PREPARING TEACHER-LIBRARIANS FOR TECHNOLOGY RICH LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

B. Schultz-Jones

University of North Texas (UNITED STATES)
Learning environments incorporate the presiding ethos and characteristics of the environment, including how individuals interact with each other, how the educational setting is organized to facilitate learning, and overarching factors such as school policies and governance structures. The elements of a learning environment are complex and interconnected. At the core, learning environments have a definite purpose, defined by the direction of education and theories of learning. The shift from content-driven and teacher-centered education to a constructivist model of learning that is centered on students and their experiences, needs and abilities focuses teacher-librarians on providing a student-centered learning environment.

Technology has become an essential element of the school library learning environment and integrating technology into inquiry-based learning continues to influence current and future school library configurations. Teacher-librarians develop problem-based learning environments by designing and delivering technology-rich projects that meet student learning needs and teacher learning goals. These efforts are indicative of the impact of technologies since they offer important opportunities for teacher-librarians to create a dynamic learning environment within school libraries and extend the reach of school libraries in the digital arena.

While the physical space is deemed an important component of the library environment, it is the use of the spaces as arenas of pedagogy and personal interaction, between school librarians, teachers and students that may be most influential in affecting student outcomes. The interrelatedness of form and function is evident. This session will present pre-service teacher-librarians with the challenges and strategies to create personal, physical and virtual learning environments that integrate technology into meaningful learning experiences.