Monday 31 October 2011

Sharing Good Practice; Social Media

On Friday 21st October, I attended a networking session at a neighbouring secondary school which was part of a whole authority INSET day for school staff.  The day was originally planned as a support session for those schools using OLIVER, but was expanded into more of a 'Cyber Library' session with a presentation led by myself and supported by the LRC Manager on our use of social media both personally as a CPD tool and within the LRC.  

Our presentation medium took the form of a prezi ( with the link to mine here is a presentation tool that I have been playing around with for a while now, although this was the first time I had used it formally as a learning tool and as an alternative to Powerpoint, the attendees appreciated its innovativeness and online sharing possibilities.  When planning the session, we brainstormed why we valued social media and Web 2.0 coming up with words such as collaboration, reflection and informing which we were then able to link to those Web 2.0 resources we had used, focusing on the teaching and learning context in which they had been used, i.e. titanpad and linoit fitted neatly into collaborate, whilst animoto and glogster have been mainly used for informing and presenting. 

Being able to share our Web 2.0 and social media travels was extremely cathartic, in that you are never sure how far down a path you have gone until you take the time to reflect.  Having to justify the impact of these tools on teaching and learning was also very useful and insightful.  Using Web 2.0 tools and social media to support teaching and learning is not about the 'ooh' and 'aah' factor, but instead using them to engage with the students and being able to share learning with teachers and other students (both in and outside the classroom) and in the case of our personal CPD, other educational professionals.

We also took along our three new Ipads which were the focus of much envy.  Being very new additions to our LRC, we were only able to offer a limited idea of how we were using them at the time, although there was much discussion on apps to support curriculum areas which then led attendees onto to talking about Kindles.  Only one school present had actually purchased a Kindle (we have an e-reader, plus the Kindle app on the Ipads), and we were able to share our Kindle project: 10 Kindles to be purchased and trialled with post 16 students initially.  One of the issues we face in our college is the overwhelmingly diverse range of student reading abilities; from students with a reading age of less than 6 to those achieving three As at A-Level.  This means that much of the LRC budget is focused towards those texts designed to improve reading at a more phonics orientated level which can mean that post 16 students, studying Level 3 courses, may miss out on access to those more obscure texts which are relevant to their studies.  An example of this is a recent request for the 'Man who mistook his wife for a hat' by Oliver Sacks which as a recommended read and not a course text may not have been purchased in the past.  However being able to download this text cheaper via Kindle also means that we use less of our precious shelf space as well (books and PCs all vying for space can be a headache).  Another great feature of Kindles is the ability to download a sample which will ensure that we buy exactly what the students want to read as they will be able to trial the book first for free.

It was a great opportunity to meet up with some fellow school library staff (an OLIVER group was set up on so we can continue to support each other as we familarise ourselves with this Library Management System) and I will be using linoit to ask for some feedback to my presentation which can then be included for my Chartership.