About “Cool Tools for School”

A group of New York State School Library Systems are sponsoring this online learning opportunity that will help you keep up (and catch up!) with many of the web-based services and networking tools that abound online today and explore how they can be used in a K12 setting. This is the 9th time we’ve offered this workshop and many participants have taken it multiple times. There’s always something new to learn!

This year the course itself will be run on the Canvas Learning Management System. We’re tying this to see if we can create more of a community of learners through the discussion boards provided by the LMS. Course content will still be maintained on this public site so others can follow along and us the content for their own interests.

What does the program cover?

We’ll cover topics from blogs to online communities to news literacy and online learning and and much more! You’ll find the growing list of topics on the schedule page.

Each topic or “thing” will include:

  • An introduction
  • Some tips and ideas about how the tools can be used in school libraries, education and for personal use
  • Resources to explore
  • A short activity for you to complete.

There will also be plenty of opportunity for you to connect with other colleagues around the state. All this without having to leave your desk!

This project is also a self-discovery program which encourages you to take control of your own learning and help you develop your lifelong learning skills through exploration and play. There will be no classes or formal workshops offered to support this program. Instead, participants are encouraged to work together and share with their discoveries, techniques and “how to’s” with each other, both in-person, through their blogs and in the online discussion groups.

Why bother?

  • Learn how to use tech tools that will help your students succeed.
  • Help students learn to use the tools more effectively.
  • Build awareness of tools that you can draw on when a need arises.
  • Learn new tools that can help you at work and at home.
  • Become more comfortable exploring new tools on your own.
  • Take leadership in your school community by sharing your knowledge and skills.

Participating School Library Systems & SLS Directors:

(This list is subject to change. Double check with your SLS admin to make sure your region is participating.)

For Administrators

For administrators approving professional development participation

The Cool Tools for School workshop is an online workshop sponsored by regional School Library Systems and facilitated by Polly-Alida Farrington, a librarian with over 20 years of experience conducting in-person and online technology workshops for librarians and other educators. The workshop provides participants with the opportunity to explore technology tools that can be used in K12 settings to support and enhance student learning, and improve productivity and class management.

Lessons are prepared and presented by the facilitator.  Participants select up to 10 lessons that fit their own professional learning goals. Each lesson includes an introduction to the topic, examples of best practices for K12 educators, tools & resources to explore, and activities that participants will complete. To receive credit for a lesson, participants must submit a blog post explaining/showing the work they completed, discuss the relevance to their professional work and reflect on their own learning experience.  Written assignments are reviewed by the instructor and SLS Coordinators.  Credit is not granted for insufficient work.

The workshop is self-paced only in that participants can choose when, over the course of the 7 month workshop, they will to work on their assignments.  Opportunities exist for participants to interact with each other through the blogs where written reflections are posted and the group discussion on our course learning management system.

Big Huge Thanks

The project is based on many of the other Learning 2.0/23 Things projects that other libraries and library systems have shared. Particular debt is owed to the following projects:

  • 23 Things Kansas – Statewide program in Kansas (special thanks to Heather Braum in particular for cheerfully answering my endless questions)
  • 23 Things on a Stick – Minnesota’s statewide program
  • 23 Things Cambridge – University of Cambridge Libraries program.
  • SLJ Learning 2.0 – Program run by Michael Stephens for School Library Journal
  • and of course, Helene Blower’s original 23 Things project at Charlotte Mecklenberg (NC) Library

Like the work of all the other Learning 2.0 projects, the content here is also available for others to use and build upon. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

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