Holistically integrating ICT with the help of the Library

Originally created and shared by Deborah McCallum on https://sites.google.com/site/guidetoholisticeducation/librarianship:

The purpose of this post is to provide examples of holistic instructional strategies involving information technology in any learning environment. Rather than solely focusing on objectives, assessment outcomes and a heirarchy of subject matter, which are important, the role of the Teacher-Librarian is to help learners focus more on building new questions, resources, ideas and knowledge together surrounding enduring themes. The following section will discuss holistic learning strategies including knowledge building, makerspaces, inquiry based learning and content curation.

Holistic Learning in the Learning Commons

Librarianship is about providing holistic learning opportunities for all learners.

The Learning Commons represents a holistic model of the traditional library. It’s purpose is to foster collaborative engagement to cultivate and empower communities of learners. The role of the Learning Commons is essential to supporting diverse communities of learners in flexible ways.

The purpose of Librarianship goes much deeper than the provision of resources. It goes beyond access to information, and toward helping learners know how to find information, how to use it, and how to do this in authentic and holistic ways. Information Technology is a reality of our world, and our students need to understand how to harness its power to follow their own inquiries, build new knowledge, and use information in meaningful ways.

 

Please check out this video introducing the Together for Learning document from the Ontario Library Association: 

YouTube Video

The Learning Commons is a constructivist environment where skills and strategies including Knowledge Building is facilitated. 

Knowledge Building

Knowledge Building is an essential learning process in the 21st century. The Learning Commons provides a framework for knowledge building. 21st Century information technologies facilitate this knowledge building process for our learners in holistic ways. Effective use of information technology increases the potential for global connections and opportunities for collaboration and learning. The Learning Commons fosters a holistic knowledge building process with 21st century technologies.

Today, our young learners appear to be very savvy with technology. However, this does not mean that they understand the knowledge building processes with information technology. The Learning Commons is essential to helping students to enhance their critical thinking, reflection and metacognition skills.

Knowledge Building in the Learning Commons

Makerspaces

Makerspaces offer holistic ways of integrating information technologies in innovative ways. In a makerspace, learners can be creative and collaborative. This is a safe place where learners can truly explore new ideas, and engage in meaningful activities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Bloggingreflections & Book Reviews
  • Book Trailers on iMovie
  • Twitter accounts for characters in a book
  • Publishing stories and poetry into an eBook
  • Newsletters& website dedicated to authors and books, characters too!
  • Apps and programs including ‘Explain Everything’, ‘Haiku Deck’; Google Docs & iBookswhere students can explain what they are doing in math to teach another group of kids, or show to their parents.
  • Publish work anonymously
  • Robotics
  • 3D printing
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Use of various presentation formats to demonstrate a continuum of learning
  • Drama Presentations turned into iMovies with Greenscreen
  • Skype with an author
  • Lego
  • Research
  • Create infographics, or other visual representations of data and information in books and about books
  • Create and record music soundtracks
  • Podcasts

YouTube Video

Makerspaces on Flipboard.

Inquiry Based Learning is yet another holistic learning strategy that can be linked with informational technology to support learning goals. 

 

Inquiry Based Learning

Building a foundation and a framework for literacy cannot be prescribed. It needs to be built in its own holistic way, with authentic strategies that connect with prior experiences and knowledge.

  1. Start with the Big Idea.

As educators we start with the Big Idea or topic. This helps to provide a flexible framework that our learners can work within. However, flexibility and autonomy are key. As we move away from prescribed programs, we see that we need to engage learners in authentic situations that connect back to the big idea. As an educator, we introduce Big Ideas and do mini-lessons, then we provide students with active learning opportunities that promote the learning of skills and concepts. The OLA Together for Learning document outlines key concepts for helping students to take ownership of their own learning processes and engage in rich learning opportunities for deep learning and thinking with their peers, based on where they need to be.

The role of an educator is to help learners hone their questions in ways that connect to the big ideas, make predictions and create the learning tasks that build on prior learning and knowledge. Big ideas and expectations can be clustered together from across the curriculum as they relate to the big idea. Further, it provides students with multiple entry points into learning.

  1. Information Literacy:

The students learn to gather information from a variety of sources, particularly digital sources, and learn how to effectively record this information with new tools ie., Google Apps for Education (GAFE), and culling work samples for their ePortfolios.

But we must go deeper. Throughout the process the thinking is extended, challenged, and modelled in ways that make the thinking visible. Further, we continue to encourage sharing and opportunities for self and peer assessment.

  1. Making Conclusions:

As learners discover patterns, draw patterns, confirm or disprove hypotheses, the role of the Librarian is to help learners to clarify and extend their thinking. Students can gain opportunities to demonstrate understanding, skills and knowledge in new ways that are authentic and meaningful.

