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EdTech Update





Mindset List for Librarians

The Beloit College Mindset List for 2013 was published recently. One of things that today's entering college students have never done (according to item #4) is "... used a card catalog to find a book."

Hmmmm, I wonder how many librarians starting their professional careers today know what it means to "file above the rod" and why one would do it?

Do we need a Mindset List for New Librarians?* Let's give this a try...

The Mindset List for Librarians Entering the Field in 2009

Librarians entering the field today...

  1. Have never had to type a catalog card.
  2. Have never looked something up in the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature.
  3. Have never maintained a vertical file.
  4. Have never attended a F2F graduate school library class.
  5. Have never puchased (or rented) a 16mm film, VHS tape or LaserDisc. (Let alone a filmloop or filmstrip.)
  6. Have never NOT had the Internet as a resource.
  7. Have never checked out 5 1/4 floppy disks of MECC games.
  8. Have never arranged for interlibrary loan of a physical book.
  9. Have ever worked in a library without student workstations or a computer lab.
  10. Have never sent overdue notices to parents by postal mail.

So,  10 off the top of my balding head. And yours....?

*Thanks to Nancy Everhart for this idea.


I Will As a Teacher - updated

Here is an update of my "I Will As a Teacher" (2006 version) for the educators in the Aransas County schools and in every school district that is offering "tech training" at the beginning of this school year:

I Will As a Teacher

Let’s have a little competition at school and get ready for the future. I, as a teacher, will use a laptop and you will use paper and pencil. Are you ready…?

  • I can provide up-to-date information to my students - you have a textbook that is 5 years old.
  • I can find and change all my instructional materials, worksheets, study guides, tests, every year - you better hope the master is good enough for one more photocopy.
  • I will model 21st century skills - technology, information-problem solving and life-long learning - you will lecture about them.
  • I will provide my visual learners an accessible means of grasping concepts through multimedia resources - you can use simpler words and speak more slowly.
  • I give my students a world-wide audience for their creative work – you will share your students' work with the rest of the class.
  • I will give my students access to study materials and resources online 24/7 - you hope they remember to bring home the textbook and worksheets.
  • I will honor the range of reading abilities of my students by providing topical materials on a variety of reading levels - you will use the basal reader.
  • I will allow my students to take their learning as far as they want – you will keep everyone at the same place at the same time.*
  • I will communicate with my students and parents electronically - you can hope to catch them after class or at home in the evenings.
  • I will give parents real-time access to how their children are performing in my class - you send out report cards and have two parent-teacher conferences a year.
  • I will use the information gathered from computerized value-added testing to know exactly what my individual students' strengths and weakness are - you will use whole group instruction.
  • I will stay current on best educational practices using online databases, listservs, professional blogs, and the myriad of news sources - you can go to a conference once a year and read routed professional journals if they get to you.*
  • I will create a personal learning network with educational leaders, experts and colleagues using e-mail and social networks – you will try to remember the advice of the instructor in your college methods class from 1980.
  • I will collaborate with my peers from around the world – you will stay behind your classroom door.*
  • I will save time by drawing on the generosity and genius of others who have created and shared digital versions of lesson plans, handbooks, templates, guidelines, reading lists, and more - you will use the teacher's guide.
  • The cost of a laptop per year? - $250
  • The cost of teacher training? – Expensive, but no more so than other staff development activities
  • The cost of effective schools? - Priceless

*These items were suggested in comments to the 2006 version of this on the Blue Skunk. Other suggestions are always welcome.

(Oh, and take a look at Jacquie Henry's "I Will as a School Librarian.")


Pirate Tech: A day done right

I had the pleasure of working with the staff of the Aransas County Schools down on the Texas gulf coast yesterday at a "technology" staff development day - Pirate Tech. Now I don't normally blog much about this kind of work I do, but I'm hoping readers can learn something about putting these days together in their own districts if I can describe a model of a good one.

Library media specialist Ann Vyoral and her team did an outstanding job of designing and implementing Pirate Tech. Was there anything particularly new or innovative about the day? Not really. It was just what she and her team did, they did really, really well. And in my dotage I appreciate beautiful task execution more and more.

While one can question her taste in guest presenters, here are some things that I thought made the day go very well:

  1. Administrators actually attended the sessions. I do believe I had the superintendent, principals and other admistrators in my session. What a terrific signal this sends to the teaching staff about the importance they give to the day. Support beyond lip service. What a deal.
  2. Teacher-led sessions. While the expert from 75 miles away is good for some things (call to action, presenting a vision, new jokes, etc.), the best tech session are teacher and librarian led. The ACISD staff had about 15 different sessions to choose from each time period. (This in a district of only about 3,000 students.)
  3. Sessions at a range of levels. The number of sessions meant that whether one considered oneself a novice or expert, a classroom teacher or specialist, or a elementary or secondary teacher, one could find something of interest. Ann honored the individual needs of teachers by asking me to do four separate "keynotes," each directed at a grade level. Pretty cool.
  4. Longer sessions. By keeping the opening and closing sessions short, each of the four sessions ran about 80 minutes. Enough time for a little hands on work.
  5. Follow-up. The district is asking teachers to use half a day in the coming week to actually practice what they learned.
  6. Filtering was suspended for the day. Workshop presenters could get to the cool tools. And I did not see a single teacher surf for porn during the day.
  7. Great organization and team work. You just know a ton of work when into this event and that it was team effort. There was a rofessional looking program. The food was good. Equipment worked. Signage was great. Assessment and accountibilty was built in and looked pretty painless for participants. Unless you've actually put a day like this together, you don't know hard it is. Ann and her team get jewels in their crowns.
  8. Just plain fun. Door prizes donated by a supportive community were given through out the day. Humorous videos started and ended the day. Good lunch served in house, providing time for socialization. All teacher received a personalized thumb drive and goodie bag with pencils, a can caddy, and other small items. Logo-ed shirts were given to the planning team and presenters to wear during the day. All small things that probably weren't critical. But each helped make the day enjoyable and the participant feel welcome and important. And the tone of a training day IS critical.

I generally work with really good teaching staffs when I present and consult, but yesterday's Texans just seemed a notch above in enthusiam, spirit and making the day joyful. I'll pay Aranasas County schools the highest compliment I know - I'd be pleased if my grandsons attended.

What are your secrets for a successful staff development day whether focused on technology or anything else?