Monday, October 26, 2015

Digital Storytelling Part 3

        In designing my digital story I tried to keep my essential question at the forefront of my mind, "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"  When I first started the process I had planned to maybe share a screen shot of the tools, however I realized that wouldn't be something that would draw parents in.  As a teacher I use to tell my students that as a writer you have to hook your reader. I realized the same is true for digital storytelling. You need to provide an image that will grab your "readers/listeners" attention. If I am trying to reach parents then a quote about the influence of parents and reading would be the perfect hook. 
        Creating the story for the image proved to be the challenging part. I wanted to introduce the new program in the media center in a way that would make the parents want to attend. I used the digital storyboard planning tools to plan out what I was going to say. When I recorded my script I was okay with it but felt like something was missing. I couldn't wait for class that week to get feedback from my peers. 
           During the class discussion I began to realize what was missing, heart. I was just inviting parents but not really trying to entice them to come. Then in small group discussions one of my peers suggested adding more details about what type of activities that they would be doing if they attended. I also wanted them to understand that the reason we were doing this was to help students to develop a passion for reading. It was important for them to see this as a worthwhile event to attend.  
          My pacing on the first draft was way to fast. I have a tendency to talk fast and not be as clear as I need to. I made myself slow down during the final recording. VoiceThread is a perfect tool for me because I could continue to do it over until I was satisfied with it.  The simplicity of VoiceThread also makes this an easy digital storytelling tool. It is simple to upload a picture and then post a comment to go along with the picture. 
         After re-visiting my first attempt I have to admit I am pleased with the flow of the final story.  The first one sounded forced and like I wasn't sure of myself. The second one sounded more like I was having a conversation with my audience. One of the areas that I need to grow in is becoming more comfortable with recording my voice while I tell a story. With students or in front of a group of people my voice has the natural inflections that help make the presentation or story more exciting. Recording into a computer isn't as natural for me. This will be one of the main areas that I will work on as I continue in the journey of digital storytelling. Another area that I plan to focus on is learning how to add music to the story to help set the tone of the piece. The more engaging the format the more likely that the audience will listen to the entire story.

       Here is my final copy of my digital story.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

NCSLMA Conference 2015 Reflections

             For the past three years I have had the privilege of attending the North Carolina School Library Media Association Conference and learning from other Media Specialist across the state along with hearing very motivational speakers. This year was no different I left with so many ideas that I am not sure where to start first. However, this year I also had the privilege to present at the conference. When I first sent my session to them for their approval I thought, it would be fun to share and help others. When I got the acceptance email in August that excitement had a tinge of nervousness and yes, fear, with it. I started thinking, "What did I do to myself? I can't do this!"  With the support of my professors and colleagues at the school and district level the fear soon turned to just nervous excitement.  As the day drew closer I had the help of Dr. Morris, at UNC-G to help preview my slides and give me some pointers. Her support truly made this possible.  My presentation was now complete I just had to wait for the conference.

                The day of the conference arrived. My colleague and I arrived and checked in and I have to be honest I had to check the program to make sure I was still presenting because it still felt surreal. I am still just a "new" media specialist from a small rural school in the heart of North Carolina. I was getting that nervous feeling. I found my session in the program and realized, "Yes, this is happening."

          Friday's Keynote Speaker, Rebecca Constantino, reminded me of the power of the library, and how we help make a difference in the lives of our students in a way that can transform them completely.  Her speech was exactly what I needed after a long week at school. It reminded me that while I might not see the differences I am making on a daily basis I am making a difference. It was also the fuel that ignited my curiosity for the rest of the day.

           The luncheon guest speaker, Deborah Wiles, was truly inspiration as she shared her story and proved the power of the written word. She reminded us to teach kindness as we go through our days for we might not know what a child is going through. Her passion and way of telling stories help connect the world to times gone by in a way that makes the reader feel like they are there experiencing it all first hand.

             As I attended the afternoon sessions, Deborah Wiles and Rebecca Constanitino's words echoed in my head and I couldn't wait to share my session with others. At that point I realized that while yes I am a new media specialist, we all have knowledge to share. The conference is a learning experiencing where presenters and attendees are exchanging information and learning from each other. I couldn't wait to share.

               Noon came on Saturday and I was ready to share. With about 10 minutes left I had about 7 people in the room and thought, "Okay I can do this. No problem."  Then in the next 5 minutes the room began to get crowded and my excitement became more nerves. I had a room full to present to. It was quite an experience. Thanks to Dr. Morris, my slides format helped me with presenting the information in a knowledgeable way. Did I still talk to fast? Yes, I need to remember to breathe more next time and open up the floor to discussion more than just at the end.  The conversations back and forth between the attendees and myself  were fascinating. I learned so much from them and left the day feeling pumped that I was able to share my ideas with others.

