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Impact of the School Library on Student Learning

Impact of the School Library on Student Learning

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  • 1. TASK I: Research topic, site and group 1.0 Introduction This report describes research carried out in secondary schools in Sungai Petani, Kedah to assess the Impact of the School Library on Student Learning. The research was undertaken between May until July 2011 because of the time consuming. There are five basic type of library in Malaysia which is National Library, Academic Library, School Library, Public Library and Special Library. Library can be define as a collection or group of collections of books and/or other print or non-print materials organized and maintained for use (reading, consultation, study, research, etc.) and meet the user needs. The words library comes from the Latin liber, meaning "book." In Greek and the Romance languages, the corresponding term is bibliotheca (Dictionary for Library and Information Sciences). Library is one of the important organizations in the education fields as the main sources of the information and knowledge. Almost every school on Malaysia has their own school library which is can be define as a library in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves the information needs of its students and the curriculum needs of its teachers and staff, usually managed by a school librarian or media specialist. A school library collection usually contains books, periodicals, and educational media suitable for the grade levels served. The research has been undertaken at a time when value and impact studies are trying to establish the contribution made by school library in different community contexts including that of supporting traditional education, independent study and lifelong learning. At the same time there is increasing interest in ways in which links between the school libraries and the educational sector can promote lifelong learning. While this study focuses on Malaysian secondary schools, the interest in establishing the impact of information and library services in schools is worldwide, not least because of the increasing pressures to justify the resource allocation from a school's budget or the existence of adequate professional staffing within the School Library. In the other country like UK, the school environment is changing. Recent government initiatives such as implementation of information and communications technology (ICT) networks within schools has increased awareness of information support for the curriculum. Information workers have a key role to play in developing the skills for effective information use to fulfil government objectives for the Wawasan 2020 and to develop a clearer strategy for integrating
  • 2. the work of the School Library within the wider educational experience. In contrast with Malaysian school library, ICT is rarely used in the school library. There is a growing awareness of the need to examine carefully how effective the various inputs and outputs are in terms of enhancing the quality of learning and raising achievements within schools as well as creating better links with the wider community. According to Loertscher, 2004 the school libraries have undergone the major redesign. The first was in the 1960s when book libraries had to be rethought to include a new wave of audiovisual devices and software. The second began in the 1980s with the proliferation of the microcomputer, computer networks, and the Internet. The first redesign required only a shift in contents. The second requires an entire rethinking. Now the library acts as the ―hub of the school‖, a place where everyone comes to get materials and equipment. In other developed country like Japan, United State and others had used a professional librarians and technical staff in the school library rather than single-staff persons. However school library in Malaysia still use the teacher as the library staff and older library concept. Figure 1 It may never be possible or even desirable to attempt to "measure" learning impact in the same way as academic achievement may be measured, but it is the understanding of the impact on the learning experience which will ultimately be needed if the work of the school library is to be fully integrated within the curriculum and thus contribute effectively to achievement. All these factors have led to the realisation that greater understanding is required in the relationship between information and learning and between the role that the School Library and the teacher librarian can play in enhancing the quality of the learning
  • 3. experience. This research focuses on this relationship with the aim of identifying the impact the School library can have on learning as well as the challenges involved in evaluating that impact. The main objectives of this study are: To assess the impact of School Library on Student Learning and Achievements. To identify the teacher librarians, students‘ and teacher‘ perceptions towards the school library contribution to the learning experience. To examine the services provision of the school library to the learning. The research was conducted within secondary schools, examining the issues from the perspectives of teacher librarians and pupils in semi-structured focus groups and a series of observations. 