Final Reflection - Thing 12
I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on my 2017-2018 Cool Tools coursework. I always learn so much, and file so many things for future reference. This is the perfect way to refresh my memory on all the awesome things I want to incorporate into my curriculum.
- What did I learn?
I’m going to use this as an opportunity to pull a key activity or idea from each of the nine other “things” I completed as a means of refreshing my memory while sharing what I learned all at the same time.
- Presentation Tools: After having been a fan and user of Prezi Classic, I was very disappointed when Prezi Next took over, making it very difficult to use with my 6th graders. This “thing” activity introduced me to Canva, which I have 100% put into action in my school. I’ve been using it ever since! I tried it out initially with the 8th grade Ted Talk project I outlined during that learning activity, and have since used it with two other sections of my 6th grade classes. Students really enjoy it as an alternative to Google Slides, and I enjoy giving them another tool for their “presentation toolbox”.
- Search Tools Ninja: I really enjoyed exploring some of the articles for this one, and particularly enjoyed learning how to do the Google Reverse Image search. This was something totally new to me! I was also inspired by this “thing” to finally dig in to our new LibGuides subscription and start learning more about what it was able to do.
- Note-Taking Tools: Again, lots of good articles with tips for note-taking with student were given during this “thing”. The primary take-away for me was Google Keep. I had never heard of it, and put it into action to learn more about how to use it. My husband I attempted to start using the grocery shopping list idea, and when we remember, it works great! I enjoyed learning about this cool Google tool, although I have not used it with students, and am not sure that it’s one that will make it into my regular classroom rotation.
- Teaching and Learning With Primary Sources: This one had a TON of information and resources to select from, and I used it as an opportunity to curate them and create a “Primary Source” tab on my library homepage for student and teacher access. I learned about several great sources including New York Heritage Digital Collections, DPLA, Google Arts & Culture, and Europeana Collections to name a few. Lots of learning went on during this “thing” for sure!
- Web Presence: I used this “thing” as an opportunity to learn how to actually create LibGuides for my teachers and students. I had learned ABOUT them during the “Search Tool Ninja” learning activity, but this was when I really grabbed hold and made my first one. I learned how easy it was to search for existing libguides, and with permission, edit them to fit my needs, as well as how to build a LibGuide from scratch. I’ve since encouraged my HS Media Specialist counterpart to dig in and try some for her school as well. It took some time to learn, but LibGuides are worth it! I now have created seven for various teachers in my school building!
- Green Screen Fun: This “thing” was huge for its’ impact on my curriculum! Learning how to use the Instant Alpha tool with Pages and Google Drawings has totally changed my program! Since learning about these tools, both of which were totally new to me, I’ve had students complete two different project using these tools. They also love them as an alternative to PhotoShop, and I am so happy to have learned ways to use my new green screen and media room.
- MakerSpaces: I found this “thing” to be very timely, and learning about how other libraries created and implemented MakerSpaces was very helpful. As part of the learning activity I had reached out to my principal and science teachers about working together on a MakerSpace in our school library. I’m happy to report that things are moving right along! The Science teachers and I have met several times and are almost finished compiling a wish list of MakerSpace materials that will be submitted as a grant application through our PTO. Our hope is to create a MakerSpace for the 2018-2019 school year that will be available both during the school day and also as a club after school. I learned so much about how to make this happen by doing this “thing”!
- Google Drawings: One of my favorite “things” to do, and coming fresh after the “Green Screen” thing, it was the perfect opportunity to dig in further and learn more ways to utilize this great tool. Since learning about it and how to use it, I’ve had several student projects that implement Google Drawings. I even asked my Tech Director to add it to the quick apps options for students! I really enjoyed learning right along with my 6th graders as we used the tool to modify favorite book covers to include our own images! So fun! This “thing” will definitely continue to be explored and used throughout the next school year, too!
- New AASL Standards: What can I say about this one… I learned EVERYTHING! I may not have been as motivated to explore the new standards without this “thing”, and am so glad I did. I learned about all the updates, as well as how to promote the new standards with my administrators and colleagues. It’s so important to be an advocate for our library programs, and being informed is critical! The ready-to-go templates and resources to share were amazing and SO useful!
- This brings me to this 10th “thing”; my final reflection. I’ve certainly learned a lot!
2. What’s next?
I have so many ideas for what to do next! I will definitely be starting some new projects based on what I’ve learned during all these activities. In fact, the next project for my 6th grade enrichment class is going to be an independent media project during which they will write a proposal, gain approval, and complete their own “choice” project that must incorporate video, photography, and /or the green screen technology. They’ll hopefully implement some of the tools I’ve shared with them as a result of this Cool Tools course (such as Google Drawings, Canva, and the Alpha Tool).
I will definitely be sharing what I’ve learned with others, and actually I already have! I presented the LibGuides to teachers at a faculty meeting and shared with them how to use them as a resource, I’ve used Canva with all of the 8th graders, and I share ideas with many teachers as opportunity arises - whether during a collaborative teaching unit or at the lunch table. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Cool Tools course and all the wonderful things I will learn next year!
3. Did I like learning this way?
Yes! I LOVE learning this way. Independent, self-driven learning is ideal for this sort of course especially. Having the freedom to choose the learning activities that are most relevant to me, my interests, and my school makes so much difference! I really value to the quality and variety of “things” that we have to choose from. Every learning activity encourages me to dig deep into a topic I care about and/or am interested in learning more about. I also love the variety of topics and how some are “hands-on” like Google Drawings and Canva, while others support the curriculum like “Primary Sources” and “AASL Standards”. Cool Tools options offer something for everyone! I will definitely do it again next year! Thank you for all of the time and energy you put into preparing for us.