In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play

Campbell, Renee
Tiffany, Kaitlyn. (2016). In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play: Talking to an information sciences professor about the challenges ahead. The Verge. Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/16/13637294/school-libraries-information-literacy-fake-news-election-2016.
Summary:
Interview with Professor Nicole A. Cooke of the University of Illinois School of Information Studies on how, as information specialists, to teach how to identify “fake news”. Cooke discusses the “all or nothing” approach people today have towards news. That “a lot of people say that they ‘distrust’ something not because it’s not trustworthy but because they actually just don’t agree with it.” And, how our students, who are the most technologically savvy, may also be the least informed because the speed of the internet and social media allows little time to adequately test credibility.
Evaluation:

This is a very timely article with useful tools for librarians, teachers, and students. In these past two weeks, I have had numerous discussions with all three groups and am thankful for the insight and applicable tools. I especially like her advice to “meet students where the are” on Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter, and being a guide through the wilderness of information and misinformation.

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Digital Citizenship: A Holistic Primer

Coulterpark, Rebecca

ET
IL

TeachThought Staff.  (2016, October 28).  Digital citizenship: A holistic primer.  Retrieved from https://www.imperosoftware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Digital-Citizenship-A-Holistic-Primer.pdf

Summary:

This white paper discusses digital citizenship, its definition, its current role in schools, and how it should be employed in the future in schools. The team from Teach Thought discusses the history of digital citizenship, and how this new form of citizenship has developed as internet use has become more prevalent, especially as online resources have become more pertinent to education. They introduce the core themes involved with digital citizenship, proposing that they are 1) respect yourself and others; 2) educate yourself and others; 3) protect yourself and others. The paper continues by discussing the necessity of digital citizenship at all levels of education, and how to employ it and teach students about how to be good digital citizens. They conclude the paper by discussing how digital citizenship might evolve in the future and answering potential questions about digital citizenship with continuing technologies, and how to teach digital citizenship.

Evaluation:
The Teach Thought Staff take an in depth look at digital citizenship, and discuss how it should be employed not only at the K-12 level, but also in higher education. This article does a good job of looking at, and explaining, different components of digital citizenship and what types of responsibilities we have as digital citizens and the important pieces to teach to students who are new to the digital world.
The breakdown of the sections makes it easy to navigate, and takes an easy to read approach to the topic of digital citizenship.

How to Design a Successful STEM Lesson

Gina Ruocco

How to Design a Successful STEM Lesson

Jolly, A. (2016). How to design a successful stem lesson. Education Week Teacher.
IL = Information Literacy and 21st Century Skills
CA – Curriculum
ET – Inquiry and Problem-based Learning
Article summary:
This article helps to explain what STEM lessons are and the components of a successful STEM lesson. According to Jolly, STEM lessons engage students in creating and engineering solutions to real-world challenges and problems. These lessons encourage critical thinking, cooperative group work while incorporating aspects of science, math and “creating technologies”. STEM lessons should foster inquiry because the tasks should be open-ended and allow for multiple solutions and innovative approaches. Jolly recommends seven considerations that teachers and co-teachers should keep in mind when planning a STEM unit or lesson:
  1. Design your STEM lesson around a grade-level science or math topic that students have studied, or are studying.
  2. Grasp the content and big ideas for the lesson.
  3. Keep the challenge realistic.
  4. Be familiar and comfortable with the Engineering Design Process (EDP).
  5. Consider the criteria and constraints needed for your STEM lesson.
  6. Have a good grasp of inquiry-based teaching and learning.
  7. Know how to successfully engage students in purposeful teamwork.
Evaluation:
As a teacher who has no experience with STEM units, I found this article helpful. It offers realistic considerations on how to plan a STEM lesson or unit, and teacher-librarians can use these considerations to guide their collaborative endeavors with Science teachers. I like how the article stressed the idea of allowing students to develop and create multiple solutions to complex, real-world problems. This would surely foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It would also encourage conversation surrounding the rationale for these approaches and would give students a chance to respectfully discuss their opinions on how effective they believe the solutions would be. The school library can be the center for these STEM projects that require research and students to utilize their information literacy skills, so it is important that teacher librarians understand the components of an effective STEM unit.

3 Critical Competencies for the Future – Preparing Students to Thrive in 2020

Gina Ruocco

3 Critical Competencies for the Future – Preparing Students to Thrive in 2020

Holland, B. (2016). 3 Critical Competencies for the Future – Preparing Students to Thrive
CO = Collaboration
IL = Information Literacy and 21st Century Skills
Article summary:
This article discussed how we have now entered the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, and this will result in changes in the way we live, work, and interact globally, creating new jobs, new opportunities, and even new forms of government. Therefore, in order to be successful, students will need to learn skills that will allow them to competently participate in all aspects of society and competitively in the workforce. The author posits that the recent election has proved that facets of our lives, from politics to education, are changing, and that it is critical that students become competent in Media Literacy, Computational Thinking, and Empathy in order to thrive and effectively contribute to a changing society.
Evaluation:

I found this article helpful as it defined the skills and competencies that students should possess by 2020; these competencies include complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility. Many of these competencies can be developed through library activities that encourage cooperative group work and tasks that encourage the demonstration of collaborative intelligence. One thing that would have been helpful would be for the authors to provide examples of activities for librarians and teachers that can foster these competencies.

