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Friday, March 30, 2012

"Envisioning the Future"

Yesterday was one of my most favorite days of the year; I attended the annual conference of my professional organization, School Librarians of Rhode Island.  As always, the committee put together a very stimulating day that was packed with opportunities to learn, share, and become inspired!  The theme was "Envisioning the Future", and much of the day was spent learning about a myriad of "Web 2.0" tools and resources that are available for use in the classroom.  (The first thing I did when I arrived at school this morning was to tell one of our student teachers about a collaborative online activity that fit in perfectly with her current unit.  I don't want to give too much away before the students learn about it, but I'll be spending some time this weekend learning how to use Skype!) 

Commissioner Gist
The presentation of Keith Curry Lance, our keynote speaker, was preceded by an address by Deborah Gist, the Rhode Island Commissioner of Education.  It was encouraging to hear her acknowledge the important role that school librarians play in their schools: "The movement toward digital learning is just beginning.  As librarians and educational media specialists, you are on the vanguard of this movement.  You are the champions, tour guides, and mentors for information and live in a world of information.  No one more than you has seen how technology has affected learning and teaching."  

A great deal of discussion has taken place regarding the value of both school libraries and school librarians as we watch the informational landscape change.  As Commissioner Gist also said, "We have evolved from index cards to world wide databases, from text books to tablets, from oral reports and poster boards to...podcasts and Prezis."  Helping students find and access information is just the beginning.  Our children are learning how to become responsible digital citizens who can not only navigate a sea of information but also to critically evaluate and apply what they find.  It's always wonderful to be surrounded by my colleagues as we work together and support each other's goal to prepare our students for their futures!
The Elementary School Librarians of Chariho  L-R: Mrs. Mann (Ashaway School), Mrs. Ward (Richmond School), Mrs. Reiser-Jones (Charlestown School), and Mrs. Barton (Hope Valley School)

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