A weekend Blue Skunk "feature" will be a revision of an old post. I'm calling this BFTP: Blast from the Past. Original post February 20, 2006. I got fairly well blasted for this post five years ago with the number one comment - "But my librarian is nothing like you describe." Don't worry, folks, the non-tech librarians won't be around after this round of budget cuts.
If you want well and appropriately used educational technology in your school, turn its planning and implementation over to your library media specialists because they have:
1. A healthy attitude toward technology. The LMS considers and teaches not just how to use technology, but why and under what circumstances it should be used. (A sexist syllogism: Most librarians are women. Women have a heathier attitude toward technology than men. Therefore most librarians have a healthy attitude toward technology.)
2. Good teaching skills. Unlike technicians they are more likely to use good pedagogical techniques and have more developed human relations and communication skills. Librarians are understanding and empathetic when technologically related stress occurs in the classroom.
3. An understanding of the use of technology in the information literacy process and its use in fostering higher level thinking skills. We view technology as just one more, extremely powerful tool that can be used by students completing well-designed information literacy projects. Many “technologists” are just now getting this.
4. Experience as skill integrators and collaborators. Integration of research and information literacy projects has been a long-term goal of school library programs, and as a result many LMSs have become excellent collaborators with classroom teaches, successfully strengthening the curriculum with information literacy projects. Librarians know kids, know technology and know what works.
5. Been models for the successful use of technology. The library’s automated library catalogs, circulation systems, electronic reference materials, and student accessible workstations all showed up well before classroom technologies. Teachers rightfully see the LMS as the educator with the most comfort with technology as well, which in turn bolsters their own self-confidence.
6. Provided in-building support. A flexibly scheduled LMS is a real asset to teachers learning to use or integrate technology. The LMS can work with the teacher in the library, lab or classroom. The LMS is available for questions that might otherwise derail a teacher’s application of technology. This as a primary advantage of the LMS as opposed to a classroom teacher having primary responsibility for staff development in technology.
7. A whole school view. Next to the principal, the LMS has the most inclusive view of the school and its resources. The LMS can make recommendations on where technology needs to be placed or upgraded as well as on what departments or teachers may need extra training and support in its use.
8. Concerns about the safe and ethical use of technology. Students will need to have the skills to self-evaluate information; understand online copyright laws and intellectual property issues; and follow the rules of safety and appropriate use of resources. Who but the librarian worries about this stuff?
Your reasons why to turn tech over to librarians?