IMPACT: Guidelines for North Carolina Media and Technology Programs

TEACHING AND LEARNING

VISION

School library media and technology programs should focus on student achievement and involve the entire staff in collaboratively planning instructional programs that are authentic and engaging, enriched by high-quality resources, current technologies, and effective models of integration. A learner-centered approach to instruction focuses attention on media and technology programs as vital instructional forces that complement, support, and expand classroom learning. The ongoing assessment of media and technology programs is the responsibility of teachers and administrators working together with media and technology professionals. An effective media and technology program supports the teaching and learning community through data-driven collaboration, literacy, integration of technology and information skills with the total curriculum, resources, staff development, and assessment.

“Creating the context of a collaborative culture requires more than encouraging educators to work together. The tradition of teacher isolation is too deep to be uprooted simply by offering opportunities for collegial endeavors. Collaboration by invitation never works. Leaders who function as staff development leaders embed collaboration in the structure and culture of their schools. Teachers’ work is specifically designed to ensure that every staff member is a contributing member of a collaborative team. Creating an appropriate structure for teacher collaboration is vitally important, but also insufficient. Leaders must do more than organize teacher teams and hope for the best. They must provide the focus, parameters, and support to help teams function effectively" (Designing Powerful Professional Development, 2005)

“Today’s student lives and learns in a world that has been radically altered by the ready availability of vast stores of information in a variety of formats. The learning process and the information search process mirror each other: students actively seek to construct meaning from the sources they encounter and to create products that shape and communicate that meaning effectively. Developing expertise in accessing, evaluating, and using information is in fact the authentic learning that modern education seeks to promote” (NC Information Skills Curriculum Philosophy, 1999)

COLLABORATION

Collaboration should be evident in all areas of the school environment as well as at the system, regional, and state levels. Within the school, the school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator work closely with teachers, administrators, students, and support personnel. All of these people must be involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of an instructional program integrated with media and technology.

For more information refer to the section on Collaboration Through Flexible Access.

INTEGRATION OF INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY SKILLS

The school library media coordinator and technology facilitator play an integral role in teaching students how to access, evaluate, and use information. They also support students in being able to choose the most appropriate tool for collecting information in multiple formats and then organizing, linking, evaluating, and through synthesis, discovering how to present the information. “An array of tools for acquiring information and for thinking and expression allows more students more ways to enter the learning enterprise successfully and to live productive lives in the global, digital, and information-based future they all face” (Philosophy: North Carolina Standard Course of Study, 2004). These skills are embedded throughout the Information and Computer/Technology Skills curricula and are essential to teaching and learning. It is vital that these skills are fully integrated across the curriculum.

To integrate these skills seamlessly across the curriculum, the media coordinator and technology facilitator need to “provide strong and creative leadership in building and nurturing the culture of learning, both as a teacher and as an instructional partner” (AASL and AECT, 1998).  As teachers, the school library media coordinator and technology facilitator will need to “use both traditional materials and innovative resources” (AASL and AECT, 1998) to provide meaningful instruction.  This can be achieved through instruction in a full range of information concepts and strategies, so that students will have the skills needed to interact effectively with all information resources.

A research process is one of the types of innovative resources that can be used whenever students are in a situation, academic or personal, that requires information to solve a problem, make a decision, or complete a task. A systematic research model such as the Big Six provides an information problem-solving process, and a set of skills that provide a strategy for effectively and efficiently meeting information needs.

It is important to remember that the integration of information and computer/ technology skills across the curriculum does not take place in isolation, but occurs through collaborative planning. The involvement of media and technology professionals in all aspects of curriculum implementation is fundamental to collaboration.

