Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A snow storm, the keys to the bus, and a teleporter

I’m writing this from my parents’ house, on a bit of an impromptu mini-vacation, having fled Connecticut in search of electricity, heat, and hot water. Of course, power was restored to my school while I was driving here, meaning I will be turning around to un-flee early tomorrow morning. In a way I can’t quite put my finger on, this feels like a metaphor for my entire fall.

As frustrating as another multi-day power outage is (especially when it’s so cold!), it was nice to have an excuse, after a very busy fall and especially busy October, to cocoon myself in blankets and sleep for a very long time. My body and brain were both overdue for a little hibernation.

My job has changed a bit this fall, as I’ve found myself taking on more and more in the realm of technology integration. To be honest, the line between librarian and ed tech facilitator has always been a little fuzzy for me; frankly, I think the line between educator and ed tech facilitator should generally be a little fuzzy. All educators should be using and reflecting on the role of educational technology—and guiding students in using and reflecting on technology.

Over the years I’ve spent working here, and particularly this fall as we’ve launched our iPad program, I’ve found myself getting more and more directly involved with ed tech. Finally this fall I had a meeting with “powers that be” types and said, basically, “I’m driving this bus. I need the keys.” And they gave me the keys! Which is awesome! And overwhelming! But the other really great thing that came out of that meeting was knowing that my work in this area is noticed and appreciated and supported. Having recently spent time talking with colleagues in other schools who do amazing work that goes unappreciated by their supervisors, I know how lucky I am to have supportive administrators.

The first thing I decided to do in my official role as Educational Technology Facilitator was survey my faculty about their comfort level with ed tech and their professional development needs. The results in many ways confirmed what I had suspected—teachers want ed tech professional development to be iterative and hands on. Not a few days a year, but ongoing—and they also want the opportunity for one-on-one support and independent learning. I’ve been working on creating more and more tutorials, which also helps with the “I’ve answered this question a million times” feeling—now I have a ton of links I can send out when needed. I’m also trying to set up informal “drop-in” tech instruction times during the school day (as well as before and after). I’m hoping to do this a bit more now that I’m done with conference travel for a little while.

The survey also garnered a request to “learn all the things” as well as a teleporter. It’s reassuring to know that my colleagues have totally realistic expectations of what I’ll be able to accomplish in this role.

My next goal for this role (and I’m saying it here in the hopes that someone will hold me to it) is to institute a “23 things” style program for my faculty. While at AASL I saw a presentation about doing exactly that, and got some great ideas that I plan on stealing.

More AASL reflections (hopefully) to come in the next couple weeks. I have a feeling that things are genuinely going to slow down, but I have some ideas and reflections I’d like to share (including the slides from my Learning Commons presentation).

Tangentially related, if you haven’t already, please check out School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come, a collaborative ebook edited by Kristin Fontichiaro and Buffy Hamilton. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

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