To the Editor:
After reading the article “COVID-19 & Remote Learning: How to Make It Work,” (“Special Report: How We Go Back to School,” July 22, 2020), it looks like school administrators are forgetting the library media specialist again. The article links to a document with six ways educators can help parents with remote learning next school year, but perhaps library media specialists could also provide guidance.
Some parents will find the list limiting or uncomfortable because it does not address many technological fears they have.
During the pandemic, library media specialists can help bridge the gap between school systems’ aging IT infrastructures and the technology students have at home. Their role during pandemic and nonpandemic times is to help children stay engaged in reading and learning by implementing the pre-K-12 curriculum on information literacy. They know how to assist students in understanding lessons no matter what type of technology they use.
As a library media specialist, I offer three additional steps:
1. Don’t force students and parents to use the school’s technology.
2. Use school software that is compatible with parents’ personal digital devices.
3. Have parents and educators contact a library media specialist to help obtain resources for lessons.
Before schools closed due to the pandemic, I had followed the three steps above so that I could teach students how to use the technology they owned to continue our lessons. I used the school’s personalized learning applications to allow students to keep developing their information-literacy skills through their phones and tablets on their own time, used free software that even older computers or tablets could handle, and provided feedback over email.
School systems should allow library media specialists to help parents, teachers, and principals do what is in their job description.
Lorette S.J. Weldon
Adjunct Faculty Professor
University of Maryland Global Campus
A version of this article appeared in the August 19, 2020 edition of Education Week as Assuaging Technology Fears