Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We Have Lift-off!

I can now finally announce my good news: I've just started working as a teacher-librarian! I'm extremely excited to have this opportunity. For last two weeks, I've been focusing on learning my new responsibilities and tasks from the outgoing librarian. In fact, I'm so grateful that she is still around to show me the ropes! This week has been my first 'official' week on my own.

Literacy is a huge passion of mine, and I've already started to draw together some ideas that I'd like to slowly integrate into the library. Being a South African public/government school, we simply do not have the budget for drastic technological advances - just like most public schools globally - instead, I'm trying to gather ways of modernising the library with an incredibly limited tech scope. In my next few posts, I hope to formulate my ideas about 21st century libraries that are on a budget, and what can be done as a new educator to provide fresh ideas without having to splash out on.

Being brand new to this, I have a million ideas whizzing around in my head. I'm looking at finding a way of easily sorting my ideas into digital 'folders' and then expanding them into proper notes/plans/documents at a later stage. Tiddlywiki looked like a great solution, but I was having errors getting it to sync properly between my netbook and desktop. 

My ideal life-organiser:

  • I could jot down text notes, fully searchable and sortable. I like branching menus and folders.
  • Fully usable on my Windows 7 desktop and Windows XP netbook, with ability to sync (I also have and love Dropbox). Would be handy to store/access content on the web, but not necessarily essential due to Dropbox.
  • Ability to read/view content (bonus points for adding simple notes, even to an ear-marked folder) on my android phone.
  • Good timetable/scheduling abilities, though I'll take that as a separate app. Anything that lets you plan for a two-week (A/B) school timetable?
  • Ideally free.

For my normal life stuff, I currently use Catch Notes on my phone for lists and memos, and Google Calendar on my phone (via 3rd party widget) and desktop for calendar tasks. For my teaching/library sphere, however, I feel that I'm going to have to have something more sophisticated. This weekend I've been browsing alternatives, but nothing has really jumped out at me. I'm giving Evernote a go, though I fear that it's reliance on syncing and assumption that you have internet 24/7 is going to be it's downfall. 

If anyone has any suggestions for contemporary, Windows/Android, free life-organisers, please let me know. 

I'm working on little changes to the library, I'm going to take some pictures and get them uploaded to show you all. Thanks to my new Twitter PLN for all the encouraging advice!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I've graduated (again)!

I'm a graduate again! On Thursday night, I attended my graduation ceremony for the PGCE course. This officially makes me a qualified teacher... I'm not sure what I've been doing since I got my results in December but clearly teaching wasn't it! I'm just kidding. It's really great to finally have my certificate. Teachers here in South Africa have to be registered with the SACE in order to be considered fully licenced. It's quite a long process, so I'm glad to be able to get that underway. My family from Cape Town were able to come and visit for the graduation, it was amazing to get to show them my little town for a while.

It's been the Easter holidays here, so the Grahamstown schools have been having a break. I've enjoyed the time, catching up with friends, comparing notes with fellow teachers and keeping up to date on my reading. One blog that I stumbled upon is Free Technology for Teachers - this blog, run by Richard Byrne, has frequent posts highlighting the huge amount of resources that teachers can use to enhance their lessons, streamline their administration and just generally make life easier and more interesting.