teacher with phoneTechnology is an integral part of a teacher librarian's professional life. From the circulation system to professional communications, technology provides the tools needed in today's information-rich world.

One minute you may be on the cell phone talking to a teacher on the third floor about a technical issue. The next, you may be getting email from a professional colleague in China who wants to set up a video conference with the high school science teachers. In between, students are checking out books using the automated circulation system, locating materials using electronic databases, watching a documentary on the DVD player, and taking notes on the laptop.

All this is happening between 8:01 AM and 8:03 AM.

How do teacher librarians use technology?

The teacher librarian uses technology for information, instruction, administration, collaboration, and communication.

Today's effective teacher librarian should serve a key role in the selection of, the instruction about, and utilization of electronic resources and technology tools such as online databases, Internet resources, and streaming video programs - - the varied equipment and technologies used in the school, classroom, and learning community. Teacher librarians should model the effective application of instructional software and technology tools in their planning documents, presentations and lessons, and professional communications. They can develop and distribute high quality, professional documents that convey evidence-based support for their ideas and programs. These communications often incorporate data from a library automation system combined with digital imaging and computer-generated graphic elements.

eye means readRead Teachers’ Link to Electronic Resources in the Library Media Center: A Local Study of Awareness, Knowledge, and Influence by T.D. Williams. School Library Media Research; 7, 2004.

Also read Brewer, S. and Milan, P. SLJ's Technology Survey. School Library Journal, Jun. 2005; 51(6), 49-55. (Access requires login)
The article contains the results of a survey on the planning, purchasing and instructional roles of library media specialists in providing technology resources in their schools.

In order to extend the school media center's presence beyond the constraints of their building location(s) and school day schedules, today's teacher librarian also can maintain a "virtual library" presence through online, digital collections that may incorporate student and teacher resources; collaborative projects, pathfinders, links to the online catalog and database resources, selected Internet portals, plus provide needed online instruction and assistance to users.

eye means readRead Janowski, A. Instant Web Sites! School Library Journal, Jan. 2005; (51)1, 50-3. (Access requires login)
This is the story of a media specialist and his creation of a Web site template for use by elementary school librarians in a district in Florida.

The teacher librarian must be proactive in helping teachers and students use technology resources and tools - - whether that be learning to use a digital camera or handheld PDA, finding information about using blogs in learning, or considering the educational value of online simulations and electronic games.

Teacher librarians are often centrally involved with a school's televison studio, distance education initiatives, and networking / media distribution systems. At any given time they might be creating step-by-step instructions for using a new equipment item, beginning the planning of an upcoming staff development session, developing a lesson presentation to use in the classroom, and finalizing a project proposal to take to the school board . . . all tasks involving technology. All of this means that an effective school media librarian must continually look for ways to effectively partner with students, teachers, administrators, and other support personnel in the effective use of technology tools. One person cannot do it all.

Visit and explore the ideas, information, and instructional strategies at (3) Innovation in Education from Intel and (4) Library Technology Now for news and product reviews by and for library people.

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Is technology an effective tool in schools?

Many studies indicate that technology is important as a tool in teaching and learning.

Read (1) The Effectiveness of Technology in Schools: A Summary of Recent Research by E.R. Bialo and J. Sivin-Kachala. School Library Media Quarterly, Fall 1996; 25(1), 51–57 and (2) Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement by J. Schacter. Feb. 1999, Milken Family Foundation (pdf download).


Why do we need library media specialists?

With budget constraints, some schools are asking whether teacher librarians are really needed in this time of Internet and technology specialists. What do you think?

eye means readRead Why Do We Need Libraries When We Have the Internet by D. Johnson. Knowledge Quest; 2(1).

Also read (1) the curriculum article: Virtual High Schools: The High Schools of the Future? from Education World, (Mar. 1999/Feb. 2005) and (2) High School on the Web by L. Pape. American School Board Journal, July 2005; 192(7).

Imagine a school without needing classrooms, where students can attend online classes any time day or night, and any or all days of the week. Imagine students working online, cooperating and collaborating with others from a wide variety of ethnicities, backgrounds, and geographic locations. Consider students being able to complete courses of study not available at their local school. What you are beginning to visualize are the possibilities of the virtual high school.

Many states (FL, IL, MD, MI, and KY for example), some school districts (York County, VA, Springfield, OH, and Clintondale Virtual School, MI), colleges and universities (Stetson University, FL), and several enterprise organizations - - profit and nonprofit (Virtual High School and KC Distance Learning) - - have established accredited virtual high school programs.

What if any do you think are the significant ramifications of this virtual high school movement for teacher librarians of the future?

Explore the Office of Learning Resources website from the Indiana Department of Education (Out-of-state readers my substitute and/or compare to equivalent website(s) of other state departments of education or public instruction).

What is a technology plan?

A technology plan specifies the manner in which technology is to be integrated into the school curriculum. In the state of Indiana, every school corporation must have an approved and current three-year technology plan (per Indiana Code: IC20-10.1-25-1.2).

Examine the Tech Plan Guidelines and Checklist from Office of Learning Resources, Indiana Department of Education.

Explore resources at the National Education Technology Plan (Jan. 2005) site.

Visit the National Center for Technology Planning. Here you will find links to several technology plans: Planning Section has state, district, and building level plans. Several of the links are broken; however, there are some good example documents here. Several articles on technology planning can also be read; be sure to look at Developing Effective Technology Plans by J. See, MN Dept. of Education.

