Representing at the Worldwide Virtual Library Conference

I am including this post describing my conference presentation for the Worldwide Virtual Library Conference because it reveals my philosophy for a school library program, one that is ultimately student-centered.  I have set my sights on one big hairy audacious goal:  to place students in the center of their own information universes and give them more responsibility for their learning.

Learning to navigate through current complex information landscapes takes a lot of skill. Learning to tap the wisdom of networks will be an important 21st century skill.  That is why I was thrilled when Scott Hicke and Mercy Adetoye’s 9th grade science classes were willing to take on curating digital resources and creating introductory web pages for renewable energy. These are excellent examples of network learning in action.  See post here.

TITLE:  The library of the future will include the one you make for yourself

Short Session Description:  The ultimate student-centered library practice will require the courage to place each student at the center of their own information universe.

Full Session Description:

What if we put our students in the driver’s seat? My realization to do this goes beyond co-creating with our students, and beyond the user-driven library. If a student is in charge of their own personal and social learning network, their “personal library” so to speak, they can learn from the inside out.  (Link to graphic of the Networked Student.)  A well-designed personal learning environment (PLE) amplifies an individual and allows them to connect and tap into the power of networked learning to support their interests. Best of all, a dynamic, responsive information universe can live on past the assignment, past the course, past graduation… on into life fulfilling the vision of lifelong learning.

With the introduction of the hyperlink, everyone gained the ability to personalize and define their own pathways through knowledge. It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of this change and its implications for learning. Personalized learning and inquiry has emerged as one of the primary advantages of the internet. Technology is not just a tool; it has changed the face of learning forever.

Wendy Drexler one of the original PLE advocates, stated that “Librarians are faced with the same shift as teachers.”  That would be the shift from teaching to learning. How can our mission become even more learner-centered?  Librarians are uniquely qualified to participate in this learning revolution because “discovery” is and always has been our mode of operation.

Putting students in charge of their own library organically creates an opening for students to add the library  and the librarian as valued nodes in their learning network. I can’t think of a more authentic relationship to have with our students. Our collections, our pathfinders and our expertise become an extension of the student’s network rather than the other way around. Collectors not collections!  It’s a new framework for everything we already do; new packaging for our classic product, one that is more relevant today than it has ever been.

Can this idea of putting our students into the center of their information universe become our new shaping mindset, a bridge to our remixed future?


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