Tech Leaders

Koppenhaver, Chelsie

Topic: Technology

Summary: In this article, School Library Journal highlights the efforts of 6 library professionals who are using technology in innovative ways in their schools. These librarians are working with kids using technology like podcasts, 3-D printers, video cameras and more, but most importantly, they recognize that the tech itself is secondary to how students use it, emphasizing creation, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration in their schools.

Evaluation: While it is a short article, I believe it is important for us as library students to see that there are librarians out there who are putting the ideas we are studying into practice in innovative and effective ways. Each of the librarians highlighted here also shows a dedication to putting their students’s voices, opinions, and learning first in their library’s design and instruction.

Citation: Snelling, J. (2019, May 3). Tech leaders: Amplifying reading and research. School Library Journal. Retrieved from

Understanding Genius Hour

Smith, Chloe


Krebs, D. & Zvi G. (2016). The genius hour guidebook. New York: Routeledge.

Summary: This book is focused on Genius Hour, a program in which a teacher sets aside a set amount of time each week for students to pursue independent and self-directed projects. It is by two teachers, one an elementary school teacher in private and public settings and one a faculty member in a teacher training program, who met online and began collaborating and sharing resources as part of their Personal Learning Networks (PLN). It is very much a product of an online community, with lots of pointers for readers to check out resources like TED talks and to share experiences with each other via Twitter and other social media platforms. In essence, the book does just what is says on the cover–it explains what Genius Hour is, and it gives pointers and suggestions for how an educator can make it work in their classrooms. It includes guidelines for introducing the concept, scaffolding the development of students’ independent inquiry, and helping them reflect and self-assess. It also includes appendixes with FAQs, more resources and lesson plans, and a reading list.

Evaluation: I really liked the practical and detailed scaffolding that this book provided. I could definitely see depending on it if I was rolling out Genius Hour in my own classroom or library space. I wonder, however, if a print book was the best format for this document–there are so many online works cited that it seems like this would have worked better as a website other format where the references could be linked.

KQED Mindshift: How To Ease Students Into Independent Inquiry Projects

Gould, Molly


Mackenzie, T. & Bathurst-Hunt, R. (March 1, 2018). How to ease students into independent inquiry projects. Mindshift.  KQED. Retrieved from:


This article and its accompanying chart describe the spectrum along which inquiry-based education can occur, from structured, to controlled, to guided and, finally, to free inquiry. In structured inquiry the educator leads the one inquiry from start to finish. In controlled inquiry, the teacher provides the questions asked, the resources and assigns the project, deliverable or assessment. In guided inquiry, the educator assigns the subject and asks the essential question, but the students have more freedom and autonomy to choose resources and design projects. Free inquiry completes the spectrum, where student initiate the inquiry, choose their own topics, select resources and design their own projects or performance tasks.



As a term and a concept, inquiry is often thrown around with little explanation of what it is or how it works. As a relatively new public school educator, inquiry-based learning has often seemed to me to be a lofty constructivist ideal without much place in real-world classrooms. At least part of the reason for this is that there’s very little training in how to implement inquiry-based learning experiences. This article provides a very useful framework for where to begin, depending on teacher interest and ability, as well as student readiness.