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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Presenting at Local ETTC

My phone rang a little before 9:30 yesterday morning.  It was one of my mentors from when I started teaching over a decade ago. 

He asked if I remembered the scene in Star Wars when Obi Wan says, "...You are our only hope."  He then went on to say that they needed someone who could do a 2.5 hour presentation on Galileo (The Georgia Library Learning Online).  The service is a subscription site with nearly 175 databases for schools K-16+ in the state of Georgia.  I will be delivering this information at the Dalton State College Education Technology Training Center (DSC ETTC) on Thursday.

This was a somewhat difficult choice for me.  On one hand, I find it hard to say 'no' to Randy after all he has done for me through the years.  On the other hand, Galileo, though noble in what they seek to provide to Georgia educators, is not a very user-friendly resource.  It takes a multitude of clicks to get to the information one seeks; and when working with 12 year olds, the more clicks the less interest and attention.

I have spent about 9 hours since yesterday looking at their newly configured site.  Galileo does have a better design.  After talking with the ETTC director, I am going to talk about SIRS Discoverer with their Lexile indexed articles (pretty cool for differentiation), the New Georgia Encyclopedia (alphabetized under 'N' for New, when in a year it won't be "new" - one of the reasons this service gets frustrating for teachers), Novelist (great resource for librarians and teachers to find and recommend books), image searches (since Google Images is usually blocked), and I will probably demonstrate the RSS feature on many of the databases (which could become the feature that gets Galileo noticed by more teachers -- once they learn what RSS can do for them).  Tomorrow I will look for ELL, ESL, EFL resources to discuss. 

Anyway, I am looking forward to presenting this week.  I've also appreciated having a reason to look at this resource again as I prepare for my class next year.  What I have discovered again, and reinforced in my thinking, is that for someone to learn a resource (software, websites, etc.) one needs time to play.  We either have to create time, or make learning something new a priority.

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