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Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

In early December, I will be presenting a session at the Congrès des Milieux Documentaires du Quebec, an annual conference for librarians and archivists in the province of Quebec.  I am presenting a session (with Jennifer Branch, who sadly can’t be here in person for our session) called “Building a Social Presence: Using Web 2.0 Tools to Redefine Personal and Professional Online Spaces”.  Below are the slides for our presentation.  Unfortunately, we only have 20 minutes to present (which I didn’t know when we put in the proposal).  This is a talk that could take 4 times that amount of time.  So, I will be speaking fast and not going into as much detail as I might like, but hopefully I will be able to give the librarians who come to this session some ideas for using technology personally and professionally.

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I am a very novice runner.  I am using the Couch to 5K app on my phone to help me become a runner. The app is helping me set goals and figure out a program that will (supposedly) have me running a full 5 km by the time it’s done.  I just did the last run of Week 3 (out of an 9 week schedule) today. I am also using a different app on my phone (RunKeeper) to keep track of how far I have gone and how many calories I burn with each run.   These tools help motivate me and keep me on track.

I have been walking quite regularly for about 7 months (having a very energetic puppy has helped me stick to my regular walking schedule!) and I decided a few weeks ago that I needed a new challenge, something hard, that I could work for and try to accomplish. I needed to push myself to do something I didn’t think I could do.  And mostly, running is hard. Really, really hard.  There are times when I have been out running and it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be, but there are other times when it is VERY hard.  Times when the wind is blowing towards me and it feels like my legs can hardly move.  And times when it would be so much easier to just stay home.  There are lots of excuses: I am busy, I have grading to do, it is cold outside…and the list goes on.

And yet, I force myself to find the time, dress more warmly, and hit the pavement.  In part because I want to prove to myself that I can do it.  In part, because I secretly kind of like it, even when (especially when) it is hard.  As I run, I am reminded of a story from my childhood, The Little Engine Who Could, who struggles up the hill all the while chugging “I think I can, I think I can”.  I say that to myself a lot when I am halfway through a run and I want to give up and walk the rest of the way home!

I was thinking about my personal running challenge and the Little Engine that Could’s inspirational words this past week. I was also thinking about the students in my Web 2.0 course who are currently working on their major assignment for the course.  This assignment asks students to complete an inquiry project that explores a variety of Web 2.0 tools and blog about their experiences learning about the tools for personal and professional uses.  This term, I am team teaching the Web 2.0 course with my fabulous co-instructor Jennifer Branch and between us we are teaching about 45 students.  Last week we were reading and commenting on the blogs to give our students some interim feedback as they enter the last month of the course.

It struck me as I read through the blogs and made the comments about them, that our students are likely feeling the same way about their blogs and their inquiry as I feel about running.  Learning about Web 2.0 is hard; pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to learn how to ‘do’ Web 2.0 is challenging and uncomfortable.  It would no doubt be easier to not learn about these tools, easier to not think about how to transform teaching and learning with technology, safer to just keep on doing things the way it has always been done. But just because it would be easier, safer, less stressful to ignore Web 2.0 and not take this course, I hope that by December, when the course is done, the students in this course will be proud of what they have achieved and happy that they took on this challenge to learn about Web 2.0.  I hope that they persevere, like the Little Engine that Could, and continue to push themselves to learn more about technology and how they can use Web 2.0 tools to enhance their practice.  I hope they are inspired to continue blogging or to introduce new tools to their students and colleagues or to keep playing with new tools.  I hope they are no longer afraid to try something new.

I know there probably have been times this term that my students have cursed me and this assignment! I know that my students are sometimes struggling to find their voices and to figure out how to work through this project.  Inquiry is hard. Web 2.0 is hard.  Running is hard. But sometimes working through these challenges and doing something that is really hard, means that in the end, when it is all finished, the accomplishment means so much more and feels so great.  I will keep running, even though it is hard.  I hope my students keep on playing with Web 2.0 and pushing themselves to successfully finish their inquiry projects, even though that too is hard.  Each of us can channel the Little Engine that Could and remember his famous words, “I think I can, I think I can”.

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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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Rainbow Hats (Creative Commons Attribution)

Welcome to my new blog!  As you can tell from my About page, I am a teacher and a librarian and am currently working as an itinerant instructor at a number of universities in Canada and the United States.  Most of my teaching takes place in Faculties of Education and library schools, where I teach online courses on school librarianship, Web 2.0, technology integration in schools and libraries, literacy and research.  As an itinerant instructor, I have opportunities to not only teach with a lot of institutions, but also in a lot of different subject and content areas.

I decided to start this blog for a number of reasons.  First, in one of the courses I teach (Exploration of Web 2.0 at the University of Alberta), I ask my students to create blogs and write about their own journeys into and through Web 2.0.  It hardly seems fair that my students have to blog, but I haven’t made the time to do it myself!  Second, I wanted to have a place to write regularly, a place to reflect on the things that I am doing in my virtual classrooms, and an online repository for some of my own work.  This blog will, hopefully, serve these purposes.  Third, I wanted to create an online portfolio of my work that is accessible and might serve as a model for my students. Finally, I have learned so much from reading other people’s blogs and I wanted to add my own voice to the blogosphere.

One of the things that I always find interesting when I teach the Web 2.0 course is that my students often comment on how hard it is to name their blogs.  Many of my students say that finding the ‘right’ name for their blogs was often the hardest part of getting started.  Until I set up my own blog, I had no idea how hard it REALLY can be to find the perfect name!  After trying out many possible names for my blog, I finally settled on “Wearing 500 Hats”.  To me, this really summarizes my professional and personal life.  As a teacher, researcher, lifelong learner, wife, and mom, I am constantly trying to juggle the many responsibilities that come with these different roles.  I wear many hats all day, every day. This blog will be my space to reflect on some of those different roles and share my ideas and reflections about teacher-librarianship, education, technology, and online learning.

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