|ISTE is big.|
The other big new exciting tech trend was augmented reality, which Aurasma has locked down, more or less. I have been watching this for a while, but really hope more teachers and librarians get in on the game with this. It's only one step away from having information pushed to us based on our location, which I'm convinced will become the new normal.
I still don't think that iPads are the way to go as far as educational technology is concerned. As a very wise librarian said, if they have a project, they want my desktops. I think about everything from multitasking to ergonomics to file storage and management and am all the more convinced. ALL our kids have smart phones -- one speaker said, at his low-income middle school, just over half have traditional Internet access, but all but two have data on their phone. I wish that educational leaders would appreciate this and provide opportunities for student to use more robust hardware in school settings.
The sessions themselves showcased the best of what teachers and librarians are up to. But, somehow, things hadn't changed terribly radically. I especially enjoyed hearing from Shannon Miller and Michelle Luhtala's administrators at the SIGMS forum. At my favorite session, Kristin Fontichiaro, Tasha Bergson-Michelson and Debbie Abilock talked about visual literacy, which tied into their ALA presentation on slowing down the research process. I am a big believer that drafting on paper leads to better searching and digital products, so it was right up my alley.
At the SIGMS breakfast, John T. Spencer, a middle school teacher, spoke very convincingly about the role of technology in his students' lives and our failure to take advantage of its opportunities for creative and constructive uses. Again, nothing new or relevatory, but so well put, and well-illustrated by Spencer.
It really punctuated how important building-level administrative support is for our profession. Steven Johnson, who wrote The Plague Map, spoke about density and its relationship to invention, which always strikes a nerve with me until I think about people like William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty -- genius isolated from the world writ large.
After traveling from San Antonio to Chicago, I kicked off ALA with my second USBBY board meeting. We're planning for the regional (which for USBBY means National) conference in St. Louis this fall. The author attendees and breakout sessions are rather dazzling, and I hear the renovated public library where the event will be held is something to behold. I had to cut out of USBBY for an preconference for AASL. I was fortunate to present with Deb Logan and Laura Pearle, and we focused on concrete suggestions for enriching your program whatever your circumstances.
|Kadir Nelson at the Coretta Scott King breakfast|
|Brian Selznick's Caldecott anniversary logo on white chocolate medallions|
|Alice Walker, from my spot on the floor|
I threw myself out of bed early for Council III Tuesday morning, but I managed to lose my wallet some where between the cab to the Convention Center and leaving Council. Everyone at ALA, fellow attendees but especially staff, was kind beyond belief, but I was still facing almost a full day without identification or funds. A police report and two credit card cancellations later, I have scanned copies of my driver's license and passport, but plan to be out at O'Hare super-early tomorrow to battle any TSA hurdles.
I only have four nights at home before I leave for the National Endowment for Humanities summer seminar in Mississippi. Being so closed to so many bright people, even those I only saw in my twitter stream, makes the expenditure of money and time but most especially effort entirely worthwhile, even when I factor in the missing wallet.