Which of the following uses of technology have I actually witnessed during my travels to schools and libraries around the country?**
a. Students using netbooks to complete a worksheet.
b. Students playing games on a tablet as a reward for completing the "real lesson."
c. A teacher using an interactive white board to show the class a video clip.
d. All of the above.
e. None of the above.
If you picked D then you've clearly filled out a few bubble sheets in your day.
Now. Using the same answer choices above, try this one on for size. In which of the previous examples was "technology transforming education?"
Bingo. E. None of the above.
I mention this because I've been seeing a lot of articles lately purporting to list the "10 Technologies That Will Transform Teaching" or "11 Apps That Will Save Education" or "18 Web 2.0 Tools That Will Make You Look 10 Years Younger!" Okay... I made that last one up. BUT the first two examples are just as ridiculous. Technology cannot change, transform, save or even improve education.
Only you can do that.
What's more, I think this speaks very specifically to what I see as one of the major shifts in school library work.
As our collections grow to contain more and more digital resources and our physical spaces change to include more technology, it's tempting to think that the library itself has evolved. But it's not that simple.
Circulating eReaders will not transform your library.
Hanging a Smart Board will not transform your library.
Giving every student a Chromebook will not transform your library.
Letting your students bring their own device will not transform your library.
Don't get me wrong, I love technology. And if I had access to all the technology listed above along with a school full of kids, I'd make some serious magic. But the bottom line is this:
Only great teaching can transform your library. And only you can do that.
**I want to be clear: I visit tons of schools and libraries. And during those visits I see many, many wonderful examples of teachers using technology to make their instruction better. That said, while the examples above are real, they are, fortunately, not the norm.