Fall Forum Scholarship Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Karen Van Vliet, Media Coordinator at Troutman Middle School, in Troutman, NC who has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend the 2010 AASL Fall Forum in Portland, Oregon in November. Karen will be joining other school library professionals from across the U.S. to focus on the essentials of 21st century learning.

We can't wait to hear about her experience! Karen will be sharing what she learns with all of us in this blog, in an upcoming issue of Media Connections, and at next year's NCSLMA conference.

Way to go, Karen . . . congratulations! 

Posted by Ms. Brannock at 1:53 PM

Taking Control of Your Professional Development

With staff development funding cut in many districts, there may be fewer opportunities to attend workshops and conferences. There may be fewer chances that your district or school can cover the costs of registration, travel and lodging, or substitutes. 

But even if your district cannot cover the costs associated with participating in workshops and conferences, it is more important than ever that you take control of your professional growth so that you can be aware of the trends, best practices, and educational policy affecting school libraries.

Attend Our Fall Conference

With the theme of this year's conference -- 2020 Vision: Connect, Lead, Learn -- you as a cutting edge school library professional have the chance to network with some of the national and state leaders in our field: Doug Johnson, Diane Chen, Cassandra Barnett, Deb Logan, Neill Kimrey, Kelly Brannock, Sandra Hughes-Hassell. You have the opportunity to attend over 100 concurrent sessions focused on literacy and reading, technology, advocacy and leadership, and information skills. You have the chance to gather information about purchasing the latest eBooks, equipment, and software from over 50 vendors.

Attend an Online Conference or Webinar

Online conferences and webinar offer a virtual opportunity for you to attend some great professional development without leaving your home or school. Sometimes these opportunities are free, like Learn NC 's fall interactive conference. You can participate in the online version from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 14th. Just be sure to register before October 7th.

If you haven't tried the Teacher Librarian Virtual Cafe, well, this Monday, October 4th is your chance! Doug Johnson will lead the discussion, Changed But Still Critical, about the role of brick and mortar libraries in the digital age. Just visit the TL Virtual Cafe for details about logging on to this webinar.

Read Professional Journals and Blogs

Another free opportunity -- it only costs you a little of your time -- is reading online professional articles and blogs. By following some of the leaders in our profession, you can keep up with the latest trends, best practices, and educational policies affecting school libraries. See our blog roll at the right for some of our favorites!

We hope to see you in Winston-Salem in November, as you take control of your professional growth! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:37 AM

21st Century Learning Anyone?

NCSLMA is offering a $1,000 scholarship to one NCSLMA member to attend the upcoming AASL Fall Forum, "In Focus: The Essentials for 21st Century Learning", in Portland, Oregon on November 5-6, 2010.   Forum attendees will "connect school library programs to current educational concepts now at the core of curriculum, and leave with new insight to encourage, elevate and evaluate information literacy in their programs.

"Only NCSLMA members are eligible to apply for this special scholarship.  Since the Fall Forum coincides with NCSLMA's fall conference, the recipient of this scholarship agrees to attend all sessions at the Fall Forum; this may necessitate leaving the NCSLMA annual conference before our state conference concludes on the afternoon of November 5th. 

The Fall Forum scholarship covers the cost of registration, travel, hotel, and meals.  Approved travel expenses will be paid through reimbursement according to the travel guidelines on the NCSLMA website.  In exchange for this sponsorship, the attendee agrees to share his/her learning with other NCSLMA members by completing the following tasks: 

1.) present a conference session at the 2011 NCSLMA annual conference
2.) submit an article to Media Connections
3.) write 1 post for NCSLMA's blog. 

The article and blog post must be completed by September 2011.  We are eager to hear about your experience and to have you share your learning with other NCSLMA members!

To be considered for this opportunity, please complete the online application & submit it no later than September 29, 2010.  A committee will review all applications, make a selection, and notify the recipient no later than October 1, 2010.  Once notified, the recipient is expected to register for the Fall Forum before the deadline for advance registration ends on October 4, 2010.   If you have questions or need more information, please contact Kelly Brannock at [email protected]

Good luck to all the applicants! 

