After 2 ½ months of learning, my “Vision of the Future” project has definitely transformed from when I first started embarking on the course. When I read the course outline, the idea of the final vision project seemed a bit overwhelming. I had no idea what I was going to do or, better yet, what I wanted to do.
At first, I thought about creating a School Library website. I had just taken LIBE 465 this summer and as part of the course we could make a website as the final assignment. I really enjoyed the assignment and thought about extending the website I had created to make it more of a learning/collaborative space for staff, students, and families. However, my district has recently changed how technology is being integrated and, at the moment, I have little to no control over my current library’s website. Plus, we would likely be required to use the school district website template, which is somewhat limiting. Although I would like to do something about my school library’s website, I do not feel that it would be the best fit for this project.
With our Reading Review assignment, my mind began to wander in the direction of doing something that would motivate students. It was an overriding theme in my initial brainstorm and something that will forever be important. Specifically, I wanted to use technology to motivate and improve students’ literacy skills. With my initial research, I came across a variety of ideas, including digital storytelling, using multimodal e-books, transliteracy storytelling, creating book trailers, podcasts, and choose your own adventure books, among others. My initial excitement stemmed from Inanimate Alice and transliteracy storytelling. After spending time exploring the website and reading the articles (here, here, and here), I thought that this would be an amazing tool to incorporate into my teaching. In fact, after doing the research, I was fairly confident that I was probably going to do my final vision project around Inanimate Alice. I was envisioning myself teaching a workshop to my staff on how to use Inanimate Alice (and transliteracy storytelling) in their classrooms. However, when I started to think about my audience, who would benefit from this workshop? Upon further reflection, I realized that the people who would mainly benefit from this activity were upper intermediate teachers and their students. This was not necessarily “bad,” but I was hoping to perhaps reach more of my staff and students. Ultimately, I decided I’d rather try Inanimate Alice as a collaborative project in my school first, and then teach others about it in the future (after a tried and true test run). Perhaps there was something else that could benefit almost everyone in my school. My second initial reaction was to then look at possibly doing a presentation or workshop on multimodal texts. It could apply to most students and staff in the school. Yet, I still did not feel passionate about the topic. I kept wondering, wasn’t there something better? More exciting? More applicable?
With the final vision project on the back burner in my mind, I decided to focus, instead, on the inquiry project blogs. I really enjoyed the first inquiry about fostering reading cultures in schools. Having grown up an avid reader, this was one of my favorite inquiry projects. I love reading and sharing this love with others, so finding more specific ways to do this was fun for me. I began to think about how I could connect this with my reading review and my future vision project. Ideas started percolating and I started to realize that there was an overlap in this inquiry and my reading review blog. One of the things that hooked me with my reading review assignment was Beth Holland’s various technology projects to motivate and engage students in their literacy skills (as opposed to book reports). The one thing that really stood out to me when I read her article was her Book Trailers. I thought they were fun, engaging, and an excellent way to motivate students. The idea of Book Trailers re-emerged in my inquiry blog post on fostering reading cultures. Not only could book trailers get kids excited about stories, but they also incorporate persuasive writing, digital literacy, and seeing what students know about plot, setting, theme and main characters. Furthermore, I could present book trailers created in class at assemblies to promote reading. With this in mind, I flagged the idea of book trailers and moved on to review the other inquiry posts (in case other ideas came up).
I found Inquiry Blog Post #2 on developing ICT skills and pedagogy useful for my future professional development and growth. With this in mind, I considered potentially using it to lead some sort of workshop or create some sort of blog or website outlining ways to cultivate a personal learning network. I’m sure that my staff could use the tips and suggestions and it could possibly be something that other teachers could use. As a result, it would consequently benefit many different students (as their teachers will develop more complex learning networks that will undoubtedly improve their teaching). However, I didn’t quite feel the passion that I did when thinking about book trailers and motivating students. Although this had potential, I wasn’t hooked.
Reviewing my third inquiry blog post made me realize how important it is that I get my staff back on board with the teacher-librarian being an “instructional leader.” It really emphasized to me how important it is that my future vision project somehow include this aspect – reinventing the teacher-librarian role at my school. To do this, I knew I would have to somehow incorporate collaboration, team teaching, and sharing ideas with my staff. Whatever topic I ended up deciding upon, I knew it would have to include these areas in some way.
