Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Saturdays I blog -- and tweet

I used to blog religiously on Saturday mornings.  While not quite so religious about this any more, I have blogged (sometimes unrelentingly) since I started four years ago as the TL consultant for the Vancouver School Board.  My thought is now that, while it was first about mentoring the local TL community, my blogging is bigger than that, bigger than Vancouver but always reflective of the threads and currents of discourse that impact our work and our place in teacher-librarianship in Vancouver.  There is so much to know, in practical and professional terms, so much to think about and share, and to be engaged in with others.  From resources to relevant videos to new tools and educational commentary, I have blogged on.

There is a flow of tweets today from the UBC Northern Voice 2011 blogging conference (#nv).  Seems like interesting stuff and a pretty young crowd.  But their blogs contain interesting content -- way too many other tweeting conference attendees simply emit messages, like "This is great stuff," so you never know what the stuff of the conference or un-conference has been.  I must have missed the brochure, but then mentors miss at least half of what is going on.  It's good there are VSB people there (@maryakem and @audreyvan) so we will undoubtedly get the feedback.

On becoming a member of the Twittyverse, I have to say what intrigues me is that it is something of a flat community.  There are the active ones, the incomprehensible ones, the profound ones, the straight communicators of news, the political ones, and the lurkers.  It's a good place to start, lurking, by the way.  And linking -- you have to click onto some of the "bittlies" to get at the meat of Twitter.

One to follow is Superintendent Chris Kennedy (West Vancouver) who blogs at The Culture of Yes, contributes to the discourse frequently, and comments on the nature of the conversation on Twitter @chrkennedy.  You would add him to your watchlist on Twitter.  Kennedy describes the conversations that include all committed educators.  Administrators, superintendents, trustees, teachers -- geographically disbursed -- share ideas and information both openly and privately without the barriers that hierarchical positioning within workplace sites and bureaucracies can create.  That's what I mean by "flat."  You share others' news as re-tweets, or openly add to the commentary on topics or in groups identified by hashtags (#).  You get to follow and assess what others think is important enough to share.  I am not seeing too much of the frivolous daily activity stuff, like, "Went shopping today" or "Just finished breakfast" that newcomers might expect to find.

Kennedy gets teacher-librarians and their role in relation to inquiry-based learning and leadership for change.  Librarians, he suggests, are more important than ever.  Working collaboratively with teachers, they bring a different and important skill set to the instructional conversation that helps make sense of information.  He gets the importance of teaching for information literacy and for learning to be information literate.  Tech-savvy administrators and TLs have powerful potential to engage and support teachers shifting into optimal pedagogical participation in the new digital environments.  In the blog post "It's not the tools, it's the team" is a slide presentation Leading and Energizing Learning given to Ontario superintendents: check slide 15.  In his recent half-hour Your Education Matters broadcast with Dr Paul Shaker at UBC, TLs are included as is discussion of inquiry, inquiry-based learning, and the significance of teacher professional judgement.  Arlene Anderson's important groundwork with Points of Inquiry at Rockridge is included.  In his role as West Van's Chief Learning Officer, he sees that we are moving beyond technology-as-place (that is, the lab); soon every child will have his or her own personal device, and thus a new learning space.  Students will engage in real-world or authentic publishing; literacy is reading and writing a blog, for example.

In direct "tweets" with Chris, I have appreciated his vision that sees TLs as worthy lead partners with admin in the move to digital literacy.  Schools moving ahead with digital literacy have strong teacher-librarians and dynamic and responsive school library programs.  I for one am happy to have his voice in the provincial conversation.

2011 May YEM from SFU Education on Vimeo.

In Vancouver, we have a small but active community of educational tweeters.  I have a watchlist and I follow trustees @janebouey, @lombardimike, @pattibacchus.  I follow administrator @gmbondi and teacher colleagues @solitaryvox, @zzsu, @aaronmueller, @physicstweet.  I follow VSB tweeters like our superintendent @myphronesis, our district librarian @maryakem and our new District Principal for Learning Technologies @audreyvan.  In fact, I follow over 50 tweeters and about that many follow me.  And so I have been lured from the lurking -- I feel bound to have profound tweets occasionally!  No time for conferences -- too busy with my social networking on Saturdays.

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