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 5:15 PM

Why You Should Be Interested In The New Teacher Evaluation Process

An Opinion Piece by Dr. Robin Boltz, NCSLMA Secretary

Last year my district was abuzz about the new teacher evaluation process from DPI. There was extensive professional development on the instrument and an equal amount of uncertainty. When the doors opened this year, the uncertainty was still there. For some of us in districts where library positions are being cut, welcome to our world!

Okay--be honest: raise your hand if you have read (or browsed through) the new teacher evaluation process handbook from DPI. Just how familiar are you with the new criteria that administrators will use to gauge the efficacy of classroom instruction? Yes, I know the PDF is over fifty pages long and we’re all busy. But I’m also of the opinion that DPI has handed those of us in the library a present that should have been delivered with virtual wrapping paper and bow.

For those of you not familiar with the new standards, here are the five main strands (if you are familiar, bear with me for the next couple of paragraphs): 1) Teachers demonstrate leadership; 2) Teachers establish a respectful environment for a diverse population of students; 3) Teachers know the content they teach; 4) Teachers facilitate learning for their students; 5) Teachers reflect on their practice. If you are National Board Certified, or have looked into Board certification, then you’ve been down this road before.

The following quotes directly from the teacher evaluation handbook: “According to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards Commission, the different demands on 21st century education dictate new roles for teachers in their classrooms and schools. The following define what teachers need to know and do to teach students in the 21st century.

1) Leadership among the staff and with the administration is shared in order to bring consensus and common, shared ownership of the vision and purpose of the work of the school. Teachers are valued for the contributions they make to their classrooms and the school.

2) Teachers make the content they teach engaging, relevant, and meaningful to students’ lives.

3) Teachers can no longer cover material; they, along with their students, uncover solutions. They teach existing core content that is revised to include skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and information and communications technology literacy.

4) In their classrooms, teachers facilitate instruction encouraging all student to use 21st century skills so they discover how to learn, innovate, collaborate, and communicate their ideas.

5) Subjects and related projects are integrated among disciplines and involve relationships with the home and community.

6) Teachers are reflective about their practice and include assessments that are authentic and structured and demonstrate student understanding.

7) Teachers demonstrate the value of lifelong learning and encourage their students to learn and grow.”

Let’s pick out some core concepts here: leadership, relevance, critical thinking, problem solving, information and communications technology literacy, innovate, collaborate, communicate, reflection, authentic assessment, lifelong learning. Is it just me or does this language seem remarkably similar to IMPACT and our own MCPAI? My somewhat belabored point here is that many of the skills that teachers are being asked to embrace and demonstrate, and those they will now be critically evaluated on, are those that we are already doing and facilitating.

For those of us in districts where library positions are being cut, the new teacher evaluation is a marvelous advocacy tool. It’s our chance to stand up and say, “ As the nature of information and the tools for its retrieval change, so the position of the librarian has also changed. We are no longer ‘keepers of the books.’ Our role is as positive change agent for 21st century information literacy skills.” In other words, to stand up and say, “This is why you need us now more than ever!”

Kelly Brannock, our NCSLMA President and I will be presenting a session on this topic at the upcoming conference in November. It’s tentatively titled either“10 Reasons Why You Should Be Interested In The New Teacher Process” or “Ways to Leverage the New Teacher Evaluation Instrument to Advocate for Your Library.” If you are interested in the topic, please join us. If you are already doing this, please come to share your specifics with others; we’re planning a very collaborative and interactive session! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 8:47 AM

Racing to the Top: Will You Be in the Clouds?

With the announcement that NC has just received a federal grant for school reform in the amount of $400 million, it's important to understand what this means for North Carolina, our students, and our teachers.

You can wade through the 271 pages of the narrative application, June 2010, if you want to get the whole feel for the proposal: the standards, assessments, data systems, professional development, closing the achievement gap.

But the pages that caught my eye and made me think about my role in this race were pages 27 - 29 of the document. This is where the NC PK-12 Education Technology Cloud is visually represented and outlined. (If you're not familiar with cloud computing, read more from Wes Fryar or David Warlick.)

The K-12 Education Cloud "will be used to deliver statewide access to the major digital resources and tools necessary to support RttT initiatives." (p. 28) According to the plan, this means online resources and tools to insure EQUITABLE ACCESS. It means professional development. It means SHARING of resources across classrooms, schools, and districts. It means Web 2.0 tools. It means digital learning and video streaming. It means CONNECTING.

