Monday, September 12, 2016

Getting the word out

A new crop of undergraduate student-teachers start classes today. The energy is most palpable at the moment.

So with lots of new faces in mind, I thought I’d go over a few of the ways we in the Doucette Library try to convey information about resources.

Workshops: We do workshops – lots and lots. We should rename ourselves Workshops-R-Us, in fact. These are not your typical library workshops that review research strategies or searching databases or catalogues. We promote the resources that can be found in the Doucette and also illustrate our workshops with the very resources that student-teachers can also use in their work as both students and teachers. We often teach about how to think about the resources: why would I use this? how would I use this? what do I hope to provoke from the students with this? is this the best resources to accomplish my objectives? etc. These sessions are challenging but really fun to do – almost like playing, really. We offer these workshops through classes, the Education Student Association and on our own in something called Black Chair Sessions. The BCS sessions are 20-30 minutes and super focused on a very narrow topic. Bing. Bang. Boom. You’re in. You’re out. You’re better informed.

Library/Subject/Research Guides: Whatever you want to call them, these are incredibly rich resources that the staff in the Doucette Library have created that again direct student-teachers to materials that will help them with their own school work, when they’re out on practicums or even once they’ve become teachers. We organize them around topics that are centred around lesson planning, teaching specific curriculum topics such as social studies, science, or fine arts, specific areas of importance in teaching K-12 grades such as children’s literature, English language learners, technology, interdisciplinary teaching, early childhood education and so on. We recommend web resources, online journal articles and Doucette Library books and kits, of course. It’s about finding information even when you’re not on campus.

Blogs: Well, if you’re reading this you know that I blog in the name of the Doucette Library. But you may not be aware that a colleague, Paula Hollohan, also writes a blog about using technology in the classroom. Doucette Ed Tech reviews many types of resources including apps, gadgets, and trends. It’s a great place to start with getting a grasp on the Maker movement or design thinking, for example.

Pinterest:  Both Paula and I have created Pinterest boards that are filled with resources (again, mostly from the Doucette Library) specific to topics relevant to curriculum or classroom practice. My boards (found as Doucette Library) are really focused on the Alberta program of studies and there are boards for elementary social studies, science and math. Every topic in very grade level has a board dedicated to listing mostly juvenile resources appropriate for classroom use.  Paula has boards related to educational technology.

Goodreads: Again, this is something both Paula and I have joined to help us keep track of the books we read. It also allows student-teachers or anyone else for that matter to see what we’re reading. I’ve made a link from this blog to get to my account and welcome you to ‘friend’ me if you wish to join in.

Litsy: This is brand new for us. Recently, Paula and I have been struggling with trying to revamp a book club that we use to run for student-teachers. This wasn’t the kind of book club that required everyone to read the same book and then discuss it. It was a way for Paula and me to recommend fiction and nonfiction with curriculum tie-ins to students. We also encouraged students to talk about the books they were using or seeing in the classrooms when they were on practicum. But with program changes, there has been a real time crunch for students and we haven’t been able to run it. This year we thought we’d try something new with a new social media-type app. It’s being described as: if Goodreads and Instagram had a baby it would look like Litsy. So Litsy lets us (and you) list the books you’re reading (or have read) plus add pictures and comments much like what you’d see on Instagram. It is easy to use and I’d recommend you stop by for a look and perhaps sign up.
And that’s about it – at least, for now.  We’re always looking for ways to share our expertise and recommend the resources that will help student-teachers excel and enrich their own teaching practices.


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