The Power of Web 2.0: Teacher-Librarians Become School Technology Leaders

Article excerpt

This paper reports on a study that sought to understand the impact of a graduate level Web 2.0 course on the personal, teaching, and professional lives of teacher-librarians. An online survey asked teachers and teacher-librarians about their experiences before and after completing the course. After taking the course, participants were familiar with a variety of Web 2.0 technologies and were able to use these tools personally, for teaching and for professional development. Participants gained confidence and competence in their technology skills and have taken on leadership roles in terms of technology integration and are often the "go to" person in their school for Web 2.0 technologies.

Introduction

To be effective educators in the 21st century, teacher-librarians need to be familiar and comfortable with new technologies. Today's new technologies include Web 2.0 (and soon Web 3.0) which are the web-based tools that are readily available, often free, and used to communicate, collaborate and create. Blogs, wikis, photo and video sharing sites, digital storytelling sites and social networking (e.g. Facebook or MySpace) are all examples of Web 2.0 technologies. As Solomon and Schrum (2007) stated, "we can take advantage of the features that new tools offer and tap into students' natural affinity for these tools in order to create learning experiences that expand their worldview and enhance what they learn" (p. 24). Teacher-librarians, as school leaders in the area of technology in the 21st century, need to be fearless, playful and connected.

As school leaders who work with all teachers and students, teacher-librarians are well positioned to take on technology integration leadership roles. According to Everhart, Mardis and Johnston (2010), highly certified teacher-librarians "felt strong commitments to and experienced success with technology leadership with students to a great extent and with teachers to a lesser, but not insignificant, extent" (p.12). On the other hand, according to Hanson-Baldauf and Hassell (2007), students enrolled in school library media certification programs were not "adequately prepared for the task of using and integrating information and communication technologies into their teaching" (p. 8). How then, do we prepare teacher-librarians to be school leaders in technology integration?

This paper will present a brief overview of the content and pedagogy of an online graduate-level class for teacher-librarians in Web 2.0 technologies. This course provides graduate students with the opportunity to explore RSS feeds, social bookmarking, wikis, social networking, photo, video and multimedia file sharing, and podcasting. Teacher-librarians blog about their experiences playing with these Web 2.0 technologies and discuss the process of learning how to use them and consider the implications of these tools for teaching and learning.

The purpose of the study was to understand the impact of a Web 2.0 course on the personal, teaching, and professional lives of teachers and teacher-librarians. The authors were also interested in ideas for further professional development, and implications for competencies and curriculum for teacher-librarianship education. The research project based on this course examined the following questions:

1. How effective is a graduate-level course in helping teachers and teacher-librarians learn about, critically evaluate, and integrate new Web 2.0 technologies?

2. What are the knowledge, skills, and attributes that these teachers and teacher-librarians develop as a result of undertaking this inquiry?

3. Which of the Web 2.0 technologies introduced in the course continue to be used by the teachers and teacher-librarians?

4. How are teachers and teacher-librarians using these tools in their own teaching, learning, professional development and personal lives?

Review of the Literature

Leadership Role of the Teacher-Librarian

The 2010 ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians present clear guidelines for education programs. …