All of this improved technology supports the four main initiatives of the RttT: 1) standards and assessments; 2) data systems to support instruction; 3) great teachers and leaders; and 4) turning around the lowest achieving schools.

When referring to the lowest performing schools, it was noted: "In addition, it is essential that students in these schools have equitable access to technology and to teachers with the expertise to use it well, to guarantee that they experience the full range of technology uses that their peers in high-achieving schools receive." (p. 29)

Teachers with the EXPERTISE to use it WELL. Are you prepared to be the teacher with the expertise? Are you prepared to work with your fellow teachers to insure that they are experts as well? What do you see as your role in your classroom and in your school in the race to the top?

Will you have your head in the CLOUDS or will it be stuck in the SAND? 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:54 PM

Let's Get Visible, Visible!

In the fall of 1981, I was an avid reader, taking eighth grade by storm, on a mission toward my goal in life: becoming a school librarian. I just didn't know it then.

I could be seen in our small school library, thumbing through that wonderful card catalog. Remember back in the day when they still taught the card catalog -- subject, author, title cards -- and the oh so many skills-in-isolation lessons. I was brilliant at using an index in any reference book. I was a mighty fine almanac user. I was the best map reader in my class, loving the atlas the best. (Look at all the great places you could imagine yourself to visit!) I always had a book, fiction or nonfiction, possibly a volume of the encyclopedia, with me. (Okay, I was a geek!) I was always seen trying to get more information, out of my teachers or out of some book. I was a highly visible student motivated by the quest for information!

I really have absolutely no idea what my middle school librarian did, though. I remember she was nice. I remember she said my name sort of fancy like: Dee-onna. I remember her sitting at a classroom-type desk in our library. Honestly, though, I don't even remember the lessons she taught us, and I definitely never remember seeing her outside the school library.

As a school librarian now, I wonder if this teacher of thirty plus years ago was visible to her colleagues at all. Was she big in her professional association? Was she part of her school's leadership team, budget team, school improvement team, or the equivalent at the time?

Did she move beyond the walls of the media center, do poetry breaks in the hallways, collaborate and team teach in core classrooms? Was she visible in the cafeteria or in the carpool line booktalking with students? Could she be seen at PTA meetings, department/grade level meetings, or athletic events? Did she plan, instruct and access students? Did she facilitate workshops for colleagues, present at district and state meetings, or provide parent resource workshops?

Was she visible to her students, teachers, parents, business community? Was she VISIBLE to her PRINCIPAL?

In her August 6th post, Kelly Brannock quoted Gary Hartzell -- success flows to the visible -- and offered a challenge for us all to SHOW how the school library is essential. If you're not up to the challenge, if you choose to remain incognito in the shadows of school libraries past, then you'll have to accept the consequences of remaining in the dark (job cuts, devalued library programs, lower student achievement).

But if you choose to be VISIBLE, to step up to the challenge, to make the hard decisions and the big changes that will impact your teaching and student learning, then go boldly, go brightly, go BIG and be VISIBLE! 

We're right there with you! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 12:54 PM

Listserv Problems

The NCSLMA listserv will be down for 4-6 hours today while we transition to a new web hosting provider. We apologize for any inconvenience! 

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 9:24 AM

NCSLMA Website Newsflash

On behalf of our webmaster, Deb Christensen, here's an important message about our NCSLMA website:

NCSLMA is transferring our site to a new host server. There may be a short interruption in service in the next week. Our domain ( will remain the same and you should not notice any changes at this time with this switch. Thanks for your patience as we attempt to improve our services. Please pass the word to your colleagues who may not be subscribed to our listserv. 
If all goes as planned the switch will be barely noticeable. Also, if any members have scripting experience and would like to help with the website, please contact me. Good luck with the new school year!


NCSLMA Past President and Webmaster
Director-Elect Region IV AASL Affiliate Assembly
[email protected]

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 3:15 PM

Smart and Helpful!

The countdown is on for the start of a shiny new school year! Are you ready for an exciting year of teaching and learning in a 21st century learning environment?

As I've mentioned before, I subscribe to the NC Teachers Message, a bi-weekly update of news and highlights from the State Superintendent's office. Over the years I've found this to be a very useful source of information. It often gives a heads-up on new programs and issues that would otherwise take time to trickle down to the faculty meeting level -- plus it gives me a great way to "be in the know". It's easy to look smart and helpful with a resource like this in your back pocket! If you don't already, I encourage you to subscribe to this important bi-weekly listserv.

