August 30, 2011

Using Tools for Collaboration

Posted in Module 1 Assignments at 10:15 pm by lmt84

In her article , Joyce Valenza suggests that the mastery of several tools serves to make someone a more effective school librarian. She highlights many tools, several of which I am happy to say I have experience with. On the other hand, a few names were brand new to me, which gives me something new to look into. Out of all these fantastic resources, one that I find to easily be a collaborative tool is GoogleDocs.

I know that GoogleDocs is not new, but it is an excellent way to encourage and practice collaboration between all parties involved in the school environment. At the end of last school year I was on a committee of about 35 teachers and I suggested using GoogleDocs as a means to house our information. I was shocked when only 3 teachers knew about GoogleDocs. I was further surprised when I asked other teachers (not on the committee) if they used the tool, and found that the responses were mostly no. Due to the fact that this tool is being underutilized, if even known about at all, I think that GoogleDocs would certainly help put me on the platform of educational leader.

I could go on and on about the features of GoogleDocs. In a nutshell, this is a tool that allows individuals to create documents (such as word documents, presentations, or spreadsheets) as well as collaborate with others to edit them in the GoogleDoc space. A document can be shared with as many people as you would like, which makes this tool ideal for working groups. Group members can all access and edit the document at the same time, from their individual computers! As members edit, changes and comments are shown in real time. Aside from the multi-user editing component, you can also chat about changes occurring that very moment, or future ideas for editing. Essentially, GoogleDocs removes the need for emailing, attaching, editing individually, only to resend/reattach. Everything can be carried out and saved in one spot, available to all members. I feel that this tool saves time and creates the opportunity for efficient product creation.

I could help members of the school environment to use GoogleDocs as a collaborative tool in a variety of ways. Here are just a few of the ideas I have in mind:

~Hosting a GoogleDoc with a team of teachers who teach the same subject (Ex- English 10 teachers) would be a great   way  to create unit plans that incorporate the school library or technology resources. All parts of the lesson (prior knowledge, the actual activity, assessment) can be created and housed on GoogleDocs for teachers to use as they reach that specific unit. Aside from working together, teachers could post units that they have used in years past and I, as the librarian, could look at them in order to find spots for potential collaboration. Once such areas are identified, we could again use the tool as a space to create new lessons.

~Aside from content area collaborations, teachers, administration, and parents could use GoogleDocs as the home for any type of committee/meeting (for example: Attendance team, Student Recognition Committee, Music Boosters, etc). As the librarian I would be more than happy to show these groups how to create and effectively use GoogleDocs. Helping these people to see how convenient and time saving GoogleDocs is would further my position as an educational leader. Taking the time to assist in the creation and maintenance of these spaces would help me to establish rapport with everyone involved as well as build these relationships. In turn, you could use these moments in order to gain support for your library program.

~ Lastly, GoogleDocs is an excellent tool for students to use for group projects in any subject area. I could attend the class to train students (and the teacher beforehand) on the program. This teaches students not only the value of working with other people, but gives the students a more “hands on” approach to creating a product as an actual group. For most group work, pieces are assigned and carried out individually, only to be pieced together later. GoogleDocs offers students a true group experience—one that they will need to be successful in school, college, the workplace, and life in general!

Again, I could write many things about the advantages of GoogleDocs as a collaborative tool. As long as we, the librarians, have creative ideas as well as the ability to lead others to get on board, the possibilities for collaboration are great!

August 29, 2011

Hello WordPress

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:04 pm by lmt84

My first WordPress posting…. Hope this is working!