Highlights from EdMedia 2016

Instead of attending the ALA conference this year, I chose to attend (and present at) the EdMedia conference that met in Vancouver, BC last week. EdMedia is sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). This is a conference worth going to for any academic librarian involved with embedded librarianship or instructional design and technology.

In this post, I will highlight some of the things I learned that are of particular importance to academic librarians:

On open education from keynote speaker, Laura Czerniewicz, Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), South Africa:
  • Open education is always culturally and historically situated
  • Openness not always seen as a way to democratize knowledge (e.g., colonialism used openness to take aboriginal knowledge)
  • Inequitable access to technology infrastructure still a problem
  • Analog can be more open than digital, copyright a BIG issue
  • Click here to access the presentation slides
Jenni Parker from Murdoch University, Australia presented her research on an Authentic Online Community of Learning Framework for Higher Education, a must read for embedded and instructional design librarians

Keynote speaker, Saul Carliner from Concordia University, Canada presented Revolution or Evolution? Lessons from Nearly a Half Century of Computers and Learning

  • Much of the ed tech we use is evolutionary, new tools–same uses
  • Revolutionary tools change the way we teach, and two such tools are Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (yes!!)
    • These might be boring tools in the world of ed tech today, but much of what we do has evolved from these tools (e.g., word processing -> blogs; presentation slide structure serves as the foundation of much of e-learning today)

10 Tools of the Trade for Librarian Tech Leaders

From kindergarten to college (K-20), librarians are taking on the role of tech leader in their institutions, some by choice and others by happenstance. It’s a new role not fully defined, but always requiring some sort of support for classroom instructors, whether purely technical support or primarily teaching support. Library school has yet to catch up with this evolving phenomenon, though I do believe movement is afoot in some institutions to bridge the skills gap created by this role, a role that is part traditional librarian and part educational technologist (e.g. blended librarianship). If you’ve suddenly found yourself in this position, you’re not alone. And if you wonder exactly what the tools of the trade are for it, look no further. Here are 10 tools that belong in every librarian tech leader’s toolbox. These are tools and resources that will help you in your pursuit to help your classroom colleagues:

  1. NTeQ Model. Developing lessons using the NTeQ model gives you a better understanding of just exactly what it takes to fully integrate technology into learning. The NTeQ website includes templates, examples and resources. For librarian tech leaders, I recommend purchasing the accompanying textbook to use as a reference source. Also, if providing professional development is part of your job, the NTeQ model is an invaluable tool to teach the teachers.
  2. The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM). TIM is a framework for understanding and evaluating technology integration in the classroom. This is a much more detailed model than SAMR, which I know is quite popular among teachers. However, in my opinion SAMR is deceptively more difficult to use because of the lack of detail. TIM not only provides guidance in planning for technology integration, but is also useful for the evaluative process (i.e. how well the technology promoted deep learning). The website includes lesson examples.
  3. ISTE Standards. The ISTE standards provide a very useful guide for technology integration. One way to measure the depth of technology integration is by the number of ISTE standards that are aligned to a particular lesson — the more standards (there are 6 in all) aligned, the more integrated the technology will be for learning. Equally useful for K-12 and higher education.
  4. Partnership for 21st Century Skills. For librarians, the P21 framework is a tool that advocates for the role of information literacies (e.g. information, media, ICT) in the bigger picture of 21st century learning. The website serves as a good resource for professional development materials.
  5. Edmodo. Creating opportunities for collaboration and peer support is a key function of successful tech leadership. You’re not only providing support to teachers, you’re helping them support each other. Edmodo is a great tool for that, and one that many teachers already utilize. As a tech leader, you can create and support a group for the teachers in your school or district as a place to communicate and collaborate beyond the school walls. Edmodo is also an incredibly useful resource for learning about apps and their uses in the classroom.
  6. Metta. One of the best ways to provide technical and teaching support for technology integration is through professional development, some of which lends itself to online learning (e.g. technical training). Metta is a video lesson tool that can help you achieve this. It’s free (basic version), Edmodo compatible, and multimedia (you can even embed quizzes).
  7. ReadWriteThink. An excellent resource for lesson plans and apps that support multiple literacies. You can browse the various resources by grade level, K-12 (some of the high school sources are equally appropriate for college undergrads).
  8. Graphite. CommonSense Media now has a social media tool for teachers that reviews apps, games and websites. Graphite staff provide an overview (and opinion) on each app, but educators (that means you!) also have the opportunity to create an account on the website and add their own reviews. These reviews are quite detailed and include ways in which teachers have used the apps in the classroom. If you’ve been charged with the task of finding and creating a list of apps for your teachers, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, Graphite admirably fills the bill.
  9. AASL Best Websites for Teaching & Learning. AASL is a treasure trove of excellent, and often underutilized, websites for technology integration.
  10. EDUCAUSE Library. For higher education. Pay particular attention to the Teaching and Learning section.