  1. Collaboration: 

Collaboration is essential while engaging in inquiry. When learners have opportunities to talk and ‘bounce ideas’ off of each other, they have an inherent ability (with expert facilitation) to figure out exactly where they need to be in their learning with each other. Learners are encouraged to share their ideas together and engage in peer assessment.

  1. Sharing:

Sharing is a key component of the learning process. Not only is this a way to make learning visible, but also provides opportunities for differentiation and multiple entry points for learning. Learners also gain key opportunities to choose how they will represent their learning to others, and then extend their learning to new contexts and learning opportunities, both inside and outside of the learning environment.

Regardless of the holistic strategy we are engaging in, content curation is a necessary digital skill for educators and learners alike.

 

Content Curation for Information Literacy

Content Curation is a necessary skill in today’s world. This is a key component of holistically using information and effectively integrating information technology for our own purposes. The tools that is used depends on the goals of the learner or facilitator.

Created by Deborah McCallum

Created by Deborah McCallum

Diagram created by: Deborah McCallum, 2015, Copyright

Curated Learning Commons Resources on Flipboard.

With this in mind, we can turn our attention to how we can harness these information technologies to support learning in innovative and beneficial ways:

Benefits of Holistically Integrating Information Technology

  • Safe ways to publish student work
  • Motivation for students to get their work done knowing that they can work on it using technology
  • Feelings of Pride and accomplishment for seeing a Published piece of work
  • Sharing with Parents
  • Opportunities for students to teach other students
  • Enrichment Opportunities
  • Knowledge consolidation
  • Creativity and Imagination
  • Differentiation
  • Collaboration and support from other people in the school
  • Gives student work new purposes
  • Transfer ideas to other different classrooms with students teaching other students about new tools they learn about
  • Inspiring new types of learning
  • Ongoing feedback that Teachers can use for formative assessment and evaluation:
  • Assessment For, and OF learning
  • Reinforcing the learning process

 

With this information in mind, please take a moment to engage in this reflection of your learning from this site:

Google Form for Reflection

Google Form for Reflection

Now you can go forth and create something similar for your own situation or learning environment! Do you already have resources that you have developed for your learning environment?

Resources:

Canadian Library Association: http://www.cla.ca//AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home

CLA toolboxhttp://clatoolbox.ca/

Google Sites for Teachershttps://sites.google.com/a/flippededucation.com/flippedevents/home/singapore-google-apps-summit/google-sites-for-teacher-websites-and-student-projects

Ed Site Designhttps://sites.google.com/site/edsitedesign/home

Leading Learning:http://clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/llsop.html

Modulehttps://sites.google.com/site/iteachgsw/module-5-more-actions

School Library Information Portalhttp://www.clatoolbox.ca/slip/

Together for Learning:https://goo.gl/4QR0SY

Visual thinkinghttp://www.epubbud.com/read.php?g=DKXYQJYK&p=1

Deborah McCallum, 2015

Knowledge Building in the Learning Commons

TMC

Knowledge Building in the Learning Commons

 

Knowledge Building in the Learning Commons

By Deborah McCallum

“Knowledge building is perhaps the most important skill of the 21st Century”

McCallum aligns the knowledge building process to major ideas and the standards from the new document Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons published by the Canadian Library Association.

McCallum discusses the role of the Learning Commons in creating a level playing field for a diverse community of learners who benefit from the skill support, the variety of resources and the flexibility offered. Collaboration and strategic planning are key elements to success.

When designing for knowledge building both the cognitive and affective domains are important to the fostering of life long-learners who are critical thinkers, and savvy participants in the digital world. McCallum explains the importance of embedded, cross curricular, information literacy skills and the affect of the learning environment on ability to offer participatory learning experiences for knowledge building.

Discover how knowledge building weaves a common thread through the new standards.

Treasure Mountain Site and Knowledge Building

Top 10 Steps to a 21st Century Learning Commons

There are important elements that need to be considered when trying to create a 21st Century Learning Commons.

Learning Commons in 2014 truly need to be spaces that promote both physical and virtual senses of Safety, Inclusiveness, and Equity. Regardless of your situation, Safety, Inclusiveness, and Equity need to be at the forefront of your planning.

We all know that each Learning Commons is different depending upon its its own challenges and strengths. Variables that will inevitably impact your Library space can include:planning time, budget, furniture, book shelves, in-library and extra-curricular activities, administrative support, collection, tech knowledge, and parent council, to name a few. Therefore, it takes a lot of critical thought to be able to effectively implement an effective 21st Century Library Space within your school.

