The 21st Century school librarian is no longer just the caretaker of the book collection. Technology is transforming the education system and the way children are taught. This
paper discusses the many roles and issues that the teacher-librarian plays in creating a flexible 21st Century learning environment.
21ST Century School Library Media Specialist
The roles discussed in the articles written by school librarians Mashriqi (2011), Ballard (2008), and Marcoux (2010) were similar in strategies needed for running an effective media center today. The common theme was the importance in being able to evaluate what will help the school meet the needs of todays learners and to connect the curriculum with “hands-on” learning experiences. By demonstrating knowledge and current technological skills the media specialist connects the library with teachers, students, administration and parents with information and resources to promote literacy. Technology integration is accomplished by using resources that reflect content standards. To focus on the relationship between education technology and student learning engaging games is one way to achieve the goals with positive results.
Todays’ school library media specialist applies trends related to the use of technology in education to support integration throughout the curriculum. Being literate in the 21st Century involves teaching both “traditional” literacy and how to read and produce the kinds of texts typical of the emerging information and multimedia age. Benthem (2010) points out that to have an effective school library program it needs to be an ongoing work in progress. Literacy development does impact student learning through the use of digital technologies, including audience awareness, the collaborative construction of knowledge, and critical thinking skills.
Curwood and Cowell (2011) iPoetry digital project collaboration showed me that combining traditional forms of literature as well as digital media and new literacy practices engages meaningful learning. It allows students’ a variety of modes for them to “read” through the new ethos that occurs within and through technology. Harris and Park (2008) showed me that podcasting is both a flexible and affordable digital tool; which is diverse in allowing repeated learning; along with its effective use of time. Mobile devices can be used everywhere and at all times (Ozdemir 2010).
When students are exposed to inputs from auditory/verbal and visual/pictorial channels, they build connections between them, resulting in meaningful and deeper learning (Ozdemir 2010). By using digital cameras within the curriculum, teachers provide students with a visual medium for self-expression, but also help them to hone their observation skills, develop an understanding of perspective, and practice their computer skills. Peterson (2011) presented lesson plans for teaching concepts to students with this authentic tool.