Our October meeting was inspiring. The energy, leadership and connectedness in the room were evident as we discussed the important role of the teacher librarian in our schools. Leading inquiry, creating a learning commons for students and staff, increasing digital literacy and always stretching the resource dollars were seen as essential in this role. The members of our group are at all stages of the ‘library’ learning curve and it was a gift to be a part of the group as community was built through sharing of expertise and ideas.
Librarian Jeff Yasinchuk opened our meeting with an introduction to the concept of the library as learning commons. As the vice president of the BC Teacher Librarians’ Association, Jeff brings a provincial perspective and network to our group as well as a passion for the role of the teacher librarian in our schools.
Through Jeff’s facilitation, we discussed the Learning Commons as a space for a community of inquiry within our schools. We saw the vision for a space for engaged learning through access to multi-media resources, networked learning for all students and adults within our school community and authentic attachment for students in a safe, comfortable learning environment.
After watching this video, the group quickly outlined steps everyone could take at their schools to move towards this vision:
- reduce the print resources to reflect student usage
- help students and teachers learn to access digital resources effectively
- use the resources currently available (staff, student devices, parents, community) to redesign the physical space
It was reassuring to see that there are small steps we can make within our schools to develop the learning communities within our libraries.
Tamara Malloff then introduced us to digital literacy standards. As a lead teacher in this area, Tamara spoke about her work in the initial conversations at the provincial level and shared a number of projects she has worked on over the years to increase her own digital literacy as well as that of her students and her colleagues. Tamara emphasized the affordances offered by technology in creating connections for students and staff across schools, our District and the province.
Tamara shared the work that has been done internationally by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and shared the opportunity for us to participate in the provincial conversation. We also have an opportunity to contribute to the collection of samples through the draft grid being built at the provincial level. We talked about the importance of keeping current as well as opening our classroom doors to share our learning with others.
As a group, we surfaced a number of big ideas to consider:
- How are we using the resources we currently have (devices, passionate people, infra-structure) to support the work in our Families of Schools?
- How can we share the learning happening in each of our schools in order to increase capacity of all students and staff?
- How are we using technology with students and staff to develop Citizenship, Academic Success, Creativity and Imagination, and Resiliency?
- How can we build infra-structure and access to continue to grow as digital learners within our school district and beyond?
Time quickly drew to a close as we reflected on the challenges and the opportunities in digital literacy. It is clear that change is happening rapidly, and there are many questions left to explore as we work to create the best possible learning environments for our children. It is also clear that now, more than ever, we need to create networks within and outside of our schools both to support and to challenge ourselves. Thanks to our teacher librarians for the role you play in creating a community of learning.