Insights from Key Readings
Joyce Valenza captures the changing educational landscape in the 21st century in her article, “Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians.” She writes, “You recognize that the work your students create has audience and that they may share newly constructed knowledge globally on powerful networks. You help them see that they have the potential to make social, cultural, and political impact.” As a Teacher-Librarian you has the ability to introduce this interconnected and information rich world to students in a responsible a safe way. It behooves the TL to provide the access to the new and woder ful tools that are available. Valenza articulates this point in her ‘Manifesto’ writing, “Your students create together, They synthesize information, enhance their writing through peer review and negotiate content in blogs and wikis and using tools like GoogleDocs, Flickr, Voicethread, Animoto and a variety of other writing or mind mapping and storytelling tools.”
After presenting access to the information rich world the next step is to try and understand it. This understanding does not come quickly but may be attainable through the use of technology. In an article titled, “How does Technology Influence Student Learning?” John Cradler writes, “ Research and evaluation shows that technology can enable the development of critical thinking skills when students use technology presentation and communication tools to present, publish, and share results of projects.” Students will network and grow with access and understanding of the tools they wield.
The resulting occupation or production of students using these tools is extremely difficult to compute. However, it is almost certain that being tech savvy will be beneficial for students moving forward. The American Association for School Librarians (AASL) writes, “Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs. Today’s students need to develop information skills that will enable them to use technology as an important tool for learning, both now and in the future.” It is clear that becoming information and tech literate will lead to meaningful outputs.
I think fleshing out a well thought out personal mission statement can act as a North Star to keep me focused on my primary objectives as a Teacher Librarian in the 21st century. The creation of my working philosophy of what makes a successful teacher is in its infancy. The added complexity of the role of a Teacher Librarian initially seemed to be very daunting. However, like an enabling constraint it helped to focus my attention to really pin down my Teacher -Librarian mission statement. Boiled down to brass tacks my teaching mission statement is to model healthy living and promote the need and power of lifelong learning. The role of Teacher-Librarian takes the role of teacher and expands the amount of students, increases the need to work with other instructors, and introduces the need to be an advocate for the School Library. Two responsibilities of the TL that scream for a mission statement is the promotion and marketing of the School Library and the vigilant effort to keep up with the evolution of how we use and share information. The selling of the Library program will always have the power of literacy and the debilitating effects of illiteracy to lean on. Moving forward I believe that becoming information or tech illiterate could have the same isolating effect on students. Therefore, keeping up with the wave of educational tools, world communication sites and Web 2.0 tools should be a staple of the TL. So at long last, my snappy TL mission statement is to model lifelong learning and advocate for the School Library as a vehicle to keep up with the ever changing flow of information in our modern world.
Audience and Sales Pitch
When selling the school library I think all the clients should be identified and spoken to. This includes administration, teacher, parents/guardians, and students. In order to get my message potentially to all of them I created a brochure. This may seem a little old school in our high tech environment but it can also be posted to a blog entry and put online. For many that like to see something in their hands in can accomplish this as well. The brochure is intended identify the players and outline the value a library can bring to reading and information literacy.
Check it out!!!