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EdTech Update





BFTP: If your position is eliminated, who will suffer?

Tragedy strikes the best. But examine this report for the stereotypes:

What does the picture say?
What does the principal value the most?
Throughout my career, I've always hoped that if my position were eliminated, other people would really suffer.

I know, that sounds vindictive, mean-spirited, even vengeful, but it's not.

If you are offering services truly important to your boss and staff, and your position goes away, people will suffer. The more important the jobs you've been doing, the greater the agony.

The beginning of the school year is a good time to reflect on what priorities we give the tasks in our jobs. Which ones will others miss; which ones will only YOU miss doing?

Original post June 2010.


Can you picture your job description?

My friend and colleague Jane Prestebak, Director of Media and Instructional Technology for the Robbinsdale (MN) public schools, shared this visionary diagram at a recent meeting.

What is the current and near-future role of the library media specialist in schools?

I liked this diagram very much. Our roles continue to evolve and I believe the change will not just continue, but quicken.

The pressure on library supervisors and others who advocate for librarians in schools in our area comes from teachers, principals, and other administrators to replace librarians with tech integration specialists. And the pressure is understandable with the number of expensive technologies being placed in schools with "ready, fire, aim" planning too often the norm. In other words, we got the gizmos, but how do we make meaningful use of them? The focus being on the technology, not the whole life skills that the technology allows teachers to teach more effectively.

By putting or retaining a qualified and modern librarian in the role of "tech specialist," I believe teachers and students get a "two-fer." Not just a professional who understands technology, but advocates and teaches its most powerful use - as a tool to access, evaluate, process, communicate and evaluate information in multiple formats to solve problems and answer questions. But also an information freedom fighter, a children's and young adult reading specialist that can improve reading by putting the right books and materials in the right hands at the right time.

A few years ago, I created some diagrams that asked what a librarian should be teaching. These can still be found here:

My suggestion to Jane and others in creating job descriptions for current librarians is to call out how technology and digital information source expertise is needed, especially as schools begin to replace or supplement traditional (and increasingly ineffective) resources like text books and worksheets with learning management systems that need to be populated with carefully curated readings and meaningful activities to provide differentiated instruction.

Librarians, what does your "pictorial" job description currently look like? What should it look like? What skills are you teaching? What innovative instructional practices are you supporting?

Don't be replaced with a tech integration specialist. Please. You bring too many other essential skills and values to the school.


TeachingBooks gets author pronunciation guide

As Blue Skunk readers well know, I very rarely endorse any product. However, I make an exception for Nick Glass's TeachingBooks resource. Nick is a committed educator and he and his staff produce a product that gets  interested in books and reading. So when on the rare occasion he asks for help in spreading the word about something, I do what I can...

Hi Doug,

I'm excited to share that the Author Name Pronunciation Guide has just reached a milestone -- there are now 2,000 recordings of authors telling the story and correct pronunciation of their names!

Would you help share this news?

A press release is on my blog at -- highlighting some of the most played recordings.

Or freely explore to pick out one of your favorites to share.

I find it particularly fun that Tomie dePaola is the 2,000th recording added to this collection. How do you pronounce his name? "...paw-la," "...paa-oo-laa," "...pow-la," or something else? Hear Tomie say it at

How about Maya Angelou? Jon Scieszka? Yuyi Morales? and 1,996 more!

So fun!

This collection of authors and illustrators revealing the origins and pronunciations of their names is completely free and available for anyone to use, anytime. These audio recordings have been listened to almost half-a-million times since I launched it in 2007.

Thanks so much for considering sharing this exciting news. And please ask how I or can ever be of assistance with your work in this wonderful world of children's and young adult books and reading.



Hope this helps get the word out, Nick. Keep up the good work!