The Insider: School Librarians as Part of a Blended Professional Learning Community for Student Teacher Development in Technology Integration

Article excerpt

In the last decade, state professional teaching standards and federal mandates have required teachers to enter the field proficient with technology integration skills. Concurrently, the American Association of School Librarians urges collaboration between teachers and school librarians. Based on previous research recommending teacher-school librarian collaboration begin as early as student teaching, this study looks at the contributions of school librarians as members of a blended professional learning community established to mentor student teachers as they prepare for a technology integrated lesson.

Introduction

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) have revised and published standards and guidelines over many decades with the most recent revisions in 1998 in Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning and again in 2009 with Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Media Programs that addresses the technological advances of the 21st century. Doll (2005) documents the early development of the standards and how the school librarian's role in education has evolved over time. The research of collaboration between school librarians and teachers has created a significant body of literature that examines the role school librarians play in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum. (e.g., Buzzeo, 2002; Bush, 2003; Montiel-Overall; 2005; Haycock, 2007; Kimmel, 2012). The constant urge toward collaboration between teachers and school librarians is not unique. For the past 30 years or more as efforts for school reform have evolved, a school change strategy often cited is to create professional learning communities among educators (Barth, 1990). Professional learning communities, as defined by Mitchell and Sackney (2000), are "an active, reflective, collaborative, learning oriented, and growth promoting approach toward the mysteries, problems, and perplexities of teaching and learning (p. 5).

The purpose of this investigation is to examine the interactions of school librarians within a blended professional learning community to assist pre-service teachers with technology integration while student teaching. These results are a part of a larger study conducted to examine student teachers' technology integration during a capstone technology integration experience guided by a blended professional learning community that includes school librarians, cooperating teachers, peers and university faculty.

Review of Related Literature

School Librarians and Teacher Collaboration

Much of the research in school librarianship is surrounded by the need for school librarians to follow the AASL standards and guidelines (2009). Within the guidelines there is a need for school librarians to collaborate; be an instructional partner; and act as leader. The earliest of the research began with school librarians and teachers working together as a team. Van Duesen's (1996) case study examined school librarians and their consulting role in a team approach to curriculum development. The study was initiated at a time when there was little research in the area of school librarians being a part of this type of collaboration in schools. The results of this study revealed that school librarians play a significant role as an "insider;" being a part of the team contributing significantly to the development of the curriculum. The school librarian was also considered an "outsider" in that she was not a classroom teacher, nor an administrator. "Her regular attendance and participation enabled her to be perceived as an "insider" by the teachers. They accepted her as part of the team. However, she was an "outsider" in that she was not a classroom teacher" (p. 243-244). Van Duesen posits, "This study also offers implications for the pre-service preparation of teachers and school administrators. Both groups need to know more about the work of the library media specialist" (p. 247). This study was among the first to demonstrate the need for school librarians to be a part of pre-service teacher education. …