In case you've missed it, here are some important snippets from the latest issue of the NC Teachers Message concerning assessment, Race to the Top, poetry events, advocacy, blended learning, and the upcoming Elementary School conference:

Computerized Adaptive Testing - In the last year, the use of Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT), a testing system that provides a customized assessment for each student based upon his/her level of knowledge and skills, has become a subject of many state and national conversations. As states seek to provide more and better data to enhance classroom instruction, the CAT seems to be a compelling tool. Data from CAT could provide more precise information than traditional tests about which concepts a student has mastered versus those for which the student needs additional instruction. 

The multi-state SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium - of which North Carolina is a governing state - has placed Computerized Adaptive Testing as a central component of its proposed assessment system for the Race to the Top Assessment Grant. If the grant proposal is accepted, member states will have the option to implement the CAT system fully online in the 2014-15 school year or use a comparable paper and pencil assessment. Starting in the 2016-17 school year, all member states will have to use the fully online system. The NCDPI released a report to the Board that discusses the benefits and challenges related to implementing a Computerized Adaptive Testing system in North Carolina. It can be found on the ACRE website under Resources and Publications at

Visit NC FALCON – What better time to visit NC FALCON then the beginning of a brand new school year? The North Carolina Formative Assessment Learning Community's Online Network (NC FALCON), available online at , contains online modules focused on helping teachers learn how to effectively implement formative assessment to enhance student learning. Formative assessment provides the base or foundation for instruction and learning and should occur more often than any other type of assessment. If you haven’t heard how your school will implement NC FALCON, ask your principal for information regarding your district’s and school’s implementation plans.

America's Legislators Back to School Program - America's Legislators Back to School Program, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, will be held Sept. 20-24. Teachers are encouraged to extend invitations to their local representatives to visit and talk with students about the legislative process and what it's like to be a state legislator: the processes, the pressures, and the debate – the negotiation and compromise that are the fabric of representative democracy.

Elementary School Conference Scheduled - The Seventh Annual Elementary School Conference, “Tools for Building a Better Tomorrow,” will be held Oct. 24-26 at the Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh. Conference strands include quality teaching across the curriculum, responsive teaching and promoting global understanding. The registration fee is $150 for NCAEE members and $175 for non-members. There is an additional charge for pre-conference sessions. There will be no onsite registration. For a complete agenda and registration information, please visit

Blended Learning - Learn NC has just published an article about blended learning in its education reference. It explains the characteristics, history, features, and benefits of this teaching and learning method. At the bottom of the article are links to LEARN NC's other blended learning resources, including a guide to implementing blended learning in the classroom, and online courses that teach various blended learning principles.

Poetry Out Loud - The North Carolina Arts Council is inviting high school teachers to become a part of Poetry Out Loud, the national poetry recitation competition for high school students. For the sixth great year, North Carolina high school students will be memorizing poetry to recite in front of friends, family, teachers and total strangers—and teachers are an important part of the program. Students can choose from an amazing selection of poems that can be found online at, along with lots of other information about the project. Teachers who would like to participate in Poetry Out Loud should review the information and fill out the registration form at by Friday, Sept. 17. 

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 6:18 AM

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

It’s tax-free weekend in North Carolina and kids, anxious parents, and teachers are hitting the stores to stock up on binders, bookbags, and back-to-school clothes. The lines are long at the Apple Store this weekend, the malls are jammed, and the newspaper is full of sales circulars. For most of us, school is only a few weeks away. What an exciting time!

On the other hand, if you read the newspaper, The Friday Report, or the State Board of Education blog you learn that North Carolina is among the states facing the worst budget shortfalls next year – a projected shortfall of over $3 billion, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only California and Texas are in worse financial shape. We lost school library positions this year in my district. I hate, in fact I avoid, thinking about what next year will bring. I hear the words, "falling off the cliff" applied to next year's budget scenario and I worry about what this will mean for our profession and the impact it will have on our students.

Now add to this strange mix: a new Teacher Evaluation instrument that emphasizes 21st century skills & knowledge, the introduction of new Essential Standards replacing the familiar Standard Course of Study in every curriculum area (including the integration of information and technology skills), and the possibility of Race To the Top funding with all the strings attached.

