Area of Interest #1 – From Library to Library Learning Commons (LLC)
When I heard the term “Library Learning Commons” in my first TL course, I had no idea what it meant. Would I have to overhaul the library? Would I have to suddenly become a techie? Was I really ready to take on the TL role? However, after the first few tentative weeks in my library, I was able to take a step back and reflect on what an LLC was… What I realized was that I didn’t have to gut the library. Instead, I needed to “adjust” and “update” the library to make it more relevant to today’s technology and students.
According to “Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada 2014”,
“A learning commons is a whole school approach to building a participatory learning community. The library learning commons is the physical and virtual collaborative learning hub of the school. It is designed to engineer and drive future-oriented learning and teaching throughout the entire school. Inquiry, project/problem-based learning experiences are designed as catalysts for intellectual engagement with information, ideas, thinking, and dialogue. Reading thrives, learning literacies and technology competencies evolve, and critical thinking, creativity, innovation and playing to learn are nourished. Everyone is a learner; everyone is a teacher working collaboratively toward excellence.”
The more that I read about LLCs, the more I felt that the transformation was achievable and would be a positive change for the school library. As I got to know how students were using the library, I started wondering about how I could make the space more welcoming and inviting to more staff and students. I began to visit other libraries, talk to other TLs and ask my Administration about making changes.
I was curious about Maker Spaces but didn’t know how to get started, what to include or where to put them. Not being tech savvy, I didn’t feel ready to bring in tech-based kits that I didn’t have a clue how to use. Some libraries were bringing in LEGO, KEVA planks, board games and puzzles, but I wasn’t completely convinced of how they would fit into my secondary library. How was I supposed to use them in my teaching? So, buying Maker Space kits and technology games was put on hold.
Now, nearly 2 years later, with new furniture, new technology and less shelving (from weeding out thousands of books), I will be looking into re-configuring the space to provide students with a greater variety of collaborative spaces, mobile furniture and multimedia tools to reflect on, extend and share their learning.
In addition to being learners, students are also creators and innovators and therefore, need a space to make new meaning of what they have learned. When properly funded and supported, libraries have the ability to provide students with access to a variety of devices (e.g. desktop computers, laptops, iPads, green screens) and programs/apps (e.g. GoogleDocs, Book Creator, iMovie) to share their knowledge. “The library is more than a place to store books. With its network of computer labs, technology centers and digital media classrooms, the library is a center of 21st-century learning.” (High School)
Before the age of the Internet, books in libraries were the source of information. Without question, fiction novels and graphic novels are still in high demand in school libraries. Not so much for non-fiction books… As research has moved online, students need to be taught how to think critically about what they see, read and hear. And in fact, the library is the ideal place to teach students these Digital Literacy skills that can be used in all subject areas. Students can demonstrate their level of understanding in each of the 6 Core Competencies as outlined in the BC’s New Curriculum: Communication, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Positive Personal & Cultural Identity, Personal Awareness and Responsibility, and Social Responsibility. (Core)
It has been encouraging to see more students make use of the new additions to the library this year. I am glad to hear staff say that they appreciate the changes. More classes have definitely come in to use the library and I am reaching out to more teachers to invite them in as well. I am also considering asking for student input about what they would like to see in the library space. After all, “Libraries Are For Everyone”. (McCorkindale)
Area of Interest #2 – Digital Literacy
These days, most of our students have a smartphone and can find the answer to almost any question simply by Googling it. In a world of “must-know-now”, many students don’t want to go through the steps of figuring out something anymore because it’s easier to just find the answer. But, as Will Richardson says,
“Access doesn’t automatically come with an ability to use the Web well. We aren’t suddenly self-directed, organized, and literate enough to make sense of all the people and information online — or savvy enough to connect and build relationships with others in safe, ethical, and effective ways.” (Why School?)
The Richmond School District’s “Common Sense Technology Use” document, distributed to all students at the beginning of the school year, reminds each of them to “be safe, a thinker, a good digital citizen, respectful and accountable”. These characteristics are also reflected in the Digital Literacy Framework outlined by the BC Ministry of Education which states that “Digital literacy is an important skill to have in today’s technology based world.”
In these first 2 years of being a TL, I have been interested in figuring out what “digital literacy” is and how to teach it to students. When classes come into the library, I teach them how to use Destiny to find books and to choose the appropriate databases. It’s been nice to see that some students who are working on projects now remember what I said in the fall! These lessons lead to discussions about avoiding plagiarism and creating a Works Cited list. It is great to have the support of teachers who also encourage (and sometimes require) that their students use print sources only, or at least as a starting point.
However, there are some students who go online immediately. It is these students who need the extra guidance about critically thinking about which websites they are visiting based on a Google search. For the most part, they are aware that Wikipedia is not reliable, but then I can direct them to the References at the end as a better starting point. We talk about the CRAP test. I would like to be able to do this in greater detail by having students actually go to some websites that don’t meet the criteria. I have curated a list of reliable sites on my library’s website for both students and staff to use.
I would like to work further on improving my lessons on these areas of digital literacy so that more students will see the value in them and see how incorrect information can be so professionally presented, including how easy it is to create fake news these days with programs like “Face2Face” and “Adobe VoCo”.
NOTE: Although I’ve identified my Keywords and Topics, I expect there to be overlap and changes as I learn more about these areas of interest.
Adobe Creative Cloud. “#VoCo. Adobe MAX 2016 (Sneak Peeks).” YouTube, 4 Nov 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3l4XLZ59iw
Common Sense Technology Use, School District No. 38 (Richmond), 2017, www.sd38.bc.ca/pub/techuse.pdf
Core Competencies, BC Ministry of Education, curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies
Digital Literacy, BC Ministry of Education, www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/teach/teaching-tools/digital-literacy
From School Library to Library Learning Commons. BCTLA, 2017, bctladotca.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/from-school-library-to-library-learning-commons.pdf
High School Libraries Offer Students Skills for the Future. Cherry Creek School District #5, www.cherrycreekschools.org/News/Pages/highschoollibraries.aspx
Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for Library Learning Commons in Canada 2014, Canadian Library Association, 2014, llsop.canadianschoollibraries.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/llsop.pdf
McCorkindale, Rebecca. Hafuboti. hafuboti.com/2017/02/02/libraries-are-for-everyone/
Niessner, Matthias. “Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos (CVPR Oral).” YouTube, 17 Mar 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohmajJTcpNk
Richardson, Will. Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere. Kindle ed., TED Conferences, 2018.