I hope to find myself with an offer for a position as a MLIS program professor in the future. This would be my teaching philosophy.
Our English teacher formed in us a straight line of giggly prepubescent soldiers marching single file to the mahogany square masses of tables to learn “The rules.” As I sat on the cold chair next to Marita, I was barely aware of the shadowy figure that approached us in the sunbeams that shielded her from our view. Her words were crisp with a musical lilt that only an extensive education can provide. Hours, procedures, and passes—we absorbed the commonality of the information and were settling into the comfort of the shelf-lined room when she approached over the table:
“What are we reading today?”
Unsure, I let Marita speak first. Marita blustered out something about romance and the voice dispatched her quickly to the shelves and Sweet Valley High. The owner of the voice stepped through the sunbeams. Her eyes were leveled on me and she asked the question again. I stammered out the words and waited to be judged for asking for help in choosing something to read. A few questions later and she lead me to the shelf with memoirs and travel journals that promised to speak of exotic places.
“Which one will I choose,” had escaped from my lips as a confession of indecision.
Her words cut into my thoughts, “I remember your father. He visited me every day.” She whispered now, “He never managed to return his books on time, but he read every one of them.” After a pause, “Choose whatever you like and comeback whenever you need something to read. We won’t worry about late fines.” While standing there, she had read me so clearly and made me the most committed patron of the library. Ms. Lemon was the first meta-human that I had ever met.
After twenty years’ experience in education, I do not believe that we are offering intangible goods with intangible benefits to the patrons of the school library media center. At our best, we are, according to David Lankes (2016), on
“a mission to improve society” by creating a safe environment for patrons with a variety of tools and opportunities to explore the world, ask questions, develop content, and find or create solutions to make life worth living and the world a better place. “To accomplish this mission, librarians [or school media specialists] use a set of tools to facilitate knowledge creation; they build participatory systems; and they empower their community members [students, teachers, patrons] in accordance with the core values of service, learning, openness, intellectual freedom and safety, and intellectual honesty” (p.73).
This is the “kinship” found in all libraries. To be effective, however, we must become “fully conscious of the research and practice paradigm from which we operate” (Bates, 1999, p. 1043).
In my students, I challenge myself to create the colleagues with whom I would like to work in the future. I want to spark in my colleagues the eternal quest to stimulate new questions, raise new possibilities and challenge discourse with thoughtful arguments that influence and contribute to the understanding of the profession. With every student, I am on a grand adventure to find out who they are, where they are, and how can I provide the best possible experience that will transform and hone their abilities and find in themselves the power to “tilt at windmills.” I want to equip warriors who bravely stand up for intellectual freedom, who advocate for user-experiences, who are self-motivated and self-directed risk takers, who create environments where all students feel valued and confident and where diversity is respected, who use their “meta-perspective” to be flexibly innovative and actively participate in the global conversation via their expertise, shareable content, and time (Bates 1999; Rosenthal-Tolisano 2016). I want my students to have the spirit of a lion, the soul of a reader, and the heart of a child. I want to create meta-humans.
My teaching is a carefully crafted symphony introducing the counterpoint of ideas, theory, research, and authentic problems to provide transformational experiences that mimic the challenges and work of the school library media specialist. In order to engage students, themes are narratively introduced and guide clearly stated objectives and outcomes. Concepts are explored through a variety of approaches with carefully selected media and instructional technology. Students invest in their own learning through shareable content creation, research, and reflection. Assessments are student-created and provide another lens of the meta-analytical perspective.
My syllabi are designed to promote meta-perspective thinking and understanding. Semester courses are structured into 3 or 4 cohesive units. Each unit is introduced with a multimedia presentation, lecture or demonstration, and a selection of readings from core journals and research in the field. Students are expected to participate in discussion and collaborative activities to build and strengthen knowledge. Each unit will provide an opportunity to respond to a professional practice activity through research and presentation or project-based learning. As part of developing a meta-perspective and reflective thinking, assessments are student-designed that answer the key assessment question, “What does a quality _____ look like?” Each course culminates in an opportunity to reflect on course products and polish them for inclusion in the students’ portfolios, which are a part of any NCATE-CAEP accredited program.
