Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Lesley Farmer

Lesley Farmer coordinates the Library Media Teacher Services Credential Program at California State University Long Beach. She has worked in all types of libraries, particularly school settings, and also trains educators in educational technology. Lesley is active in library organizations, and has written over a dozen books on librarianship.

Lesley's Perspective

I first heard about TAPPED IN in conjunction with the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative. This Annenberg-funded project supported a hundred schools in the San Francisco area to do whole school reform. TAPPED IN was just starting, and its use as a communications channel seemed worthwhile. Next I heard about its active use with the American Association of School Librarians, particularly with Pam Berger.

My own use began as a means to provide continuing education opportunities for all types of librarians across California. As the California Library Association incoming VP for Information Technology, "my" first discussion was on online collaboration tools. Fitting. Librarians across the country as well as Canada joined in the session. I continue this format monthly, even though the sessions are frequented by small groups of folks. On that scale, though, I can ask good critical questions and craft discussion according to participant needs.

I also use TAPPED IN in conjunction with a state grant I am administering. Funded by the California State University system, the grant aims to help practitioner K-12 teachers become technologically competent. We had a week-long intensive training, followed by monthly tool-centered training. TAPPED IN provides a means to discuss technology issues, such as security, multiculturalism, and assessment.

In a third arena, I administer a federal grant to help teacher preparation faculty become technologically competent so they can infuse their curriculum with technology to address teacher candidate needs to be technologically savvy. Especially as more faculty are mounting courses online, the use of real-time interaction with remote access becomes more attractive. One faculty member in particular, has set up conference rooms alongside her virtual office so students can discuss educational issues and have their reflections recorded for the whole class. She demonstrated this approach to the other teacher preparation faculty, and now I'm writing up guidelines on TAPPED IN use for them - in addition to the online help that BJ and company give.

What do I like about TAPPED IN? The collegiality of the process, the help of TAPPED IN folks, the features it provides (recording, posting, organizing thoughts ahead of time), and the real-time interaction in cyberspace so no one need feel remote. And, quite frankly, I like the spontaneity of the process - and surprisingly international participation and insights. Truly an open-ended educational learning environment.