It is important that teacher librarians become familiar with their school district and building's technology plan(s). They should work to insure that needed revisions are made to to fit new and emerging technologyies and actual use and practices in the classroom and learning environments. Focus the pland on the actions and processes needed for completing identified goals and tasks. Be sure to include the measures to be employed in assessment and summarize results in followup reports.

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Check Your Understanding

info powerInformation Power: The library media specialist is a primary leader in the school's use of all kinds of technologies - both instructional and informational - to enhance learning. (p. 54)

Write about day in the life of a media specialist. How many different technology applications can you fit into a narrative describing one day? Keep in mind the use of technology for information, instruction, administration, collaboration, and communication.

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Make It Real

circulation systemThe teacher librarian must be a teacher in the use of all kinds of technologies. What are your strengths and weaknesses in the use of technology?

As you reflect on the use of technology for information, instruction, administration, collaboration, and communication, develop a list of priorities for your own professional development.

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Read More About It

America Tomorrow
Website reports on things happening in education and training; use of multimedia and telecommunications technologies in learning.

Bocher, B. Libraries and Technology. State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Links related to library technology.

Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students: 2002. National Center for Education Statistics.

Early Connections from Northwest Educational Technology Consortium & Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
Connecting technology with the way young children learn: resources and information for educators and care providers.
Related Website:
Technology in Early Childhood Education

Enhance Learning with Technology
Links portal links on to help teachers discover what a useful tool technology can be in the classroom, develop the processes of integrating computers into the learning environment, and locate good resources for professional development.

Enhancing Learning with Technology from Indiana Learns
Charged with the responsibility of providing a high-tech and information-rich environment for schools, technology specialists and library media specialists must address a wide variety of expectations for technology.

Harrington-Lueker, D. Technology Works Best When It Serves Clear Educational Goals. Harvard Education Letter Research Online, Nov/Dec 1997.

Johnson, D. Techno Intelligence. School Library Journal, March 2003; 49(3), 38. (Access requires login) . . .
It takes a committee to create a wise technology policy.

Key Building Blocks for Student Achievement in the 21st Century (June 2001). CEO Forum.
Download pdf year-4 summary report.

Libraries and Technology. Public Library Development. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Links to a variety of online resources related, in some manner, to library technology.

Loertscher, D. The Digital School Library. Teacher Librarian, June 2003; 30(5), 14. (Access requires login) . . .
Examines ways of developing computer systems to meet the needs of students.

McQuin, D. Unitedstreaming and School Library Journal, May 2003; 49(5), 35. (Access requires login) . . .
United Learning and AIMS Multimedia offer subscription services that put large video and graphic libraries at the fingertips of educators and students.

National Educational Technology Standards Project (NETS) from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Includes the updated ISTE/NCATE Standards.

Savage, C. Lights, Camera, Action. School Library Journal, Aug. 2002; 48(8) 39. (Access requires login) . . .
The ample rewards of turning your media center into a student-run TV studio.

Integration of Technology with Curricula and Instruction

Minkel, W. The Once and Future Video. School Library Journal, Jan 2003; 49(1), 52. (Access requires login) . .
Emerging technologies will radically alter video programming in schools.

Minkel, W. Rage Against the Machine. School Library Journal, Nov 2003; 49(11), 34. (Access requires login) . . .
T./ Oppenheimer rails against overuse of computer technologies in schools. Pushes for activities aimed at developing students who can think creatively, solve problems, and be able to write a readable and meaningful English sentence.

Minkel, W. Taking Charge: Who Runs Your Web Site? It Should Be You. School Library Journal, Nov 2002; 48(11), 33. (Access requires login) . . .
Focus is on the management and application of a library's website.

Menkel, W. Library Technology Raises Test Scores, Too. School Library Journal, Dec 2002; 49(12), 24. (Access requires login) . . .
Research shows that technology coupled with a qualified librarian makes for better students.

Virtual High Schools from
Whether students need to study from home to catch up on credits, tend to health concerns, or balance school with work (such as acting), virtual high schools, virtual high schools are becoming more popular.

National School Boards Foundation
Mission is to foster excellence and equity in public education through innovation in school board leadership and community engagement.
 Documents of Interest:
Are We There Yet, June 2002.

Questions to Ask About Your Technology Investment

Reports: Education from the Pew Internet & American Life Project
Reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

Technology Connections for School Improvement Planners’ Handbook from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL)

Technology and Young Children from National Association for the Education of Young Children
To lead discussions, share research and information and demonstrate best practices regarding technology so it can be used to benefit children aged birth through eight years.

Technology in Education from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL)

Teenagers on the Web: 60 Usability Guidelines for Creating Compelling Websites for Teens. Nielsen Norman Group Report (pdf download).
This report is based on usability research with 38 teenagers, who varied by age (13-17) and by country of origin (mainly United States).

Virtual High School Meanderings
This blog focuses on issues pertaining to distance education within the K-12 system, specifically the use of virtual high schools.

Other Tech Resources

Product information portal with new software and equipment reviews added weekly.

PC Magazine Product Guides and Reviews,1738,13,00.asp

Technology terms defined . . .

Technology – Library Automation

McCaffrey, M. NetTrekker, PinPoint Team Up. School Library Journal, Dec 2003; 49(12), 30. (Access requires login) . . .
When students search online using the combined products, librarians can set the program to display library resources first—encouraging kids to look at library holdings before leaping haphazardly onto the Web.

Minkel, W. A Smarter System. School Library Journal, Nov 2003; 49(11), 48. (Access requires login) . . .
Automation software is better than ever – even encourages sharing (alludes to need, costs, etc. related to technology updates).
Related Article:
Minkel, W. Automation Systems Update. School Library Journal, Dec 2003; 49(12), 30. (Access requires login) . . .

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