Category Archives: Professional Development
Mission Creep? Libraries and 3D Printers? What?
In response to a recent blog post I read by Hugh Rundle .(http://hughrundle.net/2013/01/02/mission-creep-a-3d-printer-will-not-save-your-library/ )
I get the urge to provide modern powerful tools that help our patrons/students to learn. Emphasizing the phase of creation/production to the information inquiry cycle makes sense in 2013. Developing a learning commons in a high school makes sense but like embracing 3D printers, iPads or other high tech innovations the risk is we lose our fundamental core virtues. A new Learning Commons without a trained teacher-librarian is like the open pool without an instructor or life guard.
Hugh Rundle’s thesis of mission creep;the frenzy to embrace technologies as the savior for library programs, may be a valid concern. Public, academic or school libraries all have unique missions and contexts as they strive to adapt and improve in this information age, but they all have a common obstacle- leadership that fails to discover and focus the decisions that hold sustainable purpose. The recent BC Libraries Summit ( http://commons.bclibraries.ca/inspiringlibraries2012/ )explored these issues.
Embracing technologies for its own trendy value is indeed a distraction, if not a major barrier. Rundle calls it ‘technolust’! Although my emphasis is a high school library, we do tend to model, lead and/or persuade our community with technology innovation. It has been a natural evolution of digital information realities; however, one truth is users/patrons have always come to the library as a reliable station for content, resources and advice whether it be a rare book, thesis support or 16mm film. The computing reality has been a natural progression of this service and is part of our culture. Our ‘technolust’, although present, is abated because of budgetary realities and policies but education in general suffers the same malady.
Change in libraries and in schools in general has occurred by two means. There is the determined targeted practice of leaders and practitioners who build programs and initiatives on the ground floor and there is just the inevitable absorption from wider social technological change. I believe strong library programs must seek out option one. A team of leaders who can collaborate and assess many views, options, and virtues of technologies that match sound program purpose. An inspiring colleague of mine, Nicola at RSS, once encouraged me to embrace change with my site teammates to evaluate our mission. It may sound cliche but it is necessary to avoid the creep Rundle argues against.
Grasping state of the art trends, like 3D printing is rather absurd when we may not be doing the fundamental needs effectively. I saw the one-to-one computing initiative come and go with very little advantage and certainly debatable sustaining education value. There is notable benefits- always is – but the cost/benefit ratio, training practivalities, pedagogical goals, cultural values and sustainability need to all be part of change. I offer colour printing to my students, by request, yet the demand has been far less than I originally anticipated. It’s convenience, no harm no foul, but the investment may not always match your aspirations. 3D printing output can illustrate concepts in very creative and informative ways. It’s mazing stuff but… soon Staples or Costco will do it for our kids- dare I say from their phones?! . ( Engadget ) Watching Neri Oxman of MIT can give you the inspiration and rationale for 3D printing projects (YouTube ) but there are institutions and agents whose function it is to deliver more appropriate than a library. She synthesized iconic designs of mythology, story telling and architecture at the MIT MediaLab to produce ‘Mythologies of the Not Yet’ showcasing the potential of 3D printing from a design perspective. I see the library’s role in her process as nurturing capacity of all three elements. The story. The image. The technology. We should bring the climber to the mountain. Librarians should be the sherpa and assist the inspiration and the means not bring the mountain to the climber.
Re-assessing your mission is required before you thoughtfully decide which tools and practice you need to strengthen your program for the long term.
“Failing on the internet is essentially free… not like constructing a faulty building… buying a manual or taking a course to catch only gets you aware and skills of something that is already 2 years behind…” “Fail as a way of learning” -Seth Godin
If you haven’t followed Nora’s podcast/radio show I highly recommend you check her out. Topics and guests are very informative and applicable to education.
Homework: solve the digital divide at work.. write someone a handwritten note thank you note. 30 days after doing that you will see things change!
Spark 195: Pagination, Education, Participation
This week on Spark – new ways of learning, of reading, and of healing. Reinventing the classroom, writing for the now, calls for the end of pagination and for more participation online, and the evolution of therapy technologies. Just click the Listen button, or click here to download the mp3. For related links…
Archives/Podcast downloads/Subscribe : http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/spark-from-cbc-radio/id263242885
As we learn from the digital paper cuts… Ebooks, corporate ebook industry, is squeezing tighter and tighter…
As Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow put it in a blog post yesterday:
This fine print will always have a clause that says you are a mere tenant farmer of your books, and not their owner, and your right to carry around your “purchases” (which are really conditional licenses, despite misleading buttons labeled with words like “Buy this with one click” — I suppose “Conditionally license this with one click” is deemed too cumbersome for a button) can be revoked without notice or explanation (or, notably, refund) at any time.
