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Tech in the Library Leads to Digital Citizenship

February 19, 2016

What comes to mind when you think of a school library? It might be musty rows of books, or card catalogs, or being shushed for talking too loud. At Edwards Elementary School in Ames, Iowa, though, the library means 3D printers, computer coding, and even robots. The tech specialists in Ames know that innovation in the classroom (while important) is just one piece of the puzzle –the library has a big part to play in preparing students for the future.

For twenty years, tech teacher and librarian Teresa Green and media technologist Beverly Crumpton have worked to create a tech-friendly environment at Ames’s Edwards Elementary School. They’re hard at work keeping up with the fast pace of digital development, says Green, “showing [students] different tools, how to use it and the appropriate way to use it.” From showing kindergarteners the basics of computer navigation to practicing the ins and outs of Google apps, they’re the computer gurus for every class in the school, and they work with teachers to integrate tech into the classroom as well.

Right from the get-go, Green and Crumpton make sure their students know what it means to be good digital citizens. According to Green, “[The students] are very in tune with it, that you be respectful online and that there are ramifications if you are not.” Safety and responsibility are key as students learn to navigate the wide world of online learning.

Of course as librarians, Green and Crumpton focus on helping students find information and use it well. But they’re also taking the library into the 21st century, which means plenty of new challenges and opportunities. As Green puts it, “We are becoming a place for kids to collaborate and actually become self-directed in their learning.” Thanks to the leadership of its librarians, Edwards Elementary is showing how powerful technology can be for the whole school community – even beyond the classroom.