Cool Tools, Thing 12: Final Reflection

Spending time on my Cool Tools write-ups definitely got easier once deck weather arrived…

What did you learn?

To say I struggled to get all my tools completed before the deadline this year would be an understatement! A huge issue I ran into was that I didn’t realize that WordPress had been blocked at our school which made it difficult for me to work on my Cool Tools assignments and experimentation/planning before and after work like I normally do (with my 50 minute commute I’m good and decompressed when I finally get home and I find it extremely difficult to motivate myself to work on school stuff again when I walk through the door). But the other hurdle I faced was more internal. The reason it took me so long to realize that WordPress had been blocked was because I only checked in on the weekends to see if they later tools had been updated yet. I had it in my head that I had done this too many times to get anything overly useful out of those early tools. And of course, with 41(!) tools to update and add to, it took a little while for Polly to get to those later tools. So, we were months into the course before I realized I couldn’t work on it like I’d done in the past and I struggled to make the time outside the school day for this project. The kicker for me though was that I ended up doing several of the tools from those earlier lists anyway. I could have started working on this so much earlier and gotten a plan together for working around the WordPress block so much sooner if I hadn’t been so closed minded about my learning needs. So a few general things I learned this year are that being open minded is important and sometimes, going back to the basics can be a powerful and refreshing thing! Speaking more specifically, I learned:

  • A variety of tools to help me and my students screencast (I had no idea there were ways to screencast an iPad that didn’t just involve using a second iPad to record yourself! Game changer for leaving instructional videos when I have subs next year!!)
  • How to reinvigorate my Twitter game (and how to craft a more professional-but still fun-Twitter profile).
  • Oodles and oodles of ideas for trying out Snapchat for my library
  • That the Google Cultural Museum was a thing!
  • More about what works and what doesn’t work for me when it comes to productivity. Which was huge this year because it was the first year without our full time library clerks and I really needed to figure out how to get things done on my own (talk about going back to some basics!)

What’s next?

I’m inspired to try out the following things this summer and this coming school year:

  • Jennifer LaGarde’s 20 day Twitter challenge
  • Adding to my list of Snapchat ideas for the library account
  • Finding more libraries and librarians to follow on Snapchat for inspiration
  • Connecting more with other educators via social media in general-making every week my own personal conference where I get to learn some great ideas from other people
  • Finding and trying a social media planner/calendar. I’ve read about bloggers using them to keep them on track and their content organized across platforms and I’d be interested in seeing if it works for me. I didn’t do as great a job with the library Instagram account this year so I’d like to bolster that again while also developing our new Snapchat account and, keeping myself on track with my personal tweeting goals.
  • Helping my classes make more global connections and produce projects for the larger world next year. Right now I’m thinking about blogging, penpals and Skype in particular (I would love to do a Mystery Skype next year!)
  • Using the screencasting and video tools to create some flip classroom style videos and instructions for next year
    • Finding ways for my students to create some of the instructional ones for me!!!!
  • Convincing the IT department that Google Expeditions is awesome and they should ease up on the internet restrictions so we can try it out next year!

Did you like learning this way?

I’ve always enjoyed online classes and asynchronous learning platforms. Unfortunately, because of the time crunch I put myself in, I didn’t take full advantage of the new platform. I feel bad about that because I’m sure other people were sharing amazing ideas and it completely fits within my above stated goal to connect more often with other educators! I also feel bad because I know Polly works extra hard to make this class amazing and I’m sure it took a ton of work to get the new Canvas learning management platform setup and I didn’t utilize it to its fullest. I guess I could add to my above goals for the coming summer and school year that if I do this class again next year, I’ll actually do it as Polly intended and participate in the discussion boards and make those PLN connections.

As always, I was blown away and humbled by all the work Polly put into this class and finding us the most recent and interesting tools and platforms to explore. Not having clerks this year made for some difficult days and I’m not sure I would have tried half the things or pushed myself nearly as much I did to stretch and grow if I hadn’t been taking this class. So thanks for another great year Polly-sorry you had to spend part of your three day weekend looking at my stuff!


One thought on “Cool Tools, Thing 12: Final Reflection

  1. Thanks for all the kind words and the thoughtful reflections. It was a struggle for me this year too. Getting all those topics updated was a long haul, I really wanted to get them out sooner for folks like you who have participated before. (some surgery in october knocked me for more of a loop than I expecte) I’m thinking I’ll start updating in July this year! The Canvas LMS didn’t work out well at all. Another learning experience for me. Moving on to Google Classroom next year. Wanted to use it this year, but they didn’t make it available to mere mortals until this winter. Ok this is starting to sound like MY final reflections. Lol. Time for wine. LOVE your deck photo! Gorgeous.

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