Creating a Shared Library on EDU 2.0/NEO
Type of technology: Website/LMS
SAMR Model Rating: Substitution/Augmentation
Grade level: Any
Subject area: Any
Confession: I don’t always use tools the way they are intended. There have been more than a few times I’ve used the back of a screwdriver as a hammer. In this case, the tool I had was EDU 2.0/NEO and I wanted to be able to have a single place where my students and my colleague’s students could go to access the materials we had developed together without uploading everything to our different classes.
I know what some of you are thinking at this point: Why not just share the resources in EDU 2.0/NEO ? Three reasons: 1) Finding shared resources in EDU 2.0/NEO is a huge pain. Yes, they are improving the ability to search for items, but it’s a pain to find the things I’ve uploaded, never mind sifting through materials from across the whole school or district. 2) I didn’t want to duplicate work. My super awesome colleague, Brittany, and I develop our APUSH (AP U.S. History) curriculum together, so we are almost always doing the same thing on the same day using the same resources. Why should we both have to post resources to our classes? Wouldn’t it be better to post it once and have everyone be able to get it? I said yes! 3) It helps maintain an expectation of collegiality. We work together to create curriculum, we share our reflections on how lessons play out, and we post materials from our lessons together. Having a shared area that is public, at least to our students, helps us maintain a level of accountability to each other and our students.
So here’s how it’s done…
Step one: Make a fake class on EDU 2.0/NEO . By fake, I mean you aren’t tying the class to one period or teacher. You won’t give or grade any assignments here and it doesn’t matter if students outside your classes join the class. The concept as I envisioned it was that this fake class really isn’t a class at all; it’s a library. In my case, I called the class APUSH Library.
Step two: Configure the class. Since the only areas you’re likely to use are the resources and Wiki areas, just turn off everything else you’re not going to use. The picture here is side bar on my APUSH Library so you can see what it looks like (click the picture for a clearer view) . Even if you don’t turn off the extras, it’s not a big deal. Turning off extra features you’re not using helps keep the screen clear so the students can find what they are looking for more easily. Also, make sure you don’t have an access code to join the class. If you’re really going to share these resources with everyone, you don’t want a pesky code to get in the way. Next, you want make sure all the colleagues you want to work with are set up as co-teachers on the Library. This will allow them to upload resources and make announcements the same way that you can. They will also be able to delete resources, so it is important that you are on the same page together.
Step three: Start uploading your resources. How you organize them is up to you, but I would recommend that you use folders inside EDU 2.0/NEO . to help you organize. You can organize by the type of file (Handouts, Test Reviews, Reading, etc.) or by the unit you are working, just stay consistent so the students will know what to look for. Having used both systems, organizing by unit is easier for the students because they don’t have to think about what type of thing they are looking for; they just go to the current unit and find what they need.
Step Four: Publicize the class. You need to be sure your students know to sign up for the class. Tell them to sign up for the class and make sure they understand how it works. At the end of each day, make sure you tell them they can find everything they need in the (Your Class) Library. It will take them a little while to get used to looking for what they need in the (Your Class) library, but once they’ve adjusted, everyone is happy.
One of the things I like about this idea is that it can work for any group of teachers who want to work together AND have their students be able to access common resources in a secured, password protected space. It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you have a team of people you trust, the process I outlined above can help you, your students, and your colleagues work together.