Friday, May 10, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Lorena Swetnam, Blythewood Middle School

Lorena Swetnam is the media specialist at Blythewood Middle School. This is her fourth year as a media specialist and at BMS. She loves coming to work everyday because everyday is different. "I have the best job in the building. I get to promote reading, research and technology to students and teachers every day."

Mrs. Swetnam works collaboratively with classroom teachers and Mrs. Shelley, the school's ITS, to design engaging lessons and activities that incorporate literacy, technology and research. "A couple of years ago I learned about a term called 'transliteracy' and it resonated with me because it describes what we do in the library everyday.' Transliteracy ( is defined as "the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks."

Examples of Technology & Learning:
Mrs. Swetnam works with classroom teachers to embed digital literacy skills at the point of need. She teaches students how to use the resources in DISCUS ( for research projects, how to cite sources using citation tools like Noodletools and teaches students how to evaluate resources for authenticity.

The media center program received a class set of iPod touches through the iPac program The iPod touches have been used in lessons designed by Mrs. Swetnam and the classroom teacher. Students in Language Arts and Science classes have used the Storyrobe app to create digital stories where students share their learning through images and audio. Often times, the final product is featured on the morning news show which Mrs. Swetnam also helps facilitate.

Mrs. Swetnam has been working to promote e-reading at BMS. This year Mrs. Swetnam visited each Language Arts class to teach students how to access ebooks in Overdrive and Follettshelf. The BMS media center is also circulating five Nook e-readers, loaded with up to 20 title, to students.

Mrs. Swetnam facilitates the school's student produced news show program. The news show team accesses the announcements each morning on Google Docs and adds current news events to be featured each morning. Students use cameras, sound equipment and a Tricaster to showcase videos, music and BMS happenings to the school each morning.

Mrs. Swetnam has been working with Language Arts teachers this year to design literacy cafes where students come to the media center to read and view materials that provide background information on a novel students are reading in class. In this activity, students read nonfiction informational text and view videos that help deepen the learning in the classroom. "This has been my favorite activity this year because I work with the Language Arts teacher to determine what skills and information the students need to learn more about and I research and gather the needed material. During a literacy cafe, I may select any or all of the following for the literacy cafe: picture books, poetry books, videos from Discovery Education, news articles from DISCUS or nonfiction texts from our school collection. The teacher and media specialist also collaborate to determine whether students will write reflections in their online journals, create videos or digital posters of their learning during the literacy cafe.