Inna Levine

Creating our future: Students speak up about their vision for 21st century learning. speak up 2009 national findings: K-12 students & parents. (2010). ().Project Tomorrow. 15707 Rockfield Boulevard Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92618. Retrieved from


For the past 7 years, the Speak Up National Research Project has provided the nation with a unique window into classrooms and homes all across America and given us a realistic view on how technology is currently being used (or not) to drive student achievement, teacher effectiveness and overall educational productivity. Most notably, the Speak Up data first documented and continues to reveal each year the increasingly significant digital disconnect between the values and aspirations of the nation’s students about how the use of technology can improve the learning process and student outcomes, and the values and aspirations of their less technology-comfortable teachers and administrators. Students, regardless of community demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, gender and grade, tell year after year that the lack of sophisticated use of emerging technology tools in school is, in fact, holding back their education and in many ways, disengaging them from learning.  The Speak Up 2009 national findings paints a vivid picture of this continuing digital disconnect and also, advances the premise introduced with the data the previous year that by listening to and leveraging the ideas of students we can start to build a new vision for 21st century education that is more reflective of the needs and desires of today’s learners. With the 2009 year’s findings, the researchers give voice to a new genuine “student vision” for learning and in particular, the student’s experience-based blueprint for the role of incorporating emerging technologies in 21st century education, both in and out of the classroom.
Inna Levine

CO-Collaboration Strategies

Subramaniam, M., Ahn, J., Waugh, A., Taylor, N. G., Druin, A., Fleischmann, K. R., & Walsh, G. (2013). Crosswalk between the “framework for K-12 science education” and “standards for the 21st-century learner”: School librarians as the crucial link.School Library Research, 16 Retrieved from

Within the school library community, there have been persuasive calls for school librarians to contribute to science learning. The article presents a conceptual framework that links national standards of science education (“Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas,”) to core elements embedded in “AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner”, the standards that guide the teaching and learning of multiple literacies for which librarians are responsible in schools. Based on this conceptual framework, the authors of the article highlight how four middle school librarians in a large school district in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States enact and expand their five roles–information specialist, instructional partner, teacher, program administrator, and leader–while they participate in Sci-Dentity, a science-infused after-school program. They observed clear links between skills, dispositions, and responsibilities from the “Standards.” taught and facilitated by these school librarians, to principles in the Framework. The authors contend that the learning of the Standards is crucial to creating and sustaining science-learning environments as envisioned in the “Framework” and argue that school librarians’ role in science learning is more vital than it has ever been.
Mulligan, Kristi
Easley, M. (2017). Personalized learning environments and effective school library            programs. Knowledge Quest.  Retrieved from     =d1d3c80a-4ad0-4e4a-99f9-9f99a20a9f6e%40sessionmgr101&vid=25&hid=125
Summary:  This article defines personalized learning.  Furthermore it explains the benefits that a student reaps through instruction that focuses on personalized learning and growth.  The article goes on to enumerate the ways in which school librarians hold a position that can be uniquely tailored to support personalized learning.  Emphasis is given to the need for choice and voice when developing personalized learning units.  The article tasks school librarians with preparing a collection, both physical and virtual, which will support student effort.  It also discusses the requirements of the physical space of the library in this educational context.
Evaluation:  I see today’s schools and school libraries as institutions that should support individualized learning.  This article speaks to that belief.  In addition to supporting that belief, the article provides reliable suggestions for librarians who are moving in the direction of support for personalized learning.

