in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Posts tagged ‘education’

Freewrite Notes: on being an effective change leader

This morning we heard from a woman who works in curriculum development and implementation on the characteristics/qualities of an effective change leader. Interspersed within the presentation were some group activities that made us analyze our own tendencies, figure out what works, and determine how to build on those strengths and better support our weaknesses so that they, too, can become strengths. We honed in on what we expect a school culture to look like, and how best to support one another in a quest to be a cohesive learning environment.

Below are some notes I took, in snippet form; they are recreated here in the hopes that I’ll continue to reflect back upon them as the year progresses. [Additionally, I’ll likely lose the piece of paper on which they’re jotted, but the Internet forgets nothing].

  • Own your actions, regardless of result
  • Celebration is only authentic when you have something to show for it – don’t build expectations of success before success has actually been realized
  • Sometimes the STATUS QUO needs a WAKE UP CALL
  • The concept of impressive empathy means:
    understanding the perspective which others have
    being able to think “in someone else’s shoes” to determine understandings
    modeling respect even and *especially* when respect is not reciprocated
    realize that behavior is often situational; to change the behavior, first address the situation in which it occurs
  • Practice working against your own distorted brain – by
    practicing humility & admitting/owning mistakes
    create/foster a climate of openness and feedback of the critical kind
    focus on your core priorities, of which there shouldn’t be many – the key is *focus*, after all
  • The implementation dip is real and research bears out that truth – figure out a strategy before implementation to address the recovery period, minimize the amount of time spent in the recovery period, and explaining how you’re moving forward and improving to concerned stakeholders (who may not have the benefit of all the information re: implementation of something new within your school/organization/subculture)
  • Understand that: You will be judged. Judgement does not have to take the form of negativity. Constructive feedback trumps backhanded compliments – be direct and avoid belittling others if you want your feedback to be heard and taken to heart.

Any thoughts? Is it too jargon-y to make sense? Anything that stands out to you as a great idea in the midst of that rambling?


Quick Thoughts on: EBooks/Print Books for Students

I’m reading through this blogpost/article/web-hosted-thing-of-words that discusses the implications of a recent study on students preferences when it comes to reading text, print or digital. I thought others might appreciate it. There’s a link to download the study which the author refers to, for further research, if you’re interested.

I’m finding myself very conflicted (unsurprisingly) on the whole debate, between what I think I need versus what my students need. Additionally, there’s this whole “projecting our own needs or ideas onto our students and presuming that’s what they want” mentality that I’ve run into a few times (and I’m certainly not a fan of it). So! Here’s the link, if you’re interested.

I think this potentially affects all of us, regardless of what age level we teach. I know the high school I’m currently at is straddling this divide and still figuring out what direction to go… what do you think?

A few thoughts on: Twitter for Organizations

I’ll be the first person to admit that I can be a luddite. However, I’m a luddite in my personal life. I’m fully aware that my profession demands that I not only keep up to date on technology, but embrace those technologies which have been proven — or perhaps need to be tested — in the education and information fields.¬†I promise you I get that. But in my personal life… well, I’m one of those people who thinks that it isn’t a real vacation if you have to drag your phone and computer along to get work done. Wanna take your phone so you can communicate with people? Cool. Wanna take your laptop so you can write blogposts in airports at 5 AM? Cool – been there done that. But I really don’t like the idea of technology becoming an appendage instead of a tool… in my personal life.

This is the look on my face while trying to use an iPad. It was February last year, hence the amazingly deliciously green Shammy Shake at my side. But yeah, I'm not known for my iPad skillz.

This is the look on my face while trying to use an iPad. It was February last year, hence the amazingly deliciously green Shammy Shake at my side.
But yeah, I’m not known for my iPad skillz.

That said, I’m taking IST 611: Information Technology in Educational Organizations this semester. So far, it’s been both interesting AND informative. I’m interacting with new things I’ve never heard of – Stixy, anyone? – and testing/analyzing tech that is still in beta mode. Fun! But… I might have a comment to make, and that’s this: I’d much rather experiment with technology to learn it, as opposed to read about it. That’s probably surprising if you know me well — I love reading before doing — but not when it comes to tech. If I’m going to spend an hour or three of my time… I want to emerge with a product – with a satisfactory experience – with a sense of “yes, that’s useful; no, that’s not useful; I’d have to play with it some more before deciding”. For me, reading about technology is just… not that fun.

