Just Because They’re Into Technology

March 21st, 2015



| NAESP via kwout

Just because they’re into technology . . . doesn’t mean they know what to do with it. Thinking about young people’s affinity with being connected and the ever-present gadgets in their hands, it may seem (to some) that familiarity and comfort are the same as expertise.

In many instances of technology use, young people are confident and fearless. They are creative. They are happy with their devices. They are resourceful. They even share. Many students “know how to use technology,” and that’s great, to a point.

However, in a recent article in Principal, Digital Native Does Not Equal Digital Literacy, AASL and school library leaders Ann Martin and Kathleen Roberts highlight a characteristic of today’s learners that you probably know well: the digital environments in which they learn, communicate, and play require complex sets of skills. There are gaps in what students know, some of which they might be able to articulate, some not. Digital natives aren’t automatically adept digital citizens, responsible social media users, expert producers of media, or critical thinkers when faced with a sea of information sources.

In what ways have you observed the limitations of students’ digital expertise? Perhaps students jump into Google searches with ease, but they get a little flummoxed by conducting an advanced search in an online database. Maybe the freedom to choose an application for curating poses a challenge for learners, or they’re not really sure about the differences between saving work to a device versus saving it in the cloud. This article highlights well the ways in which school librarians integrate these elements of digital learning into the broader foundation of inquiry that they teach and model every day.

The thinking, questioning, and collaborating skills that round out what might be more observable (or obvious) behaviors of digital literacy are skills taught in the school library. Martin and Robertson explain that in teaching inquiry, self-assessment, and reading across formats (to name a few areas), school librarians provide instruction that extends across content areas and facilitates highly transferable critical thinking and problem solving capacities in learners.

This is an article to read, bookmark, and share with teachers, principals, and school leaders! Further, it’s an article for you to revisit when you want to focus on the importance of school library programs in deepening and realizing digital literacy for students.

Reference: Martin, Ann M. and Kathleen Roberts. “Digital Native Does Not Equal Digital Literacy.” Principal (January/February 2015). http://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryfebruary-2015-literacy-and-reading/digital-native-does-not-equal-digital-literacy

–Rebecca Morris

Reflect on Creativity with More Creativity

March 14th, 2015

I recently attended the JoLLE @ UGA Conference, the winter conference of the Journal of Language and Literacy Education, an event held at the University of Georgia in Athens. The two-day conference followed the theme: Embodied and Participatory Literacies: Inspire, Engage, Create, and Transform.

Presenters were encouraged to facilitate highly interactive workshops, and throughout the sessions, we were indeed reading, writing poetry, acting, and clapping, as well as embodying literacies through technology tools, like using Youtube Video Edit to add imagery to poems. (I presented a session on digital storytelling through the Youtube video phenomenon, Draw My Life. You can check out my slides at the link below! View the sessions and other conference details here.)

I’ve attended only a few professional events that had such a deep and cohesive representation of its theme, and even in that focused stream, I left with many new ideas, understandings, and people whose work I want to follow. Sometimes that energy of a professional experience is hard to maintain or remember after the event concludes, but in this case, the conference team delivered a reflective digital album to document the event and share that momentum. A screen capture is included above, including a tweet of mine that made it into the album. Here is the link to the album, entitled Jolle @ UGA 2015 Conference Reflections.

The album is much more than a summary of conference topics– it embodies that same creative energy as the conference itself, with conference experiences told through photos, tweets, even poetry.

You might be familiar with the digital platform– it’s Issu, which is the same platform used for archived issues of Knowledge Quest, the publication of AASL. Here’s a look at Knowledge Quest via Issuu:

I was curious about Issuu after seeing it a few times, and it turns out that there is a free version, available here. (We’ll take a closer look in an upcoming post!) Check out the JoLLE and Knowledge Quest Issuu links below.

Rebecca’s JoLLE presentation slides:
Draw My Life: Using Stick Figure Storytelling to Foster Participatory & Digital Literacies – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Image 1: Screen Capture of JoLLE @ UGA Reflections, http://issuu.com/jolle_uga/docs/jolle2015conferencereflections/1

Image 2: Screen Capture of Knowledge Quest, Issue 42 No 4, http://issuu.com/markisan/docs/kq_marapr14_final_tagged/5?e=3075883/7039506

–Rebecca Morris

Apply for School Library Grants from James Patterson

March 10th, 2015


Scholastic Reading Club announces James Patterson’s $1.25 Million Pledge to Libraries via kwout

A big news item in school library circles this week was the announcement of a school library grant program sponsored by James Patterson and Scholastic. The program, featured here in a piece by Ron Charles of the Washington Post, offers $1.25 million in grants, and the application process is simple, requiring a basic budget and explanation of what your school library would do with the funds. Here is a screen capture of the grant application:


Scholastic Reading Club announces James Patterson’s $1.25 Million Pledge to Libraries via kwout

It looks like a straightforward process to apply for funds, and it seems that’s the idea. From the Washington Post article, Patterson says that,

“Applicants just have to state what they would do with the money in 200-300 words. What could be easier? I try not to be arrogant in the sense that I know what’s good for everybody else: I simply ask the question: ‘How can I help?’”

What’s on your school library wish list? Maybe this year’s award-winning titles? Perhaps there’s a nonfiction section that needs an update: medicine, world religions, careers, machines, . . .? Or maybe you’re in need of more “readable” or literary nonfiction to support students’ interests and academic standards. What about well-worn materials that could be replaced, or favorite authors whose titles you’d like to order in multiple copies? Books to support students learning English, STEAM and STEM-related materials, new or classic poetry, good read-aloud titles . . . the list of possibilities goes on.

Gather your lists, teacher and student ideas, and give it a try! Good luck!

–Rebecca Morris