Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm back ... are you still there?


Hello? Hello? Vancouver here. Downadup be gone! My little local audience of teacher-librarians has been limited by the unthinkable consequences of the onslaught of a little-known new virus. Can you imagine doing our work without computers? Not for circulating, not for communicating across our particularly connected community, not even for working in standard software applications like Excel.

Pending are the deliberations about awards for valiant perseverance and innovative practice, for a willingness to dust off the encyclopedias and hit the books, and for the collective spirit of service delivery Gutenberg-style under the direst of cicumstances. TLs rallied ... and our Maryann ran without hesitation to stem the tide of collapsing circulation due to the faltering system. Not every location has been successfully returned, but school libraries were made a priority for inocculation and restoration, clear evidence that children`s reading and research needs are a priority for schools here. Whew!

Where I work on the penthouse floor of the Mother Ship, technical overtime ensured we were only a little more than three days down. People found lots to do in those 3+ days; at first as a visitor to the building you might not have noticed that all computer monitors were turned off. But the number of phone and personal conversations and small meetings, and focus on filing and paperwork and the FAX machine, even the dying art of writing, not evident at first, would have unfolded for visitors as they moved through floors and various work spaces.

By the third day, I had checked that my Starbucks cards were registered and moved my personal laptop and workload into a jury-rigged office in the nearby cafe. Frankly, with no audience and no computer, it felt as though everything important I needed to pass along was log-jammed in my fingertips.

I blog outside the system but count on those inside to access what I write. Weekly on Fridays I have sent the email (with link) that reminds my TL colleagues to check the blog for the lastest news. Three Fridays have passed now since our return from the arduous Winter Break which seemed, here on the balmy Canadian West Coast, unrelentingly cold and punitive. Contextualize further in the uncertainties of our economic downturn. Then this! One might reasonably ask, Why us, Lord, why us? In some corners, it is rumoured that collective sighs of relief could be heard as the pace slowed, the pressure to move with technology abated, and the focus on reading and basic literacy skills was re-embraced. Then came deadlines for such things as interim reports and groans of despair from schools became audible. Way to go, TL colleagues. You have unquestionably stood up well in the face of trying circumstances. We hope to have you all back soon.
Big News Items

  • From the BCTLA Executive Meeting on Saturday -- we are almost finished a hefty agenda discussing many exciting new developments for us. Hearing about The Bookmark due in early February was amazing. More attuned to developments in relation to the work of academic teacher-librarianship now, The Bookmark will feature articles by Branch, Oberg, Asselin, Doiron, and Margaret Ruurs. Of course, you'll find regular contributors Goldsmith, Savard, and Smith. Word is we can look forward to more in this new direction.

    Also important is the announcement that the BCTLA proposal for a BCTF Inquiry Project was successful and a great group to TLs has submitted applications to be involved. Whoo-hoo! We are awaiting word on an application for a VSB Inquiry into Inquiry project too.
  • POSTPONED: Plagiarism Workshop scheduled for January 27 at Gladstone after school, on the assumption that low registration is due to the local technology crisis ... and besides, with stress of last few weeks, Pat and I are still working on this. What is under development is a new webpage with lots of links, resources, and ideas about preventing, not catching, plagiarism. Stay tuned ....
  • STILL ON: TL Studio 1 (Kerrisdale) this week with Michele and crew. Hope to see lots of you there ...
  • Are you coming? Caroline, Nancy, and I are signed up, I think, on February 3 (4:30 to 7:30 pm) to hear Dr Leu on The New Literacies at the Italian Cultural Centre. For more information, contact Meredyth at $65 includes dinner.

  • Are you getting ready to meet up at Winter Tonic? Thanks for the generosity of the VTLA, all new TLs are being invited to Winter Tonic as guests. On Feb 10 at Tupper, we'll learn about databases, Web 2.0, Linda's puppets, Tiffany's new book, and some great adult reads, then eat and win prizes, as is our custom.

  • Technology Day at Magee is revived under the DLS banner.

    You can now register online for a morning with keynote speaker Dr Jason Ohler from the University of Alaska. Jason spoke here in Vancouver in October as the keynote speaker at the CUEBC Conference -- now non-CUE members can hear The Word.

    Technology 2.0: Teaching for Today and Tomorrow

    Dr Jason Ohler
    Going Beyond Essays: New kids, New Media and New Literacies

    Helping digital kids “write the media they read” in order to become active media creators, not simply passive consumers, promotes teachers’ moving from teaching for traditional literacy to creative and thoughtful teaching for multiliteracies. Why not cultivate students’ new media talents, incorporate art as the 4th R, and use research and narrative to create rich, compelling formats for students’ learning? With student-created media stories and articulate, transformative projects, students can imagine the world they want to create and share their work and talents within the collaborative community of the social web.

    Dr Ohler will also show practical tools and processes that work with new media narrative and digital storytelling projects in educational contexts. These tools are largely free digital or Web 2.0 tools. Consider with Jason questions about media assessment, media grammar, and the role of research-based digital stories and media curriculum development.

    Jason Ohler (Professor, Educational Technology, U of Alaska) is a well-known speaker and storyteller. Having received his PhD from SFU Communications Department in 1994 and recently delivered the keynote presentation for the CUEBC Conference at Magee, Dr Ohler is no stranger to Vancouver. He is noted for the passion, humour and intelligence he brings to his keynotes. Jason has 25 years of experience in the educational technology field; with n eye on the future, he is able to connect where teachers are to their learning and working in the Digital Age.

  • TL Sandbox Session on the Afternoon of Technology Day

    Learning 21st Century Style: School Libraries, Web 2.0 and More

    As a feature of this year's Technology Day we are offering meetings for groups with similar technology interests. These are to be scheduled in the early afternoon so that you can come from Literacy Day or 4REAL Day or Math Day or many other Pro D events on February 20. Ours, the TL Sandbox, is available now for online registration.

    You are invited to the TL Sandbox if you are a teacher/librarian interested in learning how to use Web 2.0 to enhance opportunities for collaboration and working relationships. Teachers interested in and considering careers in school librarianship are also welcome. Here you can meet Sandra Lee in person, find out more about Web 2.0, and hear how you can enroll in a nine-day Online Conference (click link for more information).

    The Online Conference, February 20 to March 1
    Professional Development to Transform School Libraries with Web 2.0

    For just an hour a day, starting on February 20, using strategies for teacher-librarian collaboration, you can work within a flexible Web platform with featured international practitioners to explore the challenging issue: How can school libraries use Web 2.0 tools to engage teachers as well as students in learning, 21st century style?

    James Henri and Sandra Lee, former colleagues at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Education, were recently here in Vancouver as co-presenters at our VSB Summer Institute, The Changing Landscapes of School Libraries. James is President of the International Association of School Libraries (IASL) and Sandra is Information literacy librarian at a private university in Canada. Both teach UBC TL courses online. They are again joining forces to organize an exceptional virtual conference to advance teacher librarianship.

    James and Sandra will bring you a world class collection of web 2.0, and school library, leaders who will work with you in a Web 2.0 environment. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage in flexible online learning about Web 2.0.

    NOTE: Vancouver TLs (and TLs-in-progress) who wish to register for the 9-day conference will be eligible for both a group discount and district-subsidized rates and should email or contact Moira about registering ASAP. Non-VSB applications to join us for the afternoon will also be accepted as online registrations.

No comments: