Reflection on Communities thread in the Atlas

Lankes stated that as users, we are becoming both more self-sufficient on information services and more dependent and reliant upon the information we get from them (Lankes, 2011, p. 90).  I can definitely relate to this on a personal basis.  Last Friday, my internet stopped working.  I immediately panicked – what was I going to do?  I had online assignments to turn in, readings I had to do online, Blackboard discussions I had to read.  I also felt cut off from the outside world and my friends.  It was my worst nightmare – how could I not connect to the Internet when my classes were all online and the residency was only a week away?  Luckily, my story of crisis has a happy ending – I was able to call my internet provider at the national number, and we determined it was a modem problem.  At first they said I needed a technician to come and fix it, and that wouldn’t happen until Monday afternoon.  Two days away? And I was working during the week, so weekends were my crunch time for school work.  With a suggestion from my boyfriend, who was out of town, I realized I could try switching the modem at the local service center for my provider.  I did this – they told me my old modem was really outdated, but the new one should work.  Still, they suggested, keep the technician appointment in case it didn’t.  When I got home, after screwing in a few cables and plugging in some wires, a little bit of patience, and voila!  I had working internet again.  I may have unhooked the cable in the process, but I eventually figured how to reconfigure that with the new modem as well.  Problem solved within  a few hours instead of a few days – I could even cancel what would have been a costly technical appointment.  I had never done anything like that before, and anyone who knew me was impressed, as they know my lack of technological prowess.  Self-sufficiency won out, but in the process I did realize how very dependent on the Internet I was.  It was a little unnerving.

Lankes discusses curriculum mapping several times throughout this thread (Lankes, 2011 pp. 94,112-113).  I am already some what familiar with curriculum mapping from my yearly and weekly planning as a preschool teacher, and also as a former teacher of elementary school math.  Teaching preschool is great in terms of curriculum planning, because the Vermont Early Learning Standards, which we follow, emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach, that allow you to easily see how any theme or activity you are completing with your students connects to the different domains of learning (The Vermont Early Childhood Work Group, 2003).

I feel my background in understanding cross-disciplinary connections will help me in terms of curriculum mapping as a librarian.  Several of the elementary schools in Burlington, where I live, recently became magnet schools that take a cross-disciplinary approach in terms of the arts and sustainability, and have become the Integrated Arts Academy and the Sustainability Academy, respectively.   As Lankes implied, modification of lesson plans to meet your students’ needs is crucial (Lankes, 2011, p. 113).  In Burlington, both my group of students and the students at the Integrated Arts Academy and the Sustainability Academy include a high population of English Language Learners (ELL) that come from immigrant and refugee families.  I am constantly going over  my curricula and changing my lesson plans to better suit their interests and needs.  At the elementary school level in Burlington,  I know through talking with several staff members that there have been many recent discussions and debates on how to better incorporate the idea of diversity into the schools, and how to make accommodations for the ELL students in terms of standardized testing.

In terms of public librarianship, I have to mention that I continue to be impressed with the work of the Free Library of Philadelphia that Lankes details in this thread (Lankes, 2011, pp. 97-100).  By being focused on the different communities within the members they serve, and reaching out to them through ongoing conversation, they are better able to find out what the musicians, business owners, and writers of their community want out of their relationship with the library (Lankes, 2011, pp.97-100).

References

Lankes, R.D. (2011).  The Atlas of new librarianship.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Vermont Early Childhood Work Group (2003).  Vermont early learning standards: Guiding the development and learning

     of children entering kindergarten.  Retrieved July 16, 2011

     from http://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/pdf/cdd/care/2006-03-29-

      VELS_booklet.pdf

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