Tag Archives: schools

To GAFE? Or not to GAFE?

GAFE:  Google Apps for Education

Many school districts are jumping onto this bandwagon.  They want to be a part of the technological evolution that is occurring across the world.  Google, as anyone who is even remotely in the know already uses, began as a search engine, but now, is SO much more!  They are Microsoft’s arch nemesis–a competition among suites.

GAFE has so many features:  classroom, sheets, slides, forms…the list goes on for a bit!  But they are also user friendly and compatible with pretty much any electronic device and other popular tools out there, such as YouTube.  And, if you already have a gmail account, you have access!

I, myself, have been a gmail account holder for over a decade, and I’ve never wanted to part.  Gmail is easy to use, never has never issues, and I’ve never been hacked.  It simply makes sense.  And with access to so many of Google’s services, the deal is sweetened up a bit more.  So when my district offered workshops on GAFE, I did not hesitate to sign up.

We spent three long days doing a lightning introduction and review of everything, and today, we are given the opportunity to take the certification exam.  If my experiences and (short) training did its part, then I will be a Google Certified Teacher by the end of today!

Honestly, in terms of tactile rewards, the certification doesn’t give much.  (You can print out the digital certificate they email you.)  But, it does allow you a lot as an educator in this tech-driven world.  As we spent our days practicing, I was brainstorming lesson ideas in my mind.  I feel energized and excited to tackle the school year ahead!

My district is lucky enough go one-to-one with Chromebooks this school year, so we are most definitely supported to infuse as much technology as possible into our lessons.  And slowly, but surely, I am feeling equipped to take on that challenge!

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A Generous Donor Revives Two School Libraries

http://articles.philly.com/2013-10-12/news/42943944_1_budget-cuts-librarians-donor

Today’s post connects to yesterday’s–involving Philadelphia libraries.  As mentioned in the previous post, because of huge budget cuts, MANY public and school libraries have been shut down entirely.

But, thanks to an anonymous donor, two school libraries are able to reopen.  The donor gave $205,000 to Central High and Masterman, two of the top public schools in the city, in order to support their libraries.

It is a shame to see such a large school district to suffer because of financial issues.  What is happening in Philadelphia is exactly what already occurred in Chicago.  Just looking at the figures alone, shows how great the disregard has become.  According to the article, “As a result of this year’s budget cuts, there were only 15 librarians left in the district. In 2011, the district had 65 librarians. In 1992, it had 176.”  It is pitiful that in just a little more than 20 years, this large district lost 161 librarians.

Is it now up to wealthy individuals to step up and fight for what’s right?  How can entire school districts lean on the shoulders of just a couple people?  The community has to step up and find a way to get the government and board of education to realize what needs to be done–and actually do it!

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Apparently Chicago and Education Don’t Mix

http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/10/02/mayor-rahms-grand-experiment-libraries-without-librarians

So you may have heard about the horrible things happening in Chicago public schools–hint, hint:  closed down 50 schools recently–but believe it or not, they’re not done yet!

Mayor Rahm has decided to lay off every single school librarian in the district.  And, as if that isn’t bad enough, he did this is in a very sneaky way.  He made an announcement in the library (yes, you heard that correctly–the LIBRARY!) that he would be using $17 million from the district budget to build a new wing in the school to accommodate an extra 400 students.  What he neglected to mention is that he had to fire “nonessential staff” to make this renovation possible.

Now, all the administrators in the various schools have to scramble to figure out who will be ‘manning’ the library to attempt to fill the void that Mayor Rahm has created.  The article mentions that a teacher’s aide is covering the front desk at the library while the actual librarian is now the Spanish teacher.  Does this make any sense to you?  (No, not for me either…).

I am left wondering what exactly is the long term plan here.  If the Mayor continues hemorrhaging money that the city clearly does not have, then what will happen to Chicago Public Schools?  Although I am extremely angered by his complete dismissal of librarians, I know that it probably won’t stop here.

Hopefully, the Chicago voters will think twice for their next mayoral election.

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