I’m going to start with the last few questions first in my reflection because it’s the reason that I’ve done this for the third year in a row. I love that I have flexibility to complete the assignments on my own time. My daughter was born in October so I was out on maternity leave from early October until after Christmas break. I liked that when I had some time at home when she was sleeping I could do some of the assignment. One of my biggest struggles when I went back to work was not being able to find the time to do everything I used to do at work, especially after work. It was hard to find time to complete other professional development hours that were at a specific time so this was definitely a blessing this year! I also love that as soon as I get practice and master one tool, I learn another. I am constantly learning and I am able to immediately integrate whatever I learned either in my teaching or I can share one or more resources I learned about with my co-workers. It’s also a really great way to network with people you don’t see on a regular basis or don’t even know. I like that every assignment requires a blog post and that you can share them to get new ideas from other people.
I am going to combine two of the questions together in one answer because they seem to go together (How did I put what I learned into action at school and what projects did I start and what I will be following up on through the summer). I made a comment about this in my last blog post but it was something that resonated with me because the two years prior doing Cool Tools I struggled with trying to learn and implement too much in to my instruction, library and school and then I get overwhelmed. In Thing 26: taking the lead, connecting with your stakeholders, the woman in the video we watched said at the end to pick 1 or 2 tools/resources that you like and use them as best you can. I think this has been my biggest struggle with this PD because there is so much out there and a lot of it would be very beneficial to me personally and to my library but it’s just not possible to do it all. Each tool we were responsible for completing, I tried to do just what that said and only pick 1 or 2 things that I thought I could effectively use for myself and with my students and once those don’t work, I have so many others to fall back on. I think my favorite tool was the “power up your browser” because it really made me go out and learn more because I saw so many ways that I could use it. The past two months or so, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Google chrome and everything it has to offer (docs, forms, my work drive, apps, google classroom, etc). I have not fully implemented this with my students because I want to be able to feel completely comfortable before I do. I have been playing around a lot with my work drive, creating documents and converting ones that I have uploaded into the cloud. I have practiced a lot using google classroom and plan to use this consistently with my students in Grades 5-6 next year. It is a great tool for collaboration and I can see it being highly beneficial in teaching students the research model and having them use it for notes and projects related to their research. Another tool I enjoyed learning more about was infographics. I purchased a few books that show examples of simple infographics so I can begin showing students how they work, how we can visually understand data and information and to evaluate it as well. Piktochart was really easy to use and I plan on using that next year with my students. In addition to these, I used my DIY tool to implement a summer reading program which we will finalize when students come back in the fall, I am tinkering the idea with creating a small makerspace in an old bathroom that I have that my custodian is going to redo for me, beginning to create a facebook for my library to advocate for myself and what my students are doing, slowly genrifying my library to make it easier for kids to access the books they want and plan on using quizlet and socratic apps through google chrome to review library concepts at the end of our school year.
In the next year, I would like to pursue PD’s more related to google (specifically google classrooms), how to implement a small makerspace, augmented reality and coding with students. I’ve already signed up for a PD tomorrow so I can learn more about Plickers, one of the student assessment tools from Thing 29! One of the things I would also like to start next school year is something like what Heidi Neltner mentioned in the Connected Librarian Toolkit – an “appy hour” – something short and sweet that teachers can attend every other week or month and learn about apps or technology tools they can use in their classroom.
Overall, there hasn’t been anything I didn’t enjoy witth this PD. Every tool, I was able to find some way to use it in my library or my teaching and even the things I wouldn’t necessarily use, I have shared with my co-workers.