Learning Commons Think Tank

with Dr. Loertscher, Professor, San José State University:
Hosted by Texas Woman's University
TLA Conference, Austin, Texas
April, 2015

Introductions
David played his video. Scenario: Superintendent wants to get rid of all school librarians because “everything is on the Web.”

Elevator speech: One sentence:
  • Help patrons extract information from increasingly available sources
  • No longer a warehouse of books; warehouse of information
  • Blessed to have resources – will overwhelm our students
  • Librarians teach the process of accessing the correct information

David: This is a terrible video because it only tells half the story. It only talks about the “stuff.”

What is the central function of school libraries?
Community – what is the community doing in the library?
The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes

Video is about consumption of knowledge rather than building and creating knowledge together.

What are the goals of the library/learning commons? Critical thinking/problem solving/creativity/innovation/entrepreneurship

Revision of the school librarians taxonomies – April 10th – major event – Apple launched the watch
New world of human and machine interface – “informate” rather than automate - interfaces with whole human being for real-time data
Goggle’s hope that the consumer will take the device to the next level.

Learning Commons
Learning is the central purpose of the place (formerly called “libraries”).
Commons = market place/social meeting place/idea exchange/participatory place
National studies only go so far – You must make a difference in teaching and learning in YOUR school.

Barber Study: The Power of Coteaching
Coteaching definition – coplan the objectives in advance/co-implement/co-assess
Increase student learning outcomes


How does classroom-library collaboration differ from coteaching with two classroom teachers? When one is a librarian and one is a classroom teacher, coteaching involves two educators with different expertise/skills.

Technology focus
Digital Citizenship
Possible real-world experience

Monthly/Annual Report
Quantitative data is not enough; need qualitative data, too
Put your coteaching efforts at the top of your reports – build champions among classroom teachers (teach them to sing your praises)

Telling the story not just stats – giving examples
Including student learning outcomes (First year I got feedback from my principal: “I didn’t know this was going on in the library.”)

In a context of prescribed curriculum, what can a school librarian do?
Collaborate behind the scenes.
The librarian raises the level of student learning.
Library is the only place where students have freedom to pursue their own interests.

Project Management Team leader says first time every student has turned in an assignment.

Start with content knowledge

Challenge #1 - Strategies
Report: number of times you cotaught and made a difference
Monthly report or after every coteaching success
Teacher/librarian/principal sharing at faculty meetings

Grade students’ work! How else will you know if your teaching had an impact on student learning?

Virtual Learning Commons
Web site: Curate collaborative work
Keep a “museum” of previous work – organize by discipline or teacher

Physical Learning Commons
Portland, Maine
$40 million elementary school – Grade 3 – 5 – story pit/makerspaces/video production/study rooms/everything is flexible/movable

Participatory Space
  • Various size groups
  • Wheels on tables
  • Flexible shelving
  • Weeding
  • Former computer tables convert to larger tables (Large screen TV where kids can plug in and collaborate)
  • Recharge café bar
  • Remove carpet
  • Genius Bar – “Students as Leaders” – “Geek Squad” – “Nerd Herd” – “Cybersecurity Group”
  • Extension – Peer Tutoring – homework help – recruit from student council or key club
  • Rotating classroom collection

Makerspaces
Portable makerspaces – rotating through the district
Add metacognitive activity – journal the process/reflection
Track record of impact
Repurposing old technology
  • card catalogs: each drawer recharging one phone at a time
  • Typewriters/overhead projectors
  • Old iPads – sign-in sheets for printing/library passes

Participatory Space for Teachers
Make the Learning Commons the place for adult learning, too
  • Host clubs that teachers sponsor
  • Increase invitations: for, poetry reading, musical events, drama, library events…
  • Can you set up an expectation of experimentation? Failure or success?

Staffing the Library
Every specialist should be on the staff of the Learning Commons: reading teacher, tech integration specialist, counselor, College & Career specialist, transition coordinator (between instructional levels) – coordinating collaborative efforts

SAMAR Model
Boosting rigor

San Francisco School District – Google for Education – ten years to achieve BYOD environment

Maker Model
User/Thinker/Experimenter/Creator

Solving real-world problems
Apps – challenge to get an app on the Apple Watch

Year of the Learning Commons: http://www.schoollearningcommons.info/
Look for additional ideas in Teacher Librarian

Make sure to have celebrations of all the outstanding cotaught projects that students have accomplished in the Learning Commons – use social and traditional media to promote.



For more information contact: reader.david@gmail.com or jmoreillon@twu.edu

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