Since my teaching focuses through the meta lens, my research interests lie in the analyses of quantitative indicators to predict social behaviors. I am currently investing time in three areas of research: the evolving scholarly networks of instructional technology identified in conference proceedings to reveal and articulate its hidden culture; the development of concierge services to support students and transform digital learning; and the effective instructional partnerships between library media specialists and other educators to create meaningful experiences that may be analyzed to reveal “below the waterline” measurable and repeatable behaviors.
Bates, M. J. (1999). The invisible substrate of information science. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 50(12), 1043-1050.
Lankes, R. D. (2016). The new librarianship field guide. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rosenthal-Tolisano, S. (2016). Langswitches Hub [weblog]. Access from www.curriculum21.org.
Every day, you have an opportunity to frame what you do for your employer. Sharing how important ALA Annual Conference is to you is just as important as actually going. Here is my letter to my employer about my attendance. Please use it!
Every year, librarians across the country meet at American Library Association Annual Conference. I will be attending June 22-28 in Chicago. I am very excited about some of the learning opportunities that I will have while attending and I can see some of them having a direct impact on some of the initiatives we have been working on.
Here is a list of the trainings, I will be taking…
In addition, I will be visiting the exhibit floor looking a demos of new and innovative approaches for distance education. I look forward to sharing what I find. I am also excited to hear H.R. Clinton speak at our closing session!
Why I attend: My librarian colleagues bring a deep level of expertise to the work I do. This expertise may be around information science, or open access and open resources, or how a new discipline is forming. This expertise may be subject matter related. We share and contextualize information within the cultural and organizational context. I learn from my librarian colleagues in our conversations new things about learning and knowledge production are changing, and how we can be most effective in an environment. (Joshua Kim)
Thank you for supporting my attention with time to attend.
“How much inequality should a sane society tolerate?” Pizzigati asks this question in his article, “The Rich and the Rest.” As painful as it is to admit, we are not the idyllic society of our founding fathers sacrificing to make our country free. We are here now to make sure “we get ours” because we think we deserve it. We fear what we don't understand and act as if the person unlike us is out to get us, so we act rather than wait for the unknown to happen. What we deserve is an opportunity to improve our lives AND a responsibility to improve the lives of our neighbors. Anything less is a dishonor to our citizenship and we don’t deserve it.
We are stuck in the ‘game’ of getting ours, no one really opting to take less in order to improve the lives of many. So many suffer in the shuffle of the masses. Roosevelt’s answer was a 100% tax on all income above a certain level and he managed to get Congress to pass a 94% tax. But this law, of course, did not last.
Sports leagues have accepted salary caps and have a league minimum. Is it so impossible that this structure could be imposed on all of society? No CEO could earn a billion dollars, while the lowliest worker struggles to pay his mortgage. We walk blindly among the homeless and disavowed, and expect their forbearance for the harsh treatment delivered from a privileged few. Pizzigati argues “that may hardly seem likely in the current political environment, but political environments change?” Can we change? Do our current political leaders represent that change? Hardly!
With the current economic and political climate, I can’t help but wonder if we are not currently experiencing one of those changes now. Have we finally reached a ‘tipping point’ beyond aggressive self absorption exploding in violence toward our fellow man (Gladwell)? Are the voices going to raise and demand humane treatment? Why are we always waiting for someone else to solve our problems? We sacrifice so little and expect so much. Is this what our founding fathers had in mind? Is it time to again have another revolution--not one of weapons, but of words and understanding. I hope we have the chance. Until then, we wear ribbons.
Gladwell, M. (2000). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference. New York: Brown.
Pizigati, S. (2000). The Rich and the Rest. In K. Finsterbusch (Ed.), Social Problems (pp. 64-67) Dubuque, Iowa: McGraw-Hill.
