School Librarians: Offer Your Teachers Technology Training & Integration

School Librarians: Offer Your Teachers Technology Training & Integration - Effective use of technology in the classroom is often the result of teachers who haven't learned to use it or integrate it into their lessons. School Librarians are already adept at technology and integration, so we can be the best person to provide ongoing technology training for our teachers. #NoSweatLibraryTechnology can bring creative enrichment to many educational activities, I’m often disappointed at how rarely audio, video, and digital technologies are used to their fullest. Our students need and deserve to learn a variety of ways to express themselves so they may be active participants in our global community. How might a School Librarian make that happen?

As a School Librarian for many years—and a classroom Science Teacher before that—I’ve experienced the barriers which inhibit or restrict the effective use of technology with students.  By understanding historic barriers, we can better identify the current obstacles and decide where we to apply our energies toward overcoming them.


Technology barriers derive from 3 sources: from teachers, from students, and from the technology itself.

The high cost of technology prevented schools from investing in enough hardware to make regular technology use viable for classrooms, but now even 1:1 computers are affordable for most districts. Along with that, the Federal e-rate has made online access widely available.

Technology breakdowns hindered its wide use, but many tech-related problems disappeared as electronic hardware became more robust, and software became standardized & more reliable. And now, a plethora of digital products are accessible online, making multimedia technology available within most classrooms. Today we can find a reliable tech solution for any educational need, many of them free.

School districts with older hardware or insufficient bandwidth for large-scale online use may still have issues; however, hardware, software, and online technology barriers are nowadays incidentally frustrating, rather than obstructive.

Why Educational Technology Isn't Integrated into Classroom Learning - School Librarians have been integrating educational technology into library activities for a long time, but 3 historic barriers continue to prevent its efficient use in the classroom with students. Learn how we can change that! #NoSweatLibraryWe can consider students a barrier to using digital technology. Historically, their excitement quickly turned to frustration with software glitches and boredom with rote keyboarding exercises. The demand for tech-savvy graduates pushed school districts to narrow inequity through grants, bonds, and corporate funding and provide technology hardware & training for students.

Even with more computers, laptops, and smartphones available, students still lack entry-level tech skills. Keyboarding classes, once prolific, are now scarce, so incidental training during assignments is now the norm for students.

The random, irregular use of technology with students in the classroom means they can’t learn nor master even the fundamentals of using multimedia for their assignments, and brings us to the biggest stumbling block to effective use of technology in the classroom.

Teachers have had technology training for two decades, yet there remains a huge disparity in tech proficiency among teachers. Even younger teachers, who we’d expect to have grown up using a wide variety of tech applications, lack the ability to effectively integrate technology into their classroom activities. Clearly we still need to provide all teachers with time to pursue training in technology applications, but more importantly, we need to provide teachers with more focused training, enabling them to develop tech integration lessons for their students.


The typical manner of tech training for teachers is showing a whole group how to use a tool, expecting them to effectively use it with students. This method is cheap and easy, but it isn’t the best way to do it. Teachers add shallow use of a tool to what they’re already doing—as having students type final papers with a word processing tool yet still requiring a handwritten rough draft. Teachers need to see a different way of doing things—even as simple as using that word processing app from the start, tracking changes for comments, proofing, and editing within the tool itself, and doing it all online.

Decades ago, Alan November said “the goal should be to train teachers not to master specific technologies, but instead to design learning environments in which technology helps children learn.” Yes, teachers don’t just need to learn how to use a tool, but to have an integrated model to take back to the classroom.

Bring together a small group of same-grade-level or same-discipline teachers and help them develop a carefully planned multimedia lesson or unit that incorporates tools with curriculum standards and objectives. Even a teacher with rudimentary tech skills can do this for more meaningful student learning, and creative teachers will supplement and enhance the unit for a truly memorable student experience. These tech-integration trained teachers then become facilitators for others in their schools, and more teachers become familiar with, and adept at, planning units to fully integrate multimedia into classroom experiences.


One of the most effective technology training paradigms I’ve found is the online Cult of Pedagogy JumpStart course.

JumpStart is a self-paced online technology course for the thoughtful educator. By guiding you through a series of hands-on projects, this course will give you the confidence and skills you need to make smart choices about the tech you use in your teaching.

