A #FutureReadyLibs take on The New @AASL Standards 6 Common Beliefs

#FutureReadyLibs Take on AASL 6 Common BeliefsThis semester I’ll be taking a deep dive into the new National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians and School Libraries and exploring how those fit into my role as  Future Ready Librarian.

To begin, I’d like to take a look at the Six Common Beliefs or guiding assumptions upon which the standards are based.

For a great overview of how these updated belief statements compare to the nine Common Beliefs of the previous standards, see Hilda Weisberg’s blog post.

1. The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community.

A key statement within this belief is “By providing access to an array of well-managed resources and technology, school libraries enable academic knowledge to be linked to deeper, personalized learning.” Personalized student learning is at the center of the Future Ready framework, and this belief statement recognizes the library’s role in providing an environment for this learning. A Future Ready Librarian “designs collaborative space” and “curates digital resources” to “empower students as creators.”

I want my library to be the “hub of the school.” Empowering students as creators has been of great importance to me, not only in terms of the resources available at the library for students but in helping this to become an Academy priority. I want my students to be creators and not just consumers of technology, and I advocate for this with the staff in my role facilitating teacher technology goals within their professional learning plans.

2. Qualified school librarians lead effective school libraries.

According to this belief, “Qualified school librarians perform interlinked, interdisciplinary, and cross-cutting roles as instructional leaders, program administrators, educators, collaborative partners and information specialists.” This guiding principle recognizes the Future Ready Librarian’s role not only as a collaborative partner in curriculum and instruction but as instructional leader who “facilitates professional learning” and is well positioned to “lead beyond the library.”

Juggling the many roles of the librarian can be a challenge, but I think leading beyond the library is important. I serve as Academy Technology Committee Chair and Future Ready Project Manager. My responsibilities include mentoring staff in their technology professional learning goals and planning Academy technology professional development. I stay current on ed tech by maintaining a strong PLN on Twitter and serving as a Board member and active participant of the Education Technology Association of St. Louis.

3. Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.

This belief stems from the idea that “the purpose of learners’ education is to empower learners to pursue academic and personal success, whether in inquiry, advanced study, emotionally and intellectually rewarding professional work, or community readiness.” This aligns with the mission of The Alliance for Excellent Education, the organization behind the Future Ready movement. The Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that all students “graduate from high school ready for success in college, work and citizenship.” The Future Ready Schools initiative is based upon the idea that implementing “personalized, research-based digital learning strategies” will help students achieve their full potential.

This year our Academy began our back-to-school professional development considering what makes an ideal graduate and what we do as educators to develop this. This began an Academy-wide focus on adopting the essential elements of Project Based Learning. This shift to inquiry-based learning has been a opportunity for me as the information specialist to serve as a resource to staff and students.

4. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency.

Along with utilizing “motivational reading initiatives” and using “story and personal narrative to engage learners,” this guiding principle also recognizes the role of the Future Ready Librarian to ensure “up-to-date technology and digital and print materials that include curated open education resources.” OER is a big push within the Future Ready movement.

Meeting the independent reading needs of my students and fostering their love of reading is a major focus of my library and our LFLA Reads program. I have not been as focused on OER, but I know that the #GoOpen Missouri Education Initiative has some great resources.

5. Intellectual freedom is every learner’s right.

A key statement within this belief is “Learners are expected to develop the ability to think clearly, critically, and creatively about their choices [in what they will read, view or hear], rather than allowing others to control their access to ideas and information.” This relates to the Future Ready Librarians role not only in providing access to information, but in guiding students to be informed, digital citizens. Future Ready Librarians also serve as “advocates for student privacy.”

I am excited to be attending Dr. Kristen Mattson’s METC18 preconference session “Digital Citizenship: Moving Beyond Personal Responsibility,” which will be focused on empowering students as members of digital communities.

6. Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available.

According to this guiding principle, “Education leaders and policymakers should strive to provide sufficient  access to up-to-date, robust technology and connectivity. An effective school library plays a crucial role in bridging digital and socioeconomic divides.”  According to the FRL framework, a Future Ready Librarian “ensures equitable digital access.”

