This is the slide deck I used in my ISTE 2011 SIGMS Forum. We were asked to pull together a TED like talk for our two hour session titled A Dawning Era for School Librarians. There were five of us: me, Buffy Hamilton, Anita Beamen, Gwyneth Jones, and Shannon Miller. Boy did we cross all levels, backgrounds, and experiences.
To summarize my presentation, I essentially said being new can be uncomfortable. Being in the school library we are in a position to be helpful to anyone experiencing this discomfort. That discomfort can stem form a new job, a job change, or even the changing of an interface on a web app. As librarian we should forge a path of leadership, even when we will experience the same discomfort. We should model that one doesn’t have to be an expert on things to be the collaborative partner, and we should be willing to take the risks for our school community for trying out whatever is new.
Examples I used were new teachers young and old, teachers changing teaching roles, web tools like familiar databases changing interfaces so it behaves new or different, or even new student management programs that cause stressors in our school community. By willingly working with our school community, we make the transition easier. As I said in the presentation, some things are just easier done together.
A biproduct and fringe benefit of being available for newbies or teachers collaborating is that we get to model connected learning and the cultivating of learning networks. We get to shift our roles in these connections, sometimes from leader to equal member to just a node on the network to even learner ourselves, no more or less important than the others. Our goal is not to draw attention to ourselves as much as to draw attention to how we make others successful.
Towards the end of the slide (the “try” slide) I had a Taylor Swift song play lightly in the background–”Fearless.” I asked everyone to remember that if we model being fearless, we will set everyone at ease. Having that attitude no fear and willing to try will eventually allow you to draw one in, and generally once you get one on board, word of mouth will pull others in as well.
I ran out of time during my part of the forum, so Im not so sure I was as effective with mine as the others were, but I still feel I delivered the message of how important it is to work with newbies of all kinds, even when you are unfamiliar with the topic, app, or product. Being the risk taker takes the heat off the newbie, and cultivates a strong collaborative relationship that will be beneficial to all, especially the students and their learning.