Futurecasting Information Technology

What does the future of information technology look like?

Advancing Cultures of Innovation

What I have seen in the library and information science profession since I have been in it is an embracing of the notion of innovation.  As institutions and individuals we are looking to create sustainable, ingenious methods to engage and stimulate the communities we serve.  Now, I get to take that mentality from the public library sphere and shift it towards the education realm.  What I see is the continuing trend for us to work on instilling a culture of innovation in the practice of learning and in stimulating the minds of our students to engage in their communities.

We are taking education formally outside of the building and moving it into the actual real world, but due to the shifts in our technologically advanced world we must be mindful of best practices in regards to student and teacher safety and professionalism.  This is where our training comes best into play because we can help other educators bridge the gap between engaging in real world projects and doing so safely.

Advancing a culture of innovation, for me, also means that our students will be taking back ownership of their learning.  I enjoyed the mention of the teacher becoming more of a guide and mentor than the sole focus in the classroom (Freeman, et al, 2017) ; and I think as information professionals this is a characteristic we are used to nurturing.    The Hour of Code event, is a wonderful opportunity to expose our student to an innovative way of thinking that they can use to translate to other areas of their lives.  Another idea is prototyping, brought up by school librarian Todd Burleson (Sullivan, 2016), as a way to engage students in creating solutions to real world problems.

I like that I know now where to look for quality information on the particular trends going on in education and technology, and can communicate that information to my administration and fellow educators in ways they can have easy access to and be able to understand and incorporate in their curriculum.  Maybe it’s the cultivated curiosity I have or the nature of enjoying learning, but I am looking forward to seeing where our profession goes; and understanding that I will need to be flexible in my outlook and help our students and educators be flexible in their thinking so that we can all learn how to embrace being innovators.


Freeman, A., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., and
Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K–12
Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Sullivan, B. (2016).  Librarians share their predictions for education trends in 2017.  Oom Scholastic Blog.  Retrieved from:  http://oomscholasticblog.com/post/librarians-share-their-predictions-education-trends-2017

Mixed Reality and Libraries

Welcome to Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality is the new term coined by devices combining the elements of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to create a different type of interface that uses both elements.  One of the devices that promotes this type of use is the HoloLens from Microsoft.

The actual gear for the HoloLens is currently out of stock for individual purchase, but commercial purchase  puts the product at the lofty price of $5,000.00, but that includes the software necessary to create content for the HoloLens.

HoloLens Apps from Microsoft

The first app that I really liked with the HoloLens tool was actually the Vyzn app because it was a way to collaborate on 3-D content.  I thought this type of app would be wonderful when students may need to create community models with more than one person-  or a different type of 3-D project that takes more than one individual.  The app is available for free from Microsoft.com.

According to their website:  “Zengalt Vyzn lets you create and run augmented reality (AR) applications quickly and easily without requiring any specialized programming expertise. No need to use Unity or Visual Studio. With Vyzn, you can build highly immersive and interactive scenes that run on HoloLens. For example, you can build an interactive hologram of a machine tool to train operators, or overlay your NavisWorks model with the construction site to detect conflicts. Vyzn makes it easy to turn your existing 3D Content/vyzn_assets into a multi-user HoloLens presentation and add interactions such as animations, views, spots, movable and floating objects, labels, voice-overs and more. Vyzn does not require specialized expertise beyond 3D editing skills and you can design the experience in a 3D editor of your choice.”

I know for our second graders, they have to create communities (college, urban, suburban, or rural) over the course of the school year, and I thought this particular app would allow the students to collaborate on creating their unique environments in a more technological environment so that they could interact with their mixed reality community and add details that would be missing from a paper and cardboard model.

As Cynthia Cassidy mentioned in the Meyer (2017) article, collaborative projects are key to helping incorporate AR and VR (or mixed reality) tech into the classroom in a functional manner.  It’s key to choose simulations that are short enough to fit during one class period, that offer a challenge or problem to help stimulate critical thinking, and that have controls which are easy for students to learn quickly.  The Vyzn app could be such a tool for older students.

There are other websites that expound on the variety of other apps available through the HoloLens device that are educationally oriented.  Microsoft offers a selection of their current apps designed specifically for education here.  The following video is a demonstration of the HoloStudy app available through the HoloLens.

For those who are looking at how this type of technology can help with secondary education, there’s a blog through Bryn Mawr college that gives links to great resources and initiatives of how they are incorporating this technology in a variety of their programs.

