Beyond Classroom Tech Tips…

April 27, 2008

CD Cover Meme

Filed under: digital photography,Digital Storytelling — Donna DesRoches @ 1:14 am
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I came across this great meme idea today that I decided would be the first that I would do and ask others to respond. You follow three simple rules and using your favourite image editing program create a CD cover.

The rules are:

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

Here is my attempt:

You will find other far more creative covers at the Flickr group for CD covers. Once you have tried it ask your students to as well!

I was going to name some specific bloggers to contribute to the theme but instead I challenge and look forward to seeing CD covers from our school division’s in-school instructional technology support committee.


April 19, 2008

Creating Critical Consumers

Filed under: Professional Development,Social Networking — Donna DesRoches @ 11:24 pm
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Alec Couros was back in our school division this week. Our administrators arranged quite an intensive schedule for him and he spoke to students from grade 2 – 12, to teachers and to parents.

I had an opportunity to hear one of the presentations he made to parents and two things struck me in his comments. The first was that because the technology is not going to go away, we – parents and teachers – need to immerse ourselves in the technology so that we understand it and provide the guidance that kids need to use it wisely and ethically. If we don’t they will learn from each other – not always a bad thing – but parents and teachers can provide the foundation in social ethics that is often missing when students teach each other.

The second thing that struck me in Alec’s talk was the need to not only ensure that our students/children are critical consumers of information but that they are also critical producers.

I started to think of what this entails and generated a brainstormed list of what I thought students need to know to be critical producers:

  1. Knowing audience – where to post information (e.g. YouTube, GoogleVideo, FaceBook)
  2. Reading and understanding the ‘terms of service’ agreements posted post on social networking sites
  3. Providing attribution for other’s work/ideas used in the creation of a product
  4. Licensing one’s own work and providing terms for its use
  5. Knowing what personal information is necessary to create an online presence but also recognizing that certain information should not be shared
  6. Using appropriately the privacy settings on social networking sites where one’s work is posted and shared
  7. Respecting the rights and wishes of others to not have pictures or video of themselves posted online.
  8. Using photos and video of others with their permission
  9. Portraying other people in positive ways and not in ways that are hurtful or harmful.

What have I missed?

I also believe that these skills must be taught as students create and post their products online. This is not a separate information/technology literacy skill but an integral component of student production and should be built into the lessons and instructional strategies that we use

April 11, 2008


Filed under: Professional Development — Donna DesRoches @ 10:25 pm

Yes, it’s done! On Saturday I presented my Master’s project to colleagues, classmates and faculty at the University of Saskatchewan. A classmate took these photos and when I look at them it seems that I am having fun! And, yes it was quite enjoyable. I realized as I spoke how important the topic of information literacy is to me and how I hope to share my enthusiasm with the teachers with whom I work.

My prof, Rick Schwier, ustreamed the presentations and it was interesting to receive feedback from friends and colleagues around North America.

My project, Teaching for Information Literacy, is a collection of resources to help teachers understand the concept of information literacy and to begin the process of implementing an information literacy program in their school.

One of the most important things for me to convey was the concept of moving beyond topical research to using an inquiry approach to engage students in the process of uncovering knowledge to create their own understandings. I did this by creating a video, Re/Search Re/Mixed, (with a great deal of assistance from my office mate, the Arts Education Consultant, Sherron Burns).

I also created a series of tutorials to help teachers use the resources available from the Ministry of Education and how to make the resources more accessible to staff and students by linking to individual databases and articles, using the rss feature available in Gale Infotrac and inserting a ProQuest widget on a blog or wiki page.

The portal also encompasses technology, especially new and emerging technologies as an essential component of information literacy. For example, social bookmarking is a tool that can be used at many stages of the research process to categorize, organize, annotate and share resources. Online mind-mapping and brainstorming tools allow students to continue their work outside of school as well as the ability to collaborate and share.

One of the most interesting questions that came from the audience after my presentation was, “can you give a specific example of how information literacy has changed”? My response was to share how little I now use a search engine since the growth of my personal learning network – my twitter friends, my network and the blogs that I read via my bloglines account. Information can now come to me – and I need the skills to be able to create the PLN that will bring me the information I need and the ability to filter the information.

The times they are a changin’ – are we ready?



April 10, 2008

National Congress on Rural Education

Filed under: Conferences,Professional Development — Donna DesRoches @ 5:04 pm

This week Living Sky School Division had two different forms of representation at the National Congress on Rural Education in Saskatoon.

hpim0236.jpgI, along with Jim Ellis and Byrna Luyben-Cronk, did a presentation on the Living Sky Professional Laptop program. Although our audience was small our presentation was well received especially by our Assistant Director.

Our professional laptop program is based on division -wide committees: In-school Instructional Technology Support, Arts Education, Early Literacy and ELA Inquiry.

Jim represented the Inquiry and In-school Instructional Technology Support Committee. Byrna is also a member of the In-school Instructional Technology Support Committee and she represented the Arts Education Committee. Unfortunately we were unable to have representation for the Early Literacy Committee. However, we were provided with a number of invaluable quotes from the committee members one of which I have included below. The others became a part of of our slide presentation.

We are efficient with the laptops during the meetings. In past committee work, we had you typing while we were running for print materials and flipping pages. Now we can all be international travellers through the internet accessing the information at our fingertips. Also, it has given me a tool to help colleagues when they say that they have a need. I was able to share web sites for activities from our committee with a teacher. I think it has made me more aware of and comfortable with technology-using photos and programs. I am gaining the confidence to help others play with these programs

Living Sky School Division was also represented at the Congress by students from McLurg High School who provided e-journalism services to its participants. These students worked diligently to provide a daily newsletter, video reporting and a blog to inform participants about congress events. They were a highly organized team coordinated by their Information Processing and English teachers. These teachers have a strong believe in authentic learning and this was an ideal opportunity for students to experience the tension and the thrill of meeting press deadlines, interviewing prominent individuals and speaking to the public. They handled this e-journalism experience as true professionals! Kudos to the students of McLurg High School!

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