The Virtual Learning Commons

Over this past summer I had the honour of working with Dr. David Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Esther Rosenfeld on their new book, The Virtual Learning Commons. I was very excited to receive a copy of the publication in the mail a few days ago.

The book is a companion to and an extension of their previous book, The New Learning Commons Where Learners Win (2nd ed.), published in 2011. This new book expands on ideas about building an online interactive learning space, the Virtual Learning Commons (VLC). The idea of the virtual commons is interactive and participatory, and transcends the static and often overlooked role of the traditional school library website.

The writers, being familiar with the work I have done with teacher-librarians in Waterloo Region to build a district-wide Library Learning Commons website, asked me to contribute a chapter, entitled District and State/Provincial VLCs. I also contributed material to the chapter on the Information Center, presented by the authors as being the introductory page to the VLC, and the entry point to online resources.

My contributions to the book build on the previous work I have done on the library’s virtual space, most recently at the research symposium on school library programs, Treasure Mountain Canada 2012, where I presented a paper on the topic. The book also features the Knowledge-Building Center (KBC) model, which I have had the very distinct pleasure of workshopping with one of the book’s authors, Carol Koechlin, and uses a demonstration KBC which I created with teacher-librarian Elaine MacKenzie as an example.

Of course I’m very pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to this publication. I will be even more thrilled if the book inspires educators to explore new ways to learn in this new century.

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