Wrapping Up, Looking Back, Moving Forward

from the blog www.stuckincustoms.com

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

And we’re coming down to the wire! The deadline is today (Friday March 22). But I won’t make the last sweep through all your blog posts until Sunday. My wedding anniversary is Saturday and I’m actually going to take the day off! So that gives you a little wiggle room on the deadline.🙂

You’ve all done an amazing job. Many of you have done at least 5 things and we have quite a few who have already finished all 9! No matter how many things you finished, give yourselves a pat on the back for everything you did, especially during this extremely busy and challenging school year.

Some Parting Thoughts

A recent blog post by David Lankes, Beyond the Bullet Points: Rock Stars, reminds us to always think about the big questions of why we do what we do. With that in mind and as we come to the end of this project, I’ve been reminding myself of the larger goals of this project. Sure, we wanted everyone to explore lots of different tech tools. But really, the goals were bigger than ‘look at all the cool new shiny stuff.’

PLAY: We wanted everyone to have time to play with technology, to get past being afraid of breaking things and making mistakes.  Being able to quickly test a new tool and assess whether it fits your needs are critical skills these days.  As is being nimble and willing to try something different when something doesn’t go as expected.  Some of my favorite comments were along the lines of “wow, I can use this tool tomorrow, just what we needed” and “I wasn’t sure if would work, but I tried this with some of my students today.”

CONNECT: The other big goal was to provide opportunities to make connections and expand your network of people you can call on to share ideas and ask for help. Connections with other folks taking the workshop, connections with other school staff where collaborations might be possible, with other educators around the world and connections with your own work.

And finally, this blog post by George Couros, 4 Guiding Questions For Your IT Department,  posed a couple of ‘big questions’ that all educators, not just the IT department. need to keep in mind as we look at using tech (or any!) tools with our students. His first two questions are:

  • What is best for kids?
  • How does this improve learning?

Simple, but big and important!

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Keeping me busy!


photo credit: Dyanna Hyde via photopin cc

Wow, you guys are keeping me busy with all your great blog posts and reflections on what you’ve been learning. Thank you for sharing so many great tips and ideas.

I just read through all your blogs and updated the spreadsheet,  do go check and see where people stand. It looks like we have about 7 people who have already finished. And around 15 who are at least half-way done. That’s terrific! Many of you are just one or two things away from finishing. I’ll be checking several more times before the March 22 deadline.

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Deadline is March 22


photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

Your SLS administrators have set Friday March 22 as the deadline for getting professional development credits/hours for your work.  That’s 2 more weeks.

Remember :

  • 5 things (thing 1 + 4 others ) = 10 contact hours
  • 9 things = 18 contact hours

Have fun!

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Finish Line? Or Starting Line?

starting lineWith the posting of Thing 9 on databases and search tools, it’s a wrap! That’s our last lesson of this project. Which means you’ve made it to the finish line. But I hope it’s also another starting line for you all too.

The goals for this course were simple:

  • Confidence: If you started out feeling a bit hesitant about tech, we hope you’re feeling more comfortable just jumping in and trying new tools. 
  • Connections: And we hope everyone came out of this with some new connections with colleagues, whether they were part of this project or other colleagues you shared information with.
  • Collaborations: As you connected with other colleagues and shared ideas, we hope you have built stronger collaborative relationships that will last well beyond this workshop.
  • New Tools: If you were already a seasoned pro, we hope you had time to explore some old tools in more depth, some new tools and new ways of using them in school.

It may seem strange that New Tools was listed last, but it’s really the least important. Tools come and go, but confidence, connections with others and being open to opportunities for collaborations. these are things that will outlast any particular tool. 

Have fun continuing to explore!

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Posterous closing up shop on April 30

Posterous is going away on April 30. Fortunately for this course, we’ll be done by then. So any Posterous users will be ok. But if you want to keep your content for future use, you’ll need to export your files before April 30.

Don’t worry, once you export the content, you’ll be able to import it to WordPress.com or Squarespace.

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New Twitter Chat for Elementary Teacher-Librarians

@Annie_Liz tipped me off to a brand new twitter chat hashtag that will bring together elementary school teacher librarians.  #tlelem is the hashtag. Take a look and check out the tweets. And watch for their first live chat on February 19th 8:20 pm.

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More news and notes

  • PLN Starter Kit:  A Resource for Fledgling Connected Educators Great livebinder full of people to connect with and blogs to follow. (from @jenniferlagarde)
  • TechChickTips – if you listen to only one edtech podcast, this should be it! Helen & Anna cover so many interesting resources in every episode. And they’re a lot of fun. Also check out their Tech Chick Tips Facebook page for more resources in between episodes.
  • Pinterest Guide – Download PDF from the MakeUseOf site. Password for download is: makeuseof  They put together great guides and offer useful tips, sign up for their email list to be notified of future tips and guides. 
  • Tools, Resources, Etc. – The pinners on this collaborative board for Linda Braun’s Simmons LIS 460  ‘Technology and the School Library Teacher’ grad course are sharing great ‘cool tools’ for schools.
  • Smories – Kids reading stories aloud. Short videos, very cute. Includes a read-along option with words on the videos.
  • Technology Tools for Teaching & Learning – Terrific list of tools broken down by learning goals.
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Thing 7 is Podcasting & Screencasting


photo credit: Ayton via photopin cc

Our lesson this week introduces two ways for you and your students to record news, thoughts, ideas and presentations through audio recording (podcasting) and screen recordings (screencasting).  Handy skills for you and for your students. Have fun with Screencasting and Podcasting.

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Ideas & resources

I am loving reading all the blogs posts by everyone. Such great ideas and thoughts. These are just a few of the great ideas and resources shared by participants in both the SLS Cool Tools and the Cool Tools for Schools programs.

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Backing up your sites

I was surprised to hear from one of our participants that her WordPress.com site had been closed down for some unknown infraction of the WordPress.com service terms. We’ve both been in touch with the WP folks to find out what happened. Will let everyone know what we find out, so that we can all avoid whatever happened.

In the meantime, this is a really good point to talk about backing up content!! It’s just as important to backup online content as it is to backup the content on your own computers.  Most online tools have some way to export your content and if the content is important to you, you should find a way to back it up.

This quick screencast will show you how to backup your WordPress.com and Blogger sites.

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