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Bringing Information Literacy to Every Classroom

Continuing our discussion with literacy technology consultant Shaelynn Farnsworth

Part two in a two-part series

Shaelynn Farnsworth is a literacy technology consultant presenting in the Future of Ed Tech Librarian and Media Specialist track, a new track added for the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), January in Miami.

In part two of her interview, she touches on working with student digital natives and the importance of adults in sharing a knowledge base that exists outside of the digital tool realm. Professional learning is also addressed as Farnsworth compares the difference in working with peers at conferences vs. students in the classroom.

Today, students are used to a world filled with digital tools and apps that occupy their landscape. Everything from Uber to the internet is affecting the lives of the younger generations. Farnsworth examines the importance of adults in looking outside the digital environment to offer a more extensive knowledge base in areas that children are missing.

“Organization is a big [area.] ─ reliable, relevant sources, information literacy, and knowing the difference between sponsored context, and verified accounts. All the small things that we use as adults and take for granted and understand.”

Students need support in not being misled by misinformation or disinformation online. Adults can help students better understand the small practices of fact-checking, and as Farnsworth explains, become “healthy skeptics in knowing.” According to her, it’s not about censorship or prohibiting access but instead learning to think on one’s own. “It’s more about empowerment in providing experiences to kids so they can use technology for [their] personal, professional, and civic lives and not be used by it. Many times, we see kids being used by technology and social media. So how can we set them up to use it?”

For adults, empowerment is emphasized in the professional development area where Farnsworth flourishes through a natural passion for the learning process. She looks forward to presenting and sharing the stage with Steven W. Anderson at this year’s FETC 2020, delivering collaborative information to colleagues and peers. “You have to be aware of adult learning processes, preferences, a lot of collaboration, goal setting, and teamwork,” she says. 

“I can’t remember who said it, but it’s focusing on technology as a verb rather than a noun. What do we want to do with technology that will have a lasting impact in all educators’ toolboxes? Apps and resources come and go, and when you understand how to use technology to collaborate, connect, communicate, create, and curate─then you know how to use technology effectively in the classroom.”

About Shaelynn Farnsworth

Shaelynn Farnsworth is a leader in the convergence between literacy and technology. As a high school teacher, she redefined her English classroom as not only a place to learn about literature but also explore how technology is shaping the future of communications.

She continues this exploration as a consultant focusing on technology, literacy, differentiation, and systemic change. Shaelynn is a staff developer, literacy coach, and supports districts in the implementation of initiatives. She is a MIEExpert, Google Certified Innovator, Apple Teacher, and has training in Project-Based Learning from the Buck Institute, Instructional Coaching, and K-12 Literacy Best Practices.

Shaelynn shares her musings at shaelynnfarnsworth.com. You can follow her on Twitter @shfarnsworth

Shaelynn Farnsworth’s sessions at FETC:

The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)

FETC 2020 40th Anniversary

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