Cool Tools for School 2013-2014 Wrap Up

Cool tools for school

A long overdue roundup of the online Cool Tools workshop that we offered last school year. The program ran from November to June and was conducted completely online. New lessons/topics were posted on a regular basis and participants chose which topics they wanted to explore and then wrote blog posts about their learning.  This project was modeled after Helene Blowers innovative 23 Things project that has been replicated and reinvented many times over the past 8 years.

Since this was the 3rd or 4th incarnation of our Cool Tools for School project and we had many educators who had participated before, we offered 2 tracks of 10 topics each this past year. People new to the workshop were encouraged to do the Track 1 topics. While folks who were returning had 10 new topics to choose from.

Even so, everyone was given the flexibility to pick whatever topics they really wanted to pursue. And since many topics were very broad, people were also able to return to topics they’d done in previous workshops and dig deeper. Add in a couple of “YOU CHOOSE” topics. this truly became an opportunity for participants to take control of their own learning.


I don’t care if I get professional development credit, or that it doesn’t come with a transcript, because it’s all about being a lifetime learner…

The School Library Systems encouraged their librarians to collaborate with classroom teacher.  As a result we had a diverse group of participants. from all grade levels and many different subject areas. Hopefully this has strengthened existing connections and forged new ones.

Some numbers:

  • 15 New York State BOCES School Library Systems participated. (HUGE thanks to those SLS administrators for all their hard work on this project!)
  • About 225 people registered for the workshop.
  • 180 actually got started and registered their blogs for the project.
  • Over 1,200 blog posts were written and logged. There were more posts written, but many folks forgot to log all their posts.
  • 131 people completed either 5 or 10 topics and were awarded 10 or 20 professional development hours. A couple of people did all 20 topics!
  • A total of 2,130 PD hours were awarded.
  • 58% of those who registered completed the workshop.
  • 72% of those who started blogging completed the workshop.

So, who’s up for another round of Cool Tools this coming school year?