This has been an interesting year. Not only have I moved to a new school in a new country, but my actual teaching position (21st Century Literacy Specialist) is also brand new (both to me, and to the school).
I count my lucky stars every day to be working in such a forward-thinking school, but I have to admit that stepping into an entirely new position in such a large school, with complex protocol and history, has certainly been a challenge. Good thing I enjoy challenges!
So, after almost a full year working in a sometimes nebulous position, I think I’m finally able to start defining what I think a 21st Century Literacy Specialist would do here at ISB. A lot of what I’ve been thinking about is based on my previous experience as a technology facilitator, but with the focus of bringing technology and library together.
I see this role as a bridge between the library and technology, and therefore, a key aspect of this position, which makes it different than a traditional technology facilitation position, is the strength of collaboration between all three teams. Although they may be a natural fit, I am finding a real need to highlight those connections, to bridge those gaps, and to bring together the three (in my opinion) most exciting and most promising positions in the school.
Generally speaking, I spend the majority of my day either co-planning with teachers or co-teaching in the classroom. I am fortunate to have a flexible schedule which enables me to work wherever the need is greatest – from setting up a specialty celebration wiki, to developing our 21st century literacy framework, to planning and teaching with our students and teachers.
It has been my experience, as a technology facilitator, that personal (and personable) support in the classroom is the key to the success of any technology-rich program, and 21st century literacy is no different. My focus is always on making students, teachers and parents comfortable with new tools that can support and enhance student learning. Collaborating with our Media Specialist and Technology and Learning Coordinator enables our team to reach far and wide through the school – as we each have our own strengths and weaknesses that seamlessly and effectively blend together.
Of course this is still a work in progress, but here are my thoughts so far:
The 21st Century Literacy Specialist position combines the process and best practice approaches of successful technology facilitation with the wealth of resources available in the library. ISB is actively seeking to build a Learning Hub that successfully blends the traditional role of a library with the requirements of the 21st century global student. The role of the 21st Century Literacy Specialist is to bridge that gap. The focus of this position is to help core subject teachers utilize web 2.0 technologies in the classroom, to create a global and collaborative approach to learning. The design of authentic and engaging international projects which incorporate social networking, blogs, wikis, and podcasts, and whatever comes next, is paramount to the success of this position. The 21st Century Literacy Specialist works in collaboration with the Media Specialist and Technology and Learning Coordinator to ensure a seamless transition between traditional and digital literacy skills.
The 21st Century Literacy Specialist is responsible for the successful integration of 21st century literacy skills across the curriculum by:
Teaching and Instruction
- co-planning, co-teaching, co-assessing units of inquiry which authentically embed 21st century literacy skills
- assist in differentiation for highly able or struggling students through the use of technology, including independently teaching smaller groups of students when needed
- ensuring 21st century literacy enduring understandings and guiding questions are authentically embedded into curriculum at each grade level
- closely collaborating with the Media Specialist to ensure seamless transition and use of both traditional and digital literacy tools
Leadership and Curriculum Development
- continue to develop, define, promote and share vision and framework for 21st century learning at ISB
- promote ethical use of technology, and develop authentic projects that actively work towards developing digital citizenship among staff and students
- collaboratively work with administration, curriculum and technology coordinators, Media Specialist, and grade level teams to further develop ISB embedded 21st century literacy program
- provide regular professional development opportunities to help build teacher’s understanding around 21st century literacy
- coordinate and run mentor program to help classroom teachers understand the paradigm shift of 21st century teaching
- work with staff to develop and promote use of 21st century tools for efficiency and productivity in their jobs
Communication and Collaboration
- promoting and sharing successful 21st century literacy projects with wider school community
- document teaching and learning experiences in a central place for all faculty and parents to access
- developing a truly 21st century approach to learning and teaching by working in partnership with:
- the Technology and Learning Coordinator to coordinate hardware, software, and school-wide infrastructure so that focus can be on pedagogical support
- the Media Specialist to coordinate and support traditional literacy
What do you think? Would this work in your school? Is this realistic?