Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pre-Practicum Musings: Parts 3 and 4

Lots of snow days and February vacation prevented me from updating my last pre-practicum visit, so in the spirit of being concise, figured I'd give a two-for-one with today's blog post. 

Between the two visits, I had a good mix of library admin and classroom observation, so I'll organize my report along those same lines.

Library Admin

I had a few tasks related to processing donations, as well as making decisions on books to weed. From the donation standpoint, I will never just blindly drop off a box of books at a school library! It is actually a lot of work to process just one new book, let alone a whole box full. And, I hate to say it, but often times the books that are donated, while well-intentioned, are donated without thought to what a school or its population actually needs. I just did the initial processing - adding the barcode and entering it into the online catalog - I've already been promised that the next time I come, I'll get to complete the process, which includes adding the spine label and covering it for extra protection. Like I said earlier, not the most glamorous of jobs, but part of the job nonetheless!

I also had a chance to help weed through some books. Some of them are no-brainers - you know, solar system books that still list Pluto as a planet, or ancient fiction titles that have pages falling out of them - but some of them are harder to make the decision on. As a book lover, it's hard to take the hard line and say "this book is no good" but given the time it takes to get a new book in the shelves (see above), it's definitely something that needs to be done.

Classroom Observation

One of the challenges of being a 21st century LMS is not only keeping on top of all the new tools that come out, but figuring out which ones will be of greatest use to your students and teachers, and then effectively training them on how to use said tools. One of the new tools that is being introduced to students this year is NoodleTools, an online academic research platform. With successful integration of a tool like this, students have a handy place to access all their research (hello, no more note cards!), and teachers have a way to regularly check in to assess their progress and offer help or suggestions along the way. Plus, it's just pretty cool.

The LMS I am working with only purchased a trial subscription so she could test it with a few classes before committing the big bucks, but from my observation, it's working pretty well. There were a few hiccups with the first class that tried it, but the LMS and the content area teacher were able to tweak their approach the next time they introduced it to a new class. Today, I was able to witness the same assignment being conducted in both the "old school" (read: notecards) and "new school" (read: NoodleTools) methods. While both classes seemed to be similarly focused and productive in the research process, I give a slight edge to the NoodleTools method, primarily for the ease with which teachers can provide feedback and the less paper students need to keep track of. Having the ability to check in on individual students prior to them coming to class certainly helps class time be more productive.

Weeks 3 and 4 hours: 4.5

Total hours: 9.5

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