Saturday, October 8, 2011

Embracing a lack of knowledge

My Web 2.0 experience, although more than many of my generation is very limited. In the past I produced a number of school library web sites for the students at my middle school; the first used a template on a free site especially for teachers. Following professional development where I learned to use Dreamweaver MX I created another short-lived website. In early 2009 I attended the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Superconference and heard Will Richardson’s keynote address. I purchased Richardson’s (2009) book, Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms and avidly read the book, sticky-noting pages as I went. I marked pages referring to students “becoming ‘experts” using blogs”, (p. 32)  “Getting started with not difficult”, (p. 44) setting up an aggregator: “I would suggest Google Reader”, (p. 73) “RSS is a powerful, flexible tool that I think will be changing our information gathering habits for years to come”, (p. 83) and podcasting; “easy to create, they are easy to consume as well”. (p. 111) Overwhelming to a teacher-librarian with limited access to the computer lab and therefore little experience with or opportunity to use these tools the book sat close by and untouched once the initial effect of the experience faded. Inspired by another OLA Superconference session where the presenter referred us to connecting, and I read further about “portability (netbooks) & cloud computing (Google Apps)”, (Nevin, n.d.) I purchased five netbooks and by Fall 2010 had twelve netbooks and a wireless connection in the school library.

This YouTube video shows Nevin explaining how he set up netbooks and cloud computing in his school.     

I embraced my lack of knowledge and began to investigate the potential of Web 2.0 in my school. In October 2010 I registered my first blog @ Lougheed Library. Although the site has been intermittently blocked and unblocked by the board of education I promoted it and published some posts and a few pages. I introduced a library blog for girl readers and a blog for boys and have recently added The look of awesome @ Lougheed, a blog mimicking 1000 awesome things. With the arrival of the netbooks and a wireless connection I was able to encourage some teachers to come to the library to use Web 2.0 tools for podcasts using Audacity, for glogs using Glogster Edu and wikis on pbworks. My personal journey has included creating many wikis, a couple of glogs, and subscribing to Will Richardson’s  and other educator’s blogs using Google reader.
I have been lucky to be joined on my path by a colleague who is also registered in the University of Alberta Teacher Librarianship- distance learning program of the Master of Education Degree. We have been sharing web tools and web sites of interest and have decided to create a blog to lead teachers and teacher-librarians into the 21st century. We value the tools and the journey and hope that we will be able to encourage others to engage in Web 2.0 experiences. This inquiry project and blog will provide the opportunity for me to learn more regarding the tools I have read about and explore in more depth the tools that have piqued my interest. I hope to become comfortable enough to model and provide training in Web 2.0 tools.

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