So, I finally finished 5 Things! When I signed up for the PD, I had no idea how busy my school year would be! It was my first year as a middle school librarian and there were so many things to tackle in curriculum development and in a physical space that hadn’t changed since the 1940’s. For me, a person who delves deeply into topics, each Thing took me at minimum 6-8 hours of work. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that, in actuality, some took about 10 hours, maybe more. So it was slow progress for me to get through the course and a fairly big stressor, especially writing the blog. Quite often it was finding the correct terms for writing about what I learned (technology content-vocabulary) that bogged me down the most. I learned as an online student for my MLS that having to write about something you learned took a lot longer than participating in a live classroom discussion or raising your hand to contribute a timely comment. But I also realized that, by having to write what I learned, I was forced to think more deeply about the topic, often revisiting the instructional texts to refine my thinking into something I could express succinctly and also to discover appropriate terminology (tech speak) to describe what I learned. So, I found my CoolTools blog to be just as arduous as learning a new technology. Probably more so.
I definitely believe the CoolTools course was valuable and I marvel at all the wonderfully vetted resources you offered Polly. The only downside, for me, was the timeliness. Having not had time to fully realize my library classroom curriculum or the middle school curriculum itself (along with collaborative opportunities for which I’d develop instructional resources) over the span of this course, I was faced with trying out new technologies where I had to invent a way to use them rather than adapt content I already teach. So in that sense, time spent practicing a particular technology was not time saved for a task I would have done anyway at my job.
However, and it’s a BIG however, almost all of the tools I tried have manifested into some actual goals I plan to tackle next year. I will be collaborating with next year’s Freshman Seminar teacher to begin the practice of keeping a Blogfolio with our 9th graders that I hope will expand to include work from other courses and have students use some of the curation tools to build their own “collections of knowledge” while learning to evaluate websites or compile an annotated bibliography about a research topic. There were some productivity tools I’ve already started using for myself and a couple that I will embed in my lesions, and I have more tools “in my toolbox” for building an engaging Google Classroom.
Thank you and have a great summer!!