Sensible Approaches to Technology for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

By Lamb, Annette; Johnson, Larry | Teacher Librarian, February 2011 | Go to article overview

Sensible Approaches to Technology for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership


Lamb, Annette, Johnson, Larry, Teacher Librarian


I'm putting all my documents in the "cloud."

We're cancelling our face-to-face book club and holding all the discussions online.

It's time to drop my print magazine subscriptions and use electronic versions instead.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of technology. However as a teacher-librarian, it is essential to step back and consider practical and realistic applications that make sense for teaching, learning, and leadership. Security issues need to be investigated before jumping into cloud computing. Student interests should be considered when changing formats for programs and resources. Many teens still enjoy sitting on a comfortable library lounge chair discussing books and reading paper magazines.

Technology is a wonderful tool. But it is sometimes necessary to step back from the "bells and whistles" and explore sensible approaches that meet the needs of today's librarians, classroom teachers, and learners. We also need to remember that today's schools are filled with exciting new ways to think about teaching and learning that go beyond high-tech tools and web sites. In the end, your solution may involve a balance of traditional and emerging resources, tools, and approaches.

Teacher-librarians are in a unique position to provide leadership across the curriculum identifying sensible approaches that are effective, efficient, and appealing for both educators and students.

TECHNOLOGY WITH IMPACT: EXPLORE-MODEL-INFUSE

Many technologies come and go without becoming embedded in daily practice. Let us explore four areas where technology can have a positive impact on education. These tools and resources allow you to connect, communicate, collaborate, and create.

As you consider the technologies in each area, think about a systematic approach that will lead to long-term infusion of the technology. Begin by exploring the features of the tool with a practical application that will solve a problem or address a specific need. Then, model the use of the technology in a setting that allows teachers to use the tool in a professionally meaningful way. Finally, work with teachers to infuse the technology into a standards-based lesson.

By applying this simple three-step approach, you are more likely to feel confident using the technology yourself and your teachers will see the value when you partner with them to integrate the tool into the curriculum.

CONNECT

Explore ways that technology can be used to make professional, teacher, and student connections: brainstorm ideas, share documents and calendars, make announcements, and establish rapport with your learning community.

Explore

Many online tools are available for connecting people together such as TodaysMeet, todaysmeet.com and AnswerGarden, answergarden.ch. Wallwisher, wallwisher.com, is an easy, effective, and intuitive online board-making tool where users can make announcements, share notes, and organize ideas. Users can even add video or image links. Try creating a wall to use for a planning activity such as establishing a book club. Explore Project Planning, wallwisher.com/wall/eduscapes, as an example.

Model

Think about an application of these connection tools that could be modeled in a faculty meeting. For instance, TodaysMeet could be used as a simple way for people to share their ideas for an online book club. Ask people to share their ideas in the next week and send a reminder through email. Once you've modeled the use of this tool, teachers will come up with ways they might use the tool with students such as recalling prior knowledge about a science topic or brainstorming adjectives for a creative writing assignment.

Infuse

Work with a teacher who shows interest in one of the tools. Begin by showing an example such as using Wallwisher to share book reviews of Arthur hooks, wallwisher.com/wall/arthurbooks. …

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