Lights, Camera, Action! Via Teacher Librarian Video Conferencing

Lights, Camera, Action! Via Teacher Librarian Video Conferencing

Lesley Farmer (California State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-727-0.ch013
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How can professional organizations build an online community of practice that enables teacher librarians globally to connect meaningfully and make a difference locally—and beyond? Video conferencing is one solution. Using video conferencing, teacher librarians have a unique opportunity to help build a strong collaborative, professional network that will positively impact best practices while at the same time raise awareness of twenty-first century librarianship. Critical elements and practices are identified that facilitate communities of practice and support teacher librarian professional development. Aspects of video conferencing are detailed, and a case study on the use of video conferencing explains how to facilitate a nation-wide community of practice among teacher librarians.
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Teacher librarians (TLs) work in K-12 school settings, and have as their mission to ensure that students and staff become effective users of ideas and information. To carry out this charge, successful TLs:

  • provide intellectual and physical access to materials in all formats;

  • provide instruction to foster competence and stimulate interest in reading, viewing and using information and ideas;

  • work with other educators to design learning strategies to meet the needs of individual students.

They need to develop and manage resource collections, serve as effective teachers as well as effective information specialists, and administrate a library program of services. The role of the TL requires multiple competencies (curriculum, media, administration, collaboration, professional development, etc.) and as a result of these efforts, TLs make positive advancements in multiple contexts.

The need to bring these multiple worlds together is becoming more critical because of the increasingly underestimated value of the TLs. In this digital age of easy access to online resources; who needs libraries? Can’t online help take care of information questions? Yet, it is apparent that students usually are not efficient online searchers or critical thinkers. Who is best positioned to teach all students about how to access and process information in myriad forms for myriad purposes? TLs. They are truly resource persons, providing value-added physical and intellectual access to information and ideas. Not only do TLs know how information is created, disseminated, organized and used across the curriculum and beyond, but they know how to teach the entire school community how to be fluent and responsible users of these resources.

Using video conferencing, TLs have a unique opportunity to help build a strong collaborative, professional network that will provide ongoing professional improvement and facilitate collaboratively-created products (e.g., online bibliographies, web tutorials, library portals, digital learning objects) that can be shared with the rest of the education community.

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