Information Technology Pathfinder Award
CategoriesDivision One: For the innovative use of information technology in the school library program in an elementary (K-6) setting.Division Two: For the innovative use of information technology in the school library program in a secondary (7-12) setting.
Established in 1985 (as the Microcomputer in the Media Center Award), the award recognizes and honors a school librarian demonstrating vision and leadership through the use of information technology to build lifelong learners. This award, $1,000 to the school librarian and $500 to the library, is given in two categories--elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12). Applicants must be AASL personal members.
The recipient of the secondary division award, Judy Russell, is the district teacher-librarian for Saydel CSD in Des Moines, Iowa, where technology is fully integrated into the schools. Each of the 500 7-12 grade students are issued a laptop, and the library provides all Internet-based resources for 24/7 access. At the beginning of each year, Russell holds a laptop orientation day, and students are trained on computer ethics and safety. Later, students receive instruction on the use of library online resources, which include the library wiki and blog, e-books, online bookshelves, research databases and online docs.
Russell’s technology instruction extends to other educators in Saydel. Since the beginning of the 1:1 laptop initiative, two professional development technology days are held at the beginning of each year. At these, Russell has presented sessions on the use of social media in the classroom and different platforms for professional learning communities. She keeps up to date on technology trends by attending local conferences and workshops and passes her knowledge on to her peers. Russell also serves on the district technology committee, which sets goals for technology infusion and then works collaboratively with classroom teachers to integrate technology into research units.
Joseph Landor, the recipient of the elementary division award, is the library information specialist at Germanshire Elementary School in Memphis, Tenn. As a first year school librarian, Landor took the initiative to revitalize Germanshire’s school library program. He introduced new information technology, including free online resources such as electronic databases, video libraries linked to learning indicators and the Common Core State Standards and instructional programs. Landor also purchased over 80 e-books and provided students unlimited access to the materials at school and at home. Further, the library program houses several educational software programs and the library’s website now includes numerous links to websites that are grade- and skill-specific for students, staff and the community.