Tuesday, April 12, 2016

AAIM 2016 Reflections-Coming Home

     This year's Arkansas Association of Instructional Media conference was held in Springdale, Arkansas, the town where I teach and have lived for the last 15 years.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow at this conference.  As I look back on this conference, I could not help but feel like I had come "home" to the conference.

     Home is a place of fellowship.  It was great to see several of my colleagues from around the state including Misty Bell, Stony Evans, Erin Shaw and Dr. Traci McAllister.  I enjoyed an early morning run with Stony Evans while the sun came up where we discussed some of our next Lakeside Squared Hangout ideas.  Copresenting with Stony Evans and Ashley Cooksey on how to participate in a Tweet chat was another highlight.  I look forward to holding a Digital Diner training at Lakeside for my teachers on the possibilities of Twitter.  It was also a great opportunity to present with several published authors and professors on best
practices for being published.

 Another highlight was seeing my colleagues at the session I led on how to develop 3D video game simulations using AgentCubes software.
I was also grateful for the chance to enjoy an evening meal with the librarians from Hot Springs and Bauxite Public Schools We were able to pick each other's brains about topics such as National Board Certification, collaboration, maker spaces, and scheduling.

      Home is a place for challenge and inspiration.  I was challenged at the AAIM conference by speakers to research how to incorporate social media into a book club.  The speakers at the conference also challenged me to give further chances for our students to find their voice in our libraries.  I am eager to expand these opportunities for my students.  Some chances for students to find their voice have come about through the opening of the Lakeside Maker Lab this past fall.  Even now, students at Lakeside are starting to come into the library before school and at lunch to continue building and tinkering with projects they have started in their classes and the Lakeside Maker Club.  I am eager to continue this work!

      Another way I was inspired was to improve the accessibility of library materials for the parents of my learning community.  I plan to develop a parent page on the library website to more effectively share with parents all the resources available through the Lakeside Library collection.   I was also challenged about the types of data I present to my library community.  In the past, I have included lots of statistics about visits to the library and circulation data. As a result of attending the conference, I plan to include more student responses in my bimonthly reports.   I was also challenged to consider ways that I can further use social media to encourage reading.  In response to this challenge, I have already posted photos of book displays on the LJHS Library Instagram account.  Next year, I look forward to exploring the role social media can play in the Lakeside Book Club.  (LBC)

      Home is also a place for reflection.  I heard from Dr. Joyce Valenza, one of my heroes of the library world since graduate school. She challenged us to about how we work with our students to develop their digital footprint.  We had a conversation after her session on how to encourage students' to develop a positive digital footprint.  I was inspired to adjust my teaching on digital literacy to include more encouragement for students to develop both social and the academic side of their digital footprint.

     Dr. Valenza also reminded us how important it is to encourage students to use media appropriately.  I am eager to try her suggestion to have students create an annotated bibliography of their sources using Thinglink. (www.thinglink.com) later this semester.  She also encouraged us to increase our students awareness of Creative Commons media.  I was inspired to continue to push the use of Creative Commons media in my co-teaching opportunities and to have students add Creative Commons licensing to the digital media projects they create at Lakeside.

 Jennifer LaGarde encouraged librarians to use social media to promote our programs.   One way I plan to implement this encouragement is to expand my posts on the Lakeside Junior High School Library Twitter and Instagram accounts.  My goal is to post at least once a day on social media.  She also encouraged Macguyer Librarianship: seek out creative opportunities to decorate my library as well as implement additional maker projects and special events.

     Another Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Conference is in the books.  I can't wait to gather again with great guest speakers and colleagues to renew friendships and continue to celebrate and implement the great work being done in libraries across Arkansas!

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Contact me by email: bjohnson3@sdale.org