Libraries and EdTech
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 09:10AM
williamgarrity in EdTech

Sorry for the recent brief absence; it's been a busy few days. On Tuesday, it was announced that I've been appointed the inaugural Deputy University Librarian and Chief of Staff at the University of California, Davis. More here and here

My former Penn colleague, Steve Bell, argues in a recent post in his Library Journal column that academic librarians aren't tracking the current emphasis on educational technology at our universities and colleges. His observations strike a cord with me. Academic librarians, it seems to me, used to be among the campus's trend-setters in using information technologies and services to bolster their missions (the library's and the school's). Now, that torch may have passed to the domain of EdTech, and we have an opportunity to stay more current with developments (if not necessarily lead in their use at our schools). 

Left Behind by the EdTech Surge | From The Bell Tower

By Steven Bell on February 19, 2014Library Journal

There’s loads of activity happening in the world of educational technology. New startups. Dozens of websites for managing learning activities. Apps by the dozens. Academic librarians seem out of the loop. A few months ago I subscribed to the weekly email newsletter from an organization called EdSurge. It’s subtitled “a weekly newsletter for innovators in education.” Depending on you how you feel about the phrase “innovators in education,” you may be thinking that’s exactly who you are—or maybe you’ve had your fill of innovation talk. While EdSurge does dedicate about half of each issue to the K-12 startup scene, there’s also reporting on the latest educational technology resources and utilities. Some of these are startup websites that may or may not be here for long. What it reveals is a veritable flood of new educational technologies. It leads me to question if academic librarian educators are managing to keep up with all these new resources. Are we taking time to investigate and explore these new tools or are we falling back on our old familiar standbys? Based on some time I spent listening to an instructional technology discussion at ALA Midwinter, I think it might be the latter rather than the former.



Academic librarian educators can’t underestimate the importance of staying current with what is obviously an explosion of educational technology tools. They add value to what we may accomplish in our interactions with students, particularly when we need to leverage technology for out-of-the-classroom learning and interaction. They are also essential as a bridge to building relationships with faculty colleagues. Faculty have even less time than we do for exploring good educational technology tools. That creates an opportunity for academic librarians to connect with faculty on a level beyond providing help with library resources. We can, along with our educational technology colleagues, introduce faculty to tools that will help them save time, improve student learning, allow them to introduce gaming, or reach whatever goals they’ve established for themselves as educators. The information is out there. We need to grasp it, and then run with it—and share what we learn. That’s where our community really excels. Let’s just push ourselves a little harder. We’ll get there.

Full article at link. 


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