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Today's emphasis on academic achievement means that schools need to examine how they are meeting the educational needs of ALL students.  In my opinion, engaging students is key.  In my experience as a computer teacher, on-line technology has the potential to provide active learning activities in a manner that is simply too powerful to ignore.

Understanding how to find information in a digital age is an important skill for life-long learners.  The potential to use computer technology to extend student learning beyond the classroom offers much potential and many challenges.

Providing equitable access to new learning tools is an emerging challenge.  To benefit from new technologies, students need to have access to hardware, a link to the school, sufficient reading and writing skills, and an ability to critically think and apply problem solving strategies to the learning tools provided. 

I believe that to accomplish this, schools needs a library media specialists with the skills and commitment to address these needs.  To keep up in a digital age, school librarians will need to:

bulletConduct large group and small group sessions
bulletEngage in just-in-time teaching when students and teachers use resources
bulletPrepare simple guides and hot-sheets and make them available
bulletPrepare more extensive printed tutorials and directions for self-help.

Learning resources are no better than support that is provided to users.  While vendors provide them in the form of help files, FAQ, indexed topics for assistance, online tutorials; the quality of this assistance must be carefully assessed against student needs.  Often supplemental resources are appropriate.  In some cases, vendors support is so inadequate for a given audience or nonexistent, that it must be created in-house.  

While reference services have always included a teaching function, as information sources move online, reference service must follow.  This can be provided in a variety of contexts and formats.  I believe that today's school librarians need to put themselves in the shoes of school users and other stakeholders to anticipate their needs and difficulties, and plan and implement a variety of strategies to enhance the learning experience.  

This starts by being aware of available learning tools and planning strategies to teach how to use available resources to their fullest.  In my library media resource page, I have links to a variety of links that illustrate how the objectives discussed here can be more fully achieved.

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