SCASL 2011 Conference Day One

Last week was an exciting time for school librarians who attended the SCASL conference in Columbia, SC.  Those who were unable to attend were greatly missed and several of us have tried to capture the experience through tweets, photos, videos, and blog posts.

March 9:  Pre-Conference, Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, and SCASL Board Meeting

This was my first conference as a board member of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians.  Hearing some of the planning details of the conference for several months in board meetings added to my excitement as March 9th approached!

I arrived in Columbia in plenty of time to register and set up the Advocacy Committee Display (pictured above) in the Exhibit Hall before heading to my first conference session.

Leadership Strategies for Building Communities @ Your Library

Several intriguing pre-conference sessions were offered on the afternoon of March 9th, but as usual, I signed up to attend a session with the conference’s keynote speaker. This year our keynote speaker was none other than David Loertscher, currently a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.

Dr. Loertscher directed us to a website he had created for the session:  Leadership Strategies for Building Community: Leadership by Demonstration and Doing.   He encouraged us to become experts on the Common Core State Standards and directed us to the English Language Arts Standards (pdf is found on the Common Core State Standards site).  He asked us to skim through this document and share any wording that would directly relate to what we as school librarians do.

We quickly discovered much that related to (and shared common wording with) the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

Which tool?

Next Dr. Loertscher directed us back to the session’s website.  He asked if any of us had attended any “smackdown” sessions at conferences where the audience is introduced to a large variety of Web 2.0 tools in a very short amount of time.  Many of us (including me) had.  “What if,” he asked, “we focus on the learning experience first and then choose the tool?”

He pointed us toward the list “Types of Learning Boosts from Technology” on the session’s website.  Looking over the categorized  lists of 54 learning boosts, he encouraged us to choose a type of learning and then a tool that would address it. We then used that information to complete a survey (a Google Docs form) and analyze the results of the survey.

Knowledge Building Centers

Finally Dr. Loertscher introduced Knowledge Building Centers(KBC): his vision for creating learning communities of the future.  He was planning another session on this topic the next day so did not go into much detail during this session.  But it was definitely enough to arouse my curiousity!  He has provided templates for creating a KBC if you wish to further explore it.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

During the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, Heather Loy and I “manned” the Advocacy Committee Showcase Display so that we could answer any questions posed by those who stopped by to examine our booth.  Because we were using the conference to announce our Snapshot: A Day in the Life of South Carolina School Libraries initiative, I had hoped for a large turnout.  However, the location of our booth was not conducive to tempting school librarians to “come hither.”  We did have several people stop in and show interest.

Board Meeting Dinner

Heather and I left the Columbia Convention Center in hopes of locating our dinner destination before the skies let loose the torrents of rain that seemed to be threatening.  Luckily, we found the Garden Bistro in time to avoid the downpour.  The food was delicious and the board got down to business as we readied ourselves for the two busiest days of conference.

A long, eventful day!  And only the first of three of the conference.

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