Today’s Librarians Are Media Specialists: What the Role Looks Like
A conversation with literacy specialist Dr. Rosalyn Washington
Dr. Rosalyn Washington is the Digital Learning Specialist for Literacy in the Atlanta Public School District. She will be presenting at the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) on topics related to leadership, a shifting pedagogy, and integrating digital resources with literacy.
Library sciences have changed quite a bit since Washington was a young student. She remembers being enthusiastic when her school in New York City decided to replace mandatory library time with a computer lab and Spanish class. She used to dread the old fashioned library class and found that the shift to computers boosted learning excitement.
“I remember it being a very exciting time. I try to hold on to that moment of excitement [today]. All children should experience that at school, mixed in with the act of learning itself.”
With the library itself in transition, Atlanta public schools have stepped up efforts to increase the librarian’s role in media-related services. Washington adds, “My district now understands librarians to be media specialists. They are not the librarians of old, but are now charged with helping today’s students become fluent in media use.”
Media services are ever-shifting in nature, and Washington recognizes that practitioners are in line with the evolution taking place inside education. “I think all of us are aware that we are in the midst of information overload or resource overload. But if we are intentional and if we act with purpose, we can actually make it work for us,” she says.
Children are inundated with technology outside the classroom, so it makes perfect sense when their tech-driven expectations enter the classroom. Washington points out, “Our students are not surprised when we’re using technology in the classroom. They’re surprised when we don’t use technology in the classroom.”
When it comes to literacy, Washington is passionate about giving students the tools to not only organize the information they’re reading but critically respond to the material. We are not only teaching kids to read, go to college and have careers but, “We are preparing them for a world that we can’t predict,” she adds.
In terms of comprehension, Washingon points out, “We want to think critically. We want to question the sources. We want to talk about what was left out. These are the types of abilities students are going to have to have─not just to think critically but to communicate, collaborate, and create.”
About Dr. Rosalyn Washington
Dr. Rosalyn Washington is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience. She is a former elementary teacher and Reading Specialist, turned Educational Technology lover. As a Digital Learning Specialist for Literacy in Atlanta Public Schools, she works with a team that coordinates and supports Instructional Technology at the district level. She provides a wealth of professional development on the integration of awesome digital tools and resources into instruction.
Dr. Washington has presented both regionally and nationwide on topics related to both Digital Tools, and Educational Policy. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgia State University and teaches graduate-level courses in Educational Policy Studies.
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The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)