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Where do iPads fit? A Reflection...

 -by Lisa Nelson, Dan McWilliam and Jody Pereverzoff, Grade 7 Teachers

Near the start of this year, our Grade 7 team began a research project about using iPads in the classroom: Through a variety of sub-questions, we hoped to address the larger question, “Where do iPads fit in Education?” Using real projects, student exemplars, and parent feedback, we would explore where and how iPads fit into teacher practice.

This post is a reflection of some of the major findings we had throughout the project.

School Library or Learning Commons: What's in a Name?

-by Donna Alden, Teacher-Librarian

What’s the difference between a school library and a school learning commons, and does the name make a difference? The Alberta School Library Association, which is informed by a larger Canadian and American field of school library studies, offers this:
Traditional school libraries are seen as quiet places full of printed books, people reading and librarians ‘shushing’. A Learning Commons takes school libraries into the 21st century. Yes, we still have printed text, and there are still people reading, and there is still a librarian, however the Learning Commons has so much more! There is a hum of activity with students talking, learning, searching for information on a variety of devices, focusing on content creation and synthesizing of information. The Learning Commons becomes the hub and the heart of the school; a place for teachers and teacher-librarians to collaborate to build inquiry learning and critical thinking skills in students; a place for technology integration and experimentation; a place that is ‘owned’ by students and staff alike

Google just keeps killing it.

by Deirdre Bailey,

I work at an innovative and creative institution. Perhaps it is because of the freedom we have to explore possibilities that we are often unaware of the depth to many of the simplest resources that are available. It is also without a doubt hard to be constantly adapting one's practice to ever-updating technology applications. Certainly, in this day and age, the sheer volume of resources available in education can be overwhelming. Navigating options and rating their relative value is always intimidating, particularly on the heels of a full 7 hours in front of students. But google docs is so worth it. In the last 9 months, it has become one of the most valuable learning tools for me as I continue to inquire into teaching and learning and I am constantly excited by the facility with which google docs allows me to guide student collaboration, research and writing while tracking their progress, providing feedback and involving parents. And while my presence on twitter often gives me the impression that all educators are connected, deeply familiar with technological resources and employing them in their every day practice; it occurred to me, after a conversation I had today that this might not be representative of all cases.

E-Books or "Real" Books?

-by Donna Alden, Teacher Librarian

It seems to me there is no one answer.

For nonfiction, research activities, if given the choice, hands down I'll choose an online search for information, as opposed to searching through books. Is that an exclusive choice? Do I always recommend that to students? No, and no. But as a preference, an online search for information just makes sense, for a number of reasons.