The core issue might actually be a simple matter of semantics: when we click a digital button that is labelled “Buy,” we expect that we’re actually buying something. But we’re not buying anything, we’re licensing it. Just last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the first-sale doctrine does not apply to software — or e-books. Or apps. Nor pretty much everything you “Buy” online that doesn’t get shipped to your home in a cardboard box.
Those long End User License Agreements you have to read before you use a new piece of software? Those are are legally binding, because you’ve clicked a button labeled “Agree.” But for some reason, online retailers can label their buttons “Buy” when they actually mean “Rent,” and there’s nothing we can do about it save filing a lawsuit. (Nbcnews.com/technology)
Comments so far…
The following experiences with technology and digital resources are examples of learning activities in which students might engage during Grades 10–12 (ages 15–18):
Design, develop, and test a digital learning game to demonstrate knowledge and skills related to curriculum content. (CT, CI)
Create and publish an online art gallery with examples and commentary that demonstrate an understanding of different historical periods, cultures, and countries. (C, CI)
Select digital tools or resources to use for a real-world task and justify the selection based on their efficiency and effectiveness. (C, CT, TC)
Employ curriculum-specific simulations to practice critical-thinking processes. (CT, CI)
Identify a complex global issue; develop a systematic plan of investigation, and present innovative sustainable solutions. (C, CT, CI)
Analyze the capabilities and limitations of current and emerging technology resources and assess their potential to address personal, social, lifelong learning, and career needs. (CT, PR, SR, TC)
Design a Web site that meets accessibility requirements. (CI, PR, SR)
Model legal and ethical behaviours when using information and technology by properly selecting, acquiring, and citing resources. (C, CT, PR, SR)
Create media-rich presentations for other students on the appropriate and ethical use of digital tools and resources. (CI, PR, SR)
Configure and troubleshoot hardware, software, and network systems to optimize their use for learning and productivity. (CT, TC)
The numbers in parentheses after each item identify the cross-curricular competencies (C, CT, CI, PR and SR) most closely linked to the activity described. Each activity may relate to one competency or to multiple competencies. A sixth ISTE Standard, Technology Operations and Concepts (TC), does not correlate directly with B.C.’s Cross-Curricular Competencies so is included as an additional skill area.
B.C.’s 5 Cross-Curricular Competencies
Matching ISTE Standards
Communication and Collaboration
Research and Information Fluency
2. Critical Thinking
Research and Information Fluency
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
3. Creative Thinking and Innovation
Creativity and Innovation
4. Personal Responsibility and Well-Being
5. Social Responsibility
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
The Librarian in the Middle, by Kristen Hearne, is a great South Carolina TL blog to follow. Also read,
” Check out this EdWeek article about the role of the school librarian in Common Core. I think you will see that much of what is being done by librarians around the country is what we have always done, but now we are getting more attention…”
Should educators and students blog? I’ve been an advocate of blogging for years. I don’t consider myself an expert or even a proficient writer. I’m a librarian who could teach English not an English teacher or a Creative Writing instructor or even a Journalism coach; however, I do coach many others in the mechanics and the experience of blogging and social media platforms. Blogs can serve educators in many ways. From personal journals to editorials and of course publishing tools for teaching strategies. One superintendent I follow, Culture of Yes, is not just a good writer but a thinker. His community is stronger by his sharing. He does take a risk- a political risk of opinions, etc. but he also builds consensus and can motivate change.
There are pitfalls. I’ve made my share. One issue for me is finding the boundary of personal and occupational. Here I write as a professional teacher-librarian from the KSS Learning Commons. I’m modeling for a colleague. I will cross-post on my own blog( a no no ) to make a point of how roles can get blurry. This IS VERY IMPORTANT. Not just for circulation but for integrity. Our students- especially journalism students need to discuss and study this new digital publishing reality. Whether it’s Facebook posts, Linked in resumes, or Pinterest albums, protecting integrity and privacy while sharing is important.
I don’t think we should avoid writing in the public sphere because there is risk. We need to manage the risks and learn. Improve. Teach. Share. Learn some more. Isn’t all in the interest of communication? I think blogging has virtue because it provides greater scope and a timeline for writing quality not found in brief, fast tweets or updates. Teachers of English, Journalism, Social Studies, Sciences, heck everyone….can use blogs to enrich their classroom learning experience. Even our Library is a stronger place with avenues to engage beyond the shelves. This is the power of our age.
- Al Smith
The teacher-librarian at Penticton Secondary came for a visit yesterday to tour around, ask question and visit the awesome kids at KSS. Lance Zablotney has a beautiful new school and a central library he is developing. It was terrific to share ideas and visit with our Okanagan neighbour.
The Library at KSS has been operating under a ‘commons’ philosophy for quite some time adding features and services organically. Limits to roles and functions are space, budgets and scholarly culture in the school. We serve the school and can never work in isolation even when trying to be innovative and collaborative. In many cases it is the students and the teacher-librarian relationship that make a commons a learning space and not just a mall.