Your school library is a conduit to online learning and provides access to a diverse range of digital resources.
The library online environment: introduction
Features of an online learning environment
Further reading on the library online environment
Social media and the library, Creative Commons, and more
Networks supporting online learning
ICT support and knowledge development
Access to online resources and use of Web 2.0 should now be an integral part of the everyday functions of your library. The library provides a central point of access to a wide range of digital resources and promotes learning through online networks.
An Online Learning Environment (OLE) is the collection of online applications and tools that teachers and students in your school use to engage in learning activities. The key purpose of an OLE is to engage and support learners in a collaborative learning environment.
Typically this might involve using a Learning Management System (LMS), blogs, wikis, podcasts as well as providing access to the school library homepage from within and beyond your school.
Refer to Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) Online Learning Environments for clear guidelines in defining, planning and establishing an OLE.
See also the summary report, School Libraries 21C: let the conversation begin (2010) by Lyn Hay and Ross Todd.
The school library online environment provides a central meeting point for learners and promotes discussion and creation of new materials through scaffolding the sharing of information. Your school library online environment facilitates collaborative learning through providing access to diverse resources and supporting learners and educators.
In his article Flip this library: School libraries need a revolution, not evolution David Loertscher notes that online learning environments establish the school library as a “social and a learning network.” This article provides a clear picture of school libraries as dynamic, flexible learning spaces.
In The virtual library as learning hub, Anita Brooks-Kirkland gives an excellent introduction to the features of an online library environment. Published in School Libraries in Canada, the online journal of the Canadian Association for School Libraries, the emphasis is on the library is a learning space. “What makes the library different from any other classroom is the range and diversity of resources that it provides. The library program is about curiosity, exploration and sense making in a resource-rich environment. Let’s start then, by thinking about how the virtual library organizes and presents its resources to connect with students in a meaningful and helpful way.”
The online learning environment provides diverse opportunities for learning and also requires flexibility on the part of the library team.
The library team’s role in the online environment is explored in Joyce Valenza’s list for new ways of learning (2007): “Power has been shifting in nearly every profession. In ours, it has turned head over heels. Over the past two years the information and communication landscapes, as we once knew them, have changed. We have new sources, new options.”
Joyce Valenza’s Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians issues thought-provoking challenges under various headings, beginning: “You know you’re a 21st Century school library if…”
The role of the learner is clearly defined in this N.Z. Ministry of Education publication, The 21st century learner.
The 2012 Horizon Report K-12 edition , from the New Media consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, provides an insight into current and emerging technologies which impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses within the next five years. Six emerging technologies or practices are described that are likely to enter mainstream use on campuses within three adoption horizons spread over the next one to five years. The report also presents critical trends and challenges that will affect teaching and learning over the same time frame.
You may also like to explore some of these sites which provide a snapshot of the online environment and present ideas for incorporating a range of Web 2.0 platforms in your school library.
WebTools4U2use This interactive wiki was created for school library media specialists by Dr Donna Baumbach and Dr Judy Lee, of the University of Central Florida, to provide information “about web tools that can be used to improve and enhance school library media programs and services, to see examples of how they can be used, and to share success stories and creative ideas about how to use and integrate them.”
Overview to High Tech Learning: Libraries, Librarians & Web 2.0 Over then past several years, the technology of the World Wide Web has changed tremendously. A whole new world of tools are available for creating dynamic, interactive learning environments. This portal is designed to help librarians get to grips with the new tools.
Joyce Valenza’s NeverEndingSearch blog, published through the School Library Journal online, is a constant source of inspiration and tips.
Educause is a non-profit association which focuses on the use of digital technologies for teaching and learning. Their ELI (Educause Learning Initiative) focuses on three areas: Learners; Learning principles and practices; and Learning technologies.
Joyce Valenza has created a link on her NeverEndingSearch blog (23 April 2010) to a video by Hans Mundahl, A social media reading list for school leaders, introducing them to a range of social media relevant to educators.
Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand: Share, exchange, learn, benefit, publish. “Creative Commons aims to establish a fair middle way between the extremes of copyright control and the uncontrolled uses of intellectual property. It provides a range of copyright licences, freely available to the public, which allow those creating intellectual property… to mark their work with the freedoms they want it to carry…From this site you can choose your own Creative Commons New Zealand 3.0 Licence, find helpful advice… join the CC community and promote your work.”
Derek’s blog on the (NZ) Core-Ed site, is subtitled “musings on the use and impact of technology in education, and of the future of education in general.” Frequent postings cover a variety of topics.
There are well-established networks outside your library to facilitate online learning, and the following list will not be exhaustive. For instance, if your school has participated in an ICT cluster, you may have continued to network within that group.
“The library contributes to effective information management within the school and plays an integral role in the school’s ICT infrastructure.” p.32 The School Library & learning in the Information landscape: Guidelines for New Zealand Schools
A vibrant online environment is dependent on ongoing technical support, and delivery of online resources needs to be flexible and reliable. A robust and sustainable infrastructure enables your school library to provide access to a wide range of different media.
It is essential that the library team works with the ICT team in your school to ensure school-wide connectivity.
School library staff will also need to continuously develop the knowledge and skills to actively participate and contribute to their school’s Online Learning Environment.
0800 LIB LINE
0800 542 5463
Get help from our advisers using this free phone line