Internet and the school librarian: a description of one course
by Prof. Edna Aphek
2002 I gave a course on The School Librarian and The Internet
to Librarians, at the David Yellin College of Education, in
The David Yellin College runs a three year program for librarians,
at the end of the program the students receive a diploma and
can serve either as librarians at one of the public libraries,
or as school librarians.
The studies are conducted once a week, for a whole day, at
It was my first experience in teaching librarians and the
objective was to expose the librarians in their last year
of studies to innovative educational theories and to the marriage
between these theories and the use of the internet.
However, as I'll show in this paper, the emphasis, in light
of the students' requests, tended to shift from the theoretical
basis to practical hands- on use of the Internet. When I prepared
for the course I was told that the students were acquainted
with the various uses of the Internet, in practice, I learnt
that most of the learners had very little exposure, let alone
thorough knowledge of how to use the Internet.
The paper describes the course, the students' reactions and
requests, the assignment given to the students and their comments
and my concluding remarks.
Course: the participants
David Yellin College of Education is one of oldest teachers
colleges in Israel.
Situated in Jerusalem, the college is named after David Yellin,
teacher, linguist and researcher. The student population in
the college as in Israel in general, is very varied and ranges
from secular Jewish students to orthodox and a few ultra orthodox
students, to non Jews and a very large group of Arab students.
Coexistence studies comprise a big part of the David Yellin
In the course there were 18 students, Jews only, secular,
religious and orthodox, Israeli born and relatively new comers.
Most of the students were fluent Hebrew speakers, with the
exception of K. who is an English speaker and her command
of Hebrew is very weak. The students in the course came from
various cities, Jerusalem and Eilat, the Kibbutzim, (communal
settlements), the Moshavim (another form of communal settlements),the
settlements and small towns.
Unlike what I was told not all the participants were school
librarians about 1/5 were librarians in public libraries.
I first designed the course, I met with the director of the
library at the college and with the academic adviser to the
Librarian Program. The course objective, so I was told, was
to expose the students to the new role of the school librarian
in face of the innovative educational theories and the new
In light of the above I wrote the following course rationale:
The new technologies have created a new situation of exposure
and accessibility to huge amounts of information which necessitates
the use of innovative methods of researching, finding, evaluating
and processing information. Many functions in the school and
amongst them that of the school librarian are undergoing major
changes. The librarian is becoming an expert in searching
and finding, analyzing and evaluating information and an integrator
and guide to the various resources of information. As such,
the role of the librarian at school in the information age
is extremely important.
I believe that the librarian, especially in the information
age, should be knowledgeable in the new educational theories
and trends; the school librarian should inform on regular
basis, the school's pedagogic body of the most recent developments
in education, support the teachers and help them in integrating
information sources while preparing for their classes, assist
students in their inquiry and in project writing, inform and
help implement the rules of copyright, should be instrumental
in emphasizing and implementing Net ethics, caution teachers,
parents and students about the dangers of the Internet and
teache them about net safety and inform teachers about educational
competitions and awards and how to apply for them.
topics: the librarian new role in the information era;
living in the information era: accessibility and information
overload ; multiplicity of information channels ; social and
educational implications; innovative educational theories
and methods, such as inquiry learning, brain based education,
the MI ,cooperative learning, and the information technologies;
evaluating information; competitions, cooperative projects
and innovative initiatives and programs on the web; net ethics
and safety rules; civic learning and the web;
Preparing an information file for school's use. Topics according
to individual or group choice ranging from teaching a specific
subject matter using the web to most recent educational competitions
and awards or innovative educational initiatives and how to
apply to them, and or Internet safe surfing etc.
The course was given in the second semester - spring 2002.
14 sessions, 90 minute each.
I started the course I was under the impression, that all
the students were internet users. After the first two sessions
and short assignments which were based on searching the internet,
I realized that most of the students weren't knowledgeable
as to surfing and searching the net, that very few of them
had access to the internet at home, and that due to the fact
that they came to the college for a full day of classes, once
a week, they had no time to practice Internet usage at the
Though the students were very interested in learning the innovative
educational theories, I decided in light of the aforementioned
students' lack of expertise in using the Net, and in response
to the students request, to shorten the time allotted to the
educational theories , skip some of the other topics, as the
students had already learnt them in other course, and devote
a few sessions to working on the Net and to learning some
basic usage practices and guidelines as far as using the Internet
in education is concerned.
a feedback session the students expressed their great satisfaction
with the hands-on sessions.
believe that by the end of the course, all the students, except
for two who were absent a lot, and one who was totally detached,
all the students acquired much of the internet skills: searching
for information, evaluating information,(which they learnt
also in another course), using e mail, participating in forums,
and being active (to some degree only) in mailing lists.
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