Future Learning Commons

“Life long learners” and “game changers”,  are perhaps the theme words for anyone who works in a school learning commons?  Or as my role model said so well:

Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world”.  Nelson Mandela.

Distance learning and campus students, from all over BC and Alberta  are relying more and more on reliable resources, current research, digital kits, creative ideas, digital literacy and social media/collaboration to help meet their learning needs.  Challenges such as virtual and physical space, asynchronous learning, and technological inequalities are some of the driving forces which keep us literally “toe hopping”.   Heritage Christian Schools blended learning commons delivers a wide array of 21st century tools to help equip our students in a constantly changing world.  As we grow with our families, the one constant theme of Christian discipleship remains dominant in how we set forth our goals for a future learning commons.

HCS Learning Commons Creating Christian Community Through Discipleship, Literacy and Innovation

At a grassroots level our students have enjoyed co-ops, workshops and book clubs crossing many grade levels where relationship is encouraged and nurtured.  In the virtual arena, research webinars, Ning events, and book clubs via Blackboard Collaborate have helped educate our learners with technology, promoted literacy created community and empowered students with global citizenship on the NDG blog.  This year our focus on themes such as photography, music, poetry, reading, and innovation will hopefully challenge our students and inspire them creatively.  Our E Library and Physical commons is constantly being updated with new collections,  and more families are finding useful resources to help supplement learning.  We love getting your suggestions here or within the e library as shared in this article.

In the fall Special Education resources moved to Kelowna.  Along with incorporating new students from Alberta, our team helped integrate a new system for the SE department.  We are working with the learning services staff to ensure a smooth transition for all patrons.  If you would like to request something from, or for the SE library please speak with your learning services consultant, and they will send the request on to our staff.

As we prepare for a new year we are excited to share our short-term goals as in the  Missions Read-A-Thon in February, which we hope will combine our discipleship and literacy goals, and encourage our students to raise funds for our missions school in Kenya.  

Long term goals include extending the physical commons so our community can enjoy more physical and technological space (Chromebooks and iPad additions have enhanced the inquiry goals in the learning commons, and floor to ceiling shelving is in process), as well as providing resources and digital literacy skills for Albertan distance and campus students.

I asked our team who are all actively engaged with community to share about their hopes and dreams for our families this coming year.

  • “Enjoy the learning process with your students, and become life long learners.   Parents and teachers learn new technologies and join your students on Facebook, Twitter, Ning or texting.  Meet them where they are at, and encourage the collaboration process.  This not only empowers your students but also keeps them safe.  Set boundaries early on in life to help with safety online.” Natalie Sing is our curriculum cybrarian and is working on a co-op in Vancouver Island using Google Hangouts, movies and discussions to learn about the Civil War.  
  • If you are a campus student you will have enjoyed exploring fluid learning with your classmates, teaching and empowering each other.  Jessie Davis, our campus cybrarian, has been facilitating “student-led promos” for new books.  As we have many new books of all genres and levels, she asks the students to take 2 minutes to find one, 5 minutes to assess it and then 1 minute to promote it to the rest of the class. The class learns from each other, gains experience being the “teacher”, and learns about 20+ books in a matter of one class. Her iBuddies program has helped our younger students learn how to use Chromebooks and iPads in the learning commons, and has promoted technology, literacy and discipleship in a fun way.  Jessie’s long term goal is to help facilitate a story/movie making studio within the learning commons.
  • As you may know, we have many wonderful Unit Study kits that cover learning outcomes from grades K to 9, but did you know we have a wide array of curriculum available? ” It’s like being a kid in a candy store!” exclaimed one new parent visiting for the first time. Shandra Wiebe, our online cybrarian, enjoys promoting the resources available and helping parents find what they need. Having curriculum available allows parents to “try before they buy“, saving money and time. Many families find that they can use library resources for most, if not all, of their curriculum needs. Collection development is very important to the growth of the learning commons. Acquiring the curriculum parents request, and making it available in the library is the first stage. The second stage is education and promotion. In the future, Shandra plans to host workshops in the library covering topics from “How to use the L4U library effectively” to “Using Google Docs with your students”. She will also host webinars on these topics, and any other topics suggested by parents.

As we prepare for the future we are aware of the risks that will hinder our growth.  We need to strategically prepare for implementing changes  with good communication and training for all involved.  We need to be able to provide clarity as to what drivers will help move our learning commons, as well as the benefits, impacts, time frames, budget and assessment needed.  We would love to hear from our community as to  what kinds of resources/technology you need to help your students grow and become change makers.  We ask for your prayers for wisdom as to how we can help move your students towards being major stakeholders in this new era of connected learning.  Please share your comments below?

Advent blessings from the learning commons team!

 Corinthians 12:25-27

That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Comments

  1. Thank-you, Pippa, for putting this post together. We certainly rely and appreciate your leadership in our Learning Commons. Yes, there have been many changes in our Library (read that with a strikethrough), and I expect that many more are still to come.
    There are few things on campus that catch my eye more than walking through the foyer and peeking into the LC – seeing it busting at the seams with kids at lunch and recess!
    Good on you, and good on your LC team!

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  2. Thanks Paul for your encouragement! I am hoping that the Lord will keep working on giving me a heart for change! I am thankful for all the leadership in our schools which has allowed us to move forward with our learning commons goals. I am so pleased that the learning commons principles are applying in the campus lc. That makes my heart soar! Good on our team for ensuring our students needs are being met! Merry Christmas Paul and thank you for your techie leadership on Twitter and in the campus school! #chromebook rocks #twitter rocks and #1:1learning rocks!

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