SLM 508 has had a profound impact on my summer professional development. Most of the classes that I have taken at McDaniel have been completely focused on librarianship and included many assignments that did not have any immediate real-world practical value. While this class will definitely impact my abilities to be a successful librarian, I felt that the things that I worked on in this class helped me to be classroom ready now. In essence, I geeked out a little bit.
This class offered me the chance to explore a variety of new technology tools and practices. I am now a blogger, a tweeter @mrshamilton13, a Diigo user. I can screencast, Voicethread, Google Doc, and so much more. I have been amazed by how much professional content is available that I never knew about, and I know that my professional development will continue to be influenced by these new (to me) technologies for years to come.
I think that one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned in this class is to not be afraid. When you look at today’s digital native, one of the things that sets him apart from the immigrants is the openness with which he approaches technology. We cannot learn unless we try, and it is easy to shy away from trying.
I have also learned that you have to seek out what you need. One of my chief complaints with my online classes has been the lack of human camaraderie within the classes. You log on, you post your stuff, and you leave. You never really take the time to get to know people, you never have people to commiserate with when things are not going your way, you never have someone to ask questions when you don’t want to post them on the discussion boards. During module two, we explored social network tools. Twitter, Skype, Google Docs. I have continued to use them to communicate with my classmates for the rest of the class and they have made all the difference. I posted my wiki with confidence because I had already processed many of the kinks out with my classmates prior to post. It has been a powerful lesson, and one I will use in the last two classes I have with McDaniel.
I am leaving 508 with some great tools in my plugged in pocket and I am excited to share them with my 9th graders next year. I am also excited to share what I have learned with my colleagues. One of my key roles as a librarian will be to share new ways to access information…that has taken on a whole new meaning with technology. I can’t wait.