Another really great website is the Mixed Reality for Education site.  The following video is a great TEDx talk AmsterdamED from Beerend Hierck advocating for mixed reality for more active learning for their medical students.

VREdTech also has a great post explaining how the HoloLens is being used in education.  Although the majority of these posts show the work being done in secondary education, this type of technology has potential to be used in a variety of classrooms of all ages.  Some tweaking will need to be done to help offset the complaints of headaches, dizziness, etc from our current technology; but the outlook seems promising for the use of such tools in our libraries during the course of the coming years.

What this type of tool does is bring the abstract concepts of practical knowledge forward in a way that allows students to actively participate in the learning experience.  As librarians, we can use this type of tool to help supplement our students’ experience in the classroom so that we can fully integrate our role of being curriculum supporters whether it be in helping by creating collaborative environments using the technology or by creating a more interactive environment in our libraries utilizing apps available in tools like HoloLens.


Blended Learning in the liberal arts. (2018).   Educational Technology Services Canaday Library.  Retrieved from:  http://blendedlearning.blogs.brynmawr.edu/educational-applications-for-the-microsoft-hololens/

Goerner, P. (2016). Augmented reality. What’s next?. School Library Journal, 62(9), 19-20.

Kevin M. (2018).  How microsoft hololens is being used in education.  VREdTech.  Retrieved from:  https://vredtech.com/blogs/news/how-microsoft-hololens-is-being-used-in-education

Massis, B. (2015). Using virtual and augmented reality in the library. New Library World. 116 (11/12).  796 – 799. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/NLW-08-2015-0054

Meyer, L.  (2017).  Virtually There:  Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones.  School Library Journal.  Retrieved from:  https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=virtually-kids-using-vr-explore-worlds-create-new-ones

Stott, L. (2018).  Hololens mr apps for education.  Microsoft Faculty Connection.  Retrieved from:  https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/uk_faculty_connection/2018/02/28/hololens-mr-apps-for-education/


MakerSpaces: Agency, Authenticity, and Audience

What I Thought I Should Talk About

Initially when I began this week’s assignment I just knew I’d use something from the blog I’d stumbled upon during the Digital Curation assignment:  Renovated Learning by Diana Rendina.

As informative and practical-minded as I find her blog about creating and maintaining maker and collaborative learning spaces (she has a very informative view of using whiteboards that I find absolutely vital to creation projects of all types), I knew I needed to traipse across the world wide web in search of something a bit more….socially useful especially after reading the convincing arguments of Angevine and Weisgrau (2015) in regards to 3 key concepts when looking at the purpose of STE(A)M and Makerspaces:  Agency, Authenticity, and Audience.

What Really Inspired Me

Meet Digital Promise, a blog that is a conglomeration of education leaders, researchers, and technology developers who work to provide educational experiences, opportunities, and training to close the digital learning gap that exists for many of our students.

The article that had caught my attention was, “Student Makers Create Solution for Kids in Need.” This particular article struck the cord of:  Agency:  a student made their learning intimately personal and unique, Authenticity:  a student was able to engage with work in the community in which they live, and Audience:  by considering who the project was being created for, these two particular students were able to contextualize the place of their creation and their own place in being facilitators of this creation in the wider society they live in.

The students had access to what is called a Learning Studio (put together through a joint effort of HP and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom initiative) that came equipped with a 3-D printer and a variety of other materials.  Basically, Quentin Ellis came upon a young girl at his church who had lost her arm to disease and was having problems adjusting to her new prosthesis.  With the help of another student partner (Lucas Bacon), they were able to create a Lego-like kit where children could participate in the creation of a prosthesis that was functional and not intimidating while educating the children on the process on how to use the custom-made device.

From our variety of resources, lectures (thank you, Dr. Moorefield-Lang), and articles this week, we do know that 3-D printers are pretty standard in many makerspace areas thanks to technology grants.  So having students engage with their peers in the community who have such unique needs and provide them with an opportunity to participate in projects similar to this is a wonderful idea.  It allows both the creator and the person in need to become collaborators in projects that are meaningful and practical for all involved.  For me, this article actually worked beautifully in illustrating how sticking with those three essential concepts when looking at these challenge-based learning opportunities (you can thank Digital Promise for the change in terminology) moves education forward from an isolated classroom setting into the practical applications in the real world.

