Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nothing Makes Me Happier than Helping Make Colleagues' Lives Easier, Particularly with EasyBib

All of these quotes definitely hold true!  I can especially relate and make personal connections to these quotes, as I am surrounded by colleagues, myself included, who are constantly learning from graduate level classes, professional readings (books, journal articles, case studies, research, etc.), blogs, meetings, professional development, trainings, webinars, and so much more!  I know quite a few colleagues who are currently continuing to further their education, not solely as a requirement to renew a teacher's license, or for pay reasons (although it is a bonus incentive great to have), but to continue to grow, improve his/her teaching, be inspired, to benefit students, to support his/her individual professional growth plan, and so much more!

After this spring semester, I am two classes away from completing my master's degree in library media education from Minnesota State University Mankato.  I have always wanted to earn my master's degree for many valid reasons.  One reason is to benefit both staff and students!  I have discovered that, while I've always enjoyed school and being a learner, my college years and recent graduate classes have shown me that I really LOVE to learn!  My love for learning has evolved, and I am more eager than ever to continue to learn and be inspired!  I find myself constantly on the lookout for the latest, greatest professional readings to learn more, particularly, lately, educational technology-related professional readings.  So, I can completely relate to the quotes shared above.

The above leads me to the main purpose of this blog post...

My colleagues who are currently taking classes, and are especially consumed in currently writing research papers, are the inspiration behind this blog post.  This blog post is especially inspired by my colleague, and an amazing friend, Mrs. Betsy Kirby, Harding Elementary K-4 music teacher and Lincoln Intermediate Choir Teacher.  She is currently taking a class that involves research, gathering resources, and citing references in APA style.  Last week she expressed frustration in citing references in APA style and her professor's feedback.  I tried my best to help her, but not feeling the utmost confident in my reference citing abilities, I referred Mrs. Kirby to a mutual friend, who happens to have a master's degree in English and LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to edit research papers and references!  I've called upon this mutual friend for help in my library media education graduate classes, and not only has she helped me earn "A's" on my research papers, but, more importantly, she has taught me so much about properly citing works  While Mrs. Kirby, has gained a lot of valuable help from our mutual friend, I still felt like I could be more helpful.

This led me to Easy Bib.

Thanks to the incredible Shannon McClintock Miller, K-12 teacher-librarian and tech integrationist at Van Meter Community School District, I have known about Easy Bib for at least two years.  I admit that I haven't used Easy Bib's website and app to cite references in past research papers, as I have always had valuable assistance and help from my friend (mentioned above)!

Why did I decide to finally try out Easy Bib?  Besides wanting to help my friend, this week I came across a particular article titled "How to Create a Bibliography in Google Docs" (click here for this article) by Richard Byrne (author of Free Technology for Teachers Blog), which sparked a desire to finally try Easy Bib. Today, I finally took some time to try Easy Bib, particularly how to use Easy-Bib as an "add-on" in Google Docs!  Despite knowing Easy Bib is an AMAZING resource, I can now definitely back up my personal knowledge with true actions and words in that Easy Bib is more than amazing, it is INCREDIBLE!  It definitely makes citing references easier, and tolerable!  I definitely plan on using Easy Bib when I take my research methods and thesis classes this summer!

I was ecstatic to learn how to use Easy Bib in Google Docs!  Despite knowing that my friend, Mrs. Kirby, already has gained a ton of valuable help from our mutual friend, I couldn't resist sharing about Easy Bib in Google Docs with her.  So, I went to her music room to show her to how to "add-on" Easy Bib in Google Doc.  We tried it out together, by having Mrs. Kirby enter professional books and journal articles in the search engine text box.  The minute it cited it APA style, we were hugging each other with joy.  I felt completely self-fulfilled now that I helped out Mrs. Kirby!  I loved it when she said, "I think this made my entire day, even week!"  Aww!  :)

Well, after her positive reaction to Easy Bib as an "add-on" in Google Docs, I immediately went to seek other colleagues to share in my excitement of this amazing tool!  Thankfully the 4th grade teaching team is compromised of eager-to-learn educators and technology users!  It especially helps that one of the 4th grade teachers, Mr. Ben Feight, is working with me on our professional growth plan in the area of technology!  After showing them Easy Bib, as an "add-on" in Google Docs, they, too, were excited about this!  So, Mr. Feight and I decided this would be worthy to share with the rest of our colleagues at Harding Elementary, as we know of quite a few who are currently taking classes.  Let's just say this sparked a fire of enthusiasm that hopefully will continue to spread to others!

Until next time, I highly recommend checking out Richard Byrne's article on "How to Create a Bibliography in Google Docs!"