Participating in the CSLA's School Library Learning 2.0 program has been beneficial to me. Even though I was familiar with some of the tools that were discussed, I really took the time to reflect on how I can use these in my instructional practice and how my colleagues can use them with students.
Prior to beginning the program, I used many of these tools in my personal life (blogging, flickr, YouTube) as a way to record the things that are going on in my family and so that relatives and friends who live far from us are still able to keep up on what is going on with my children. I've even used my blog as a professional journal to track the things I want to remember related to work, like articles I've read, things I've done in the classroom that have worked well, and my notes on previous professional goals like last year's collection analysis and comparison to the other secondary schools in my district. I've struggled with what's appropriate to put on that personal blog and found that for my own comfort, I really need to keep my personal and professional blogging separate. I expect I'll continue to use this blog professionally because I want to be reflective about my instructional practices.
One of the things that happened this year in my school was very exciting to me: I had a teacher whose professional goal was to have her students blog. A few years ago, I created a blog that I host from our home server called Read Write Think Repeat. We used it briefly during a summer reading program and I also used it to post announcements about new materials as they were purchased. I worked with Robyn and her students to begin using that blog for student-created book reviews and discussion. The students voted to change the name to Rockin' Reads so that's its current title.
Changes in the way our network is administered meant that I can no longer make that page the library computers' homepage. I cannot even add it to the bookmarks on computers as everything is wiped from the history and bookmarks on our computers when someone logs out of them. One of my biggest personal frustrations about technology in our schools is the lack of communication and information sharing that goes on.
To get to my school library site, one has to start at the district website (every computer lab and library computer's homepage), click on schools, click on schools again and find my school in the dropdown list, click on library and the click on website in that dropdown list. It can't be bookmarked by students at school. (Teachers can bookmark it, but based on the phone and email requests I get, I'm pretty sure no one has.)
Because it's not used, I'm not very motivated to work on the site. Because the site has limited use, it's not used. It's a Catch-22. I think I could use the library blog site to be the library website adding pages to it, but that probably involves negotiations with the district technology department to figure out how to make that work. At least it is a relatively easy address to remember.
As a district we applied for the Improving Literacy through School Libraries grant. Technology and technology training is a significant portion of that proposal. Some of the things that teachers said they wanted to learn more about are PowerLibrary (our state-provided online databases), pod/vodcasts, wikis and blogs. I will probably be involved in providing some of those trainings, so participating in SLL2.0 has helped to prepare me for that--but I'll certainly need additional work to provide the best possible training. I've signed up for some training at our state conference and I'll probably do some additional self-discovery and learning to supplement what I've learned from the CSLA program.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this to any teacher, administrator or librarian who wants to learn more about web 2.0 tools. Thank you to CSLA for making it available to anyone! I was supposed to have a partner working on the tutorials with me, someone from LM_NET, but she ended up not posting much after her initial few posts and the emails that I've sent to her asking if she needed help or support have gone unanswered, so I'm not sure what happened to make her abandon the tutorials. We're also supposed to discuss a book we were planning to read together, but I suspect that will go by the wayside as well. I hope it does not impact my evaluation because she hasn't followed through.
A few weeks ago, I found reference to the next 23 things (Library 2.1) from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library and I believe I will continue my learning by doing those things as I have time.