On June 27, I’ll be at the 2011 International Society for Technology in Education conference in Philadelphia, where nearly 20,000 people are expected to descend upon what is annually the biggest gathering in the field. And as sure as grease from a real Philly Cheesesteak soaks a clear hole through a brown paper bag, many of those 20,000 will be calling for teachers, administrators, and especially librarians to get digital in their daily operations.
But while the ISTE folks are calling for action, the American Association of School Librarians will be honoring those libraries and librarians who are already ahead of the technology curve.
The AASL will be showcasing Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools, the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, and Pine Grove Middle School in East Syracuse, N.Y., at its annual convention in New Orleans on June 27, and bestowing a $10,000 award on each as winners of its National School Library Program of the Year, or NSLPY, honor.
Between Henrico County’s Henrico21 initiative, the North East ISD’s work developing an online content repository, and Pine Grove’s text-message alerts about library events, all of this year’s winners show a heavy focus on technology, something that will no doubt please ed-tech advocates. Moreover, the AASL has been selecting programs based partly upon their effective technology use for years now, a sign that other education leaders are heeding what the ed-tech folks are saying.
Of course, honoring three proactive programs doesn’t solve other libraries’ digital shortcomings any more than eating a soft pretzel and drinking a Yuengling would make me a native Philadelphian. (Not even if, as planned, I repeat this process several times.) But it’s comforting that the AASL is demonstrating their successes to a gathering of their peers, rather than showing them off at ISTE and preaching to the digital choir.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.