As we begin the month of April, the annual month celebrating contributions of school libraries and staff, Curriculum Leadership Institute would be remiss if we didn’t call attention to the American Association of School Library’s (AASL’s) newly released standards. After reading this E-Hint summary, you may appreciate visiting AASL’s website designed specifically to assist with the understanding and implementation of these standards: http://standards.aasl.org/.
The Framework for Learners is one of three sets of standards recently released and is designed with students in mind. (The other two sets of standards address the school librarian’s role and the function of the school library.) Within the Framework for Learners are four domains and six competencies. The domains are designed to be worked through as a progressive development scaffold by providing increasing challenges, somewhat akin to working through levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. The domains are: Think, Create, Share, and Grow with the six competencies being generally labeled as: Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore and Engage. These domains and competencies are illustrated in a PDF summary of the framework to be found here. The AASL grants permission to distribute this PDF for educational purposes, so you may wish to disseminate it to your Subject Area Committee (SAC) groups in order for your groups to evaluate in what ways the library standards might be overlapped with, and enrich, content area standards.
Perhaps most importantly, it is always helpful to be reminded that libraries offer a valuable source of technology support and content enrichment, while offering rich opportunities for your students to grow in their research, synthesis, evaluation, and communication skills. While the internet has greatly impacted the way in which information is accessed, it cannot replace the value of diverse and reliable content that is to be found in a school or public library. Unfortunately, the internet’s transitory nature and monetization often work against the open and free dissemination of accurate information that some of us had envisioned and idealized not so very long ago. For example, many schools and classrooms are sadly bidding their free Wikispaces farewell. This once valuable harbor for information-gathering and sharing that began in 2005, states that it is not able to justify the cost to update its service to modern coding and infrastructure standards. Additionally, the loss of net neutrality is a concern for many librarians.
However, despite the grim outlook on the electronic frontier, the glut of advertisements filling our screens, and Wikipedia’s annual drive for donations, there is no chance that the Internet will cease to be a source for up-to-date information and communications. The latest media and library standards typically include the use of technology in the best ways possible, sorting, finding, and understanding information. Your state may in fact have its own library media and technology standards similar to those of Kansas.
Now is the time to look inward toward edifying our own use of technology, alternative resources, and information collections. While we look to protect and enhance our knowledge resources, beginning a conversation about the new library standards as a district could benefit the learning processes and outcomes of all students in all grade levels. If your district seeks the full and complete book of the new National School Library standards, the book may be purchased directly from their website. Also available from the AASL site are free professional development webinars.
IMAGE CREDIT: Laëtitia Buscaylet