Monday, January 26, 2009

The Learning Commons - Reinventing School Libraries and Computer Labs

Professor David V. Loertscher from San Jose State University presented this session on how our school libraries need to be transformered to meet the ever growing and changing needs of 21st century learners. It certainly requires 180 degree thinking from how libraries have been run for many, many years. He compared the need for such a change in thinking to how Google has differientiated itself from Microsoft is revolutionizing the model by which tech product is developed.

The Microsoft Model is "if WE build it they will come". The Google Model is "if THEY build it, THEY will actually use it".

Why change the traditional model?

1 - Students are GOING to Google around us anyway - why not use it to our advantage.
2 - Students are networking socially - why not use it to our advantage.
3 - School Libraries are the largest rooms in the building and are usually connected to the internet - whay not use it to our advantage.

Step 1
Virtual Transformation - Instead of the Library's page on the website being one way information only turn it into a giant conversation where students and teachers can collaborate and share ideas. All teachers should have blogs and students are taught to organize and master their own information by having their own iGoogle pages with RSS feeds to their teachers' blogs and websites.
Step 2
Physical Transformation - Divide the space into an open commons that can be rearranged as needed to accomodate varying group needs. This area should be run by para professionals, have its own calendar and house a demonstration center. The other major part of the library should be an experimental learning center that becomes the hub of all school improvment initiatives. All professional development, action research, and idea experimentation happens here. This area also has its own calendar and is manned by the librarian (or cybrarian) and technology coach - who spend their time co-teaching flexibily scheduled classes.

In the library of the 21st century their are no rules regarding checking out books - what a student feels like they need, and can carry, a student gets. Filters for information should be applied to the individual's needs and not the group, with students' needs being placed first - from there you work backwards into how the organization will handle the change - 180 degrees!


KK Cherney said...

I love the idea of the collaboration page. I am on it.

Melissa Ross said...

KK is so amazing. I think our library is already headed in this direction. We are lucky to have someone who has forward thinking goals for our students!

dayle timmons said...

I love the label cybrarian!