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BEING INVOLVED WITH THE CURRICULUM TO ACHIEVE INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS MEANS:

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RESEARCH MODEL RESOURCES

THE BIG SIX OR THE SUPER THREE <www.big6.com>

FLIP-IT <www.aliceinfo.org/FLIPit.html>

FOLLETT’S INFORMATION SKILLS MODEL <www.sparkfactor.com/clients/follett/home.html>

JAMIE MCKENZIE’S RESEARCH CYCLE <http://questioning.org/rcycle.html> top

ACCESS TO INFORMATION RESOURCES AND SERVICES IN THE TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS

The media and technology program provides intellectual and physical access to a full range of information and services for a community of learners and serves as a model for responsible and creative information use. The school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator collaborate with the school community to play an even more important role as the quantity of information continues to grow.  They guide and promote a student-centered program; provide flexible and equitable access to information for learning; and use the North Carolina Standard Course of Study to help all students “construct meaning from the sources they encounter and to create products that shape and communicate that meaning effectively” (NC Information Skills Curriculum Philosophy, 1999).

It is critical for students to have the ability to process and create understanding from all types of media in our exploding world of information. Real research and questioning can become lifelong tools to encourage independent thinking and to guide classroom inquiry at any time students are engaged in reading, viewing, or listening activities.

ENSURING EQUITABLE ACCESS TO INFORMATION MEANS:

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“Flexible, equitable, and far-reaching access . . . Is essential to the development of a vibrant, active learning community” (AASL and AECT, 1998).

Effective collaboration, clear instructional goals, the use of data, and continual feedback impact achievement in a powerful way.  The school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator collaborate with teachers in the assessment of student performance in many ways. Grade-level or subject area teams of teachers, along with the school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator, meet routinely to identify instructional strengths and weaknesses, analyze scores and other assessments, and develop strategies to address the instructional needs of students. This process is ongoing and involves continual examination of teaching practices and learning opportunities as a means of becoming more effective. In this context, assessment can be seen as part of the teaching and learning process as opposed to being a separate task.

Collaboration to assess student learning should be evident in all areas of the school environment, with the school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator working closely with teachers, administrators, students, and support personnel. All must be involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of an instructional program integrated with media and technology.

School library media coordinators and technology facilitators are knowledgeable about research and best practices and skilled in applying the findings to a variety of situations. Media and technology programs can have a tremendous impact on student achievement if they follow the direction provided by research and best practice, and then apply it to ongoing assessment. In short, effective media and technology programs routinely consult the research, see where it fits and how it applies, and then study the effects so that necessary adjustments to the teaching and learning process can be made.

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REFLECTION

Reflection is an important part of the educational process. Taking time to revisit daily practice by asking the following questions allows educators the opportunity to collaboratively and systematically assess teaching and learning practices, extract the best strategies, and make refinements that ultimately lead to higher student achievement.

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Quality professional development provides educators with the knowledge and skills to build powerful collaborative teams and provide the interpersonal support and synergy necessary for creatively addressing complex teaching and learning issues.

According to the North Carolina Office of Professional Development, professional development leaders “must:

  1. Provide time for collaboration in the school day and school year.
  2. Identify critical questions to guide the work of collaborative teams.
  3. Ask teams to create products as a result of their collaboration.
  4. Insist that teams identify and pursue specific student achievement goals.
  5. Provide teams with relevant data and information”
(“Designing Powerful Professional Development,” 2005).

The school library media coordinator and technology facilitator play an important role in the planning and implementation of professional development that helps define and achieve standards of excellence to ensure the success of every student. Teachers need the skills, knowledge, time, and autonomy to decide what professional development they need. The media coordinator and technology facilitator must work with building- and system-level administrators to ensure that the professional development provided in their school is based on needs assessment and data collection.

Media and technology personnel need to have an understanding of the school culture to build a learning community within the school that encourages continuous learning. Teachers should be rewarded for and encouraged to take risks, and be given the opportunity to learn and share together. Effective professional development experiences provide opportunities for teachers to build their knowledge and skills and broaden their teaching approaches, so they can create better learning opportunities for students. Media coordinators and technology facilitators acquire a school-wide perspective of professional development needs as they plan collaboratively with teachers. This school-wide perspective enables them to make decisions about appropriate data-driven professional development and to acquire the resources to design it.

