to about plagiarism/copyright and how to evaluate websites.

I do want to do more for my younger grades, or at least go more in-depth with this topic. Every year, we go over the AUP policy for utilizing technology inside and outside the district. Yet, there needs to be more education for students about digital citizenship.

My district does not have a direct curriculum or course for this topic (or it is not well-known). Whose responsibility will it be to teach students about this topic? Librarians? Teachers? Parents? Who will educate these groups about these topics? Right now, this topic does not seem to be as important as state testing or shifts in standards or common core, but it needs to be a priority. But, how do you make this topic a priority? I am attempting to be proactive about this topic by starting small.

Besides teaching these topics to students, I want to share information with teachers and parents through workshops or information to go home at open houses and curriculum nights. I would like to help teachers and parents be aware of their digital footprints and explain the differences between personal and professional networks. If students see more than one adult model respectful habits, it could help students practice respectful online practices.

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Thing 23: Makerspaces

Makerspaces wholeheartedly connect with learning. Students build something from nothing, collaborate with peers to finish a product or simply create. As the heart of the school and learning, it is logical to have a makerspace in a library. The library is more than books now; it’s a place for books, research, collaboration, creation and more.

Granby Library has the beginnings of a makerspace in place. Recently, we received approvals to order more supplies for the makerspace: robotics, legos, craft materials, superstructs, play-doh, games, puzzles, drawing books and more. My goal is to provide a space for students to think, create, collaborate and learn.

There are times throughout the day when students have free time to come down to the library. Though I have not officially opened the makerspace, my older students have given up recess to come to the library to build with legos, build with the robotics sets, create origami and draw. For centers with younger students in specials, we have drawing stations, legos, building blocks and games. Students have to work together at the tables to complete the task at hand.

Right now, I am still weeding the library’s collection to make room for the rest of the makerspace materials. In one of the library’s corners, there is a set of 9 shelves, a carpet and a large table. Right now, that section houses the reference collection and half of the makerspace materials. The goal is to move the reference collection to another part of the library by the late spring to make room for the rest of the makerspace materials.

Fortunately, I have an administrator that has provided funds and is supportive of the makerspace in the library. With Common Core Standards, project-based learning and STEM becoming part of a school’s culture, a makerspace can fit into all of these initiatives in education. This project can only grow as we move forward into new trends of education.

Thing 13: School Library Web Presence

School Library Web Presence

A school library needs a web presence because it has so many roles in the school community. The school library is a place for information, collaboration, creation, literacy, programs and more. A one-stop shop is needed to house all the information and resources the library provides to teachers, families and schools.

When I started my teaching job in 2013, I made a school library website with Weebly. Now in my second year, I still love the Weebly format. It is easy to update and post new information, and the site is user-friendly. There are seperate sections for students, teachers, events/programs, reading/books and more. But, looking at other websites, there are some areas where the website could be improved:

  • Have more of a student voice on the site. This could include book reviews or showcase student work (complete this year)
  • Add pages for the makerspace and newspaper club (complete this year)
  • Post more photos of the library, school and students. Right now, the site only has a Wordle as the front picture (complete ASAP)
  • Switch all my resources to the LibGuides format from LiveBinders (complete in the summer)

There are a few things about Weebly that I do not like, but not enough to change the format in the near future: the free trial has limited options for design and it is not compatible in some browsers more than others.

Professional Presence

In this week’s lesson, I also looked at my professional portfolio to see how it could be improved. In 2012, it was a requirement from my grad school to create and maintain a professional portfolio. I used WordPress, and I have an active blog on the website.

However, I noticed the site only focuses on my graduate work, with not much from my current job. I have updated my resume, but have not added effective lesson plans, certifications or PD courses taught or completed.

I need to change my portfolio name to “Graduate Portfolio” and add a “Professional Portfolio” section. This is a project I hope to have completed by this fall.

Additionally, I use Twitter and LinkedIn for professional social networks. I created an AboutMe site, posting all the links to my professional accounts. I realize I must update this site more, but this will be another project to complete by fall. It’s helpful to have all accounts on one site.