At the recent SLAV Conference Building a Participatory Learning Community, school library leaders Dr David Loertscher (USA) and Carol Koechlin (Canada) presented the concept of a Virtual Learning Commons. School libraries have become familiar with the model of ‘learning commons‘ which considers the library as place, an environment that enhances social interaction and cross-disciplinary learning outside the classroom. This conference transferred that idea to a virtual space in keeping with the changing nature of library services where visiting the library is no longer a necessity when online access is available.
David and Carol demonstrated the depth to which a Virtual Learning Commons can support the organisation of library resources and bring a community together. A template is provided to simplify the process of making one for your own library.
The SLAV Learning Commons includes the template and all the resources to you need to bring together learning resources, thinking skills, examples of best practice for library innovation and much more. Take time to explore these resources and you will find a wealth of ideas and support to enhance the learning experience for your school community.
Delegates at the School Library Association of Victoria Conference last Friday, 8 August, designed and imagined possibilities for the creation of a virtual learning commons that encourages participation by the whole school community.
Lead by Dr David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin, the conference theme Virtual Learning Commons: Building a Participatory School Culture recognises that the school library has a new role. The physical space must change. It must be flexible – ‘if it doesn’t move it doesn’t belong in the school library’. The book collection needs to be fresh and inviting and the learning situation should control the space. Furthermore, a well planned and developed virtual library space can be a place of involvement for the school community.
Thanks to delegates who tweeted with #slavconf. This Storify is a compilation of those tweets providing an overview of the conference and resources shared.
On Friday, 8 August, the School Library Association of Victoria will host a one day conference on the theme of the ‘Learning Commons’ model of school libraries – The Virtual Learning Commons: Building a Participatory School Learning Community. Great excitement surrounds this conference as key presenters will be school library professionals and champions of the Learning Commons model for school libraries, Dr David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin who are making a rare trip to Australia. During their brief visit, school library professionals will have the opportunity to attend the conference and special workshop days to develop the model more fully according to their own needs.
Dr David Loertscher, Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University (USA) and Carol Koechlin, staff development leader and instructor for Educational Librarianship courses for York University and University of Toronto (Canada) are synonomous with school library leadership, instruction and information literacy skills development. They are well know for publications such as Ban those Bird Units and a series of books on the Learning Commons model.
Resources to support school libraries as Learning Commons, can be seen on The School Learning Commons Knowledge Building Center website. David and Carol also discuss the concept in detail in their article Climbing to Excellence: Defining characteristics of successful learning commons.
Their publications include: The Virtual Learning Commons | The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win | Building a Learning Commons: A Guide for School Administrators and Learning Leadership Teams but are really too numerous to list fully.
This conference will focus particularly on the Virtual Learning Commons (VLC). As schools move to 1:1 technology and easily accessible online resources, the VLC becomes a valuable tool for teachers and library staff alike in organising resources and guiding instruction. Delegates will be provided with a framework for developing an online resource to support information literacy skills instruction and guided inquiry. This really is a ‘can’t miss’ professional learning opportunity for school library professionals.
Full conference details and registration are available on the SLAV website.