What’s unique about this tech training is that it doesn’t look at “tools”, but rather at processes, specific ways of using technology that can be applied in classroom situations. You learn 10 key processes and complete a hands-on project to practice with each tool. You’ll easily transfer that process to your own classroom, using the same tool or a similar one of your choosing. Here are the 10 processes:JumpStart Your Technology Training for Teachers - School Librarians can help teachers integrate educational technology into their classroom lesson activities by directing them to Cult of Pedagogy's JumpStart or JumpStartPlus online course. Take the course as a group for discounts! #NoSweatLibrary #CultofPedagogy

  1. Blogging
  2. Online Collaboration
  3. Mind Mapping
  4. Curation
  5. Screencasting
  6. Flipped Learning
  7. Digital Assessment
  8. HyperDocs (playlists)
  9. QR codes
  10. Podcasting

The course offers 2 options: JumpStart Basic, where you take the course on your own, at whatever pace works for you; and JumpStart Plus, where you get the support and accountability of a community. The JumpStart Plus course is only open for enrollment for about a week, 5 times a year—Jan, Mar, Jun, Jul, Oct—so enroll ASAP!

I’ve taken the JumpStart Plus course, and while I consider myself technologically adept, I learned more than I could have imagined: not only processes and tools, but a completely new vision for how to help students learn technology within a flowing pattern of applied multimedia techniques. I heartily recommend the Cult of Pedagogy JumpStart course for teachers at any tech level, novice to expert.

(I am an affiliate for the JumpStart course. If you sign up using one of my links, I receive a percentage at no extra cost to you.
I am also Cult of Pedagogy’s Pinterest Marketing Specialist,
but I receive no compensation for this
 JumpStart endorsement.)


As a School Librarian we can offer a variety of technology training opportunities to teachers, from new ways to use a common tool to full-length design-based integrated technology units. We need to treat professional development for teachers with the same consideration and planning we give to student lessons. I use my Library Lesson Planner for technology professional development so I stay focused on just what teachers need—nothing more, nothing less.

Here are 3 ways to offer technology PD to teachers:

  • Short faculty meeting presentations
    These are 5-10 minute show-and-tells which demonstrate a new facet of a tool teachers are already using. It’s important to make this use part of standard classroom activity so teachers can immediately put it to use, rather than figure out on their own how to incorporate it.
  • Topical training before/after school or during common subject planning
    Many teachers are willing to come into the School Library before or after school for 20-30 minute tech sessions. These, too, need to be designed as time-savers or enhancements to already-in-use systems so teachers can take them back to the classroom and apply them right away. Some topics I offered my teachers were webpage training, using our email app for lesson scheduling and time management, student blogging and discussion forums, and creating videos from slide presentations.
    Another option is to offer a series of training sessions during common subject planning periods. For example, I created weekly presentations about how to integrate Design Thinking and Technology into lesson units. I provided a pocket folder with brads to hold guided worksheets that teachers used during the various sessions and then kept for reference. I included suggested projects for various subjects, and created a narrated version of the presentations so teachers who were absent or future new teachers could view them. I received several teacher requests to further help integrate technology into a lesson!
  • Extended rotating workshops during beginning-of-school-year staff development
    Teachers become “students” and spend 45-50 minutes each at 2-3 hands-on stations working through a classroom lesson using new technology tools. This model requires the most planning, strong support from administration, and a cadre of trained colleagues to assist the teacher-students. One year I designed a series of WebQuests using library online subscription databases for informational projects teachers assigned during the school year. My Library Lesson Matrix was invaluable to customize the WebQuests for each subject, which were so successful that teachers had me schedule those same WebQuests with their students!


It’s no longer enough for School Librarians to promote reading and give lessons on research skills. We need to learn, use, and then integrate multimedia technologies into student learning, and teach our teachers how to do it. We are the best person on our campus to do this: we are the only one familiar with all subject curricula and we are already skilled at integrating into classroom activities. Let’s make it a goal this school year to provide some tech training for our teachers!

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JumpStart Your Educational Tech-xpertise!

JumpStart Your Educational Tech-xpertise! - To learn educational technology, you'll love JumpStart, an online course that uses best practices for integrating technology tools into your classroom or School Library. You can also be part of a wonderful professional learning community to support you through your endeavors! #NoSweatLibraryI’m a long-time techie, beginning with a Fortran programming college course in 1969. I worked with 5″ floppy disks on DOS PCs in the 1980s (I know why we originally had 7.3 filenames) , and I still have my original email account from 1992. In the 90s I used Gopher to find curriculum resources and learned a lot about technology & the Internet, becoming somewhat of a tech guru in my school district. For example:

  • 1993 – Built 2 working PCs for a teacher using parts of defunct ones; installed RAM upgrade (a 64MB that cost $400!) to classroom touchscreen/laserdisc computer.
  • 1993 – Learned HTML to create text webpages for Lynx, then later used Mosaic to add images to webpages
  • 1994 – Created homepages for schools & departments on the district’s new Website and became the District Web trainer for the next 8 years.
  • 1995 – Networked the Apple/Macintosh computers in our school so we could email each other and share files.
  • 1995-1996 – Took Microsoft System Admin courses, so district would let me handle hubs and PC connections for my school. District IT guys remote connected with me to help train their techs. (Ever hear of NET SEND?)
  • 1998 – Helped write first District Technology Plan and Acceptable Use Policy and was on the District Technology Committee for 8 years.

