“Tech Tuesday” all started with seeing a need for instructional technology integration support at my campus. At the time, we didn’t have a dedicated person who was able to provide training and support on how to use technology tools to support instructional goals. Since the start of the pandemic, librarians and teachers everywhere have been trying to figure out how their roles would need to evolve to embrace virtual learning, blended learning, and in-person learning post-pandemic. This was a pivotal moment for me that changed the trajectory of my leadership journey. I wanted to address the needs of my staff by providing targeted support on impactful technology integration. This was my opportunity to change how my role as a librarian would impact my learning community.
Creating Tech Tuesday
A plan began to form in my mind for supporting our staff. What if I provided a weekly “Tech Tuesday” session that was meaningful and relevant for my staff, based on campus goals and staff needs? In short, 30-minute sessions, I set out to provide support, build relationships, and offer collaboration opportunities to meet the needs of my staff. I began by brainstorming a list of questions I would ask my staff to assess their needs, interests, and ability levels. Then I set up a meeting with my campus principal. My principal’s support was essential to the success of “Tech Tuesdays.” I created a sample needs assessment survey, a suggested timeline of topics, and I pitched the idea to my principal. With their support and feedback, I got the green light to move forward and meet with my staff weekly.
Setting Tech Tuesday up for Success
At first, I was worried about how my staff would react. I didn’t want this to be one more thing teachers “had to do.” My goal was for my staff to see that the practical ideas I had to offer were valuable, relevant, and could be used immediately. Respecting their time was crucial, so I rarely canceled my sessions and ensured that I didn’t exceed the 30 minutes scheduled each week. I approached each session from the perspective of how teachers might use a strategy in a variety of ways to reach a goal.
What Tech Tuesday Looks Like
Sessions weren’t focused on tools but instead focused on the instructional goal. During each session, teachers would have hands-on application of the tool or strategy from the students’ perspective. Then they would “put on their teacher hat” and see what the tool/strategy looked like from the teachers’ perspective. I included collaboration time and sharing of ideas just like we would want to see students doing in the classroom. I also gave them time for reflection about what they were learning, what they wanted to see more of, and what wasn’t working.
Certified professional librarians are essential to building a strong school community. When librarians are empowered to lead and provide professional development for staff, collaboration among members of the learning community increases, and teachers are empowered to use technology in impactful ways.