What’s your take on this challenging, confusing convergence of circumstances? In my mind it means no more status quo. I’m thinking hard about what it means to model 21st century skills and knowledge. I’m drawing on my PLN to develop resources for 21st century learning. I’m making plans to use technology in new ways to promote collaboration, new communication models, and critical thinking. Most of all, I’m keenly aware that I have to: 1) be on top of my game, and 2) make others aware of my efforts, especially when it comes to my impact on student learning. It’s not enough to do good work behind the scenes. I can no longer acquiesce to the stereotypes about librarians, the warm fuzzy library memories that so many share, and the outdated ideas that the library is just for quiet reading and checking out books. I'm not your mother's school librarian -- why, I'm not even my adult son's school librarian. No more status quo.

This year, a year of profound change and challenge, things will be different. I’m taking some advice from the comments of Gary Hartzell on the Blue Skunk Blog post “Wisdom from Hartzell and Professional Death Wishes”. Hartzell says that success flows to the visible. It’s up to me to show that the school library is essential – to teachers, as a partner in data-driven instruction, to administrators as a supportive model for 21st century teaching and learning at every level, to students as THE place to engage in exciting learning activities, and to parents and the community as the 21st century learning environment their children deserve. Big ideas, big plans, and let's face it -- a big challenge.

Chances are I may not have a adequate budget or an assistant to share the day-to-day work load this year. In fact, I’ll probably be doing more with fewer resources, just like every other teacher at my school. What I DO have, however, are personal resources -- the vision for what I need to accomplish, a commitment to 21st century teaching and learning, the technology skills to support my goals, a great PLN to propel me forward, and the ingenuity to embrace a new kind of practice. 

The new school year is almost here. It’s exciting and scary. The stakes have never been higher, but I’m staring straight into the future. No more status quo. What will you be doing differently this school year? 

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 7:37 PM

Everyday Advocacy: Making a Case for Libraries is Easy with Web Tools

Carolyn Foote has a great article in the latest SLJ on how you can use your web 2.0 savvy as a very effective advocacy tool. Check it out!

Conference Update

The Call to Present form is still available. Please fill out the form on Google docs. The deadline for completing the form is August 1, 2010. Presenters will receive their conference registration FREE (maximum of 2 presenters per session) but must register and pay for pre-conference sessions and other conference meal functions.

If you are interested in assisting with NCSLMA conference planning and preparations before, during and/or after the fall conference either as a coordinator of volunteers or a volunteer in a specific area, please complete the volunteer form.

NCSLMA 2010 Conference Registration Form registration due by 10/15/10
Preliminary Conference Program

Visit the NCSLMA Conference Website for hotel registration and additional information. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 10:22 AM

Arne Duncan holds dialogue with AASL leaders - American Libraries Magazine

Posted by Ms. Brannock at 5:00 PM

NC-to-DC Adventure: Day 4

It's day 4 on my great NC-to-DC adventure and it's been non-stop meetings, sessions, and chances to network with some great school librarians from around the US and the world.

Yesterday was a morning-long meeting at AASL's Affiliate Assembly where we discussed concerns and commendations from across the U.S. This morning I had the special opportunity to attend a meeting with Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Secretary Duncan talked about the dire economic decisions facing school districts now and said it was imperative that we make our voices heard and tell our stories loudly and clearly. I'll post more about this meeting later when I have time to collect my thoughts and decipher my quickly typed notes! The meeting ended on a perfect note with AASL President-Elect Nancy Everhart telling Secretary Duncan about the showcase of exemplary school libraries on her Vision Tour website of Outstanding School Libraries. (Check for our Gina Webster, of Walkertown Middle School in Walkertown, NC on that site!)

This morning I also attended a session on Collaborative Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension: Maximizing Your Impact led by Gail Bush, Liz Deskins, and Judi Moreillon. I was surprised and glad to learn that there is a toolkit of fabulous free resources available on the AASL website on how to collaborate in reading instruction. I'll post some of those links in a later post when I re-cap ALA10. I've been tweeting as time permits -- you can search for me on Twitter as kellybrannock or under the name of ncslma. Or, just search for the Twitter hashtag #ala10 to find all kinds of tweets on lots of activities here in DC.

