Friday, October 14, 2011

Thank Goodness for Google

Google has saved my life more than once. It's a unique wiki and I LOVE IT! While I was student teaching, I forgot my jump drive. I was pretty emberessed about it, but because of my misfortune, I explored Google Docs. I has used it before to work on a group project, but not much after that one class...until this day. I dusted off my account and immediately put it to good use. What I really liked was that I could do work on documents anywhere, anytime, and it saved my work for me. My work drifted away into the cloud until my next visit, upon which I could easily retrieve it. This concept really worked for this sometimes scatter-brained, but well intentioned librarian. I never lost my work and I could share it easily with my professors and colleagues. Each semester, I travelled to UB for 1 class, so meeting up with groups meant an added 3 hour trip. With Google docs, I could work on group projects, communicate easily, add notes to the work, and have ONE document to work with...Ka-Ching!!

I had only a few issues with Google Docs. For starters, I was concerned that if I could access these documents so easily so could students at a school. For better or worse, communication of this nature is monitored at schools and I was not sure what kind of outcomes this could bring, such as: sharing test questions and answers, sharing homework, gossiping, inappropriate messenging that would disrupt the school day, etc. Despite its usefulness was so much more rewarding, as a I teacher I had to consider these scenarios. As an adult and professional, my mind was filled with 'what if' scenarios. I love that wikis allow for the immediate exchanges of ideas and information, but I guess I also strongly feel that it somehow needs to be regulated when children and students are concerned. Once I can get past this, I can dream up so great lessons involving digital, international pen-pals and writing cross-country book trailers by my library students.

I've gotta learn to scrutinize new web tools without being afraid. Not afraid to say this is cool but not useful (at least for my library) and not afraid to try something new (after I've done my research). I'm gonna continue to give wikis a try and seek out meanringful ways they can used in my library and in the other classroom in middle/high school grade levels.
I'm off to explore these sites:
Best Educational Wikis
Best uses for Wikis in Education
Teachers at Work - Blog

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