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Throughout the years, the function of the school library has changed. While books remain at the core of a library, technology has pushed the library to the forefront of learning at all age levels.
From apps to learning labs, technology is a part of today’s library.
At John Hardin High School, the library has a mobile iPad lab to use throughout the school through Wi-Fi.
“Suddenly learning is engaging and fascinating,” said Jan O’Daniel, library media specialist at JHHS.
Freshman Myron Grant loves using the iPad to learn geography. He used an app to improve his knowledge of a map of the United States. The interactive app not only shows students how to do something but cheers for them when they get it right, something O’Daniel said the students get a big kick out of.
Some students perform better with something hands-on, such as an interactive iPad app, than with a book, O'Daniel said.
Myron had a more difficult time learning the states when he was sitting in front of a blank map, trying to remember where all the states were supposed to go, he said.
The app with an interactive map pulls the states out one at a time and shows the students where they go after they identify them.
“It clicks to my mind and I understand,” Myron said.
O’Daniel said other teachers have used the iPads for science and language skills.
Jessica Hundley, Library Media Specialist at Bluegrass Middle School also sees the benefits of hands-on learning through technology. At the Bluegrass library and media center, students can use iPods, Nooks and laptops. Hundley also has written a grant requesting a mobile iPad lab.
During certain times of the day students also can use their own personally owned devices.
The library media specialists in Hardin County Schools also are school technology coordinators, Hundley said.
She still has avid readers who like to hold and touch a book, but others are more reluctant to read. When they are allowed to use a Nook or other e-reader, the technology makes them want to read more, Hundley said.
Technology also is being used in libraries with the youngest of students. At Panther Academy, Amy Truitt uses a smart board in the library to make lessons more interactive for the preschoolers and kindergarteners there.
Soon, computers will be added in the library and she will teach students how to search for the book or type of book they want from the library.
They also will be able to use computer games based on books or go to author websites to play games based on their books, Truitt said.
Most students don’t even have to be taught to use the smart board, Truitt said. They automatically move things on the board with their fingers like other touch technology.
The library media specialists also keep resources avaiable for students to use on the computers. O’Daniel posts research links on the library's web page to help the students see which websites are good and which ones should be avoided.
There’s even a link that cites their work for them so they don't have to sift through a handbook.
Also in the library, Hundley has helped students Skype with parents deployed in the military and classes have used Skype with authors.
Hundley sees the technology as an incentive to learning for the students.
“It brings a sparkle to whatever they’re learning,” she said.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or email@example.com.