Technology is driving change across society, profoundly altering the way we work, play and learn. As we address this challenge, educators across Canada and around the world are re-imagining the potential of the library to be a true learning commons: the physical and virtual collaborative hub within a whole-school approach to participatory learning. In this session we’ll delve into the learning commons approach. We’ll explore strategies for leveraging the library program to engage learners through inquiry, inspire creativity and critical thinking, and build knowledge collaboratively, so that students emerge with the skills they need not only to survive, but to thrive in our increasingly networked world.
Back to School 2016: With the start of the school year imminent, the timing is perfect to share some workshop materials from last year, prepared with my colleague Carlo Fusco (@MrFusco).
Flip Your Library Orientation!
Basic library skills are perfect subjects for short, engaging online videos, available at the point of learning, be that in the library, the classroom or at home. Having a bank of these videos has the added benefit of freeing up face-to-face time for deeper collaborative learning experiences. Let’s learn how to flip your library orientation!
Focus on short lessons that you find yourself repeating frequently.
Repurpose and modify existing content: PowerPoint slides saved as images can be transformed into a video.
Try different styles of video for different purposes: video tours, “talking head” videos, animations and screen capture tutorials are a few of the possibilities.
Keep your videos short. Better to have three short and purposeful videos on different aspects of a skill than expect students to stick with a long and complex lesson.
Be a learner yourself. Give yourself permission to tinker, experiment, fail and learn as you start your flipped library project.
Collaborate within the community of teacher-librarians in your district to create videos for everyone, and share them out.
Partner with teachers on procedural writing, and have students create videos to teach basic library tasks.
Once you are more confident, start using a flipped approach for more specific topics and customized to meet the needs of a particular course or group of students.
Tools, Techniques & Examples
Put Your Slides Online:Repurpose your existing slide presentations and make them more visible online. Upload PPT slides to SlideShare or create presentations with Google Slides. Embed the presentation in your website to make it immediately visible.
Example:Google Slide presentation on instructional design, as embedded into an online Knowledge-Building Centre (created with Google Sites) by Anita Brooks Kirkland
Animate Your Slides:
Record and narrate your animations in PowerPoint and save as video (Windows only) or in Pages for Mac
Use Office Mix, a free PowerPoint add-on (Windows only) to animate slides, create quizzes, etc., and create a shareable video file
Save slides as JPEG files and animate in video editing software like iMovie or MovieMaker
Example:WCI Library Learning Commons – Logging In to Your Library Learning Commons Account
Live Video & Video Editing Software:Shoot live video with your phone or camera.
Take a tour, conduct an interview, be a ‘talking head’ – as simple as uploading directly from your phone! Increase its sophistication (and likely its impact) with better camera and sound equipment, varied shooting techniques and locations, and incorporating titles, graphics and animations using video editing software. Your options?
SoundBible: Sound clips, sound bites and sound effects. (Read the terms for each file.)
Student Privacy: If you are shooting video of students, using their work as examples, or having students create videos, make yourself aware of student privacy policies in your school district. Consult with your school’s principal about creating permission/release forms, if appropriate and in compliance with board policy.
Video Sharing Platforms: YouTube is generally the default platform for sharing online video. If YouTube is blocked in your school district, investigate using Vimeo or SchoolTube.
Seneca Sandbox: The Seneca College Library has vested heavily in using online videos to support learning. Check out the Create section of their Seneca Sandbox website for very practical advice and resources about creating effective instructional videos. https://senecasandbox.wordpress.com/
eLearning in Libraries Symposium: A free professional learning opportunity for librarians interested in creating online learning opportunities for their library’s learning program. Check out the rich resources from previous symposia. https://elearninginlibraries.wordpress.com/
Hot Off the Press!
Canadian Copyright in Schools and School Libraries: A Primer, by John Tooth. Canadian Library Association, 2016. Available from The Library Marketplace
I have been spending quite a lot of my time over the past weeks and months working on the creation of an new national school library association, Canadian Voices for School Libraries (CVSL).
The dissolution of the Canadian Library Association presented a huge problem for school library practitioners and supporters. There was the possibility of losing not only our national online journal, School Libraries in Canada (SLiC), but our new national standards document, Leading Learning, would also have lost its home base. With these concerns in mind, I wrote a paper for the last Treasure Mountain Canada symposium exploring the potential for a new national school library association. Discussion at the symposium led to the creation of a working group, whose first task was to conduct a national survey.
Results from the survey were overwhelmingly in favour of moving forward. We have now reached an agreement with the Canadian Library Association for the transfer of SLiC and Leading Learning to CVSL, and are busy developing our organizational structure, fundraising, and being proactive about project development.
I invite you to explore these news updates from CVSL: