Build a School in the Cloud TED talk

Mackey, Megan


Mitra, S. (2013). Build a school in the cloud. Retrieved from

A Ted talk form the winner of the 2013 TED prize. He talks of his experience giving students computers  and their self-motivation, curiosity, and success learning. He talks of his wish was to create a school in the cloud through SOLEs (self organized learning environments).

An intriguing idea but how successful was this? There is a blog post about him bringing the first learning lab in the US to Harlem in 2015.  Not much is to be discovered online. Even their own website doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2016. A documentary was recently released in England. Is it still in practice? Perhaps the larger educational system of the US is just too much to tackle?


Relationships Between the Perceived Value of Instructional Techniques and Academic Motivation

Relationships Between the Perceived Value of Instructional Techniques and Academic Motivation

Elias, Jenann


Komarraju, M., & Karau, S. J. (2008). Relationships Between the Perceived Value of
Instructional Techniques and Academic Motivation. Journal Of Instructional
Psychology, 35(1), 70-82.

In this article, the authors discuss the relationships between the perceived value of instructional techniques, including technology enhancements like course material websites (lecture notes, review sheets, grades, sample tests), and the student motivation and learning.

The authors propose that instructional techniques do not impact all students equally. Research prior to this paper has been on the relative effectiveness of different instructional techniques. This assumes that these techniques are perceived equally by all students.

All 172 subjects, students in this case who were enrolled in psychology or business classes. Most had easy access to a computer. The subjects were questioned on their perception of different instructional techniques. All the courses had an online presence including lecture notes, review sheets, grades, sample tests, and links to articles). They stated the perceived value of course websites, active learning, and traditional lectures. The subjects were asked to fill an Academic Motivations Inventory (AMI) that consists of 90 items and includes 16 dimensions of academic motivation.

About 93% of the students reported that they find the course websites useful. The interesting part was that when the 16 dimensions of the AMI and the three instructional strategies (website usage, active learning, and traditional lecture) were correlated, some statistically significant correlations emerged. In layman’s terms, “one size does NOT fit all.”

The authors state that “The results of our study clearly suggest that various teaching techniques are significantly associated with distinct aspects of students’ academic motivation.” Three profiles of academic motivation emerged, they were engagement, avoidance, and achievement motivation, each associated with unique learning preferences.

From a teaching perspective, engaged students are ideal for learning. These students desire self-improvement and will respond to the widest spectrum of teaching techniques. Avoidant students worry about their performance and grades and are more likely to dislike school and experience stress. They present a challenge to the teacher. Achievement motivated students placed a high value on traditional lectures as well as course websites and online learning.

It is surprising that the questions that the authors, Meera Komarraju and Steven J. Karau, raise here have not been asked before. From my own experience in the field of education (both as a student and as a teacher), I find that not all students react the same way to a presentation, whether in class on online. I am glad that they addressed this point in this paper. My observation is that further study is needed, and with much more refined statistics. The authors acknowledge that there were some internal inconsistencies. It will be interesting to hear the experiences of teacher-librarians and other information professionals working in these situations.

De Rego, Tania


Gambrell, L. B. (2011). Seven Rules Of Engagement: What’s Most Important to Know About Motivation to Read. Reading Teacher, 65(3), 172-178. doi:10.1002/TRTR.01024  Retrieved from

Discusses importance of intrinsic reading motivation and student literacy achievement potential.  Suggests we should promote an intrinsic motivation to read in students and offers 7 research-based methods as well as 7 tips to accomplish this in the classroom (or library).

Useful , practical ideas on how motivate students to read.