Kudos are in order to our own Deb Christensen, past-president of NCSLMA, who has been appointed Director-Elect of Region 4 in AASL's Affiliate Assembly. I also have to give a shout-out to Evelyn Bussell, from Wake County Schools, who has been using her Flip camera to capture comments and reactions from school librarians about their experience here at ALA. I can't wait to see her finished product!

Tomorrow is Library Advocacy Day on Capital Hill and hopefully there will be thousands of us rallying at the Upper Senate Park, dressed in our bright red t-shirts and making lots of noise about the importance of libraries. If you can't be here in person to join the chorus, won't you add your voice by sending a message to your representative and Senators tomorrow? It only takes 5 minutes to email a message and ALA makes it easy for you by supplying talking points. Please check out the ALA site, put together a brief message, and email your message tomorrow. We're all in this together!

Kelly Brannock
NCSLMA President
connecting -- learning -- leading

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 9:55 AM

Hanging Out in Washington, D.C.

Kelly Brannock and I are braving the D.C. heat to represent you as your North Carolina delegates to the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly.

On Friday night, we met with other delegates across the country to discuss concerns brought to the AASL from the various regions. Region 4, which we belong to, was well represented and our two concerns were discussed by the assembled delegates. 

We both spent time in the exhibits on Saturday, talking with some of our favorite vendors and meeting up with fellow North Carolinians on the floor. 

On Sunday, we will meet again at AASL Affiliate Assembly and share our discussions with you via the blog and listserv!

If you're in D.C., we hope you're enjoying the conference and the D.C. sights! If you couldn't make it, we hope your friends are bringing you back lots of autographed books and free posters! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:47 PM

21st Century Learning Skills: The Big 6 Information Research Process Workshop

Don't snooze, and don't lose.... NCSLMA is sponsoring a very special Big6 Workshop offered by Gerry Solomon at DPI in June. Collaboration is a key feature of 21st Century learning, so this workshop is designed to pair you and a teacher partner in hands-on learning. Enrollment is limited and you must apply by May 21! Here are the details:

  • Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2010
  • Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Place: NCDPI in Raleigh*
*Reimbursement for travel expenses is available, depending on distance traveled.

Who can attend?
You MUST be an NCSLMA member to participate in this workshop. Workshop is designed for a collaborative team consisting of a media specialist & 1 teacher. 

What will you learn?
Strategies and resources for implementing each of the stages of the Big6, including hands-on activities. Participants will work in teams and should come prepared with a unit topic or curriculum objectives as a focus for the planning activities in the workshop.

Tell me more!
This is a train-the-trainer workshop, sponsored by NCSLMA. After attending the June 2010 session, attendees are expected to conduct at least 3 workshops in their own region (and invite multiple counties to attend), so that other media specialists have an opportunity to be trained. NCSLMA wants to extend this training beyond our own profession, so participants also may receive sponsorship to present this training at other education conferences in North Carolina.

Find a teacher partner, send in your application, and get ready to kick off your summer with some 21st century learning! For more information, contact Catherine Barone at [email protected] Applications must be received by May 21, 2010. 

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 3:02 PM

Free webinar tonight on Web 2.0 + Education Reform

Classroom 2.0 is offering a free webinar this evening at 8 p.m. This session is part of the series and features an interview with Professor Leonard Waks of Temple University. He'll be talking education reform, Web 2.0, and where the two converge. Sounds like an interesting prospect for our profession to watch! Here are the details:

A message to all members of Classroom 2.0 Tonight, as a part of interview series, I'll be talking live with Leonard Waks, Professor Emeritus in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Temple University, who's writing a book with the working title The LearningWeb Revolution: Web 2.0, Digital Tools, and the Transformation of Education. Join us for what promises to be a fascinating discussion of educational change.