At my high poverty, Title I school, this is a huge issue. Since I came to the Academy as Library Media Specialist six years ago, I have been an advocate for improving our infrastructure, technology support, the number of devices and the quality of technology professional development. We now participate in E-Rate, have increased technology support from 10 hours per week to 30, have more devices thanks to switching from laptops to less expensive Chromebooks, have adopted Google Suite for Education, and use the SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition) model as a framework to improve technology integration. Yet, my students still experience barriers to access at home. In a recent survey of our high school students only 37% have a computer at home with reliable internet service, creating a “homework gap.” I am currently working on a partnership for next year that will bring Chromebooks to the library that are available for students to checkout overnight.

 

 

 

 

Protocols for Effective Student Feedback in @GoogleDocs

During Plan Smarter, Not Harder with Edu-Protocols, Jon Corippo (@jcorippo) shared lesson design advice as part of #DitchSummit, a free digital conference from Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) author of Ditch That Textbook. One of the things Matt and Jon discussed was protocols for helping students become stronger writers. Having been an English teacher before I became a librarian, this is a topic near to my heart, and I believe using Google Docs effectively is one of the best ways to grow writers. In fact, it’s something I often present at conferences, so I thought I would turn my presentation into an infographic to describe what I think are the best workflows. Enjoy!

 

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I’m recommitting to my #gratitude180 #happinesshabit thanks to #DitchSummit Day 2

I started this school year with a simple idea. Inspired by a TED Talk from Shawn Achor (), The Happy Secret to Better Work, I worked to retrain my brain to scan for the positive by tweeting out 3 things every work day for which I was grateful. I used the hashtag #gratitude180 because there are roughly 180 days in a school year, and I liked the connotation that one could do a 180 degree turnaround in attitude by focusing on the positive.

I tweeted faithfully for 21 days. And, I will say, it was the most positive start to a school year I can remember. But, then I quit. And, I’d been feeling bad about it ever since.

That is, until I watched the Day 2 video for #DitchSummit, a free, online conference.  Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) author of Ditch That Textbook interviewed Kim Strobel (@strobeled), education consultant and happiness coach about The Science of Happiness for Teachers and Students.

As I watched Kim talk about the science behind happiness, it felt like I had been on the right track. So, where did I go wrong? Then, as Kim was talking about perfection, it hit me. I realized that tweeting everyday had become more about keeping up a perfect record of gratitude tweets than the gratitude itself. As Kim pointed out in her #DitchSummit talk, “social media magnifies the pressure of being everything to everyone.” I needed to give myself permission to be imperfect. Kim suggested a technique from Brene Brown (@BreneBrown), author of The Gifts of Imperfection. Brene says you should write yourself a permission slip on a post-it, giving yourself permission to be imperfect in whatever way you need.

So, here’s mine.

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I also realized that I might need to take my gratitude journal a little more private. This was part of why I had been feeling bad. I had run into a former colleague who made a comment about how much I tweet, and I had started to worry that I was clogging up my followers’ Twitter feeds with gratitude tweets that were probably only meaningful to me.

According to Kim, “The human brain has 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day and on average 80% are negative. 95% of the negative thoughts are on repeat throughout the day. We
need to find ways to break this cycle.”

I had let a negative comment about my tweeting play on repeat in my head and suddenly #gratitude180 was backfiring. I was letting cynical win.

So, I’m recommitting today to my #happinesshabit.

To Achor’s original suggestions–

  • Make a list of three positive things from your workday
  • Journal about one of those things in order to relive the memory
  • Start your day off the next day by writing a thank you email or note expressing your gratitude to someone

I’m adding some of Kim’s ideas–

  • Write yourself imperfection permission slips on post-its
  • Have a phrase or mantra that affirms your values (could also be on a post-it) that you go back to throughout the day
  • Take 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted time in your day that is just for you
  • Be mindful to keep your cup overflowing and only give away “the excess” so you don’t deplete yourself
  • Scale back and play more

I’m also going to start using the hashtag #gratitude180 again, but this time I will use it a little more selectively.  I’ll share my progress in my journey toward a #happinesshabit and share great ideas I hear to extend the gratitude. I invite you to join me! And, I encourage you to checkout #DitchSummit for more info about this topic and the rest of the great PJ PD you’ll find!

 

10 Questions to Ask to Evaluate a Tech Tool #DitchSummit Day1

Today is day one of #DitchSummit, a free digital conference from Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) author of Ditch That Textbook. Today’s guests, Tanya Avrith (@TanyaAvrith) & Holly Clark (@HollyClarkEdu)are talking Technology and Pedagogy. We want to have strong pedagogy behind our edtech choices.