1.1 Significance of the Problem Results from this study may be used by school districts, library media specialists and school library education programs in Malaysia as a baseline for examining the complex relationship between school library programs and student achievement and may provide some indications about the impact staffing levels have on the quality of school library programs and on student achievement. Such a baseline may provide researchers and library media specialists‘ useful information about where to focus future research, whether in terms of best practice or areas for improvement related to school library media programs. Results from this study may also prove valuable to school and district officials in deciding how to allocate resources to school library programs. 2.0 Literature Review The aim of this review of literature is to examine research from across the world that links educational achievement and school libraries. The Task Group recognises the importance of learning in its widest sense and therefore the review sought a broad definition of learning to encompass not only academic attainment but also the aspects of learning reflected in processes and attitudes. 2.1 Libraries and education Writing from a school library perspective, Tilke states, ―A well used library promotes learning, raises achievement and enhances pupils‘ personal and social development‖ (1998: 2), but the role of libraries in education is not so clear-cut. In
  • 4. 1997 the Library Association guidelines for public library services to children and young people stated, in accordance to the findings of the influential report Investing in Children, that ―there should be a clear understanding of the different services provided by the school library, the public library service and the school‘s library service‖ (Blanshard, 1997: 8). In the governments current strategy for public libraries, Framework for the Future, the public library ―provide[s] a learning network that runs parallel with formal education‖ (DCMS, 2003: 28). In other view, libraries are not the only sector to suffer with a lack of recognition of their educational role; If the school library or learning resource centre is unable to demonstrate that it makes a real difference to the quality of teaching and learning in a school, then it will be seen as a low priority for expenditure at best, and expendable at worst. (Streatfield and Markless, 1994: 5) Although they are ideally placed within the school and educational system, school libraries have been in the past and still are today, constantly fighting to prove their worth in contributing to and providing support to the curriculum to the education field. Roe (1965) observed that ―even when the school library is full of books and crowded with children, its educational relevance is not thereby proved‖. 2.2 Impact on Academic Attainment Academic achievement, in this context, considers formal learning associated with the set curriculum and performance in formal national or local tests. This includes processes associated with reading literacy, achievement of subject knowledge, and information literacy. The discussion examines the research to establish what the link is between school libraries and academic achievement and whether school libraries have an impact on the raising of students‘ achievement in schools. The early Colorado study (Lance, et. al., 1993) used fewer library characteristics during the analysis and drew from the earlier version of Information Power (1988). The findings from the later studies are similar but the emphasis on the type of library data found to be the predictors of academic achievement vary between the states and between the grade levels and therefore the findings are not necessarily
  • 5. transferable across educational levels. Other factors such as the type of schooling within a state may also have influenced the results. Notwithstanding these limitations the level of development of the library in terms of collection and staffing; staff activities in terms of leadership, collaboration and technology; and the levels of usage and technology are the factors that show most significance to test scores in these studies. Influenced by Lance‘s work, Vallender attempted to examine whether current performance data in English secondary schools offer a basis for assessing impact of school library use on attainment. Her unpublished Masters research (2000) is particularly significant in the context of this review in its applicability to English secondary education. The study concludes that the evidence of the contribution made by the school library is not effectively revealed through the statistical analysis of examination achievement. Her work also suggests that OFSTED reports are capable of identifying a library that is performing effectively but cannot evaluate how this performance impacts on teaching and learning. A qualitative approach was taken by Williams & Wavell (2001) in a study using a small sample of secondary schools in Scotland to investigate the impact of the school library on learning. Focus group discussions with teachers and pupils and interviews with librarians identified the perceived impact of the school library on learning. Case studies were conducted looking at a variety of curriculum-related library activities across a range of age groups, such as research work, a skills course, reading promotion as well as activities relating to the broader learning experience. Indicators of learning, developed from the focus group discussions, were used during observation, discussion with students, teachers and librarians, and students‘ work was examined to establish whether the perceptions of impacts on learning expressed by the groups in the initial stage were indeed happening. 2.3 Collaboration between Teacher Librarians and Classroom Teachers. Successful integration of information literacy instruction requires collaboration with classroom teachers to plan and teach curriculum (AASL & AECT, 1998, 64). Professional and academic literature points to the benefits of such collaboration in terms of student achievement. Bell (1990) and Bell and Totten (1992) found that in academically effective schools, classroom teachers were more likely to
