Monday, May 23, 2011

One department - part 3: The view of the teacher librarian

As I've been searching for up-to-date studies on how IT and Libraries are merging, I've been pleased to find today that a report has been published by the Parliament of Australia about school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools.  This report states
Literacy in the modern age is about so much more than just reading and writing. Today our technological society requires students to have information and communications technology skills (sometimes referred to as digital literacy skills) as well. This means that not only can students use a computer to do word processing and spreadsheets, but can also create, read and write digitally in order to access the internet, find and edit digital information, participate in electronic communications, and use online information and communications networks.
Clearly, then, the roles of the teacher librarian and the IT teacher are coming together in teaching the students the skills they need for the future.
The report goes on to discuss the role of the teacher librarian as a teacher of digital literacy skills to other teachers too - in a similar way that the role of the IT teacher is:
Teacher librarians teach digital literacy skills to both students and other teachers alongside information literacy skills. Such skills include verifying credible sources online and how to cite electronic resources. Issues such as copyright and plagiarism are also included. 
Later in the report it recommends developing the concept of an i-centre where the library and IT are one:
The library associations advised of discussions it had been instigating within the profession, and with principals, on developing the concept of an i-centre in schools ... a one-stop shop model whereby the information, the technology and the teaching and learning services are all integrated into one space. ASLA went on to describe how they might work, with school libraries and IT departments (where they exist in larger schools) merging: it becomes easily accessible for the students, it is available to them all day and they have staff who can guide them through technical problems and information problems.
What does this mean for the teacher librarian?
ASLA described how teacher librarians are moving away from being labelled teacher librarians and gaining new status as ‘the head of digital learning’ or the ‘head of e-learning’, as part of the development of i-centre concept.  In this context, e-learning refers to all forms of electronically supported teaching and learning i.e. online learning.
I'm still looking for more information about schools where this has actually happened.  However I'm pleased I've found this so far and happy that this validates all the discussions our IT and Library teachers have been having about the direction we are moving and how the IT and Library are at the heart of any school's programme of inquiry.

Photo Credit:  Because it helps me learn by Lester Public Library AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

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