Saturday, June 4, 2016

Our First Google Hangout For Professional Development

Our administrative team witnessed our first International Mystery Hangout earlier this year. As a result of seeing the high level of student engagement, they began to brainstorm how the activity could be spread to our other schools in the district. The assistant superintendent over curriculum asked me if I might be able to share about the Mystery Hangout/ Mystery Skype activity to our district teacher librarians on a professional development day in February. I was delighted to have this opportunity! This was a chance to show our district teacher librarians the power of connecting their students and teachers at each level (Primary K-2, Intermediate 3-4, and Middle School 5-7).

After thinking about it, I decided to see how the assistant superintendent felt about me actually making Google Hangout connections during the time we were provided for the meeting. Talking about the activity is good, but actually modeling a Hangout or Skype session is even better! Before I checked with the superintendent, I sent Twitter messages to my teacher librarian friends, Lynn Kleinmeyer (@THLibrariZen) and Elizabeth Hutchinson (@Elizabethutch), to see if they were available to visit with us! Lynn is a teacher librarian in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Elizabeth is a chartered librarian on the Island of Guernsey which is located in the English Channel. She is the head of Schools' Library Service there which serves the Bailiwick of Guernsey island schools. Luckily, they both were available to visit with us on the scheduled day!

Lynn Kleinmeyer presents to us via Google Hangouts!

The assistant superintendent and principals were very excited about this idea. The administrators provided us 3 hours for the district teacher librarian meeting. It was great for all of us to visit with Lynn in Iowa and Elizabeth on the island of Guernsey. We discussed best practices during the meetings.

Lynn presents to all of our district's teacher librarians!
The Discussion Topics

I asked both Lynn and Elizabeth to talk about the power of being a connected teacher librarian. We connected with Lynn in Iowa first. Lynn talked about things she was doing in her school. She talked about her schedule and what it is like to be a teacher librarian in her state. She also discussed her role as a teacher librarian at grades 2-5 which connected well with our district librarians. We in turn shared about our various schedules at each level (grades K-12). We visited with Lynn for about 45 minutes (It went by very fast!).

Elizabeth presents to us from the Island of Guernsey

We had a 15 minute intermission, and then we connected with Elizabeth at Guernsey. Her overseas location was 6 hours ahead of us. Elizabeth discussed the nature of her job and how she and her team serve schools on the English Channel Islands. It was fascinating to hear about her job! She discussed literature awards specific to her schools. At that point we began discussing the possibility of connecting our schools together for book clubs and discussions in 2016-2017! She also talked about our Mystery Hangout with one of her schools on the Island of Alderney. It was an amazing brainstorming session. It was hard to believe that Elizabeth was so far away since the quality of the audio and video was so good! We talked to Elizabeth for about 45 minutes.

Elizabeth talks to teacher librarian, Jackie Martin

Reflections from Elizabeth

I sent a Voxer message to Elizabeth asking her to reflect on this event. She felt that she benefited from the session more than we did (which is certainly not true from our perspective!). Elizabeth said, "Being able to Hangout and explain what we did with our Mystery Hangout really opened my eyes to the fact that not only is this an opportunity for our children and students to connect, but it's also a real opportunity for us to connect with people that we just wouldn't have (been able to) in the past." She also stated, "It has opened my eyes to possible other opportunities to share experiences, to understand that maybe I have something that is actually worth sharing is something new (to me)." Elizabeth's reflection should speak to all of us because we all have strengths that we should share with others! We all have stories to share that communicate the value of the school library!


As a result of these sessions, our primary school teacher librarian, Tammy Catlett, had an international Google Hangout for her students with Elizabeth several weeks later! Our middle school teacher librarian, Jackie Martin, has been communicating with Elizabeth about connecting next school year.  In addition, Elizabeth and I are planning to have book club meetings via webcam in 2016-2017! The professional development we were provided changed our learning community for the better! I am very grateful to Lynn and Elizabeth for being agents of change by taking the time to visit with us on that morning in February 2016! I am also very thankful to Lakeside assistant superintendent, Mr. Bruce Orr, high school principal, Mr. Darin Landry, and high school assistant principal, Mr. Anthony Brunet for allowing us to have this important meeting. Each of them are responsible for professional development, and this was one meeting that opened our minds to "be the change". If this sparked your thoughts to ways you can use Google Hangouts or Skype to have exciting professional development in your district or if you have done similar things, be sure to tell us in the comments below, or email me! I want to hear about it!

I have started a monthly email newsletter for the subscribers of the Library Media Tech Talk blog. If you are interested in exclusive content not appearing on the blog, be sure to subscribe by submitting your email address! Subscribe here!

Contact Me/ Follow Me

Are you on Twitter?

Follow me : @stony12270

No comments:

Post a Comment