Blog post #2
This week’s blog post is all about exploring how I can continue to develop my own skills, pedagogy and professional development on my own, back in my own library and environment.
What strategies, tools, resources and networks can I implement to maintain my explorations and development?
I read Steve Pavlina’s 10 Ways to Improve Your Technical Skills. It was a bit humours at times, but here are some of my key takeaways.
1. Read technical books and online tutorials
Pavlina’s first tip to improve technical skills is by reading books. This seems like the obvious answer, especially to Teacher-Librarians, but sometimes we may not have the books we need on hand. Another option would be to take advantage of online tutorials, as they are “accessible, timely, and of course free” (Pavlina, Steve).
2. Take classes
Taking University level courses on this subject matter is a great start to improving ICT skills. “A key advantage of classroom learning is the opportunity to interact with an experienced educator. Teachers with decades of experience know plenty of educational distinctions you won’t find in books or online tutorials” (Pavlina, Steve). This is a great way to get some hands on and personal experience while improving and enhancing ICT skills. If taking a University level courses are not an option for some, they could seek out workshops for a similar experience.
3. Create your own web site
“When you have a compelling reason to learn, your goals will accelerate your learning, and you’ll learn with a focus on practical application” (Pavlina, Steve). This one really resonated with me. I found for so long that I was very unmotivated to do research on subjects that were not of interest to me while in high school and early university. I often told myself “just wait until you get into the education program, things will come easier then”. Which was partly true, but this did not come to light for me until recently, while doing my library courses. It is much more motivating to research ways to improve my library, and my own skills, now that I am actually in that role.
4. Embrace a variety of software
Getting to have an experience with several different types of software would help create a wider breadth of skills, that may be able to be transferred from one software to another. While creating my blog for this course, I had to play around with various blogging platforms until I found one that worked for what I needed it to. Did you know there are SO many different types of blogging platforms, all very similar, but they all have varying features that take a bit of a learning curve. I am still learning all that this platform has to offer.
5. Learn to program
“Programming is the art of instructing a computer to perform a task. The key to accomplishing this feat is learning to think like a computer. Programming is one of the most mentally challenging tasks a human being can perform, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of engineering a piece of code to solve a specific problem” (Pavlina, Steve). I am still not entirely how to accomplish this task. I want to be tech savvy, to be able to be helpful for my colleagues and students, but programming is something I have yet to dip my toe into. My experience began by creating a MARC Record for one of my courses (which was actually a blast), but I am not sure if that counts as programming. I have much to learn.
6. Marry a geek/Hang out with geeks
“Your final salvation on the road to geekdom is to — gasp — marry a geek. If you aren’t a geek yourself, then do what you can to recruit one into your family. If that’s too much to ask, at least find a geek you can befriend” (Pavlina, Steve). This one is a bit funny to me, but not entirely untrue. If you spend enough time with people who are fluent in tech, some of their knowledge will rub off on you. Many of my closest friends are self proclaimed “geeks”, and I use their skills as resources regularly.
What are some of the ways that educators and professionals are connecting and sharing their learning?
In my experience, the best way that educators can connect and share their learning is through social media. I am apart of many Facebook groups and pages that have been so helpful, as educators are able to share their learning in a safe space of likeminded people. Being part of so many groups has given me the opportunity to hear the experiences of many different people, both locally and internationally. Some of these groups and pages include:
French Immersion Teachers:
BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association:
La Classe Nature:
Partage au 1er cycle:
Primary French Immersion Teachers:
Bitmoji Craze for Educators:
What can I do during this class and after it is over to maintain my connections and networks, to further develop my knowledge, experience and skills?
I can continue learning, experimenting, and connecting. The idea of ITC can feel a tad overwhelming at first, but once it is broken down bit by bit, it feels a little more achievable to implement it into teaching and learning. The video I have linked below by Mohamed Adly lays out what ITC is in a very clear manner and gives useful tips on how to implement it.
Finally, I believe it is important to conclude this post with a little reminder to myself (and the readers) that the role of a teacher-librarian is multi-fasciated, and ITC, though very important, is merely one of many aspects of the job. It is a useful skill to have, but not the only department we are qualified in.
Adly, Mohamed. “ICT in Teaching and Learning – YouTube.” Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQdq4qf-5fQ.
Pavlina, Steve. “10 Ways to Improve Your Technical Skills.” Steve Pavlina, 4 Nov. 2015, http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/08/10-ways-to-improve-your-technical-skills/.
Students Need School Libraries. “The Role of the School Librarian.” Youtube, 2020, youtu.be/4eU7NdASlqU.