Teacher power: The exercise of professional autonomy in an era of strict accountability

Matthew Hill

CA

Webb, P. T. (2002).  Teacher power: The exercise of professional

autonomy in an era of strict accountability.  Teacher Development, 6(1), pp. 47-62. doi:10.1080/13664530200200156

Summary:
In this article Webb discusses the issue of professional autonomy among elementary school teachers at a school in Washington state.  He takes certain teachers who teach at the school as case studies of teachers who alter established, state-mandated curricula to better fit the students needs.  Webb uses this case and argues that K-12 teachers should be given more autonomy, discretion, and decision-making power rather than less, and that the tendency to micromanage K-12 teachers is degrading not only to the individual teachers but to the profession of teaching as a whole since it assumes the incompetence of teachers to direct their own classes without direct supervision and scripting of classes.

Evaluation:
I loved this article because it gives power to the teachers to determine the best way to teach students based on personalized evaluation and long experience.  One of the most important ideas that Webb explores here is that in order to develop greater professional competence and autonomy teachers should be given the opportunity for professional development, through participation in councils, national conferences, individual courses, etc, and that time, resources, and money should be dedicated to increasing the educational and professional competence of teachers so that they can exercise their profession without the condescending oversight of “expert” administrators and curriculum developers.  This argument for greater autonomy and decision-making power for K-12 teachers is not a cover-up for bad teaching or incompetence.  Rather, it is a stimulus for greater competence and a show of trust that teachers are able to make the correct decisions for their students.  More power to teachers, not less, is the key for high-quality education, and local, state, and national governments should be dedicating much more resources–both material and monetary–to accomplish this goal.

21st Century skills map: World languages.

Matthew Hill

IL

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011).  21st Century skills map: World languages.  Retrieved Oct. 26, 2016, from https://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/21stCenturySkillsMap/p21_worldlanguagesmap.pdf

Summary:
This is less an article than a “map,” or an articulation of how so-called “21st-century skills” should manifest themselves and be evaluated in the foreign language classroom.  It appears on the webpage of American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) though it is not an ACTFL-published document.  The map goes through the different aspects of 21st-century skills and gives broad process goals for each aspect and sample activities that can be done that put those goals and skills to use for novice, intermediate, and advanced language learners.

Evaluation:
It is interesting to see the specific articulation of 21st-century skills as it relates to foreign language teaching, though the skill definitions seemed abstract and not rooted in learning a foreign language; rather, they seemed to be very general and could be applied to any field of knowledge instead of specific content or a specific discipline.  One thing that I found simplistic and an example of inaccurate hyperbole was the “Then and Now” section, especially the condescending and arrogant proposal that before 21st-century skills, “Students learned about the language (grammar)” whereas now, in the progressive and enlightened 21st century, “Students learn to use the language,” as if no one ever learned a language in times past to an acceptable level due to antiquated and inadequate teaching strategies.  I am living proof that that assertion is false.

Co-teaching defined

Matthew Hill

CO

Friend, M. (2007).  Co-teaching defined.  Website.  Co-teaching Connection.  Retrieved Oct. 19, 2016, from http://www.marilynfriend.com/basics.htm.

Summary: 
In this article, Marilyn Friend, one of the foremost proponents, practitioners, and scholars of K-12 special education co-teaching, gives a very brief description of the fundamental elements of co-teaching.

Evaluation:
I liked this very short page because of the simplicity and clarity of its descriptions of what co-teaching really is, something that up to the moment I read it was not very clear to me.  It makes explicit the most common and appropriate setting for co-teaching (inclusion classes in K-12) and makes this statement regarding a fundamental “rule” for co-teaching: “Two or more professionals with equivalent licensure and employment status are the participants in co-teaching.  Co-teaching is based on parity.  When paraprofessionals or other adults assist in classrooms, the contribution is valuable, but it is appropriately considered support rather than co-teaching.”  From my perspective as a librarian in higher education, it says to me that co-teaching is not appropriate at the university level unless the librarian has an equivalent degree of education with the co-teaching professor, something that does not always occur.  Furthermore, even if there is an equivalent educational level, the greater experience of the non-librarian in teaching and the potential for a lack of subject knowledge on the part of the librarian make it a shaky proposal at best at the university level, and something that should be occasional, exceptional, rather than the rule.