Sunday, October 12, 2014

ISTE, Stirring the Pot, & Education Advocacy

Four years ago on Doug Johnson's awesome The Blue Skunk Blog a commenter named Glynda said

"Doug,
I just read in the SLJ that Teacher librarian Gwyneth Jones is now a board member of ISTE. Perhaps she can help ensure that administrators are not only aware of NETS-A but also following them."

ISTE NETS & the Common Core
I recently ended that four year elected term on the ISTE Board of Directors and as I reflect upon my service, participation, and accomplishments balanced with Glenda's comment, I can say that if that was the sole standard of success - I failed! I couldn't then, and I can't now, "ensure" that admins are aware of NETS and I surely can't make them follow the NETS.

I think we ALL must have an ongoing conversation with our Admin & staff about how we can integrate ISTE NETS into our daily instruction. Just like teaching technology in isolation, it shouldn't just happen once at a professional development in-service. 

You know what would really help sell the NETS to admins?  Having something that makes the connection between the Common Core & NETS.  It would be great if ISTE could spell out direct correlations from NETS to the Common Core. This would get our admin's attention, right? We DO have a Position Statement with an infographic showing why the NETS can maximize Common Core success.  ISTE Connects also produced this excellent blog post -  Common Core: It’s not what they know — it’s how they’ll use it  Great conversation starters! Is it enough? Is it an ISTE NETS & CCSS toolkit all wrapped up in a digital bow? Nope, but it's a beginning!

In 2010,  I blogged & gushed about the honour of being elected - and said that I "would love to inspire all Admins to share more with the community in an ongoing conversation their hopes, dreams, & plans for their kids! No need to have JUST a newsletter home - an Admin can have an online relationship and inspire the world!" Now my new principal Tweets from our school account! W00t! My district made a Twitter account for every school - some admins are involved more than others - but it's a start!

Politics...like boards of associations, sometimes move slowly. School librarians and teachers of ALL subjects, let's keep plugging away! These organizations need our voices and our passion. Never give up, never surrender, keep advocating. Keep serving. Whether on ISTE, ALA, AASL, YALSA, NEA, NCATE, METC, TCEA, or your local ISTE or library affiliate?  Wherever you can lend a hand, give an idea, take charge, or stir the pot - do it!

Why ISTE and not ALA or AASL? 
Though I go to AASL every other year & have presented several times, I feel that ISTE is more cutting edge, progressive, & inclusive. For years I spent my own money as an investment in my profession going to and presenting at the ISTE conference. I met amazing educators, collaborated with inspiring leaders and change agents, and ISTE honestly, changed my life!
In contrast, the ALA conference made me feel like a redheaded stepchild. Someone once asked me at the DC ALA conference in 2007 what kind of librarian I was,  I said "middle school librarian" all chirpy like & excited and she smiled condescendingly, raised her brows, and murmured dryly "how adorable." Womp womp. OMFG!*  Bless her heart! Stunned.
I also wonder why, out of 50 Library Mover & Shakers every year, Library Journal magazine (and I'm a grateful recipient of that award, mind!), why are there only 2 or 3 school librarians? Hmmmm?  Also, how come AASL or ALA don't ask people like Joyce Valenza, Kathy Scrock, Doug Johnson, or heck me! (LOL) to be a keynote or feature speaker? What's with that? Why don't we celebrate our own peeps? This is a conversation that if I were on the ALA or AASL board I would bring up - and it might NOT be popular. Stir, stir, stir!

Keepin it Real & Grabbin That Spoon
Yeah, stir, stir, stir!  Whilst on the ISTE board you know I tried to keep it real and stir the pot with the obvious but often unasked questions.  I wanted to passionately represent and advocate for librarians and school-based educators.  The majority of our ISTE membership are the people who work in the schools - the classroom teachers & librarians in the trenches - who are there for our BEST customers, our kiddos!  Never forget the kiddos! For a while there, I was one of only 2 school based board members - the rest were VP's, higher ed, superintendents, corporate, & big wig types. (I admit to many moments of being a tongue-tied fangirl!)  It was a lot of work and a lot of my summer, evenings, and weekends. I tried really hard to do my best & I loved every minute!
Stir The Pot, But with Respect
It's super important to strike a balance being an education advocate, pot stirrer, and question asker, with staying professional and respectful. I mentioned some of this in a previous post How to Train Your (New) Principal.
Believe me, I delete a lot of Tweets! I bite my tongue every day. I write long heated blog comments ranting & raving at education issues that irk, annoy, anger, & irritate me. I just deleted a whole paragraph naming some!  What do I do? I cut & paste them into an email draft & I sleep on it - then usually delete it the next day. Take the high road. Be positive!  I often think, would my Momma be proud of that? If it's iffy - I try and steer clear. But if I get to know you personally, I might rant a bit in private over a pint but not in PRINT! Cause like, I'm human! And I'm a redhead! LOL

It was a true honour to serve and four years later I can assure you that ISTE truly has their heart in the right place when it comes to advocating for kids, teachers, and technology integration. If they hadn't I would NOT have run for or accepted my second term.

I'd like to thank all the ISTE Staff in Eugene for their commitment to the members, all my supportive and inspiring fellow board members, and Dr. Kecia Ray ISTE Board Chair, for her mentoring, inspiration, and leadership.  I'd also like to thank Brian Lewis, the new CEO - who really gets the fact that branding is important and that ISTE really needed a branding overhaul. Dag, we look good now! ISTE Rocks!
WOW...that was an unusually large amount of blathering. I reserve the right to edit this later! LOL I should sleep on it -- but talking dead is on and I really need push Publish before I go to bed. Night friends!

Resources:
Common Sense Media - Alignment and Standards
ISTE Board nomination packet! Why not you!?


*OMFG - Oh my fairy godmother! What were YOU thinking? My Momma might read this blog! 

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