Enabling Inquiry Learning in Fixed Schedule: An Evidence-based Approach

Mulligan, Kristi
Stubeck, C.J. (2015).  Enabling inquiry learning in fixed-schedule:  An evidence-based       approach. Knowledge Quest, 43 (3). Retrieved from     =a13fbf00-0ae8-471a-ad35-62ea68311666%40sessionmgr102&vid=14&hid=125
Summary:  As is the case in many K-12 libraries, librarians must adhere to a fixed schedule for class lessons and meeting times.  This causes challenge when it comes to collaborating and co-teaching over a full unit of instruction.  This article addresses the trial and error of one middle school librarian as she sought to overcome the inherent problems of the fixed schedule and such collaborative efforts.  The author chronicles the evolution of a process that she has developed for her site.  She offers insights into problem solving and solutions that have worked for her.
Evaluation:  This is a challenge for many librarians.  I appreciate the honesty with which the author shares her successes and her failures.  I believe that collaboration with classroom teachers on long-term units provides innumerable benefits to students.  Therefore, the suggestions put forward in this article are a genuine assistance to anyone struggling with their own fixed schedules.

1:1 Initiative for Individualized Learning

Mulligan, Kristi.


Aitken, T. (2017). 1:1 initiative for individualized learning. Teacher Librarian, 44. Retrieved from =d1d3c80a-4ad0-4e4a-99f9-9f99a20a9f6e%40sessionmgr101&vid=33&hid=125

Summary: This article describes the role of the library as Future Ready Librarians. It focuses on the Future Ready Librarians’ Framework and the library’s role in Personalized Student Learning. The article relates the specific works of the librarian to the elements therein. The message is the librarian can and should be instrumental in the integration of technology that is part of a 1:1 initiative that supports individualized student learning.

Evaluation: The Future Ready Librarians Framework provides a context in which librarians can see the relevance of their work in the academic world of 1:1. This framework also serves as a means by which librarians can communicate their role to others in the educational fields.

When we let technology do our thinking for us

Anthony Devine

When reading The Shallows, Nicolas Carr referenced the work of Van Nimwegen & Van Oostendorp (2008). Basically, Van Nimwegen & Van Oostendorp show that the more a tech interface guides a user to do a task, the less the user actually internalizes and learns the task. In other words: the easier that technology makes a task, the less the learning “sticks” in our brains. Or, to use the term in the title and the term Dr. L. prefers: the more technology guides us in a task, the less ability we have to transfer what we learned in that task.

I think this has implications for education technology and for information literacy. When designing learning experiences for students, we should be mindful of the danger of having students do things that simply do not require much thinking, much internalization. And as to information literacy, we should be careful to let our social media feeds to our thinking for us when it comes to what information to perceive as valid/invalid.

Technology is fantastic, but we still need to think for ourselves.

Carr, N. G. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton.

Van Nimwegen, C., & Van Oostendorp, H. (2008). The questionable impact of an assisting interface on performance in transfer situations. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. Retreived from:

Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms

Anthony Devine

RSA Animate created this fantastic visualization of a talk on changing education paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson:

I loved this talk (and visualization) so much that I went to the RSA website and purchased a digital PDF of the final visual. It cost me One British Pound, and I had it printed out on a poster printer we have at my school–I still need to find a frame for it.

Sir Ken Robinson, deliverer of one of the most popular TED Talks: Do Schools Kill Creativity?, delivers a talk here about how our education system was built on a model of industrialization, which has led to a host of problems as we move beyond that model. The video delivers visuals to accompany Robinson’s ideas, leaving the viewer with a greater understanding of the context of the development of education as well as the flaws with the current system.


Robinson, K. (2010, October 14). RSA ANIMATE: Changing education paradigms [YouTube video]. The RSA [YouTube channel]. Retrieved from

Why you think you’re right, even when you’re wrong

Anthony Devine

Julia Galef’s blog post is is also the topic of a TED Talk:
Galef does a great job explaining motivated thinking. This is another source that helps us see that we are not as logical as we like to think we are. The implication for information literacy is to be mindful of how our worldview colors what we choose to believe and what we choose to discard.

Galef, J. (2017, March 9). Why you think you’re right, even when you’re wrong. Retrieved from

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain

Carr, N. G. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton.

Anthony Devine

I am a strong supporter of the idea that technology can amplify learning. From that perspective, when I started reading this book I did so very much against the grain. I had heard about this Nicolas Carr, who apparently opposed technology and the flow of inevitable progress that technology promises. However, I tried to be mindful of my bias so that I would be able to afford Carr’s ideas a fair chance. As Daniel Kahneman would say, I recognized that the information in this book might not fit into my perception of reality, so I activated my “System 2” in order to more objectively weigh the ideas Carr’s book presented.