Date: Tuesday, 11 May, 2010
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Duration: 60 minutes
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Event (and Recordings) Page 

Leonard has been an active participant in the series, and is doing an amazing job synthesizing the larger themes playing out in education as reflected through previous guests and other current voices. In preparing for tonight's interview he has written me: 
"I think we are at a crossroads at the moment. On the one hand folks like Robert Epstein and Anya Kamenetz are pulling away from the schools to take advantage of the affordances of the web. On the other, so many folks are doing the opposite: channeling the power of the web into the schools to neuter it while retaining the top down structure of learning. ...My questions (and answers) are: what is fundamental or revolutionary change (change in basic grammar of learning or 'paradigm'), is web 2.0 generating fundamental change yet (not really), will it (probably but not inevitably), what would it look like if it did (open learning centers), and how will it get there if indeed it will (a path from virtual schooling to blended schools to OLCs). I think the transition to blended schools will now be swift; the question is what happens next... Here are a few interesting thoughts from your favorite authors to put together: 1. We are surrounded with new tools that are powerful, mobile, cheap, easy to learn, easy to use, and soon will be ubiquitous. (Jeff Howe) 2. With these tools it is increasingly easy to learn, to contruct and express one's knowledge and insights, to exchange, to cooperate and collaborate, and to act collectively (Clay Shirky). 3. Late teen and early adult years are cognitively peak years (Bob Epstein) and the young people are the primary users of the new tools (Kaiser Family Foundation and others). 4. All of the world's useful knowledge is already on-line or soon will be, and is readily acquired and mashed up for re-use by the new digital tools. This knowledge, circulating in open access formats, is better than the official knowledge because it is subject to rapid correction and augmentation (Judy Breck and others). 5. As a result teens and adults do not need schools and teachers, and in fact are infantilized and humiliated by their constraints (Epstein). 6. As a result the overwhelming percent of them hate their schools (Collins and Halverson). 7. At the same time all sorts of outside the system innovation is being generated by educational entrepreneurs, such as Live Mocha.(Curt Bonk tells the whole story here). 8. Meanwhile college diplomas are increasingly worthless as links to advantageous jobs, unless they come from elite colleges -- it is the elite college link, not the diploma, that pays. And elite colleges are pricing the middle class out (as Kramanatz said this evening -- though this is hardly fresh news). 9. Larry Cuban is probably right that the schools have great internal capacity to adjust without changing in very fundamental ways -- they'll continue to be age-graded egg-crated curricularized test-oriented factories as long as they can. I might agree with Cuban not to expect much change from within. So where does that leave us? My story is that blended schools can morph into something quite different, and may have to in order to avoid a blow up. But nothing is inevitable. This promised to be quite an evening! More about Leonard:

Leonard J. Waks holds earned doctorates in philosophy (University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1968) and organizational studies (Temple University, 1984). For almost half a century he has been examining the links between technology and education, publishing more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and a book, Technology’s School (CAI, 1995). He taught philosophy and educational theory at Purdue, Stanford, and Penn State, and retired in 2005 from the department of educational leadership at Temple University. In the 1960s at both Purdue and Stanford he introduced the nation’s first regular courses on the philosophy of revolutionary change. At Temple in the mid-1990s he introduced one of the first courses on education in network society.

Waks was co-founder of the National Technological Literacy conferences, which earned him first prize in creative programming by the Association for University Continuing Education. He co-authored the first article on “technology” in theEncyclopedia of Philosophy, and served as associate editor for the periodicalResearch in Philosophy and Technology. He co-directed the summer institute for college teachers sponsored by National Endowment for Humanities on Re-Examining Technology, and he offered popular National Science Foundation Chautauqua workshops for college science teachers on Integrating Technology and Social Issues in College Science. He has also received numerous other research, training, and course development grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and other agencies.

Waks is the General Editor of the book series Leaders in Educational Studies, published by Sense publishers, editor of the volume Leaders in Philosophy of Education (2008) and co-editor of the volume Leaders in Curriculum Studies(2009).

Waks’s recent research has focused on revolutionary educational change in global network society. His recent articles have included “How Globalization can Cause Fundamental Curriculum Change” in The Journal of Educational Change(2004) and “The Concept of Fundamental Educational Change” in Educational Theory (2007); the former has been reprinted in the Oxford University Press handbook Globalization, Education, and Social Change (2006), the latter is consistently among the most downloaded articles from Educational Theory. Visit Classroom 2.0 at:

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 3:51 PM

Stephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru, Keynote Speaker at Fall Conference

Stephanie D. Vance, the "Advocacy Guru" of Advocacy Associates, LLC is author of Government by the People: How to Communicate with Congress, the guide, Get a Job on Capital Hill, Citizens in Action, and the recently released Advocacy Manual: A Practitioner's Guide.  She has over 20 years of experience in Congressional affairs, having worked in a prominent DC law firm, lobbied for National Public Radio, and worked in various Congressional offices, holding positions as Legislative Director and Staff Director.

