Technology tango: Perceptions of the roles of school technology coordinators and library media specialists
Thanh Truc Thi Nguyen, University of Southern California, United States
University of Southern California . Awarded
This study examined the perceptions of the roles of school library media specialists (LMS) and technology coordinators (TC), the individuals responsible for technology education in schools. The goal was to investigate their success and challenges, readiness, and what they consider the best direction for technology in schools. A mixed-methods study was employed, guided strongly by a phenomenological component. A sample of 114 principals (n=31), TC's (n=36), and LMS's (n=47) completed a voluntary, online survey assessing their perceived ratings of thirty-one job functions for LMS's and TC's. Five LMS's and five TC's were also voluntarily interviewed to gain a better understanding of the multiple realities and perspectives within the groups.
Results from the survey revealed twelve significant differences in the perceived importance of job functions at the p<.05 level. A noteworthy difference for TC's was that troubleshooting hardware issues; TC's rated technical troubleshooting as 19th whereas LMS's rated it 2nd for TC's and principals rated it 8th. Library media specialists rated their top job functions as those interacting with students. Technology coordinators, on the other hand, perceived LMS' interactions with teachers as higher in importance.
Results from the in-depth interviews indicated that LMS's extensive schooling influences clarity about their work. However, LMS's fear that ready, electronic access to information is making others see the need for librarians as obsolete. Technology coordinators, though not formally educated to become TC's, are fully licensed teachers and do not wish to be considered technicians, but as teachers first.
Three recommendations are offered in this study to the school district: (a) formulate formal guidelines for school technology programs including an unambiguous definition of a TC, (b) encourage universities to establish a degree-track program for TC's, and (c) create an awareness program as to the positive impact of library media centers and librarians on student achievement. Future research could include additional perspectives from teachers, students, district administration, and parents and community, as well as further quantitative analysis involving school types, length of service by individuals, and closer inspection of school budgets.
Nguyen, T.T.T. Technology tango: Perceptions of the roles of school technology coordinators and library media specialists. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California.
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