Media and technology professionals must encourage a data-driven process to determine what professional development to provide, implement their process, and evaluate its impact on student learning. This will ensure that teachers receive the quality professional development they need so that all students can be successful.

In order to be effective, professional development must be assessed on a regular basis so that improvements can be made. This will help to guarantee a positive impact on teacher effectiveness and student learning. Evaluation to determine the overall effectiveness of a professional development program must be built in during the initial planning stage. The collection of formative and summative assessment data should occur across the professional development program. Formative assessments are conducted throughout the professional development program, and summative evaluation occurs at the conclusion of the program. Summative evaluation “should be collected at three levels: educator practices, organizational changes, and student outcomes” (“Designing Powerful Professional Development,” 2005).

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS

The school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator are aware of the need for appropriate professional development. They expect to continue learning throughout their teaching career and to be able to improve their practice significantly through a variety of learning opportunities. Professional development must be provided for media and technology personnel through local, state, and national opportunities. Professional development not only benefits the individual in shaping his or her profession, but also helps to ensure that best practice is everyday practice and that the most effective approaches are used.

ASSESSING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS MEANS:

Effective professional development is based on theory, research, and proven practice.  No Child Left Behind calls for professional development that:

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PLANNING HIGH QUALITY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MEANS:

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ENSURING HIGH QUALITY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MEANS:

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THE NATIONAL STAFF DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL STANDARDS

The National Staff Development Council (NSDC) issued standards for high quality professional development which state that professional development:

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NORTH CAROLINA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

Based on research by the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), the North Carolina Professional Development Standards provide the vision and framework for making professional development more responsive to the learning needs of both educators and students. The standards propose that professional development “should contribute to measurable improvement in student achievement” and that higher student achievement is the goal. “Professional development that does not produce changes in practice, [the standards emphasize] does not support improved student performance; [furthermore] professional development must be powerful enough to result in changes in schools and practice that lead to higher student achievement and higher teacher performance” (“Designing Powerful Professional Development,” 2005).

“No Child Left Behind (NCLB) solidifies the presence of high-stakes accountability systems in our schools, and as we raise the expectations for students and teachers, we must provide high quality professional development [as it is essential for excellence in teaching and learning]” (Professional Development, 2005).  The National Staff Development Council (NSDC) believes that one of the primary purposes of professional development is school improvement as measured by the success of every student. Success is evident through overall high student achievement (NSDC Standards for Staff Development, 2001).

The North Carolina Professional Development Standards recommend that professional development efforts must closely align with school improvement plans and thrive within existing school operations and structures. This systems-thinking approach to planning can be guided by the following questions:

The North Carolina Professional Standards recommend that a well-designed professional development program will include “a clear and specific presentation of the theory supporting the new practices: modeling, demonstration, coaching, feedback, and practice. Questions to guide evaluation of program quality include:

The North Carolina Professional Development Standards are organized according to the context/process/content schema:

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NORTH CAROLINA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

CONTEXT STANDARDS

LEARNING COMMUNITIES:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students organizes adults into learning communities whose goals are aligned with those of the school and district.

LEADERSHIP:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students requires skillful school and district leaders who guide continuous instructional improvement.

RESOURCES:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students requires resources to support adult learning and collaboration.

PROCESS STANDARDS

DATA-DRIVEN:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students uses disaggregated student data to determine adult learning priorities, monitor progress, and help sustain continuous improvement.

EVALUATION:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students uses multiple sources of information to guide improvement and demonstrate its impact.

RESEARCH-BASED:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students prepares educators to apply research to decision making.

DESIGN:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students uses learning strategies appropriate to the intended goal.

LEARNING:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students applies knowledge about human learning and change.

COLLABORATION:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students provides educators with the knowledge and skills to collaborate.

CONTENT STANDARDS

EQUITY:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students prepares educators to understand and appreciate all students, create safe, orderly and supportive learning environments, and hold high expectations for their academic achievement.

QUALITY TEACHING:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students deepens educators’ content knowledge, provides them with research-based instructional strategies to assist students in meeting rigorous academic standards, and prepares them to use various types of classroom assessments appropriately.

