I am so happy this week is over! I want to share about what might be one of my busiest yet satisfying work weeks in a very long time. I will write reflections as I (and my students) finish up the projects.
I taught Diigo for the first time to all of the seniors. I set up Diigo accounts for each of the 120 students using Diigo Educator. I chose to use the educator version so that I could manage their accounts, set up groups, and basically be in charge. Our seniors write a thesis paper which they work on for several months, and it is a great culminating research activity of all they have learned in the library. I like to update them with some new research skills or tools though, and this year I chose to add Diigo. Many of the kids seem to like it. In fact, I believe the boys, and not just the highly motivated boys, were very impressed with Diigo and even started using the word as a verb ("Let's Diigo."). I chose to install the Diigolet on Firefox on many of the library computers and taught the kids how to install it from home. I will post an update in about a month with impressions from the seniors, but right now, I am happy with all the preparation I did (setting up their accounts, installing Diigo, making my account as an example for them), and with the interest of the students even though using it isn't required this year. Do any of you Diigo? What grades enjoy it? For what projects?
In a big collaboration effort between the four 8th grade English teachers, one of our educational technology specialists, and me, we created wikis in Moodle to use as a reflection and collaboration component in the big research project. I made a LibGuide to accompany the wiki.
Each class has a wiki similar to the one below.
Each student has a page on the wiki where they are reflecting on the inquiry and research process, adding links to research, and posting comments on other student wikis. I was nervous to start this and teach wikis (and Moodle) for the first time. I am proud to report - so far, so good. Moodle is mostly stable, the kids are getting it, and the collaboration is going well. I am lucky to work with a great educational technologist and a team of teachers who trust us. We have completed 3 of the 7 library related lessons for this project so far, and I will post an update at the end to let you know about how the teachers and students feel about it in the end.
I used to work with a friend who became a consultant about issues concerning the Internet and schools. She had scheduled some presenting engagements at another school, and she asked me to cover two of them. I spoke about Internet ethics and cyber-bullying to a group of 8th graders at another local independent school. My Dean of Faculty said it would be great professional development, and it was. I was nervous to present, although my friend had great presentations to follow. I wanted to make a good impression, and I wanted my friend to be proud of me and be able to call on me again for help. I think the days went very well and any practice presenting to strangers is good experience.
All in all, I had a week of new experiences, new lessons, new collaborations, and not enough sleep because I also started reading a new book (The Help) which I love! And, the other librarian also was busy introducing two other major research projects, so some days we had about 230 people (that is one third of the student body) learing in the library throughout the day. A great week, and more to come this week. Look for reflection pieces for each component in upcoming weeks.