I have previously explored Googledocs and found many advantages to using it over Microsoft Office. I plan to use Open Office more this year and compare them over time. The biggest advantage of using Googledocs and Open Office is the accessibility. I work on my home computer and on my laptop. Instead of saving documents to my computer and then emailing them to myself, or saving to a flashdrive that I have to be able to locate, I can access my documents from any computer. I have encouraged my students to use it at home, so they do not have to worry about accessing their email from school in order to print out a document. Googledocs, though not as familiar and comfortable as Microsoft Office, provides access. In today's world, ease of access can make the difference in meeting a deadline or having needed information prepared for a meeting. Most of the time, I use Microsoft Office, but the more I work at home, the more advantages I find to using Googledocs. Familiarity or access: you decide which you need the most.
I thought I had progressed when I was able to create hotlinks for students to follow on their research quest, but now I see that I had only just begun to learn. I have created a Rollyo for the research my students are currently doing on the Salem Witch Trials. Next time we begin research, I will use the Rollyo to guide students to reliable databases. I already use the library resources page, but Rollyo can guide students to the specific sites I want them to access for a particular topic.
As a librarian, I would be able to help teachers create Rollyos for their students, so students could have guidance even without the teacher in the library with them. Often students are overwhelmed with the choices and need help knowing where to start. A Rollyo can provide that help.
My Rollyo is titled Salem Witch Trials.
I have to blog about my experience creating a class wiki. I decided I was ready to take the plunge and create a wiki for the first time. I created a wiki for the students' research, and I asked them to post good articles they are finding and the citation information and hotlink. It has been exciting this week to see the students learning how to join the wiki and submit posts. They have even learned how to reply back to one another about the article information posted. Not only are the students learning good research skills by using databases, they are learning the importance of citation information. They are motivated to find good articles so they can submit a post. Students are looking at recommended articles instead of complaining that they cannot find anything on their topic. Research this week has been so much more efficient, and I believe it is because of the wonderful world of wikis.
My class wiki is Crucibleresearch.
The more familiar I am with blogging, the more comfortable I feel about contributing to wikis. I can see many applications for libraries. Librarians could start wikis of wisdom educating students about plagiarism and citing sources. Teachers and students could add their experiences and tips to the wiki. Book talks could be shared on a wiki with a variety of readers discussing books and giving their reviews and ratings. Librarians could also set up a wiki as a collaborative tool to work on plans with teachers. Wikis provide another means of communicating. As librarians and collaborators, communication is essential to building relationships with students, parents, teachers, and administrators.