Now you must be asking, “Why am I telling you all this?” When I retired at the end of 2013, I sat back for awhile, so when I decided to share my educational knowledge and lessons online, I discovered so much of my background had been surpassed by the advances in Web, tablet, and Smartphone technology. I needed to learn some new tech!

Jennifer Gonzalez, creator of Cult of Pedagogy & the JumpStart online course for tech integration.My search brought me to Jennifer Gonzalez and her Cult of Pedagogy JumpStart course in the summer of 2016. It was a life-changer, and now I feel able to participate in today’s tech-rich educational landscape! If you want to go from technophobe to tech guru, you can JumpStart your tech journey as easily as I did, and you don’t need any tech background to do it!

What I especially like about JumpStart is Jennifer’s approach. The course is arranged by processes—ways to use technology—that apply to any subject, classroom, or grade level. First you read background on the process and then learn about a particular tool that works well for that process. As Jennifer states in her Teacher’s Guide to Tech (a must-have tool for everyone):

It’s essential to start with your learning objectives. Before you even consider technology, think about what you want students to know or be able to do by the time the lesson or unit is over. Then consider how technology could help you reach those goals more effectively. [Jennifer Gonzalez, Teacher’s Guide to Tech, p27.]

Next you view explanatory videos that show you how to use the tool, and then you use the tool to create a real project just as if you are your own student doing the activity. (Jennifer calls it “dog-fooding.”)  By the time you finish you’ll be so much more confident about these educational processes and tech tools, but the true value of JumpStart is that you’ll learn how easily you can integrate these processes and tools into your standards-based curriculum to make it more exciting for students.

JumpStart Modules How JumpStart can help a School Librarian
1 Blogging I’d had a blog for a long time, but this opened up so many possibilities for library advocacy and for helping students have a global presence. Students can use their own blogs for journaling, book reviews, a project learning log, and communicating with students in other states & countries.
2 Online Collaboration Better than email for communicating with colleagues on other campuses—we can have real group collaboration and sharing of ideas and files, or even online meetings.
3 Digital
Mind Mapping
A unique way to present information to students, and for students to brainstorm their research project topics and questions and even search terms.
4 Curation The librarian’s forte, but it’s not just having a list of websites; it’s providing context. We also need to show students how to do this effectively, so they can keep track of their myriad classroom assignments and projects.
5 Screencasting Eliminate explanations of how to do a book search, or self-checkout, or access online services, or use a tech tool. Create a tech club and have them create student how-to’s.
6 Slideshows Create training for aides & volunteers. Create a library orientation for students transferring in during the school year. Create a whole course on video broadcasting. Create thematic trainings for teachers.
7 Digital Assessment Create quizzes to track student learning of library skills. Make a digital “exit ticket” for learning a new tech tool or for online research activities (teachers love these for “daily grades” especially if it’s paperless).
8 Blended Learning Create WebQuests of online resources. Create a pre-research helper for students before they come to the library; create a post-visit research helper to reinforce what we taught during a library visit.
9 QR Codes Text/audio/video book promos on book covers, bulletin boards, and displays. Add to school-to-parent newsletters as links to pictures, resources, and information on the library website. And give students a total tech experience: attach a QR code to a computer screen that links to a screencast so they can use their Smartphone to watch how to use one of these other tools on the computer!
10 Podcasting Create booktalks for the library website. Guide students through research assignments. Have students reflect on their learning during project based learning.

When School Librarians introduce technology, we want it to support student learning. The JumpStart online course guides us through a series of hands-on projects to help us make those choices. The Basic course is self-paced, the Plus course adds a learner community & mentor support. Learn more... | No Sweat LibraryIf you’re already an experienced techie but haven’t tried some of these tech processes with your students, the JumpStart Basic course allows you to independently learn at your own pace. The course takes you through every step so you will be completely comfortable introducing these technologies to your students.

If you’re a novice tech user and still a bit intimidated, you can choose JumpStart Plus and join an online cohort of learners and course mentors to help you along your tech journey. You can even earn a Certificate to submit for Professional Development credit! The cohorts enroll 5 times a year (Jan, Mar, Jun, Jul, Oct) and run approximately 6 weeks.

So if, as I did, you want to become more tech-literate and enhance your classroom activities, head over to the JumpStart information page and find out how you can JumpStart your Tech-xpertise!

(That’s also where you’ll find the phenomenal Teachers Guide to Tech!)

At no additional cost to you, I DO get a small compensation for those who sign up for the JumpStart course. Just putting that out there …

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