Archive for January, 2011

January 22, 2011

Managing Information

So, I haven’t posted in quite a while.  It’s been a busy year so far combining teaching music with running a library and exploring educational technology.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t left much time for blogging!

I have had the opportunity to meet a bunch of great people and learn so much.  Many of the people I’ve met have been online through a growing Personal Learning Network.  I have a reading list that will take me until my daughter’s retirement to get through and the number of projects that I want to get done are quickly surpassing any possibility of being able to get them all done.

One of the big, nagging questions for me relates to how the worlds of technology and library relate.  It seems to me that both concern themselves primarily with information management.  Libraries are changing but they remain the hub of information access in a school.  True, more and more information can be found online, but libraries continue to house multiple formats that present information in ways that serve different disciplines and different learners in unique ways.  A good library staff knows information resources and can help learners to access information efficiently and evaluate sources.  A good library is essential to the academic success of a school.

The people that I’ve been in contact in the world of educational technology are essentially working with changing ways to access and manipulate information.  How do we engage students?  How do we present information more effectively?  How do we help students to discover the information that they need?  How can we help students articulate their knowledge in meaningful ways through the use of technology?

To me, these two worlds have a significant crossover, yet most of the people that I run into are solidly committed to one or the other – Librarians who aren’t up current trends in technology and how they can utilize these trends to maximize the potential of the library and Educational Technologists who view the library as an antiquated stack of books housing out of date information.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to meet people who are successfully marrying the two worlds:  A high school teacher librarian is organizing a digital immersion program for his school;  A recently retired teacher librarian who helped me to develop a PLN and harness the power of Twitter;  A post secondary research librarian who is developing powerful online resources and is using social media to promote library resources.  These folks have all had a hand in helping my to refine my concept of educational technology in a school environment especially as it relates to the library, yet many questions remain.  As resources become more digital and accessible from anywhere, what role does the physical library space play?  It’s role as a room to house physical media is diminishing, but it’s role as an educational spaces is increasing.  With more advanced ways of accessing information, the need for specialists who can assist in that information assessment and retrieval is in greater need.  As learning becomes more collaborative, the concept of a silent, individual working space shifts.  We all still need quiet spaces to work independently, but we also need places to do group work.  As new technologies emerge, we also need spaces to experiment and coach others in the use of those new technologies.  Students as well as staff require skills training to keep current with research and information manipulation and presentation trends.  These skills are not part of most course’s curriculums yet they are required to succeed in many disciplines.  The library is the logical hub as how to access information is part and parcel of housing the information and information portals.

I am enjoying my quest.  It is far from over.  I welcome any thoughts, comments or questions that will help me on my journey.