But I do it anyway. You never know when you’ll read something informative/new/interesting/exciting/mindblowing/mindboggling, after all. A few thoughts on this week’s reading for 611:

When you’re as well-versed in twitter as I am (I have multiple accounts, spanning multiple purposes, and I may have sent upwards of 40,000 tweets at this point) reading about it is almost painful.

  1. The advice to lock/protect your twitter account? Not nearly as cut-and-dry as Linda Braun makes it sound in her article. Perhaps with time (there’s no date on the article) she has changed her mind. My advice, however, would be to have an open account especially if you’re using it to represent your organization or school library. Nothing says “open and accessible” like a protected twitter account! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
  2. But why that advice? Because thus: if your account is open, anyone can go to and read all your tweets. If your account is locked, they need to create their own twitter account (which requires giving personal information) just to request to read your tweets. Is what you’re saying that personal that the thought of it being accessible bothers you immensely? If so, I’d recommend…
  3. Have a twitter account for your organization/library/etc that you use to speak personally and professionally. Respond to questions the way a human responds, for goodness sake! But keep a separate account for your own personal interests, and if you wish, lock/protect that account. make sense?

If you’re not quite up on twitter yet — or you find it cumbersome/too complex/etc — just try to spend some time every day using it. Download a twitter app like Tweetdeck or Janetter or HootSuite, and spend a little time just getting comfortable with it. Your organization/future library may not need a twitter account… but if they do, you can get to work immediately setting it up or taking over the existing account!

One last note: if you want to see how some organizations use twitter incredibly well to share information and handle questions/requests/inquiries/comments, look at:

Wegmans Food Markets on Twitter. Hands down, best example I can give you.

Check out your favorite sports network – The NHL or MLB, maybe?

If you’d prefer to read, pick up a copy of “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk who tweets as GaryVee. Reading that book changed how I approach my relationships especially on the internet and social media… as well as just how I interact with people. You won’t regret it!

On that note, I’m off to read the Junco, Heigerbert, and Loken piece on “The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and Grades”. I’m certain I’ll have something to say on this later… ūüôā

Year 2, Day 1: Quick Reflections of a Library School Schmedian.

Dear goodness. This day came upon me¬†way too quickly. Or perhaps quickly enough. Either way… I can’t believe it. Starting year 2 of grad school. A year from now I’ll be… well, hopefully I’ll¬†be, although where or doing what remains to be seen.

A few quick thoughts, because I don’t have time for a proper reflection (shame, shame):

  • This year will be harder and more labor-intensive than last year. Oh gracious… I’ll try not to think about that. But in addition to 5 more classes, I have 50h of elementary fieldwork, 240h of practicum, and a bevy of tests and training sessions and other required¬†hoopla¬†for certification.
  • We students often talk about our ‘learning style’, and then there is the ongoing, never settled debate of “how do you prefer to learn?” when it comes to on-campus/online styles. Myself, I’ve come to prefer online¬†if a flipped classroom approach can be successfully integrated and used. It’s not always possible or likely. At this point, however, I have no choice, as my remaining classes (save one) are offered only in an online format. It made me wonder – what do our professors prefer? Some of them, without doubt, aren’t given a choice either… hmm.
  • I think there must be a mathematical equation for determining stress in grad school. It goes something like…
    Start with number of classes. Multiply by number of projects. Multiply by number of group projects (because they count extra). Multiply by number of group members, total. Stare at total. Gape at total. 
    Divide by number of weeks in a semester.¬†Stare at total. Gape at total. Realize that work is¬†never spaced evenly throughout the semester.¬†Continue staring and gaping. Close eyes, breathe deeply, #facepalm. Open eyes, multiply by Planck’s constant to prove your brain is intact, ignore total. Close eyes again, breathe deeply, and get your calendar and multicolored pens out…
  • I may or may not have already completed the above assignment. On the first day of classes. Yes, that’s a sign of something…

Good luck, fellow library school-ers and fellow schmedians. Carry on, keep the faith, and remember that December isn’t TOO far away. If that sounds too stressful, remember – the Mayans said it’s all over in 2012, so go out with your bells on and projects done!