  • 6. choose school library teacher to collaborate on instructional problems. Haycock (1992) concluded from his review of doctoral dissertations that students gain more competence in research and study skills when these skills are integrated into collaborative lesson plans created by classroom teachers and teacher librarians. In a qualitative study of collaboration between classroom teachers and teacher librarians at two elementary schools that used literature-based instruction, Jones (1994) observed that ―purposeful partnerships‖—deliberate curricular planning and team teaching between classroom teacher and teacher librarians —resulted in a greater quantity of literature being read to students and a strengthened effort at literature-based instruction. Milliner (2006), in a case study of a school implementing an integrated information literacy program, noted that one result of collaborative planning between the teacher librarians and classroom teachers is that more students are engaged in critical thinking activities and authentic learning. Several studies reveal correlations between LMS/classroom teacher collaboration and achievement on standardized tests. Farmer‘s (2006) study of Southern California schools revealed that collaborative planning and instruction accounted for over 17% of the variance in principles correlated with academic achievement. Hall-Ellis and Berry‘s (1995) south Texas public school study showed that higher criteria-referenced test scores tests correlated positively with collaborative planning between the teacher librarians and classroom teachers. 2.3 Service Provision This section considers the impact of service provision on student learning. Service provision has been taken to mean the different types of services provided by the various models of school library, i.e. the library within a school, a combined public/school service, or provision by a centralised Schools Library Service. The review identified research in relation to collections and library instruction and collaborative planning. There is research on how the curriculum changes or other initiatives impact on service provision. However, there is a gap in the research on how the different models of library service impact on learning. The Survey of Secondary School Libraries prepared for The Library Association (Survey & Statistical Research Centre, 2000) gives a statistical analysis of the current (1999) secondary school library provision within the UK. The survey was sent to a sample of 2041 secondary
  • 7. schools across the country and the overall response rate was 48%. The findings provide an indication of the collection, opening hours, loans, staffing type and levels and to a certain extent good practice. The survey highlights the range of salaries and hours worked and suggest this gives an indication of the varying importance and roles of the librarians in schools and that firm guidelines should be developed (Survey & Statistical Research Centre, 2000, p9). Fitzgibbons (2000) does review types of cooperative relationships between school and public libraries in the USA, both historical and current, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages, the unique and common goals. While this article provides useful information for parties considering cooperation in a variety of ways, the author refers only obliquely to the potential impact, both positive and negative, on student learning. The State Library of Queensland (State Library of Queensland, 1997) has guidelines and standards for the joint-use public/school library but these are service directed and do not include outcome indicators in relation to learning.
  • 8. TASK II: Research method and fieldwork write-ups 3.0 Methodology (observation and interview) In the context of this ‗methodology‘ is defined as the research philosophy, research strategy and the actual research techniques used to gather data for analysis. This chapter is split into these categories for clarity, beginning with the research philosophy, the approach to the research question. It then moves on to the research strategy, which works from within the philosophy and then onto the different techniques used to gather the data. These include the preliminary interviews, questionnaires and interviews with stakeholders. The analysis includes a description of the actual techniques used and their success in the accumulation of and interpreting data. Finally, the limitations of the methodology are discussed in the conclusion of the chapter. 3.1 Population/Sample/Participants 1.1 Background of the research Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Sungai Petani (SMKBSP), situated at the heart of Sungai Petani with 2,325 students and 145 teachers. The portion of the students can be refers at table 1 (Wisam, 2010). Male Female Malay Chinese Indian Others Malay Chinese Indian Others 722 267 214 11 643 243 219 6 Total 1,214 Total 1,111 Table 1 Number of SMKBSP students based on the races Library at SMKBSP managed by one teacher and helped by one clerk. Otherwise the ―school librarians‖ will helped the teacher to arranged and tidy up the book in the library. There are almost 40,000 collections of book in the library. Discuss the need for the study/project and expected results. Form Numbers One 482 Two 495 Three 493 Four 366 Five 352 Lower Six 81 Upper Six 66
