Friday, March 2, 2012

Build the Bridge

Tomorrow morning I am speaking at a local conference, The 21st Association of African American Educators. My topic- Using Digital Resources to Build Bridges. As educators we want to ensure our students have equal access to current, accurate materials- even beyond the bricks and mortar of the library.

What are these resources? Digital databases. Doing a “Google” search on ancient China, yields almost 11 million hits. Digital databases provide manageable results to a search. Remember when Pluto was demoted? The very next day, online encyclopedias had edited the entry and added one on dwarf planets. Databases provide reliable, updated information. Whether you’re at school, home or grandma’s in Texas, you have 24/7 access to information on varied reading levels with different modalities of learning.

In our workshop we will look at SDUSD’s one stop shopping site, Destiny, for digital resources. We will also look at the digital portal at the SD County Office of Education. And let’s not forget the public libraries. In San Diego, we have the Public Library and the County Library. Both of those organizations have digital databases and even ebooks for their patrons. If we are trying to build a bridge and bring resources to all students, we need to teach them to fish. Let’s be sure we remind them that after school, they can still use public libraries.

As teachers or librarians, there are several strategies we can use for integrating these digital resources. The first is to collaborate. If you are a teacher, contact your library staff about what resources are available in your library. Are they available outside the district? Do I need a password? Can they teach your staff or classes about how to use them? Work together with a specific curriculum standard and use the resources for a reason.

If you are library staff, make sure your administration, teachers, students and parents know about your digital resources. If you have district staff, perhaps they can make a presentation to the groups. One of the biggest parts of my current job is to do Destiny digital database presentations. I can do it in a 15 minute teaser or a two hour workshop. I even have an elevator talk.

What are other strategies educators can use to build the bridge with digital databases? Stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll go a little further.

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