I was so very very fortunate to be elected as the Texas Library Association (TLA) President for 2002-2003. The opportunities afforded me through that experience opened up many new experiences in what could be accomplished with technology in Libraries. Ultimately, my presidency lead me to be invited to the first School Library Journal (SLJ) Summit in New York in 2006. That was when the whole web 2.0, social networking concept began to became clear to me and its potential impact on students and Librarians.
Actually, the first SLJ Summit reminded me that we must understand from wince the students come. Joan Frye Williams gave a great presentation on what students want and need these days. One important point was that in order to have credibility with our students we must understand their information retrieval devices before we can teach them ours (their iPods our databases, etc…). Another thing I learned was about the $100 computer. That opened up new thinking about computers and what they could do and how they could be used. I still am impressed with the concept of one computer connecting to the Internet through another computer instead of having to go directly to the network.
The next SLJ Summit was another “pulling things together” experience in Chicago. We all spent hours talking about blogs and wikis and more web 2.0 stuff. By then sites full of web 2.0 tools began to spring up. Then came the 23 Things and the rest as they say was history.
We have successfully turned 23 Things into a plethora of training opportunities. We are probably over a 1000 users by now and the biggest advantage to the 23 Things concept is that the teachers and Librarians and administrators come back to us and tell us how much more comfortable they feel with technology. Once that hurdle is jumped then technology can really begin to be integrated into the curriculum in a way that allows students to use technology to think and create and share in the 21st Century mode.
Here is our pudding (as in the proof is in the pudding):
So, we do not quite have Star Trek Holo-decks yet in education but it wont be long (see Second Life and Reaction Grid and an enthusiastic Librarian named Mary Miner if you don’t believe me).
I can safely say that my vision of what education could be back in 1979 has come to fruition with the help of exemplary co-workers like Liz Philippi, Vaughn Branom, 38 wonderful Spring Branch Librarians, a visionary curriculum leader Jennifer Blaine and a bunch of others from who I have learned and who I will miss.
It has been fun!