Scaling the steep slope: glasses on, note pad and yes, tea…

The deadline for assessment item one is looming and the reading has gone well.  I have so much information in my brain that I swear if I turn my head too fast to either the right or the left there will be a definite swooshing noise to be heard.  All those words and ideas!

Beth Dressler my esteemed colleague on her blog ( made an incredibly apt metaphor – searching on the internet is just like Alice going into the rabbit hole!.  It is true that when you start to research or investigate through the university library databases, look at references given by key authors, load suggested websites, listen and watch talks, read articles, journals, track down key terms… a whole realm of different and more exciting information floats to the surface!  One is inundated with wave after wave of relevant, interesting, engaging and sometimes downright entertaining stuff!  The sheer distraction factor is considerable and frankly strains my dendrites, as I try to hang on to relevant information, bookmark, copy and paste sections with accompanying citations and opening word documents for my notes.  

Rheingold comments on this also and coins the term ‘infotention’, as the ability to manage your attention in the face of all this compelling, legitimate, sought after and enticing distraction. ( Rheingold, H. (2012). STEWARDS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES. Knowledge Quest, 41(1), 52-55.)

 Teacher Librarians are at the nexus of all this interactive wonder and as he suggests “ought to be interested in ways to foster mindful infotention among their constituencies” (Rheingold, H. (2012) p. 54)  Perhaps we should start by mastering our own!?

As I read and flip from one thing to the next like a demented moth (pursue that metaphor in your own head – information as candles…perhaps energy saving environmentally sound light globes? Perhaps a galaxy of fairy lights!) I am struck by how flexible the learning space is and how as teachers we need to adapt, “learn and unlearn and learn again” (Alvin Toffler – quote accessed from: 25.7.13), running to stand still in this rush of fantastic stuff!  

We have to also team this with skilling up ourselves to meet these demands – learning to evaluate, question, assess, use and refer wisely and well, so we can help all who seek it in our teacher librarian role – from the students, to the staff and school management.

I recall years ago hearing someone comment that the internet was a fantastic and incredible place brimming with information but that they key to all this information was knowing how to access it and reaccess – and that this was fundamental.  There is no use in having a resource that can tell you anything if you cannot use it properly or find information that you need in a timely manner, in a format that you can understand and has been verified as true.  I guess that is essentially what the role of a Teacher Librarian is in part.

So scaling up the slopes, feeling a little more resourced and informed, mastering the new Windows 8 computer (thanks school!), databases and tsunami of information.  Still like the notepad though… and the tea!  Not feeling like Sir Edmund Hilary yet, more like a determined sherpa who is new to the job… also not sure how far the mountaineering metaphor is going to last for!! Let’s see, shall we!


About kblaich

I live in Melbourne, Australia, have one lovely husband, one delightful daughter, one bouncy son, lots of pets (2 dogs and 3 cats) and work at a primary school part time. I am currently studying my Masters in Teacher Librarianship through Charles Sturt University.
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