I’ve been out of the college scene for about 30 years so you can imagine how strange this feels. I have taken on-line classes for work and found them really great but I noticed it takes not only a willingness to show up and learn but a willingness to become acquainted with new skills and tools to navigate the class itself. The hardest part of starting a new class before was finding the classroom but now I am learning to navigate around the internet, finding strategies to remember multiple passwords, making sure to check discussions and email and making proper settings. The process is challenging! Having multiple options for managing time and work is great but it also takes time to figure out what works best for me. Sometimes that just means trying new things out and that can take time! Phew!
The assessment was somewhat helpful but sometimes my desire to find the “right answer” would override my understanding that this was not a “test” but an opportunity to reflect whether or not on-line learning is for me. Needless to say the assessment told me I was well suited. Perhaps someone who knows me and my habits well should have taken for me just to be sure. I am trying to stick to a “log on everyday” pattern. Next, I just really have to figure out what tools will work best for me. It seems I still am “hacking” around a bit and that is really no strategy. I hope logging on regularly and moving through the units will help me feel more at home and therefore better at finding what works best for me.
The tips from former students were helpful. To understand the beginning is a challenge gives me hope that I will be able to navigate this landscape like it is second nature before too long. I hope so. I do have to backtrack in the class sometimes to revisit what I thought I knew but had forgotten.
Some tools I have used before but not a lot. Google Docs I have used successfully. I’m not a “Skype” type. I had problems logging into the Blackboard orientation once but I have used it successfully on three other occasions so I hopefully I will try again and it will work out.
So far the best resources have been the people. Encouragement, humor and advise goes a long way with me. The tips are the best.
I think the scariest part about joining a work team or a student team is just as Enid Irwin said: giving up control. It is seemingly placing the fate of your semester in the hands of others and can they be trusted? At my job we have to work as a team because we are such a small shop, the price of dysfunction can be devastating. Respect, cross-training and flexibility is the name of the game and has been the key to our success. The visionaries of K12 education identify the lack of focus on collaboration in lieu of individual performance and competition as producing a workforce unprepared to work in the “real world” where collaboration and teamwork are necessary. In my humble opinion, teamwork skills may take us farther in career and life than just about any other skills we learn. It does feel uncomfortable but if we can work in teams now and find some success, I think it will be well worth our time and it will show very well to future employers. Dr.Haycock very carefully dissected the issue well and I am sure most of us recognized ourselves in the descriptions. I sure did. There was a lot of focus on the negative in terms of what does NOT work. Hopefully all teams will have motivated members and inspirational team leaders!
The attached link is to a video created by RSA Animate (Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts) from a lecture by Sir Ken Robinson about the need for a paradigm shift in education. It is eleven minutes long and discusses how our educational model emerged and why it no longer applies or serves us anymore. The part that convinced me working collaboratively is the best way to being part of a productive and creative society shows up about minute 10:23 (but if you have not seen it, I highly recommend watching the whole thing. It is really fascinating). Given most of us may be products of the old paradigm, it is natural collaboration feels unnatural and out of our comfort zone (it’s out of my comfort zone too!). But given this new paradigm, if it becomes a movement, we would be best served to become comfortable in collaborative situations.
So it’s time to grow up and step up, I think, and live into a collaborative world.
I work for the Santa Clara County Office of Education Learning Multimedia Center also known as the Professional Library for Educators and Administrators. Yesterday our library hosted what we call a Library Summer Camp. It sounds like a book festival for kids but it is really a professional development conference for school library staff. “Campers” enjoy book talks, workshops and networking. It is a favorite day of mine because it is a rare opportunity for librarians and library aids to emerge from their schools and mingle with others in their field. Probably the most overlooked scholars working in the beleaguered school system today, we celebrate school librarians, cheer for them and lift them up as best we can. In times of budget cuts and administrators fatally underestimating the value of a strong library system (“now that we have the internet, we don’t need libraries! They are a thing of the past”), a day like this is sorely needed. Numbers had been dwindling but the good news is this year attendance has started to climb again. What this means, we don’t know. Santa Clara County school librarians and aides used to make up the greatest number of participants. Today, they are replaced by librarians from all over the state. I suspect this is because not only have the County school libraries dwindled but so have the professional development opportunities for school library staff statewide. We may be becoming one of the few acts in town, so to speak. Some county offices across the state have closed their school library support programs and professional libraries. The reach of our support may be filling a gap for the few districts around still trying to properly staff their libraries with trained professionals and paraprofessionals. In any case, it is still my favorite professional event and I can’t help but hope we make our colleagues in the schools feel they are not alone and maybe just that much more prepared to greet the new school year.
Welcome school library staff!