FAMILY INVOLVEMENT:

Professional development that improves the learning of all students provides educators with knowledge and skills to involve families and other stakeholders appropriately.

(“Designing Powerful Professional Development,” 2005)

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RESOURCES TO SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

Data and Research

<http://www.nsdc.org/library/research.cfm#tools>

Designing Powerful Professional Development for Teachers, Administrators, and School Leaders

<http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/profdev/guidelines/ncguidelines/guidetodesigning.pdf>

How Teachers Learn Best

<http://www.fno.org/mar01/howlearn.html>

Is This School a Learning Organization – 10 Ways to Tell

<http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/jsd/brandt241.cfm>

Learning by the Numbers

<http://www.edutopia.org/php/article.php?id=Art_924>

Professional Development Articles

<http://www.fsc.follett.com/resources/professional_development.cfm>

Professional Development IQ Test

<http://www.nsdc.org/library/basics/profdevIQ.cfm>

The Toolbelt: A Collection of Data-Driven Decision-Making Tools for Educators

<http://www.ncrel.org/toolbelt/index.html>

What Works in the Elementary School: Results-Based Staff Development

<http://www.nsdc.org/connect/projects/resultsbased.cfm>

What Works in the Middle: Results-Based Staff Development

<http://www.nsdc.org/midbook/index.cfm>

What Works in the High School: Results-Based Staff Development

<http://www.nsdc.org/connect/projects/hswhatworks.pdf>

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COLLABORATION THROUGH FLEXIBLE ACCESS

“What sets collaboration apart . . . Is that the outcome is greater than the sum of the parts.” (Bush, 2003)

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Flexible access enables students and teachers to use and circulate the resources of the media center and computer lab throughout the day and to have the services of the school library media coordinator and technology facilitator at point, time, and location of need.

Collaboration is a process facilitated by flexible access. Collaboration within the IMPACT Model means that the school library media coordinator and technology facilitator work closely with teachers to plan, implement, and evaluate classroom lessons, units, and the overall instructional program.

Preparing students to succeed in the 21st century is an enormous challenge that requires the combined efforts of all educators. Teachers need ongoing support for their instructional programs to meet the challenges of addressing individual student needs and learning styles. A key component of the research-based IMPACT Model is that the media and technology program plays a vital role in today’s schools by providing flexible access to relevant resources and flexible instruction based on collaborative planning. Flexible access and collaboration impact student achievement by using student data to design focused instructional strategies, allowing for differentiation of student learning, addressing multiple learning styles, allowing for timely individual intervention, and reducing class size.

“A substantial body of research since 1990 shows a positive relationship between school libraries and student achievement. The research studies show that school libraries can have a positive impact on student achievement— whether such achievement is measured in terms of reading scores, literacy, or learning more generally. A school library program that is adequately staffed, resourced, and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socio-economic or educational levels of the community”(School Libraries Work!, 2004).

No Child Left Behind emphasizes the importance of implementing educational programs and practices proven effective in improving student learning and achievement through rigorous scientific research. A substantive body of scientifically-based research has documented the positive impact of flexible access and collaboration on student achievement (<http://www.lrs.org/impact.asp>).

Collaboration is sharing new ideas, strategies and resources to create dynamic and well-planned lessons that foster active learning. The involvement of media and technology professionals in all aspects of curriculum implementation is fundamental to the collaborative process. This is facilitated by flexible access to both the media center and the computer lab and to all their resources, as well as to the services of these professionals during common planning periods.

“High-achieving schools tend to have more technological resources. Baule (1997) found that schools with exemplary technology were also more likely to have high-quality school library media programs. Yetter (1994) observed that the library media centers in successful resource-based learning schools had modern, spacious facilities designed for flexible use and access to technology. Gehlken (1994) noted that all three blue ribbon schools studied had library media centers which were committed to increasing student access to technology, and which had the flexibility and electronic capabilities to accommodate the changing needs created by new technologies” (Michigan State Government, 2003).