Finally, I reviewed my last inquiry project. This was probably one of the most interesting inquiries for me, because it was something I probably had the least knowledge about. Although I learned a great deal, I still wanted to use something that could highlight the teacher-librarian role as instructional leader and motivating students’ to read. Although world libraries are important, it didn’t feel like the right area to lead my future vision project (although it is something that I would like to pursue in the future).
With this in mind, I was fairly certain I was going to do something with Book Trailers and showcasing the teacher-librarian as an instructional leader. What was the best way of doing that? Immediately, I thought about leading a workshop for my staff on how to make book trailers with their classes. This way, I would be showcasing my role as instructional leader, while also providing teachers with a tool to motivate and engage students in their literacy skills. As part of the workshop, I would like to offer my assistance in collaborating with staff members in implementing the activity with their classes. In this way, the teachers will have a stronger grasp of their learning because it will be in an authentic situation and in which we can reflect on their learning together. This could also encourage some staff to collaborate and work with me more in the future (or get excited when they see the positive results of my collaboration with others). As Cooper and Bray (2011) state, “When we see one of our colleagues with something new, something that appears to hold promise for making our teaching more effective and perhaps easier, we want to acquire it for ourselves and our classrooms” (p. 49). I figure one of the simplest ways to do this would be through a step-by-step Power Point presentation (with a handout) that I could do with my staff in which we could physically make book trailers as part of the workshop so that the teachers have hands-on learning with the activity. In addition, we could then play the book trailers at assemblies to get the kids excited about books their teachers like and in creating book trailers. With this idea in mind, I decided to check in with Aaron to make sure I was on track. Via email, he suggested that I expand it to include some “screen capture” video of key steps and actions. In this way, my presentation is no longer limited to just my staff and students (and potentially to other staffs at other pro-d events), but I could expand it so that I reach more teachers and students by making it available online for others to use.
At this point, then, my future vision project is tentatively a presentation on how to make book trailers with students. I envision it to include a power point presentation and handout in addition to some screen capture video. I’m trying to decide still if it should have different parts as video or if I should make the entire thing a video as a stand alone for others. I’m beginning to lean towards the latter, but I have a feeling that as I begin to build my project that it will naturally lend itself to one or the other.
Cooper, O. P., & Bray, M. (2011). School library media specialist-teacher collaboration: Characteristics, challenges, opportunities. TechTrends, 55(4), 45-55.
Electronic Information for Libraries. (2015). [Image of Children Using Tablet]. Retrieved from http://www.eifl.net/eifl-in-action/tablet-computers-improve-childrens-school-marks
Fleming, Laura. (2013). Expanding Learning Opportunities with Transmedia Practices:Inanimate Alice as an Exemplar. The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education. 5(2), 370-377. Retrieved from:http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1124&context=jmle
Holland, Beth. (2013). Projects to Engage Middle School Readers. Retrieved from:http://www.edutopia.org/blog/projects-engage-middle-school-readers-beth-holland
Hovious, Amanda. (2014). Inanimate Alice: “Born Digital.” Teacher Librarian. 42(2), 42-46. Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/1637635961?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=14656
Pierce, Tim. (2007). [Image of Boy Reading]. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Child_reading_at_Brookline_Booksmith.jpg
Rheingold, Howard. (2013). [Image of How to Cultivate a Personal Learning Network]. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PLN.png
Story, Kate. (2011). Who the heck is Alice? Practically Primary. 16(2), 6-7. Retrieved from: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=29b9a9a7-38d8-48f8-9eba-e2cbee260efc%40sessionmgr111&vid=1&hid=107
Unknown Artist. (n.d.). [Image of Book Trailer]. Retrieved from http://en.community.epals.com/book_club/b/clubhouse_activities/archive/2013/01/22/video-book-trailer.aspx
Unknown Artist. (n.d.). [Image of Inanimate Alice]. Retrieved from http://elacata.ca/praise-for-inanimate-alice
Wang, Ruby. (2013). [Image of Rory the Tiger, Confused]. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rory_sketch_-_confused.jpg