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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

After being away for 3 weeks out of the last 7  (2 conferences, 1 job interview trip), I am now in the unenviable position of playing catch up.  Trying to read/respond to discussion posts, catching up on my google reader (I had to admit defeat last week and mark 1000+ messages as read), marking, writing, etc.  This week is Reading Week at 2 of my universities, so I am taking advantage of the relative quiet on my online course discussions to mark assignments and plan out the next few weeks. I have some writing I MUST do (why is it I can always find something else I would rather do than write?) soon and I also have a few papers and reports to review.  My to-be-read pile is growing as fast as my to do list and I am starting to feel slightly overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.

The one shining light in all of this is the assignments I am grading this week.  First, some background.  I am currently teaching a brand new course that I developed for the University of Alberta called Introduction to Contemporary Literacies.  It is my dream course.  It is the course that I have wanted to teach forever and I am lucky enough to be doing it this term. I am working with 30 fantastic students in this class.  They are enthusiastic, passionate, and interesting teachers and teacher-librarians with deep connection to literacy and literature.  They are keeping me on my toes and everyday I admire them for the work they are doing with their students.

The assignment I am marking this week is one I called “Children’s Reading Experiences” and the purpose of this assignment is to explore the ‘big’ world of children’s contemporary reading experiences. Children’s reading is no longer limited to traditional text-based reading experiences. Rather, children today tend to experience books and characters in a wide range of places, both in print and electronically. The assignment has two parts and asks students to explore these different ways of reading.  Students were asked to pick a particular book, series, or character and then explore all the different ways children might actually experience that book/character/series.  They had to put together some kind of pathfinder (using LiveBinders, Jog the Web, or another tool) to display their results.  Then, they had to write a brief reflection to explain what they learned and why it is important for teachers and teacher-librarians to be aware of these bigger reading worlds.

The students have agreed to share their pathfinders on a class wiki and there are many examples of their work already posted.  Please, take a look at what the EDES 543 group have found: http://edes543atuofa.wikispaces.com/Children%27s+Reading+Experiences+Assignment  I know you will be as inspired as I am!

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I am pleased to be presenting a session for the Saskatchewan School Library Association next week.  I will be doing a session called “Developing a Culture of Reading in Schools using Technology”. Due to technological limitations with the online webinar format, I have decided to go low tech for this presentation.  Below is the slide deck I will be using for the session.  I have also created a LiveBinder (which I blogged about here) for participants to use as a virtual handout after the presentation. You can see the LiveBinder here.

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Love Read

Although I am still up to my eyeballs in grading, I am also determined to find some time to read this upcoming weekend.  For fun, I am just starting Lauren Myracle’s new novel Shine.  Perhaps most well known now because of the controversy over this year’s nominees for the National Book Awards, Shine has been on my to read pile for a while.  I’m looking forward to getting started with this one!

Also on my reading list for this weekend is a new book, edited by Scott McLeod and Chris Lehman, called What School Leaders Need to Know about Digital Technologies and Social Media.  Full of excellent, short chapters by well known educational and technology leaders, this book looks like it will be a great addition to my bookshelves.  I think it will be a natural fit with the Web 2.0 course that I teach at the University of Alberta and it may be a good one to include on our required list of textbooks for the next time the course is offered.

So, that’s what’s on my pile to be read this weekend.  What are you reading?

 

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Take Note (Creative Commons Attributed flickr Image)

I love notebooks and binders and paper.  As a kid, I remember one of the best gifts I ever got was from a family friend who gave me a binder all my own, full of lined paper that I could use for anything, and some new pens and pencils.  Call me a  nerd, but nothing made me happier!  Fast forward a few years and I would be less thrilled with binders and paper as a present, but I do still love great organizational tools.  Enter LiveBinders…a virtual three ring binder for all those fantastic web based resources I find online.

I am doing a presentation later this month for the Saskatchewan School Library Association’s Learning Events on developing a reading culture in schools using technology.  The session will  first explore the idea of a reading culture, what it is, what it looks like in schools and school libraries, and why it is important to develop a reading culture.  We will then identify ways in which technology can be used to both build and maintain a reading culture in schools and school libraries.  This will include a discussion of online book clubs, using sites such as GoodReads or Shelfari, skype an author events, and more.  The session will be a practical introduction to the ways in which technology can be used by teachers and teacher-librarians to promote reading and literacy in their schools.

I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try out LiveBinders as a way of organizing my examples for the presentation.  I think I’m in love!  Although it is still a work in progress, I am pleased with the results so far, even though I just found out that presenting directly from LiveBinders won’t be an option for this online presentation.  I will have to go ‘old school’, using offline screenshots in a PowerPoint for the actual presentation.  But, the LiveBinders I created will be a fantastic virtual handout for the participants to refer to after the fact.  I really like the ease of use of the tool and the functionality of the interface.  It is intuitive and easy to use.

As I said, this is still a work in progress, but here is my binder so far.

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