                 I am honored that I had the chance to share with media specialist around the state. I hope that they were able to take something from my session that can help them at their school. The purpose of the conference is to meet with our colleagues across the state and learn from each other. I am already planning ahead for next year, however first on my agenda is to implement as many ideas as possible to help my students reach their potential.


 Link to my presentation and my storify:   with all the notes attached.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Digital Storytelling Blog #2: Work in Progress

After thinking more about the idea of reaching parents I thought a quote about the importance of reading might be the perfect thing to hook them.  I found a storyboard plan that I liked and used it to plan out my story. Here is what my plan looked like. (Please excuse the handwriting.)

After planning out my story I added the photo I found on Flickr to voice thread and then recorded my story.  I am worried that it doesn't sound like a story but more like a promotional tool for a new program.So I went back to the instructions to make sure that this was okay. I think it fits:
 ·         An introductory segment for a workshop or conference presentation that explores a topic, provides a rationale, or starts off a discussion.

I am posting it on my blog and look forward to Tuesday's class to get input about what I can do to improve it.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Digital Storytelling Blog #1

I have to be honest, I see so many ways to go with this as my last blog stated, however I am going to focus on reaching parents with my Digital Storytelling. With this focus I need to start planning on which way to go with them. In essence using a digital story to reach my parents is one step in helping me reach the goal of my essential question which  is "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"  Questions that I ponder, do I do a screenshot of the resources on the website and discuss what each website is? Do I take a picture of a kid reading and use that as my story image?  My goal is providing parents with resources that will help their child at home. So with that in mind maybe I should just have a conversations with the parents through my digital storytelling on the benefits of working on reading at home?  I could also use this as a way to introduce our first ever Family Afternoon Reading Session.  So many questions on how to begin.    So to start I have downloaded and printed the storyboard templates to start the brainstorming process.  Excited to see how this will turn out. 

Excited Teacher Librarian Exploring Digital Storytelling with Classes

My teacher librarian mind exploded with so many different ideas to do with my kiddos at school. October is Computer Literacy month and this is perfect for celebrating. I have already emailed the fourth grade teachers and asked them to pick a new checkout time so I can have the entire 45 minutes with their class next week.  They are studying the symbols and regions of North Carolina in the classroom, well what better way to conclude this project than to make a digital story of North Carolina. This story on Texas inspired me.  I am now in the process of figuring out what tools to use with my 4th graders. Last week my first graders used Flip Cameras to make a movie that demonstrated "How Animals Would See Our Playground" - A Point of View Production.  I would share it but I haven't been able to check their permission forms yet to see who can be put on our web page or shared online.  I can share during class though because it isn't posting it online for the world to see. :-) I am proud of them. I did do a lot of directing because it was the first time they had ever tried something like this before. With that one under my belt from last week I am super excited to try creating Digital Stories with my 4th Graders.  (The Draw my story concept I am going to share also with my teachers when they do biographies and also the art teacher.) 

Another idea that I had from exploring the digital stories was how perfect this would be to help students with opinion and/or persuasive writing. A single-image digital story would be ideal for this. Just this week in Kindergarten they had to pick which David Shannon book was their favorite and explain why. This would be a great extension of that activity and may even get them to give more details since they are able to talk instead of having to write, which at kindergarten level is tricky in itself. They could take a picture of the book and then explain why it is their favorite. That would still be digital story telling wouldn't it? I got this idea after watching this Digital Story.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Interactive Poster

This project goes along great with my essential question of "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"  This interactive poster gives them information about an afternoon reading session that will be offering ideas to use at home. At these afternoon sessions I will also be able to provide them links that they can use at home also via the curation collection. However I will have to switch which tool I used due to RCS will not let Pearltrees be used on school computers, thus making it hard to show them the links that I provided for them at these sessions. So I will be changing my curation collection to a Pinterest board.  

While Glogster would be my first choice in making this poster I wanted to branch out and try something different. The first one I started with was Canva. After working with it for a few minutes I realized that this would not be the one that I wanted to use because it was limited in what I could add. I wanted to add links and videos and with Canva I didn't see how that was possible. I stopped after creating the basic title and heading to explore more tools.  Click here to see the sample of my first attempt at the poster.

