In The Collaborative Mind: Tools for 21st-Century Learning (p. 10), author and school library and information services coordinator Ernie J. Cox notes, somewhat depressingly, "Some people believe collaboration is the next educational fad, and they look forward to the day it passes into history!!!" (Exclamation points mine.) Well, it ain’t gonna happen. Again referencing Cox’s story, the American Association of School Librarians, The International Society for Technology in Education, and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills all place collaboration as a central piece in the education puzzle.
The collaborative mind-set is here to stay in educational settings, precisely because collaboration, aided and abetted by technology so that it takes place on a global scale, is key to how today’s and, even more, tomorrow’s work force will operate. Cox envisions an essential toolbox to facilitate collaborative learning as well as simply to learn how to collaborate. In it are tools such as Google Apps Education Edition, a "workspace" full of tools of its own; NoodleBib, with its taggable and, therefore, easily sharable citations and related note cards; and a wiki platform such as PBworks.
The collaborative mind-set is infused into other pieces in this back-to-school issue as well.
In Internet2 and School Libraries: The Time Is Now (More Than Ever) (p. 16), James Werle and Louis Fox of the Internet2 K20 Initiative bring you up-to-date on this evolving and maturing infrastructure for sharing—what it has become and what it is making possible. "[W]hat has been created is a sort of global education network enabling unprecedented levels of collaboration across all education sectors, both within the U.S. and around the world," the authors report.
Of course, a strong element of social networking is sharing and, inevitably, collaboration. And the concept of social networking has been making its way into the world of library automation for some time now. In Social Networking Through Your Library Automation System: What Librarians and Vendors Have to Say (p. 28), Barbara Fiehn revisits and updates her research on the Web 2.0 tools school library media specialists say they are harnessing on behalf of their students and teacher colleagues and the tools that an increasing number of automation and OPAC vendors are providing for them to harness. Check out Fiehn’s report to see what Follett, COMPanion, TLC, SirsiDynix, Ex Libris, and others are up to in this area.
And I can’t close this month without once again inviting your participation and, OK, collaboration at next month’s Internet@Schools conference in Monterey, Calif. Check out the program on pages 8–9 or online at www.infotoday.com/Internet@Schools/program.asp. Register for the Oct. 26–28 event at www.infotoday.com/il2009/registration.asp.
David Hoffman, editor