Jullens, J. (2008). “Marketers, Meet the Millennial Generation.” Strategy + Business. Retrieved 5 October 2008 from http://www.strategy-business.com/press/16635507/07115
Rheingold, H. (2003). Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, Incorporated.
Are you a member of the Young Adult Services Association (YALSA)? Are you interested in becoming more involved in the association? Visit YALSA's wiki for more information!
Why do we display?
Drive interest and inquiry, excitement, wonder, to inform, make pretty, new action, TEACH!!!!
The 10 Commandments of Book Displays
1. Your displays must offer more than the bookstore.
2. Be careful that your displays don't become bookshelf clutter. Create a schedule for changing displays and stick to it.
3. If your display is fulfilling the requirements of district or state initiatives, do not make it your main display. It will be too public for students to want to checkout the materials . i.e. anti-bullying.
4. If you have ESOL and ESE students, then your displays should have materials to meed this need as well.
5. It is okay to have cute displays, holiday display, new book displays. There are our bookstore level displays.
6. Realia make displays more powerful.
7. Always have a digital connection.
8. If you display student art, display "how to: materials with it. Not every art lover has art class.
9. Plan for the need to restock your display. If you only have four books on a topic you want to display, you may need to buy more or supplement with online materials with QR Code signage.
10. Don't assume that a topic not interesting to you won't be interesting to your patrons.
Display to Drive Interest to Sewing in the Makerspace
Sewing machine, materials, how-to guides, sign-up sheet
Begin with quote, materials that address each part of the quote. (Every book or material in the display dealt with learning the skills mentioned in the quote.
How-to books, Tips, Online information, Why gardening information.
(I want to take this to a potting a herb to take home activity.)
If you have a display you would like to share with my readers, please send a picture with your name and library to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!
On the first day of FETC, a tech conference held in Orlando each year, four celebrities of the tech world present new and interesting tech in a pre-keynote session. In this session, called the #techshare, every fun, interesting, and unusual new tech that the presenters find is shared in rapid fire delivery. It is a fast and furious fun ride and I wouldn't miss this session at FETC.
As if taking a selfie is not silly enough, now you can have your selfie on your toast. I think I need one of these to take my grill cheese sandwiches to the next level. Slide by Kathy Schrock.
I think there may be a theme here. I am looking for ways to make my daily life easier and I really can't count on my husband, who works from home, to pay attention to the crockpot. So, here is my handy solution. Another slide by Kathy Schrock.
On the way to work, I would feel very happy to find a hot pot of coffee waiting for me. I so need this. Maybe I can get the boss to fund this project---you know, to boost staff morale in the media center.
A cup that will warn me if my coffee is low. A cup that will reheat my coffee and charge my phone. You may have found this coffee-ologist's perfect present. Thank you, Kathy Schrock for this one!
I don't know why, but I just need one and I think the reason Hall Davidson gave is a good one. Pictorial documentation is a good start.
And I have lost a phone to damage at the charger connection port, so I need this. It is prescriptive! It's only nine dollars! I am ordering it right now!!! Thanks, Adam Bellow.
Well, by my count, Kathy Schrock is still holding the record for the most money taken from my wallet! Poor, sad, empty wallet! Maybe we should move FETC before Christmas and then I can say the new tech in my house and work is from Santa?
For those who know me, my library is currently undergoing a renovation. We had to pack up the library and its ancillary rooms for carpet replacement over the winter break; and now, we are in the process of deciding what stays and what goes, and what goes where. We are at the mercy of our "frugal innovative" spirits. I say we, which includes myself, 5 student aides (1 hour per day each), and two assistants on loan from the district office for 4 days. So, you may be wondering, "What could she be thinking about when asking to leave campus for three or four days to attend a technology conference?"
The answer: "The dust pan and the broom will be leaning against the wall on Monday, but FETC only happens once a year. Who would turn down the potential learning opportunities to stick around and sweep everything into order? Not this girl! I will make the most of FETC so that I can bring back ideas to meet my school's mission to serve every student in an environment of college and career readiness by delivering a rigorous curriculum and promoting a culture of no excuses. There is simply no justifiable excuse to miss this opportunity."
