The world of online education has been making great advances behind my back! ALSC has offered online professional development courses, but I hadn’t taken advantage of any until recently when a class on the history and process of the Newbery Medal appeared. It turned out to be an amazing opportunity for research, reading, debate and stimulation. I would highly recommend challenging yourself with one of the courses. The tools for administering online education are maturing into an ideal process for fashioning your own continuing professional growth.
K.T. Horning (this year’s Arbuthnot Lecturer) has constructed a class on the history of the Newbery Award called “The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future.” What a fulfilling class this was. We had an opportunity to read many Newbery winners and honors from the earliest decades (starting with the 1920’s) through the most current medalists, and then compare and contrast them. We were tutored in reviewing our reading with each other and debated in online forums about what we loved in our youth vs. what we saw with more experienced eyes. We had guest lecturers who joined us and enriched each unity. Personally, the most fascinating part of the course was the fascinating array of primary source materials K. T. put together to compliment our Newbery reading: original critical research from the era, advertising copy, reviews and professional journal articles. Reading critical reviews, both modern and dated, lead us to discover there is nothing new in the current debates and deepened our critical faculties. Amazing work that was also great fun! Consider taking one of the online classes from ALSC soon. I certainly plan to treat myself to many more in the future.