CHICAGO – School librarians Glovis South and Stephanie Rosalia are the recipients of the 2011 American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) Information Technology Pathfinder Award. Sponsored by Follett Software Company, the $1,500 award recognizes and honors two school librarians – one elementary and one secondary – demonstrating vision and leadership through the use of information technology to build lifelong learners.
Glovis South with Heard County Middle School in Franklin, Ga. created the "Technology Literacy Café" as a place for students, teachers and parents to learn about new technology, innovative gadgets, informational blogs, wikis, podcasts, pencasts and avatar-based programs. Visitors can sip from the café's coffee treats while using any of the many tech tools, print books, or video media available in the space.
As a National Board Certified teacher, South works closely with classroom teachers to develop lessons using current technology standards. She uses Google Docs to integrate the school library program into the curriculum school-wide. Teachers can log into their Google mail account to schedule checkouts, lessons or, if the café is available, for a small student group or individual student. How-to guides help make processes and technology as simple as possible for teachers and students to understand.
In addition, South makes sure that parents are aware of the technology available to students by inviting them to the café to play. The school library program's website is a rich source available to teachers, students and parents with links to proper research and citation methods. In her application, South stated, "I would like to continue learning – because technology changes every day – by possibly getting my doctorate in media technology."
Stephanie Rosalia, school librarian at Eileen E. Zaglin School in Brooklyn, N.Y., states in her application, "I brought an actual and virtual library to my school where there once was none." Rosalia's vision was to go beyond the common perception of an elementary school library and create a program grounded in technology. Rosalia introduced herself from the beginning as the "information literacy teacher" and went to work building collaborative partnerships with classroom teachers.
By using multiple audio, visual and digital technologies, Rosalia's school library program has helped place the school in the top 25 percent of all New York City K-8 schools. With a student population where 96 percent do not speak English at home, Rosalia has made many of her reading materials and tutorials Web-based to offer more help to students whose primary language is not English. Databases offer translations, and the option to have the material read aloud for easier comprehension.
Also, the usage of SMARTboards school-wide has allowed the skills taught in the school library to extend to the classroom. Rosalia states, "My students don't rely on Google or Wikipedia for their information needs. They are becoming adept users of databases, subject directories, eBooks and other digital resources in addition to print text." Podcasts, audio books and streaming video augment the print collection. By creating multimedia outposts, Rosalia has made sure her students are college-ready and prepared to enter a 21st century workforce.
South, Rosalia and other AASL award winners will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 27, and Lauren Myracle, best-selling young adult author and national spokesperson for intellectual freedom, will headline. Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at http://www.ala.org/aasl/annual.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.