The pressing reality of how we educate K-12 students has taken the forefront of conversations held within educational institutions. Older methods of teaching and learning have given way to more active methods that emphasize collaboration, exploration and discovery. The digital age offers students exposure to a world of ideas and information that is unprecedented and as technology seeps into many aspects of everyday life, most of today’s students are accustomed to using technology in and out of the classroom. However, there has always been a place where K-12 students have always been challenged to use systems of learning and discovery, in their school library. For this reason many school librarians have been instrumental in the successful integration of technology into their school’s repertoire of learning tools. This creates the potential for school libraries to innovate hyperlinked environments within their schools that encourage creative thinking and dynamic learning for tomorrow’s citizens.
David Loertscher’s body of work structuring innovative change in school library programs inspires school librarians to think beyond the old paradigm of the library as a place to store books and keep everyone quiet. He states that “The main objective of the open commons is to showcase the school’s best teaching and learning practices.” (Loertscher, 2008) The idea of the library commons produces a blue print for a physical, virtual, intellectual and pedagogical environment that meets the needs of the 21st Century Learner. It is an environment of learning and it is hyperlinked to the requisite skills of digital citizenship. Within the learning zone, students have the opportunity to practice soft skills like development of identity, communication skills and talents combined with a technology and content rich environment. The showcasing of great teaching places the librarian’s unique role in the center of any subject, project or lesson that takes place. It’s time to get in the zone.
Loertscher, David. “Flip this library: School libraries need a revolution”. School Library Journal, November 2008.
Park, Yuhyun. “8 Digital skills we must teach our children”, World Economic Forum, June 2016.