I anticipated a great deal of change in my daily responsibilities when I added the role of technology integration specialist to my job as school librarian. What I quickly realized, however, was that much of what I do as a librarian is a natural segue to the work in educational technology. In an article on Tech & Learning, one school librarian points out the long standing history between librarians and technology: “Librarians have worked with and through educational technology for years—they have just moved from projectors and microfilm to Kindles and online databases” (Mersand, 2015).
Mersand goes on to point out that “librarians are vital to ensuring that faculty can easily apply education technology in the classroom […] They are the link to pushing educational technologies to teachers who don’t have the time or training to use new technologies” (Mersand, 2015). This certainly has been the case in my job as librarian and technology integration specialist. This job has allowed me to learn, rather quickly, about troubleshooting “basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2011).
Our school received, through a generous grant, 40 iPads to be shared among our lower school classrooms. It was quickly decided between myself, my co-technology integration specialist partner and our technology coordinator (our “IT Guy”), that the iPads would “live” in the library and be checked out through the library catalog. From there, my responsibilities include:
- Add each device to the library catalog;
- learn how to use Apple Configurator 2 (a content management tool that allows you to deploy and supervise several devices);
- link each device to the school Apple account;
- add and organize apps;
- review apps suggested by classroom teachers (see the following section for more details);
- add apps in bulk after being approved through the Volume Purchasing Program;
- keep apps and devices updated;
- check devices in and out to be used in classrooms;
- and troubleshoot individual issues (common issues included login problems, connectivity challenges, and transferring content).
When my school first rolled out our iPad program, we allowed teachers to download apps at their leisure. My co-technology integration specialist and I have been working with Rabbi Michael Cohen in weekly Google Hangout “tutoring” sessions. Michael works as a Director of Educational Technology and is the creator of the “Invisible iPad” approach. Michael suggested that we create a “Golden Folder” of carefully selected apps that are consistent across all devices. He also encouraged us to select apps that are multimedia-focused and allow students to create content rather than consume it.
After learning this, my co-technology integration specialist and I rely on teacher reviews from Common Sense Media and the American Association of School Librarians. We ask teachers to communicate with us when they’ve found an app they would like to use, we review the app through these two review sites and then we have the teacher pilot the app on their iPad. If the teacher is pleased with the app on their iPad, we then pilot it in their classroom. If the pilot is successful, we add the app to all iPads and provide the teacher time to share the app with other teachers. This allows the teacher to share their excitement with other teachers. While we are still fine-tuning the process, we have found it is a great way to “select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2011).
International Society for Technology in Education. (2011). ISTE standards: coaches. Retrieved June 29, 2011, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-coaches
Mersand, S. (2015, March 26). Librarians lead the way in edtech [Blog post]. Retrieved from