Highlights from CUE 2014 (Part 1)

Information Literacy

Photo Credit: Dana Longley https://flic.kr/p/7PfLtM

I have one major rule when it comes to attending professional development: If I learn one new teaching strategy or idea, I consider it time well spent. That said, the CUE Conference is almost an information overload. While I did catch one or two bad sessions, the vast majority are so good that my head was spinning by the end of the weekend.

I did assign myself a loose focus for this year’s CUE conference.  I wanted to catch as many sessions as possible around the theme of digital citizenship and information literacy. Why? The topic has been on my mind for a few years now, especially because it is raw issue for teachers and parents of young adolescents. Everyone knows that junior high is ground zero for bullying AND it also happens to be the time when we want students to be more independent in their use of digital tools. Well, at least I want my students to start being more independent. The other reason I am currently interested in information literacy and digital citizenship is that I am writing an annotated bibliography on the topic for one of my library science classes at San Jose State.

Luckily for me the California School Library Association (CSLA) was holding a Digital Citizenship Summit at the conference. I didn’t plan it that way. Just a happy coincidence. This is my first blog entry about what I learned from CSLA and their excellent teacher librarians.

On Friday I attended Glen Warren and Jane Lofton‘s presentation: The Uncommon Core: New Standards, New Literacies, and Student Significance 

Here are some things I learned from the presentation  (NOTE: Way more than my minimum requirement of 1 new idea or strategy):

  1. On Language Learning: Instead of English Learners (ELs), why not All Language Learners (ALLs)? With this in mind, try the free language app DuolingoI haven’t been able to test this out much beyond signing up for it, but Mr. Warren recommends it for teachers and students.
  2. On Creativity and Engagement: Have students create personal interest bibliographies using Bibme. The idea is to give students outlets for their own personal interests to spark creativity and keep them engaged in their learning. The are learning the digital and information skills they need to succeed while at the same time pursuing something they actually like. (BONUS: Mr. Warren mentioned that Easy Bib currently has a beta version that tests the validity of sources.)
  3. On Project-based Learning: Use Google forms for students to turn in logs for “Daily Integrated Goal Setting (DIGS).”  This is an easy way to keep kids focused on their personal goals as learners. And teachers can easily keep track of what their students are doing. Another tip is for students to turn in “productivity artifacts” at the end of the class period (or week). They can snap a picture of what they are doing or quickly take a screenshot and attach that item to the learning management system. Mr. Warren’s class uses Edmodo. At my school we use EDU 2.0. If students have smart phones, they can easily upload their daily progress on projects.
  4. On Research: Use the acronym CAR (credibility, accuracy, relevance) to help students understand how to assess web sources. Use a Google form for students to write evidence for each aspect of CAR before they use a source.

Thank you CSLA for reading my mind and creating a whole day (and a half) of workshops on the exact topic I am currently trying to master. This is just a sampling of some of what I learned from the first presentation. I’ll be writing more as I continue my research and my reflections on CUE. Seriously, I should have about two months worth of blogging material based on the weekend I spent at CUE.

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