Hey, Library 2.0 taps into my schema!
In 2008, my very first course in the SLIS program, LIBR 200, had me writing my first research paper in 20+ years. I chose to focus on information literacy because I felt I didn’t have a deep enough understanding of a term that was bandied about with such frequency. I initial intent was to draw on lessons learned from information literacy instruction in schools to inform an approach to life-long learning for adult populations. But my research led me to the realization that successful information literacy in schools is far from a done deal. In fact, its success…or, more frequently, lack of success….often hinges on the information literacy levels of the adults charged to promote it. What is sorely lacking in many schools is ongoing, purposeful professional development designed to raise the comfort levels of teachers, librarians and staff with today’s swiftly changing array of technology tools.
Based on these new aha’s, I re-focused my attentions on the issue of professional development and I went looking for best practices. What did I find? 23 Things, of course! I discovered Helene Blowers and James McKenzie, another champion of technology-related PD, both arguing for professional development programs that were ongoing, well-supported by leadership, exploratory and non-threatening, and organization-wide.
Then in 2009, unbeknownst to me, the information technologists and librarians at my school launched 12 Things, an abbreviated 23 Things. They made it relaxed, elective and fun. They brought my esoteric research topic to life!
Here are my bloggy bits from that time: the tRuth
Those 12 Things catapulted me forward into the 21st century. They transformed my world. I intensively use, on a daily, minute-by-minute basis many of the Things I learned there for the first time. But, more importantly, it changed the way I think about myself — who I am and who I can be. I felt technologically empowered! Newly equipped for modern living.
And now here I am, about to tinker with the inner workings of 23 Things. For me, this all has a lovely arc.
There is one characteristic of Helene Blower’s 23 Things that I want to applaud above all others for just a minute. 23 Things is egalitarian! It is professional development for the masses. Hurrah, Helene! That’s the way to maximize the learning potential of everyone in an organization and to build a collaboration network that includes the strengths and reach of all in innovating for the future. Based on my experience in schools, professional development is often geared toward faculty with only the spottiest of training available to staff. A sort of trickle down effect is imagined, I guess. But whether or not that occurs, staff can’t help but feel excluded from the forward momentum of a community that doesn’t include them in new learning. When that happens, it’s a shame.
Blowers’ 23 Things concept is the antidote. It is a generous, all-encompassing model that doesn’t discount for a second the possibility that an organization’s next best idea can come from anywhere in the organization. It extends the promise of of life-long learning for all.