  • 9. Summarize relevant existing data, literature, past and ongoing studies, and how your study/project ties in with these. What is the data gap your study is designed to fill? http://smkbsp.weebly.com/maklumat-guru.html WISAM B JAAFAR 3.2 Instrumentation 3.3 Data Collection 3.4 Data analysis 4.0 References 5.0 Appendices Methodology The research was undertaken in two phases: The observation phase that involved the library user during the weekdays from Sunday to Monday. The interview sessions with the principle, teachers and students to examine the use, expectations and perceptions of the potential impact of the SLRC on learning. The selected schools were visited from October 31 to November 4, 2005. During each visit, interviews were conducted based on interview guides, with the principal, library media specialist, teachers, and students. In addition to the interviews, the library media specialists provided program documentation. After reviewing the published literature on research methodology for the Impact of the School Library on Student Learning and Academic Performance and some observations, the most appropriate instrument for this study is a semi-structured interview method for the study. The process began by identifying the entire scope of questions that may reflects the
  • 10. objectives of the study and had discussed with the teachers librarians about the questions. From this, a final list of interview questions was drafted (Appendix 1), and the questions were sufficiently open ended questions to avoid leading subjects‘ answers or bias, while encouraging free discussion on the topics. Follow-up questions were also scripted, and interviewers were permitted to clarify questions or ask unscripted follow-up questions when appropriate. In the team‘s review of studies using semi structured interview techniques, it became apparent that maintaining such flexibility in the interview process was crucial to engaging subjects in a conversation of the issues The instrument was developed and piloted on one test subject, resulting in minor modifications to the interview procedure, including preparing definitions of library jargon such as ‗‗institutional repository,‘‘ ‗‗curriculum based instruction,‘‘ and ‗‗database‘‘ for interviewers to use when needed. Team members began the process by identifying the entire scope of questions they had regarding the basic science researchers‘ information-seeking behaviours. Questions were also developed to gather information from subjects that would inform future decisions about library services, such as educational programming. From this, a final list of interview questions was drafted (Appendix, online only), and the team made sure the questions were sufficiently open ended to avoid leading subjects‘ answers, while encouraging free discussion on the topics. Follow-up questions were also scripted, and interviewers were permitted to clarify questions or ask unscripted follow-up questions when appropriate. In the team‘s review of studies using semi structured interview techniques, it became apparent that maintaining such flexibility in the interview process was crucial to engaging subjects in a conversation of the issues The instrument was developed and piloted on one test subject, resulting in minor modifications to the interview procedure, including preparing definitions of library jargon such as ‗‗institutional repository,‘‘ ‗‗curriculum based instruction,‘‘ and ‗‗database‘‘ for interviewers to use when needed. Exempt status was sought from the institutional review board and granted in order to conduct the study on human subjects. Participation was voluntary, and no compensation was offered. Measures were taken to protect the confidentiality of participants. The study was initiated October 2007 and completed in March 2008. Departmental websites were browsed to identify faculty members who were involved in a research project at the time. Potential subjects were selected from across the spectrum of gender, age, and experience in order to create a final subset that would be representative of the COM research faculty. Eighteen faculty members from the five COM basic science departments were invited by email to participate in the study. The objectives of the study were explained to the potential participants, and they were informed that the interview would take approximately forty-five minutes. Eight subjects agreed to participate. Because no major changes were made to the test instrument following the pilot, that interview was included in the study as well, resulting in a total of nine subjects. The nine subjects had appointments in biochemistry, microbiology and molecular genetics, molecular physiology and biophysics, anatomy and neurobiology, and mathematics and statistics, and they represented a range of research and teaching responsibilities (Table 2). Each subject was interviewed by two people from the study team, one to ask questions and one to take notes. With the subjects‘ permission, the interviews were audiotape. Each subject was asked the same questions, although follow-up questions varied according to subjects‘ responses to the original questions. Notes for each interview were compiled and stored in separate files. The notes were also collated by question, so that the answers to a given question from all nine
