Noodling The NoodleTools Blog

February 6th, 2014

Award-Winning Teachers Support Quality Research with NoodleTools

Sara Oremland, nationally acclaimed teaching librarian, uses NoodleTools to mentor students collaboratively with classroom teachers across various disciplines. Oremland’s role of providing formative feedback through the NoodleTools platform is essential to inspiring quality research and writing:

“As students located information sources, they cited them in the NoodleTools Works Cited module. I provided feedback on the quality of the sources as well as the format of the citations. Monitoring students’ citations during the research process is a critical means for ensuring that students are using credible and relevant sources. Students also used NoodleTools’ digital notecard feature to record, paraphrase, and analyze information they found as they researched. Berletti [history teacher] monitored the notecards for relevancy and for student understanding of how the information related to the essential question. This technology is invaluable for keeping students accountable and on track with their research” (Oremland, 2013, pg. 65-65).

Oremland reesearch process. Credit: Leann Skallenud
Photo credit: ©Sara Oremland, 2013. Art credit: ©Senior Leann Skallerud, 2013.
Oremland and colleagues in Environmental Design, Society, English and Technology (EDSET) teach students throughout the research process. (Click image to view a larger version.)

Oremland and her classroom teacher colleagues’ research projects at Albany High School (CA) received the AASL Collaborative School Library Award. She observed, “Our experience working together on EDSET projects has influenced how we use technology and how we collaborate on other projects….[by providing] our teaching team with an opportunity to grow as professionals as we experimented with collaboration and technology” (Oremland, 2013, p. 68).

At CSLA 2014, Ormeland will present on “Collaboration and Technology for Authentic Research Projects: From Essential Question to Presentation.” We will provide a link to her presentation after February 8th.
——
Oremland, S. (2013). Collaboration and technology for authentic research projects. Knowledge Quest, 41(4), 60-68.

Posted in Conferences, Teaching Resources, The Ethical Researcher | Permalink |

November 7th, 2013

AASL 2013: Debbie Abilock presents sessions on Friction, Intellectual Freedom in School Libraries, and Data in the Digital World

NoodleTools will be at Booth 637 in the AASL exhibit hall.
Meet the team and pick up new posters!

Don’t miss NoodleTools’ Co-Founder Debbie Abilock on three important topics:

Friction: Teaching Slow Thinking and Intentionality in Research
Wed, Nov 13, 2013. 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (full-day preconference workshop)
Debbie Abilock, Tasha Bergson-Michelson, and Jole Seroff

Most online research is fast, intuitive, and emotional, but at key points slower, more deliberative, and logical thinking is possible.

What Do I Do If? Intellectual Freedom Dilemmas in School Libraries
Fri, Nov 15, 2013. 10:15 – 11:30 AM
Debbie Abilock, Helen R. Adams, Annalisa Keuler, Christine Eldred, Karyn Storts-Brinks, and Dee Venuto

The principles of intellectual freedom may be crystal clear, but often the situations school librarians face in applying them are not. Resources and discussion for real-life, gray-area dilemmas involving self-censorship, viewpoint discrimination in Internet filtering, etc.

Confronting the Data Dragon: Helping Students Become Data Savvy
Sat, Nov 16, 2013. 8:00 – 9:15 AM
Debbie Abilock and Kristin Fontichiaro

The digital world gives scientists, politicians, educators, policy makers, citizens, and students unprecedented access to raw data. But access is not knowledge, and display is not understanding.

Posted in Conferences, Teaching Resources, Workshop | Permalink |

November 6th, 2013

The Sweet Spot at AASL: Designing Common Core research projects at the high-school level

Don’t miss “Thinking and Writing Critically about Historical Fiction: A Common Core Approach” on Friday, November 15 at 3:15 PM in Marriott A. Marie Rossi, librarian extraordinaire, and 10th grade English teachers Theresa Lewis and Rosemarie Rizzo will deconstruct their cross-disciplinary genre study and research project at Ballston Spa School District. Download their presentation (PDF).

  • Learn insightful methods for designing your own cross-disciplinary team-taught projects.
  • See practical examples of how NoodleTools scaffolds the Common Core, and builds in support for cross-disciplinary collaboration and team-based research.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conferences, Teaching Resources | Permalink |

October 1st, 2013

Online Privacy and Rights of Students: Our Commitment to You

We are parents and educators, as well as founders of an online education company. Like you, we are disturbed when we see examples of how quality education can be eroded at the hands of marketing and profit-making.

At NoodleTools, we respect the online privacy rights of our children. We also have the broader mission of protecting the work and authorship of any and every student on the NoodleTools platform.

