Sunday, March 10, 2013

MSLA 2013: Sunday Highlights

This past weekend, Anna and I and many other Massachusetts librarians attended the annual Massachusetts School Library Association conference in exotic Sturbridge, MA.  We had two full days of all school librarian-focused speakers and sessions.  The theme of this year's conference was "Lead and Learn."  All conference handouts can be found on the MSLA website.

Anna will be talking about the first speaker of the day, Pam Berger, in another post.  I'm going to start with the second speaker of the day, Richard Byrne.  I was looking forward to hearing him speak, as his topic was about developing a power PLN (personal learning network).  The blurb about his talk said: "Librarians who want to expand their professional learning opportunities beyond the traditional in-service days, occasional conference, and graduate course, will be introduced to networks like Classroom 2.0, Educator's PLN, and Google Plus."  Sounds good, yes?  Well it might have been if that's what actually happened.  But I'm afraid it wasn't.  At all.

Everything started out just fine.  Richard talked about how essential it is for librarians to have a personal learning network, especially if you're the only librarian in your school, possibly even the only one in your district.  I completely agree with this.  I'm so lucky that I work in a library with two other full time librarians.  It's wonderful to always have someone to bounce ideas off of or ask for feedback.  If you're alone, technology can give you a way to have a community, even a global community.  Even if you're not alone that's pretty cool!

Then Richard started digressing a bit.  He did that a lot, actually.  It was all sort of school and library relevant, but not necessarily on his topic of creating a PLN.  He showed us a video from OK Go, who I quite like, but then he started talking about  copyright and how they wanted to share everything and I felt like we were going off topic again.  I kind of see where he was going - wanting to be able to share everything with everyone - but kind of a roundabout way to do it.

Richard talked about how he personally used Twitter, and how it had been so helpful to him when he first started teaching.  He was teaching a lesson on the Cold War that was going terribly and he asked for feedback and someone gave him the idea of using The Butter Battle Book, which worked great.

Then, unfortunately, the remaining hour and half turned into a how to set up your Twitter account and how to use Twitter.  That's when I zoned out.  If he mentioned classroom 2.0, Educator's PLM and Google Plus, I didn't notice.  But I'm pretty sure it was just all about the Twitter account he was setting up for his dog.  Which for me got old very quickly. 

If this had been a break-out session, it would have been fine.  But this was a full group session and doing a detailed walk-through of how to use Twitter was not a good use of my time.  If I had been sitting at the back, rather than at the front, I would have left.  Also, there was going to BE a break-out session on using Twitter, so I felt kind of bad for that person, since he was essentially doing her session.

So that one turned out to be a disappointment.  But luckily that was really the only disappointment of the conference for me.

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