Here are the best reasons I can give for a media specialist to attend all 4 days of FETC and the sessions and opportunities that will meet those needs. (Please feel free to use this post as evidence when negotiating your attendance.)
Best Practices of Other Programs.
Media Specialists live and work in a bubble, the media center. The conversations and contact we have happens when someone walks into the door of our media center, on the phone or email, or on the rare occasion that we break from tradition and exit the door into the mysterious world of the school outside the media center. If you are lucky, you have a district that provides a regularly meeting PLC for media specialists, (I do in Osceola County) but this may only be once a month or once a quarter. We know we simply can't learn everything we need to know in those few stolen moments for a couple of hours 3 or 4 times a year. We need more opportunities to be exposed to learn the best practices of other professionals working in this field.
Concurrent Session: ICE: An Innovative, Collaborative, Exploratory Learning Space (CS102)
Thursday 3:20 - OCCC - North 220 D
Presented by Kathy Garneau, Library Media Specialist and Liz Williams, Technology Coach, Bannockburn School
Description: The presenters will be sharing about their brand new ICE center, which stands for Innovation, Collaboration, and Exploration.
Media Specialists are often asked to fix a technology usage problem after an implementation in the classroom has been attempted without the assistance of the media specialist and a failure has occurred. It is at this point that we are consulted for a strategy that will repair the breakdown in learning and a strategy for restarting the learning so that the instruction may move forward. (Yes, I serve as the auto mechanic of the instructional world.) So, I am happy to see the many sessions on coding, game based learning, and augmented reality. All of which, are particularly interesting to teachers in my school.
Concurrent Session: Augmented Learning: Apps to Develop Creativity and Critical Thinking
Thursday 3:20 - OCCC - North 220 D
Presented by Suzette Mirabel, Professional Counselor with Forward Learning
Description: She will be presenting about augmented reality apps in a BYOD environment!
Nearly everyday, a teacher comes into the media center and wants to use an old school technique in the classroom that can be completed with a new technological technique and FETC is providing a way to learn as much or as little as you need. From the Technology Solutions Seminars, STEM Theatre Sessions, Learning Labs and Aspire Sessions... but, truly...have you seen the sheer number of poster sessions that are being presented. Days upon days of learning, in a row, on the exhibit hall floor in one hour time slots, then changing to a whole new set of poster sessions! Wow! I simply cannot wait!
On my list are poster sessions by Nancy Penchev, Kate Tinquely, and Jared Buckner, just to name a few!
Develop a New Skill
Coding is everywhere. Everyone is hoping as educators that we don't just teach students to use technology, but to leverage technology to make changes in our world. If the learning opportunities at FETC are an indication of emphasis and you are not familiar with coding, then you really should take in one of the 4 poster sessions, 3 Microsoft sessions, 12 concurrent sessions, 2 learning lab sessions, or 2 STEM Theater sessions on coding. Wow, you could spend the whole conference just learning about coding in education!
Exposure to Trends
As a Media Specialist, I can say that I am keenly aware of new trends that are affecting education through the emails and literature that I receive, but are we embracing those trends in our own school environment? Are our students missing out or benefiting from what could be a new innovation in education, if we are paying attention? Recently, there has been a surge of affordable 3D printers made available through numerous grant opportunities and now we are seeing in sessions what teachers, tech coaches, and other media specialists are doing with this new technology.
Concurrent Session: 3D Toolkit 101: Printers, Scanners and CAD (CS003)
Thursday10:00 am - OCCC - North 220 A
Presented by Alex Hussain, Co-Founder of #D Chimera
Description: He will be presenting real-world success stories of use of 3D printers in the classroom.
Poster Session: Putting 3D Ancient History in Your Hands (PS002)
Wednesday 5:30 Poster Area 1
Presented by Mo Fisch, Avi Spodek, and Opher Yunger
Description: Using 3D printing to make history come alive.
Aspire Session: 3D Printing: You Don't Have to Be a Designer
in the MakerEd Hub
Presented by Terrence Cavanaugh and Nicholas Eastham
Description: She will be presenting about augmented reality apps in a BYOD environment!
