Friday, March 9, 2012

I love technology...

Seriously. I love technology. I love that I can be curled up all snuggly in Michigan (lovely wind blowing outside) and be talking with someone on the other side of the world. I love that I can write and finish a book using only Google Docs and chat features. I love that I can help students make videos that they can show to the entire school, in less than one hour! I love the feeling I get when someone I'm working with realizes that there is a much easier way to do things, which frees up their time and energy for something else they want/need to work on.
I haven't always loved technology. It was overwhelming when initially starting grad school. I'm in a program with computer scientists, human computer informatics, information architecture and retrieval, people who get excited about cody jqueries (whatever those are) and know what Perl is. I, on the other hand, who had always fancied myself quite the techie, felt totally out of the loop. I remember sitting in my first Networked Computing class, listening to the professor talk about Python (the coding language, not the Flying Circus, although they are related) and showing us what we would be working on. "What was I thinking?" the question that constantly runs through my head at grad school. I'm an impostor, surely they know I can't learn this stuff. If I, as a fairly techie grad student, feel this way. I wonder how the middle-aged, experienced teacher feels? Or the lower class student who might not have access to technology anywhere but school? Why are we so terrified or apprehensive about these technologies? They have supposedly been designed to make our lives easier, so why are they making it so complicated?
The answer is simple. We have been trying to use our outdated method of understanding the world, one that is based in solid, ascertainable facts that can be verified via a trusted book, where facts are somewhat outdated because we have to wait for the book to be published, and fact and opinions are easily distinguishable. Except, we don't live in that world anymore. We live in a 24-hour news cycle, internet accessible, mobile technology savvy, world where our old way of understanding the world just doesn't cut it anymore. It's time for an epistemological change. We need to change the way we understand the way information and technology works.
What does this have to do with our readings? Well, everything. We, as school librarians, have the bedrock of the AASL standards for 21st century learners, which is perfectly aligned with the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS), both of which aren't about specific technologies we use, it's about teaching students how to think and distinguish for themselves. That's the first step in changing our understanding, not limiting ourselves, because who knows what will come down the pipeline next.
The second step, as taken from Pride and Prejudice and Technology Leadership, is to realize that our jobs, as school librarians, is to act as the mediator, which is a tough position. We have to advocate new technologies, but also do what the school/teachers/administrators want. Our role requires constant innovation, but a light touch.
The final step, also taken from Pride and Prejudice and Technology Leadership (and from any other reading you do in Library school), is to keep learning! Keep growing, trying new things, demonstrating inquiry and curiosity to your teachers, students, administrators, and community. Sure, you might fail (no one can predict the future one hundred percent of the time. But if you don't try new things or take a risk occasionally, then you'll never be able to win.


  1. You know, that book co-authoring was the second time I've assumed that the online chat would move to voice conversation ... and it didn't. Weird, huh?

  2. I think we have almost identical titles for our blog this week. You're right, we do need to change the way that we understand information to work. I wonder how we'll go about doing that?


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