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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To be the "sage on the stage"!

Ah yes, I wish I could be the "sage on the stage", as Greg Bitgood shared eloquently this morning, on his podcast regarding the shifting roles we need to expect, with the 21 century learning:)  Learning to be the "guide on the side",  is something librarians are quite used to doing in the ever increasing world of informational literacy.  We love SHARING and helping students find the perfect resource to match their topic or thesis.  But are we becoming obsolete in the ever increasing need to disseminate information on the web?  Are we along with teachers becoming facilitators, as opposed to the institutional record of learning? 

I remember when Greg first interviewed me on his podcast a few years back, we had a slight disagreement over the issue of Wikipedia, and the hot topic of academic authority.  You see I thought as a librarian I was an  expert on the dissemination of information, and that Wiki was not going to provide academic authority.  Well over the years I have watched how Wiki has taken hold of the web in it's pursuit of bringing authorative, and relevant articles to the fore, or as Steve Codling said to me the other day, "the cream of the crop".  I have had to put Wiki into its place of standing on the web, and eat humble pie.  Of course I do send my students to our HCOS linking library, academic databases and other reference sites to find good choices for projects, and maybe use Wiki to find some interesting starting points, or for needle in the haystack queries.  One look at the bibliography attached to the site in Wiki will often tell me how well the site has been researched... 

So with God's guiding hand I feel my role has become more paramount to teach students how to check for authority on the web, as well as to show them how to read online text in a different light.  Giving students a good foundation in Christian worldview, along with teaching the nuances of the English language helps indelibly, as does teaching media literacy. Critical thinking skills go hand in hand with understanding whether a site is current, relevant, reliable and authoritive?

To further my professional development  I am going to be reading Disrupting Class, by Clayton Christiansen , and another  helpful book which deals with teaching text, "Illuminating Texts",  by Jim Burke.  I hope to explore the idea of "textual intelligence,"and decipher how students' brains are wired to assimilate all the new information, which is so fundamental to their achieving in this online world.

One of my parents sent me this interesting video from Vimeo, on how social networking is changing our world. How well do you relate in the social networking world, and how does your student rate?  Think back 10 years and imagine life without Facebook, or other social media tools?  These and other applications are impacting our students' way of relating to each other.  We need to be the "guide on the side" still steering them in the right direction.  Towards God!

Blessings to you, as you help guide your students on the web, with wisdom and grace.

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