I moved to Smore hoping that this would provide what I was looking for. I had played with Smore a couple years ago at a staff development meeting but had forgot how fun and interactive it could be. I was able to be creative and add images, videos, text and a RSVP form to this newsletter. The format of the Smore made it easy to create exactly what I needed, a fun way to communicate a new event to my parents. It was divided into sections that helped let them know what we would be doing at these events and introduce the character and books that we would discussing. Some parents might never have heard of Pete the Cat before. With Smore I was happy I was able to embed a video of one of the books being read aloud. This will hopefully hook the parents into wanting to learn more about this character.  I wanted to embed one of Pete the Cat's songs but wasn't able to figure out how to do it the way I wanted. I wanted them to click on the picture of Pete the Cat and hear the song. However that was the only thing that I wasn't able to do. Being able to create different sections of the newsletter made it more appealing to look at and not as jumbled as some posters could be. I think this is very important in getting a message across to our parents.

I am using this poster to advocate for the importance of the media center in promoting reading. I want them to see the media center as a place that they can find a new favorite author, destination, or learn more about something that interests them.

Here is the link to my poster. When I tried to embed it the format got messed up. So I wanted to provide the link.

Planning the Poster

                     For this interactive poster I want to reach my parents to introduce the new family parent events that we will be having at our school this year. This is a new program that I created to reach out to the parents of our school. With this poster I want to let parents know what kinds of activities that we will be doing during our afternoon sessions and where and when they will occur.  The biggest thing that I want to do is convey the importance of coming to these events, I don't want them to just see it as another meeting at school. I want them to see it as a way to enjoy reading with their child(ren) and learning ways to work with their child. 
             For the format of the poster I will have it centered around the theme of the event. For the first event we will be centered around Pete the Cat. With this in mind I will have some pictures of Pete the Cat on the poster. I know if I use Glogster I could embed some video clips from the books or songs from the website.  I think since I am trying to reach parents I need to make it more of an informative poster and keep it simple. In the beginning stages I was planning to use a Thinglink and having the main image as the doors to the media center and then the "links" on the door to show some activities that we will be doing.  However I feel that I might lose some of my parents if I go that elaborate.  So I am going to stick with either Glogster, Smore, or Canva.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Augmented Reality

QR Codes  (The QR codes on this page have been deactivated due to the trial subscription ending.)

          When my district had an optional training on QR codes last year I didn't attend because I thought that since we weren't a bring your own device school yet it wouldn't really be an option for me.  Now I see it completely different.  QR codes could give patrons the answers they are looking for.  One thing that popped into my mind is when students are looking for certain books we could have a QR code set up to access Destiny so that they could scan and see if the book is in the media center or not. This would especially come in handy when our computers are being used by other patrons. It would save them time and help them become more independent users.
Scan here to access Destiny, our online catalog. 

          Now in an elementary media center a lot of "concerns" pop up. How to manage this without an assistant, how to make sure the device doesn't get place in some one's pocket, and what would be the best use of QR codes for our students; are just some of the questions that I have.  However, all of these problems can be solved.
            I see QR codes as being the first steps in learning about the augmented reality world. Instead of having a target picture that triggers an "aura" it is easier to just have a qr code. In some instances placing a QR code in a location would be easier also.

        When I first saw the clips on Augmented Reality I was like a kid at Christmas. What a new fun way to make the library interactive.  I started a "Did You Know?" board for the non-fiction section of my library and a "Check out these "Tree"mendous Books" in the fiction section. They are to post facts that they learned on sticky notes and share with friends. They could do a video clip to explain what they learned or introduce the book with the front of the book being the aura.
          When creating research projects they could download clips about their topic and create an interactive poster like was shown in the video on civil rights.  The students wouldn't complain about research ever again if they were able to create such projects. As an educator you are always looking for ways to engage your learner this would be one way to reach that goal.

          I am really considering purchasing a device for the media center itself so we could begin creating QR codes and Aurasmas.  I could collaborate with teachers to help create more meaningful projects and help the students truly become active participants in their research and learning. It would be money well spent.

                     To access this blog anytime just scan the image below. 
SMAR Model

        As an elementary media specialist the above graphic is essential in introducing new technology to the teachers at my school. If they only see it as a substitution they have a tendency to stick to what they are doing.  They don't want to go through the trouble of learning a new thing if what they are using works just as well.
        I have learned through many failed attempts at introducing new technology that often times it is the way an app or device is introduced that tends to sell it. With QR and Aurasma I don't want them to see it as another "PowerPoint" presentation, I want them to see it as a innovative tool that will help the students get excited about learning and discovering how to critically represent the information they learned. I could definitely see both QR and Aurasma falling into the Augmentation category if it was only used as a way to state facts that they have learned or to show a picture of something. However you can do so much more with these apps.
       The transformation level happens when you show them that they can create a project that can go up on the wall outside of their classroom that can be as interactive as a computer. You can help the "average book report" become a movie trailer for the book complete with music and video.
      The truth is that any new app can easily become simply "another piece of technology or the newest thing" and then fall by the wayside. It is our job to help create new and innovative ways to use this technology with our students.