Digging into databases

Setting the Stage A few weeks ago, our junior English teachers approached me with the idea of deepening their students’ knowledge about how to use databases and other services like Google search tools and Google Scholar. But rather than asking me to give their classes the typical brief overview, they allotted a whole class period, and suggested perhaps a scavenger hunt model would engage students(agreed!).   We talked about what skills they wanted students to get better at, what tripped them up with researching on databases, and how […]

What do you represent?

At a recent district conference, author and consultant Jay McTighe spoke at length about how to use essential questions in the classroom to deepen student connection and learning.   After his presentation, I was reminded of the work that the Science Leadership Academy has done to lead with essential questions, and also musing on Andy Plemmons’ inspiring work last year, documenting his own goals and work through his blog.   All of those things inspired me to think about how our district’s libraries could use essential questions […]

Mindful partnership building — a SXSWEdu recap

In their SXSWEdu core conversation Schools and Libraries Together:  Rethinking Learning, Skokie Librarian Amy Koester and Graphic designer Vanessa Rosenbaum led the audience in a discussion of how to build richer partnerships between public and school libraries. While we might normally exchange booklists, Koester and Rosenbaum urged us to consider deeper sorts of collaborations which impact our community more effectively.   However, to begin collaborative work, we have to be open to the idea that we don’t necessarily know where we are going, but that we will learn […]

Where do we go next with wearables? A SXSWEdu Recap

SXSWEdu is over, and I’m unraveling my thoughts about this year and thinking about the breakout trends for next year.   Watching trends from SXSWi as well as the advent of the Apple watch and other devices, I predict wearables will be an even bigger theme at EDU next year(along with the privacy issues they raise). Beyond the neat In their “Wear to Learn:  Body as Interface” session, Emory Craig(College of New Rochelle) and Maya Georgeiva(Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning)  led an intriguing conversation on wearable […]

Tips for SXSWEdu

Coming to SXSWEdu in Austin next week?  Here are a few tips for dining, fun, and navigating downtown! First, my favorite thing–food.  Austin is a great food city, and there are so many choices that it is hard to go too wrong.  But the recommendations below are just a few ideas to start with because it’s hard to learn on no fuel! Breakfast Breakfast is hard to come by downtown, other than the hotel breakfasts, so if you can get to SXSW in time for the […]

Ice day inspiration…learning from afar

Today we had an “ice day.”  (Although the ice didn’t quite materialize).  So I’ve been at home getting to sleep in and enjoying tweets from the #NCTIES15 conference to jumpstart my day, which is why I love love love that people tweet from conferences. Kevin Honeycutt gave an inspiring (judging by the tweets) keynote this morning, and I wanted to share a few gems because it was so motivational to me(and by posting it, now I won’t forget them!) Personalize!   Kevin personalized his keynote podium […]

Not just about the device — Libraries and cultural change in 1:1 environments

We all know that implementing technology isn’t really about the device, but about the cultural and instructional changes that we need to address in order to change and grow.  Being a 1:1 librarian is far more than about being aware of apps — and far more than just understanding how a device works.  It’s being able to analyze the culture around you, assessing the abilities you need to develop, and being open to a constant climate of change and growth. We need to be prepared to meet […]

Becoming Students of the Network

How can we become students of one another’s learning?   Engaging in our Professional Learning Networks(PLNs) through Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. provides us opportunities to become aware of best practices and gain a lot of breadth of experience.   But even deeper power lies when we engage in a deeper way with those shared learnings. Putting sharing in action At our recent district librarian workshop, I decided to use other blog posts about best practices as our “texts” for further thought and reflection.   Using the […]

What’s PD got to do with it? 10 ways to improve teacher PD

This week I struggled through a particularly ineffective inservice day.   As I sat in the room looking out across a sea of teachers who were just doing their best to endure the experience, I reflected on my own somewhat low expectations over many of my teaching years regarding PD.   Having worked in multiple districts, I thought about all the times I had endured experiences like this week’s. Being more on the delivery end in other schools’ PD  efforts now, I’m more mindful of […]

Big Ideas Fest 2014 — Innovating around education

Big Ideas Fest is a unique conference.   When I first saw tweets about it, even the name intrigued me.   Who wouldn’t want to talk about the big ideas? More workshop than conference, actually, it allows attendees to become artists, idea builders, and potentially, innovators.   The conference provides a mixed format to spur innovation and team building — from speakers to an artist in residence to improv — all combining to help further the agenda, which is learning to use Design Thinking to […]