Once upon a time (in what seems like a faraway land, in another lifetime) students went to the computer room and the library for isolated weekly lessons.
When we acquired laptops, the roles of Linda and Fiona, eLearning Facilitator and Librarian respectively, changed. They shifted to flexible timetables, going into classrooms, as required, to deliver specific lessons, team teach or support teachers and students with resources or tech trouble shooting.
This year, every student in Year 4- 6 has their own iPad and it’s clear that the traditional Librarian and eLearning Facilitator roles are shifting again. Resources are at the learners’ fingertips, devices are easy to use and apps are intuitive. It’s evident that iPads, by their very nature, promote inquiry learning. As Linda points out, there’s no need for the e in eLearning any more. And the once distinct roles of librarian and technology teacher have blurred, resulting in a dynamic partnership of overlapping skills and ideas.
In this week’s meeting, I ask the Learning Team Leaders –
What’s the most obvious way to eat these biscuits (cookies)?
With that out of the way, everyone writes down as many other ways as they can think of to eat them. Once we’re past the obvious, the ideas get more creative and, the more time people have to think, the more unusual the ideas they come up with. I love this exercise, borrowed from Heidi Siwak’s recent blog post.
The group notes that-
- creativity takes time
- looking at things from different angles helps generate new ideas
- we need to be prompted to think beyond obvious solutions
- hearing others’ ideas can spark creative thinking
At this point I ask everyone to think creatively about Linda’s and Fiona’s roles.
Initiatives already in place
- Active participation in collaborative planning sessions with teaching teams
- Curation of online resources to support learning (Netvibes)
- Working together to develop understanding of how to evaluate online resources
- Establishment of e-book, audio-book and video-book libraries
- Responding to teacher needs individually, in groups or whole school sessions as required
- Leading whole grade level collaborations
- Expanding the use of blogs to promote global interactions
- Introduction of Twitter, supporting kids and teachers in developing global PLNs
- Collaboration with the music teacher, using Garageband
- Animation (collaboration with the art teacher) and film-making workshops for Y6 PYP exhibition groups
Once we’re ready to spend some time looking beyond the obvious, a range of new ideas are generated.
- Dropping into classrooms and responding to learners at point of need
- Introducing new projects for small groups of students
- Becoming involved with learning in other contexts, such as the kitchen garden
- Working with individual students on personal passion projects
- Promoting trans-disciplinary learning by building connections with specialist teachers
- Helping students define and refine inquiry questions
- Integrating learning in ever more organic, authentic ways, not isolated out-of-context lessons
Fiona would like to collaborate with the Art and Music teachers on a unit of inquiry exploring multimodal texts and the way eBooks incorporate video and music.
Linda’s next project is to meet with the new Year 4 and 5 tech minions, see what needs they perceive and develop their program with them accordingly.
We’ve only begun to look at new possibilities and we’d love to hear about how these roles are developing and shifting at your school…
And, while we’re thinking creatively, who else in the school has knowledge and skills that can be drawn upon in new, different and innovative ways?