Messy Learning

I’m an organized person.  That’s not to say that everything in my life is neat and tidy but librarians have to have a good sense of organization in order to provide access to the resources available in the library.  A lot of the stuff that we are talking about is messy.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I need to figure out how it’s going to work for me and for my students.  If we have things that we know they need to learn, standards say, then I can go from that starting point and work around that.  But if I have no base or starting point it’s very easy to get off-track.  We’ve all had teachers who we tried to get off-topic.  My concern is that I can be too easily distracted by Web 2.0 bells and whistles and loose site of the content objectives of the lesson.  One of the difficulties of information literacy instruction is that there is no curriculum.  What are the standards I should use for my base?  How am I going to find the time to develop my curriculum?  How can I embed this curriculum into the classroom curriculum since this is not a topic that can be effectively taught separate from the classroom?

6 thoughts on “Messy Learning

  1. Yes, this is a real problem isn’t it… I can teach my students cybersafety, literature circles and some research skills in separate “library” classes but Information literacy just has to be taught in context. I wonder sometimes if the real reason there is so little collaboration is that schools don’t want to pay for two teachers to work with one class at the same time — sorry only one educator per room =( .
    I dream of the day when TL/LMS are ‘borrowed out’ just like the rest of the resources in the library.

  2. I am collaborating with our Community Cultures teacher, who is a prep provider and I sometimes wonder if that issue is going to come up. We team-teach together on Wednesdays. So far nobody has complained. The idea about checking out librarians is happening in a sense in some schools. The librarian has a totally flexible schedule and teachers sign up for times when their classes will work with the librarian. It isn’t fool proof though. Some teachers never sign up so there is an equity issue then as to what students are getting what services.

  3. Messy is the watchword, that’s for sure. Perspective is so important, too, in how we make sense of this huge influx of new information. Kind of like the old tale about the blind men and the elephant. Your information literacy perspective seems to me to offer both an important angle for everyone to consider, and also perhaps some fundamental organizing principles. As we’ve touched on topics related to Web 2.0 and 21st century learning in our E2T2 sessions so far, it’s been with the knowledge that we’re only touching on the trunk, the tail, or whatever schema we can grasp to make sense of the experience. With such a gigantic subject, no one can ever see the whole thing at once. In order to piece together a comprehensible gestalt, we’ll need to report from our individual perspectives, share information and experiences, and give each other feedback. Our hope is that blogging is a way of combining our senses and understanding this massive animal.

    That said, MEMO (Minnesota Educational Media Organization) has developed a set of information literacy standards that you may find helpful. Access them at .

    Also, there are some great blogs written by media specialists or media specialist-types who are tangling with these same issues. A couple of my favorites you may enjoy:

    Carolyn Foote, Not So Distant Future:
    Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog:
    Diane Cordell, Journeys:

  4. I like the picture of the Web 2.0 elephant in the room that you created in my mind. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Perhaps it’s time to revisit gliffy to organize my thoughts again. I find that I’m keeping up with several blogs for totally different reasons, along with an online forum and 2 online “organizers” (not sure what to call goodreads or MyAnimeList), not to mention a chat I’m in every night. I signed up for some rss feeds but almost never check them. That seems like more organizing for me to do. I guess I’m feeling cluttered these days and wonder where the time goes.

    I do use the MEMO standards as the basis for my teaching but there are some people who prefer the ISTE standards. These standards are rather nebulous things subject to change. It makes the word “standard” something of an oxymoron.

    Thank you for the links to other blogs. I’ve been meaning to do some searching but haven’t taken the time yet.

  5. One of the sentences from your reflection hit me, “My concern is that I can be too easily distracted by Web 2.0 bells and whistles and loose site of the content objectives of the lesson.” I think this can happen if we focus too heavily on the wow factor. But if you focus on your objectives first and then explore if there is a logical, age-appropriate and time-effective way to use technology to achieve your goal you won’t have to worry.

    It sounds like you are looking for standards to follow. I talked to our librarian and she uses the ISTE standards. She did quite a bit of research and found these to be very comprehensive. She also struggles with getting in all the library and technology she would like into 45 minutes a week. She has tried integrating library and technology skills when possible, so she can achieve several goals at once.

    One thing I have discovered is there is never enough time. You can only use your professional judgment to decide where to start.

  6. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I need to figure out how it’s going to work for me and for my students” is the operative statement here, Debra. Web 2.0 and ANY technology for teaching and learning will prove to be successful only to the extent it makes teaching and learning a better experience. The million dollar “find” will be those tools that match what you and your kids need!

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