Saturday, March 11, 2017

Students Take The Mic At TLChat

Many thanks to Ray Borel for this wonderful advertisement!

During a planning meeting in January for the TLChat webinar series, I offered to lead a session for the month of March. Rather than me serving as the main presenter, we thought it would be great to allow our student leaders to speak. We have had a very motivated group of student speakers at school this year. They have had the opportunity to share their library makerspace innovations with teachers, students, and businesses many times during 2016-2017.

We wanted these learners to lead the hour-long webinar and share their voices. This was a great change to show how students can take the lead doing virtually anything in the school library. Our hope was to inspire teacher librarians (or teachers and administrators) to empower student leadership! Mrs. Kaitlyn Price (also a teacher librarian at Lakeside High School) and I wanted to serve as facilitators for the event. We selected 5 of our student leaders to take the role of presenters. I emailed their parents to let them know about the event. To help students prepare for the session, we asked them to create up to 10 slides that covered the following information:

  • What they presented this year (3D printing, BreakoutEDU, Robotics, etc)
  • Who they presented to (Other schools, Follett company, Microsoft, etc)
  • How having a voice impacted them personally
  • Next steps: what they plan or hope to do next

We asked all students to keep their presentations to about 8 minutes. It didn't take long for them to start sending me their slides for the webinar. Kaitlyn and I heard all the presenters go through their outlines and presentations prior to the event. We let them practice using the Blackboard Collaborate interface (the platform used to deliver the TLChat webinars). Look at the bottom of this page for a link to the Blackboard recording of the webinar!

On the evening of the event the following students presented:

Jordan (8th grade) Minecraft 

Jordan shared his passion for Minecraft during his session. He explained the basics of the tool, ideas for how it can be used in the classroom, and suggestions for empowering students to lead the way. We discussed how teachers and librarians should not feel they have to know everything about Minecraft since it is so popular with students. Jordan pointed out that there are "student experts" everywhere since thousands of kids are playing Minecraft. He also shared how being a presenter impacted him. Earlier this year, Jordan and other students helped me create a blog article about Minecraft. He was gracious enough to create a screenshot video walk through of a project he created using the software.

Gavin and Drew (10th grade) 3D Scanning & Printing

Gavin and Drew shared how they have presented their EAST 3D Scanning & Printing Project in the library this year. They discussed the specifics of the project and each piece of equipment they use to scan and create models in EAST. They shared how being presenters has changed their thinking this year. The two also talked about how they enjoy inspiring students and teachers to create!

Nathan (11th grade) BreakoutEDU

Nathan talked about how he has been given leadership opportunities in the library since his 9th grade year. This student has led numerous book clubs and has even presented at a state library conference with me! He shared about how he became interested in BreakoutEDU last summer after visiting a local escape room. We gave Nathan the opportunity to present BreakoutEDU to our history department at Lakeside during their summer professional development meeting. Nathan discussed the process he went through creating the BreakoutEDU puzzles and he reflected on the entire experience. This session allowed me (and webinar participants) to hear the impact leadership roles can have on students.

Krystyna (10th grade) Robotics

Krystyna has been presenting robotics and technology in the library since her 9th-grade year. For her part of the session, she talked about why she likes to present and how the library has been an important place for her to discover her love of sharing with others. She also reflected on the impact of how speaking with Microsoft leadership during the Skype-a-thon during the fall of 2016 allowed her to see that anything was possible for her future. We have seen Krystyna present to students and teachers numerous times this year. I'm so glad that we were able to empower her with opportunities to speak and connect!

My Reflections

I was so proud of all our student presenters during and after the webinar. We speak about student voice frequently as educators. Kaitlyn and I couldn't think of a better way to show the impact of student voice than to hand students the mic! Judging from the comments in the Blackboard chat window and Twitter, the students inspired many teacher librarians around the country. I want to thank my friends in TLChat leadership (Colette Cassinelli, Renee Cunningham, and Jill Sonnenberg) for giving us the green light to proceed with this session. I also want to thank Joyce Valenza, Tiffany Whitehead, and Nikki D. Robertson for giving me the opportunity to serve on the TLChat team. 

On the night of the event, a few parents showed up to watch their students present. One parent even entered the webinar from home to listen to the event. Think for a moment how this presentation may have changed how they view the high school library media center. I asked parents to reflect on what they experienced. The paragraph below is one that was submitted to me.

Parent Reflection

"As the Mom of a student who loves technology more than sports, I have to say that Stony Evans has tapped into something that I feel educators have been missing for years. Technology is these students' sport. So many times technology students go overlooked and do not get the recognition that other students on sports teams get.  This is not the case at Lakeside High School. There is a cohesion between technology students and they love being recognized for their efforts in changing the world around them. Mr. Evans has found a way for them to build self-esteem by presenting their ideas to other people across the world. The media specialists in the library make a point to make these students feel just as important as any other student at the school. My son has presented his ideas to educators, Microsoft, people in Scotland and Africa, and others across the world. I tell him he is famous! Thank you Mr. Evans and the other media specialists and educators at Lakeside High School for addressing the needs of our "hidden" students."- Jordan's mom.

Link To Blackboard Recording/ TLChat Archive

If you would like to experience the webinar (or any others in the TLChat archives), be sure to visit this link for all the archives. If you want to view the student webinar, visit this link. This is a link to their slideshow presentation. Be sure to download Blackboard Collaborate first to view the recorded webinar. I hope our learners will inspire you to start empowering students to lead in the school library!

Connect your library with Skype.

My table of contents for the blog is here!

I have 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