The recent changes to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” (COPPA) aims to further protect children’s privacy and safety online. COPPA prevents any collection or distribution of personally identifiable information from children under 13 without explicit parental permission.

Our commitment to every NoodleTools student, parent, and teacher is the following:

  1. NoodleTools students and educators are the OWNERS of their own work.
  2. We do not collect ANY personally identifiable information from children under 13.
  3. No student, teacher or other user of NoodleTools will ever be exposed to any third-party advertisements on our site. Period.
  4. There are absolutely no cookies, web bugs, or collection/tracking by third parties of anyone’s personal user information on NoodleTools.

At NoodleTools, our goal is to not only protect your children and students’ privacy, but also to simplify things all around. We do not collect any personally identifiable information from children under 13.

Here are some quick ways for you to protect and support the online rights of your children and students:

  • Check a company’s Privacy Policy on their site to understand COPPA compliancy statements. Read the NoodleTools privacy policy here.
  • If a web-based company states that it requires parental permission as part of COPPA compliancy, it’s likely collecting, tracking, and/or providing to third parties some form of personally identifiable information from children under 13.
  • Get proactive and be informed:
    • Cookies aren’t just for eating. Find out about how they can affect your child’s online usage by reading this article.
    • Download Ghostery. This is a service that provides you with a list of trackers that are haunting behind the scenes of your favorite online site.
    • View the source of a webpage and do your own detective work:
      • Open the educational product website you want to check:
        • Right click and select “view source.” An HTML version of the page source appears.
        • Click “edit” and then “find.” Or hit “Ctrl F” to bring up the “find” field.
        • Type in “.gif” and look at the highlighted places.
        • If you see references to QuantServe, ScoreCard Research, or other such tracking services, your friendly educational website is gathering and tracking information.

Posted in Authority, School Administration | Permalink |

July 8th, 2013

Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers receives LMC/ARBA Best of Reference Award

Growing Schools book coverAt the ALA Annual in Chicago, Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers received the LMC/ARBA Best of Reference Award for the “Best Professional Guide for School and Youth Librarians.” The book editors are Debbie Abilock, Kristin Fontichiaro and Violet H. Harada.

LMC/ARBA writes: “Presenting examples of school librarians leading professional learning in numerous contexts and for diverse learning goals with remarkable success… Rich in ideas…invaluable for an individual librarian looking to become a professional development leader, and for district librarians in planning and implementing meaningful district-wide professional development.”

See a Teacher Librarian review of this book. (PDF).
Please visit page for ordering information. All orders get 20% off.

Posted in Teaching Resources, The Ethical Researcher | Permalink |

June 3rd, 2013

High-school seniors: Take NoodleTools to college

Subscribe through September 30, 2014 for only $15!

NoodleTools offers a program for high-school seniors that facilitates their transition to a college NoodleTools account.

http://noodle.to/taketocollege

To ensure a smooth transition to college and continued access to their archived projects, high-school seniors are able to easily transfer their work to a new college account.

High-school seniors will also benefit by a special promotional pricing of $15 for a subscription carrying them all the way through Freshman year to September 2014.

Many of your high-school students have “grown up” with NoodleTools, and we look forward to supporting them as they make the leap to college.

http://noodle.to/taketocollege

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Posted in School Administration | Permalink |

March 5th, 2013

Peer Review Mode enables an authentic process of constructive feedback and revision

This week, we’ve expanded the NoodleTools collaborative environment to include Peer Review Mode for students.

In Peer Review Mode, a student can view a partner’s work and provide constructive feedback on citations or notecards. When students receive authentic feedback, it helps them revise and improve their work. Both the peer reviewer and the researcher benefit. We know that some NoodleTools teachers already successfully incorporate a peer review process into writing drafts. Peer Review Mode allows teachers to start or extend the peer review process into the stages of research.

Peer reviewing can improve writing and communication skills but novice peer-reviewers need support to begin. Here are some tips on starting a successful peer-reviewing loop:

Begin with a specific compliment

Students can learn from successful strategies that others are using. Always ask students to write comments about the strengths they see in a student’s work or state what they genuinely like about their peer’s research process so far.

