Wednesday, March 20, 2013

VIC PLN - unit 3 post

I am a strong believer in creating online professional learning communities.  Through blogging and Twitter I can:

  • Connect
  • Share Ideas
  • Access Current Information
  • Find Answers
  • & Opportunities
  • Learn
  • Get Support

I think Twitter has myriad roles in education.  I have used it in the past when teaching VCE English classes.  I found students were more likely to read my Tweets as they were short and accessed through a forum they enjoyed using.  I don't have the same teaching load and use Twitter now for my own professional development, particularly regarding Library.  I follow authors, find out about events, connect with librarians, ask questions, get ideas and feel like I am up to date.  My address is @RiaCoffey

I am comfortable and familiar with Facebook, however I am no longer using it.  I found that it was not a positive use of my time and I preferred to connect with people in other mediums.  Facebook was always a more social sphere for me and I just didn't require it anymore.  If I was to reuse Facebook it would need to have a greater purpose than socialising.  At this stage I do not require more than Twitter, blogging and RSS feeds as my professional learning community.

Whilst studying my Masters in Teacher Librarianship I did sign up to Google+.  If I was using Google products more regularly and consistently I think I could see a purpose for Google+.  However, at the moment I just don't have time for more social media.  It is important to recognise what is too much and use one format successfully. 

I  am a big believer in not 'blocking' social media in schools.  Students can access anything they want on their personal devices and need to be taught how to access these sites and use them responsibly.  I cannot access Twitter from school and it is very annoying.  We should not get too hung up on the tool, because it is only a matter of time until it is replaced.  
"Tools come and go. The concepts they represent are much more important than that" (VICPLN).  Schools have blocked Facebook, however there are many chat rooms, photo blogs and social media that students can access.  

Students enjoy using social media and it is easy and accessible.  Most schools have developed their own systems, wikis and forums to use that engage students within a safe platform but are student friendly like Edmodo.  I think Edmodo has fantastic features and would consider using this with students.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

VIC PLN - 2nd post

  • What are your current techniques for keeping your work organised, keeping track of resources and sharing these resources with others? How do you imagine the tools covered in this unit will change your workflow?

I have used Diigo for a number of years to catalogue websites.  I haven't used the group share function as yet and look forward to viewing the sites members of VICPLN find interesting.  Diigo is an excellent and efficient tool to use and it is currently in my tool kit.

Google Chrome is excellent, I hadn't used this before and have really enjoyed having a play around with it.  I have been thinking a lot lately about the greater need for synchronicity across devices, as I am getting an iPad and this will join my devices; home computer, school Macbook and iPhone, as an essential tool. 

Question to find an answer for:
Can I change the browser on my iPhone/iPad to Google Chrome?  Or is there an app?  

I have been meaning to create an Evernote account for years and so I was thrilled to have to do it as part of the process for completion of VIC PLN Unit 2.  I know of colleagues who use it with great success.  I need some more time using it and have bookmarked the Web Clipper function on my other devices to encourage this.   I am guilty of making notes on Word docs. and having too many files saved on my computer and Evernote will help me move away from this towards Cloud computing.

  • Is teaching workflow and organisation techniques to students an important task? What have you noticed about the workflow and organisational strategies of students?

At school we have a system called SIMON.  Staff and students have access to this and all documentation is stored within this system.  It is difficult to get students to sign up for other systems of organisation as there are age limits, the need for itunes accounts and the overall need to encourage students to use the school system.  Teaching students and staff about these wonderful Web 2.0 tools has to be very relevant, easy and accessible through the school internet (things are often blocked).  I will be discussing Google Chrome with the IT staff and considering how Evernote and Diigo could be implemented.  

I don't like the term 'digital natives' and believe that it is wrongly assumed that young people are fluent in the use of IT.  From what I have seen young people are fluent in taking photos of themselves and uploading them to social media with an improved filter.  Young people require just as much tuition as their older counterparts - but the difference is they are not scared of it and are willing to have a go, make mistakes, create and discover without PD.  I think that most students, in deed most people, would benefit from an introduction to a range of organisational and work flow Web 2.0 tools, the important thing is choosing the best fit for you and using it efficiently and consistently.

  • How have digital technologies and internet access changed the way we organise ourselves?

Access to digital technologies has provided us with the ability to have information at our fingertips in myriad locations.  We no longer need to lug around folders of paper, or even our laptops as we can easily login from one device; at work or at home, even on the tram, and access our information.   The ability to catalogue, tag, stack etc. our information has added another layer to the organisation ensuring greater efficiency in retrieval and the ability to share with the public.
Here is the link to the note I created using Evernote:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

VIC PLN - 1st entry

  • Who are you and what is your history as an educator?
My name is Ria Coffey, I have worked in education since completing my Bachelor degree in 2004.  I worked in both Primary and Secondary schools and recently I completed my Masters in Teacher Librarianship through Charles Sturt University.  This year I have an interesting role; I am working as a teacher librarian, coordinating a reading program across two campuses, I am also Head of English faculty and Literacy Coordinator Year 7-12.

  • Where are you at currently in terms of your skills and experience with Web 2.0 tools? Are you just getting around to using them, or are you an avid user?
I am fairly comfortable with Web 2.0 tools and have used them to engage, teach and learn with for a number of years.  There is always room for improvement and learning and I'm looking forward to sharing ideas.  Here is a list of some of the tools I use:
Newspaper generator
Comic Life
My Fakebook

  • Describe your current Personal Learning Network. What organisations, people and networks do you support and in return support you? Where do you get information now? Conferences? Newsletters? Associations? Blogs? Colleagues? Staff meetings?
I am an avid user of Twitter, I find it exceptionally good for professional development and networking.  I began using Twitter a few years ago and in the beginning was following a few celebrities and not getting much out of it.  Then I changed my approach, I stopped following quite a few people and began using the tool to follow current news issues and fellow teacher librarians from all around the world.  I tweet about good books and information literacy and enjoy learning from others.
I enjoy being a part of the School Library Association of Victoria and the Secondary Literacy Network and the PD and networking opportunities that these provide.  I read the Penguin, SCIS, Magpies, Reading Time and FYI magazines and follow the blogs of, to name a few, Jenny Luca, Librarian in Black, Creative Library Displays, Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton.  I already have a google reader account with subscriptions to these and others, so there is always something to read.

  • What are your goals in terms of this program? What would you like to achieve this term? What would you like to achieve by the end of the year?
My goals for this program are to keep learning and challenging myself to try new things. 
I would like to find more librarians in Melbourne to connect with.
I would like to increase my participation in Twitter and blogging spheres and so need to have more to offer.

Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 school year

The 2013 school year is well underway.  The library has had a reasonably smooth start.   I have created a list of start of year procedures as I have found that organising the newspaper subscriptions is not only time consuming but it takes a lot of processing time. We are still awaiting our daily Herald Sun delivery.  I have some great photos to put up of our library displays; Cybersmart, Ancient Egypt, World War 2 and ANZAC day.

I'm under the air-conditioner reading 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel - it's hot out!