Monday, April 14, 2008

My takeaway from Computers in Libraries 2008

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Computers in Libraries is an exhilarating experience. My notebook is filled with asterisks, light bulbs, and post-its highlighting all kinds of ideas – some do-able, some dream-able, and some to be part of today forward. My takeaway from the conference for today forward was the result of a talk on Learning Commons in Libraries. A Learning Commons is where learning happens in a flexible, wireless environment. Students define their spaces, whether by dragging tables together, huddling around desktops, or creating little groups with laptops. The space facilitates learning and supports collaboration. Technology and library services are easily integrated. And, in addition to physically supporting the tools and methods of learning, students are given a positive emotional experience which leads to better learning. As I listened to the speaker, I realized we are an L.C. Our furniture never stays still. Our laptops are always checked out. Our students in the Electronic Classroom are often grouped around a single workstation.

Are there other ways we can support the active construction of knowledge by our students? This question will guide some of our planning for the fall. We have started by ordering two additional portable whiteboards which we shall place in spots where students reconfigure seating for study groups. We’ve asked that purchasing additional laptops be added to the technology plan now being updated. This spring we shall also be taking pictures and documenting the ways students interact with our space. We’ll also survey some of them for their input on how to support their learning. In addition to looking at our library with slightly different eyes, we shall create a video to share with faculty at the opening of school in September.

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