The collaborative process begins with an integration phase, develops into cooperatively planned activities, and culminates with full collaborative units.

Initially, media and technology professionals meet occasionally with classroom teachers to plan cooperatively.  There may be a combination of fixed classes, as well as times for open access. At the next stage, media and technology professionals meet with teachers on a regular basis to plan learning experiences, and there are no fixed times for instruction in the media center or computer lab. At the highest level of implementation, formal units of instruction are collaboratively planned, implemented, and evaluated. Teachers and media and technology professionals meet routinely to analyze and use data and to determine instructional strategies and resources to improve teaching and learning. At this stage, media and technology professionals may also co-teach with classroom teachers.

Once a collaborative environment is established, the school library media coordinator and technology facilitator will continue to work at the various levels to support classroom instruction as needs arise. With in-depth collaborative planning, teachers and media and technology professionals meet routinely to analyze and use data and to determine instructional strategies and resources to improve teaching and learning.

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“The national library power project, involving 700 schools in 19 school districts, required implementation of cooperative planning and teaching and flexible scheduling of the library. Results of the study indicated:

(Research on Flexible Access to School Libraries, 2002).

FLEXIBLE ACCESS LOOKS LIKE THIS:

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COLLABORATING TO ACHIEVE INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS LOOKS LIKE THIS:

SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA COORDINATORS AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITATORS:

(See <http://video.dpi.state.nc.us/eforums/impact_videos/> )

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“Collaboration affords general educators, special educators, and support personnel opportunity to establish rewarding and long lasting social and professional relationships. Accordingly, more school personnel recognize that collaboration fosters a sense of shared responsibility for educating heterogeneous groups of students (friend & cook, 2000). Finally, the growing emphasis on collaboration stems from the very nature of schools themselves-settings in which a range of responsibilities and demands can be addressed more appropriately by collaborative or team approaches than by individual, isolated efforts”(Gable, 2004).

LEADERSHIP AND THE CHANGE PROCESS

In order to implement flexible access and collaboration, school library media and technology professionals need to understand their leadership roles as change agents and the change process, itself. Implementing flexible access and collaboration changes school climate, so ultimately, media and technology professionals are catalysts for school reform. When media and technology professionals assume leadership roles, they have the opportunity to facilitate discussions about how flexible access and collaboration can support teaching and learning and positively impact student achievement. At the same time, they build the capacity to implement change. Together, they should co-chair the Media and Technology Advisory Committee (MTAC) and should have a voice within the School Leadership Team (SIT).  Membership on the SIT can open the door for media and technology professionals to be involved in the master scheduling of the school, including decisions regarding planning time.

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WHAT MAKES FLEXIBLE ACCESS AND COLLABORATION WORK?

Vision, informed leadership, flexible attitudes, and professional development, along with staffing, budget, resources, and common planning time are the pre-existing conditions essential to making flexible access and collaboration work in schools.

“Flexible access to media and technology resources and personnel can make an immediate significant change in the use and integration of media/technology resources with adequate staffing, resources, professional development and administrative support. This change can happen quickly if these critical elements are in place. The single most critical factor affecting the ease of transition to flexible scheduling appears to be the preparation, experience and attitude of the media coordinator and technology facilitator” (Stallings, 2005).

MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY STAFFING FOR FLEXIBLE ACCESS/COLLABORATION

POSITION

CERTIFIED

CLASSIFIED

ROLE IN FLEXIBLE ACCESS

SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA COORDINATOR

076

 

Maximize access to all resources through effective management

Provide resources to support the curriculum in a timely manner

Provide instructional support at the point of need (small or large group)

Co-Lead the Media and Technology Advisory Committee (MTAC)

Participate in the School Improvement Team (SIT)

TECHNOLOGY FACILITATOR

079 OR 077

 

Maximize access to all technology resources through effective management

Provide technology resources to support the curriculum in a timely manner

Provide instructional technology support at the point of need (small or large group)

Co-Lead the Media and Technology Advisory Committee (MTAC)

Participate in the School Improvement Team (SIT)

Serve as liaison between the school and the system-level technology director

FULL-TIME MEDIA ASSISTANT*

 

Yes

Manage circulation of resources to provide access throughout the day.

