I am here to suggest that the traditional school library model, as we understand it, may no longer be the correct educational model. The learning commons model provides the opportunity to start a new discussion based on 21st century skills and global citizenship and our goals for our students. I’ve been asked to have a conversation with you today about the learning commons model.
Information has changed. Locating information, evaluating it, synthesizing it, making new meaning from it and publishing to the world are new requirements in the global work force. The most exciting discussions of the day revolve around education and the response to this massive, dislocating shift. Critical thinking skills are now as important as content. Curriculum content needs to incorporate new information skills in order to be relevant in preparing students for the new world of work. Changing the information model from that of a traditional school library to a learning commons can be a very powerful cornerstone in supporting teachers and students in this shift.
In time of great change people cling to familiar perceptions. Everybody clearly understands what a library is, what it does, and how to use it. That clear understanding may actually be an impediment to they types of learning and activities that could be occurring. Few people understand what it means to be a learning commons, what it does or how to use it. This uncertainty is our greatest opportunity. Our understanding and fondness for libraries runs deep. Libraries are iconic. They are where we store our cultural knowledge. Libraries have different missions. There are academic libraries, libraries of record (which are truly classic libraries with the mission to maintain exhaustive archives). The mission of school libraries is different. It is to support curriculum. The old storage model is not longer relevant because we can access things digitally that, previously, we had to house. Accessing those now digital resources requires new skills. Evaluating resources from multiple sources requires new skills. We have moved beyond the safety of curated material.
Princeton Evolution of activity and skills The term “library” firmly rooted. Everyone knows what it means. But there is so much more. Changing the name creates uncertainty. This uncertainty is our biggest advantage. Holding us back Library is a place for books
Is it right to call this a telephone? The power of this device transcends what we think of as a phone. Yes, it is used to call people, but it does so much more. The same can be said for libraries.
Not about “getting” information anymore. Social - for social group study, and in our case this also includes social media The learning commons is the informational and media consulting and collaboration center for the school and community. Librarians facilitate access to and use of new and evolving technologies. Think of them as your chief information officers and global communication specialists. WHY transition? This is a systemic change in the way a school handles information and media literacy. It moves the school from traditional modes of thinking about information to new paradigms for thinking about information. It signals a commitment to professional development and re-thinking curriculum to incorporate this new paradigm. Huge support to teachers who need to deliver content as well as deal with this changing environment. Moving them from telephones to mobile devices.
Promoting, managing, training and guiding new forms of reading for faculty and students
Research is unequivocal. Students learn best in collaborative groups. A library is for quiet, individual study. A LC is by definition a place dedicated to creative group learning. It does not have to be quiet. Tell Jazz Band story.
Data visualization from FB Teaching the critical thinking skills to evaluate information from global sources. To triangulate the authority of information and media in all formats. Strategies and search tricks that empower them to be effective, efficient and independent users of information. Beyond simple consumption. To critically engage with information to make new meaning.
A library is a place where you go for information and resources. A learning commons is where you go for information and resources, many that that you don’t know about yet. Librarians help organize the information world for teachers and students. . It’s purpose is to support faculty in acquiring new skills to transform their curriculum for the global economy. A partner and facilitator for personal learning networks.
New platforms, tools to accomplish learning and sharing goals. Learning commons is the place bringing these to faculty and students and guiding them in their use. Helping community make sense of it all and manage it in powerful ways.
The learning commons is central to helping faculty and students locate and evaluate information from the digital world, but also understand their unique responsibilities as digital citizens in this world. This is a new role for librarians and has evolved into a core mission. Information and digital citizenship are the curriculum areas of the librarian, and the learning commons model has been developed to serve this mission.
Not about the shhh anymore
The learning commons is also an online 24/7 support platform for faculty and students. It is a model for how faculty and students can organize their own information world and network. It contains diverse tools and platforms to help them and the support for learning and incorporating them into their regular practice. Moving toward LibGuides to build out our web presence. Have added FB and Twitter as well.
A new mission The learning commons is committed to building student skills in finding, evaluating and transforming information to deepen understanding and knowledge. This is an open environment where collaboration, community, innovation and creativity are supported and encouraged.
Global Information from diverse sources Information from diverse points of view Media production
Partnering with students as guides Independent global learners New skills Transfer of ownership
This teacher understands education. Transferring content from her text/head to the students. This model implies a change in expectations. This teacher will resist change. Mourning, fear for the books. The library is still there. It is an important part of something bigger that includes a wider range of resources, skills and activities than found in a library. Skills and new literacies are as valued as content. A paradigm shift for educators. Not going to change her. She is very happy, leave her alone, thank you very much. Change in model implies change in expectations for teachers Change in power structure - teachers and librarians as a team guiding students The learning commons is a partner to teachers and students in this new environment. This is the new BRAND. Curriculum development Skills Professional development
Electronic Book Library Cushing Academy Mobile devices and tablets
College prep HS, 20 miles west of Boston Facility, collection, staffing model
Technology was low priority, books were king.
Before we could change the program we had to change ourselves. Great support from HR in re-writing job descriptions. Staff buy in - they really liked having areas of expertise, specific goals, and relevant performance reviews.
Threw out 2 20’ containers of junk to create space Wrote grants for furniture to help re-brand space and influence use
We went from silent, individual study to embracing collaboration and creativity. Worked on building our virtual presence and continue to innovate.
$18,000 Grant for digital reference collection - replacing print with digital, allowing for access as well as text-to-speech and other accommodations
Last year 108,612 this year so far 90,581 student visits. Assess our performance via multiple data points