Are you and your teachers using an online calendar to schedule classes in the media center and labs? Last fall, I posted an inquiry about e-scheduling on LM_NET (www.eduref.org/lm_net/archive
; Inquiry posted on Nov. 20, 2006). The responses were diverse, informative, and inspiring. With one exception, all responses were from secondary school media specialists. Clearly, e-scheduling is the choice of many media specialists and appreciated by teachers. E-scheduling calendar systems used are 1) read-only, filled in only by media staff and viewable by others, or 2) interactive systems that allow teachers to reserve media center spaces and equipment independently.
Read-only calendars require the teacher to call, email, or stop by in person to plan and schedule; some media specialists have developed online forms that teachers submit. The media specialist updates the calendar and posts it for others to view. The advantage of a read-only calendar, according to Wisconsin media specialist Carla Burmiester, is that "media specialists maintain control and opportunities to plan with teachers. The advantage for teachers is to help them see what spaces are available before they plan." Several media specialists said Google Calendar works very well for this. Staci Nazareth from Michigan explained, "I get a master calendar that shows everything in day, week, month or agenda view. I love it. It makes work SO much easier! Teachers can browse right from their desktop." Check it out at www.salineschools.com/users/nazarets/calendar.htm. The Google Calendar app is free, but users do need to sign up for an account; you can share the schedule with others or post it on the media center Web site. Individual teachers could sign up for their own accounts, but it could be cumbersome and clumsy.
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