I’ve Been Featured!

So I’m checking my emails the other day, and I open this message from Cornelia Ryan, the person who conducted our eChalk training for school web page Site Managers this year:

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

We are currently updating our eChalk Academy Site (www.learn2echalk.com) and wanted to include your, Alice Drive Elementary School ADE Library Media Center group page as an example of how eChalk customers are using groups to communicate, collaborate, and connect with their parents, students, faculty and staff members, and the community. 

On behalf of our Professional Learning Team at eChalk, we want to thank you for a job well done and encourage you to keep up the great work on this page.

We hope you will allow us to feature your Group in our list. If you would prefer not to be included, please just let me know.

Wow, what a compliment!  Now the pressure is really on to keep the page updated!

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Hello UTC Participants!

I hope everyone is enjoying the conference!  You can find the notes for my presentation, Managing Web 2.0 Tools for Today’s Teachers and Learners, by clicking here.  Scroll down for the link to my powerpoint, and while you’re here you can check out some of the other presentations, too!  I definitely left the conference with a few useful items in my bag of technology tricks, and I’m looking forward to playing with some of these new tools and revising some of my lessons to include the things I learned this week.  Feel free to contact me with any questions about the material I presented, or to share your own Web 2.0 tools!

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There’s Still Time…

…to register for the Upstate Technology Conference going on June 22 & 23!  The Theme is “The Face of Today’s Learner,” and the event will be hosted by Wade Hampton High School.  This year’s keynote speaker is Hall Davidson, of Discovery Education.  And best of all?  No registration fee!  That’s right – this is a FREE technology conference!

The schedule of sessions is posted now, and I can’t believe how many are being offered!  (There are 90 on Tuesday alone!)  The variety of tools and topics included here will ensure that there’s something for everyone, so please share this info with your colleagues.

By the way, I’ll be presenting a session myself:

Managing Web 2.0 Tools for Today’s Learner
Online journals, podcasts, blogs, wikis, Twitter – all are invaluable resources for teachers, administrators, and students, but keeping track of so much information can be overwhelming!  Learn how to use a free personalized start page to organize all your Internet content in one place.  I’ll share my best resources with you, and walk you through creating your own start page so you can leave with a handy one-page view of all your Web 2.0 tools.

Hope to see you there!

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Upstate Technology Conference

If you live near Greenville, SC, I hope you will consider attending the Upstate Technology Conference June 22 & 23.  The Theme is “The Face of Today’s Learner,” and the event will be hosted by Wade Hampton High School.  This year’s keynote speaker is Hall Davidson, of Discovery Education.  And best of all?  No registration fee!  That’s right – this is a FREE technology conference, so please share this info with other educators who might be interested.

By the way, I’ll be presenting a session myself:

Managing Web 2.0 Tools for Today’s Learner
Online journals, podcasts, blogs, wikis, Twitter – all are invaluable resources for teachers, administrators, and students, but keeping track of so much information can be overwhelming!  Learn how to use a free personalized start page to organize all your Internet content in one place.  I’ll share my best resources with you, and walk you through creating your own start page so you can leave with a handy one-page view of all your Web 2.0 tools.

Hope to see you there!

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Teacher Technology Survey

As promised, I gave my teachers a very informal technology survey, and the results are in.  I simply sent an email asking them to respond with suggestions for after-school technology workshops that would meet their needs.  I included a few examples of possible topics, and left it wide open for them to reply with whatever interested them.  Out of 45 teachers, I received 12 responses, and some people made more than one suggestion.

Using Promethean Software (our brand of interactive whiteboard) – 5
eChalk (our web authoring software) – 4
PowerSchool (our state’s new school management software) – 4
Accelerated Reader – 1
Starting a Blog – 1  
PhotoStory – 1
Excel – 1
Publisher – 1
School Set of Laptops – 1

So there you have it. 

I wish I had heard from more teachers.  Granted, there may be any number of good reasons why most of my teachers failed to respond, but it’s still a bit discouraging.  Hmmm, I bet I wouldn’t be lacking for responses if I had polled the students on what they are interested in!  That will be my next survey….

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Putting Technology In Its Place

I just read two blog posts yesterday that echo some of the ideas I’ve been wrestling with lately concerning the place of technology in the classroom, and I’d like to share them here.

Background:  As my school’s Library Media Specialist and Technology Coach, I have a responsibility to provide appropriate resources to my students and teachers, and to make sure they know how to use them.  With so many useful (and free) technology tools available out there in cyberspace, I want to make sure I’m keeping up with them, using them appropriately, and sharing them with those who need them. 

However, I don’t want to become so focused on the “coolness” of technology that I lose sight of my ultimate goal, which is student learning.  I also don’t want my attitude regarding the importance of technology to become so overbearing that I alienate teachers who, for various reasons, are hesitant about using a lot of online resources or tech tools.  I need to balance my role as a cheerleader for Web 2.0 with my role as someone who assists users with what’s actually going on in the classroom.

Enter Jennifer Wagner and Joyce Valenza, two educators who are doing wonderful things with technology at their respective schools.  Continue reading

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Don’t Integrate Technology Into the Classroom

Surprised by the sentiment expressed in the title of today’s post?   So was I when I read it in David Warlick’s book Redefining Literacy 2.0.  (See the accompanying wiki here.)  Since I became my school’s Technology Coach earlier this year, I’ve been concerned that we aren’t doing enough to equip teachers to successfully integrate technology into their classrooms.  So I picked up David’s book at the SCASL Conference last week, and here’s what he says in the introduction:

There is one call to education reform that will not be used in this book, a mantra that attendees to technology and media conferences often hear, that we should be integrating technology into our libraries and classrooms.  It is an idea that is not without its usefulness.  Integrating technology is a simple and inclusive way to describe the modernizing of our schools.  However integrating technology misses the point that technology has no special place in re-examining the pedagogy of teaching and learning.  It is merely a tool – the pencil and paper of our time.

So what should we be doing?  Read on: Continue reading

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