How does this apply to libraries?

Dr. Moorefield-Lang mentioned (and I remember touring Richland after they implemented the new teen makerspace areas on the main floor of the library) that RCPL has a 3D printer.  Now, this is a public space…  but I am a public librarian, and my programming heart says:  “If my school that is local in Richland county could not afford our own 3D printer in our makerspace, why not ask to coordinate with our local public libraries and look at collaborating with unique community groups to create practical projects?”  As Angevine and Weisgrau (2015) said:  “creating sharable artifacts is a compelling way to learn anything.”

Most of our middle and high schools (and elementary schools) have clubs that meet afterschool.  Partnering with our fellow library science professionals (and other community members) to give our students a challenge to create projects for would give a purpose and an automatic authentic audience for the students’ creations.  Interestingly enough, Quentin mentioned that his first prototype of the lego-like hand prosthesis was made out of balsa wood, glue, and tape.  There are low-tech options for such unique creations, but taking the extra time to reach out to our community members to help our students learn practical skills in engineering, computation, and design…  would be a phenomenal boon to the entire educational experience for all involved.

The key would be in having our students document their process:  both in thinking and creation so they can see their steps and assess their own methodology for streamlining their procedures for the future.  In this instance, we act as facilitators for other presenters and community members to help engage and interact with our students.


Angevine, C. and Weisgrau, J. (2015).  Situating Makerspaces in Schools.  Retrieved from:  http://hybridpedagogy.org/situating-makerspaces-in-schools/.


Britton, L.  (2012).  The makings of maker spaces, part 1:  space for creation, not just consumption.  Retrieved from:  http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/10/public-services/the-makings-of-maker-spaces-part-1-space-for-creation-not-just-consumption/.

Moorefield-Lang, H.  (2018).  Makerspaces 761.  Retrieved from:  https://youtu.be/BBsEHD0XE6E

Rendin, D.  (2015).  3 way whiteboards can make your space more awesome.  Retrieved from:  http://renovatedlearning.com/2015/06/01/whiteboards-for-the-win/.


The Truth About Cyberbullying

From Visually.

Cyberbullying is definitely not a new trend when it comes to our increasing digital age.  I think what struck me first, when doing the readings for this week, was in Jon Ronson’s interview video for “Wrath” on The Seven Digital Sins website when he spoke about how people who engage in cyberbullying feel offended when the person they are degrading actually responds to their post, and the entire idea is, “I have had no voice so I’m using the internet to speak out against you now.  How dare you talk back to me.”  This resonated quite a bit with how it appears in our digital age.  As if there is a freedom that is mandatory in being able to criticize anyone, and those we criticize should never be allowed to respond.

The Faucher et al (2015) article, also illustrated how the bullying progresses from K – 12 to Higher Education until it moves into the workplace.  Yet, I will hazard to say that this type of insidious behavior has been occurring for a very long time.  What is necessary is to demonstrate to our students that we live in a connected world where our behavior is on view for everyone to see.  It is our responsibility to act with respect in every aspect of our lives whether they be in person or online because what we do matters.

I had a colleague who would conduct a Social Media seminar for high school seniors, and would talk them through what happens when they make certain posts online.  Colleges and universities will look at a student’s online presence, and that can weigh in on whether or not that student is accepted into that school, for certain scholarships, and sororities/ fraternities.  How we present ourselves matters.

I think having our students participate in a program like the, Digital Citizenship Project (Orech, 2012) would be a boon because it illustrates to our students how everyone can be connected in our digital age.  I especially like the example of the high school mentor, Matt, when speaking to Alex and Kathy about the situation and their responses.  It’s funny to see how we can be justified in our anger at injustices (Kathy’s response to Alex’s story of cyberbullying), but also still be part of the problem of instigating negative behavior.  I think Matt did a good job of pointing that out to both students, and it’s not often we point out how those reactions we have to the bully and bullying can be just as harmful as the original incident.

I think our key response to teaching about bullying and cyberbullying is to offer the resources available from sites like Shippenburg Univeristy Ezra Lehman Memorial Library Special Topics on Bullying and Cyberbullying , and work on building up safe space networks  and programs in our building like the CDC mentions on their website about Bullying research.  This ties in to having our libraries be safe spaces for our students:  both the bully and the bullied so that our spaces can be neutral territory where perhaps constructive conversations can begin.  This is also how the Social Empathy curriculum can help gain traction and shift the narrative.  Common Sense Media has a great area with a wide-range of lessons on Digital Citizenship that would provide great resources for us to utilize in our classrooms, and help engage with our teachers and students during professional development days or collaborative learning environment times.


