Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reflection Panel

Phillip Abrami, Concordia University, is talking to us about our federal government's Digital Economy Consultation Paper in his reflection on school libraries, with a view from outside of the field. The digital skills detailed in the paper give us a point of purpose for a national response. He went on to highlight the recurrent theme of our day, the import of evidence-based practice, along with the import of evidence-proven research for reference.

Ruth Hall, Ontario School Library Association, is reflecting on the development of Treasure Mountain Canada over the last year. In celebrating this occasion she is shining the spot light on the value of mentoring. What comes next? With the inspiration of TMCanada we have the opportunity to carry the dialogue back to our local contexts, our provincial colleagues.

Ross Todd, Rutgers University, is sharing his thoughts about our role to craft the future of school libraries and student learning. He suggests that we each write down three or four clear action steps that we can each take next, as we return to our schools and learning contexts.


Check out our brainstorming on wallwisher!

Ross Todd is just now referring to our wall to answer some of these questions and ruminate on some of these comments. What a great way to reflect on the day and paraphrase our new thinking!

Imagine using wallwisher with your students, to have them express their learning! What connections might they make if you have them move the cells around to sort and classify?

collaborative intelligence

David is drawing our day's learning together with the statement, "You're about to see just what collaborative intelligence looks like." He's organizing us to do group table work, to go to our Collaborative Workspaces Google spreadsheet entries. It's there that we have been documenting our reflections after speaker addresses, there that we have been capturing the connections we're making and there that we are organizing our newly constructed learning in the theme categories. David is leading us into the Big Think.

He's assigning us a topic, from the strands down the page: From Transmission to Transformation, Towards a Transformative Pedagogy, From Teacher-Librarian to Learning Leader, From School Library to Learning Commons, From Information Literacy to 21st Century Skills, Building Both Narrative and Expository Readers. Our task and guiding question: From the comments on the spreadsheet, what are the common threads we're seeing?

and the research shows ...

Dianne Oberg is sharing with us her thoughts about changing school culture and the role of the 21st century Teacher-Librarian in that change. She asks the question why school libraries are special libraries, special as in unique. School libraries serve the interest of the institution, serve a defined clientele and are often staffed by a sole librarian on site who reports to a supervisor, who is not a librarian. Also, the institution holds high expectations for librarians to contribute to the success of the enterprise.

Dianne makes the connection to Elizabeth Lee's earlier address to us. From Elizabeth's comments about the significance of context for successful school libraries, Dianne had an 'aha' about context and school culture. We can all look to the Ontario study regarding exemplary school libraries and context and to Dianne's research on Changing School Culture and begin to construct new personal understandings. This intersection of these two research studies shines a new light on re-imaging school libraries.

Dianne details the supports for change and re-imaging. They include a collaborative school culture, a principal who takes a collaborative approach to leadership and high expectations for students and staff -- 'intellectual quality'. In this regard, Dianne addresses Fullan's idea of moral purpose. With that in mind, she puts forth that the implementation of an integrated school library program involves changing the meaning of the school library in the minds of its users—teachers and students—but also in the minds of the teacher-librarian and other school leaders.

These simultaneously supportive and provocative ideas lead us to question the changing meaning of the school library in our own local contexts!

chasms: the Learning Divide

Anita Brooks-Kirkland addressed the consideration of the digital divide with a more specific focus on the learning divide. The digital divide is no longer about access to computers, but rather the disconnect between the way students use technology at school and in the rest of their lives.

A systemic 'fear factor' regarding security and content filtering raises the divide between institutional networks and how students are accustomed to using technology beyond the school. Furthermore, Anita challenges us to consider the construct of the digital native vs. the digital immigrant. It may well have become the biggest excuse for adults to not extend their learning in technology, with the lament, "Well, I am a digital immigrant after all!". Anita asserts that it is the propensity for curiosity that crosses that divide. She cites Christopher Harris who addressed that dichotomy and coined the updated construct of Digital Nature vs. Digital Nurture.

Creating the Virtual Learning Commons using Google apps

from Roger Nevin:
Check it out!
Learning Commons
Connecting Education
Engaging at-risk students
What are some of your reactions?

FYI: Google apps
Google apps Education
Google apps for K-12
Get Apps for your school
We using a Google spreadsheet for collaborative writing, here at TMCanada. You too may want to start using these tools with students and colleagues!

Information Literacy Leadership

Dianne Yee and Marlene Ponjavic are sharing their leadership and vision experiences with us. Their embrace of strategic approaches to creating opportunities for new learning relationships is inspiring. The import of support from administrators, including a respect for the teachers' ICT competence, is highlighted. The significance of creativity and resourcefulness in using a range of technology is noted. Marlene makes a point of matching pedagogical purpose to the ICT resources at hand. Read their paper Information Literacy Leadership to see how she helped students to explore photosynthesis with GarageBand!

