Thursday, July 30, 2015

Just Your Tandem Instructional Technology Facilitator Masquerading as a Librarian

This year teachers at James Clemens High School are transitioning to Google Apps For Education, specifically Google Classroom.  To assist with this transition I have had myself added to the lab reservation calendar so that teachers can reserve ME the person, not the library,  to co teach with them as they navigate not only the Google Apps for Education waters but, integration of technology into the curriculum as well. 

Of course, as with any new changes, especially technology related changes, nerves can get rattled and questions of "How!" abound.   

Being the Google Geek that I am and because I believe teachers just need a safety net to move forward and feel confident embracing new technologies, I'm excited about embracing this role!

The steps that teachers at James Clemens High School need to follow to reserve me for a co teaching experience were sent out in an email and are listed below:

Want to transition to Google Classroom or add a technology component to your lessons? 

Want a one on one or small group PLC PD session? 

On LARS do the following: 

  • Book me (Nikki D Robertson) 

  • Book the Harvard Room  

  • Book a laptop cart  

  • email me to let me know the date, block and topic you would like me to co teach with you.
ALSO, be sure to book me during your planning period at least a few days before our co teaching reservation so that I can evaluate your tech needs and help you set up the “teacher portion” of the tech.  We will also practice what the tech will look like on the student end as well. 

I am your tandem instructional technology facilitator masquerading as a librarian! My mission is to bring out your inner technology superhero!

I also firmly believe in empowering teachers (and students) to be masters of their own learning. My ultimate goal is to see teachers confident in their own abilities to discover, explore, and integrate new technologies into their curriculum and share these discoveries with others.

 Want so help getting started with the amazing power of Google on your own?  Check out my Pinterest Boards below:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

JCHS MakerSpace a Go Go!

The adventure of creating  a MakerSpace in the James Clemens High School library has taken off with a lot of help from my friends!

Once my principal, Dr. Brian Clayton, approached me about bringing a MakerSpace to the JCHS Library this year the first thing I did was crowd source my amazing PLN for ideas and resources.  Some the top contributors that helped me to ultimately build my final list of items to purchase for the start of our MakerSpace includes: Diana Rending,  Nathan Stevens,  Laura Fleming, Tom Kilgore,  Mark Samburg, and Faith Plunkett.  My daughter's boyfriend, Damien Owen, was also a great help to me. I would call, text and email him often as he loves to tinker with electronics, LEGOs and robotics. Damien is actually the first person to tell me about Cubelets so I am very interested to learn more about those when they arrive!

I also immediately pulled up the TL Virtual Cafe website so that I could review the MakerSpace webinar presented by Diana Rending and friends. I also went back and reviewed Wendy Cope's slides from her session I attended at the Georgia Library Media Association Summer Conference.  HERE is a link to my MakerSpace Pinterest Board that I will continue to refer to throughout the year as our MakerSpace is implemented and as it grows.

While researching and crowdsourcing a large list of items was compiled for the proposed MakerSpace, but without sponsorship from Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey a spending cap had to be met.  Ultimately, this is the final list of items that JCHS will start our library MakerSpace with this school year.

Qty.Item No.DescriptionUnit PriceTotal Price
1Chromakey Green Screen Kit 800w Photo Video Lighting Kit 10x12 feet Green Screen and Backdrop Support System Included Ul15 10x12 Green By Fancier U15 10x12 Green$119.99$119.99
1LEGO Education Wheels Set 4598357$49.95$49.95
1LEGO Education Doors, Windows & Roof Tiles Set 4587438$49.95$49.95
1LEGO Chain Reactions: Design and build amazing moving machines (Klutz S) Spiral-bound – January 13, 2015$14.95$14.95
1The LEGO Ideas Book$14.07$14.07
1LEGO Crazy Action Contraptions$13.17$13.17
1Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Robot Wonder Pack$279.99$279.99
4Craft E Vinyl - 12" x 24" - 40 Sheets Assorted Matte Colors of Removable Adhesive Backed Vinyl for Cricut Cutters, CraftROBO Cutters, Pazzles Cutters, QuicKutz Cutters - CEV2300$32.99$131.96
5Expressions Vinyl - Black (matte) 5-pack of adhesive vinyl sheets - 12"x24" indoor/removable$14.00$70.00
2Joylabz Makey Makey An Invention for Everyone Science Kit$49.99$99.98
2**Giant Version** I AM Cardboard® 50mm Focal Length Virtual Reality Cardboard Kit - Inspired by Google Cardboard$21.99$43.98
2Google Cardboard Valencia Quality 3d Vr Virtual Reality Glasses New (Natural)$4.55$9.10
143299BBRParrot - Rolling Spider Bluetooth Robot Insect Drone - Blue$99.99$99.99
143792BBRParrot - Replacement Battery for Parrot Sumo and Rolling Spider Drones$19.99$19.99
15003462EV3 Core Set with Software Pack$443.95$443.95
1551617045K'NEX Education: Roller Coaster Physics Building Set$202.99$202.99
1553935141Cricut Explore Air Tools Bundle$269.70$269.70
1CRICUT Cutting Mat Variety 3 Pack - Cutting, Paper, Chipboard, Fabric, Poster Board, Magnet - 12" Length x 12" Width$28.94$28.94
1551380586Cricut StandardGrip 12" x 24" Adhesive Cutting Mats, 2pk$15.92$15.92
1553514161Cricut Explore Medium Point Pen Set, 5-Pack, Color Candy$9.69$9.69
1552307756Cricut Color Metallic Med Point Pen Set$7.37$7.37
10553514206Cricut Vinyl Transfer Tape, 12" x 48"$10.83$108.30
1670-0013Workshop Set$998.75$998.75
1650-0046Light Wire$0.00$0.00
1650-0044Bright LED$0.00$0.00
1650-0032Long LED$0.00$0.00
1KT-MRCKT20Cubelets Twenty Kit$499.95$499.95
2552204352Apple iPad Air 2 16GB Wi-Fi$499.00$998.00
2Minecraft: Pocket Edition$6.99$14
2Internet # 204324077Blink1 Pan-Tilt-Zoom Wi-Fi Camera in Black$169.99$339.98
1BreakOut EDU$99.00$99.00

I am very fortunate that my principal provided me with a nice amount to get this MakerSpace started. If you are like many others around the country who have a much smaller budget, be sure to check out this great post by Gwyneth Jones for starting a MakerSpace for just $350.