So, in response, I thought I would share 10 questions I ask when I am evaluating a new tech tool to decide if I want to integrate it.

Questions to Evaluate tech

What student outcome will this tool help you accomplish? If you aren’t starting with this question in mind, then don’t bother to read on! We never want to use tech for tech’s sake. Evaluating any ed tech tool should always start and end with this question.

Is it well designed and intuitive for the user? If Steve Jobs were still alive, would he approve of the way the tool is designed? We never want the Learning Curve > the Payoff of using it. As Holly said today in the #DitchSummit, it’s about simplicity. You want to use tech tools that are simple and easy to use, so your students can quickly go to a tool and use it.

Does it have guides, tutorials, help sections or tech support for you to contact? Even if a tool is pretty intuitive, we still may questions when learning to use it. How helpful have the makers made it to find answers to those questions?

Does it work well or the same on multiple devices? Even if you are a one-to-one school, this can still be an important question. Having a good mobile version really makes a tool versatile in terms of when, where and how users access it. If an app is only available on Apple or Android, it shrinks the user base.

Does it allow for collaboration between users? Collaboration is a key 21st century skill. If my students cannot collaborate with each other or me when using the tool, then it’s usually a deal-breaker for me!

Does it integrate well with other tools? As a GAFE school, I love when students can use a tool by signing in with their Google account, so they don’t have to remember a bunch of log ins. More than that, it’s also great to be able to easily “app smash,” to use two tools together. Matt mentioned an example of this today from Tanya and Holly’s book, The Google Infused Classroom, where students use Bitmoji and the Google Chrome extension Talk and Comment to make their Bitmoji “talk” and explain their thinking on a project.

Does it allow the user to do something “more” than they could without it? Speaking of Bitmoji, if you can’t draw much beyond stick figures, like me, it’s a great tool to allow one to make professional-looking cartoon drawings. With every tech tool we integrate, we always want to keep the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model in mind, to be sure that we aren’t merely substituting with tech but making something possible that we couldn’t have done without the tech. This also goes back to what our speakers on #DitchSummit were saying today about making sure that the tech we use is giving students a way to make thinking visible, to hear from every student in the class and have them share their learning. As Matt said, these are the “Superpowers” of edtech in the classroom that allow us to take learning to the next level.

Does it offer advantages over a similar product you are already using? I love Schoology, but many teachers at my Academy were already using Edmodo when I came to the school six years ago, so I really had to weigh the benefits of introducing a new platform. Now, both of those learning management systems have been supplanted with Google Classroom for us as we became a GAFE school. It’s not to say that you have to be using the same tech tools as everyone else, but I also think you don’t always want to jump on the bandwagon of the newest tool just because it is new.

Is it free, low cost, or at the least, offer a free trial? If it’s not free is it worth the expense? I don’t know about you, but we don’t have a huge tech budget, so if I can find a tool that is free or “freemium” (free version with paid premium version available), I am usually going to pick that over a tool that costs money. A tool really has to be offering something I can’t get anywhere else before I am going to shell out $$$.

What can students create with this tool? If the answer is “nothing,” then this is probably not the tech tool for me and my students. I want my students to be creators not just consumers of technology. So, I will always favor the tools that allow students to actively create something rather than just being passive users. It’s important for educators to prioritize these higher level uses of tech if we want to prepare them to be future ready graduates.

A final thought from Matt Miller about choosing the right ed tech tools: “There’s so much out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but only grab hold of the things you think can really move the needle for learning in your classroom.”

Best #BacktoSchool EVER thanks to my #Gratitude180 #HappinessHabit

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The beginning of the 2017-2018 school year has been my best back to school ever, and I think a lot of the credit for that goes to the #happinesshabit I have been cultivating thanks to a T.E.D. Talk I watched from Shawn Achor, The happy secret to better work. Last Thursday marked 21 consecutive work days for me of tweeting out 3 things from my day for which I was grateful using the hashtag #gratitude180. I chose the hashtag #gratitude180 because there are roughly 180 days in a school year, and I also liked the connotation that one could do a 180 degree turnaround in their attitude by focusing on the positive.

According to Achor, if you want to be successful, you shouldn’t wait for success to make you happy, you should focus on being positive in the present and take time to reflect on the positive experiences in each day. He says, “90% of happiness is not determined by the external world but by how your brain processes it.” I love my job, but in the past I have often let stress or minor setbacks get me down and become the focus of my day. By following Achor’s simple advice, I’ve felt much less stressed and much more positive.

