I was feeling kinda guilty about missing ALA Annual for the first time in forever. I hate it when ALA and NECC overlap.
This year, I needed to attend Edubloggercon, the unconference that gathered passionate edubloggers from all over the world. You know many of their names: Will Richardson, David Warlick, Doug Johnson, Vicki Davis, Helen Barrett, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Julie Lindsay, David Jakes. There are so many more.
It was a great mix of classroom teachers, administrators, tech directors, academics, and a few of us librarians. Sure, all these people blog. But the talk was solidly centered on the learner and the potential for new engagement in learning.
You can get a feeling for the variety of the sessions here.
I think it was important that a few of us made the choice of Atlanta over DC, especially for this event in which I think three librarians participated. We needed to represent. And I believe we did.
Among the ideas that bubbled to the top of my head yesterday:
We have a major equity issue. Many students will graduate without the benefit of using the new communication tools in powerful and positive ways for two major reasons. 1. Schools blindly blocking all use of 2.0 apps (and some blocking search tools like Google). 2. Classroom teachers and librarians are not exposed to, or are not interested in, learning how to use these tools to create meaningful learning experiences.
Should ISTE, or AASL, or some other organization create some statement related to academic/intelectual freedom that demonstrate the potential educational usefulness of new communication tools? Tools that are widely vilified but that are, by themselves, as inherently neutral as pencils.
Vicki Davis shared an idea about tagging standards. All over the world we create new learning activities and educational content with 2.0 tools. We can share these activities far more powerfully by creating a consistent scheme for tagging this content. Why shouldn’t an 8th grade earth science teacher be able to easily seach for all educational content tagged with say, earthscience8? Shouldn’t teacher-librarians be a big part of this effort?
I attended powerful sessions on digital storytelling and the school of the future.
I presented a session on what school library 2.0 might/should look like.
How do library 2.0 and classroom 2.0 converge?
How has library service changed? What role do virtual libraries play in school culture?
What does information fluency look like in a 2.0 world?
What is role of librarian in learning in a 2.0 landscape?
What work do we do that will not be outsourced to Bangalore or by wikipedia?
We talked about the need for a refocused, clarified job description. It’s not just about books. It’s about information and learning and knowledge building and creation and production. And it may be a hybrid experience.
So, where is the library? It is your interactive virtual presence, your website, your pathfinders, your virtual reference (whether attached to a state service or email based).
Julie noted that information and communication technologies should be coming from the heart of the school. Everything should flow out of the library and its site. Virtual libraries can be the center of knowledge management tools for the whole school. They can contain: wikis, blogs, media, student productions, pathfinders, handouts, rubrics, presentations, etc.
We discussed the evolving role of the librarian in and outside classroom, as our buildings add one-to-one laptop programs, reading coaches, and technology integrators. We have to teach differently. We have to teach virtually. We should aim to be windows on our students’ desktops.
We may have to leave our facilities to teach with our teacher partners in those classrooms with laptops.
The physical library becomes a laboratory, perhaps a "libratory." (Do we like that one?)
David shared that library space is now "production space." Library space is a center for production of content, group work, planning, events, teleconferencing, presentation, discussion.
We discussed critical new information fluencies. For instance, Cathy conducted a teacher workshop on how to use RSS feeds and discussed developing understandings of how learners might use RSS feeds for their own research
We talked evaluation and ethics. Doug noted that Wikipedia, has to "duck less of the time." We need to teach evaluation in terms of the specific information task. Teachers should model information choices as well as information ethics. We can help with that.
The teacher-librarian now provides context for content that is now often a mile wide and an inch deep.
Overall, perhaps, what resonates with me most is a question Chris Lehmann, principal of Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy asks his teachers to consider: "What is the worst consequence of your best new idea?"
It’s a question that stops all the "Yeah, buts . . ." in their tracks.