Michelle Luhtala Wins AASL Social Media Superstars Award

Michelle LuhtalaedWeb is so excited to congratulate Michelle Luhtala, department chair at New Canaan High School Library in Connecticut, for being selected as a 2017 AASL Social Media Superstars winner! AASL’s Social Media Superstars program honors school library professionals who enrich the profession and its work on behalf of students by sharing information, expertise, ideas, encouragement, dialog and inspiration using a variety of social media channels.

Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of edWeb, loves to tell the story of how she met Michelle and how they worked together to create edWeb’s flagship professional learning program, Emerging Tech for School Librarians. “I met Michelle Luhtala at the CoSN Conference in March 2010–seven years ago. I attended her presentation on using social media in her library program at New Canaan High School and thought, librarians (and teachers) all across the country need to hear what she’s doing. I’m the founder of edWeb.net and had just started our social network for educators. I asked her if she would be interested in trying to present webinars for librarians through our network. This was SO early in the evolution of using social media for professional collaboration, and Michelle was so passionate and committed, and put in so much time to figure out how to make this work. She’s had a devoted following on edWeb.net from the first Emerging Tech webinar in July 2010, and just hosted her 75th webinar!”

These are not your average webinars – they are edWebinars! Michelle connects via webcam and live chat, prepares stunning slides packed with information, and regularly invites co-presenters who are rock stars in education themselves. The Emerging Tech community has over 11,000 members, and her webinars have been viewed over 30,000 times. Recent edWebinars include: 30 Apps in 60 Minutes; A Year in the Life of a New Makerspace; Future Ready Librarians presented with Mark Ray, Chief Digital Officer for Vancouver Public Schools and Sara Trettin, Open Education and Digital Engagement Lead Office of Educational Technology US Department of Education; Building a Digital Collection with Andy Marcinek, Former Chief Open Education Advisor for the U.S. Department of Education; Personalizing Instruction Through the Library; and Media Literacy: A Crash Course in 60 Minutes with Greg Toppo, the National Education and Demographics Reporter for USA Today.  In a recent webinar on Teaching Digital Literacy, Michelle and her guest Joyce Valenza (also a 2017 AASL Social Media Superstar!) had such a rich discussion with over 600 live attendees, for just this one webinar. The live chat was overflowing with appreciation for the information they provided, with comments like, ‘Once again, an incredible learning experience. Time well spent. Thank you to both of you. You never disappoint.'”

Here are comments from edWebbers posted in support of Michelle’s 2017 AASL Social Media Superstars nomination:

“I have been a member of the Michelle Luhtala fan club ever since I discovered her webinars on edWeb.net. I know that watching one of her webinars will be time well spent. The curriculum that she develops in collaboration with her teachers is always well thought out, well developed and timely. She uses technology to further the goal of the assignment or project, not just for the sake of using it. I was online today to find one of her archived webinars that I had missed. She does more to integrate information fluency into the curriculum than any other librarian I know. I am always in awe of what she has done. I am fortunate that I have signed up to be in her workshop at ISTE this June.”
– Ann Ewel

“I first met Michelle Luhtala on an AASL site visit the year the New Canaan (CT) High School Library earned the National School Library Program of the Year. What impressed me most during that visit was that Michelle and her librarian colleague coplanned and cotaught with classroom teacher colleagues curriculum-based units of instruction. Michelle has used her social media presence (and her #edwebchat webinars) to further promote her commitment to ensuring that the school library program is central to the learning and teaching mission of her school. She provides an exemplary model for other school librarians to follow.”
– Judi Moreillon

“I first heard of Michele Luhtala when she was slated to be the keynote speaker at my first NCSLMA convention. I looked her up online and of course was led to her edWeb webinars. I’ve since watched more of them than I can count. At the conference, her talk was so inspirational for me – she became my librarian role-model that day. While our schools couldn’t be more different, she’s helped me to see what is possible in our field and gives me something to aspire to bring to our rural students.”
– Jen Baker

Michelle Luhtala also won AASL’s National School Library Program of the Year in 2010. She was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2015, and won the New York Times I Love My School Librarian award in 2012. Michelle served on the AASL Board of Directors from 2011 through 2015, and the Connecticut Digital Library eResource Advisory Task Force since 2009. In 2017, Michelle will teach pre-service courses at Rutgers University and Southern Connecticut State University. She is a contributing author to Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. According to her nomination statement, “Michelle does an outstanding job of both creating and disseminating innovative and meaningful curriculum through her monthly edWeb.net/emergingtech webinars, Twitter, and her blog, Bibliotech.me. Her resources are valuable for the entire school library community on a national scale.”

Congratulations, Michelle, from the entire edWeb Team!

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