  • 11. participants could be analyzed together. Working independently, each of the four team members reviewed the original notes from the interviews and audiotapes to identify the major concepts and themes that emerged from each interview. Team members then shared their observations with the group, and together they composed a final list of predominant themes. Next, these common themes were categorized into five broad topics: information sources, search techniques, work environment, current library services, and potential library services. TASK III: Representation of data and discussion Impact of the Library Media Program The principal and teachers concurred that the LMS has a significant impact on teachers, instruction, and student performance. With help from the LMS, teachers acquire a more complete picture of what they can present to students. She works with teachers to develop different assignments for students, taking advantage of the wide range of resources the LMC has to offer. Her suggestions lead to assignments that require more critical thinking on the part of students. Teachers consider the LMS a critical source of help. According to the interviewed teachers, the LMS invests large amounts of time and effort in each of their projects, searching for materials and suggesting ideas. This not only adds new resources to the projects, but also saves them a lot of time. Because the LMS is so familiar with the curriculum and content areas, she provides more effective assistance to teachers and students. She provides invaluable behind the scenes support and always asks teachers what they need. Because she is so well read and knowledgeable, her recommendations to teachers and students are highly respected. Through these efforts, teachers reported, the LMS encourages them to try projects they would otherwise never attempt. For example, the LMS persuaded the English teacher to do smaller projects that would be less overwhelming to students. These projects entail more research but in smaller pieces. The social studies teacher concluded that ―we are better teachers‖ because of the LMS. The principal, teachers, and students all reported that the LMS has a significant impact on students. The LMS sees her main contribution as giving students a wider sense of possibilities; she gives them the tools, through the DBQ approach, to think for themselves and decide where they stand on an issue. This helps students take more initiative in their learning and broadens their perspective. The cultural anthropology journal, a freshman year project, helped students become more focused in their research and more disciplined in their writing. The tenth grade DBQ project involving the Civil War is challenging because the web site used was designed for college students. The LMS believes that these projects and other activities in which she helps students have an
  • 12. impact on their academic performance. According to teachers interviewed, the LMS increased student interest in reading using a variety of strategies. The LMC has a very attractive display of books. By bringing in guest authors, she makes students more interested in reading. Her philosophy is that if one book is not interesting to a student, she will find another book that the student might like. According to teachers, ―reluctant readers are happy to go to the LMC.‖ To promote student reading, the LMS took a group of students to a local bookstore and had them each select two books to be purchased for the LMC collection—an activity she plans to repeat this year. Teachers indicated that students look at the LMC as a good place to do schoolwork. Students want to be in the LMC. Strategies implemented by the LMS have increased the number of students coming to the LMC. ―There are more students there than ever before.‖ Students like the displays and also like the LMS as a person: ―they trust her and go to her for help.‖ Students confirmed that they found the LMC to be accessible, open after school, and useful for research. According to teachers, the LMS gets students more excited about their work and reinforces what they learn. She makes research easier and more fun by breaking down a process that often can be overwhelming to students. Teachers reported that through her involvement in science and other projects, the LMS models how to be curious and discover new things. Her efforts help students improve their skills and competencies and see the importance of life-long learning. Students credit the LMS with reading most of the books in the library. They reported that they have developed a personal relationship with the LMS and often ask her for book recommendations. Students also recognize that because of what the LMS has taught them, they have become better researchers. Students see the LMS as a staff member who ―knows a lot about everything.‖ LMC Use All class visits are flexibly scheduled. Teachers indicated that they most often take their students to the LMC when they do a project. Teachers take their classes to the LMC up to four times a year for class projects. When they do a project they go to the LMC daily over a two-week period or for the duration of the project. Teachers also send students to the LMC when they desire more information than is covered in class. Students go to the LMC with varying frequency. One of the students reported visiting the LMC only when she has an assignment. Another student goes once a week to use the computer ―for fun.‖ A third student goes multiple times a day, before school, during lunch time, and during study hall. This student uses the LMC to read magazines and books. In addition to planning instructional
