Library Media Specialists' Roles in the Implementation of Digital Tools, Applications, and Standards

Library Media Specialists' Roles in the Implementation of Digital Tools, Applications, and Standards

Kelly Paynter
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1770-3.ch006
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This chapter addresses the benefits and synergies that the classroom teacher and the school library media specialist (LMS) experience when collaborating in the planning, differentiation, and assessment of content-area standards such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), with an emphasis on the role of technology and information literacy via Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards (DLCSS). General reasons for teacher/LMS collaboration, specific reasons for collaboration on the CCSS/DLCSS, technology integration, and physical space and instructional flexibility form the key concepts of discussion. Tables present specific CCSS, related to technology tools and digital literacy concepts, that the LMS is uniquely qualified to teach to students. The chapter concludes with practical recommendations for district personnel, school-based administrators, LMSs, classroom teachers, and preservice teachers.
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Various studies have documented the benefits of a fully-staffed, fully-stocked library, in which teachers, administrators, students, and parents work in partnership. Reading scores improve (Barack, 2012); math, science, history, and writing proficiencies increase (Dow, Lakin, & Court, 2012); minority students experience greater achievement (Nelson, 2010); and secondary students are more likely to graduate (Coker, 2015).

Research has indicated, however, that preservice classroom teachers receive little information about the role of the LMS, including how to initiate collaboration (or why one would want to collaborate in the first place) and how the LMS can help the classroom teacher with lesson planning, technology integration, and assessment (Latham, Gross, & Witte, 2013). Studies also show that preservice teachers struggle in the areas of digital and information literacy (Stockham & Collins, 2012), technology integration (Hofer & Grandgenett, 2012; Hutchison & Colwell, 2016), differentiation of instruction (Troxclair, 2013), and inter-disciplinary planning (Brand & Triplett, 2012).

Current classroom teachers and administrators may also not understand the benefits of collaboration with the LMS (Ballard & Fontichiaro, 2010). These individuals may not have had positive relationships with their own LMSs during their formative years, or perhaps they are unaware of the ways in which the LMS can help increase student achievement. The LMS wears many hats in a school, and the job is greatly shaped by the desires of local school administration. Below are several roles and functions of the LMS that can be symbiotic with and beneficial to the classroom teacher, particularly an individual in the early stages of his/her career.

Key Terms in this Chapter

American Association of School Libraries (AASL): A subset of the American Association of Libraries, the AASL is the largest professional organization of school LMSs. The AASL publishes program standards, guidelines, and advocacy toolkits, and it provides members with professional learning opportunities.

Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards (DLCSS): A broad term, encompassing various state- and national-level initiatives that have attempted to quantify the broad technological standards in which every student should be proficient before graduation. Many believe that DLCSS should be embedded into all classes and grade levels and should be the responsibility of every teacher. Examples include the K-12 Computer Science Framework, the Computer Science Teacher Association K-12 Computer Science Standards, the ISTE Standards for Students, and the Alabama Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards.

Embedded Instruction: The concept that library instruction can take place not only in the library media center but in classrooms, in virtual spaces, and in other locales. The LMS can provide just-in-time instruction that is relevant to a particular assignment or unit instead of teaching general library concepts in isolation. Technology is becoming more prominent in the implementation of embedded instruction.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): One of the largest non-profit professional associations in the world that focuses on technology policies, integration, standards, teacher training, and professional learning communities.

Learning Commons: A modern library concept, focused on the belief that learning should happen in a manner that best fits students’ and teachers’ current needs. Learning commons may feature moveable furniture for on-the-fly flexible groupings; stations at which students can network their devices to collaborate on a project; small group areas or rooms; technology, in the form of desktops, laptops, tablets, and student devices; maker spaces, in which students can build or test authentic products (such as robots or art collages); and other innovative, flexible, and timely concepts.

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