Top 10 steps to a 21st Century Learning Commons

1. You want your Library space to be as flexible as possible. Create a flexible and responsive space in order to meet the changing needs of your school both now, and in the future. Therefore you may want to further consider furniture that is easily moveable, to enable flexible instructional spaces throughout the day, and the years to come. For instance, easily moveable tables that can easily be maneuvered easily throughout the day, whether for small group work, conferencing, or even placing them into a larger  ‘conference’ type table with a big screen tv equipped with Appletv.

2. Consider having 2 Places for a viewing screen, One set ceiling mounted, and one moveable throughout the day. Enabling different groups to work at different times. This also promotes Assessment For Learning opportunities with our students.

3. Make sure you have electrical outlets everywhere! Consider having up to 8 sockets in various places around your library! You never know when or where you may need to plug in a cluster of iPads for student research involving social networking!

4. Consider iPads or tablets, and/or eReaders for your library. Consider purchasing a small bank of them for centers in your library for research,social mediaGaming, and eReading. Having these devices available for use on a daily basis within your library also promotes Equity and opportunities for students who may not have access at home. Important noteIf you have iPads, get html cables to be able to hook them up to your appletv boxes or projectors, (also consider getting apple tv boxes for wireless usage with your iPads on the smart boards, and big screen tv’s!)

5. Create Meaningful Learning Spaces within your library for students to engage with each other. Find ways to make the spaces feel special for the students, to enable them to co-construct meaning together from online experiences. This could include: iPad clusters (not computer labs!) Chromebook clusters, laptop clusters, mobile device clusters etc., Gaming centres, eReaders, Study Rooms, Research Center, and spaces for Social Media Connections. 

6. Create a Strong Online Presence! Don’t limit yourself to just websites or blogs. Use Twitter, D2L, Google Apps for Education, Edmodo or other Learning Management Systems to connect with your students, staff, and communities.

7. Co-create your own Personalized Digital Citizenship document and usage guidelines for your new 21st Century Library. Do this with families, community, students, and staff. This is an effective way to build a 21st Century Learning Community, and get your 21st Century Library space off to a great start.

8. Consider moving toward a completely flexible schedule, if you can. There are a lot of expectations, needs, wants, and precedent, already ingrained in our libraries, thus making this endeavour challenging at times.

9. Check out America’s first Digital Public Library, Biblio-tech, in San Antonio Texas that opened earlier in 2014. However, I predict we are at least 10 if not more, years away from going 100% digital for our school’s non-fiction collections, but still a great source to check out and be inspired!

10. Last but NOT least, Connect with Families and Community! Provide books, resources, family reading and homework areas. Invite families in during the day. Be transparent. Learn with families, learn with the community. Discover needs and voices in community, cultivate projects and curriculum accordingly – then give the creations and knowledge learned back to the community. Involve FNMI perspectives and cultures equally in our Learning Commons, and give FNMI students an EQUAL voice.

This list is by no means exhaustive! Despite the myriad of variables that the Learning Commons must juggle and maneuver, there are always positive steps that anyone can take – no matter how small – to prepare create your Learning Commons.

What are some of the wonderful things that you have done to create a wonderful 21st Century Learning Commons?

Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Cultivating Knowledge in Virtual Spaces

 

Internet_map_1024

There are vast amounts of ‘blank’ spaces in our virtual worlds. The empty virtual spaces will eventually be filled with knowledge. But who’s knowledge will have the privilege of being promoted?  I believe that this is an issue that we need to be concerned about particularly in light of current events in the issue of ‘net neutrality’.

The blank spaces on the internet are still yet to be claimed, written on, cultivated and claimed. These vast, barren and desolate empty spaces on the internet have the potential to embody multiple and diverse knowledges, worldviews, cultures, norms and values. As educators, we have the power to promote equity and access of the virtual spaces, and to promote opportunity to provide opportunities for disenfranchised cultures to share important knowledge that has been forgotten or eliminated.

With the infinite amounts knowledge and information that we have existing in the world, how will people, governments, and corporations collaborate (or not collaborate) to fill these ’empty’ spaces with that knowledge and information? What knowledges will be most predominant in our cyber spaces?

Educators have an important job to do, to help learners collaborate and create knowledge. Not just consume it. When we merely consume knowledge, we are at risk of being passive learners who take  knowledge at face value. We lose our power and our voices. When we decide to foster these processes in our learners right from the beginning, this will have an undeniable impact on who will have the opportunities to ‘stake out’ claims to these new spaces, to build and grow knowledge.

Societal struggles including those of resources, money power, dominance, colonialism will always continue. The constant opportunities to merely consume information on the internet will always exist. However, no matter what information we are given, we must help our children learn to be critical thinkers, and to question and acknowledge:

  1. that which is not being shared
  2. that knowledge which is hidden, and to
  3. question that knowledge which we are prevented from seeing.  

Creating and collaborating on building knowledge bases about what is important to you, is important. We can help our students to gain skills to navigate this world, gain critical thinking skills, prevent learners from being mere consumers of information, and prevent indoctrination of dominant views.

