School library media specialist and Robbinsdale schools program director for media and instruction technology, Jane Prestebak, was quoted in yesterday’s Star Tribune article, “Interactive boards get screened in class”. *
Jane and her district are working to find out whether interactive whiteboards make a difference in student achievement. See the article for the details. Jane clarified by email that she and her staff are involved in several aspects of the grant and implementation process.
District Media Services does much of the background work for finding, researching, preparing and submitting grants. We ensure that those we hire to coordinate and train have the resources they need to be successful. We will ensure that reporting is completed. In most of our grants, I sometimes participate in training, especially teaching about research process. I run around and take pictures and collect stories to use in promotional materials. (The photo they used was one that I took–not a great photo to be sure, but better than none.) I read a lot of stuff about technology so that when an opportunity arises, I have data to support an application.
How cool is that? interactive whiteboards are hot right now and it’s great to see a Minnesota school library media specialist involved in pragmatic research on student impact and quoted in the press. If other school library media specialists are involved in current research, add a comment or send me a note!
The prototype of the annual report database is functioning to demonstrate how this data can be used directly by school library media center staff. The database contains school libraries’ data from several districts including financial data. Please provide me with suggestions regarding the database.
The site is at http://connect.informata.com
To log-in, school library staff use the identical user name and password combination used to log-in for data submission.
The folder labeled Statistical Data Elements gives the quantitative responses.
The MCA reading scores are in the School Characteristics subfolder.
The folder labeled Categorical Data Elements are for the questions such as grade levels and Yes/No there is a LMC.
The software application is intuitive. There are simple techniques to create permanent subgroups of school libraries, create permanent queries and automatically produce the types of data you want to pull. Example: Only secondary schools with an enrollment range between 700-1200. The instructions are available in the “How Do I” link near the top at the log-in page (among other locations.) Read the Select by Peers and Select by Benchmarks sections. I’ll create a series of brief archived on-line instructions demonstrating how to efficiently and effectively access the data using these two strategies. Additionally, Baker & Taylor Product support will assist in emails and toll-free telephone conversations.
Sometime this summer, all school libraries will be uploaded with the 07-08 financial data.
The 08-09 data will be uploaded with the MCA reading reports in the fall without the financial data.
The 08-09 financial data will be uploaded in early 2010.
The functioning database will have two known changes:
1. Charter schools will be distinguishable from conventional public schools
2. The average copyright year will omit the thousands divisor. For now, it reads, for example, 1,992.
If you are a school library media specialist, take a few minutes and complete the 13-question AASL survey on economic impact of school library media programs.
“The current state of the economy has caused a spike in media inquiries on the impact of the recession on children, and AASL would like to offer reporters overall data on U.S. school library media programs, as well as some local community examples. AASL is asking all school library media specialists to take a few minutes to complete a survey on your district’s school library media programs….”
AASL Blog, May 1
The latest article in the NYT series The Future of Reading, In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update, recognizes the value and role of school library media specialists in teaching students how to do research, evaluate information, and present their results. Calling the media specialist “The Digital Librarian,” it describes one media specialist:
Ms. Rosalia, 54, is part of a growing cadre of 21st-century multimedia specialists who help guide students through the digital ocean of information that confronts them on a daily basis. These new librarians believe that literacy includes, but also exceeds, books…
Soon Ms. Rosalia progressed to teaching students how to ask more sophisticated questions during research projects, how to decode Internet addresses and how to assess the authors and biases of a Web site’s content.
Now for the bad news,
Yet as school librarians increasingly teach students crucial skills needed not only in school, but also on the job and in daily life, they are often the first casualties of school budget crunches.
Certainly both of these statements are true in Minnesota–media specialists are teaching these vital skills to students and teachers and are among the first programs/staff that are cut to trim budgets. A recent KSTP-TV Investigative Report highlighted both of these issues.
There is much research, including two Minnesota studies done by Metronet in 2002 and 2004, that shows that a professionally-staffed, well-stocked school library media program impacts student achievement. This research needs to be shared with school administrators at all levels.