Monday, October 27, 2014

Collaboration? - that has been the question....

After attending my second EdCamp this fall, I keep hearing the same question resonate in my head from both events.  As librarians, how do we effectively collaborate with our students, teachers, and learning community?  How can we change from cooperating to true collaboration?  Even as a veteran librarian, these are questions that I struggle with daily.  Have I been cooperating rather than collaborating all these years?  In reflection I thought I would make a list of how I thought I was an effective collaborator.

First, I use Google Drive extensively.  Here is a list of how I use Google as a collaborative tool.
  • I share a Google calendar allowing teachers to sign up and view library time.  I know many others use it to allow teachers to sign up for computer labs, laptop carts, and other areas.
  • I share Google sites, presentations, and documents as Digital Research Kits for requesting research assignments.  This allows both input from the teacher and it can be shared virtually with students.  
  • Collaborative lesson plans are created in Google Drive and shared with teachers or staff members.  Some lessons are school-wide technology lessons while others are individual or departmental lessons. 
  • Google forms are used extensively in our library.  Students are encouraged to suggest books, sign-in at the circulation desk (for statistical information only), sign up for events, and more through these collaborative forms.  I curate website addresses for blogs and ePortfolios of my library student aides through forms and use the spreadsheet to visually visit both as a group. 
  • I also use Twitter as a communication tool.  When I see an idea or tool that might fit the need of a teacher, I’ll tag them on the retweet.  I follow up with a face-to-face conversation about the idea and offer assistance. 
  • Our student driven book clubs use Google Drive to communicate and plan the book discussions.  Student volunteers pick the book, date, and discussion questions on a collaborative document that is shared with everyone involved. 
  • Our student technology club uses email, Google Drive, and remind to communicate projects, lessons, and meeting times. 
  • I offer the library for meetings.  That way I am invited to the meetings and can offer suggestions when possible.
  • I offer my services to present at PLCs (department meetings).  I am always on the lookout for cool tools, ideas, and suggestions.
  • I am ready to offer professional development at faculty meetings, district opportunities, local, regional, and state level functions. 
  • I model collaboration with students, administrators, teachers, and parents when possible.
  • I make myself available after school hours, on weekends, and during the summer. 
  • Our library website has a virtual presence for users to access for a variety of reasons.  
  • I provide global opportunities for my school such as virtual poetry slams, global celebrations, and use tools such as Skype and Google hang outs to connect with other around the world. 
  • I am constantly seeking collaborative opportunities.
First and foremost I must remember that time is precious and limited with our classroom teachers.  Thus I must try and find the easiest way to truly collaborate.  Not everyone will come “on-board” but that should not deter myself or any of you from trying to seek quality collaborative opportunities.

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