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New Hampshire School Librarians Step into STEM Curriculum Leadership
Education non-profit ISKME works in partnership with Granite State College to accelerate instructional expertise and leadership among K-12 librarians and educators.
July 14, 2015 (Half Moon Bay, CA)—The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), a global leader in open educational resources (OER) and creator of OER Commons – one of the nation’s largest and most widely used digital libraries of learning materials, is collaborating with educators in New Hampshire on a project to build instructional leadership with school librarians and classroom teachers through the development of open and freely available, standards-aligned STEM resources.
School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning is a project supported by the Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS) as part of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG). The project, which reaches pre-service and in-service school librarians and faculty in teacher education programs, leverages ISKME’s OER Commons, a digital public library of learning resources and tools.
Partnering with the New Hampshire Department of Education, Granite State College, others in the state’s Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Network, and endorsed by the American Library Association / American Association of School Librarians, ISKME is facilitating professional learning cohorts working within its OER Commons digital public library to build STEM practice and knowledge in K-12 classrooms and libraries, including high-needs districts and low-income communities throughout New Hampshire.
In what is considered a first in federal funding to connect school librarians with OER, twenty educators from seven districts in New Hampshire are working together to address STEM-related and cross-disciplinary inquiry in the classroom. In addition, by partnering with Granite State College, the project will support the college’s new school librarian preparation program to use OER to transform pedagogy and create new courseware.
At the project’s first of three annual Spring Professional Learning Academies, held at Granite State College, in Concord, ISKME, Granite State faculty and advisors, and the K-12 fellows spent two days exploring how to identify, evaluate, adapt, create, and share openly licensed curriculum to support STEM inquiry in middle school and high school classrooms.
Project partner, Sylvia K. Norton, Executive Director of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association, explains, “School librarians have always been out in front trying new approaches and technologies for inquiry based learning, but their expertise has often been under-utilized. School librarians offer insight into quality resources and how to use them effectively across the curriculum. The collaboration in this project provides strategies and resources to benefit all learners.”
“Our organizations are collaborating to ensure that other educators understand why and how to tap the expertise of school librarians,” states Project Lead, Amee Godwin, Director, Innovation, at ISKME, “and to equip school librarians to be instructional leaders who advance STEM teaching and learning through the use of OER.”
Granite State College (GSC) is launching three new certification programs, including Library Media Specialist, which will integrate school leadership, pedagogy, and collaboration. Mary Ford, Dean, School of Education at GSC, is leading the creation of these programs, along with Susan Ballard, Project Director of School Librarian Program Development at GSC.
“We’re designing programs for a new, distributed model of school leadership that relies on two primary leaders: the principal and the school librarian. We will be preparing them to lead not only the school’s informational needs, but also instructional, cultural, and organizational change,” describes Dean Ford. “This project is about putting the conditions in place for Library Media Specialists of the future to be utilizing their full talents in impacting the swiftly changing K–12 learning environment, and using OER to do so.”
Throughout the project, school librarians will collaborate with STEM teachers in grades 6-12 to identify, create, improve, and share content, knowledge, and practice using ISKME’s OER Commons and collaboration platform. K-12 educators will work in cohorts to effectively identify relevant resources, and create a lesson centered on STEM-based inquiry. Lessons will also address key literacy requirements of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS as well as the core ideas, practices and standards in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and New Hampshire state science standards. In addition, New Hampshire’s local school leaders are increasingly requesting that the arts be integrated, turning STEM into “STEAM”.
Susan Ballard adds, “As enthusiastic as New Hampshire educators are regarding the STEM movement, they also recognize that there are ways in which the arts can also be integrated in order to heighten appeal as well as address the learning needs of more types of learners. This further underscores the importance of the multi-disciplinary work of the project.”
ISKME is an independent education nonprofit whose mission is to improve the practice of continuous learning, collaboration, and change in the education sector. Established in 2002, ISKME supports innovative teaching and learning practices throughout the globe and is well known for its pioneering open education initiatives. ISKME also assists policy makers, foundations, and education institutions in designing, assessing, and bringing continuous improvement to education policies, programs, and practice.
About Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.
About Granite State College
Granite State College is one of the four institutions of the University System of New Hampshire, New Hampshire’s public university system. Its primary mission is to serve as the system’s statewide college for adults, in addition to being New Hampshire’s leader in delivering online education. The college offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, post-baccalaureate programs for teacher education, transfer opportunities, and online degree programs. By offering degree programs in high-demand fields combined with flexible scheduling, Granite State College makes it possible to balance the responsibilities of work and/or family while earning a college degree.
About American Association of School Librarians
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.