Where in our day to day lives will we be exposed to some of the most innovative people of our time? There is simply no excuse to miss the featured speakers at FETC. Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code will be delivering the opening keynote. An opportunity to hear a person who is changing our world for the better should not be missed. Thank you FETC, for another Mighty Girl in Tech as a keynote speaker.
Informal Meet and Greet Opportunities
Sometimes, when we attend a conference we get lost in the dazzle of the big, the new, the exciting. It is the informal meet and greets, the coffee breaks, the elevator and hallway conversations that keep us grounded and reflecting on our purpose for being there. It is our opportunity to hear what is happening and what will you and others takes away from the experience. It is also a great time to share your ideas and hear the reflections of others.
See you on the Tweet Up on Wednesday at 5:30 pm and at EdTech Karaoke at Howl at the Moon on Thursday evening.
I know many media specialists who approach the exhibit hall in one of two ways, with a mission or with a plan of discovery. You know my friends with a mission. They have taken the map of the exhibit floor and have marked every booth with a giveaway, a freebie, and a prize drawing, and they are going to hit everyone in the hopes that they will take back to their school some free piece of technology, a bag full of pens, pads, stress balls, magnets, chotskies, etc., to show that they have made the most of the exhibit floor. They navigated the big hall and survived.
(Last year, my school through an attending science coach, won a coveted weather station from a local news channel to be placed at our school. So, I have to admit that it does work for some.)
The other type of media specialist explores the exhibit hall with a plan of discovery. They ignore the booths of the products that they already use other than to say a quick hello to the sales representative unless they are presenting a new innovation. They walk the lanes to find out what products are worth the investment of time and money in which to pay attention. Trust me, the vendors are listening to you. The vendors are looking for the explorers. They are looking for the media specialist who will spend five minutes listening to their demo and who will ask questions and tell them what they want out of their product. This is your chance to make clear what is missing from the products you use or want to use. Make use of the time wisely. You won't get another opportunity and you simply don't get the same experience from a catalog in the media center.
This year, our tech and I, are looking for new laptop and ipad carts. What we have needs to be replaced. Do you know a good vendor?
The Leadership Experience
Finally, attending a technology conference is a growth opportunity for any media specialist and every attendee in general. There is no need to jump into the hidden compartments of the Millenium Falcon to make your way to Orlando for FETC. Maybe there is a version of Holochess in a game based learning session? You can do, there is no try. Wear comfortable shoes and get your Starbucks before you arrive at the convention center. You will need them to cover the exhibit hall in less than 12 parsecs. Don't worry, I don't think there are any trash compactors to go diving into. No Jedi mind tricks! I have a good feeling about this!
In an era of high stakes testing, asking a teacher to give up even one class period to any new idea, much less one they view as experimental and something they don't understand can be daunting. My moment came when the reading classes were looking for an "other educational activity" to distract students after a recent practice test. These classes, if I could provide a lesson plan that related in some way to reading, would come for one hour of code.
Lesson plan dispatched. The students arrived; the lesson was introduced as a college and career exploration exercise. They would play a coding game to see if they had any aptitude or interest in the field of coding. The students were allowed to choose any one of the coding games from code.org and play.
The students were allowed to try something new that was fun and engaging without fear of failure. These low test performing students who are subjected to constant remediation were free to imagine a possible future as a coder as found in a game, in the library, without thinking about passing a test first.
Teachers were able to relax and observe their students without grading them--to observe with the opportunity to see them trying something new, engaging without fear of failure, but using failure to learn something new. The teachers were encouraging without instructing, assisting students by encouraging them to work through their failures. Genuine observations about abilities and skill sets were extracted from the experience. The teachers made notes and asked questions. Every time Elsa or Anna skated in the correct pattern after several failed attempts, there were cheers and high-fives. Pictures were taken when a student completed an entire game. These students who experience so much difficulty and their teachers were able to celebrate success.
Sketch notes on Computational Thinking