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Live from Treasure Mountain: My Rant

David Loertscher asked me to rant about the future at this morning’s Treasure Mountain research retreat.  I thought I’d share the rough version with you.  (More about the retreat and AASL a little later.)

Power has been shifting in nearly every profession.  In ours, it has turned head over heels. 
Over the past two years the information and communication landscapes, as we once knew them, have changed We have new sources, new options.

Here’s what I believe:

•    Student work can be truly authentic. It can address real problems.  It can be shared. 

•    The notion of AUDIENCE changes the way children write.  It can make them want to write.

•    We can write and communicate in creative new ways.

•     We can network in creative new ways.

•    You can’t judge a book by its cover.  The notion of what book is is shifting.

•    There are probably 50 new ways to promote a book

•    There are hundreds of new ways to tell a digital story.  (Perhaps even more than Alan Levine recently shared.)

•    Our understandings of Fair Use are archaic.  We need a new code of practice.  (I no longer want to be the copyright party-pooper.)

•    Every librarian must know about alternate licensing, like Creative Commons.  We need to make digital citizenship easier

•    Wikis, Google Docs, and Zoho are killer apps for learning synthesis and collaboration

•    We need new rules for evaluating new types of information

•    Evaluation decisions are not black and white—they are situational

•    I believe that sometimes Wikipedia is good, very good

•    Equity is more possible than ever—web-based apps and open source developments make it no longer necessary for all schools and all kids to buy expensive software.

•    There are new rules for searching and pushing information.

•    Equity cannot happen if librarians do not stand up to network people–if we quietly accept arbitrary blocking decisions that have nothing to do with learning.  Librarians have to argue for equity in ICT tools.  It’s our new intellectual freedom front.

•    Intervention has to happen in new ways if it is to happen at all.

•    Pathfinders can be wikified

•    Students can learn to do original research—polling, interviewing, meeting experts

•    Blogging makes the research process transparent and interactive and interventionary

•    PowerPoint, as we know it, can kill

•    The world outside of libraries doesn’t care much about databases.  I don’t really know what to do about this.  I love databases.

•    Other people, who go to other conferences, whose names are very well-known, are redefining research, evaluation, digital citizenship, communication in ways more powerful and exciting than we are.   They don’t know where we fit.  I don’t know if we know where we fit.

•    There are new rules: for searching, digital citizenship, evaluation, communication.  We’re not making them or influencing them.

•    Students deserve personal information spaces.  iGoogle is beautiful.  Widgets rock.  We need more widgets to support the work of learners.

•    The outside world is not reading OUR blogs.

Right now, in the new world of school, a world of reading coaches, tech integrators, one-to-one laptops schools, many of us are asking, “Where do we fit?”

While some of our physical libraries are shifting to libratories, too many of our colleagues continue to say  “yeah but."

Because we are out west, I am thinking more like a pioneer.

If you are going to be leading you have to be at the head of wagons.
You can’t be stuck in the back pushing.
You have to climb up ahead to the summit.
You have to look around.
You have to imagine what’s ahead..You can’t lead if you are stuck in the mud

I want teacher-librarians to lead the learning wagon train

We cannot wait for the research to tell us this risk-taking, this playful authentic learning is good.

There’s no time to wait for the research.

We are giving you a challenge:

Redefine library—where and what is library?

Read my manifesto and my chart as a jumping off point.

David will divide you into areas of interest and we will build a visioning wiki. 

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Doug Johnson says:

    Wonderful list, Joycie. I hope people read it and take it to heart. My only disagreement – Powerpoint doesn’t kill people; people kill people. ;-)


  2. Ann McCann says:

    Joyce, point very well made on standing up to network people and their indiscriminate blocking of the wonderful Web 2.0 tools with the information kids need.

  3. Diane Cordell says:

    Joyce, Although I can get to Boing Boing and Head Rambles on my Reader, your blog is blocked on our school network.

    Are you sending an evil subliminal message? Or is some innocent word setting off alarms on our filtering software?

    When will teachers and librarians be treated as responsible professionals and given some control over the content available for educational purposes!

  4. Rob Darrow says:

    I like the pioneering analogy. And school librarians should be leading the wagons.

  5. Karen Kliegman says:

    Joyce, Well said! I think we have to continue to be proactive and work hard to be the leaders (something we have always had to do). Our district blocks flickr (almost all image sites), blogger and now skype! The funny thing is that the person who is making (our IT district coordinator) has not attended one ed-tech conference in the 8 years I have been here. Why block skype???????? Makes no sense.

  6. ken says:

    Joyce, you’ll be shocked to know that on the day you left for Reno, YouTube suddenly made it through our filter!

    It is currently un-blocked! Three days!


  7. Buffy Hamilton says:

    Joyce—this list is brilliant!!!! Some of the issues/talking points you have identified are challenges we too are encountering. Thank you for this call to action—your column always challenges me to think and this particular one has reaffirmed my commitment to be “leader” in my learning community. Bravo!!!!

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