Knowing the Difference Between Digital Skills and Digital Literacies and Teaching Both

Hertz-Newman, Jenny


Bali, M. (2016). Knowing the difference between digital skills and digital literacies and teaching both. Literacy Today. Retrieved from:

This article makes the important distinction between digital skills such as the ability to use digital tools (i.e., how to download, how to retweet, how to use Powerpoint) and digital literacies, which Bali (2016) characterizes as the “issues, norms, and habits of mind surrounding technologies used for a particular purpose”.  In other words it’s important for teachers to make sure they are teaching both the HOW of using digital tools as well as the WHEN and WHY involved with using those tools.

I appreciate the way Bali (2016) discusses the contextualized teaching and learning involved in digital literacy — when would you use Google instead of another platform, when should your use be determined by issues of privacy, issues of source reliability, issues of appropriateness and long term consequences of a particular posting?  She proposes a progressive model, scaling up in complexity in both skills and literacy.


Mason, Ariella


DuNeene, J. (n.d.). 25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently. Retrieved February 11, 2018, from https://www.teachthought. com/pedagogy/25-things-successful- teachers-do-differently/

This article lists and discusses several strategies for a teacher to be more successful. Some of the suggestions included: having very clear objectives, adapting to student needs, welcome change in the classroom, and never stop learning.

I liked this article and found it useful because it is helpful regardless of experience level in teaching. Meaning that I found it very helpful as someone who hasn’t taught, but I also feel that the things listed may be things teacher who have been in the classroom for a long time could use as well.

Teaching in a Virtual Reference Space

Dempsey, P.R. (2016). “Are you a computer?” Opening exchanges in virtual reference shape the potential for teaching. College & Research Libraries, 77(4), 455-468. DOI: 10.5860/crl.77.4.455
This article was thorough and well researched. It also provided direction toward further research which included: whether student assistants would bring strengths or weaknesses to live chat, how librarians avoid or include teaching, and further investigation concerning the percentage of libraries who restrict chat to brief questioning. This article did a great job in addressing each question and further examining perspective reasons for findings.  This article was quite interesting and somewhat informative, I think I would recommend it if it pertained to someone’s research.

New Year’s Resolution: Teach More, Librarian Less.

Litzinger, Vicki


Ray, Mark.  (2012) New Year’s Resolution: Teach More. Librarian Less. Teacher Librarian,  39(3), 52 – 53.


Mark Ray, as the 2012 Washington State Teacher of the Year, urges us to teach more, to be visible in our schools, and to point out to others when we’ve had a class of excellent teaching. He briefly discusses two other teacher-librarians in Washington State who are making a difference in their schools with an emphasis on being teachers and educational leaders in their schools. He points out that they do this by being active on educational committees and workgroups, working closely with their administrations and colleagues or by becoming specialists in a particular kind of teaching and learning style. They are “leading by example, effectively advocating for teacher librarians and school library programs by focusing on great teaching” (52) The authors final points are about emphasizing our excellent instruction and willingness to learn from our colleagues so that our students benefit.


We love libraries and librarians, and that is a major reason that most of us when into this profession. And now we are expected to teach, and we see our teaching responsibilities as equal to or secondary to our librarian roles. Ray is telling us to change our thinking and completely refocus on being teachers first! The author details several concrete examples of how to do that from being very visible in our schools, actively participating on educational teams,  and to seeking out colleagues with whom to share and learn from. It’s all about advocacy for ourselves, our programs, and our students.

New Technologies and 21st Century Skills

Boyer, Allison
New technologies and21st century skills. (2016). Retreived from
Summary: This website is part of an ongoing project by the Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Education.  This site provides an explanation of what it means to be literate in the 21st Century, what skills are considered 21st Century, as well as an ongoing lists of resources to help teachers understand 21st Century skills and ways to incorporate these skills in the classroom for student development.

Review: I found this website to be quite helpful in understanding 21st Century skills.  Not only does it provide an in-depth explanation of these skills, especially in relation to the education field, but the list of resources is extensive and ever-growing. It’s this aspect that I found most interesting.  This website is part of a project organized and maintained by LITE, and the list of resources will only continue to grow.  Resource include links to outside website, videos, Google Docs, etc.  This website is definitely one to remember.  

