Thing 20: Pathfinders & Website Creation Tools

Too Many Tools

I have used or explored many different website creation tools listed and found Google Sites and Weebly to be quite friendly. I even created an online portfolio for grad school using Google Sites. Since we have Google Apps at school, I would probably use this resource if I had students create a website. I have explored Symbaloo and LibGuides but didn’t find Symbaloo appealing and LibGuides is too expensive. I tried a Wiki with a class several years ago but the students didn’t use it and it quickly fizzled out. 

OPALS Pathfinder

I have a website that I am able to update and change as needed. I use it to link to important information and have pages devoted to classroom projects. Recently, I learned that our OPAC supports pathfinders and I was intrigued by this idea. Instead of housing the projects on my website, I can have the pathfinders directly linked to my catalog where students can find both print and online resources in one place. This assignment gave me the perfect opportunity to recreate one of the projects from my 6th grade projects as a pathfinder. It was simple and quick to create and the only thing that I didn’t like was that it was limited to 50 resources — whereas, my website has no such limitation. So, I don’t think I will completely transfer over to using this method, especially if the project uses a lot of resources, but I will use it for my simpler projects like extreme weather research.



FLS Monster Research Pathfinder

Another Alternative

Another website that could be used for creating Pathfinders is S.O.S. for Information Literacy. You can create a lesson plan that has a BuILder which resembles a cross between and website, pathfinder, and webquest –it’s all in how you use it. It is peer reviewed and approved so it can take some time for it to be approved but it is an alternative.

I feel comfortable using all of these tools and suggest you try them out and figure out which one works the best for you. They each have their own positives and negatives and what suits me, might not suit you.



Thing 19: Online Learning

Online learning is something that I don’t think I will every really like. Do I learn the information? Most of the time. Do I make lasting relationships with colleagues in the class? Not usually. Do I procrastinate until the last minutel? Yep. I know this is the way it will be in the future but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

When I got my library degree, I chose to take the majority of the classes on campus since I was local but a few of the classes were only available online so I had to take them that way. To this day, I will see many of my fellow on campus classmates at conferences and we will chat amiably and I keep in touch with many of these classmates through Facebook. I can’t say the same for the people I was with in an online class. Even as I type this, I notice that I don’t call them classmates but “people” — very generic. I am a people person and need face-to-face interaction. Online classes don’t provide this for me. Maybe it is my age but I really don’t like online classes and the way they are traditionally run. I’m really not sure why I keep signing up to take them, but I do.

My certification requires that I receive 175 professional development (PD) hours every 5 years. This will be an easy requirement to fulfill since I take many hours of PD every year through my district and local Boces. Like many, I find Conference Days to be a waste of my time since there is rarely a topic of interest or if there is, I am just as much an expert in the topic as the instructor. Our library department often meets on these days but we don’t usually use more than one time block so we are stuck attending a class that we really don’t need. The school district doesn’t ask for a personal learning plan but I like the idea of it.

My personal learning plan for 2014-15 is to learn more about:

  1. Twitter and why people think it is so great.
  2. how to get students to want to learn intrinsically.
  3. how to teach more effectively to students who come from poverty.
  4. how to provide enrichment to highly motivated learners.
  5. how to become a leader in a school when you are one of the newest faculty members.

I will continue to learn and read as much as I can to grow as a professional. The library has changed so much since I was a child and I need to keep up with all of the latest technology and trends. Lastly, I need to make sure my new principal understands how important my job is to the success of each and every student in my building!


This work by Mia MacMeekin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

via 27 Things Your Teacher Librarian Does.

Thing 18: Digital Citizenship

Sites like Spokeo and Pipl really bother me as a non-digital native especially when I see a picture of my home associated with my name. I do my best to keep my life private and these websites show me how much information is available publicly. But when speaking with the 20-something year old Tech guy at work who is a digital native, he isn’t bothered at all by these websites. It is a part of the Internet and he accepts it as the norm. I’m not sure I will ever get to this level of comfort and to be honest, I’m not sure I should.

New York state requires that all children in K-12 are taught Internet Safety so as part of my curriculum, I teach it to my students regardless of whether or not their teacher also teaches it. I mostly use lesson from NetSmartz but I also incorporate some ideas from Common Sense Media. My lessons vary from what are good websites to visit versus websites that might not be good with my early elementary students to cyberbullying and what is appropriate/inappropriate to post online for upper elementary students. Many curriculum attempt to scare children away from using the Internet and I avoid those lessons. Instead, I try to teach students how to responsibly use the Internet. 

Since I only see students once a week, it is difficult to provide the number of in-depth lessons needed to truly have them understand Digital Citizenship. After reviewing all of the materials for this week, I realize that I haven’t done enough and will expand what I teach next year to include more lessons on copyright and fair use — something many people have difficulty understanding.