Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Neverending Search
Inside Neverending Search

How to retool yourself–a roadmap of at least 14 ways

From the emails and comments I am getting recently, it is really clear that folks in our field are in need of a professional development roadmap that is independent of whatever our local districts do or do not provide.

Let’s celebrate and share these rich and mostly free strategies:

1. The Common Craft In Plain English video series provides no nonsense explanations of nearly all things 2.0 and many of us use these little videos in professional development workshops.  Watch them, share them, embed them.

2. When I need to get up to date quickly, I often look for presentations created by folks I respect and I search the SlideShare archive.  I am blown away by the content our colleagues freely share.

3. Discussion hubs:

4. ISTE’s SIGMS, currently led by Lisa Perez, offers a variety of ways to get involved and retooled.  Join the group and participate in the community discussion in the ISTE Ning.  The AASL-SIGMS Virtual Learning Community hosts regular meetings in Second Life featuring notable speakers like Alan November, Mike Eisenberg, Doug Johnson.  Among many other things, ISTE’s Second Life Wiki shares an archive of videos from the ISTE Eduverse Talks in Second Life.  Facebook users might prefer to join the ISTE Facebook
Contact Lisa (aka Elaine Tulip) for further information about upcoming events.

5. TeacherLibrarian Ning is a meeting place for TLs all over the world. I started this one, but it needs real leadership.  I’d love a few volunteers to inspire forum discussions and polls and more.  Please email me if you’d like to be made an administrator!

6. Check in regularly with David Warlick’s Hitchhikr to see what’s hot and to keep up to date on upcoming confs on- and offline.

7. Absolutely better late than never! Visit any already held conference and experience it from a distance. November Learning and last year’s ISTE/NECC host a wealth of fabulous video and slideshows and wikis filled with resources for learning.  Here’s our Smackdown Wiki from NECC09 in DC.

8. Join or visit any of a variety of relevant bookmark sharing groups in Diigo.  I belong to: Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom, Diigo in Education, Educators, History TeachersWeb 2.0 @ School, Project-Based Learning, Teacher-Librarians, eLearning 2.0, High School Librarians. You have so many choices!

9. Plan to attend the free, global K12 Online Conference.  You will be amazed at the wealth of options. Experience presentations by leaders, thinkers, and practitioners (most participants span all three categories).  Participate in the live discussion.  Visit and share the archive.  The official conference begins the week of November 30, but preconference events are already starting.

10. Follow a few bloggers.  Just a few.  Visit my NewTools page on blogging for lists of teachers and librarians who blog. 

11. Follow a few Tweeters.  Just a few. Visit my NewTools page on tweeting for resources to build your network.  One of my personal favorites is Twitter4Teachers.

12.  I’ve been maintaining this page on 2.0 Learning Resources.  Start anywhere, but I recommend visiting:

13. Attend AASL09, both on- and offline.  The Learning Times b-there platform is now live. If you are going to Charlotte, please visit the Bloggers’ Cafe and attend and/or volunteer to present unconference sessions.  Many truly dedicated and enthusiastic professionals will work with you to help you get up to speed.  I hope to see you there! Ask questions of anyone on our Geek Team.  We will be wearing geek@aasl ribbons.

14. Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 has offered us Elluminate space and time for our own monthly/regular discussions.  I cannot commit to planning and hosting these by myself.  Will anyone step up and take the lead?  (I promise to help.)

Please share more options in your comments!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza



    Check, check, check. I’v checked out each and every one listed here so I guess that means I’m well on my way in the right direction. I’d just like to add a travel advisory to those who find the exits marked along this map daunting: You do not have to be an expert in any one thing marked for visiting or checking out. Just commit to experiencing them to whatever degree your comfort level allows. Expertise will be dependent on your commitment. The goal here is to be versed enough to speak knowledgeably and guide your school community along the way. Do not feel guilty for not having vast knowledge for not knowing all of them or even understanding them, but instead respect and celebrate that there are many among the sites listed who will GLADLY help you. It’s not a race or even a contest, but about learning and staying relevant in today’s schools where we compete daily with other connected tools (Internet and computer labs). Use the roadmap to learn and stay relevant.

  2. mplibrarylady says:

    Thank you for these!

    I am a brand new librarian and I’m more than little overwhelmed by all the parts of my job and how to juggle and prioritize. It’s exciting to be a part of this changing profession, but it’s also easy to get discouraged by how much I need to learn. As a library student my classes only touched the surface of this entire debate. Instead, I am following my PLN on twitter and in the blogs..but there is just SO much!!!
    So as a newbie getting started I am looking to the experienced wisdom of your leadership!

  3. With 10 years experience, I’m not such a new librarian, but I’m feeling overwhelmed too. This list feels like a much-needed floatie in the rising tide of web 2.0 stuff. Thanks Joyce for the suggestions!

  4. Like you, kelby, I also have 10 years experience but still find Web2.0 somewhat overwhelming. I think the best support/encouragement I’ve found is my PLN on Twitter. I learn more than talking to them then I have through all other means in the past 10 years. I’m very excited about the changing face of our profession!

  5. Thank you for posting this list. For those who have felt so overwhelmed that they didn’t know where to start, this roadmap is an excellent starting place.

    And, speaking as one who is somewhat versed in the new tools, this roadmap will help me fill in the gaps in my haphazard journey.

    I applaud you for not only standing firm in your resolve that media specialists MUST take responsibility for their professional development, but also for providing us with a doable list of tools with which to familiarize ourselves.

  6. Emily Gibson says:

    I just want to say THANK YOU!

  7. Larry Ferlazzo says:


    Thanks for including my blog in your great list of resources.


  8. Currie Renwick says:

    Thanks so much for a great, accessible roadmap. Wondering if you might be able to present these tools in an article in SLJ itself. I remember a similar article you and Doug Johnson wrote a year or so ago about “staying in shape.” I think lots of us would benefit from regular articles like these!
    So helpful for the sometimes overwhelmed!
    Thanks again.

  9. jennieteacher says:


    A couple of things came up for me after reading your article:

    I feel very confident in most of the areas you have listed…but lack the “old school” ways. Is there such a thing as a Librarian’s “23 things: old school”?

    It’s disappointing to see Library conferences obsessed with introducing 2.0 tools that many have never used. I need a conference where it is a “given” that we are using these things (or at least can figure them out quickly)so we can move on to more critical ideas for Libraries… such as our Decision Maker’s lack of understanding/use of Information Literacy and it’s related tools.

    It seems the more 2.0 I go, the further I push away my admin and their support. I ran a “23 things” last year and the teachers loved it. But for admin, it seemed to make them realize just how much they didn’t know or use.

    How can we move to Web 2.0 ubiquitousness, if our “leaders” are using an outdated ripped up paper map and we are using GPS?

    Jennie in Serbia

Speak Your Mind