Elizabeth Sower's Online Portfolio


Incorporating Technology to Enhance Student Achievement

In addition to creating online pathfinders to support student research and information needs, in my teaching I use various technology tools to enhance student learning and impart 21st Century Learning Skills. Below are several examples of the tools I have used to support student learning and to create professional presentations. I enjoy staying current with new technologies and am always on the lookout for dynamic and interactive tools that will enhance lessons and encourage student participation. 

Outside of a Dog Blog
Writing the Outside of a Dog Blog allows me to share book reviews with readers and gives me a way to organize the reviews into a readers' advisory resource for students. Blogs may be used by students many ways. Students might create their own classroom book review blog, publish artwork or writing, discuss current events, or transmit their response to a homework question. 


High School Book Whisperer Podcast
Audio recordings are an exciting format for students to work with when creating projects.  Students may create recordings on free and easily downloadable software such as Audacity. This technology may be utilized to capture student’s interest in ways that traditional formats, such as written reports or essays, might not. It also allows students to share their ideas with one another in a familiar way; many students have iPods or other MP3 players and are accustomed to the format.  The High School Book Whisperer podcast is an example of a readers' advisory recording I created for young adults. 

Professional Development Presentations
Part of my role as a library media specialist is to convey information about new technologies to fellow educators. Below are examples of two such presentations. The first introduces high school classroom teachers to The Big6, and information problem-solving strategy, the second presentation introduces a new initiative to a group of middle school teachers. 


Screenr LibraryThing Tutorial
Screencasts capture a user’s actions as they navigate a website and record their voice as they discuss their actions. There are countless uses for this technology in the library and sites like screenr allow students and teachers to create screencasts for free. Screencasts are an ideal way to record instructions for how to access, utilize the features of, or log on to a website. Part of my role as a school librarian is to assist teachers, students, and parents in learning how to successfully use the technology resources available to them. I may create screencasts for specific projects, like this one, which instructs a class on how to add titles to their class LibraryThing catalog. Ideally, I would create a cache of screencasts on the school library website, which demonstrate how to access frequently used websites, databases, or other technology tools.  

Social Bookmarking Sites
My Delicious Account
Social bookmarking gives users the ability to organize and save the web addresses of sites important to them. Sites like Delicious allow users to quickly save web addresses and assign them descriptive tags for easy retrieval. This technology is ideal for students conducting research on the Internet. It ensures that they will be able to easily return to relevant websites and thus properly cite their sources.

Do It Yourself Technology for Educators VoiceThread Presentation
Digital Storytelling technology, such as VoiceThread, allows educators to present information to students in an interactive manner. The technology encourages students to share their opinions and ideas with their classmates in what may be a less stressful format for students than the traditional teacher-lead classroom question and answer session. I may use this technology in the library to start a discussion on a current event or to introduce important information to students. Students may enjoy creating their own VoiceThread presentations and commenting on their classmates.  

Boston Middle School Wiki   (corresponds with Boston Middle School Wiki PowerPoint Presentation)
Wikis are an ideal school library and classroom collaborative tools. The online format may encourage participation from students who are more reserved in the classroom setting. The example above was designed for transmitting assignment information to middle school students. 

Presenting information in different ways allows me to capture students' attention and reach all different kinds of learners. Wordle is a great tool for doing just that. The Wordle image below was created using the American Association of School Librarian's Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Words that are repeated most often in the text appear larger. Entering text into Wordle can help learners to find key terminology and main ideas. 
Wordle: AASL's Standards for the 21st Century Learner