Reflections: Integrating technology in the classroom

I have to admit that I usually have a hard time when working on embedding what we have traditionally come to call “library skills” into our core curriculum. And this is due to the fact that after years of hard work in moving from teaching isolated “library skills” to teaching integrated “information skills”, many media specialists have come to the conclusion that information literacy and tech literacy are a natural combination and that an integration of traditional library skills and computer skills need to be integrated into a single literacy skills process model.

Bridging the gap

The work of technology integrators and academic librarians/media specialists is rapidly merging on different levels: curriculum development, learning platforms, and teaching. And this reality is making more and more difficult to find out where is the burred line between library skills and technological skills. This is making me realize that may be we should move beyond obsessing about the terminology (and in particular about the technology), to accept that research, library and technology are crucial and critical aspects of our life, and that as such, they must be used as tools to better understand our world, and to search for solutions to the problems facing our global society. It is about move on from thinking IT is in its own box!

Some schools are calling this set of skills, 21st century literacy skills, in an effort of finding the way to bring Library skills, technology skills and classroom together. Why then not bridging the educational technology team and the library team to form a new, wide-school alliance focused on 21st century learning? I truly believe that librarians/media specialists and tech facilitators are such a natural fit. It is clear to me that we have much to learn from each other – where one department is strong, the other may be weak, and what a perfect partnership that makes! However, this is not THE vision, just MY vision, and I hope it might serve as a model for next-generation library-IT staff organization.

The CIS Tech Committee (

Bridging the gap between the library and technology would need to strengthen collaboration between all two teams and, of course, with the classrooms. Although they may be a natural fit, I am still trying at CIS to find the way to highlight those connections, to bridge those gaps, and to bring library, technology and classroom together. I believe that our terrific Tech Committee can become the perfect venue for this. In the Tech committee we are focusing our professional discussions into really creating a common understanding about what is technology and what we want to achieve with all the resources available.

During our last meeting, we had a very fruitful discussion about what essential technology skills all of our students (and teachers) would need to know. This is an old question and I have to admit that I always have a hard tine coming out with a list of essential technology skills that all of our students (and teachers, and parents,…) would need to know. And I usually have a hard time with this idea because I often end creating a list of skills like:

  • formulas in an excel document,
  • animations in power point presentation,
  • brochures in Microsoft publisher,
  • Word Document,
  • Photo Story, etc.

I truly believe that these sorts of skills (which would probably be appropriate ten years ago) will no longer get students very far and that we should de-emphasize them in favor of wider, bigger and more reaching concepts like:

  • collaborating in a global society across distances,
  • communicating ideas to multiple audiences,
  • ability to compare technologies,
  • ability to keep up with new ideas in technology, or
  • creating something new by using known tools.

May be I am a bit too influenced by my last two years experiencing with web 2.0 tools like moodle, blogs, wikies and podcasts, but I believe that this is the way to go.

We really need to constantly adopt and adapt to the changing nature of information and communication in our web 2.0 world, and students should be taught 21st century literacy skills in an authentic way, and this list of skills has changed dramatically in recent years…and keeps changing! There are many librarians, media specialists, and technology teachers/integrators who are now moving beyond the “stand alone, software based” skills into the world of Web 2.0, collaboration and multimedia.

We need to look at what we need to do to get there, and may be it requires a complete reorganization of our mindset. I would like to leave you with one question for reflection…can we as an organization do this, can we make it happen, and what we need to change to make it happen?

3 thoughts on “Reflections: Integrating technology in the classroom

  • March 16, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Hi!, I stumbled on your blog the other day. Just wanted to say I love your blog and have it on my Google Reader


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