  • 13. projects, teachers often go to the LMC to get recommendations from the LMS for their personal reading. The LMS always notifies teachers about materials that she thinks would be of interest to them. The LMC also houses a professional collection. Teachers interviewed often go to the LMC during their free period or in the morning before school starts. The frequency of their visits varies with the social studies teacher going daily, the English teacher going three times a week, and the science teacher visiting the LMC once a week. Impact on Student Learning and Academic Performance The principal thinks that the LMS is making ―a huge contribution‖ to student academic performance. The LMC is the heart of the school. Students feel comfortable there, they know how to access resources and how to use information for different classes. The LMC is such a popular centre of academic work for students that when the school has early releases twice a month, it‘s not uncommon for 40-50 students to go to the LMC to catch up on their work. According to the principal, the LMS recognizes the importance of communication and collaboration with staff. The LMS knows what the curricular expectations are and she has developed strategies to help students and teachers meet these expectations. The LMS works closely with the director of curriculum to help set school goals and provide resources in support of the goals and standards. Teachers recognize that the LMS‘s impact on students is cross-disciplinary: students can ably use research skills in different content areas because the LMS has standardized the research process. This has helped students become very familiar with the research process. Library Media Program Organization The library media centre (LMC) has a full-time library media specialist (LMS) who has been in this position for 32 years; there are three library aides: one works full-time during the school day and two split evening hours. The LMS serves teachers and students in the combined junior and senior high school. The library media centre opens at 7:00 in the morning, before school starts. The LMC has extended hours four evenings a week for student and community use. On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, the LMC is open until 8:30 p.m.; on Wednesday it is open until 6:00 p.m. Opening the LMC to the community is important because the town has a very small public library with limited hours. The evening hours allow parents to come and help their children work on projects.
  • 14. The school pays for the evening hours using state funds designed to support cooperative programming between school districts and communities. The LMC uses student and adult volunteers. Every day two students come for one class period each to help in the LMC. The LMC also has two adult volunteers who regularly work two hours a week. A retired teacher volunteers in the LMC four to five hours a week. Volunteers help with weeding and the aides who work in the evening shelve all materials used during the day. Collection The LMC has a collection of approximately 22,000 print and non-print resources. LMC staff and volunteers have weeded the collection extensively; the average age of the collection is 12 years. The LMS has been rebuilding the science collection and has identified books about countries and biographies as an area for improvement. The LMC has access to online resources such as CQ Researcher, World Almanac, World Book Online, Grolier Online, Lands and People, WISCareers, NetTrekker, and Badgerlink. The online catalog is accessible from any computer in the building and also remotely. Principal Support of Library Media Program The principal is a strong and vocal advocate and supporter of the library media program and the LMS. The principal reported that he has a great deal of trust and confidence in the LMS and that he communicates with the LMS almost daily. The principal‘s office is located in close proximity to the LMC which aids the communication process. Their communication is also facilitated by the fact that the principal serves as the district‘s assessment coordinator. He looks at the LMS as a valuable resource when discussing curriculum issues. The LMS credits the principal with always having time for her; they exchange ideas and adopt each other‘s suggestions. The principal discusses professional development issues with the LMS and typically accepts her recommendations. The principal supports the library media program financially by responding to general and specific program budget requests, such as the purchase of Smart Boards for the school. Financial support for the program is above that provided by state school library aid (Common School Fund). The principal also supports the library media program by encouraging teachers to use the technology in the LMC and enabling them to attend professional development opportunities outside of the school district. Collaboration and Teaching The LMS is a teacher – librarian. The LMS estimates that she spends at least 75 percent of her
  • 15. time on teaching and learning activities. The school has a full-time library aide to ensure that the LMS spends time on instructional related activities. The principal considers the LMS an educator and observes the high level of instructional activity in the LMC on a daily basis when walking through the library. He sees students on task and students signing up for the homework lab. He finds the atmosphere in the LMC ―very businesslike‖ and conducive to learning. He also values the LMS‘s participation in the Curriculum Coordinating Council, which helps her in knowing and shaping the curriculum and enhances her instructional role. Teachers interviewed reported that collaboration with the LMS varies by content area, but that they typically consult with the LMS when they plan new units or want to assign a research project. The LMS considers information skills instruction an ongoing activity and keeps a binder of teachers‘ units. After