Her work on congressional communications stems from a deep and abiding belief that government is effective only when citizens are active participants. She has presented the concepts behind Citizens in Action at seminars and workshops around the country and she is a member of the National Speakers Association. Ms. Vance is also a member of the American Society of Association Executives and Women in Government Relations. Her website, has won a number of awards, and her work has been the subject of a variety of print media stories, including a column in the Washington Post.

A frequent guest on radio and television news shows around the country, Ms. Vance holds a Masters Degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies at Georgetown University. She is the only advocacy trainer to hold the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association.

Stephanie Vance is the keynote speaker for the fall conference.  She'll open the conference on Thursday, November 4, 2010. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:13 PM

Storyteller, Author Joseph Bruchac to Appear at Fall Conference

Author and storyteller, Joseph Bruchac will present sessions and speak at the storytelling breakfast on Friday, November 5, 2010, at the fall conference.  Much of Joseph Bruchac's writing draws on his deep connection to the Adirondack region of New York where he was raised and still lives and his American Indian ancestry. His ethnic background includes Abenaki, Slovak and English blood. He and his two grown sons, James and Jesse (who are also both published writers and storytellers) work extensively in projects involving the understanding and preservation of the natural world, Abenaki culture, language, and traditional Native skills and also perform traditional and contemporary Abenaki music together as The Dawnland Singers. Their most recent CD, HONOR SONGS, came out in 2009.  Joe's academic background includes a B.A. from Cornell, a Master's Degree from Syracuse and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Union Institute of Ohio.

His poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 1000 publications, from American Poetry Review to National Geographic. He's authored more than 120 books for adults and children and his honors include a Rockefeller Humanities fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship for Poetry, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:47 PM

Danger, Will Robinson!

I'm just now catching up on my blog feeds in my Google reader, so apologies to those who may have already read through Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog posting of April 21st, "Dangerous Statements for Librarians to Make". Some of the statements really do emphasize how we can be our own worst enemies when making our cases for our library media programs.

Here are some of my favorites:

But the school HAS to have a librarian/libraryReally? So we don't think they could do without us and our programs?

If all we're doing all day is sitting behind the circulation desk and checking out books, then yeah, they can do without us. A paraprofessional, an assistant, even a parent can scan those barcodes to check out those books to the voracious readers that clamor through our doors.

With facilities budgets being cut and school populations growing, that space we call a library media center would convert nicely into about three classrooms. Just move in some portable walls and voila! More space for instruction!

Oh, we instruct, do we? Well, that reminds me of another favorite line:

Correct bibliographic format is absolutely critical

If our instruction revolves around colons and periods being in the right place of a bibliographic citation, then we're feeding the stereotype of the anal retentive librarian, in my book. Why aren't we helping students evaluate websites? Or helping them craft a thesis based on the preliminary investigation they are doing on a topic of interest? Or working toward creating processes that will build foundations for their research?

Maybe here's our problem: The research proves that libraries improve student achievement.

Well, bully for the research! But we can show all the research in the world to our principals and our staffs, but if it's not data and research that DIRECTLY impacts OUR students and teachers, it's probably not worth a hill of beans. Do our teachers and kids really care about what happened in Colorado ten years ago? A resounding, "No!"

But our teachers do care about the fact that we've spent all year working with our students at one particular grade level to implement a process to improve students' research skills and access to information. They do appreciate the time we put in with them and their language arts students, helping to create rubrics and instructing those students in cool technology tools to enhance their multimedia book reviews. And those same teachers are probably excited that we introduced them and their students to blogging which they now use on a regular basis to deconstruct and flesh out content, ideas and concepts in their core content classes.

But ultimately our actions have to speak for themselves. What we do for STUDENTS has to be the focus of all that we do. We have to be ACTIVISTS.

And don't believe this statement for a minute: I can advocate for my own program. I don't need anyone else vocally supporting it.

In today's budget crunch, teacher lay-offs, and central office down-sizing, we need all the support and advocacy that can be mustered for employing strong teacher librarians. But that support has to come from our students and teachers and most especially our administrators.

If we aren't being ACTIVE, relevant, innovative and information-savvy TEACHERS for our students, then how can we expect anyone to support and advocate for librarians in our schools? 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 10:24 AM