Focus on one component

Don’t expect a student to examine a peer’s entire research project to date. Students will internalize and understand how to improve if they are asked to focus more deeply on a single component, then model and practice giving specific, positive feedback for a particular aspect such as:

  • Revising word choice in the “Summary / Paraphrase”
  • Adding tags to a notecard
  • Brainstorming additional questions for “My Ideas”
  • Wondering in order to identify a gap in a student’s information
  • Suggesting a type of source that might provide a different perspective or new information
  • Evaluating a specific aspect of credibility in a peer’s source list. For example, students might focus on currency, if relevant for the topic, assess an author’s expertise about this subject, or question the publisher’s purpose for providing information.
  • Identifying why evidence for a claim in a notecard is weak and suggesting what might make it stronger

Provide structure and language

Provide sentence starters like:

  • “This notecard made me wonder (about your topic)…”
  • “When I looked at your List Analysis, I noticed…”
  • “I see some of the author’s words in your summary. I suggest that you either put quotes around…or change it to say…”
  • “I don’t understand (referring to a specific phrase or idea)…”

If you are using a rubric to assess student work already, focus peer review on one of the rubric criteria.

To get started, a student will select the link on their project dashboard to add a collaborator, then select the “Peer-reviewer” radio button as shown here:

Adding a student as a peer-reviewer

We look forward to observing how NoodleTools facilitates your work with students — please let us know how you’re using Peer Review Mode!

Posted in Changes & Improvements | Permalink |

February 14th, 2013

Citing a photo, image or artwork (MLA)

Citing photos, images, and artwork can be tricky, so we thought we’d create a simple flowchart to guide you through the options in NoodleTools. Click the image to view a larger, printable version:

Citing a photo, image or artwork (MLA)

Note: To keep things simple for our younger scholars, some of these citation options are not available in Starter and Junior level projects. Remember that if you are working in a subscription account, you can always temporarily switch to Advanced, add a citation you need, then switch back to Starter or Junior to continue your work.

Posted in Teaching Resources, The Ethical Researcher | Permalink |

February 11th, 2013

Review projects efficiently with the new Drop Box Navigator

Thousands of subscribed schools are currently using NoodleTools’ class project management system. Drop boxes allow teachers (or groups of teachers doing a cross-disciplinary project) to:

  • monitor student work in real time
  • provide feedback directly on the students’ citations and notecards
  • see how citations were created field by field, to better assess students’ understanding of their sources
  • review the status of students’ to-do list items
  • look at detailed 30-day activity logs

One of our goals this year is to give teachers the tools they need to make the process of reviewing students’ projects even more efficient. We’ve been listening to all of your suggestions! A few weeks ago, we added the ability to sort the “Projects Shared With Me” lists by other columns, like the date the project was last reviewed or the student’s username. This week, we introduced the Drop Box Navigator, which you’ll see at the top of the screen when you are reviewing a student’s shared project (on the Dashboard, Bibliography, and Notecards screens):

Drop Box Navigator (Closed)

Clicking the “Drop Box Navigator” tab pulls down an overlay window that allows you to navigate easily between the projects that are shared with the drop box you have open.

Drop Box Navigator (Open)

The Navigator eliminates the need to click back to the Projects screen, find the next project you want to review, and then navigate back to the Bibliography or Notecards screen. You now have one-click access to go from the Bibliography of Student 1 to the Bibliography of Student 2. Since you can sort by the date the projects were last reviewed, you can easily determine which projects you still need to review.

Posted in Changes & Improvements | Permalink |

February 5th, 2013

Subscriber Nina Levine recognized as a top innovator in education

Congratulations to NoodleTools subscriber Nina Levine, Library Media Specialist at Hendrick Hudson High School in New York. Nina has been recognized by The Center for Digital Education as one of the nation’s 50 Top Innovators in Education. Read about Nina and learn about her accomplishments in the 2012 Yearbook: Technology Innovation in Education (page 22).

We asked Nina how NoodleTools supports her vision of a 21st-century learning space:

“The children in our classrooms arrive at the earliest of ages knowing how to download music, text their friends, upload photos to their friends on Facebook, play multi-user and role-playing games. Less certain is their deftness in choosing and using technology purposefully or effectively for academic success. The adage of choosing the right tool for a job applies in school as well as for a carpenter. As a school librarian, I am trained and focused on process: reading and writing across the curriculum, searching for and evaluating information to support their studies, learning how to manage time and resources for projects, creating products to share information gleaned and synthesized. For 21st-century learners, gaining comfort and confidence in these skills is essential to success in school, in college at work… in life.”

“NoodleTools is a core component of my toolkit in working with students. Its design considers students’ natural and organic searching behaviors within a framework that guides them in developing the best of habits of mind and study. NoodleTools sets the focus firmly on students learning how to engage with ideas and information critically as a step towards expressing their own ideas authoritatively.”

Congratulations, Nina!

Posted in Teaching Resources | Permalink |