Archive for October, 2009

Adopting a “Textbook” Supplement – RED TAPE

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

In addition to teaching 6th grade math, I also teach a tech course this year.  I have been trying to gain permission to use an Alan November book as a supplement to the class.  His book, “Web Literacy for Educators” is a great resource for educators, students and families.  It has many applicable tools and is full of valuable information to help our youngsters validate and evaluate web content.  However, enter the RED TAPEbook-weblitpub

In order to be “allowed” to use this book as a supplement in class, I must have the School Board approve it.  The process sounds simple.  I go to my school librarian, fill-out a form and she forwards it to the school administration.  The administration then probably needs to sign-off on it before forwarding it to the School Board.  No one told me this, but I think the School Board requires or suggests that supplemental books be on display in a public place for at least two weeks.  I only think this is the case because I have seen other books looking for approval go through this display process.

Eventually, the book will be placed onto the Agenda of an upcoming School Board Meeting.  From there, I guess the School Board votes to approve or deny the use of the material.  Once approved, I assume I could finally begin using the resource.

Too bad this process can take the entire time the actual course runs.  It has been about a month and I am getting information that perhaps the book is still in my school on some administrator’s desk – – waiting for a signature.  That puts the book out of my student’s reach for at least another month or so since the book still needs a two-week public display and then approval from a School Board Meeting (which only meets twice per month).

So much for sense of urgency.  I have been patient, but I guess it is almost time to start prodding.  Maybe school officials are fearful of empowering their students?  Obviously, it is not a priority to the school.  But it needs to be a priority for our school and community.  No one is taking the responsibility of teaching and training our students Web/Information Literacy skills.  Many parents/guardians would benefit from this “how to” knowledge of validating and evaluating content from the Internet.  It needs to be a priority for our school to train our students on how to produce better search results and how to deepen their ability for critical thinking.  Using Alan November’s “Web Literacy for Educators” is a great place to start.