Bradshaw CP. Translating research to practice in bullying prevention. American Psychologist. 2015; 70(4): 322-32.

Faucher, C., Cassidy, W., & Jackson, M. (2015). From the sandbox to the inbox: Comparing the acts, impacts, and solutions of bullying in k-12, higher education, and the workplace. Journal Of Education And Training Studies, 3(6), 111-125.

Gladden RM, Vivolo-Kantor AM, Hamburger ME, Lumpkin CD. Bullying Surveillance Among Youths: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data ElementsVersion 1.0. Atlanta, GA; National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Education; 2013.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2016. Available from http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/BCYF/Science_on_Bullying/index.htm.

Orech, J. (2012). How it’s done: Incorporating digital citizenship into your everyday curriculum. Tech & Learning, 33(1), 16-18.

Weinstein, Emily C.; Selman, Robert L.; Thomas, Sara; Kim, Jung-Eun; White, Allison E.; Dinakar, Karthik. “How to Cope With Digital Stress: The Recommendations Adolescents Offer Their Peers Online.” Journal of Adolescent Research June 18, 2015. doi: 10.1177/0743558415587326.

Storyboard That: a web 2.0 digital storytelling tool

What am I?

Storyboard That is a device agnostic web 2.0 tool that students can utilize on their chromebooks, ipads, or desktops to create high quality storyboard type materials that can be used as graphic organizers, story cubes (you can thank Richard Byrne for his webinar tutorial on this), and as  dramatizations of speeches, poems, and plays.

The following video explains how teachers can get started with this particular tool.  For a single user, the lite version is free.  For a teacher who wants a class set (25 users), it will cost either $9.99 per month or $6.49 per month every 12 months after the initial 14 day free trial.  Students can import their creations into a powerpoint presentation or other web 2.0 applications.

How do I use this thing?

Also, there is a great blog by Shannon McClintock Miller that takes you step by step through the creation of a storyboard on the website, Storyboard That.

Evidence that this is actually a useful tool

There is a running dialogue on their Twitter account (@storyboardthat)  that shows the multitude of ways that other teachers are using this type of technological project based learning set in their classrooms.  What I really liked is the variety of classrooms this tool is used in.  I found Latin classes, Spanish Classes, Math classes, and different types of science courses illustrating students engaging in Storyboard That to provide project-based evidence of a deeper understanding of their material.

My useful bit…

What I enjoyed was the practical application of use for this material when focusing on social studies for my primary grade students.  This will be very useful in helping to expand their understanding of their communities in terms of rural, suburban, and urban environments; as well as the make up of their local governmental structure.

The only application I enjoyed of this particular tool was in expanding the understanding of the informational text structure.  My students are struggling with identifying main idea and details, and this application would provide a different (visual) method of understanding informational text and supporting evidence.

Davis and Morgan (2012) mentioned that the act of creating animated cartoons (or in our case, visual storyboards) would allow students who are struggling readers be able to express their comprehension of texts using this method by retelling the story and explaining key ideas in the text.

I also enjoyed Richard Byrne’s webinar, and thought it was very informative on the unique ways to get more out of StoryboardThat in the classroom especially with our younger readers.

Useful Links


Davis, E.R. and Morgan, J.M., Mailenburg, L.Y. (2012).  Animated cartoons!  Using animation and cartoon technology to improve learning. pp.3584—3588.

Moorefield-Lang, H. (2014). An exploration and explanation of device agnostic tools. Library Media Connection33(1), 8-9.

Valenza, J. (2015). Evolving with evidence. Knowledge Quest, 43(3), 36-43.

Valenza, J.  (2017).  Top reasons to use subscription databases.  Piktochart.  Retrieved from:  https://create.piktochart.com/output/4021098-top-reasons-to-use-databases.

Adaptive Technology in the School Library

Universal Design in Learning and the Library

The article from Spina (2017) about how Universal Design would work when designing library spaces and services to include all patrons of all ages was a welcome opening into the creative possibility of change in library design both in instruction and collection development.  Especially when using an iPad was mentioned in helping with accessing catalog services.  So, keeping in mind of using an iPod (smaller hands) for an assistive technology tool, I found two apps that I think will work really well in helping with communication for my students.  I actually want to bring to the forefront two separate pieces of technology unified by a singular manufacturer.



