“Now, bring me that horizon.”

Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribean

The New Media Consortium recently released the Short List of Horizon Topics for 2010 and the Horizon Report 2010 Preview.  These documents, which you can view by visiting the Horizon Report Wiki, are the result of the rounds of discussions and voting by the Advisory Board members.  The final report will be officially released on January 20, 2010.

The report preview organizes topics by “time to adoption” and  includes a description of the topic; the relevance for teaching, learning, and creative expression; examples of how the topic is being applied, and suggestions for further reading.  In addition, the preview version of the report includes a section called “Critical Challenges” as well as a section for “Key Trends.”

Consider the six final topics:

Where are we as K12 libraries in preparing to utilize these technologies, particularly that of mobile computing and open source applications?  How can we as school librarians help lead the way for the integration of these tools not only into our libraries but also in our school classrooms?   What are K12 vendors doing to help school libraries prepare to adopt and integrate these technologies effectively?

I also find the “Critical Challenges” particularly interesting and encourage you to read the details of each challenge.

  • The role of the academy—and the way we prepare students for their future lives—is changing.
  • New scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching continue to emerge but appropriate metrics for evaluating them increasingly lag behind or fail to appear.
  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key 21st century skill, but there is a widening training gap for faculty and teachers.
  • Institutions increasingly focus more narrowly on key goals, as a result of shrinking budgets in the present economic climate.

These challenges leave me with many questions:

  • Will it be school librarians who lead the resistance and coup d’etat, against the test driven school culture that is diametric to 21st century learning that values inquiry, creative expression, and collaboration?
  • Are we teaching our students and teachers about new forms of scholarship?  How do we redefine authority and find new ways to evaluate and assess authority?
  • How do we help posit new literacies (media, digital, transliteracy) as mainstream literacies for students and for teachers?
  • How do we as school librarians turn budget crises into innovation?
  • How do we tap into emerging technologies to create even more effective programs in the face of financially challenged circumstances?

What might happen if we as school librarians formed inquiry circles with public librarians, academic librarians, teachers, technology personnel, administrators, students, parents, and vendors to explore these questions, challenges, and trends?  How could we work together to find inventive and meaningful ways to harness the powers of these technologies?  What might learning look in both K12 and higher education if we engaged in inquiry and problem solving together?

Although these documents represent the “preview” and not the final draft of the report, please read the draft forms and put these ideas on your radar if they aren’t there already.  What is your response to the report preview?  How do you see K12 libraries meeting the challenges outlined in the draft?  How do you see the key trends impacting the 21st century school library and our practices?  I have cross-posted this entry on the AASL blog; please share your responses there as well as here.

Buffy Hamilton, Ed.S.
School Library Media Specialist
Creekview High School, Canton, Georgia