Librarians are taking the lead in the digital transformation

Librarians and media specialists are bridging the gap between instruction and technology. One pioneer shares how she does it

For library media specialists, finding high-quality digital resources that align with Common Core and state standards, and that support classroom instruction, is an ongoing challenge. No longer just the keepers of the physical books and card catalogues, these media specialists are being called upon to organize and share content that can then be used to create relevant and personalized learning experiences.

With more than 20 years of experience in instructional technologies and K-12 education under her belt, Joquetta L. Johnson has experienced the evolution of the school librarian firsthand. A library media specialist at Randallstown High School in Randallstown, Md., Johnson says that with the Information Age, librarians have effectively transformed into instructional technology leaders.

“When technology first impacted education, it hit the libraries first—first in the public and then in the school libraries,” says Johnson, whose school has about 980 students and one campus. “Because of this, we’ve been at the forefront of the educational technology movement for a long time.”

This evolution has placed library media specialists in the unique position of having to master both technology and instruction. For example, to develop an objective for an English class—and then support the teacher in his or her quest to find the right digital materials for that class—Johnson has to know how to write an objective and then determine the instructor’s goals, what students need to get out of the class, and what content and resources are available to support those goals.

On the technology side of the equation, Johnson works often with students and teachers who need training on new devices, equipment, and applications. She uses “Tech in 10” information sessions (that take 10 minutes or less, and are introduced at monthly instructional counsel meetings) to introduce staff members to new resources. For those who want to learn more, she posts tutorials, videos, and other support tools on the library’s website.

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