There are two apps that I think are useful from this company in two very different ways for the library setting.  The first app that I stumbled upon was Proloquo2Go.  It can be used on any Apple or Android device.  The cost is $249.99, but it is an application that is meant to be used for those designated as nonverbal communicators.  It spoke to me as a professional because I had an incident with one of my sensory storytimes with a new student who has no way to speak to any of the adults surrounding her.  Knowing that pictorial cards are used with our autistic students, I thought this type of communication app would be perfect in helping our students learn new words and new ways to communicate with their classmates and teachers.

The second app that is also provided by this same parent company is Pictello, a storytelling app that allows users to create stories using student produced photographs and videos.  It is available for Apple and Android for only $19.99.  There are a variety of websites that promote this particular app, and I enjoyed the video showing the app being used by older autistic students.

These types of technologies bring text to life, and allow those who are unable to express themselves new methods that can be useful in the classroom as well as in public.  These apps are similar to the MyTalkTools that I was also interested in, and are featured in the SLIS 761 class blog, Ms. Francis in the Library.

I found the following two blogs full of useful information on what can be done with Pictello from an assistive technology viewpoint:

Glenda’s Assistive Technology Information and more…


Anne’s Blog

Commonsense.org also had a wonderful review on their website about the program.  There’s also a training presentation available from Jessy’s AfterShare Space that offers a great powerpoint presentation and links to the training manual, etc.

From my own perspective, it is vital as librarians that we provide the ability for our users to communicate with us their needs and desires when it comes to what is provided in our communal spaces.  I think these two apps are great at being able to do that both from a teaching standpoint (Pictello) and a basic communication standpoint (Proloquo2Go).


AssistiveWare.  (2018).  Retrieved from https://www.assistiveware.com/

Jessy’s AfterShare.  (2018).  Retrieved from http://learningnetwork.setbc.org/sd6windermere/workshop-follow-up/

Pictello.  Common Sense Media for Educators.  (2018).  Retrieved from  https://www.commonsense.org/education/app/pictello

Spina, C.   (2017).  How universal design will make your library more inclusive.  School Library Journal.  Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=how-universal-design-will-make-your-library-more-inclusive

Universal Design for Learning. (2018)  Retrieved from  https://www,udlcenter.org/

Technology-Enabled Learning: iPOD

A Common Technology Tool

with Unique Uses


An Apple iPod is a common technology tool that my elementary age students are familiar with utilizing when outside of the classroom.  Due to its size and mobility, this particular tool would be extremely useful in the library and in a regular classroom.


First, I love the notion of using the iPod as creating a virtual field trip for my students.  Discovery Education provides virtual field trips to John Deere and Madden NFL which help bring some practical elements (sports and farming are surrounding the students in our area) that bring to life careers and perspectives on those careers that aren’t open initially when you think of working at such places.

A second site to use for curated virtual field trip links is from Common Sense Media these are annotated websites that also state whether the field trip is free or paid for.  I loved this site, and thought it a great way to utilize the iPod as a tool for our students.  This is a versatile service that would enable us to help create unique experiences for our classroom students based on the content the teacher needs covered.  So, a nice, collaborative educational experience that would enable our students to travel without having the hassle of finding funding to leave their area.



Second, WeVideo is a tool where my students can make great use of our green screen kit, and create their own book trailers, book talks, readers theater dramatizations, and morning news show with an easy to use, interactive format.  It does cost money, but at $93 a year for a subscription, it is manageable.

Although the iPod is a common technology tool, there are uses that can be performed in the classroom in a familiar format for our students so there is little adjustment, and it is open to intuitive use.  This tool adheres to the pedagogical perspective listed in Kearney’s (2012) article for creating mobile learning that emphasizes authenticity, collaboration, and personalization.  Discovery Education would provide authentic field trip experiences for my students, while WeVideo would enable the students to create collaborative and personalized technology to share with their peers.

Thankfully, the technology has been around long enough that there are a vast amount of applications available to help our students in a variety of ways.  The iPod can be used to help with the Pixar in a Box storytelling features, too, so it’s a versatile tool that can be handled by our smallest users.  Definitely an item that I would love to incorporate in my library as a station for my users.