Provide clerical assistance for resources management

Provide support for reference and research activities

FULL-TIME TECHNOLOGY ASSISTANT*

 

Yes

Manage technology resources to provide access throughout the day

Troubleshoot minor technology problems to ensure access to resources throughout the day

TECHNICIAN

 

Yes

Maintain technology infrastructure, hardware, software

Serve as liaison between the school and system-level technical support staff

* Appropriate media and technology assistant staffing supports collaboration by maintaining access to the media and technology resources and facilities while collaborative partners plan and conduct instructional activities.

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ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COLLABORATIVE PARTNERS

The integration of school library media and technology programs with instruction is the joint responsibility of teachers, administrators, and media and technology professionals working together to accomplish objectives that support desired outcomes for students.

COLLABORATING PARTNER

RESPONSIBILITY

CLASSROOM TEACHER

Curriculum content

Learning Styles

Student interest

Initiate collaboration

Facilitate the learning process

Share student data (IEP, AIG, and Testing data)

Chair collaborative meetings

SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA COORDINATOR

Integrate information skills into the core curriculum

Understand the total curriculum

Share resources in a variety of formats

Share instructional strategies

Support small group instruction

Support differentiated learning

Advocate for a collaborative environment

TECHNOLOGY FACILITATOR

Integrate technology skills into the core curriculum

Understand the total curriculum

Share resources in a variety of formats

Share instructional strategies

Support small group instruction

Support differentiated learning

Advocate for a collaborative environment

RESOURCE TEACHERS

Integrate skills from their area of specialization with core curriculum content

Support the necessary use of assistive technology resources

Share student assessment data (IEP, AIG)

ADMINISTRATORS

Allocate time for the collaborative process to occur

Provide financial support for acquisition of information resources

Support flexible access of media and technology programs and resources

Establish expectations for a collaborative environment

Evaluate effectiveness of media and technology programs

Support the leadership role of the school library media coordinator and the technology facilitator

MTAC (Media and Technology Advisory Committee)

Advocate for a collaborative environment

Participate in the selection of resources

Prioritize budget needs

Facilitate long term plans for the media and technology programs

Evaluate effectiveness of media and technology programs

SIT (School Improvement Team)

Advocate for a collaborative environment

Distribute media and technology resources appropriately

Facilitate long term plans for media and technology programs

Determine alignment of MTAC recommendations with the school improvement plan

Successful implementation of flexible access and collaboration requires long-term planning. Development of the IMPACT Model, including flexible access to media and technology resources and instructional support, will take 3-5 years. It is important that the MTAC and the SIT have a shared vision for the learning process that incorporates the key components of the IMPACT Model:

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IMPLEMENTING EFFECTIVE COLLABORATIVE PLANNING SESSIONS

Extended time is required for teachers to meet with the technology facilitator and school library media coordinator to analyze student test data, identify instructional objectives and appropriate strategies for individual needs, and determine outcomes and evaluation methods. Each grade-level or department team should have a 2-3 hour planning block every four to six weeks when all instructional partners can meet and plan together.

TWO IDEAS FOR PROVIDING EXTENDED PLANNING TIME:

HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE COLLABORATIVE PLANNING SESSIONS?

AS YOU PLAN TOGETHER:

THE CONVERSATION

RULES OF THE ROAD

TOOLS TO GUIDE THE PROCESS

Strategies for long-term implementation of flexible access and collaboration should include:

What interim strategies can be used in the first year of implementing flexible access?

