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Learning Commons

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Learning Commons
Jody Wilson
April 19, 2016

Published in: Education
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Learning Commons

  1. 1. LEARNING COMMONS A REFLECTION ON THE JOURNEY
  2. 2. "COME WITH ME NOW, ON A JOURNEY THROUG H SPACE
  3. 3. SPENDING TECH FUNDS SUGGESTIONS: ▸ Consult with staff and create a shared vision ▸ Consider the application of the devices ▸ Reflect on what devices will best support your program goals and the goals of the school ▸ Purchase a balance of tech that best serves creativity versus tech that is more conducive to research ▸ Be aware of the lifespan of the devices and whether or not they are supported ▸ A mounted projector and electronic whiteboard or a Smart TV is worth the investment
  4. 4. SPENDING TECH FUNDS IPAD CONSIDERATIONS.... ▸Photos, and especially video, take a lot of memory. Buy the devices with more GB. ▸Many apps are also large files. Be careful not to overload your devices or they will crash or run slowly. ▸Some apps appear to be free, but in the bulk purchasing plan they are not. There are ongoing costs with iPads and acquiring new apps. ▸iPads do not run Flash videos. This is limiting. ▸Some updates wipe student work. Some students wipe student work. Some district tech support wipe student work. All of which can happen when you are not present. Upload and dump as frequently as possible. ▸Dropbox is great for storage. Create a school YouTube channel for viewing and sharing.
  5. 5. TECH CONSIDERATIONS HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20......... ▸Too many iPads, not enough computers or laptops ▸Many fun tech tools require USB plug-ins and portability, such as the Makey Makey electronics or the digital microscopes. Laptops are ideal for these purposes. ▸Smartboard expensive and unnecessary, also requires expensive Smart projector. Smart software and computer operating system updates can clash and crash. ▸Asbestos in the walls means a long wait for mounted technology to be installed ▸Hide. Your. Cables.
  6. 6. FURNITURE THE GRANDIOSE
  7. 7. FURNITURE BUDGET FURNITURE CONSIDERATIONS ▸Virtually and physically visit other spaces to gather ideas. ▸Your vision of how you want the space to be used will keep you focused on what you need and want. ▸Weed. Declutter. Weed some more. Get rid of shelves. Create as much open space as possible. ▸Employ creative (but legal!) accounting to get around $500 limit. ▸Having furniture custom built or refurbished is often much cheaper than buying new. The district carpenters are amazing! ▸Every space is unique. There isn't a formula for LC furnishings.
  8. 8. FURNITURE CONSIDERATIONS HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20 ▸Kids are very hard on furniture. Invest in quality items. Exploding bean bag chairs are messy. ▸Once you get couches, students will never want to sit at tables again. ▸Lightweight furniture is important, as you will be dragging it around regularly. ▸Clipboards are great substitutes for tables and negate the need for so many tables. ▸Work orders take a while to happen. And then one day, work men appear without warning. Be prepared. ▸Some furniture is perhaps a bit too fun and creates management issues.
  9. 9. THE METAMORPH OSIS
  10. 10. SCHEDULING LEARNING COMMONS
  11. 11. SCHEDULING STRATEGIES (THAT WORKED OR FLOPPED!)▸Cancel classroom book exchanges in favour of multiple open book exchanges ▸Use prep blocks solely for maker spaces, tech skills or other teaching. Book exchanges are not part of prep time. ▸Set up an iPad or computer so students can sign books in and out on their own throughout the day ▸Hold daily lunch clubs that use maker materials, technology, etc. ▸Invite teachers to teach in the Learning Commons when you are not teaching ▸Create research stations that students can use anytime through the the day that are printer enabled.
  12. 12. LUNCH AND RECESS CLUBS
  13. 13. SCHEDULING HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20..... ▸The LC model that many school districts follow does not include the TL having prep classes. Apples and oranges. Don't beat yourself up if you can't manage to do what some school in Texas is doing. ▸This is your teaching space. A secondary Learning Commons is very different from an elementary one, and elementary spaces vary greatly in size and shape. Do what works for you in the space you are in. ▸Consider your learners and their needs above all. If it is too noisy and distracting to have 2 classes in the space at the same time, don't do it. Find a compromise that allows as many users as you are comfortable with. ▸When making big changes to scheduling, do it on a three month "experiment" basis. A year is a long time to live with situation that isn't ideal.
  14. 14. DIGITAL DEVELOPING YOUR
  15. 15. DIGITAL PRESENCE A WHOLE LOT OF 20/20 ▸Consider your audience: your students, parents and staff. We are a highly diverse district. ▸You may very well be creating a blog, website, wiki, etc. that nobody (meaning parents, colleagues, students) read. Back to point #1. ▸Find the medium that your community does access. In my case, it's a Youtube channel. Consider doing a parent and student survey about their needs or wants in terms of digital communication. Back to point #2. ▸Before you set out to make a website, make sure it is compatible with various operating systems and can be viewed on a variety of devices.
  16. 16. TEXT FINAL THOUGHTS ▸ Regularly connect with at least one buddy (colleague new to the LC model) and one mentor (TL with more LC experience). Both have perspectives that are so valuable ▸ Use technology to serve the educational purpose. Not the other way around. Is what you are doing educationally valuable? Is the technology enhancing the teaching and learning or impeding it? ▸ This is a journey, not a destination. Just like clothes shopping, some things look great but they just don't fit you. ▸ Be prepared for more noise and mess. Let go. It's wonderful and exciting to share in the enthusiasm of the new things on offer to the students. ▸ Get your staff involved in the space as much as possible, especially to help out with extra- curricular clubs. This is not a one man show! ▸ Keep experimenting and let students guide the direction of the clubs and maker spaces.
  17. 17. AND LASTLY, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT GRADE 7 BOYS GET UP TO IN MAKERS CLUB! Says the TL who didn't.
  18. 18. Maple Green Elementary Jody Wilson

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