Sunday, 13 January 2008

Virtual Field Trip

After finishing my first collaborative project, Books Go Global!, another teacher approached me (the seed has been planted...) to collaborate on something. Perfect timing as I wanted a partner for a Virtual Field Trip idea where kids make a movie of their city and post it on a website so kids around the world can go on a "field trip" to that city. It's a true TLC partnership as the technology teacher, the librarian and the classroom teacher all did the kick-off this morning to get the kids pumped up about the project. Our tech teacher extraordinaire, Mike, made a sample Photostory 3 (our medium due to the age group of the kids and ease of creating them--fabulously easy way to make pictures into a movie) of Shanghai to give them some ideas. From here, their homework in the next few weeks is to take pictures of their surroundings and activities in their world that represent Shanghai. We will also take a TLC field trip together to some key landmarks in town.

I know that the organizer of the this collaborative project is looking for more teachers to join. Check out his site for an incredibly authentic and relevant way for kids to study their hometown. I'm including Mike's sample Photostory in case it inspires anyone to join the fun!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

21st Century OPAC?

After reading a Kim Cofino's wish list for the "best" library catalog system out there, I've been thinking about how everything else around me is becoming technologically advanced at lightning speed, so why not the OPAC? Navigating it is not always easy for me as a librarian at times, so imagine the elementary kids who are trying to find a good book and actually want to do that independently by typing in a title and having it lead them to new titles they might like? Instead, if they spell the title wrong, it often leads them to a dead end. School Library Journal has a fabulous article addressing just this issue (like why on earth do we have MARC records displayed for all to see in this day and age when there are of no real use to students?!). He suggests a tool called Fish4Info which looks intriguing to me. It's open source, so it's free, and from what I see, your catalog is on it but it's streamlined, friendly and includes some of the neat additions like student book reviews and notes from the librarian. Worth exploring...