Monday, September 28, 2009

Migrating to a new management system

My district is in the process of migrating to a new automation system. Although we've been working on this since March of last school year, things have kind of come together all at once. We are doing a series of trainings this week to get on board with the new system.

I'm excited about the new possibilities that the system should afford us. I hope it will have more opportunities for user interaction. It will certainly be more graphically appealing than our current system. A huge benefit is that results will now have a book cover image. That will make a big difference for our users. Our current system has pretty awful catalog search results and will no longer be upgraded due to being bought by a competitor.

I've got my fingers crossed for a smooth transition and a relatively small learning curve.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Self-Directed Learning

My district has announced a new initiative for this school year which I'm really excited about! We've used the Illinois Applications of Learning as a way to guide the effort to develop 21st Century Skills. The Applications of Learning are:
  • Communicating
  • Working on Teams
  • Solving Problems
  • Using Technology
  • Making Connections
This year there has been another component added, Self-Directed Learning. The district has decided to encourage self-directed learning in both the students and the faculty. I'm super excited about this. It gives us, the faculty, the opportunity and responsibility to direct our own professional development.

We each will design our own learning project for the year. During our institute times we will have the opportunity to use part of that time to work on our learning projects, rather than participating in the usual blanket professional development. It was an attempt at one-size-fits-all training that really meet the needs of very few.

I have colleagues that are starting books clubs - some to focus on reading young adult literature, some to explore areas within their subject areas. People have the option of working in small groups or individually.

I'm excited by this opportunity but (big surprise here!) am having a difficult time narrowing down my focus. I think I am going to work on a project that can work in conjunction with my dissertation. Exploring student interaction with information in virtual environments is an area which will help me grow as a professional and will help me develop a library program that better serves students.

I'll keep updating this blog with my progress. Kudos to the administration of my district for having the vision for practicing what they preach. This is an exciting opportunity and gives me support within my district for what I do as a professional anyway, continuing to find ways to grow and challenge myself.