Teaching Google Natives To Value Information

Elizabeth Brown


Heick, T. (2014). Teaching google natives to value information. Retrieved from

Heick suggests enlightening millennial’s (who grew up computer savvy) on  the importance of information and research. This generation has used Google, specifically, to answer all of their questions, thereby appreciating information less (because of its simplicity). Heick acknowledges that this not a black or white issue, but maintains “while neurological functions may not [be] change[ing],
how students access, use, share, and store information is.” The logical answer is to be cognizant of this reality and provide practical advice. Heick suggests the following:

“1. Is sounds counterintuitive-intuitive, but periodically create information-scarce
      circumstances that force students to function without it.
 2. Illuminate – or have them illuminate – the research process itself.
 3. Do entire projects where the point is not the information, but its utility.
 4. Use think-alouds to model the thinking process during research.
 5. Create single-source research assignments where students have to do more
     with less.”

This article is provides an interesting analysis of a complex issue. Heick concludes that she does not have all of the answers, but she does include some insightful examples. The main point of the article is that we cannot expect students to ignore technology, (nor do we want to), but they can be more thoughtful in their research.

‘World’s best teacher’ does not believe in tests and quizzes

Beverly Rupe
CA-Assessment Strategies

Brown, A. (2015, April 29). ‘World’s best teacher’ does not believe in tests and quizzes. [Television broadcast]. Washington, DC: PBS NewsHour Productions, LLC. Retrieved from

This is a transcript of a television interview with Nancie Atwell, who was awarded the $1 million Global Teacher Prize from the Varkey Foundation, which has been called the Nobel Prize for education. Atwell was honored for starting a demonstration school called the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, ME, with the purpose of teaching children and training teachers at the same time. Atwell’s basic idea is to give kids choices, and let them follow their passions. The students are evaluated on their portfolios, and the students self-assess. The teachers assess the students daily during discussions. This approach supports favoring formative over summative assessments.

Building a Better Teacher

Beverly Rupe

ET-Learning Styles, cognitive theory, teaching, teacher assessment

Green, E. (2014). Building a better teacher: How teaching works (and how to teach it to everyone). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

This book explores the history of efforts to transform teaching from ineffective rote methods to more creative approaches. It includes a discussion of the academic research leading to teaching reform beginning in the 1980s, and uses examples from classrooms to illustrate the differences between effective and ineffective methods. Engaging students, encouraging them to talk (using “academic discourse”) and then listening to them to determine their needs are areas of focus in each of the classroom stories detailed in the book. The focus is on improving the art of teaching, which, according to the author, is a skill that can be taught. I found this book fascinating and very readable, and very pertinent to classroom teachers and TLs alike.

Anytime, Anywhere Learning

Porter, Lea
Ray, M. (2014). Anytime, anywhere learning. School Library Journal, 60(3), 20. 
This brief article discusses why online teaching and learning are important skill sets for all 21st-century information professionals in the age of blended learning.  This is not only important for university level professionals but K-12 level teacher librarians as well. By utilizing platforms like Edmodo, Canvas, and Blackboard while at the same time curating high-quality digital resource collections, teacher librarians can become “online learning engineers and blended learning baristas”. The author of this article points out that teacher librarians are exactly the person to help teachers implement blended learning environments while instructing students how to be effective digital citizens and successful online collaborators.
As a K-12 teacher librarian, I see this article being used as an advocacy piece to share with district administrators in regards to 21st-century learning opportunities. While the article is brief, the author points to a needed growth area in the K-12 arena. 

Copyright solutions for institutional repositories: A collaboration with subject librarians

Blaylock, Solomon


Leary, H., Lundstrom, K., & Martin, P. (2012). Copyright solutions for institutional repositories: A collaboration with subject librarians. Journal Of Library Innovation, 3(1), 101-110. Accessed 27 September 2014 from EBSCOhost.

The authors discuss the recently implemented practice at Utah State University’s
Merrill-Cazier Library of librarians performing copyright clearance on behalf of faculty submitting to the institutional repository. The article deals frankly with the opportunities and challenges posed by the new arrangement.


I have both positive and negative feelings about this article. On the one hand, I think the spirit of it is right on, and very timely. By addressing a process-related need, subject librarians at Utah State are creating opportunities for interdepartmental and library-faculty collaboration as well as expanding their individual capacities in the currently vital areas of copyright, metadata, scholarly publishing, and open access. On the other hand, the continued relevance of the homegrown institutional repository can hardly be taken for granted, and the opportunities for capacity building in this area are not especially broad or deep. I do like the way the authors are thinking though, and those of us in academic libraries cannot afford to neglect this kind of thinking at this pivotal time.