Full Circle () : Professional Development and the coming of summer

Its that time again, finishing up the term, classes, projects, paper.  I find this time of year difficult because I am so busy that I don’t have time to actually enjoy the classes that I grew to enjoy over the term.  In addition, the weather is getting nicer and I just want to close my computer and play outside.  My mind is so focused on my to-do list that I don’t make the time to savor the final moments.  Tonight will be the last class for SI 643.  I have enjoyed this class for a variety of reasons.  I had the opportunity to practice so many practical skills, just finishing up the webinar last week.  That process of researching and preparing a webinar was surprisingly difficult for me.  I am not sure if it was the topic, the time of the term or just me.  I didn’t connect with it as much as I thought I would.  Unfortunately, I think that this was conveyed in the final product.  My classmates’ webinars were AWESOME though.  I was blown away by the topics and professionalism that they exhibited.  If the three that I attended were any indication of the whole group, then the future of libraries is in good hands.

This weeks’ readings were focused on this aspect of professional development in three different environments, an elementary school, a school media center, and a public library.  In “When Teachers Drive Their Learning” Semadeni describes the process (Fusion) of Osmond Elementary teachers’ led their professional development.  Teachers can choose the strategies that they would like to improve over the course of the year.  Then teachers can meet with others in similar groups to discuss the ups and downs of the class and how they are progressing in their goals.  Along with this development, the schools give teachers this time to meet and track their progress.  There is a stress on observation and demonstrating which provides a practice aspect to Fusion.  All this really speaks to how I like to learn and push myself.  I do best when I have a support network to help me along and keep me accountable.  Fusion is obviously very time intensive which, if not supported financially and with free-time set aside, could be a problem.  The article addresses this issue by providing stipends for completed sessions/goals which seemed to be effective in the beginning for teachers who were not sold on the professional development aspect.

Kristin Fontichiaro’s “Planning an Online Professional Development Module” gave a great snapshot of the collaboration, implementation and feedback process of developing a learning module.  Also, she highlights the importance of selecting resources that fit your goals and the audience.  Being busy with school, work and family, I am drawn to these types of professional development that are available online and can be accessed in down-time from anywhere.  That is one of the reasons I am drawn to MOOC’s and developing skills through those avenues (not to mention they free!).

The last reading, “The C’s of Our Sea Change: Plans for Training Staff, from Core Competencies to Learning 2.0″ discusses the intersection of technology with librarian support.  This topic is fascinating to me because I have become SUPER excited by technology and making people aware of different tools that may make life processes interesting and exciting.  However, I do realize that many people find technology scary, intimidating, frustrating; so it is crucial to provide succinct and clear instruction.  So, the development of the staff core competencies with technology in mind is fascinating.  What a great idea!  Not only does it take into consideration different levels of competency, but it also provides space for growth and support.  I like the idea of implementing something like this focusing on Open Source software or Creative Commons Content, both of which are fairly unknown to mass culture.  Finally, I found the ‘Best Practices for Learnng 2.0” text box toward the end of the article useful.  There are some great practices to keep in mind, like “Use 1.0 methods to continually communicate with participants.”  This tip seems crucial for late adopters to the tools of Web 2.0 and could get lost in the push toward a more digitally connected staff.

These articles provided great food for thought and I hope to go back to them when the end of the term isn’t such an impending force.

Thanks for the great term!

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About mainvils

I am a first year UMSI graduate student specializing in LIS and Preservation of Information.
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One Response to Full Circle () : Professional Development and the coming of summer

  1. It must be something that UMSI does to us… I was much more of a technology skeptic when I first started Grad School. While I still think that it is a good idea to maintain a healthy skepticism and not believe that one technological advancement can solve all your problems, I am definitely much more enthusiastic. My classes and work experience have shown me firsthand how technology can enrich what we do in libraries. In short, I share your excitement!

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