Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Fresh Breeze from Kelowna's BCTLA Conference

At the BCTLA Kelowna Fresh Conference in October, the new Points of Inquiry framework document was finally launched after three years under development. The new model replaces The Research Quest and offers TLs and classroom teachers a way of planning a course for students through their learning experiences in the school. Not only can teachers use the inquiry-based reading and learning model with content in their classrooms, the framework offers a way of working collaboratively with students, as well as teacher-librarians and school libraries, to create learning opportunities that fuse curriculum learning intentions with inquiry using an array of resources, technology, literacy goals, assessment for learning, and content, developed in a collegial planning experience. TLs are excited about this. For a downloadable copy, poster, and related working materials, including Michele's video accompaniment on technology and sources of information to support inquiry-based teaching and learning, click here (BCTLA website).

Keynote Dr Jamie McKenzie stirred up "the fresh breeze" and helped us look at ourselves. Teachers and teacher-librarians have been too quiet, he said, about all the things that TLs do. "Intellectual disarmament" -- that was what McKenzie called the act of replacing TLs with aides in these times, and he lamented the tendency of our educational policy-makers and leaders to offer simple words and simple solutions to what are really very complex problems.
We live in an age characterized by the "poverty of abundance," like google results; it is an illusion to think of the richness of information when you can't find what you need. You need to know how to use Advanced Search features and Boolean operators and how corporate affiliations influence search findings. We need to push past topical research and our fascination with gadgets.

TLs have many roles: TLs offer professional development, open new landscapes, and are strong teachers of reading. They provide professional support to colleagues about technology integration and new resources; they are reading and assessment experts; they develop curriculum materials; they coach; they act as pilot, navigator, and sage; they are infotech leaders; they have long-standing roles as archivists and curators of information and materials; in their schools and their learning communities, they are weavers, storytellers, magicians, inventors, and politicians.

Read more about the place of school libraries in the new visions for learning on McKenzie's website: FromNowOn

I also attended a workshop with Carlene Walter called Reading 2.0. She is the author of "50 Ways to Love your Library" (it's so good we posted it to the BCTLA website) and one of two Disruptive Innovators (with Donna Desroches) from Saskatchewan:

As we move towards Learning Commons (or "libratories"), we need to help students both "get stuff" and "do stuff." Digital and print resources will co-exist. New technologies -- docu-cameras, flip cameras -- and resources and tools will require our services, as we help our colleagues to navigate Jstor, Wikispaces, Pageflakes, edublogs, Creative Commons, Flickr, Wolframalpha, bibme, Shelfari, youtube, voicethread, diigo, Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, Skype,, pipl, EverNote, Inspiration, Webspiration, Readability, Instapaper, Glossopedia, Google News, TED Talks, Wall Wisher ... all will need to be mediated for use with teaching and learning, along with all the new terminology. Using the 7 strategies developed by Fountas & Pinnell, Carlene showed how all of these tools can be used to support reading for deep understanding, supporting building prior knowledge, making connections, asking questions, evoking images, determining importance, inferring, and synthesizing. Hmmm! Pretty close to our Points of Inquiry model of Inquiry-based Reading, don't you think! Nice work, Carlene.

Fresh for me was the docu-camera as a daily classroom tool. I so want one. Carlene says they are about $800 to $1000. Have a look at this Educational Technology Network article about Document Cameras in the Classroom.

At the Kelowna Fresh BCTLA Conference, there were tons of "fresh" ideas. That Dr Art Hister was a breath of fresh air all on his own ... and held us all in fits of laughter at 3 pm on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon with jokes and tips on staying in good health. He was the perfect ending to a lovely day. Thanks, Kelowna TLs, for taking us away and restoring our spirits ... and some who ventured thereafter to the wineries were, of course, more restored than others!

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