How to retool yourself--a roadmap of at least 15 ways by Joyce Valenza

How to retool yourself--a roadmap of at least 16 waysfor school librarians (and their classroom teacher colleagues) to develop professionally

From the emails and comments I am getting recently, it is really clear that folks in our field are in need of a professional development roadmap that is independent of whatever our local districts do or do not provide.

Let's celebrate and share these rich and mostly free strategies:

1. The Common Craft In Plain English video series provides no nonsense explanations of nearly all things 2.0 and many of us use these little videos in professional development workshops. Watch them; share them; embed them.

2. When I need to get up to date quickly, I often look for presentations created by folks I respect and I search the SlideShare archive. I am blown away by the content our colleagues freely share.

3. Discussion hubs:

4. ISTE's SIGMS and many of the other SIGS),offers a variety of ways to get involved and retooled. Join the SIGMS group and participate in the community discussion in the ISTE Ning. The AASL-SIGMS Virtual Learning Community hosts regular meetings in Second Life featuring notable speakers like Alan November, Mike Eisenberg, Doug Johnson. Among many other things, ISTE's Second Life Wiki shares an archive of videos from the ISTE Eduverse Talks in Second Life. Facebook users might prefer to join the ISTE Facebook

5. TeacherLibrarianNing is a meeting place for TLs all over the world. We are completely redesigning the interface and hope to feature more provocative discussion. Volunteers are always welcome to inspire forum discussions and polls and more. Email me if you'd like to be made an administrator!

6. Check in regularly with David Warlick's Hitchhikr to see what's hot and to keep up to date on upcoming confs on- and offline.

7. Absolutely better late than never! Visit any already held conference and experience it from a distance. November Learning and last year's ISTE/NECC host a wealth of fabulous video and slideshows and wikis filled with resources for learning. Here's our Smackdown Wiki from NECC09 in DC, the event held at ALA, and the most recent AASL event.

8. Join or visit any of a variety of relevant bookmark sharing groups in Diigo. I belong to: Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom, Diigo in Education, Educators, History Teachers, Web 2.0 @ School, Project-Based Learning, Teacher-Librarians, eLearning 2.0, High School Librarians. You have so many choices!

9. Plan to attend the free, global K12 Online Conference that started just this week! You will be amazed at the wealth of options. Experience presentations by leaders, thinkers, and practitioners (most participants span all three categories). Participate in the live discussion. Visit and share the archive.

10. Follow a few bloggers. Just a few. Visit my NewTools page on blogging for lists of teachers and librarians who blog.

11. Follow a few Tweeters.Just a few. Visit my NewTools page on tweeting for resources to build your network. One of my personal favorites is Twitter4Teachers.12. I've been maintaining this page on 2.0 Learning Resources. Start anywhere, but I recommend visiting:

13. Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 recently offered school librarians Elluminate space and time for our own monthly/regular discussions. A steering committee is currently planning a series of events of interest to school librarians, as well as other educators, to be held the first Monday of each month.Our first event is tentatively scheduled for Monday, February 1.

14. Check out any of a growing number of video learning portals for professional development, as well as content area learning. My very favorite of these portals is TED, where you can gather wisdom from some of the most creative thinkers and speakers of our time, but there are so many:

15. A few of us on the AASL Geek Squad recently built a wiki to share effective online school library practice. Visit the site to see examples at all levels of instruction and for a variety of aspects of library service.

And sneaking just one more item:

16. Visit the shortlist nominations for the Edublog Awards to see examples of effective practice in blogging, tweeting, wiki creation, and, in general, teaching and learning using the information and communication tools of our time.