As summer has set in and I look back over 2011-2012, I am reminded that school library media specialists are some of the most creative, resourceful educators in the teaching profession. With every year and semester that passes, I see my students generating more and more innovative strategies and activities in their programs. Teachers (and students) are incorporating a vast number of web 2.0 tools in their teaching and learning. The large number of quality web 2.0 tools that surface on a rather constant basis is sobering. I often hear, “There’s just too much. How do I know what’s best to use?” The answer is simple: it depends.
Now, while the answer is simple, the process is a little more complicated. Indeed, it does take time to explore “what’s out there” and how specific tools can best be integrated at the most relevant point of need. For example, while powerpoint might be a tool that works great for an in-class presentation, sliderocket allows you to go mobile and show your presentations on the move. Prezi is a wonderful way to present ideas, but animoto might be the better way to go with presenting photos/pictures. If the idea is to focus on history, the best tool might be museumbox. Maybe sharing information in a variety of formats is your need, so LiveBinders could organize and provide a forum for sharing the data for you. The point is, with exploration and some time commitment, capitalizing on the right tool for the right event for the right group is worth the investment.
Just for fun, I’ll share an example of how the right tools were used at the right point in time…
Recently I was asked to prepare “something” to show a group of program evaluators what we do in school library media and ways in which our program attempts to adapt itself to respond to input from our stakeholders and to changes in the profession. I considered a variety of free web 2.0 tools because I wanted to impress upon the visitors that much of what we can produce here and in P-12 schools is good quality and is FREE. So, I gathered pictures from public domain sources and found the perfect background songs on youtube. (Song creator Bryant Oden gave me full permission to use his songs in the presentation and on the GLMA blog.) I had to strip the audio using the video2mp3 free download. Next, I used audacity to put the 3 songs into one file and uploaded the file to animoto (educator’s edition allows for full length videos…free). I organized the pictures in animoto so the sequence would work well with the music, then produced the video. The final product is linked here.
Summer may provide you with a great opportunity for time to take a look at some of “what’s out there” at your leisure. I encourage you to test the tools, explore, and provide a true adventure for your students and teachers as they find just the right tool for just the right moment. Perhaps I’ll share some of my creative student work (which will far outshine mine!!) later in the Fall. Some creations just need to be shared!!
Dr. Phyllis Snipes
University of West Georgia
School Library Media & Instructional Technology Department