Sunday, March 31, 2013

Valenza's 5 Key Roles for 21st Century Teacher-Librarians

This blog has examined Valenza's body of work, her research and scholarship, and her efforts to create a "tribe" consciousness among teacher-libraraians.  What are the implications of her work for the teacher-librarian in a 21st Century School?  Her extensive Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians provides an in-depth analysis.  However, Valenza  herself has synthesized much of her thought on this issue by defining 5 Key Roles for 21st Century Teacher-Librarians.  These are skills that teacher-librarians must themselves aquire in order to pass them along to their students.
Since time immemorial, librarians have been curators of information.  In the 21st Century, they must now become experts in "emerging technologies that help students showcase their progress as they acquire, organize, contextualize, and archive both existing content and new learning."
How has Valenza's work informed this practice?
Valenza's own research interest in curation has led her to review and suggest various digital curation tools, such as Diigo, LiveBinders, Paper.Li, Pinterest, PearlTrees, Posterous, Scoop.It, Sqworl, Storify, Symbaloo.
Libraries once served inward looking communities, but now work together to serve the global village of the 21st Century.  In this world, where borders and boundaries are melting away, teacher-librarains must assist students as they make their own contributions to "society’s collective intelligence".  Moreover, this should be done with empathy for their fellow "citizens of the world".  Teacher-librarians, as well as their students, must create their own unique digital footprint with purpose.
How has Valenza's work informed this practice?
Valenza's body of work is itself a wonderful example of building an online identity with purpose and contributing to global knowledge in such a way that demonstrates respect for all citizens of the world.  For example, her interest in well-designed school library websites has created a set of "best practices" that will benefit students world over.  Her online presence and social media networking, combined with her generosity of spirit, have benefitted and inspired thousands of her peers in the teacher-librarian community. 

How has Valenza's work informed this practice?
Another of Valenza's research interests is digital storytelling.  She has explored, reviewed, and embraced many tech tools in this area.  She has used them in her own work and encourages her students and colleagues to use them as well.  In addition, Valenza adopts a B.Y.O.T. (Bring Your Own Technology) attitude in her school library - encouraging students to bring and use the technology of their choice to create content. 

Teacher-librarians in the 21st Century benefit immensely from developing personal learning networks (PLNs) to connect with experts and collaborators.  They should model this for their students.  Students should be exposed to all of the various ways that they can connect with others to promote their own learning. 

How has Valenza's work informed this practice?
Through her online presence, use of social media, daily interaction with her students, and participation in professional association conferences and meetings, Valenza had modeled various ways in which to construct a PLN.  In the virtual world, her TeacherLibrarianNing is itself a PLN.  At her "day job" her collaboration with classroom teachers forms another PLN. 

While some educators view the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as an impediment to "real learning", Valenza asserts that "curation, citizenship & compassion, creation, and connection embed experiences into instruction that make the CCSS gel for learners. They make learning authentic and relevant. They are the Common Core."  If teacher-librarians and their students engage in the first 4 key roles identified here, they WILL be meeting the CCSS, in a creative way.

How has Valenza's work informed this practice?
Valenza's Common Core Resources page provides a wealth of information, tips, tactics, tools, and strategies for meeting the CCSS.   

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