Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

How Library/media Specialists and Teachers Can Change the World

Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

How Library/media Specialists and Teachers Can Change the World

Article excerpt

The world is changing, but our schools are not. We are captive of our roles, imprisoned by our vision. As we in the Northern Hemisphere return to school, our friends in the Southern half of the globe remind us that learning never stops. Yet our traditions reinforce a feeling that you can't get there from here. At least not alone.

Archimedes said, "Give me a place to stand, and I can move the world." One powerful idea is providing us with a location for such leverage, and that is collaboration. This issue of MULTMEDIA SCHOOLs celebrates how collaboration, combined with information literacy and critical thinking, can transform the communities within which our professional lives unfold.

As a classroom teacher, when I began to introduce the mind-boggling array of resources that the Internet provided to my students, I quickly found that my professional preparation had neglected crucial concepts and skills. Unlike many of my peers, technology wasn't a hang-up, since I'd spent 12,000 hours as a systems analyst before returning to teaching. Like almost all of my peers, I was forced to rely on intuition and luck in terms of finding, evaluating, managing, organizing, and presenting the increasingly small proportion of truly useful information the Internet was shining on my mind. It turns out that these very skills are what my colleagues who went to library school had mastered.

As I began traveling in circles that brought me into contact with many of the other Internet pioneers, I saw parallel gaps: People who spent their professional lives creating clearinghouses wondered why education didn't suddenly improve in the presence of vastly superior information; people who devoted their talents and energies to improving speed and bandwidth of the networks available to learners wondered why there wasn't a commensurate leap in quality of student projects. We had all the puzzle pieces without the boxtop picture to help us put things together in a meaningful way.

The single most elusive element was, "Why bother?" The vast amounts of investment in money, time, and talent required to make technology commonplace in classrooms seemed like an idea searching for justification, instead of a natural outcome of the pursuit of educational excellence. That's when I decided that my first book would be called Why Teachers Use the Internet instead of How....

It has become clear to me that each of us confronts a locked gate, for which someone else holds the key. …

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