Ross Todd is reflecting for us on Dianne and Marlene's address to us. "How did you come to your mutual mandate?", he asked. Both ladies emphasize respect, trust, shared expertise and brave conversations. Tapping into underutilized talent in a school is critical.

School Library Mash-up

What do you think?
Post a comment. Click on 'comments' below, to add your voice!

Skype it in!

Ray Doiron visited us remotely, by Skype!

Discussing School Libraries 2.0, he fluidly links literacy (literacies!) and libraries. In looking to critically question some long-held tenets and to create a new research-based vision, his purpose for us is to explore the notions of web 2.0, library 2.0 and pedagogy 2.0.

In looking at a new vision for our school libraries, we need to consider co-creation with all active users. Our wariness of new learners as digital natives is an opportunity to journey with them, to travel the digital landscape together. Our physical and virtual space is an open source, open access environment for social construction of new learning.

Ray asserts that we need to create these visions locally, with our active users, but really we need to think locally and act globally, to create a vision for all school libraries!

Visit School Libraries Worldwide and Towards a Transformative Pedagogy for School Libraries for more!

re-think, re-frame

Garfield Gini-Newman, professor @ OISE, started us off this morning with a context: An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.

Going on to quote George Bernard Shaw with ‘What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. ‘, Garfield spoke of four fronts of reforming education.

1. Re-think learning targets: What are we measuring?
2. Put inquiry at the heart of learning : Do we start learning journeys (study units) with inquiry? We use backwards design to plan, but do we inform the students of where the strand is going? Do we make the vision and destination transparent to the students?
3. Re-frame teacher-student relationships: How do we create the climate where all stakeholders contribute to the learning?
4. Assess for thinking: We need to engage students in thinking, deeply, in all that they do. We want to assess for thinking. We need to give them tools for thinking.

Mire and Stars

Ross Todd quoted Cyrano de Bergerac as a reflection of the critical nexus that we're in at this time, as school libraries.

Antoine: Be so good as to read once more the chapter of the windmills... Windmills, remember, if you fight with them...
Cyrano: My enemies change, then, with every wind?
Antoine: ...may swing round their huge arms and cast you down into the mire!
Cyrano: Or up, among the stars!

Ross asked, “Are we going to plod along in the muck, the mire?” Though there is foreboding in our school libraries world, we are in fact at a watershed time. We must go on to ask strategic questions: "How do we craft and engineer the learning experiences of our students?” In so doing, we must embrace the emphasis on intellectual agency as THE central concept of the Learning Commons. It is upon us to engage in pedagogical experimentation.

The question for us, as individual practitioners, is how we pursue that experimentation. What does that look like in our schools? What vision do we hold for that tenet? Exploring those strategies here today, in our dialogue at TM Canada, our school libraries community is asking you to engage in this exploration.

Tell us what visions you hold for experimentation in your school library. How do you envision the stars?

Intellectual Initiation

Well, TM Canada got started to tonight!

Once communed over a lovely dinner, David Loertscher initiated the group with the agency to be none of us observers, but everyone of us a contributor, to help build collectively. With the introduction of Ross Todd, the keynote speaker, we were ready to dig in!

Ross shared a global perspective of school libraries, goings on around the world. Making note of patterns on the learning landscape, he spoke of our unprecedented place in education's history. Ross referred to the complexity and diversity of student learning and the importance of responding innovatively. The development of social, cultural and personal agency is our moral purpose as educators. The question for school libraries, at a critical nexus, is how we find the pathway to building intellectual quality. Quality teaching is central to building the pathway.

Ross spoke of three critical issues: evidence, vision and engagement. The quality teaching is central to engagement. Without vision we walk in darkness. Most pointedly, though, he clarified that we must "move beyond the advocacy stance, into evidence-based practice".

David segued from Ross' delivery into an activity of table talk for the development of further questions. In roles, classroom teacher, administrator, student and Teacher-Librarian, we explored the question: What does it take to build an exciting learning environment?

With a bound copy of the research papers in hand, we all left to ruminate over questions and ideas.

More tomorrow!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Almost here!

The opening of Treasure Mountain Canada is almost here!

Many are initiating the dialogue on Twitter. Search #tmcanada to join us. Read the research papers to reflect on the ideas that will be shared at the retreat. Be sure to visit this blog on Wednesday evening, June 2, and Thursday, June 3, during the day! Add your voice to the dialogue about school libraries of the future!

Friday, May 28, 2010

TMCanada on Twitter!

Add your voice to the conversation with Twitter! Tweet us a comment @ TMCanada2010 and add yourself as a follower. You can also search with the hash tag #tmcanada12 .

Friday, April 9, 2010

Treasure Mountain Canada

View the PSA video below!