For certain technological ideas, I think I’m not an “innovator” in that sense and have a hard time picturing the future. Last year, I had the pleasure of sitting at a few roundtable and community forums about the future planning of our school and the consultants asked groups to think about the needs of 5-15 years in the future: think of jobs not yet created and we’re supposed to be educating students about, think about technology that will evolve where an invested infrastructure must be a priority to deal with shifts and changes, and think of a space that has flexibility and design to adapt to security issues, staff and student increases or decreases, and more. For me personally, that’s tough thinking that far in the future and “imagining the possibilities”, so I had a difficult time relating to (though certainly getting scared in a good way) of all that’s yet to come both for me, the profession, and my children as they begin their educational journeys.
I recently came across this talk on the Idea of future of libraries and her talk resonated with me through the anecdotes and challenge of creating spaces that shift and move with the community. This I can get behind and understand and help create an action plan for addressing this.
I can deal with the concrete of now and the data that’s been collected to predict the not so distant future. I really connected with the article of social media and teens with their phones and shifting communications. In our high school library, we’ve had to adapt. Fighting for and creating a Facebook page that only got 30 likes in a few months but students responded that they weren’t going to like the page and/or weren’t “there” and that they preferred Twitter, which we’ve now begun to use. One distinction that I see in my own world is the differences between genders, with women leaning toward visually-rich social media like Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. And this is that virtual space that I feel is important to keep kids connected and feeding them information. Likewise, the physical space, as referenced in the State of Libraries report is also just as important and I’ve seen that firsthand with the update of our library a few years ago. We tried to begin to address the shifts in how kids are using the library– using it as a collaboration space, so while we’re not all spread out with writeable walls, plugs everywhere, and small learning rooms, we did pick furniture that was more functional and put things in strategic locations for both visual appeal but useability.
There is so much to digest but what really struck me was what we’re not yet addressing with is the research component. The statistics on what kids are showing up to college NOT knowing how to do broke my heart because those are the basics and instead of addressing these, people are worried about technology integration, what social media presence to use, and posting dynamic information to attract users (which I’m just as guilty of!) instead of slowing it down and backing it up to the most elementary functions of preparing students! I almost think that the technology will come from their personal use while we revisit those core issues.
It gave me pause and I think I’ll regroup from here!