Do teachers know about all their resources?

Recently, I was able to survey twenty different teachers and administrators. I asked how much they knew about the technology they have available within their classroom. Fifteen out of twenty staff members knew about the majority of the technology in their classroom, and how they can incorporate technology in their lesson plans. One of the teachers that did not know how to use all of the resources stated, “I was expected to know how to use everything in my classroom when I started.”

Nineteen out of twenty teachers said it would be beneficial for them to know how to update and problem solve issues with the electronics in their classrooms. After surveying everyone, I learned that most schools had a technology staff member, but it was hard to get him or her in their classroom. It seemed that the school had technologist in a school of over one thousand students. It is hard for the technologist to get to every classroom that needs help within a timely matter, since they have so many classrooms needing help. Twenty out of twenty teachers mentioned they would be willing to attend a seminar that will help them understand everything they have to work with.

The worse part about teachers unaware of how to use technology or how to fix their technological issues, do not have the ability to incorporate technology in their lesson plans. Unfortunately, the lack of technology used within a classroom can be a disadvantage to their students. After talking to five students that were in a less technological advanced classroom compared to five students in a technological advanced class, the students were on different levels of how to type, research, and take notes. The students in the class with a lot of technology were able to write papers with more resources in a more efficient amount of time. Also, they were able to get more out of lectures because they could type quickly as the teacher spoke, instead of trying to keep up with handwritten notes.

I did learn that some teachers did not use technology as much because they thought it was a lazy way for students to learn. They still required their students to use only book resources in the library, and hand write all of their papers. Honestly, I believe that children who are not taught with technology have a harder time with upper level classes. For example, students in college only use computers for the majority of their education. Personally, I would be unable to get through college courses without my past technological knowledge.

After speaking to the twenty teachers, they said, “A technology foundation should be created for students in elementary school.” The students agreed that they wish they knew more about technology before they got to upper grades. As a teacher myself, I try to incorporate some time of technology in my lesson plans daily, or at the very least on a weekly basis.

My questions for other teachers are: How do you incorporate technology in your lesson plans? What types of technology do you use in your classroom? Do you have any suggestions on the type of resources that would be helpful to give to the students?

Library Management Systems

Since my last blog post, I have been researching new library management systems for the school I am currently interning at. The school does not have a computerized book check in our check out system. Instead, the librarian uses a written ledger.

Since my first day, I have been looking at new ways to update the library instead of handwriting everything. My research has guided me to Follett Destiny. Destiny is a computerized system that allows librarians to easily sort their library.

The system makes it more convenient for the librarian to check books in and out while still keeping everything organized. The system allows the librarian to see what they do or don’t have within their library based off of what the students have taken out.

The system is user friendly for the staff, administration, and students. Destiny is also a way for the students to find their books easier. They can look up books on their electronic device, and the library will have the listing of where the book they need is. Since the system is easier for the students to use, it helps the children get in and out of the library faster, so they can focus more on their work than looking through books.

Also, Destiny has the added advantage of sharing their system to different schools. Some counties will purchase the program to use at all of their schools. When multiple schools use the management system, they can share all their resources with the other teachers and students. For example, if one school library has a book that the other school doesn’t have, it can be sent to the school that needs to book until they check it back in.

The Follett Destiny program, is one of the largest used programs in the world. The price of the program can be expensive, but it is affordable when split between multiple schools. Currently, the county I work for is in need of a management system, so Follett Destiny seems to be a good option.

Although I am a fan of Follett Destiny, other library management systems are available for schools. For example, Classroom Organizer seems to be a popular app for schools. I have personal experience with this application. The app itself is helpful, but it was extremely time consuming setting it all up. A school with different equipment may find the app easier to use, but for the library I was in, it was difficult. Also, you have to individually change everything manually if something happens to the book, such as: we get more copies or we have to move the books around in the library. I would suggest Classroom Organizer for a school that is equipped with scanners, and a small selection of books.

The school I am interning at is considered low-income, so it is not surprising that we lack some necessary equipment in the library. The school I am at does not use their funds to improve the library, but hopefully the school will qualify for a grant that we will be able to apply for. The idea of grant money could go a long way for this school and library. Hopefully, we will be able to improve everything.

Wish us luck!

“Are Books Becoming Extinct?”

“Are books becoming extinct in public schools?” That was the first question I asked myself when I entered a high school library. I walked in, and for approximately a school of six hundred students, the library may have had two hundred books.

The craziest part of the library to me was that they didn’t have a computer program for checking books in and out of the library. It was so rare, that the librarian would either hand write down the book that was being checked out, and who was checking out the book. Sometimes the librarian would only tell the student to take the book, and not even ask which book he or she was taking.

Apparently, the last librarian only believed in eBooks, so she decided to stop updating the program they had. Now, the librarian and I are working on creating a new program, since the old program is obsolete.

Also, the school no longer uses actual textbooks, only eBooks which is why the old librarian stopped concerning herself with any books. Although they use eBooks, they still come in to check out books to use for research, so I have learned how to use the handwritten ledger in the case a student needs a book.

Thankfully the school system provides each student with their own laptop, but not all students respect the technology they are given. The library media specialist and I work all day on troubleshooting, and fixing computers for the students. For example: I had one child bring in their computer stating, “I don’t know why it won’t work,” but the reason it didn’t work is that the whole screen had fallen off.

Since most students take the responsibility of having their own computers so poorly, I believe the school needs to use paper books more often. The biggest problem though, is that they have such a little amount of books. Many of the teachers do not like the textbooks because some of the books are older editions, but the teachers that do use paper textbooks seem to be more productive within the classroom since the students always have their textbooks available. It seems that the students have decided if they do not bring their computer chargers to school, and their computers die, then they will no longer have to do work. That is why I believe paper books are more necessary in the classroom.

Books are an important part of school because they will use them throughout their lifetime. Many of the students do not know how to use the index of a book because they can search for what they need instead of looking through the pages. The lack of books seem to be more of a problem in the high schools than elementary schools, or middle schools.

Thankfully, the younger students still use paper books, so as someone that is new to the high school system, my goal is to help students realize how important it is to understand a paper book, and not just an eBook.

Hopefully, by the end of the school year, the new library program will be up and running which will encourage students to check out more books, and the school will realize that new books are needed in the libraries. Eventually, I hope to have a library filled with all kinds of books. Although technology is an important resource, I hope the students understand how important paper books actually are.