Thursday, August 29, 2013

IASL 2013: Day 2 Concurrent Sessions: Learning Commons & Virtual Spaces

Last Tuesday, August 27, 2013 I attended Ross Todd's session and Lesley Farner's.

Ross Todd presented his research on Collaborative Inquiry in Digital Environments: Cognitive, personal and interpersonal dynamics. The title is a mouthful, I know. And in classic Ross Todd fashion, the whole paper was impressive. He is also very emphatic and passionate when presenting. This man truly loves what he is doing. I often use his studies and research (Rutgers University) for my workshops and training sessions. His work on the school library's role in student achievement is one document I've used over and over again to push for library advocacy initiatives and in developing programs and services in the school library. Needless to say, research has a function in amplifying sound library practice. Practice, in return, fortifies research if not, lead researches to test data once again. It is a cycle of creating and communicating information and it is a fascinating one!

So what brought me to his session last Tuesday? Ross Todd himsel. Yep. I am a fan.

Ross Todd has been to Manila for a lecture. He loves the dried mangoes of Cebu.
 Fan girl mode aside, I was intrigued at the results of the research. While knowledge construction is important in collaborative group work, and one that is valued by students involved in the assigned work, social justice is another aspect of collaboration and cooperation relevant to students. Diversity of view points is valued as well by students, but the struggle to accept and to come to terms with differences is another issue. The discussions and responses that came from the floor were infused with energy. There was engagement.

I sat there and thought about what the research finding has to do with my work as a librarian. For one thing, I am keen on looking at how students build knowledge to construct meaning out of this. The library then should function as a learning commons where students can collaborate not just with their peers but with their teacher librarian. And learning commons is not just about physical or virtual space. More on this in another blog post.

Another session of interest to me was Dr. Farmer's Issues in Teen Technology Use to Find Health Information. My take away from this session is that, libraries can set up reliable virtual spaces where teens can seek information pertaining to health issues and conditions. Librarians can work with counselors, health care professionals to establish a baseline or a context to latch the content on health and well being issues.

I think this online health guide may prove to be a good companion to the Life Skills Collection (aka Bibliotherapy) I'm working on.

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