Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Librarians Should be in Charge of Educational Technology

Doug Johnson revisited this subject in his recent blog post.

His points ring so true to me and give me something to think about and apply to my own situation. The points in bold represent his ideas and I've added a few connections and thoughts of my own in italics.

1. A healthy attitude toward technology
This is a biggie. My excitement or my frustration, is contagious to our students and our staff. That means I need to be realistic. I need to understand the limitations and the potential of each technology application I promote. I also need to keep learning - to keep imagining and to keep dreaming.
2. Good teaching skills
This is paramount! We are called on to teach a wide range of skills to students and staff..and much of that training occurs unexpectedly. A teacher stops by to ask a quick question which develops into a teaching opportunity for a new classroom project. A student catches you in the hall and asks about a problem with a project. And then there are professional development opportunities. The stronger our teaching skills, the more effective our process.
3. An understanding of the use of technology in the information literacy process and its use in fostering higher order thinking skills.
Research, research, research. Research is becoming the buzz word of this information society. Students need a strong and broad research base to succeed in college and beyond. As the role of librarians has evolved, this has remained one of our hallmarks. But, it's not our old research - instead research has been paired with web 2.0 tools to a new level. Most students how to get the information, but we get stuck with what to do next - what do you do with thousands of google hits??? That is my job!
4. Experience as skill integrators and collaborators
Librarians are collaborators. That's it in a nutshell. Our teaching needs to walk alongside what is happening in the classroom, embedding the technology and research skills into the existing content. This partnership works and will continue to work.
5. Been models for the successful use of technology
Librarians have been at the forefront of many technology moves in our district. Serving on the district tech committee, on building tech committees, maintaining promoting the online library card catalog as well as mobile and desktop labs have demonstrated ways that we are already involved. This involvement will continue to evolve.
6. Provided in-building support
This is built into much of what I have already mentioned - we are on call, we are available, we are involved
7. A whole school (district) view
Moving between buildings and even districts has completely changed my view. When your time is spent in one place - so are your loyalties. Librarians are in a unique position - we speak for multiple grade levels, multiple buildings and multiple platforms. We are lucky!!
8. Concerns of the safe and ethical use of technology
Librarians have been called the copyright police, with good reason. Our focus is information - the way it is delivered and used. That includes the safety and ethics. This is part of our curriculum and our task.

So where does this leave us? Teacher Librarians are integral and necessary for the continued education of our students! We can provide the connection between educational content and technology. We are integrators and innovators and inspirers. We are the lucky ones!!

Thanks Mr. Johnson for starting my thinking!

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