There’s a new slogan rapidly spreading through my school district, as well as other districts across the country: BYOT (bring your own technology). Many of us have been hoping for a more innovative and open philosophy for over five years. We all know the world has changed and we all know that information access is not only at an all time high…we are drowning it it.
The books and articles of interest to me of late, however, give rise to caution when it comes to integrating the latest high-tech gadget into our schools. In fact, Kristin Fontichiaro (professor at the University of Michigan) shared with us this week some excellent examples of how online Web 2.0 technology tools are sometimes full of bling and pizzazz without any meaningful content at all!
Librarians have been trained in aquisition and evaluation of high quality resources, both physical and digital. It seems an emphasis on the latest tool is often stressed today more than the content or information delivered. Although students will be bringing smart phones, ipads, and other tech gadgets to school, using them to multi-task throughout the day may contribute to even more distraction and “shallow” trivial thinking.
How can we help our students embed meaningful purpose into BYOT?
1. As educators and librarians we can model the best practices by balancing innovation with tradition and requiring high standards of critical thinking.
2. We can model our own learning in this new era by showing our own willingness to “learn, unlearn, and relearn ~Toffler” and allowing time to unplug and reflect on the meaning of our learning.
3. We can put people first! Teaching and librarianship are service-oriented professions. We are not books or buildings, we are human beings. We are not robots (yet). Just kidding on that last line. Putting people first requires admitting that they are more important than our tech gadgets which we all turn to throughout the day.
I recently saw (for the first time) a QR code on the back of a book in a book store. Using the I-nigma app on my phone, I scanned the QR code and viewed the author’s website. Potential for QR codes is growing–t-shirts and other items might have QR codes.
I created a bookmark for teachers in the school library using the I-nigma QR code creator. The bookmark shared my blog, our collaborative wiki, and our Schooltube site.
At our last family gathering, I shared QR codes linked to youtube family videos on greeting cards. The teenagers thought it was cool to scan the QR codes and view home videos. With an onslaught of information on the web, QR codes may be a useful tool to conveniently share particular sites with an audience.
This new app is a reminder of the new tech tools we encounter daily, many with similar purposes and some completely trivial. My goal is to search for meaningful purposes, unique applications, and an awareness of the waves these new trends bring in this “sea of chaos.”
I’ve worked with editing videos for my school news show for years but only started editing them on the computer a couple years ago. I made a couple of videos to compare video camera choices. I am sure that there are numerous other video cameras available now, but here is a video created with the RCA SmallWonder (a very small and inexpensive model) and another filmed with a Sony HandyCam (edited in Adobe Premiere 2.0). Hey, by the time you read this, they will both probably be obsolete! I bet you can tell which one I like best.
Every day there seems to be a new technology tool to learn! A librarian colleague just shared a great tool for sharing files that are too large to email called drop.io. You can send files and set them to expire… say next week or next year! How cool is that! I am placing my nephew’s pirate movie on drop.io as an example. But, hey a year from now, this link won’t work! Perfect (I was going to put a smiley face here for emphasis but I just don’t really like emoticons.) So- smile and learn a new tech tool.