Individual schools are encouraged to assess the needs of their students and staff and examine their school culture to determine what is needed to promote the IMPACT Model and flexible access such as:

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ADVOCACY:  COMMUNICATING WHAT FLEXIBLE ACCESS AND COLLABORATION MEAN

The benefits of flexible access and collaborative planning to support instruction must be communicated to the education community.  While many view flexible access as the loss of planning time for teachers, the benefits of flexible access to resources and media and technology personnel in schools far outweigh any perceived loss of planning time. When addressing administrators, teachers, parents and other members of the learning community, emphasize these benefits:

FLEXIBLE ACCESS ENABLES

When advocating for flexible access, help administrators and teachers understand the high price of a fixed schedule both academically and financially.  Base all arguments on the research that supports appropriate use of the school library media center and the computer lab to impact student achievement (<http://www.lrs.org/impact.asp>). Volunteer to help the principal brainstorm alternatives for coverage of teacher release time so that the media center and computer lab are outside the planning block. top

“IN A STUDENT-CENTERED LIBRARY MEDIA PROGRAM, LEARNING NEEDS TO TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER CLASS SCHEDULES, SCHOOL HOURS, STUDENT CATEGORIZATIONS, AND OTHER LOGISTICAL CONCERNS.” (AASL and AECT, 1998).

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READING AND LITERACY

Reading -literacy-information literacy -instructional technology skills media literacy visual literacy contemporary literacy -new literacies thinking skills 21st century skills

WHAT ARE WE REALLY ALL ABOUT?

Current emphases on student reading and writing, accompanied by testing mandates and both state and national legislation, have certainly placed literacy achievement at the forefront of what educators do. The vast array of definitions and terminology used by education professionals today to define their missions or areas of expertise is giving way to the recognition that all educators share both common ground and a common goal for students: to ensure that all develop the skills necessary to be effective lifelong users of ideas and information. Effective language and communication for the 21st century involves all of the various “literacies” noted above, including enabling skills such as reading, writing, and computing, as well as creative thinking and problem solving, interpersonal skills, negotiation, and teamwork. Literacy is literacy is literacy. 

Literacy is the business of the entire school and requires significant collaboration in order to create a climate and culture that clearly values literacy skills and stresses their importance. Schools must recognize that comprehension skills are not just the business of the reading teacher, that reading promotion is not just the job of the school library media program, and that Internet research strategies are not just the domain of the instructional technology facilitator.

School library media coordinators and technology facilitators can provide leadership in reinforcing the “big picture” focus, simultaneously demonstrating how the various parts (such as independent reading, project-based authentic research, online strategies, reading motivation, etc.) fit together with classroom instruction into a greater whole through successful collaboration. Effective collaboration, however, requires effective communication, and too often, semantics interferes in our efforts to work together.

“OUR CONCEPT OF LITERACY HAS BEEN BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT PRINT IS THE PRIMARY CARRIER OF INFORMATION IN OUR CULTURE AND THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS ARE THOSE THAT ENABLE STUDENTS TO UNDERSTAND AND EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN TEXT.  THE NEW DEFINITION OF LITERACY IS BASED ON A DIFFERENT ASSUMPTION: THAT DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS RAPIDLY BECOMING A PRIMARY CARRIER OF INFORMATION AND THAT THE BROADER MEANS OF EXPRESSION THAT THIS TECHNOLOGY MAKES POSSIBLE ARE NOW CRITICAL FOR EDUCATION.  TEXT LITERACY IS NECESSARY AND VALUABLE, BUT NO LONGER SUFFICIENT” (Meyer and Rose, 2000).

Effective instructional technology and school library media programs recognize that “digital-age literacy” involves much more than basic skills in reading and writing.  Both the school library media and instructional technology communities frequently express frustration that “their message” is not getting across with classroom teachers, administrators, or policy makers at the school board, state or federal levels. The news media fails to pay adequate attention to school libraries or instructional technology programs by focusing instead upon test scores and “why Johnny can’t read.” Media and technology professionals must recognize that public attention, and that of classroom teachers, administrators, and policy makers at the local, state, and national levels, is focused more upon such traditional concepts of reading and writing than upon “information literacy” or “instructional technology skills.” Likewise, others seem to ignore or focus less on research about the impact and effectiveness of strong instructional technology and school library media programs. School library media coordinators and technology facilitators must effectively learn the terminology, best practices, and research of the reading and literacy community, and then translate media and technology terminology, best practices, and research into “their” language and experience.

