One thing that has been on my “to do” list this summer is to create a Website for our Library Learning Commons. I am blogging about it today so that I can figure out why it may or may not be worthwhile and talk it through.
So for the LLC website I have been thinking about the following questions:
Question 1: Why a Website and not Google Classroom or some other platform?
First, I don’t think my Google Classroom through TVDSB will allow parents or non-board users to join the community. Students can join and not parents as far as I know. I have also considered Padlet. But I think I will likely follow the lead of my colleagues who have made Websites for their LLCs and use Google Sites. A part of me is wondering if I could offer a better website platform though. I want it to have good content and I really want it to look nice (with minimal effort) on my part. I have always found that the Google Sites that I have made in the past for my homeroom classes were a little bit fiddly. I had to spend a lot of time formatting. But perhaps that is just the nature of website making? I know my daughter has taught herself how to use code when creating websites using HTML. Maybe I should give her a job! Would a Social Media platform specific to the LLC be better? I am thinking Instagram? Perhaps a website AND an “Insta” account that work in tandem? Could I offer contests and give away some free books to muster up activity?
Question 2: What pages or content do I want to make available?
I think that I need to have sections for staff, parents and students. I am thinking of tutorial videos on how to maximize and use data-bases, searching our library or checking on the status of books (late, overdue) tailored to each audience. I remember feeling a bit shocked by a moment last year when I realized a lot of students are not hearing books read-aloud at home. Could I provide stories live or by video regularly? How can I do this while still respecting copyright? Another thing I could share is information before and during Scholastic Book Fairs, Forest of Reading, the Global Read Aloud (in French and English). It could be a place to share and celebrate learning in the LLC. What about some student made things … book talks or advertisements? We could showcase the work of various clubs that meet in the space. I could share some displays & videos related to significant dates or months (i.e. Orange Shirt Day, Black History Month, etc.). It would be a great way to share student election results. What about guest blogs by older students?
I think it would be important to gather some student and parent input in the fall. What would they like to see? Maybe a Google Form could be attached to the site for suggestions or feedback. I could share some video announcements too (but would have to ensure student privacy so not daily).
How can I extend and enhance my LLC space virtually?
This is just me “thinking aloud”… I seem to have more questions than answers at the moment. Perhaps I just need to get down to it.
Question 3: How can I track usage and if it is worth continuing or being interacted with?
Another reason to perhaps explore a website outside of Google Sites. Does it do this now? Something to explore. Which website platforms am I authorized to use at TVDSB? Might be a good question to ask someone who knows. Perhaps there is an option here in Edublogs that I can explore? How will I advertise it and share it with students, staff and parents? The school newsletter might be a start. Social Media…
Question 4: Where are some models that I can follow?
Some colleagues have shared their websites with me. I definitely have models to follow. Do you have a website for your schools’ Library Learning Commons? Would you be willing to share with me? Please send me a link privately or in the comments below.
In the meantime… I am exploring the resource below, which has a set of slides to look through that have been developed by a number of Teacher-Librarians that I have a great deal of respect for. I think I am on the right track with some of my questions and initial thinking and to push my thinking further. Already in the “Ethics” piece that this is a way to MODEL good digital habits (i.e. citing, fair use, respecting Copyright etc.) for students jumped out. So did the idea that if you want them (students, staff, parents) to use it… you have to involve these same people in creating it.
I did discover Beth Lyon’s Virtual Library Learning Commons website. Oooh. It is a dream. It has been bookmarked and I do plan of heavily borrowing from it! Check it out: https://sites.google.com/pdsb.net/larkspurvllc/home!!
Another thought I had is that I am planning on taking my Teacher-Librarian AQ Part 2 course online this fall or winter… perhaps this would be a project that I could include and improve through that course work too.
Lastly, this year, I am the “CST” at our school, meaning I am the go-to person when it comes to technology help. I have a supportive IT person to work with assigned to a family of schools. This past year I kind of shadowed the staff member who took on this “extra” since a lot of the tech pieces are stored in the Maker space. One of my responsibilities will also be to update our school website. It is also on my “to do” list this summer. I don’t need to do too much to it, but the staff list and their corresponding websites (if they have them) need to be updated.