discussing objectives and the end product with teachers, the LMS recommends print and non-print resources, helps define student learning goals and outcomes, affirms ITLS and content standards, and helps shape how students will demonstrate their knowledge. One of the new science teachers indicated that he consults with the LMS every time he plans new units. The social studies teacher consults with the LMS two to three times a quarter on World History research projects. Teachers find the assistance the LMS provides extremely valuable as it saves them significant amounts of time and enables them to use and offer more resources to their students. The teachers appreciate the positive and constructive ways in which the LMS helps them: ―She is a good cheer leader, very positive, offers support and information… She is a facilitator of curriculum, coordinating both vertical and horizontal alignment with state standards. The LMS has a good relationship with the school.‖ The teachers value her as a good source for brainstorming ideas for projects and suggestions for resources. The LMS compliments teachers‘ work by reinforcing what goes on in the classroom. She makes students do more advanced work by asking them to go further than they initially expected and to try new technologies. According to teachers, the assistance the LMS provides is of considerable benefit to students. For some students the ―LMS is the best point in their relationship with the school.‖ Library Media Program Impact on Students Students interviewed identified a variety of ways in which the LMS has impacted their learning. They have a great relationship with the LMS and can see that she enjoys helping them. She has taught them about the LMC and its resources including how to use computers and access online resources. According to students, the LMS instructed them in effective Internet search skills,
  • 16. showing them how to access and evaluate web sites. The LMS also taught students how to scan online information in order to determine whether it is relevant to their needs and then how to bookmark those web sites. She does not allow students to procrastinate but keeps them on task, even reminding them when projects are due. Students commented that she wants and expects students to do the best they can. She proofreads student reports and gives them constructive comments on content and style. Her help is most valued on difficult assignments. She always encourages students to do the assignment and do it well. The LMS is also a great promoter of reading. Students credited the LMS with increasing their interest in reading by guiding them toward good books. She keeps tabs on what students read, knows their reading preferences, and recommends books to them accordingly. She also consults with students about what books to buy for the LMC. Under her initiative, the school organized Dr. Seuss and Shakespeare celebratory reading events. Impact on Student Learning and Academic Performance The principal considers all the activities students perform in the LMC, such as research, information search and access, and writing reports as contributing directly to their learning. Students use their research skills across content areas. The LMC is a big part of student learning with students even using the LMC after school and in the evening. Teachers concluded that the library media program has a definite impact on students‘ academic performance. Teachers reported that the LMS makes sure that students are familiar with the range of resources the LMC can offer. She takes the time to show students the different resources in the LMC. She tells students which web sites are trustworthy. The English teacher allows students who are failing academically to go to the LMC to work there. The LMS works with these students and keeps tabs on them. The social studies teacher sees the LMS as a motivator, she challenges students and stretches their goals; she gives them new tools. With her support, students are more apt to complete their work. By teaching students to use new tools and equipment, the LMS, according to the science teacher, raises the skills of all students. Students learn new skills and competencies from the LMS then go and teach those skills to other students. As a result of their interactions with the LMS and the skills they acquired, students are more motivated and engaged. According to the LMS, students are more motivated to do well and care more about their grades. Differentiation has made a big difference. Students have more choices in assignments and classes. Students try harder, and projects are more sophisticated. Parents have access to grading and attendance data. This has helped parents get more involved and monitor their children‘s progress. Students have also been doing better on state tests in the last two to three years. Students concluded that the LMS helps them with ―everything‖ both academic and personal. The
