Technology in Education: Too Much or Not Enough?

11/11/2013 § 18 Comments

My first interaction with a computer was in my second grade public school classroom. Each day we had a set rotation where students either spent the afternoon reading a book, writing in a journal, or playing in the “computer lab.” The latter rotation section was a favorite because a handful of us were able to, nay required to, play games on this device most of us probably did not have access to outside the classroom. I cannot recall the specific programs available on the computers, but remember thinking we were so lucky to not have to do “school stuff” for a couple hours like everyone else.

That was 1996, fast-forward 17 years and think of how far technology has advanced! Schools are no longer lucky just to have a couple green screen computers, yet some have a whole room of flat screen computers, tablets in the classroom, or personal laptops for every student. Even libraries have jumped on board by offering access to public computers, free wi-fi and makerspaces. But how has this influx of technology changed how our youth learn? Has technology become a great addition or a mere distraction in an education setting?

students today

“Students Today” via ransomtech, flickr CC

Currently I volunteer at an elementary school library and with a teen makerspace where technology is a common connection. The majority of my time at both locations is spent helping students with something as simple as logging into a computer to more complex activities like using the UP! 3D printer. While I always leave each site even more energized about working with youth, I have to wonder if increasing technology in the classroom is actually increasing learning opportunities. In the end my answer is always the same, “Definitely yes… if done correctly.”

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Librarian By Name, Geek By Nature

11/07/2012 § 50 Comments

My cohort, we talk. After our weekend intensive classes, we often go out roaming in search of a likely bar, and when we find one, we sit, we drink, and we talk. And since we’ve generally just spent 12 hours in class together, we usually end up talking about library school.

This month marks the halfway point through our MLS program,  and by now we’ve begun to form some strong opinions on the subject: what’s working, what’s not, what we’d change if we could.  And a few of us began to play with this question: if you could design your own MLS program from scratch, what features would you definitely include? Especially those that are lacking from library education as it exists today — if you were establishing the program that would define library school for the next generation, what do you think would absolutely need to be a part of it?

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Information Context, Learning Context

23/04/2012 § 24 Comments

Ashley’s previous post on ethnography got me thinking about a topic that has been buzzing around in my mind–the importance of context for information and for learning. While Ashley focused on learning the tools of a different discipline, anthropology, for direct use in librarianship (i.e., librarian as ethnographer), I wonder how much can be expected of librarians in terms of knowledge about the communities and knowledge contexts in which they work. After all, information and learning carry little meaning out of context, and librarians certainly deal with information in very concrete situations with discrete users, questions, and fields of knowledge.

More narrowly and less abstractly, this post is in part about whether a second master’s degree or some courses in a particular discipline outside of LIS should be required for librarians. How important is domain-specific knowledge for practicing librarians?
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