CPTLA Conference – Teacher Librarians!

Nice to join some of my favourite people: teacher librarians.  Part of what makes them so precious to schools is that they perform one of the few roles that has truly altered in the past few decades.  From card catalogs to server closets and from a stack of Britannica to Encarta collapsing under the weight of Wikipedia.  Teacher Librarians have had to step up to the times, whereas some in classrooms have not had to face the challenges of change.

Part of what I’m talking about in this keynote is “Info Lit 2.0”.  Yes this involves great Web 2 assets, but more importantly, a clear awareness that in our digital world, we owe it to our students to pursue the second definition of “literate”.  The awareness needed is that “taught” information literacy skills really only achieve the first:


  1. Able to read and write
  2. Knowledgeable or educated in a particular field or fields.


Like all forms of critical and creative thinking, it’s the disposition that counts once the skill is learned.  This means we must develop a culture that fosters the sensitivity and inclination to engage in the task.

Then we are ready to couple the Challenge and Skill in a scaffolded process.  I tend to “take the mickey” out of Info Lit “processes” that have a neat little step called “synthesis”.  This is where WebQuests came into the mix, addressing the “insert magic here” aspect of most Info Lit approaches.  Similarly, Flow theory shows the way: a balancing act between Challenge and Skill where scaffolding is decreased as skills increase. The nice thing is that teachers and teacher librarians can get into Flow just as easily as students!  I hope that the Look to Learn strategy and tutorials for using WordPress and Pageflakes support participants as they explore the challenges of our evolving profession!

Here’s a handout for the session that focuses on the Look to Learn strategy and a few handy Web 2 tools and tutorials for working with them,

How about sharing your thoughts?