Over the past three weeks, one of my assignments was to actively participate in 4 webinars and 4 live chats. At first I was not excited about this assignment. I was in Utah for family events and getting ready to leave for the UK. The assignment began just two days before I left for the UK – where I spent 2 weeks on a road trip through England and Scotland. When it was first assigned, I thought it would be due less than a week after my return home. My family had decided to do family pictures and have a brief reunion, besides there was the 4th of July and my sister was in town from Texas and I was still facing an 8 hour drive back to California. Basically, I was not thrilled to have an assignment that I couldn’t complete on my own time. Because the required events would all be in real time, I had to be available when they were scheduled. Keeping all of those stressors in mind, imagine my surprise when I found a virtual conference with several interesting webinars on the same day! I was able to participate in these webinars in the morning on the day of my flight! My sister thought I was just giving them lip service, just participating to get credit. I finally had to ask her to stop talking to me because I was actually interested in the content.
Webinars: Library 2.016
Defining the Library as Classroom
The first webinar in which I participated was “Defining the Library as Classroom”. This was the kick off webinar of the conference and was an hour long. I was fascinated to hear the presenters speak about the many learning functions a library (school or public) can provide for a community. I loved the library in my home town and was fascinated to realize how many of those same services it has provided over the years. I enjoyed being able to participate in the conversation. Since this was my first love webinar, I wasn’t really sure what to do, so I made comments about similar programs I had experienced. I don’t really love the library where I live, so I mentioned that it would be nice if they had the same type of expansive, inclusive outreach programs.
The Library MakerSpace as Classroom
The second webinar fascinated me. The presenters are librarians at North Carolina State University. They discussed bringing classes to the library for students to create projects in alignment with the curriculum. I missed the first couple minutes of this webinar, and I thought, at first, that they were talking about a K-12 school with a maker space in the library. I was fascinated by the idea of including such a space in a k-12 school. Sadly, I was wrong, but my imagination was piqued. My school has 2 3-D printers, and I could see this idea taking hold in the STEM environment we have created. One of my questions in this webinar was the age of the students. One idea I particularly liked was that they lend maker tools. I’m not sure this would work in a k-12 environment, but it’s an interesting idea.
Building Learning Communities through Libraries
The third webinar was focused on using the library specifically for building learning communities. The presenter discussed how her library hosts several types of community ed classes. Sewing was one of the specific classes mentioned. One person commented that her library offers classes as well, but excludes anyone under age 14. I commented that I had attended a chocolate making class at age 12 and I still use the skills I learned then several times a year. This webinar didn’t have much participation in the comments. Most of the comments were questions for the presenter which were ignored until the end. Participating in this webinar reminded me of why libraries are so important in our communities. They offer the types of services that many people cannot otherwise afford and enrich a community culturally, socially, and intellectually. Participating in this webinar made me want to get involved with my local libraries.
Incorporating Making Culture into the Curriculum
This webinar outlined the process of creating a maker space and hosting a mini maker fair. It was an interesting presentation, but there wasn’t much participation. One idea I liked, was having students compete in a Shark Tank-type contest to decide who would be able to present at the mini maker fair. My comment was on that topic.
Live Twitter Chats
Because of all the driving, I was unable to participate in Twitter chats until the past two days. I discovered that many of the chats listed on the Twitter Chat schedule I found are either no longer going, or have become “slow chats” instead of live chats. This made completing the assignment a little more difficult. So far I have participated in 3 chats. If I am able to participate in any of tomorrow’s chats, I will update this post. However, I will be in the mountains, volunteering at my church’s girl’s camp, so I’m not sure I will have reception.
Overall I liked the Twitter chats better than the webinars. They were more interactive and I felt like I was contributing to a discussion, rather than commenting on a presentation. One of the Twitter Chats in which I participated asked for volunteer panelists earlier in the week and live streamed their participation in the discussion.
One of the live chats I participated in was #EduMatch. This was a blended chat with a live stream on Google Plus. It is similar to a Webinar, but takes place weekly. This week’s discussion was on student work ethic. The moderator asked panel member questions in the live video stream, and asked the same questions on the live chat for the Twitter participants.
I enjoyed this discussion because I was able to see perspectives from people from different parts of the country who teach students at all age levels, including university professors. I was able to make several comments about engaging students and making the topic engaging. One teacher mentioned moving the focus away from grades, so I asked how he accomplished that and we had a short discussion of methods.
This Twitter chat was focused on what educators are doing to get ready for the school year to begin. One thing I liked about all of the chats was that the moderators asked everyone to introduce themselves. This way, I knew who I was talking to and I didn’t feel like there was an established crowd.Like #EduMatch, the moderator for #21stedchat posted the questions during the discussion, and we had a good chat. I got some ideas for flipping my classroom, and having an open design.
This chat for California educators was focused on how to tackle tough topics with your students. We discussed how to get teachers to tackle the topics, how to introduce them, how to distinguish between fact and fiction, etc. I really enjoyed this chat, because I was able to contribute what I have done in my own classroom. I learned about resources for current events.