TMC6 Mulcaster

#12daysbooksnbytes - Fostering Professional Participatory Learning Cultures with Literacy and Code 

by Melanie Mulcaster, with Mishelle Pitter-Adlam, Amanda Williams & Tina Zita

The authors discuss how they applied four aspects of participatory learning in the library learning commons through organizing a program they called 12 Days of Code. They set about deliberately addressing active participatory learning by combining literacy and STEM goals. This dynamic team share the process and program as well as reflections, new questions stemming from their observations, and plans for next steps.

Read the Paper

Melanie Mulcaster is the Coordinator for School Library Learning Commons and the Professional Library with the Peel District School Board in Ontario, and member of the Ontario School Library Association Council. A life long learner and maker, she is passionate about inspiring and empowering modern learners to discover, connect, innovate and explore. @the_mulc
Mishelle Pitter-Adlam is a teacher librarian at Clark Boulevard Public School. Her passion is to nurture a healthy self-identity in her capable Modern Learners. She thrives in creating access and opportunities to empower Modern Learners for STEAM trajectories. Her twitter handle is @MishellePA_LLC

Amanda Williams is an elementary *glitterarian* (read: teacher-librarian) in Halton, who works with students in Kindergarten to grade 8.  She has presented provincially and internationally on the arts in education, including a focus on inquiry and dance at Daci (Dance and the Child International) in Denmark.  Amanda's current focus is innovative learning models including maker education and design thinking. She continues to develop her understanding of constructionism by connecting with other inspiring educators and being a "guide on the ride" with her students. Amanda believes that everything is better with a little sparkle.

Tina Zita. Whether working with children or adult learners, Tina is passionate about engaging learners with current digital tools and seeing that spark from a meaningful learning moment. Tina is an avid user of social media, finding each platform can lead to new connections with educators both near and far. She pushes her own learning as she explores design and photography. Her newest experiment is sharing quick ideas to create on Instagram.


  1. Oh my, I loved this project! Melanie, you are always so great at making connections, so this project should come as no surprise. Having said that, I just loved the way the whole team made connections between books and learning STEAM concepts. I loved how your booksnbytes were so inspirational, helping educators to see the potential. I loved the range of tools that you used, and I loved the way you reached out through social media. You know I'm a big fan, Melanie, Tina and Mishelle(!!!). Not sure we've met, Amanda, but congrats on being a part of this great project.

  2. Mel, Mishelle, Amanda & Tina, thank you for sharing your project in such a visually appealing and accessible format. You have truly modeled so many of the learning skills, concepts and mindsets that we promote to our students:

    Purposeful integration of technology
    Goal setting for future iterations
    And so much more…

    So often I find that students’ instinct is to default to the “safe” or “traditional” methods of documenting their learning - how powerful for them to see their educators trying new technologies and collaborating so effectively using virtual tools!

    I hope you will consider continuing the project and updating your Spark page as you go!

    Thanks again,
    Jenn Brown

  3. Melanie, Mishelle, Amanda and Tina - Wow!

    Thanks to you, I have learned a new word: syndesis (learning strung together to form a whole).

    I also noticed a "favourite" resource of yours that I need to read: this paper > Jenkins, H., & John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. An Occasional Paper on Digital Media and Learning. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

    I appreciated the individualized reflections (because even when we work on group projects, group members don't always learn the same things as their colleagues). I totally echo the comment about teachers who hesitate about using Flipgrid. I included it in my Library AQ course and many educators spent hours on what was supposed to be a "simple" task because of that discomfort around filming oneself - a lot depends on the person, I suspect, because at my school, we were talking about Flipgrid and a Grade 5-6 teacher commented on how her last group dreaded using Flipgrid but her current group loves it and treats it like their own personal YouTube channel! I need to use Amanda's task paired with "Sloth at the Zoom" for this year's Forest of Making task - actually, I look forward to contributing to the Forest of Making (along with one of the talented DECEs at my school) and seeing what others come up with. Yes, the time near the end of the calendar year makes it challenging to participate, but the Forest of Reading season is 4 months long, making it perfect to jump in.

    Thanks again and I look forward to chatting with you more about this in person at TMC6!

    Diana M

  4. I love the connections you made between people and texts and tech in this project. There are so many moving parts - literally - and yet, you managed to pull them all together and in DECEMBER, too!?! Amazing.

    Your project made me wonder about how this kind of project could work in a high school setting. We have 4 classes of grade 10 academic English running next semester and they're all reading the same 6 novels for literature circles. I'm wondering about adapting this project for that course. Or perhaps trying it with White Pine book clubs...
    Like Diana, I appreciated your individual questions, observations and reflections. We all learn differently and take away our own learning. Thanks for sharing this very cool project!

    Kate J-M

  5. I really appreciate how much this project was as much about engaging colleagues as it was about engaging students. I am still thinking about 3 big things:
    1) the term syndesis and if it can get bogged down in the non-linear nature of participatory culture and
    2) Melanie's comment about recognizing and appreciating various levels of participation (viewing, lurking, making a video) and
    3) everyone's wonderings about whether media types are both barriers and a facilitators of participation. Would it matter, for example, if colleagues and students chose their own medium to share after trying various media types? I learned that Buenos Aires (about the size of Peel) encourages each school to use the same blogging platform (where various media types can be embedded depending on the choice of school library staff, and then the central library system collates those blogs all in one place. I can't wait to talk to each of you more about this.

  6. Hi Melanie
    This project literally blew my socks off! Your choice of medium to present the project is nothing short of genius. Talk about a perfect example of why we need to encourage the use of multi-modal texts in our classrooms every day! You've also taught me a few new words and applications: skinny, modding and syndesis. I'm wondering why you feel the need to connect STEAM and literacy. I see STEAM as literacy - multimodal literacy.

    Your project is such a powerful expression of collaboration at its finest and social media being used for positive purposes. Thanks for your project and the work you did to put it together in a powerful way for us at TMC.


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