Martin Luther King’s quote popped up in this week’s Facebook memory and it got my wheels turning about the blog post on which I should have been working the past few weeks. I have had several ideas floating around in my head but have not been able to formulate any of them into coherent thoughts worth sharing so when this quote came up, I knew I just needed to start and see where it would lead. I have no idea where we will be by the end but let’s see if we can enjoy the ride.
My career started as a public librarian almost 30 years ago with one of the first tasks being the automating of the library. Jumping in and taking that first step for this young, newly degreed librarian in a community with an older library staff and community population was daunting yet necessary so we took it slow and steady, and accomplished the goal.
Once I made the decision to switch to school librarianship, there was a whole new set of standards out there and going back to school was a very different experience from the few Apple IIe models in high school and bulky desktops and labs in the college library. Professors were balancing previous pedagogy with new expectations of making sure we, as new teachers, would become comfortable adding technology to our future classes. We all needed to take the first step and we all came out with updated skills for that time along the technology spectrum.
My most recent years once in the schools have been the most transformative. The rapid nature of technology options now is overwhelming. On which bandwagon do we jump? On which do we let roll by? Yet being given these opportunities - to learn and share the newest trends, help determine the direction of the library program, push through fears and struggles, teach students and teachers what is out there and how to incorporate it in their lives - has been incredibly rewarding. Sharing “makerspaces” and using mobile devices and discovering great apps to use on them, while continuing to share the love of reading, keeps the job fresh and exciting regardless of the methods used to get there.
Joining this year’s NextGen Cadre was an exercise in both patience and faith for me. Wanting to do it in previous years, yet not feeling ready to take the first step left me back in that unknown spot; not really knowing what I would gain in the experience and imagining how I would utilize the skills we would hopefully be learning. While the first semester has had its share of challenges, I am glad I took the first step. I am not where I want to or hoped to be but I am a work in progress; we are works in progress; our students are works in progress but we all need to be willing to put ourselves out there and find our place in the world – wherever we are on this technology journey.
Exploring, testing, supporting, trying, failing, trying again, succeeding. We model and show perseverance. We have no idea what will continue coming at us as teachers or them as students in regards to advancing technologies and while schools often struggle to keep up, we need to push forward. If you have been a reluctant follower, challenge yourself to step into a small leadership role even if it scares the daylights out of you! Start small but take the first step – have faith! The top of the staircase is waiting for you – and the view is breathtaking!
Today's thoughts come to us from Ms. Rochelle Rogan. Rochelle has been the Dennis Intermediate School Librarian since August of 2015 after stints as the Youth/Technical Services Public Librarian & System Administrator and a School Librarian in southeast Wisconsin. She was proud and humbled to be named the Dennis School Teacher of the Year by her colleagues in 2018. Her husband, Mike, is a life-long Richmond-area resident and they have 2 children, a dog, a barn cat and 3 Alpine dairy goats. When not learning new technologies, Rochelle enjoys playing softball and volleyball, riding bicycles and motorcycles, camping, and taking naps.
RCS district provides all of us with iPads for us to use in the classroom, but when I talk to my fellow teachers, most of us aren’t using them. I wasn’t using them until recently I learned a few things about how to conveniently integrate them into the classroom. Here are some tips to get started:
AirServe—Project your iPad’s Screen
I had no idea about the AirServe installed on all RCS laptops and desktops, and even if I saw the program, I didn’t know what it did. AirServe is a program that generally runs in the background of our laptops and does nothing—unless we are using our iPads! This program allows us to project our screen on our iPad to our projector.
Now, I was typically pretty tied to my podium (where my laptop/laptop dock typically lives)in my classroom before this. However, being mobile in the classroom changes engagement significantly.
Okay, I’m Mobile… Now What?
There are a million things that you can do once you set up your AirServe and can project your iPad’s screen. I’m just going to share some of my favorite things that I’ve done in my classroom.
Google SlidesI really enjoy using Google Slides rather than PowerPoint, because I never have to worry about being on a different device and not being able to access my document. I can also get to my Google Slide presentations on my iPad. When we are doing guided notes, I can actually walk around my room and use proximity to motivate kids to do their work, as well as be closer to answer questions for my students.
Quizlet.live and KahootEveryone knows what Kahoot is at this point (if not, check out this article for a good break down), but not everyone knows about using their iPad, so that they can walk around and ensure that everyone is actually on the website they are supposed to be on!
You can create your Kahoot on your laptop or iPad, whatever is most comfortable for you, and project your Kahoot on your projector using AirServe.
Quizlet.live is another platform like Kahoot that creates groups for you, and students break out into their groups and work together to answer your quiz questions.
How do the groups work?
On every student’s screen, and on the teacher projected screen, the question is posed to the students. Each student has a selection of different answers on their screens. No student has the same answers, so they all have to look at their own answers and each other’s screens to pick the correct answer.If one student gets an answer wrong in their group, the entire quiz is reset and they have to try again. The first group that finishes “wins” and the Quizlet.live is over. This leads to some pretty hilarious competitive situations.Being able to walk around the classroom while doing the Quizlet.live helps to monitor your class, plus it lets you hear some of the thought processes going through their heads, becoming a mini-formative assessment.
Something to Take Away
We all know that students perform better when proximity is a factor. Using a projector or a chalk board both can force us to be removed from our students. AirServe plus our issued laptops can help fix that distance and be closer to our students!
Today's thoughts come to us from Mrs. Tia McCargish. Tia is a first year English teacher at Richmond High School. Tia graduated on the Dean’s List from Indiana University East. While in University, she was the president of Sigma Tau Delta (English Honors Society) for one year. She also was president of the IUE Tabletop Gaming Club and was a member of the writing club. As a teacher, she now hosts a Tabletop Gaming Club at RHS. In her free time, she loves reading science fiction.