Monday, 20 August 2012

Thing 13

Ok.  I am seriously behind with CPD23 because it is the summer holidays.  Working in a school gives me great holidays, but does also mean that I tend to switch off completely from anything work related and that does include my chartership as well unfortunately.  I am also blogging this from my IPad which is a first, so I apologise for any mistakes.  

So Thing 13 is online collaboration and the examples given are Google Docs, Dropbox and Wikis.  At this point, I am also going to put into the mix Titanpad as well which I have used with some effect in the LRC with students and one of my first posts on this blog was how I used Titanpad with several Year 7 and 8 classes.  The students worked in cooperative groups using a variation on a Sage, Scribe, Serf, Crusader activity (Kagan Cooperative Learning) to jointly produce some research in preparation for a visit by the author, Paul Dowswell.  Although I haven't been able to move forward as I would have liked with Titanpad (see some of my previous posts as to how my job has developed this past year) I have been pleased to see how those teachers who watched me using it with their classes have moved forward with Titanpad in their own teaching; one teacher has done some great collaborative work with schools across the UK and this is of course part of our CPD as any professional ( be it librarian or teacher) sharing what we find out so as to improve the learning experience of our users or in my case, students. 

So back to Google Docs etc.  I have used Google Docs quite a bit as part of staff development training sessions.  One example of how the Digital SIG (school improvement group, of which I am a member), used Google Docs was when we collaborated to produce a rationale, based on the cooperative values (my school is a cooperative school and these are at the heart of all we do).  I liked how our changes were identified on the screen which makes for a great feeling of shared ownership, although there does have to some degree of responsibility and respect!  Our aim as a school is to implement the use of Google across the college, including email etc, with Google Docs being used so as to encourage students to bring their physical cooperative learning into the online world as well. With this in mind, I shall probably use Google Docs in the future instead of Titanpad because it will also sit beside the other Google products I use, such as Reader and Calendar. 

Regarding Dropbox and Wikis, I am sure they are great, but for the reason above, I don't think they are going to be something that I personally will use in the future.  I am a bit of a believer in being consistent, especially when dealing with young people who often dislike change in the classroom/LRC I find.  Although I am always prepared to try new resources, products etc, I am a bit obsessive about not flitting to and fro between lots of different ideas.  So having been really 'forced' into adopting Google Docs at school and liking it, this is the collaborative product which I am sticking with.  This is not to say of course that I won't be contributing to wikis for my CPD at all: I made several contributions to the Libcampsw wiki for example and I have also been a contributor to a wiki shared and developed by school librarians, but for my personal professional development AND developing collaborative learning in the LRC at school, it will be Google Docs.

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