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. …

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