Monday 14 February 2011

First Thoughts on Chartering

Having had my first meeting with my chartership mentor on Friday, this is my first attempt to begin to rationalise my thoughts and plans for the next year.  I am lucky to have known my mentor for a number of years now; as a senior post holder in the public library service when I got my first job as a Library Assistant, then as a School Library Advisor for the SLS when I got my current job in a secondary school and now finally as a school governor and parent of students who attend the school I work at.  She has a wealth of knowledge and past experience and I am very pleased at the prospect of working with her for the next year.

I am also pleased that my school seem to be taking my Chartership seriously by agreeing to fund the costs.  Not very much to pay though I hear some of you say, but in the current economic climate in which we continually hear of the closure of public libraries, SLSs and school libraries along with librarian redundancies, I am very relieved that my school still seem to hold a library (or LRC as here) and a professional librarian in high regard; the support for my CPD being evident of this.

We have decided to make the focus of my Chartership digitial literacy; a decision which seemed to come easy given the current debates about the value of libraries and librarians in a digital world.  In addition my school has recently become a Microsoft Innovation School and as a result we have the amazing opportunity to really explore the use of ICT, digital media and social networking in our teaching and learning.

We have had two staff training sessions in recent weeks; the first when we began to look at different forms of media to engage and interact with students, e.g. podcasting, but it was the second training session which began to really enthuse me.  It took the form of five workshops each led by staff members; Twitter and Youtube, Blogs and Wikis, Mischief Mouse, Facebook as well as an introductory insight into the Microsoft Innovation Programme and an opportunity to become part of the workspace for Partners in Learning.  Having already recorded my thoughts on Google docs for the school, I won't go into too much detail here, but there were a few ideas which seemed to stand out for me.  Having been using social media for some time now to enhance my CPD, being told about nings, wikis and blogs was a bit frustrating at first.  However just listening to other people's experiences began to really focus my mind and allowed me to reach past this stage and to think seriously about their application (and that of others) in teaching and learning.

I had already dallied with the idea of using Twitter to regularly update students of the latest careers related opportunities; being Head of Careers for Years 7 - 13 has always given me a bit of a headache in how to present information such as Open Days, Apprenticeships, college courses etc.  Putting up posters is so time consuming and does anybody really take any notice of them.  I have already tried something similar and created a forum on our VLE (Frog) for staff development courses.  Previously all the course information was kept in paper format in box files in the LRC and now new information is simply posted onto the forum with a link to the web address. Using an online forum to record book reviews, the school book group already loves using Animoto to present their book reviews, was next and there really should be a place where staff can share book reviews online so our students can see us reading.

Other ideas include revamping the LRC pages on the college website and exploring Livebinders and to effectively support whole class research tasks.  As a Cooperative Trust college, it is also essential to consider everything in light of our cooperative ethos.  I see an interesting year ahead of me.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

My first post

Over the last six months or so I feel that I am getting the hang of this Web 2.0 lark.  Up to now I have been so overwhelmed with the many different tools that exist I have always been a bit put off. 
  • Which ones to explore? 
  • Will they work through my school's filter system?  Answer: probably not. 
  • Which ones to try with my students?  How will use of Web 2.0 improve their learning and support content led teaching? 
Deep down I always understood the relevance and support Web 2.0 could offer me in my own personal CPD and also craved new and innovative ways to engage with my students at school, both in the LRC and outside in the classroom, corridors and in the virtual world.  However I have never been one to try something new just for the sake of it and I certainly didn't want to explore lots of different ideas only to result in a series of half hearted attempts which have no impact at all on my professional career and that of my students' learning.

Having to choose a particular area of focus for my Chartership has enabled me to make a serious attempt to tackle some of the latest technological developments and I began with developing my own personal learning network through Twitter and using Google Reader to track blogs etc which are most interesting and useful to me.  I know of some fantastic librarians out there in schools (this is my area of professionalism), whose blogs, tweets and school library web pages have been invaluable to me.  Thank you - I can only aspire to be like you.  This new blog is my first step to publishing my thoughts, ideas and initiatives on the latest technological developments in Web 2.0, e-resources such as the I-Pad and Kindle and their impact on learning in schools within the context of the LRC and its integral role in supporting both teaching and learning.

Having had a meeting with my line manager last week to redefine my job description, I have been lucky enough to have been told to focus on the LRC's virtual role and explore different Web 2.0 tools and their role in teaching and learning with the aim of using this as my main Chartership focus.  A meeting next week with my mentor should enable me to begin this process properly.