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What a School Librarian Can Do For You December 16, 2011

Posted by Jen Habley in Check this out!.

Cross posted from the Alliance for Excellent Education blog.

Robyn Young is the school librarian at Avon High School and the Avon Advanced Learning Center in Avon, Indiana. She is a former Media Specialist of the Year in the State of Indiana and is a member of the Digital Learning Day Educator’s Working Group on behalf of AASL, which provides leadership on the Digital Learning Day toolkits and outreach development for teachers and administrators across the country. Contact Robyn at rryoung@avon-schools.org or on Twitter @ahsbooks.

Classroom teachers are overworked. If you are in the trenches doing the job, you already know this. You’ve got lessons to plan, individualized instruction to prepare, data to record, and attendance at the various PLC meetings that are supposed to help you get better at doing all of it. Where is there time in all of this to learn new technology to integrate into your classrooms?

That’s where your school librarian can come in and help. A school librarian has been trained in utilizing technology in the classroom and is a certified teacher as well. When I got my Master’s Degree in Library Science, half of my classes were technology classes that taught the integration of technology into the curriculum. Your school librarian has had similar training and can be there to teach you the latest and greatest stuff that you can easily use with your students. Not only that, but you don’t have to be an expert in how to use the technology, the school librarian will come in and teach your students how to use it, and be there to support the students when they have questions. Sounds easier than trying to do it yourself, doesn’t it?

A health teacher in my school came to one of the professional development sessions that I was teaching on digital video editing and how it can be used in the classroom. That led to a collaborative relationship on using various digital sources over a variety of projects. We started with the students creating a PSA showing the effects of tobacco usage; we used an online editing program to create the PSA. I did all of the instruction on the use of the website and the health teacher did all of the instruction on tobacco usage. Together we created a rubric that incorporated both of our areas of instruction and assessed them according to it. I didn’t feel that I had to be an expert in health because he was there, and he didn’t feel he had to be an expert in digital editing because I was there. It was a great example of how the collaborative process with a school librarian should work.

I often hear from teachers that they don’t want to bother me with technology questions because they feel as if they should know this information on their own. I think I can speak for all school librarians when I say, “Please bother us!!” The more you bother us, the more we are doing our jobs. We are there for you and the students on any type of information question or instruction. That’s our job and it isn’t actually bothering us at all! As a matter of fact, we may “bother” you by coming to you to integrate technology into your classroom.

A school librarian’s professional journals are also filled with digital ideas. It’s what we read and know about and we are happy to share them with you. I often have teachers come and just tell me the topic that is being taught to the students and say that they want to incorporate technology in some way. I then come up with different projects that might work for them. It’s a great way to bounce ideas off of someone to see what might work with students.

One more thing – we spend much of our time telling students that they have to use a certain program or site – why not tell them the task and then let them figure out what site to use? Each student doesn’t have to arrive at the end in the same way. The school librarian and teacher can be the guide to get the student to the end result and having two teachers in the classroom really helps. By doing this, you are truly teaching your students to become digital learners and focus on the higher learning skills that they need.

Whether it is Digital Learning Day or any other day, please talk with your school librarian about ways you can work together to incorporate technology into your lessons. You will have a great partner that will make your job just a little bit easier.

Read other blog posts from the Digital Learning Day Educator Working Group. Learn more about Digital Learning Day at http://www.digitallearningday.org.


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