Loertscher, D. V., & Koechlin, C. (2012). Theory and Research as the Foundational Elements of a Learning Commons. Teacher Librarian, 39(3), 48-51.
This article posits that though school libraries are always changing and evolving, there will always be a place for teacher librarians. Teacher librarians have the power to cultivate a friendly, inviting, and technologically advanced school library (budget permitting, of course) in the form of a learning commons. The authors present five different articles to support their assertion that students and teachers alike benefit from the creation of these learning commons, as learning commons allow students to work collaboratively and use web 2.0 technology to work on the same documents or presentations simultaneously. Lesson plans should incorporate tutorials on how to use the new tools available to students to keep confusion to a minimum.
The idea that students should be given free reign to pursue their interests and use the tools available in the learning commons resonated with me because I agree that this self-directed approach to research with minimal restrictions on research tools and materials is an excellent way to keep students engaged with their projects. I also appreciate the notion that teacher librarians should serve more as guides that are available to help students and point them in the right direction.
Professor Loertscher has challenged us to develop some ideas about furthering the Creative Learning Commons projects. I thought it might be useful to have a discussion about some of our ideas in this blog format instead of on the Google Doc.
Here are some of my thoughts:
How many webmixes should we create?
I think we should have webmixes for content categories of webpages – Audio/ Visual; Graphic Arts; Writing; Communications and so forth. Final webmixes titles should be determined once we have a final list of content sites. It occurs to me, perhaps too late, that we might have wished to add tags to the website entry form, to allow easier categorization.
The webmixes do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. A website might appear in multiple places. The idea it to make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
We could use webmix tile colors to denote reading level or age appropriateness.
I hesitate to place age categories on the mixes themselves, as age/ grade level is not necessarily a good predictor of student interest or ability.
How should it be organized?
If I were designing this on my own, the upper left tile on each page would link to a team created page with a quick explanation of each tile on that page. We can draw much of the information from the Google Form answers sheet.
I like the idea of having a visual guide of the linkages between the various pages. Perhaps a guide drawn with a program like Mindomo.
We should definitely have a tile leading to a “Suggest New Pages” form. I’d put it at the bottom right of each page, and lead to a Google Form much like the one we’ve been using.
Anyway, these are some of my ideas. Perhaps you’d like to add ideas in the Comments section and we can begin a discussion before Tuesday’s class.