Magazine article Texas Library Journal

Library Geek Feats GEEK

Magazine article Texas Library Journal

Library Geek Feats GEEK

Article excerpt

- an enthusiast or expert especially in a technologicalfield or activity


The stereotypical librarian sits behind a desk and checks books in and out. The real librarian of the 21st century still handles print books but also manages e-books, databases, gadgets, and more. That technological difference is also seen in library instruction as today's librarians move past worksheets and lectures to Web 2.0/3.0, tablet apps, and online media to teach research and other information skills.

Integrating technology effectively into library instruction is more than just adding an electronic resource to an existing lesson, however. It is using those resources to enhance, extend, and elevate library lessons. It is performing those Library Geek Feats that will give your library instruction vitality. I have shaped this articles around some points by Doug Johnson, a well-known writer and consultant on school library and technology issues. (His website is cited at the end of the article.)


Doug Johnson's First Sign of Technology Literacy: Knowing when to use technology and when not to use technology.

Not every lesson needs technology integration. There are non-technology related skills that still need to be taught, such as younger students learning the parts of a book. There are also those time-tested lessons that work very well without technology, such as a game of "find the book" to help teach shelf location. However, some lessons are improved by technology, such as writing and sharing book reviews. Then there are those lessons that must integrate technology because of changes in how information is presented and accessed now, such as research skills.

Here are a few ideas on how to enhance lessons with technology:

* First, as Doug Johnson notes, use technology to improve poor units. Worksheets can be replaced with products created by Office Suite such as games on computers or blogs that share learning insights and resources.

* Second, a variety of learning styles can be reached by combining visuals via streamed videos or audio via recording items into a program such as Audacity, kinesthetic via use of drawing programs like TuxPaint or interactive whiteboards. Technology can also provide ways to reach both those who prefer individual work by use of wikis, blogs, and other social media to those who prefer group work via Skype video chats. They can create videos with a simple digital camera or screen capture software such as CamStudio.

* Third, increase student engagement through items such as classroom response systems whether clicker type (such as elnstruction sets) or online software (such as Socrative). Social media, such as those items already mentioned, can be used also.

Some companies, such as Discovery Education or Learn 360, can pull all of these items together with resources that include videos, audios, images, and other media that can be added to lessons created and saved for future use.


Johnsons First Law of Technology Integration: Use technology to make your poor units better, not your great units worse.

Effective technology integration is more than just adding a PowerPoint or streamed video to an existing lesson. It is enhancing those lessons to differentiate for varying learning levels, to extend learning beyond the library, or to increase productivity and participation.

Differentiating a lesson means reaching learners of all types, including English as a Second Language, Special Needs, and Gifted/Talented students. Some tools to help in this effort include the following:

* Some streaming video services have resources in other languages. Some also have closed captioned videos that can use the visuals along with audio to increase understanding.

* Learning Platform software such as Moodle or Udemy can be used to create modified lessons or units for the needs of particular populations.

* Video lessons created through CamStudio (mentioned above), Movie Maker, or Photo Story can be customized for special groups or used to reinforce lessons when needed.

* Technology provides for a range of assessment or product options from a gifted student creating a wiki to a special needs learner using a drawing program to an English language learner recording a response or using a translation program such as Google Translate or the built in translator in Gaggle.

* QR codes and appropriate tablet apps can be used to take students to a needed level of instruction easily and more privately.

Extending learning beyond the library can mean both collaborating with classroom teachers to make library instruction more relevant to curriculum and encouraging students to use the skills learned in other areas of life. Ways to do this include:

* The flipped classroom is a concept growing in popularity that can be adapted for library instruction.

* Students can access blogs or wikis at home to write book reviews or add to a research wiki.

* Email programs or instant messaging may be used for Ask-the-Librarian or Homework Help times. It can also be used for students to ask questions privately that they might hesitate to ask in class.

* Distance learning programs can introduce students to people, places, and ideas they might not be able to know otherwise.

Technology can contribute to increased productivity and participation of students also. Some ideas for this include:

* Tablet sets mean students are not waiting for a computer to be free.

* Student response systems give all students a chance to respond, rather than just a few called on students; and they can be anonymous to encourage participation by learners with special needs.

* Web 2.0 resources or even shared network locations give all students a chance to contribute in a variety of ways according to skill levels and abilities, thus avoiding the program of a few go-getter students doing the entire group project.

* Leveraging the use of smartphones and tablets through apps such as ClassDojo can engage students.


Johnsons Drill Bit Rule: You dont buy a drill bit because you want a drill bit; you buy it because you want a hole. You don't buy technology because you want technology; you buy it because you want a more effective school.

A side effect of the emphasis on high stakes testing can be a de-emphasis in the importance of non-tested but still necessary abilities such as creativity, critical thinking, and other higher order thinking skills as well as the ability (and willingness) to be a lifelong learner.

In Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, the HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills), the top three levels of the pyramid are analyzing, evaluating, and creating. Some process verbs for these levels and technology to support them are in the chart at the right.


Johnsons Observation on Internet Resources: The one thing the Internet will never have that your library has - is you.

Technology can be a great way to enhance, extend, and elevate your library and curriculum related lessons, but it is only as good as the creator and teacher of those lessons - YOU. So, a few final tips:

* Practice with the technology before the lesson to make sure it fits your needs.

* Use technology that is truly improves the lesson, not just something added as an afterthought.

* Set limits for the students so technology options don't get in the way of content and information.

* Remember to supervise computer using students.

* Have a non-technology backup plan for those days when the network is down, etc.

* Match your technology to your instruction goals and needs - not the other way around.

* Monitor and adjust as needed to make the most effective use of technology.

Technology is a great tool, but in the end, it is only a tool, not the instructor. Use the technology to take instruction to the next level helping the students toward content acquisition, academic success and ultimately lifelong learning - both with and without technology!

Quotes are from Doug Johnson: http:// html

Another good article from Johnson: http://doug-johnson.squarespace. com/blue-skunk-blog/2006/2/20/ why-lib rarians-should-bein-charge-ofeducational-technology.html


Social Media for Education


Twiducate : http ://


Wikispaces Classroom: http://www.

Teacher Tube: http://www.teachertube. com /


Google Apps for Education: http://www.

Open Source Software


Tux paint:

Open Office:

Libre Office:




Skype for Education: https://education.


elnstruction student response system:

Smart Boards interactive whiteboards:

Discovery Education: http://www.

Learn 360:


Movie Maker: com/en-us/windows-live/movie-maker

Photo Story: en-us/download/details.aspx?id= 11132

Google Translate: com/


Rubric creators: http://www.teach-nology. com/web_tools/rubrics/


QR Codes: teachers/top-teaching/2012/09/waysuse-qr-codes-education

Flipped Classroom: http://

Extending Learning: http://www.

Distance Learning: com/a/tetnplus. net/tetn/

ClassDojo: classroom-behavior-classdojo-app-lisamims

Web Evaluation Lessons: uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/5ws.pdf

http : // www. teacherspay teachers. com/Product/Website-EvaluationLesson-316469

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy and Technology:

Blooms Revised Taxonomy: http://ww2. taxonomy.htm

Blooms Digital Taxonomy: http:// Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy

Blooms Revised Taxonomy: http://

Survey Monkey: https://www.

ReadWriteThink: http://www.

Freemind: http://freemind.sourceforge. net/

Inspiration/Kidspiration: http://www.

Google Tools

Google Scholar: com/

Google Trends: trends/

Google Docs: drive/using-drive/#product=docs

Google Drawing: com/dra wings

Google Sites:

[Author Affiliation]

Betsy Ruffin is a school librarian.

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