Librarians as Technology Coaches

Professional Development is needed for teachers!

Today, a post in the Chronicle of Higher Education caught my eye. It discussed the results of the latest Campus Computing Project’s annual survey of senior technology administrators. The number one concern of IT administrators in the survey was helping faculty members integrate technology into teaching. I agree with this 100%.

However, for many IT administrators, the meaning of technology integration is using technology to deliver instruction.

That’s not how I view technology integration. My view comes from instructional design and technology, which sees it as using technology to enhance learning. That requires far more than technological skills. It requires technological, pedagogical and content knowledge.

Librarians are uniquely situated to serve as technology coaches and provide this type of training. And a couple of comments on the post show me that there are other librarians out there who recognize this.

So what does it take for a librarian to become a technology coach? Let’s turn to the ISTE’s Standards for Digital Age Coaching. Here they are:

1. Visionary Leadership

Technology Coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.

  • Librarians can serve on technology planning committees, evaluate new learning technologies, and advocate for technology integration strategies that are aligned with 21st century literacies.

2. Teaching, Learning, & Assessments

Technology Coaches assist teachers in using technology effectively for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences for all students.

  • To be technology coaches, librarians should have foundational knowledge in educational psychology, instructional design and emerging theories of learning (and their implications for educational technology).

3. Digital Age Learning Environments

Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

  • To be technology coaches, librarians can use instructional design skills to assist faculty in developing single lessons or comprehensive courses that utilize technology for enhancing learning. It is also essential for librarians to understand how technology integration itself supports multiple literacies in the classroom.

4. Professional Development & Program Evaluation

Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.

  • To be technology coaches, librarians can develop and deliver workshops that will support faculty’s instructional needs.

5. Digital Citizenship

Technology coaches model and promote digital citizenship.

  • Librarians already model and promote digital citizenship.

6. Content Knowledge and Professional Growth

Technology coaches demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise.

  • To be technology coaches, librarians should engage in continuing education and become active in professional organizations such as ISTE, AECT and/or EDUCAUSE.

The role of technology coach aligns well with the ACRL’s new vision of information literacy. It also aligns well with the AASL’s vision of teacher librarians as technology integration leaders. Technology coaching is blended librarianship at its best. It’s where the field is evolving.

Technology coaching is a major undertaking though. And for librarians to take on that role, it should be a primary specialization (NOT an added duty). Also, in institutions where instructional design and technology specialists already exist, librarians don’t need to be the technology coaches. In those cases, a collaborative relationship will be more efficient.


5 thoughts on “Librarians as Technology Coaches

  1. Brilliant. I admit I am reluctant to approach an actual librarian and often don’t know the right questions to ask the librarians for my online courses. So I search the digital shelves ad nauseam until I start stumbling into the right area. I would also appreciate an active, social-network like connectivity with librarians where they can reveal some of those valuable tips that might save me countless hours.

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