After the list was compiled the next task was typing up all of the requisition orders and making sure 
that the companies accepted school purchase orders.  I spent the better part of two hours typing a PO for Amazon only to learn that my school has a spending cap with Amazon. Sigh. That PO had to be scrapped.  Many phone calls, emails, and hours later I finally had all of my requisition orders typed and ready to be turned into our amazing bookkeeper.  Within a day several of the POs had already been ordered and the items are on their way! 

My next task this weekend will be to move the furniture int he library around and completely reimagine the space!

Stay tuned as boxes and students arrive and watch our learning fun!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The RETURN of The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

This year I return to the library at James Clemens High School after a year off working as an Instructional Technology Facilitator in a 1:1 MacBook school.

I have some lofty goals already set up for myself this year so I thought I'd put some fire under those goals by posting them here so that all of you could hold me accountable and follow my journey!

The two top goals this school year are to establish a MakerSpace in the library and to genre-fy the fiction section of the library.

So what is a makerspace?  Makerspace defines it as:
Modeled after hackerspaces, a makerspace is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests, learn to use tools and materials, and develop creative projects. It could be embedded inside an existing organization or standalone on its own. It could be a simple room in a building or an outbuilding that’s closer to a shed. The key is that it can adapt to a wide variety of uses and can be shaped by educational purposes as well as the students’ creative goals.
The Library as Incubator Project describes makerspaces as:
Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills… makerspaces are not necessarily born out of a specific set of materials or spaces, but rather a mindset of community partnership, collaboration, and creation.                                   Quote from: 

Here is my proposal for starter materials for the James Clemens MakerSpace.  I am also asking for donations of arts and craft materials as well as LEGOs, K'Nex, games, puzzles and any other materials that could be used in a MakerSpace environment.  See a starter list below. If you have any talents you would like to share in our MakerSpace like sewing, knitting, woodworking, etc please contact me and lets make this happen for our Jet students!

Genre-fying the fiction section of the library is my other big goal for the school year at James Clemens. Luckily, my friend Sandy Brand, Librarian at James Clemens feeder school, Liberty Middle, will be genre-fying her fiction collection along with me! 

Why genre-fy?

  • Increase patron ease of locating books
  • Easy to identify collection needs
  • Increases appeal of many books
  • Provides opportunities for genre studies
  • Increase overall circulation
Below is a great video about genre-fying the library collection from the Bangor School District Libraries.

Stay tuned as the school year progresses for updates to these lofty goals! I will certainly be counting on my PLN to cheer me on when I think I've hit a brick wall!  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Invite Experts Into Your Classroom...FREE!

One of my top goals as I enter a new school year in a new school is to connect educators and students globally to make learning more authentic and provide real world insight from experts around the globe.  

Google Hangouts on Air is the perfect way to accomplish this goal.  It is free, easy, device agnostic, and FUN!  Most experts are willing to visit your class for 10 to 15 minutes at no cost.  But don't stop there! 


Did you book a great expert to Google Hangout with your students?  Share them with the rest of us! I shared the amazing author/illustrator, Ed Hose, with classes from all over the United States by using a Google Form to invite other classes to be a part of the Google Hangout.  I also shared the YouTube link so that other classes could watch our conversation with Ed Hose.

Have an awesome speaker actually coming to your school?  See if they would be willing to be "shared" via Google Hangouts with other schools.  Share the love!  At Hoover High School we had a Vietnam Veteran talk to our IB students about the war.  We invited other classes to watch through Google Hangouts on Air!

But wait! This is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with Google Hangouts! 

Want to find more great connections with Google Hangouts?  Check out the new website, Google Hangouts for Education and help us grow! 

Breathe New Life Into Your Classroom This Year

It wasn't that long ago that I found myself in a rut as an educator.  Like most of us, I entered the teaching profession with big, bright ideas. Over time this enthusiasm for teaching was tainted by the daily routine, strict pacing guides that allowed for little creativity or teachable moments, endless paperwork, unsupportive or uninformed administrators, little or no access to technology and/or blocked websites. Eventually I feel victim to these forces and feel into a submissive, run of the mill, collect my check and do the bare minimum expected of me teaching role. 

This is the path I could have followed into retirement but thanks to Shelly Terrell and the 30 Goals Teacher ReBoot Camp my professional life and personal life took a dramatic change and my love of teaching came back stronger than it had ever been.  

If you know an educator or you are an educator who is stuck in a rut, unsure of the first steps to take to get out, Shelly Terrell's 30 Goals Teacher ReBoot Camp gives you not only suggestions and guidance but a whole support group of other educators just like you who are working to transform themselves and their classrooms.

July 16-19, 2015 was the first ever global 30 Goals Free eConference.  Over 30 speakers worldwide shared how they transformed their teaching through accomplishing goals. If you missed this inspirational conference be sure to catch the archived recordings and get inspired by their stories.

I was honored to be asked to keynote at this event.  My keynote is below.