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by Kelly Reierson and Lissa Davies
As we work to build twenty-first learning skills...collaboration, creation and communication we need to look at how we can support this by creating an environment that meets that need. The Learning Commons concept takes libraries that one step further to support digital students and learning.
What is a Learning Commons?
“Keechlin, Rosenfeld and Loerttscher define it as “a learning “space” that is both physical and virtual – a place to experiment, practice, celebrate, learn, work and play. Gino Bondi, in his blog post Our Learning Commons: One “How To” for 21st Century Learning says that “It is a transformation that calls for physical, virtual and, pedagogical changes as well as a shift in mindset for all players.”
How is it different from the traditional school library?
Traditional school libraries are seen as quiet places full of printed books, people reading and librarians ‘shushing’. A Learning Commons takes school libraries into the 21st century. Yes, we still have printed text, and there are still people reading, and there is still a librarian, however the Learning Commons has so much more! There is a hum of activity with students talking, learning, searching for information on a variety of devices, focusing on content creation and synthesizing of information. The Learning Commons becomes the hub and the heart of the school; a place for teachers and teacher-librarians to collaborate to build inquiry learning and critical thinking skills in students; a place for technology integration and experimentation; a place that is ‘owned’ by students and staff alike.
Watch this Slideshare to see how one high-school librarian moved her library into a Learning Commons space:
Lissa and I hope that you will join us in a discussion on the learning commons. Tell us what you think!
Is it necessary to change the physical space to create a Learning Commons?
How does the role of the Teacher Librarian change in the Learning Commons model? Where does one start when making the transition?
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Many schools offer literacy programs in and around Edmonton, Alberta, but Dunluce Public School at 11735 162nd Ave might be the only school that combines a reading club with breakfast.
Teachers say that offering breakfast is a vital part of the project, but that the chance to read with an adult is what makes the reading program so effective. “In our demographic, we have families that don’t speak English at home,” says Charlene Banjac, a Grade 2 French immersion teacher and volunteer. “Literacy is so important and some of these children haven’t had the families that were able to read with them at home in those crucial years.”
The program is incredibly effective. According to teachers and parent volunteers, students who couldn’t write full sentences are writing pages of paragraphs after about a year of extra help.
Read more about Dunluce’s program here.
Celebrating Science and Technology can be accessed at http://clatoolbox.ca/casl/slicv31n3/313cover.html