Sunday, September 30, 2007

K12 Online Conference Next Week!

In a week, the second annual K12 Online Conference begins, and it's the talk of the edublogosphere right now. I'm very excited to about it and am really looking forward to some thought-provoking addresses and conversations as the conference gets started.

The organizers have asked that we spread the word about the conference by stating our 3 reasons for participating. See Wesley Fryer's original meme post here.

My 3 Reasons for Participating (for the first time) this year:

1. It's fantastic to have this access to so many people that are thinking about the same things I am these days as I try to create a 21st Century Library for my students & teachers. What an opportunity--and it's free!

2. The learning from this conference can go on all year long (or longer) through the archives, wikis, discussions on the K12 Online Conference site. If I get swamped in the middle of the conference (I hope I won't!), I can pick up where I need to. If I want to hear a presentation again, it's available! Powerful.

3. This conference fits my learning needs & interests right this minute better than what I have available to me locally. "Just in time" learning, I hope.

To further this meme, I am tagging the other participants in my district's Library2.0 Cohort.
I'll start with:

Lifelong Learner
Mama Librarian
Not Done Learning

Maybe they'll tag some of the rest of our friends!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Teachers as Learners

Behind in my reading as I come up for air from my Book Fair week...

On Sept. 3, David Warlick posted a rant about teachers and their adoption of technology, and his post generated 18 comments to date--obviously a topic that is on a lot of minds, including mine!

I've read enough of Warlick's work to know that he is a huge teacher advocate and that he has the highest respect for people in this noble profession. He's obviously heard enough excuses though! And I must say that I am with him! We will lose our "in" with students if we don't figure out a way to teach them in ways that are relevant in their world. I see that worrisome glaze over some of our kids eyes at younger and younger ages. It used to be the high school kids that had to "power down" to come to school--now it's our elementary aged kids!

I am a librarian in a district that has benefited from wonderful edtech leadership--every classroom teacher in my building, plus the reading specialist and librarian (me) have at least 4 computers in their room, their own starboard, LCD projector, Einstruction kits, access to a computer lab! Professional development for technology is ubiquitous, with Atomic Learning provided for our use, district-based after-school technology classes, campus based technology workshops, and edtech team available to us to model lessons, and more! This is the piece that so many districts leave out, and yet my district has made it almost unavoidable to have professional development opportunities available. And still we have numerous teachers that choose not to learn any more than they are forced to. Campus technology workshops are poorly attended--only the people that get paid to attend are there, even though they're filled with wonderful, useful ideas! Administrators sometimes come, most times do not.

More than a few times, teachers have stated to me that professional development & technology training should be on school time, not personal time. The overriding perception is that "in the "real" (business) world, people are paid to be trained, but the poor teachers have to do it all on their own time. By and large this is not true, from my observation of friends and family members not in education! There are workshops, trainings, professional journals, conventions, etc. all to be paid for and taken advantage of off-the-clock. That's what professionals do! That's what learning and growing people do! Shouldn't we teachers, of all people, embrace and personify the life-learner model?

The debate on this topic in the edublogosphere has simply been a rant because this is a topic that frustrates all of us so much. There aren't any answers, I guess. The people that won't go to professional training on their own time certainly aren't reading these blogs! It does make me feel less of an oddball to hear of other people who feel the same way I do though! It helps me to focus on the teachers who do want to learn something new. I'll just hang out with them!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Adult Book Note: Amagansett by Mark Mills

Just finished a compelling novel that I found through the book suggester on Library Thing. Amagansett, by Mark Mills, is one of those books that keep you turning the page and reading the next chapter. By revealing just enough, chapter by chapter, Mills had me from the start.

It is 1947, and a young War veteran, a fisherman, who has returned to his home in the Hamptons pulls in the body of a woman in one of his nets. Little by little we learn who she was and what other dark secrets her murder means to members of the wealthy summer beach community. Reviews of the novel point to the fine period details and fully realized characters of Conrad, the fisherman and Hollis, the local policeman.

This really is a gripping novel--more than just a murder mystery--and it is Mills' first! I'll definitely read more from him. Great read.