Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer School Library Adventures

This has been one of the busiest summers ever in our high school library. I have made efforts to share many of the activities on social media. It is important to show the community and administration what is happening, even in the summer months, since they are investing in our program. I want to share a few things with you that occurred this week that changed my thinking.

My First Attempt at Using HyperDocs

I was recently sent with a team from my school to my first ever Google Summit. One of the most interesting tools I learned about while there was the HyperDoc. This type of shareable, innovative document could be a Google Doc (It could also easily be a Word Document if you are using or Office 365). The presenter was Will Kimbley (@willkimbley), and he showed us examples from his classroom content. He had placed a mixture of text, links, and even quizzes within the HyperDocs that were shared with students in Google Classroom. When learners accessed the content, they were able to navigate the material at their own pace which allowed the teacher to move about the room giving individual attention as needed. I loved this idea and couldn't wait to get back to school to experiment.

Luckily, I was scheduled to present a digital citizenship lesson to our summer school class at Lakeside. I decided to create a HyperDoc with the content to share with the small class of 11 students. This was a great opportunity to see how they would respond to a new delivery method. I mainly used Common Sense Media and YouTube for my links. You can access my experimental document here.

On the day of the event, the learners responded very well. We used the HyperDoc lesson activities for nearly two hours. There was a mixture of videos, small group/ big group discussion, and making activities. At the end of the sessions, I gave students a chance to give feedback. They really seemed to like the HyperDocs. I will definitely be modeling this for teachers during the coming school year.


I got to see Minecraft up close at the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Forum in June. Stephen Reid (@ImmersiveMind) blew me away with his excellent examples of student use in the classroom. I immediately downloaded the Minecraft Education edition when I arrived home after I got my new Microsoft Surface setup. Sadly, I haven't had time to experiment with it. Too often, we educators think we have to be the experts on every new tool. This is a mistake. We have students that can become experts, and we should let them.

During summer school classes, we invited a local interior design project manager to come speak to the students. Dawn Shafer of French Architects showed our learners how she redesigned our high school library for the recent renovation that was completed in January of this year.  After she and an architect presented, we loaded SketchUp Make on laptops for the kids to try. As they were working on their own designs, we started talking about Minecraft. A couple of the students really showed a lot of interest. I told them I would let them use my Surface to build things in the Minecraft environment, and I asked them to show it to our district librarians.

Students built a replica of our school library in Minecraft!
One of the students was so excited, he sent me Tweets about Minecraft that very evening. He decided to come to school on his off day from summer school to work with the software. In just a few hours, he and his friend had built a model of our high school library in Minecraft. They showed the game to all our librarians at the end of our meeting on the same day! One of our principals has even asked that I have these young men present to our faculty of approximately 100 educators during professional development sessions! They can't wait to do this.

Check out my video reflection about students presenting Minecraft (select the link above)

I learned that I don't have to be the expert of every new tech tool. It is impossible! As school librarians and tech specialists, we just need to make these items available to students (and teachers). Then we need to support them, and they can do the rest. In addition, my mind was opened up to using Minecraft in a variety of subjects including, English Language Arts, History, Math, and Science. I look forward to installing Minecraft on several library computers so we can add them to our Makerspace activities.

None of this would have happened if I wouldn't have taken a chance and allowed these two learners to use Minecraft on my Surface device. Now, they are thinking of ways to present Minecraft to teachers as a classroom learning tool. How many other students are out there waiting for the opportunity to share their knowledge and/ or passion for learning in new ways? I believe the "fields" are ripe with them. We must seek them out and empower them.

New Faculty Orientation

As an added bonus, our district administrators used the library for their new faculty orientation sessions. It was great to see that the library could be their first taste of our school district! Consider asking your administration to use the school library as a space for summer training sessions, especially for new faculty. This is a wonderful way to introduce yourself and the services you offer to new educator friends, even if they are in different buildings. First impressions are important. Why not make them in the school library?

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