While I didn’t agree with everything Carr wrote, I have to admit that Carr makes some very useful observations about how technology is evolving compared to how the human brain functions.

Carr’s most memorable observations:

  • Our interaction with information online is… wait for it… shallow. We don’t get deep into ideas online.
  • The web interface is distracting–it taxes our cognitive load. For example, all those notifications and ads as well as the constant influx of information, all those each add a little more to our cognitive load. Carr explains a little bit about cognitive load theory, specifically, that our ability to comprehend and evaluate information effectively becomes diminished the more our attention is divided (and the online world divides our attention significantly).
  • Technology–the online interface–rewards very shallow interactions: the share, the like, the retweet. Those shallow interactions with information are often substituted for actual understanding and evaluation. But the human brain LOVES this kind of interaction. The brain enjoys seeking patterns. And the pattern of posting or re-posting something that other people like and share and getting notifications on that behavior… our brain just loves that. Moreover, this is part of what leads us to gravitate toward like-minded people and information sources online. This is part of how we develop our social media filter bubbles. “Look how many people within my social media circle liked and shared my post! I must be right, everyone agrees! Anyone who disagrees with this idea must be a fringe, outsider who doesn’t see common sense.
  • Humans anthropomorphize technology. We have a dangerous tendency to give human-like qualities to non-humans. Without sounding too much like a paranoid conspiracy theorist: the goals of technology are not necessarily the goals of humanity. For now, technology is our tool. But if we continue to develop the ability of technology to think for itself, and combine that with our tendency to think of technology as living and thinking, then we face a future where we are the tools of technology–rather than the other way around.
  • Finally, the most alarming observation by Carr: The human brain adapts to the tools it has available. The theory of neuroplasticity says that the brain changes to better function within its environment. This is a primary reason why we developed as the dominant life form on our planet. However, Carr makes the claim that technology is causing our brains to adapt in ways that are rewarded by technology: technology encourages us to adapt to shallow interactions with information.
In my opinion, kind of scary stuff. Carr seems to recognize, though, that technology is here to stay, and it certainly isn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. His advice, similar to Daniel Kahneman’s, is to be mindful of when you are interacting with information shallowly, and to be willing to dive more deeply into a topic when it is something that is truly important. Avoid the temptation of allowing technology to “think” for you. Technology is a lot of things, but it is not a replacement for human wisdom.

Clues to help us understand what we’re up against when it comes to our cognitive flaws

Kahneman, D. (2011). 
Thinking, fast and slow.

Anthony Devine

I really wanted to understand why we humans seem to be so bad at information literacy. Why is it that so often we are duped into believing things that are not true? All the blame can’t be directed at technology, which facilitates insidious misinformation campaigns. There must be something about how we process information that is flawed.

In short, there is a flaw in how we process information. To state it briefly, we form models of reality, our brains work to confirm that model of reality by making choices concerning what information to accept (information that confirms our reality), and what information to discard (information that uncomfortably challenges our model of reality). Of course, that isn’t to say that minds never change. They do–often! However, the amount of cognitive focus required for our minds to always evaluate decisions and beliefs objectively, fairly… well, our brains simply did not evolve in a way to make that kind of thinking easy for us. It’s much easier for our brains to develop worldviews, biases, heuristics that usually seem to be right. And then, proceed to make decisions based on those heuristics.

Daniel Kahneman’s provides a fantastic framework for better understanding how people make choices and how the brain works. He goes into great detail concerning the many ways that humans simply do not make logical choices. We are not high quality information processors!

For the purposes of how Kahneman’s work relates to information literacy, I would suggest focusing on part 3 of his book: Overconfidence. Kahneman does an excellent job describing his research into the ways we are overconfident concerning what we believe. In many ways, the world makes a lot less sense that we pretend it does, and we are a lot less logical than we like to think we are.