  • 17. LMS helped them realize that their academic performance will have an impact on their future. They also credited her with help beyond normal school activities. One student praised the LMS for helping her sister find a good nursing college, while a second student credited the LMS with helping her find a publisher for a book of poems she had authored. Students described the LMS help as follows: She encourages me to do my work She helps me with life She helps with school-related problems She helps with everything academic: she has never not known anything I asked her She has not charged me rent yet for being in the LMC all the time Benefits to Students Teachers reported that students learn new technology skills from the LMS. Students use technology as a tool to better understand content areas. The use of technology has served to decrease students‘ frustration. It also empowers students to go deeper in learning a subject. Students are now held more accountable for the end product. The LMS pushes students to try and do new things and sets the bar higher and higher in terms of technology use. She knows better than teachers what students are capable of. Teachers indicated that with help from the LMS students have become proficient in technology and research. She excites students, brings out their talents in the application of software programs and research and opens up the world to those who do not have computers at home. She provides opportunities to low level readers and is highly responsive to student and teacher needs. Her knowledge of the curriculum contributes to her ability to identify resources across content areas. ―She is way ahead of the curve in selecting books and novels for students.‖ Students were highly complementary of the assistance they get from the LMS. Students reported that the LMS ―taught me all the software programs.‖ They learned how to use different programs in a class or on a one-on-one basis. They appreciate her overviews of the research process and making them aware of options at different points in the process. Impact of Library Media Program on Teachers Thanks to the efforts of the LMS, teachers are more confident in their technology skills. She has opened the door to a place where it is safe to learn. By making the curriculum come alive, the LMS helps teachers stay fresh. Teachers indicated that to make units more appealing to students, the LMS purchases useful resources such as Hoover Online that the student stock clubs use. She came up with the culminating question (what is sacred?) for the project on Native American culture. She continually comes to teachers with ideas on how to enhance units and projects. According to teachers, the LMS reaches areas of the curriculum that might otherwise not have
  • 18. been approached; she digs deep. The social studies teacher credits the LMS with ―revolutionizing her curriculum.‖ Previously, the teacher basically taught from the textbook. The LMS helped her change her instructional approach to using simulations (e.g. Supreme Court unit), research, and technology as the basis for teaching. The science teacher no longer teaches from the textbook, but by experimentation and technology use. Both teachers acknowledge that their current approaches make their subjects more ―intimate‖ to their students: ―it gets knowledge in their bones and they really get it.‖ According to the principal, the LMS is well acquainted with the state content and information, technology and literacy standards and integrates them into all collaborative units which contributes to student learning and achievement. The principal indicated that while the previous LMS was very traditional, this LMS is a ―trail blazer. She knows what learning is, what literacy is, knows what critical thinking is and can share that with others. She is relentless and driven. She pushes all of us to do what is right for students.‖ Technology Access, Use and integration When the LMS came to the school, not all teachers had computers in their classrooms. Classrooms now have between one and five computers each; the science and language arts classrooms have three computers each. The teachers interviewed rated their level of technology competency from moderate to proficient. The LMS considers two-thirds of the teachers to be technology proficient; the younger teachers are more proficient. Teachers use computers to report grading and attendance, review Internet content, search for lesson plans, do word processing, and e-mail parents and colleagues. Each classroom has a TV/VCR and teachers can check out a data projector from the LMC. Teachers use Averkeys to connect a classroom computer to the TV for video streaming and PowerPoint presentations. The language arts teacher created a blog for class content. The speech and language teacher uses BoardMaster with her students for writing reports and essays. The science teacher accesses and incorporates the Foss online curriculum. In geography the teacher does a lot of Internet searches. The ESL teacher uses the computer to adapt materials for ESL. Teachers use Inspiration throughout the curriculum to do planning for writing projects and word processing. Students are very proficient; they are the ones who ―push the envelope.‖ Teachers estimate that 75 percent of the students have computers at home. All the students interviewed have Internetconnected computers at home. They spend between 30 and 60 minutes a day on their home computers doing research and word processing and sending e-mails. The language arts and social studies teachers have web pages and students access those periodically from home. Students learn keyboarding in elementary school. In middle school, students take a quarter-long class on
  • 19. computer applications and on how to use other technology. The principal relies heavily on of the LMS in the area of technology. The school is a heavy user of technology and is ahead of many other district schools, in part because of the expertise and persistence of the LMS. The extent of technology integration varies by subject area, but all interviewed teachers are integrating technology into the curriculum. According to the principal, students know how to use online technology and how to evaluate different web sites. Students do a lot of Internet searches and routinely incorporate streaming video into their PowerPoint presentations.