What I appreciated in this week’s readings, though, was mentioned in the Green (2014) article is that the technology leadership role was to help classroom teachers create authentic and unique technology-enabled learning experiences (42).


Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips.  Discovery Education.  (2018).  Retrieved from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/Events/virtual-field-trips/explore/index.cfm?campaign=flyout_parents_virtual_field_trips

Green, L. S. (2014).  Through the looking glass:  examining technology in school librarianship.  Knowledge Quest.  43(1).  pp. 37-43.

Kearney, M. and Schuck, S., Burden, K., and Aubusson, P.   (2012).  Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective.  Research in Learning Technology. 20.  14406 – doi:  10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14406.

Pixar in a Box | Partner content |Khan Academy. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar


Virtual Field Trip Apps and Websites.  Common Sense Media for Educators.  (2018).  Retrieved from  https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/virtual-field-trip-apps-and-websites

Online video editor for web, mobile, windows, & mac.  WeVideo. (2018)  Retrieved from  https://www.wevideo.com/

Unboxing Technology Fun with Cathy Knutson

Introducing Today’s Special Guest:

Cathy Knutson, Digital Literacy Specialist

Meet Cathy Knutson, a Teacher-Librarian/ “newly” minted Digital Literacy Specialist from Lakeville, MN who runs a rather fun (and quirky) blog called, “Technology Loose in the Library…and around the school!”

The blog is an interesting mix of classroom teacher collaborations with technology in classroom projects along with a teacher newsletter of new technology that can be useful to help students create their own classroom content.

An Elementary Technology Literacy Blog


The Fun Tech Tool:

Available through Khan Academy

This website is a wonderful tool especially with their “The Art of Storytelling” section that guides students through the methods used by Pixar when creating and pitching stories they want to bring to life.  Considering I like to use the Pixar vignettes to help teach my students story structure, I am eager to see what I can utilize for my primary grade students in helping bring their own stories to life.


What is a Digital Literacy Specialist?

A growing trend across the nation has begun by re-vamping what it means to be a school library media specialist, and along with that is coming a new job title:  Digital Literacy Specialist.

Cathy Knutson’s school district is one of many nationwide that is taking what media specialists used to do, and giving it a new dimension with a greater focus on effective technology use and classroom collaboration.  An article in School Administrator, an AASA publication, states:

Recognizing the importance of school media centers and school-based library media specialists to the success of students today, the Mobile County, Ala., Public Schools launched a project last fall to transform the school system’s library media specialists into digital leaders, coaches and collaborative partners who work with students, teachers and school leaders to ensure appropriate technology is woven throughout the curriculum. (Turner & White, 2015)

Our articles this week focused on the importance of the teacher-librarian being a technology leader.  The shift of Cathy Knutson from a Teacher-Librarian to a Digital Literacy Specialist highlights how the definition at the district/ administration level has changed for what has been an ambiguously defined role for the teacher-librarian (Johnston, 2012).  As teacher-librarians, it has been our role to collaborate with other professionals:  teachers, administrators, and technology instructors to help educate and implement new materials (Smith, 2010).  The shift has not been an easy one to make, but it seems to be making inroads thanks to districts like those in Mobile County, Ala and across our nation.

How does this apply to me?

I love storytelling in its wide variety of forms:  comic books, graphic novels, radio theater, plays, films, and most importantly, as performance art.  I grew up listening to Ed Stivender, Syd Liberman, Barbara McBride Smith, David Novak, Aunt Pearly Sue, Joseph Bruchac, Carmen Agra Deedy, Donald Davis, and a host of others too numerous for my mind to count through the years.

I want to engage with my students so that they can bring their own stories (personal and imaginative) to life.  Nurturing their creative sparks helps our students engage in unique problem solving and critical thinking skills they wouldn’t normally employ except that they have gotten used to thinking outside of the box of a “typical” education through the gifts brought about by storytelling.  We should be gifting our students with the stories, and grounding them in their lives because this will help them to understand themselves and their communities.  Technology is simply another vehicle to use to bring about this understanding and engagement.





Johnston, M. P. (2012).  Connecting teacher librarians for technology integration leadership.  School Libraries Worldwide.  18(1).  pp. 18-33.

Johnston, M.P. (2012).  School librarians as technology integration leaders: enables and barriers to leadership enactment.  American Association of School Librarians. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/slr/volume15/johnston.

