Instructional Strategies for Library Media Specialists

Instructor: Joanna Harris

Joanna has taught high school social studies both online and in a traditional classroom since 2009, and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership

This lesson explores a variety of instructional strategies that library media teachers can use to design and develop digital-age learning experiences in partnership with classroom teachers.

Instructional Strategies & Collaboration

Library media teachers serve in many capacities in their work on campuses as teachers, information specialists, instructional partners, and librarians. They also collaborate with teachers to bring education into the 21st century with their technological expertise. There are various forms of instructional strategies that library media teachers can use to add digital-age learning experiences to classrooms with classroom teachers.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills program is being adopted by many school districts across the nation. This curriculum relies on evidence-based practices which brings school districts into the 21st century and focuses on critical thinking, communication, collaboration, information media, and technology skills in its curriculum and instruction content. Library media teachers under this new mandate can design lessons and activities with teachers using the following instructional strategies:

  • Amplified teaching uses technology and social media in instruction to expand student learning outside of the classroom. This strategy can make content more relatable and is a great way for library media teachers to introduce and reinforce digital learning experiences with students. For example, a library media teacher can find events online which correspond to a content area and particular lesson in partnership with a classroom teacher. The event can then be broadcast to students in class with an interactive discussion scheduled between the library media teacher, the classroom teacher, and the students. Social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram could be used for this interactive discussion. The goal would be to present new ideas about the lesson by analyzing how it relates to the event being discussed. This type of activity could be used to add nuance to the curriculum.
  • Anchored instruction uses technology and social media as the focal point, or anchor, in instruction. This strategy gives students an opportunity to learn about a topic through the lens of real life events, scenarios, or experiences. For example, a library media teacher and a history teacher could work together to compile a set of podcasts, YouTube videos, and FaceBook Live posts which deal with social issues. Students can then choose one of these resources to explore and create a graded presentation. Library media teachers can assist students as they create their presentations by providing helpful guidance and monitoring to ensure students don't violate school district internet policies.

Students' Interests & Learning Needs

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has compiled of list of standards which library media teachers can use as a guide in their work with teachers, students, and administrators. Standard II asserts that a good library media teacher should know and use principles and practices of effective teaching to enforce student learning and achievement. Library media teachers who follow these standards can accomplish Standard II in a multitude of ways.

Part of Standard II explains that library media teachers should use their knowledge of technology and learning theories to provide teachers with opportunities to differentiate instruction. A learning theory like scaffolding could be used with students where the focus is on applying layered lessons with activities that address every student learning style and learning disabilities. Scaffolding is a technique which serves to build off of a student's current knowledge to allow access to curriculum concepts. For example, a library media teacher could provide a foreign language teacher, or a teacher with English language learners, with an application called Duolingo for scaffolding opportunities. In this application, students who need to supplement their skill development in reading, writing, and speaking a second language can do so with interactive games which tests comprehension and gradually increase in difficulty as the student improves.

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