As I begin my last journal posting, for now, I have decided to share a personal story of my journey from classroom teacher to media specialist to graduate school.
I had been in the middle school classroom for years teaching all the various subjects, and I loved it! But there was a need for someone with organized thinking and a knack for working independently to set up and man our new school library. So, I became the “chosen one” and I accepted the challenge. I loved playing school as a child, and had a library that my “dolls” used, so how hard could it be? When I was first assigned the position of “librarian,” the actual library was located in a regular-sized classroom with three round tables, a huge circulation desk (the biggest one on campus), and 6 desktop computers – a tight squeeze. At that time, the computers were only used for looking up books on the card catalog system OPAC, and for a few high school students who were making up a credit by taking online Florida Virtual classes. So, not only was I the school librarian, but I was now the Florida Virtual facilitator, as well.
My dream at the time was to really develop a foundational library program and truly earn the title of “media specialist.” It was then (7 years ago) that I determined that if I am to be the right person for the job, I needed to get some training. I wanted to go back to school, but the timing was not quite right…yet. So, I settled for researching on my own, and learning on-the-job.
At the inception of the library program, it was always in my heart to develop computer skills in our elementary students. My belief is that the sooner you reach them technologically, the more knowledgeable and responsible they will become. Then four years later, we were blessed with a large donation, and we were now able to move to a building four times the size of the old library – AND we added 28 brand new computers. My computer lab has arrived.
Now what?? It became increasingly more evident, to me anyway, that I needed to really educate myself in the field in order to become relevant to my students. I have always been resourceful, so every new skill I learned, I shared it with my kids. But I needed a curriculum, so I decided to find a technology program that already existed, because I certainly had no clue how to create one from scratch – yet!!! So, I went to one of my favorite sites, Amazon, and found a curriculum that was completely based on incorporating NETS-S. I had never really heard of these standards, but because they were National and incorporated Technology, it sounded good to me. Who knew I would end up working with these standards so intimately?
My current curriculum has worked really well for my students up to this point. The students have learned many things – keyboarding skills, howto create graphic organizers, how to use Word to create documents, how to use formulas and graphics in Excel, and how to present using PowerPoint tools. I then made a discovery: it was time – time to return to school! And what a good decision it was for me – AND for my students, as well!Today, I am now referred to by my peers as the media specialist. With this title comes the responsibility of teaching Kindergarten through 5th grade computer and library skills, facilitating over 30 Florida Virtual high school students daily, being an ongoing resource for our teachers, and helping to develop our newly acquired Accelerated Reader program.
Continuing to use my current curriculum based on NETS standards is a good decision. But now, I will be able to add to this curriculum by creating my own website/wiki, teaching my kids how to blog, helping them to learn how to create digital stories – the sky’s the limit. I am a very busy girl – but very fulfilled. So, thank you EME 5050 – you have definitely equipped me to become more relevant for my kids. My journey has only just begun…
Here is a picture of our media center computer lab in action today:
Hanks, Cindy. (2012). Computer Lab Pictures. Retrieved from my own photo library.
Hicks, Mark. (2012). Discovery Education Clip-Art Gallery. [Web source]. Retrieved from http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/