We also need to provide students with opportunities to contribute to the rich histories of our country, and the rich knowledge of those who lived on this land since time immemorial. Without this knowledge of our history, we have no hope of understanding how knowledge can be any different than what we are told.

  • Just what will this mean for all communities, populations and people who simply do not have the money, the skills or resources to clean up these spaces, imprint the unique and important knowledges, and cultivate new online communities?
  •  Who will get to decide which knowledge is the most important?
  • How can we use virtual spaces with our learners to to promote equity versus power differentials?
  • Who’s knowledge will have the farthest reach?
  • How will this knowledge be used and sold?
  • How can we help our students understand this AND play key roles in contributing their own knowledge bases for the betterment of society?
  • Will the knowledge in Virtual Worlds be able to represent the voices of all people?
  • Is this any different than land claims we have been trying to settle for many years?
  • Will Indigenous voices and knowledge be available?

The virtual world is vast, interconnected, and deep. The critical thinking, understanding of personal bias, worldview, and cultural diversity in our physical and print based world is even more essential to apply within the virtual world. An enormous job for educators and librarians alike. 

As we evolve in our information age away from the structural institutions of our past to new ever-changing movements of our times, our learners will undoubtedly need to research, curate, collaborate, create, present, and share in meaningful ways. Their livelihood will depend on it. Net neutrality will play a big role in how successful we can be with this endeavour.

Educators, including Librarians, have key roles to play in deciding this fate for our learners. This will be based on how we are able to foster the key ways to cultivate knowledge in virtual spaces.

 

 

Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

8 Considerations when Creating a 21st Century Learning Commons

Best-Books

There are important elements that need to be considered when trying to create a 21st Century Library Space. Libraries of the 21st Century truly need to be spaces that promote both physical and virtual senses of Safety, Inclusiveness, and Equity. Regardless of your situation, Safety, Inclusiveness, and Equity need to be at the forefront of your planning.

We all know that each school library is different depending upon its its own challenges and strengths. Variables that will inevitably impact your Library space can include: planning time, budget, furniture, in-library and extra-curricular activities, administrative support, collection, tech knowledge, and parent council, to name a few. Therefore, it takes a lot of critical thought to be able to effectively implement an effective 21st Century Library Space within your school.

8 Important Considerations when creating a 21st Century Learning Commons

  1. You want your Library space to be as flexible as possible! Create a flexible and responsive space in order to meet the changing needs of your school both now, and in the future. Therefore you may want to further consider furniture that is easily moveable, to enable flexible instructional spaces throughout the day, and the years to come. For instance, easily moveable tables that can easily be maneuvered easily throughout the day, whether for small group work, conferencing, or even placing them into a larger  ‘conference’ type table with a Smart Board at the end, or a big screen tv.
  2. Consider having 2 Smart Boards, One set ceiling mounted, and one moveable throughout the day. Enabling different groups to work at different times. This also promotes Assessment For Learning opportunities with our students.
  3. Make sure you have electrical outlets everywhere! Consider having up to 8 sockets in various places around your library! You never know when or where you may need to plug in a cluster of iPads for student research involving social networking!
  4. Consider iPads or tablets, and/or eReaders for your library. Consider purchasing a small bank of them for centers in your library for research, social media, Gaming, and eReading. Having these devices available for use on a daily basis within your library also promotes Equity and opportunities for students who may not have access at home. Important note: If you have iPads, get html cables to be able to hook them up to your Smart Boards, and also consider getting apple tv boxes for wireless usage with your iPads on the smart boards, and big screen tv’s!
  5. Create Great Learning Spaces within your library for students to engage with each other. Find ways to make the spaces feel special for the students, to enable them to co-construct meaning together from online experiences. This could include: iPad clusters (not computer labs!), Gaming centres, eReaders, Study Rooms, Research Center, and spaces for Social Media Connections. 
  6. Create a Strong Online Presence! And don’t limite yourself to just websites or blogs. Use Twitter, Edmodo, Kidmodo, and other Learning Management Systems to connect with your students, staff, and communities.
    1. Also, with your students, staff, and community, consider co-creating your own

    Personalized Digital Citizenship document and usage guidelines for your new 21st Century Library. This is an effective way to build a 21st Century Learning Community, and get your 21st Century Library space off to a great start.

  7. Keeping your sights set on a 21st Century Library also means attending to newest software, eBooks and Apps! Get involved with Professional Learning Networks and get to know the many software, eBooks and apps that can be used for all students.

Despite the myriad of variables that Libraries must juggle and maneuver, there are always positive steps that anyone can start to take to prepare your Library for the 21st Century.

What are some of the wonderful things that you have done to create a wonderful 21st Century Learning Commons?

Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.