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Page history last edited by Judi Moreillon 5 years, 7 months ago

Learning Commons Think Tank

with Dr. Loertscher, Professor, San José State University:

Hosted by Texas Woman's University

TLA Conference, Austin, Texas

April, 2015



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



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



Boosting rigor


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


Maker Model



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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