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Spotlight On: Diane Linenbroker

Diane Linenbroker is the library media specialist at BMS and RHS. She holds a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Albany. This is her 12th year in the district. Diane lives in Hyde Park with her partner, two dogs, and a whole bunch of cats.


How did you get on your current path? OR How did you get interested in STEM?
I became a library media specialist because I feel the most valuable skills kids can learn are those that are not subject specific. If kids know how to find, evaluate, and use information, and learn to think for themselves, they can apply those skills in any field. Technology is an essential piece of information literacy, and I love this aspect of my job.

What is the one big change that gets you excited about the future (Or keeps you up at night)?
I am excited about the possibility of moving towards a 1:1 environment and towards more paperless classrooms. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job that has evolved over the past few years is being the go-to person for technology and helping teachers integrate technology into the curriculum. I look forward to potentially expanding that role in the future.

What or who inspires you? OR What are you reading? OR Who do you follow on Facebook (Twitter, Instagram) in STEM fields?
I love TED talks. I love that in under 20 minutes I can learn something new about a topic I probably would never have stumbled across on my own. I watched a talk by Jack Horner called “Where are the baby dinosaurs?”. It was a fascinating look at how scientists think, what happens when our vision is limited, and the power of looking at things from a new perspective.

What do you do when you aren’t working?
When I am not working I can be found trail running, hiking in the Catskills, mountain biking in the Shawangunks, or doing other outdoor activities with my partner and our two dogs.

Tell us more about the work you are doing with the kids and technology and how the media grant supports what you do.
The iMacs and iPads have opened doors to new types of collaboration this year. For the first time, I have been able to work with both Ms. Baer and Mrs. Giles to integrate technology into the art curriculum. Ms. Baer’s Studio Art classes used iMovie on the iMacs to create claymation movies. Mrs. Giles’ Drawing and Portfolio classes used the ArtStudio app on the iPads to finish drawings begun by CLS students. These projects would not have been possible before the media grant. I am excited about the other multimedia possibilities we can explore!

What is the most amazing thing you learned from the experience? OR What surprised you the most about it?
Prior to having multiple platforms and devices available for student use, technology use in school was stagnant and uninspired. The introduction of new devices and applications has gotten many students excited about using technology in school. I expected to have to do a lot more explicit instruction on the new technology, but most students have demonstrated a remarkable adaptability and fluidity with the new devices.

What do you wish people knew about it?
The library is a far different place from the types of libraries most of us adults grew up with. The library program at BMS/RHS is an integral part of the curriculum, not simply a place to find books or information for reports. I don’t even use the word “reports” because the word implies the basic collection and recitation of facts. Good projects require students to think critically about information, evaluate arguments and theories, synthesize multiple perspectives and data sets, and draw conclusions. I also emphasize the quality of information sources, prioritizing subscription database sources and authoritative e-books over free web resources. Although the free web is a powerful tool and certainly has a place in research, by the time students graduate they should be using scholarly journals to prepare them for college-level research. On top of all this, students must be able to seamlessly navigate a wide range of technology tools and applications, adapt quickly to changes and new applications, troubleshoot problems, work collaboratively in an online world, and present their ideas using multimedia. All of these aspects of information and technology literacy are melded together in the library and the RSF media grant has provided the technology necessary for this to successfully happen.

What is your big goal (OR pet project OR wish list) for this coming year?
On my wish list this year is the opportunity to give professional development workshops to teachers on topics such as iMovie, iPad apps, Evernote, Google Docs, Google Forms, and online collaboration. I would love to introduce teachers to these tools in a workshop forum and then follow up with personal assistance when needed.