Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 1: Dropbox for Beginners

I love iPad apps!
I found Dropbox and downloaded the free app in seconds. I have positioned it in my six "always there" apps at the bottom of the screen and I have installed Dropbox on my PC. A Dropbox icon is in the task bar and start menu as well as in my Favourites.
Signing up for an account requires an email address and password. A passcode can be added to sign in on the iPad.

My free account has up to 18 GB storage and an additional 2 GB + 500 MB per referral. You will see my invitation through Dropbox on Twitter and Facebook. You can refer through your Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc accounts as well. I have sent a few direct email invitations to my admin. 

Additional storage can be purchased at a rate starting at $9.99/ month or $100.00/year.
Team Dropbox accounts are high priced and will not be an appropriate use of school funds. Five accounts start at $795.00. I will recommend teachers and students register for the free account. Teachers may want to create a school work email account to accommodate student sharing.

The checklist takes you through an orientation to Dropbox including:
Dropbox tour

Install Dropbox on your computer

Put files in your Dropbox folder

Install Dropbox on other computers you use

Share a folder with friends or colleagues

Invite some friends to join Dropbox

Install Dropbox on your mobile device 

When Dropbox has been installed three files are available; Photos, Public and Getting Started. The Getting Stared File gives quick directions for this relatively intuitive program.
"Drag and drop" files to the Dropbox icon to save to your account. Double clicking on the icon opens your Dropbox.

The Dropbox help page is easy to access and the information is clear and presented well.

Why Dropbox?

Library netbook cart
Our school has just purchased and introduced 20 iPads for each of our three grade levels. The iPads are stored with the netbooks on a cart which can be used by teachers in their classrooms. Each cart has wireless capabilities and the netbooks are networked to the school board intranet.

We have always had issues with students either emailing through hotmail accounts or using USB drives (I have a collection of unclaimed drives in my office) to transfer work between home and school. Now with the introduction of iPads (not networked) there is a need to find a way to share finished or in progress work.

Recent fundraising and my request for iPads in the library has promised me four devices for library use. I have been frustrated by a lack of networking; our first five netbooks were not networked or imaged by the board so there is no connection to student files and without "protection" on these netbooks I hesitate to allow hotmail use and USB drives get lost.

I have an Evernote account and have been trying to use it more often for personal file sharing between home and work but have yet to benefit as much as I had expected. Dropbox has come up in discussions with others introducing technology in their schools and from limited understanding I think this tool is worth investigating.
-ease of access by invitation
-app available FREE on iPads and downloadable on school computers
-capability of emailing files to teacher
-some colleagues with experience

HERE I come!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Using Technology to Create a Reading Culture

It is imperative that we as educators instil a love of reading in our students. By building a culture of reading in our classrooms, libraries and schools we just might achieve this goal.

This link will take you to Using Technology to Build a Reading Culture from an online professional development workshop created by my team in the U of Alberta TLDL course, Contemporary Literacies.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Digital Kids Digital Readers


As part of the TLDL EDES543 course Contemporary Literacies we were required to create a professional development online workshop for teachers and/or teacher librarians. The link above is to a very thorough online presentation for those interested in introducing and managing eBooks in schools. Many thanks to my classmates April, Cherie, Katie, Laurie and Lissa.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Memes in the Classroom

 WIKIPEDIA defines an Internet meme as: 
an idea that is propagated through the World Wide Web. The idea may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase. The meme may spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, news sources, or other web-based services. An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, parody, or by incorporating news accounts about itself. Internet memes can evolve and spread extremely rapidly, sometimes reaching world-wide popularity within a few days.
In order to better prepare our students for their digital citizenship, access to and understanding of internet culture is imperative. 
Internet Memes are the sharing of popular culture. Every student with internet, cell phone, or iPad access will know which are the popular and current memes. Memes might have more place in middle or senior schools than in younger grades.  In my role as a teacher librarian and literacy leader in a middle school I can offer an introduction to memes as part of the media curriculum. Until we educate our students about the basics of meme-ing we can't expect to have discussions about ethics or social action.

MEME Basics
-define meme
-identify currently popular memes
-learn to recognize memes vs. truth (critical thinking piece)
-define the audience ("remixers, "sharers") for a particular meme
-how was this meme spread?
-why did this meme spread?
-how was the meme created (skills required)?
-how was the meme remixed?
-recognize the collaborative, modification and sharing nature of memes
-identify counter memes
-create a remix of a favourite meme or create a counter meme

Memes are engaging, motivating and relevant. I might even suggest memes be included as part of our media or technology classes. 
One issue which will continue to create discussion amoung educators is where will we access engaging and more importantly appropriate meme content.