Pixar in a Box | Partner content |Khan Academy. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar

Smith, D. (2010).  Making the case for the leadership role of school librarians in technology integration.  Library Hi Tech.  28(4).  pp. 617-631.  Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07378831011096277

Turner, D., & White, M. (2015). From Media Specialists to Digital        Literacy Leaders: Mobile County, Ala., begins a districtwide transformation to support classrooms in effective technology use.  AASA:  The School Superintendent Association:  School Administrator.  Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=37168

SLIS 761: 21st Century Information Literacy

According to the standards created by the Association of College & Research Libraries in the article, Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, information literacy is informed by technology and digital/media.  This is illustrated in an expanded definition of information literacy (p.3)

 Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities                                      encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the                        understanding of how information is produced and valued,  and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

The learner’s understanding of how information is produced and valued is informed by the methods with which the information is created along with where it is shared.  The ACRL standards  explicitly state that the where and how of information will have an impact on who sees the information, and how the viewer will judge the authority of the information gathered.  The P21 Framework Definitions helped to define the intersection between technology, digital/media, and information literacy when they stated as part of the framework how a learner should, “understand both how and why media messages are constructed, and for what purposes” (p. 5).  This highlights, again, how vital understanding the vehicle information is conveyed in can alter the nature of the information and how it is shared.  The following are resources and readings included with this week’s assignment that are very helpful in teaching information literacy.

The game, Factitious, is a very entertaining, and enlightening method used to illustrate how articles found on the internet can be either real or fake news.  It trains the observer to become more discerning in checking sources, facts, and website (origin of information) to make sure the information given is legitimate.  When speaking in their podcast on Fake News & Media Literacy, The Liturgists’, had a wonderful 2-bit rap that came on in the middle and at the end of the show highlighting how gullible we can be when consuming information that we believe is factual, but is actually opinion-based.  I’m actually rather interested in reading the book featured on the blog, The Information Diet by Clay A. Johnson.

As a school media specialist, it is important that we know and understand a wide range of information resources and that we strive to incorporate kernels of information literacy into our interactions with students each day whether that be by formal presentations, casual interactions with students, or providing quality links on our school website.  Our information diet should consist of professional journals such as School Library Journal, Educational Leadership, and select variety (world wide) of news information outlets such as the BBC, Washington Post, and our local news information outlets besides popular culture news information so that we can understand student trends and concerns.

I will admit that one of my favorite sources that can be used to illustrate information literacy for our students is on the http://scdiscus.org website on the database entitled, Opposing Viewpoints in Context.  This is a site that offers links to vetted information sources on a wide-variety of topics and will allow for our learners to look at a range of opinions and material on a given topic without knowing exactly who is for or against the topic until the article has been read.  It is important that we, as professionals, help to guide ourselves and our students along information avenues that provide quality sources and materials for our consumption.



Association of College and Research Libraries. (February 9, 2015). Framework for information literacy for higher education. American Library Association. 3-11.                                                                                        doi: b910a6c4-6c8a-0d44-7dbc-a5dcbd509e3f

JoLT and AU Game Lab.  Facitious:  a game that tests your news sense.  Retrieved from http://factitious.augamestudio.com/#/.

Partnership for 21st Century Learning.  (May 2015).  P21 framework definitions.  Retrieved from http://www.P21.org/Framework.

The Liturgists.  (March 7, 2017).  Fake news and media literacy. Retrievedfrom  http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2017/3/7/fake-news-media-literacy.

SLIS 761: AASL and ISTE: Philosophy vs. Reality

Our current AASL standards begin with 6 foundations:  Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage.  Each of these foundations has four different methods for manifesting the competencies:  Think, Create, Share, and Grow.  Although the ISTE standards are not explicit with those terms as headliners, you can clearly see through our crosswalk that the terminology and ideas behind our standards overlap.  For both, it is vital that we facilitate strategies that our students can become masters of their own learning.  Look under shared foundation V:  Explore under Create for the Learner (V.B.1-2) state Learners  construct new knowledge by:
1. Problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.

2. Persisting through self-directed pursuits by tinkering and making

While the paired ISTE standards:

4. ISTE for Students: Innovative Designer
4b. Students select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks.
5. ISTE for Students: Computational Thinker
5c. Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem solving.

