Saturday, December 1, 2012

Classroom Organization, Pt. 2

My experiment with using Classroom Organizer as a tool to catalog my classroom library and to check in/check out books for students has probably come to an end. As I suspected, it was just too time consuming to try to get all the books scanned and entered into the system. I am plenty busy during the work day as it is, unwilling to come in to my classroom on weekends for the sake of creating a new inventory of books, and while the sheer number of books in my classroom is at times overwhelming (I've got literally hundreds of new books in boxes waiting to be labeled and put on the shelves), it's a good problem to have, no? Complicating the plan is the fact that well over half of the books I scan to add to the database read the barcode but come up with an "Un known Title" message, so I have to manually enter the title anyway. My students are used to the checkout system I use now with notebooks for each block class, so I'd either need to operate dual systems, or ask the students to make a cold-turkey switch to bringing the books to me to scan in or out. Part of the reason I went to the notebook system a couple of years ago was to free myself up during independent reading time for individual reading conferences. The last thing I want to do during that time is to become the class librarian.

Perhaps It would work to have a student take on that role. Now that I think of it, it would be a GREAT use of the Google Nexus 7 Android tablet I'm hoping to get soon - turn it over to a couple of trained "class librarians" for use during the independent reading time. I'll bet I could even get students to volunteer to come in and start entering books into the program during lunch recess.

I also think part of the problem has been that the program is created for Booksource booksellers. Perhaps the reason I can't accurately scan many of my books is because they are a few years old and while the title may be one that Booksource carries, the barcode may be off enough that the program doesn't pick it up. I attended the AMLE national conference here in Portland several weeks ago, and Booksource had a booth in the exhibit hall. I told them I was using their iPad app and they got all chipper and asked how I liked it. "Not so well," I replied, explaining that the manual entries were frustrating and tedious. The man and woman manning the booth both gave me identical furrowed brow looks and said they were surprised to hear that. They suggested I contact technical support. I doubt that's the issue, but if it is, it's just further proof that the program isn't a good fit and probably won't provide a god solution to my book inventory issue.

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