• Lives in Fort Myers. Teaches Survival Skills.

    I grew up in Michigan and moved to Florida to teach research skills to college students. I enjoy camping, hiking and bike riding with my family.


    My teaching philosophy is that learning should be fun. Everyone has their own unique abilities, which should be celebrated. With time and effort, everyone can master a new skill. In particular, I believe that information literacy is a survival skill, especially when authoritative sources of information are competing with social media and less credible streams of information.


    Today, I am the Education & Arts Librarian at Florida Gulf Coast University. I created this page to share some of my recommended technology resources for teaching in K-12 and higher education. Thank you for visiting my site!


    Technology and Information Literacy are survival skills


    Technology in Education

    I believe technology in education will be very important because students will need to communicate and "connect" with others, locally and globally, in the virtual environment. Already, most communication in the workplace is conducted with e-mail, phone, video, and chat. Tomorrow's workforce may be mapping gene therapies, curing diseases, and exploring space through increasingly complex technologies such as virtual reality, robotics, and quantum computing.


    Universal Design for Learning & the ACRL Framework

    The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has many correlations with the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy. The UDL helped me to see my role as a librarian/educator more broadly. I agree that educators should provide multiple avenues of learning which can be enjoyed through various modes of representation, action, expression, and engagement. Also, the more creative you get with your lesson plans, the more fun you can have with your students!


    I am very glad that the idea of teacher-centered lecturing "sage on the stage" is not the only way to teach anymore. Twenty years ago, my first teaching experience was teaching two sections of Art History Survey to 100 freshman in a lecture hall. Which added up to 3 hours of lecture time a day. My teaching style has changed a lot over the years, but I would have loved to implement some of the technology tools in my course back then!


  • Gallery

    Important Issues for Today's Educators in K-12 and Higher Education

    Integrating Instructional Technology

    Integrating instructional technology is a fun and thoughtful process which should take into consideration the diverse student body, the learning goals you want to accomplish, and the assessment models (formative and summative) that you decide to use. I am a librarian and information literacy is my "signature pedagogy." Today, K-12 and Higher Education educators can incorporate free or low-cost online applications into their classroom. First you have to think about your content and learning objectives and then think of the different ways you can deliver that information to your students. For learning "to stick" it is critical to provide an environment in which they can actively engage with the information so that they become creators and problem solvers. Some of the engaging apps that are very good at assessing learning are:

    • Flipgid is a free app that facilitates online discussion through a-synchronous video clips in which students can post and reply to videos.
    • Googledocs is a free tool similar to Microsoft Word software except it is in the cloud and multiple users can access, edit and download a document, spreadsheet, slide, etc. This would be great for presentation and assessment of group work. 
    • Strikingly is great for online portfolios and features an attractive arrangement of videos, links, audio, and text.  I like it better than Googledocs if you are just sharing  content because it is easier to access and is pleasing to look at. 

    Evaluation & Selection of Technology

    It is important for educators, when using technology, to align lesson plans and learning objectives with state and national standards. As a librarian, my national standard is the ACRL Framework which is a highly flexible and interpretive guideline which I can tailor to the specific information needs of university students and faculty. For K-12 teachers in Florida, there are specific standards & resources listed on the Florida Department of Education site. These are also great resources to guide selection and implementation of technology in the classroom:

    • CPALMS includes peer-reviewed lesson plans and learning resources that align with Florida standards. 
    • Edmodo is a site in which educators can share ideas and lesson plans and teachers can connect with their students.
    • Twitter is a social media site which can also be effectively utilized for professional communication. Teachers can recommend sites and lesson plans to other teachers.

    Using Images and Video Responsibly

    To use content ethically and legally, we must adhere to current copyright law. It is easiest to just select content already purchased by the school or to select content that is already copyright cleared. Educators have a little additional flexibility as long as they stay within the Fair Use Guidelines, but they should proceed with caution. For example, they should only select a small amount of content and focus on material created for an educational purpose.

    • CANVA is a free graphic design software which could be used to create infographic displays and other visual teaching tools.
    • Google Images Search has an advanced search setting in which you can filter results that are labelled "free to use, share, or modify."
    • Creative Commons is a multimedia portal linking to copyright-free texts, images, and videos.  (Links should be verified that they are under a CC-license though).  

    Creating Videos

    There are many resources available for creating a fun, interactive, and collaborative experience for students. Many online tools allow you to access the basic version for free, but you can purchase more advanced features. Some of the tools that I found particularly useful were:

    • PlayPosit is a tool in which you can add questions to an existing video, such as an educational YouTube video. You can decide which questions to ask and at what point in the video the question will pop up.
    • Powtoon and Voki are tools in which you can create your own videos.  Select a template, then add text, music, and your voice to customize the video to your needs. 
    • Animoto Video Maker has a attractive short video templates with free music.  Add text and images to customize.  



    UDL & Diverse Learners

    One of the things that resonated with me about UDL (Universal Design for Learning) is the variety of ways in which you could design your lessons with different "modes of representation, action, expression, and engagement" (Cast, 2018). UDL especially helps students with varying levels of physical and intellectual ability, but the UDL model can enhance learning for everyone. For example, closed captioning for video/audio materials and reader apps for visual materials will help all students learn the material better. Some of the software that are representative of UDL are the following:

    My Projects

  • Contact

    Rachel Cooke, Education & Arts Librarian