Seven Surprising Benefits of Maker Spaces

Brandt, Alisa

Barron, C., & Barron, A. (2016, August 2). Seven surprising benefits of maker
    spaces [Blog post]. Retrieved from School Library Journal website:

ET – Maker Spaces

IL – Motivation

This article reveals the seven physical and psychological benefits of maker spaces in libraries beyond meeting curriculum standards.
Focusing on making brings people into the present moment giving them a break from focusing on the past or future too much. Making is physical and gets people moving, stretching, and standing, which gets blood flowing. Making is dependent upon self-directed engagement and gives people motivation to complete a task rather than having to do a required task. This means that people are learning what interests them and leads to a greater sense of satisfaction. Making uses hand-based activities which gives people a deeper connection to their brain and the development of skills such as visual thinking and problem solving. Making improves mood, giving people a boost of happiness. Maker spaces in libraries create a sense of community and connection which can prevent loneliness. Making “prevents the habit of wastefulness” by salvaging old materials and creating something new (Barron & Barron, 2016).

Evaluation: We are all familiar with the ways that makerspaces in schools enhance student learning and help to meet curriculum standards. It is also helpful to understand the ways in which making, whether it is simple or complex, provides so many mental and physical benefits to makers. In a time when people are increasingly disconnected from others and from the physical and mental processes that keep humans healthy, making provides an opportunity to gain some of this back.

Creating a Students’ Library Website

Debbie Gibbons


Schroeder, E. E. 1. & Zarinnia, A. E. 2. (2012). Creating a students’ library website. School Library Monthly, 28(7). 29-32. Retrieved from

Many librarians curate a website for their users. This article explains why and how a librarian should use the website to support knowledge creation. In contributing to a collective library website, learners engage in conversation and collaboration to build and share knowledge. They develop the skills of reasoning, problem solving, and the ability to work with others. The article names several elements of an engaging website and lists tech tools and programs for the librarian to implement.


As a longtime classroom teacher, I have been studying educational theories and trends for years. But in a recent move to the computer lab, the learning curve for educational technology has been steep. I appreciate articles like this which list technology applications and their functions in encouraging student learning. This article was published in 2012, so new programs have been developed since, but many of the tools suggested are still relevant.

Graduating Students Who Are Not Only Learned But Also Learners

Posted by Karen Kotchka


Donham, J. (2007) Graduating Students Who Are Not Only Learned, But Learners. Teacher Librarian, 35 (1), 8-12.
This article provides a lot of statistics on the increasing pace of knowledge generation as a way of demonstrating that students must be taught how to learn rather than just taught content that will be outdated.  It also talks a lot about how dispositions and habits of mind towards inquiry and investigation are most important in developing the learner’s mindset and how the ibrary media program can tie into this goal.
I thought the article was a good read and provided a lot of good arguments for librarians looking to advocate for a fuller instructional program as well as providing a good review of what kind of criteria should be followed for authentic, inquiry type learning.

How to Foster a Growth Mindset

Amy Jessica McMillan

Schwartz, K. What’s your learning disposition? How to foster students’ mindsets. (2014). MindShift. Retrieved from utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FnHAK+%28MindShift%29

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has developed a compelling theory for how students learn. According to Dweck, students who have what she terms a “growth mindset” outperform those who don’t. This article, published in Mindshift, adds to Dweck’s theory by outlining a few other motivational mindsets. According to blog author Karen Scwartz, some important mindsets for students include feeling like they belong to an academic community, the belief that the work is valuable and that they can be successful, and the belief that their intelligence can grow with effort. Finally, Schwartz gives examples of several schools who focus on developing these mindsets with students.

This article gives several practical tips for encouraging students to stay motivated to learn. Most educators have worked with kids who have simply given up because they’ve decided they can’t succeed. Schwartz proposes some tools for reinvigorating those students and for keeping the rest as motivated as possible. I wonder why Schwartz differentiates the mindsets listed in her article from the ones Carol Dweck proposes in her research and in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In another Mindshift article titled “Beyond Talent and Smarts,” blogger Annie Murphy Paul (2012) explains Dweck’s research “has shown that children and adults who believe in the power of effort to overcome challenges [what she calls growth mindset] are more resilient and ultimately more successful than those who are convinced that ability is innate.” Regardless, Schwartz’s ideas about improving student learning outcomes are certainly thoughtful and intuitively compelling. She reminds us that our abilities and intelligences can grow based on the effort we put into our work. We teachers need to have that in the forefront of our minds every time we step in front of our students.