For many years my mission statement as an elementary school librarian followed the American Library Association, School Library Media Program’s mission: “Ensure all students and staff are effective users and producers of ideas and information.” (American Association of School Librarians (AASL, n.d.). While that commitment remains the same, the power of information has necessitated a revolution in our teaching. Loftier expectations and higher standards for both educator and student, more abundant resources, plus technology and technology tools changing at a rapid rate, has transformed the American Library Association’s (ALA, 2015) mission statement in a more strategic direction. So too, has my mission. As I expand my role from librarian to digital education leader, the vision for myself is that of motivator, mentor, and collaborator.
Connecting with one another, cooperating by sharing resources, and collaborating by enhancing our capacities creates dynamic human interactions as well as information power. Incorporating online connections and digital tools necessitates an even greater obligation to establish ourselves as digitally wise. Prensky stated that “it is from the interaction of the human mind and digital technology that the digitally wise person is coming to be” (2013, p. 212). It is my goal as mentor to make connections and collaborate with staff and students as we engage productively in a digital environment.
As I continue to learn, grow, and reflect on teaching, I have come across a theme that is important to me and thus has shaped my personal educational philosophy. I am mindful that teaching is the intentional act of creating; creating new learning, creating with others, creating wisely. As a digital education leader, I can establish a culture where learning and collaborating using technology, as Wellmon stated, “is the very manner in which humans engage in the world” (2012, p. 2). Educators have a responsibility to be intentional in how and what we do with powerful digital tools as well as acknowledging the power of technological distraction. I am committed to helping others understand how the technologies that we “design to engage the world come in turn to shape us” (Wellmon, 2012, p. 2).
Prensky indicated “digital wisdom means making wiser decisions because one is engaged by technology. Therefore, the digitally wise look for the cases where technology enhances thinking and understanding” (2013, p. 212). As a digital leader, I must be knowledgeable in order to mentor fellow educators. Wicks suggested to “Find opportunities to experiment with technology, enhance your pedagogy skills, gain expertise with content” (2015, slide 14). Borgmann explained about comprehension, “Once acquired, more or less, comprehension makes for an incomparably more comprehensive and comprehensible world” (1995, p. 22). Together, as collaborator and motivator, I will work with educators to pursue digital wisdom.
Thread throughout our digital world is the common understanding of digital citizenship. Ribble suggested three categories that educational leaders implement: Respect yourself/respect others, educate yourself/connect with others, and protect yourself/protect others (2013, p. 139). It is imperative, I, as a digital education leader, work diligently with educators to find valuable ways we introduce and further develop responsible digital citizens, and we do so responsibly, safely, and ethically.
American Association of School Library (AASL). (n.d.). Outline of guidelines. Chicago, IL: American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards-guidelines/outline
American Library Association (ALA). (2015). About ALA. Chicago, IL: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aboutala/
Borgmann, A. (1995). Information and reality at the turn of the century. Design Issues, 11(2), 21-30.
Prensky, M. (2013). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Ribble, M., & Miller, T. N. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: Connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137-145.
Wellmon, C. (2012). Why Google isn’t making us stupid…or smart. The Hedgehog Review, 14(1). Retrieved from http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2012_Spring_Wellmon.php
Wicks, D. (2015). Finding your swing: Seven lessons IT staff and faculty can learn from The Boys in the Boat [Google Slide presentation]. Seattle, WA: Seattle Pacific University.