ESSA and Technology: How School Librarians Use Technology to Impact Student Learning

School librarians all over the country are celebrating the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that provides for effective school library programs for students in the U.S. The AASL Board of Directors hosted a listening session with Dr. Chism from the U.S. Department of Education, and I was thrilled to share information with her on how school librarians use technology to impact student learning. ESSA specifically refers to technology in libraries by authorizing states to use funds to assist school districts in providing programs and activities that increase access to personalized learning experiences supported by technology including adequate “access to school libraries.” ESSA also authorizes states to use funds to assist school districts in providing school librarians with the knowledge and skills to use technology effectively, including effective integration of technology, to improve instruction and student achievement. So thrilling for the future of school library programs and school librarians for all of our students!

As more schools infuse technology into the day-to-day practice of teaching and learning, librarians have emerged as instructional experts through the practice of curating digital content, introducing innovative technology tools, and instructing students and faculty on the use of these cutting-edge and valuable resources. Overseeing books, managing print collections, and shushing users are no longer common practice in school libraries. Today’s libraries are filled with 3D printers, digital media labs, and classes solving real-world problems in creative and collaborative ways through the integration of standards. And the librarians are there at the students’ and teachers’ points of need to help integrate all types of technologies and literacies into their learning and instruction.

One way we do that is by curating digital open educational resources–including primary source documents–for teachers to use in their daily instruction. Our students no longer carry around a backpack full of textbooks; they now carry a single Chromebook filled with interactive resources like the “Gettysburg Address” from the Smithsonian Institute, where students can hear the speech read aloud, zoom in on the text, and click on highlighted sections to discover the meaning behind the words.

Librarians have the skills, dispositions, and focus to find and share the most credible, resource-rich (and often free) technology tools available with everyone. We also work daily with integrating technology into the standards, whether it is the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, the C3 Social Studies Framework, the new ISTE Standards, or our own school’s competencies.  And this work contributes to more effective teaching and learning every day, in every class, and with every student.

Use the hashtag #essalibraries to share how ESSA will impact your practice.

Author: Pam Harland

Categories: Community, ESSA Updates

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