Connecting Teacher Librarians for Technology Integration Leadership

By Johnston, Melissa P. | School Libraries Worldwide, January 2012 | Go to article overview
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Connecting Teacher Librarians for Technology Integration Leadership


Johnston, Melissa P., School Libraries Worldwide


The changing information landscape and the highly technological environment of 21st century schools require that teacher librarians evolve as leaders in integrating technology to address the needs of a new generation of learners. Technology and digital resources must be integrated into learning experiences to ensure that students are prepared to succeed and meet the demands of a digital society. Teacher librarians, through working with teachers and students, have a vital role to play in making certain that students develop the 21st century skills that will enable them to use technology as a tool for learning and participate in a digital culture. This research investigated the current practice of accomplished teacher librarians in order to identify what factors were enabling some to thrive as technology integration leaders and what was hindering others. In the identification of these enablers and barriers several themes emerged and the most frequently identified enablers were related to relationships, or connections, that enabled technology integration leadership enactment for teacher librarians. This report of results focuses on those vital connections and implications for the profession.

Introduction

The highly technological environment of 21st century schools has significantly redefined the role of the teacher librarian. As technology permeates teaching and learning, teacher librarians are continually directed from professional standards and guidelines, as well as from theorists and researchers in this area, to assume leadership roles in integrating technology in schools (e.g., American Association of School Librarians, 2009; Everhart & Dresang, 2006; Hanson-Baldauf & Hughes-Hassell, 2009; McCracken, 2001; Shannon, 2002). Teacher librarians are in a unique position, due to knowledge of pedagogical principles and curriculum, paired with technology and information expertise, to serve as leaders and valuable assets through making meaningful contributions toward the integration of technology. The concern is that if technology and digital resources are not integrated into classroom learning experiences, it will result in students that are unprepared to meet the demands of a world where technology has become ubiquitous. Teacher librarians, through working with teachers and students, have a vital role to play in making certain that students develop the 21st century skills that will enable them to use technology as a tool for learning and for participating in a digital culture.

Despite the need, the demands, and opportunities for teacher librarians to accept critical technology leadership roles, the literature in this area is limited and there is a lack of empirical research investigations, leading to many teacher librarians that experience difficulty enacting this role in practice due to the confusion and ambiguity surrounding teacher librarians' role in technology integration (Asselin, 2005; Asselin & Doiron, 2008; Everhart & Dresang, 2006; Hanson-Baldauf & Hughes-Hassell, 2009; Shannon, 2008). This research investigated the practices of teacher librarians in order to identify what factors were enabling some to thrive as technology integration leaders and what was hindering others. In the identification of these enablers and barriers, several themes emerged; the most frequently identified enablers were related to relationships, or connections, that enabled technology integration leadership enactment for teacher librarians.

Review of the Literature

Teacher librarians are expected to accept and fulfil numerous roles in daily practice; one of these roles is that of a leader in the area of technology integration. The ever-changing and advancing environment of 21st century learning has necessitated this evolution of the teacher librarian and presents opportunities for leadership.

Leadership Directive

The evolution of the role of the teacher librarian is present in the standards and guidelines that define and guide practice for teacher librarians.

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