And, I’ve realized I have so much to be grateful for! From capturing little moments like the funny and wonderful things that come out of my students’ mouths, to realizing what a wonderful support network we have at the school, my gratitude is abundant.

So, are you ready to cultivate a #happinesshabit? I challenge you to try #gratitude180 for 21 days, and then let me know if you are seeing a transformation in your work life.

Trending now in #STL #edtech from @ETAofSTL members

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At our Welcome Back meeting for ETA of STL, the Education Technology Association of St. Louis, we asked our members what is happening in their districts and what topics they would like us to cover at ETA meetings this year. Above is an AnswerGarden of their responses.

In thinking about how technology integration can transform learning, SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition) is a big topic to kick off the school year, and one that my Academy has been using to frame our technology pd. Many ETA member districts participated in a summer #METCpd SAMR institute sponsored by Edplus.  They brought in Dr. Ruben Puentedura, who developed the framework. They will also be partnering with the Clayton School District to offer a free SAMR unconference on Saturday, Sept. 9.

STEAM & MakerEd continue to be big topics in the region as well. Mehlville School District opened MOSAIC this year, a new school of innovation for elementary students, and Ferguson-Florissant has a new middle school STEAM Academy. South Technical High School has a new makerspace this year, which we hope to be visiting at a future ETA meeting. For those looking for professional development in this area, you might check out the year-long STEM Academy or the new MakerEd Academy being offered by Edplus.

Chromebooks seem to be the 1:1 device of choice in area, with many districts rolling out new or additional Chromebooks including a K-12 program for Winfield, 1:1 Chromebooks at North Technical High School, and Rockwood District rolling out Chromebooks to 6-9 this year. In Ferguson-Florissant the STEAM students are 1:1 with new Dell touch screen fold-able Chomebooks.

Digital Citizenship and related topics are also in focus this year. Our next ETA meeting on September 20 at Hancock Place will be centered around Digital Citizenship, Digital Footprint, and Student Data Privacy. Educators may want to follow the lead of Orchard Farm School District, who is hosting a  Teen Digital Citizenship day for their students October 13. METC’s middle school summit on digital citizenship is Sept 21, and Oct 6 is DigCit Day: Moving Beyond Internet Safety .

As always ETA members are looking for innovative and “new big ideas.” I’m excited to join Tierney Brother’s free STL Tech Tour on October 24. If you are interested in joining in, you should contact Dawn Shuler (dawnshuler@tierneybrothers.com).

It’s sure to be another busy year in #STL #edtech, but we hope you will take time out each month to join us for my favorite local #PLN: ETA of STL.

 

#gratitude180 Choose #Positivity for 2017-2018 school year

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By SnoShuu (flickr)

I love my job. I’ve never been happier professionally than in my five years as a Library Media Specialist. I love connecting with students and teachers about books, information literacy and technology. Yet every job has its setbacks, and life and lesson plans don’t always go as planned. It can be easy to get caught up in your day to day work life without stopping to reflect upon all of the positives.

When I saw a TED Talk from Shawn Achor (), The Happy Secret to Better Work, I was inspired.

Achor suggests doing the following:

  • Make a list of three positive things from your workday
  • Journal about one of those things in order to relive the memory
  • Start your day off the next day by writing a thank you email or note expressing your gratitude to someone

According to Achor, doing this for 21 days will create a #happinesshabit that will train your brain to notice positive experiences. But, why stop at 21 days? After all, we have roughly 180 days in a school year. So, my idea of #gratitude180 was born. I’m going to make 2017-2018 all about focusing on the positive and sharing my gratitude.

My plan is to tweet my three things using the #gratitude180 hashtag, to write a quick, private journal entry about one of those things (or at least take some time to mindfully relive the experience if not in writing) and to start off my next work day by thanking someone for one of my three things from the previous day. I will also periodically take one of my journal entries and turn it into a blog post when I have something I want to share.

I’ve already started! Since I worked 3 days for summer registration last week, I used those days as a trial run. It really made me happy when my staff email thanking our maintenance department for how hard they work in the summer getting the building ready started a chain reaction of kudos from other staff.

So, I invite you, my fellow educators, to join me in tweeting your #gratitude180. Let’s make 2017-2018 all about #SpreadingPositivity