What we see in both is the use of technology, but with the AASL standards, what we have is an encompassing sense of what ‘technology’ is, and is available to our students.  (Sorry, what I see when I look at our AASL standards is an applicability that can occur whether we are in a zombie apocalypse or the EMPs have finally gone off and we have no “real” technology versus…  ISTE’s version of we’re all in the Matrix and have to learn to deal with this reality.)

Collaborator and Create are, for me, the best descriptor standards for both ISTE and AASL technology standards.  The article about being a Future Ready Librarian is one in which I saw the marriage of what were standards common to ISTE and AASL professionals, and watched them expand into what I’ve seen happening in the public library sphere.  Create spaces where growing can occur in a safe, supportive environment not only for the teachers, instructors, administrators, and students; but for your greater community.  In my experience, a school is like a small-town library.  It is important that we reach beyond our walls to bring people (the greater community) inside to grow, learn, and communicate with one another.  My job is to take the raw materials of the community (school) I work in, and to fashion the components of the greater community, parents, teachers, instructors, students, and society in classic STEM style into a cohesive unit that can be decimated into understandable parts by my youngest learners.  This means I have to use what technology is available to us, and that our rural community has available.  One key component in the Future Ready Librarian model is to help build up the infrastructure, and that includes helping to get funding and raise awareness about the lack of sustainability for technology due to outdated wiring (or none at all). (You can’t have the fastest broadband internet with wiring that can barely handle DSL speeds, no?  And if you can’t handle the DSL speeds, what good is that brand new software that has to run on the fastest connection possible?)

So we have to take what technology we have to help move our school community forward, but I hazard to say that we are guardians that need to be mindful of the capacity of our communities for sustaining technological change.   We must help them manage the information and technology.  My work is as an advocate, a supporter, a connector.  That is my profession.  I nurture relationships so people can grow and become good citizens of our world, and I feel like our purpose is to take these broad ideals being laid out in the ISTE, AASL, and Future Ready Library standards and help bring them forth in a slow and steady method so as to insure greater success of achieving our grand ideals.  The Future Ready Librarian fact sheet resembles my own philosophy as a branch manager in the public library sphere (community, community, community…  and “real world applications”), and that might be why I can identify with it so well.  I feel like our best standard is to be the facilitators who help our students’ transition to the real world with the most versatile skills necessary to successfully navigate the reality of our modern world.

The reality:   There are six IT people in my district, and only one member of the school library media department at my school (me). In my school district, I am in charge of my school’s website (content and design).  While I will spend time during a professional development day walking teachers through creating their own websites with our new hosting site; the ISTE staff member is working with us during our PLC times to help teachers integrate Google Forms (or even QR codes) for our primary aged classrooms.  We had little to be territorial about in regards to training.  Also, at my school there is a Technology specialist, and her job is to monitor the students during their time in our computer labs.  In the grand scheme, I am the technology maverick:  I troubleshoot just about every technological issue that occurs on campus, but I am not trained in the curricular programs my teachers have to use with their students:  Ripple Effect, iReady curriculum, Fast Track, etc.  I know I desperately need that information if only to understand how I can help facilitate its use.

Honestly, I find myself frustrated by the lack of reality in my current situation, and the standards presented by both ISTE and AASL in regards to the influence of my position as a school media specialist on school technology and curriculum.  During my initial two years when new technology was brought into the school (or new software adopted by the district), the only input required of me was:  “Please take a look at this.  {insert ten second pause}  Now please train all staff on how to use it.”  If I was lucky I had an hour to prepare for an 7.5 hour PD day.  During our current school year, I am now being asked advice on our school technology plan:  “what are our needs?  Where should we be spending our funds?”  For the first time since I transitioned from being a branch manager to a school librarian, I feel that I understand the needs of my teachers because I am finally (mostly) familiar with their varied curriculum’s; and so I can make better informed decisions about the technological and digital needs of our students and staff.

This is where I know teachers making the transition to school library media are at an advantage in regards to being leaders in technology and education.  There is already a wealth of knowledge of trends, practices, and curricula built into the classroom teacher who will now transition to a technology professional because it means that this type of school media specialist will understand how to best collaborate and integrate ideas with their teachers in ways that they will find more palatable.


American Association of School Librarians. National Standards Crosswalk. Retrieved from https://standards.aasl.org/project/crosswalks/

Future Ready Schools.  Unleashing the instructional leadership of librarians to foster schools that are Future Ready.  Retrieved from  https://futureready.org/program-overview/librarians/

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