The following examples highlight this “translated” collaboration, in which school library media coordinators and/or technology facilitators use current research, models, and best practices in literacy instruction to develop strong media and technology programs.

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COLLABORATION: MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY, READING, AND LITERACY

MODELED READING AND SHARED READING

(as described in models for balanced literacy instruction – Routman, 1991; Fountas and Pinnell, 1996; Cooper, 2003)

READING-WRITING WORKSHOP MODEL

PRINT-RICH INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENTS AND BROAD CLASSROOM LIBRARY COLLECTIONS

RENEWED EMPHASIS ON COMPREHENSION OF NONFICTION AND EXPOSITORY TEXT

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ENABLING STUDENTS TO LEARN HOW TO SELECT “JUST RIGHT” BOOKS BY MAXIMIZING CHOICE FOR INDEPENDENT READING ACROSS MULTIPLE LEVELS

(Routman, 1991; Fountas and Pinnell, 1996; Krashen, 2004):

Literacy instruction is not just for elementary students: middle and high school students continue to need support and strategies for understanding multiple kinds of text
(Atwell, 1998; Allen, 2000; Gallagher, 2003)

Engaging adolescent and young adult readers – especially many boys and also reluctant readers – requires continued efforts, additional strategies, and an understanding of how they see literacy “fitting into their world.”
(Atwell ,1998; Knowles and Smith, 2001; Booth, 2002; Smith & Wilhelm, 2002; Beers, 2003; Lesesne, 2003; Sullivan, 2003; Reynolds, 2004)

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Effective methods and continual support for sustained silent reading (ssr) can be a powerful strategy for independent reading (pilgreen, 2000 and marshall, 2002) and establishing background knowledge (marzano, 2004): 

“We need to continually remind ourselves that knowing how to read does not make a person a reader” (Peterson, 2001).

COOPERATIVE OR COLLABORATIVE READING

(as described in models for balanced literacy instruction and reading-writing workshop):

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READING PROGRAMS OR READING?

“Often it is the very structures we invent that limit the possibilities for our young readers – that draw boundaries around their learning experiences – that shrink reading down to an activity they do in schools, rather than a meaningful, thoughtful daily part of their lives. Our efforts . . . Too often tighten the parameters, limit growth, and give…an artificial perspective of what reading is all about.” (Szymusiak and Sibberson, 2001).

No one questions the incredible time and energy that teachers, school library media coordinators, technology facilitators, and other school personnel spend in their efforts to ensure that students become effective users and communicators of ideas and information. Although most students have participated in traditional “reading promotion” activities such as book fairs, read-ins, technology-based reading incentive programs, Read Across America, book character dress-ups, etc., numerous studies still indicate that many young people do not make the critical connection between literacy and future success.

A growing body of anecdotal evidence indicates that students, perhaps as soon as the middle of the elementary grades, develop an understanding of a difference between “school reading” and “real reading.” The kind of reading promoted by schools is monotonous and routine; it may be useful in the future, but is of little use or interest now.  Most importantly, students feel that they have little choice or sense of control when it comes to “schoolish” reading, and that it has little connection with real life (Smith and Wilhelm, 2002).

Schools that wish to create a supportive literacy environment for students must provide:

Creating a school climate and culture that truly shows students the value and importance of literacy may be as much, if not more than, a matter of developing relationships, informal protocols, and attitudes rather than providing motivational activities. Both literacy researchers and practitioners (Atwell, 1998; Szymusiak and Sibberson, 2001; Smith and Wilhelm, 2002; Beers, 2003; Lesesne, 2003), and students themselves, stress that the most effective ways to match the reader with the book or material include:

Media and technology professionals must not only use data-driven and scientifically-based instruction. They must get to know their students so well that they can truly provide the bridge between literacy skills and a love and appreciation for reading in all of its forms.

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