Because I Say So

{May 25, 2015}   Thing 28: Emerging Tech: Scanning the Horizon

Of all the emerging trends and technologies in this learning activity’s reports, social media resonates with me the most.  Social media needs to be recognized for the powerful trend it has become.  I don’t know if any library or school community in our country can say it isn’t relevant to them.  In the high needs, urban school where I teach, social media has become the main source of communication and information for my students, school community, and the community outside of my school.  In fact, the Pew Research Center report Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015 says this:  “Interestingly, African-American and Hispanic youth report more frequent internet use than white teens. Among African-American teens, 34% report going online “almost constantly” as do 32% of Hispanic teens, while 19% of white teens go online that often.  Hispanic and African-American youth have somewhat less access to desktops, but African American teens have greater access to smartphones than their Hispanic or white counterparts.” I believe social media is the most important tech trend we have. Joyce Valenza lists it as #1 in her top 10 tech trends of 2015. This can be a challenge because we know the information students are getting on social media may not always be correct or beneficial. We need to embrace it in schools and learn to work with it, because our students aren’t going to stop using it just because we don’t. This is part of the reason why I chose to further explore twitter as my item of choice in the previous learning activity, and will revisit my Instagram account next. I may also consider creating a library facebook page.

The learning commons trend is also important to recognize.  During the past four years that I’ve been in my library, I have added areas with round tables for small groups to work together and repurposed a second floor space for multi-use including larger group sessions, biographical research, and art shows. This is the area that I would love to make more of a maker space. The challenge of course would be cost of the equipment and the time/skills required to maintain the equipment and teach others to use it.  I could look at crowdfunding (another significant trend) or a grant to acquire the equipment (I’d like to begin with a 3D printer), but the time and staffing that would be needed to support a maker space may be the biggest challenge for me.


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