Thursday, July 3, 2014

ISTE Inspiration: Don't be a zombie!

Jennifer LaGarde gave an impassioned and inspiring keynote at the ISTE Librarians Network Annual Breakfast. Jennifer visited numerous schools across North Carolina as a "librarian on loan" for the last two years, and she was really struck when someone shared the following idea:

"There are only two kinds of librarians: Zombies and Zombie Fighters."

Cropped from "Moral Decency" on OpenClipart.orgJennifer recognized the truth in this statement. There are school librarians who fit the stereotypes of the mean old lady librarian who hoards books and shushes kids. These zombie librarians value the books, the Dewey decimal system, and rules more than students and their interests and learning. They are comfortable with the past and afraid of the future.

Gwyneth Jones'
Library Girl
On the other hand, zombie-fighting librarians defy expectations, embrace change, collect data, and learn continually. They value children, their interests, needs, and identity as creators. They work to create meaningful, authentic learning opportunities based on real-world problems.

As I listened to Jennifer's talk, I was inspired and energized, but also a little overwhelmed. I could see myself in some of the zombie-fighting activities that Jennifer described, but I have plenty of room to grow. Which reminds me of Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis speaking at an NCTIES conference a few years ago about eating the watermelon one bite at a time. In need to be strategic in choosing specific areas where I need to focus first.

How will I decide what my priorities are? The new NC School Library Media Coordinator evaluation instrument is one place where I can look for areas of improvement. And of course, I'm going to continue to pursue my interests in gaming, quest-based learning, and coding. But I think I need to check in with other stakeholders in our school's media program: our students, teachers, and administrators. I need to get more feedback from them about what they like about our media program and what more they would like to see.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quick Thoughts from ISTE #1

For the opening keynote at ISTE 2014, I was expecting inspiration, technology, and education. Hearing Ashley Judd talk about her journey from a childhood of love and neglect and abuse to an adulthood of healing and recovery was not what I expected. She did share how some teachers’ actions and remarks made a positive impact on her far beyond what they probably realized. And she talked about how important it is for us to listen to children and to really see them.

So while her talk was not what I expected, perhaps it was what we needed to hear: the core of what we do is to listen to and see what is going on with the children who walk into our classrooms. Sometimes we fill our heads with great educational ideas and exciting technology tools to the extent that we forget the human beings who are our students. Hopefully, we will find ideas and tools that will help us listen to them better.