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EdTech Update





BFTP: Who Doesn't Get It?

My principal just doesn't get it. How can anyone not understand just how good libraries are for kids?

I always shudder when I hear anyone say that someone else doesn't "get it." Why might a person, "not get" something that seems obvious to the one expressing frustration?

  • That the person is stupid. (Amazing, however, that a stupid person could get through graduate school.)
  • That the person is being willfully ignorant. (I supose such devious people exist - but to what purpose?)
  • That the person has not been properly educated. (They don't ever talk about libraries/technology in administrator training programs.)

Here is what I think is more likely -  most administrators "get it" just fine - they just have a different reality that makes our "it" less important to them than it is to us.

We can offer the very best hammer in the world, but if your principal really needs is a saw, having a great hammer is immaterial. They get "it" that you have a good hammer - it just isn't relevant.

Maybe it's us that don't get "it."

Just thinking about this as I read our district's AYP results in this morning's newspaper. The only "it" some principals will be "getting" is how to raise the reading or math scores of certain groups of kids.

Please stop saying, "They just don't get it." It may reflect on your lack of empathy and understanding, not your principal's.

Original post August 11, 2010. This was expanded into a column on effective communications too.


Jennifer LaGarde, Zombie Fighter

Last Saturday, Jennifer LaGarde gave the keynote at our ITEM state library/tech conference.

It may have been the best keynote I've ever heard aimed at library media specialists. Period. And I have heard some good ones. 

In BRAINZ! How To Survive The Zombie Librarian Apocalypse! Jennifer shared 7 tips (and a lot more wisdom) about how to fight for improved library programs that are relevant and effective in today's schools. Like the speakers who best motivate, the talk was a strategic blend of smarts and heart and a reminder that great school library programs are too important to too many kids for them to be in jeopardy - and that it takes good school librarians to create such programs.

And just maybe, I liked the talk so much since I heard echoes of my excoriations to the field over the past 30 years- but delivered more effectively.

Anyway, a chance to hear MY hero in action. Keep up this important work, LibraryGirl!


Filtering post on the KQ Blog

If, after Banned Books Week, you can handle one more post on intellectual freedom, libraries, and the Internet, here a short piece I wrote for the Knowledge Quest website: Marginalizing the Marginalized with Internety Filtering.

From the post:

High school student Rachel is increasingly concerned over racial issues in her community and plans to write her senior thesis on this topic. There is an active “Black Lives Matter” movement organization in her community that uses Facebook to communicate. Her school blocks Facebook and she does not have Internet access at home.

Middle-schooler Diego and his friends are having a great time using the iPad to create and edit videos. They think their last production about school bullying would be helpful to other students, but their school blocks YouTube. Diego shares the computer and dial-up Internet connection in his home with both his parents and two siblings.

Fifth-grade teacher Ms. Dickens uses GoogleDocs in her class to facilitate peer-editing online, so she was pleased to learn about a program that would allow students from families with low incomes to check out computers and wifi “hot spots” for use at home. But she was told that GoogleApps was blocked by the hotspot’s filter.

People who are not able to be at the digital table where discussions are held and opinions are influenced are very likely not to have their interests factored into big decisions.

Yet many schools make great efforts to keep students (and staff) from using social networking tools that enable sharing ideas online. These schools consider blocking blogs, wikis, social networking venues, collaborative-editing tools, and photo/video sharing tools necessary if children are to be “protected.” Many educators view social networking sites as frivolous distractions that prevent students from paying attention in class or focusing on other school work. ...

Be sure to read Helen Adam's response to the post that talks about the work ALA has done around this issue. It's been more proactive than I had realized. Thank you, Helen, I look forward to reading "Fencing Out Knowledge."