The Brearley School
*If anyone is interested in hearing more about the sessions mentioned below feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com and I'd be happy to share my notes!
On January 24, 25, and 26th I went to the New York Association of Independent Schools Education and Technology (NEIT) Conference as a first time attendee. The conference uses an unconference model to bring together librarians and technologists. With the unconference model, there was a planning meeting where anyone could pitch a suggestion for an open space session and other attendees could choose which open space session they wanted to attend, feeling free to move between different sessions in the time time slot. Having colleagues lead sessions gave the conference a welcome conversational feeling of collaboration and brainstorming, that differed from a traditional conference where information is shared in a one way manner. It also meant the conference a was a collection practitioners addressing practical questions in real time. There was more than one pitch that started with “I’ve noticed something at my school and wanted to see what other schools are doing to address this.”
The open space sessions geared toward librarians included discussing academic streaming solutions, big-picture K-12 research instruction, gamification of teaching research, news literacy, library/technology website integration, and creating a reading culture in high schools. Many of these sessions were lead by HVLA librarians, including Karyn Silverman, Bethany Martin, Maria Falgoust, and Sarah Kresberg. The nature of the conference also encouraged chance collaboration and idea sharing outside of the open space sessions. Getting a chance to meet and talk with other librarians over dinners and during break times was a highlight of the conference. And there was plenty time for socializing outside of the conference sessions over karaoke, board games, and Black Mirror viewings. Some other thoughts about the conference from HVLA librarians:
Re-imagining research was a theme for me at this year's conference — from Berkeley Carroll's radical Meme Literacy work shared by Megan Saxelby in a session about News Literacy to Karyn Silverman and Bethany Martin hosting a session on the Gamification of Research: How can research skills be more engaging (and therefore better learned)? How can news literacy be made sensible to 4th-8th graders and beyond? There were chances to share creative ideas and great successes we've had — and chances to brainstorm new possibilities together.
The opportunity to relax a bit and enjoy each other's company is also super valuable — so much happens in the in-between time. The roles of librarian and technologist can be so isolated — even when there's a team sharing the work in a school. Every year, this conference creates the rare space for a true retreat — a real chance to feel connected to our work and each other, to feel supported by a network, and to think about our individual schools in the context of our peer schools.
-Rebecca Duvall, Brooklyn Heights Montessori School
For me, NEIT is all about developing significant relationships with colleagues from other schools and learning together. This year, a chance connection with a librarian at an open space session led to a working lunch and soon, I hope, a visit to her school. This year’s karaoke party was also brilliant fun!
-Sarah Kresberg, Allen-Stevenson