The 2018 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference took place in Chicago, June 24–27. We checked in with some of the librarians and educators who attended and presented sessions there to see what’s new in the world of education technology.
Prior to the official conference kickoff, Follett hosted the first ever Future Ready Librarian Leadership Summit on June 23. The Future Ready Librarians initiative is an expansion of the Future Ready Schools initiative launched in 2014 by former president Barack Obama as a project of the Alliance for Education. The mission of the initiative is to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for “success in college, work, and citizenship,” and that technology and digital learning are part of reaching that success.
Attendees of the all-day workshop learned about the new Future Ready Librarian Framework, explored new tools to use with students that inspire collaboration and critical thinking, and heard about new strategies for ensuring that the school librarian is an integral part of curriculum planning and decision making in the school. Mark Ray, director of innovation and library services for Vancouver (Wash.) Public Schools, and Shannon McClintock Miller, a Future Ready Librarian spokesperson, consultant, and K–12 teacher librarian in Van Meter, Iowa, were coleaders of the workshop.
According to Miller, more than 100 librarians from around the country participated in the Leadership Summit. During the event, an updated, second version of the Future Ready Librarian Framework was announced. “Literacy was added to our framework,” Miller says, “and it surrounds the center/hub, which is now called ‘learner-centered,’ replacing ‘Personalized Student Learning.’ ” The change was made because, according to Miller, “learners are not just students, but teachers, administrators, families, and people in the community, too.”
In the new FRL Framework, the language that reinforces the literacy component reads: “Future Ready Librarians support student-centered learning through literacy by inspiring and supporting the reading lives of both students and teachers. They create inclusive collections that acknowledge and celebrate diverse experiences and provide instructional opportunities to empower learners as effective users and creators of information and ideas.”
Joseph South, chief learning officer of ISTE, kicked off the summit by introducing the Future Ready Librarians Crosswalk, which illustrates—in visual side-by-side comparisons—the relationship between the FRL Framework and the ISTE Standards for Educators, which were revised in 2017. A similar crosswalk showing how the recently revised American Association of School Librarians Standards and the ISTE Standards for Educators align is in the works and will be announced soon.
“With all of the standards that we have and follow as librarians, to have one more thing can be overwhelming,” Miller says. “It’s so important for Future Ready Librarians to have this crosswalk and to be able to integrate what we know and value as librarians and what we follow from the standards for educators from ISTE. Since everybody in the school follows the ISTE Standards for Educators, not only the librarians but the educators and administrators look at them, too; to be able to show them how it ties into what we do as Future Ready Librarians is really going to strengthen that conversation and strengthen our roles as leaders in our school.”
Bill Bass, innovation coordinator for instructional technology, information, and library media for Parkway School District in West St. Louis County, Mo., and president-elect of the ISTE board of directors, believes the new Future Ready Librarians Crosswalk is a great fit for both parties. “When I think about Future Ready, it’s this idea of helping kids to be flexible thinkers and evaluators of information,” he says. “The partnership between ISTE and Future Ready makes a ton of sense, because what the ISTE standards indicate are what we want kids to be, and the Future Ready Framework helps us to understand how we get kids to be those things. I think it’s a really good marriage; I think they’re very supportive of each other.”
In addition to revealing the crosswalk, South announced the launch of ISTE’s Librarians Are Transforming Learning website—a clearinghouse of information, resources, and tools specific to librarians. Visitors to the site will find the new FRL Framework/ISTE Standards for Education Crosswalk, a link to a new ISTE U online course called “Exploring Future Ready Librarianship: Practices for the Emerging Leader,” personal development book recommendations, and links to the ISTE blog and the official site for the ISTE Librarians Network, one of the organization’s numerous personal learning networks, which now has upwards of 2,000 members. “We had been waiting for this site,” Miller says. “To have all the new information we’ve been working on available in one place now is just awesome. It was a really great day.”