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Articles: Library/Media Center

The new state-of-the-art Asheville Middle School accommodates nearly 800 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, with room to grow.

Years ago, educators at Fremont Middle School in Illinois provided students with engaging projects. But not until the 2015-16 school year did teachers have designated areas where students could work on assignments comfortably or have access to digital technology. 

The maker movement is poised to transform K12 learning. Makerspaces—workshop areas that provide tools and raw materials for students to invent, create, collaborate and learn—reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.

At Napa Valley USD in northern California, classroom technology integration has been a priority since 1997, when the district opened the country’s first New Technology High School. So bringing in digital books in order to provide easily accessible content to the 18,000 students and faculty in 34 schools was a natural—and important—step.

Students today are innately comfortable with digital tools, and one way to enable personalized literacy instruction is through these tools. Close-reading techniques, student-submitted writing responses to book-specific prompts and other practices are made possible through a new digital platform. This web seminar, originally broadcast on May 28, 2014, featured an innovative superintendent who implemented this platform in her district to foster a more personalized learning environment, as well as the president of myON, who described the solution in more detail.

Numerous studies have shown that today’s students are struggling to make sense of the overwhelming amount of data now available. Recent developments in K12 curriculum and assessment—such as the adoption of Common Core and similar state standards, and changes to the SAT—reflect an increased focus on developing critical-thinking skills and underline the importance of helping students find, evaluate and use information more effectively.

Mary Reiman is director of library media services for Lincoln Public Schools

Public education is embarking on a digital transformation. We are shifting from consumption-based learning to creation-based learning. These are moves in the right direction, but they require us to provide our students with access to the tools and devices needed to connect them to all the available resources.

As all educators know, reading is the key to lifelong learning, but it can be a challenge outside the classroom, with competition from TV, video games, and other distractions. That’s one reason United Way-Sun Coast has partnered with myON for the “Read on myON” project since 2012.

Only 16% of students feel “very prepared” to conduct research, according to a survey of over 1,500 students by Credo, an information skills solutions provider.

iCreate
myCreate iPad App
The myCreate app is based on Stop-Action Movie (SAM) Animation software. Students can edit videos by slowing down or speeding up the delivery of frames, duplicating frames to lengthen scenes and adding music or audio recordings to their videos. Completed videos can be saved to personal albums and/or shared with family members and friends via Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, or HapYak.

Education content publishers say they are far from discontinuing traditional printed resources.

A 2010 Scholastic-Gates Foundation study of 40,000 pre-K12 teachers, “Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools,” found that 80 percent of high school students continue to get reading material primarily from school libraries. And a 2012 Pew Internet and American Life survey, “Reading Habits in Different Communities,” found that 90-93 percent of readers still preferred print books over e-books.

A major obstacle for libraries in transitioning to digital content includes lacking a standard publishing model, primarily for popular fiction, says Ann Fondren, coordinator of library services for Spotsylvania County (Va.) Public Schools.

cyber cafe

If your school librarians are feeling beleaguered these days, well, they have good reason. Consider:

• The ranks of certified school librarians have been decimated in recent years by districts struggling to balance budgets.

• The explosive growth of anywhere-anytime digital content in K12 districts threatens to make the concept of library-as-media-center an anachronism.

Banned Books LogoTo raise awareness of how school districts block web access for its students, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has designated Wednesday, Oct. 3 as Banned Websites Awareness Day (BWAD). As a part of the second annual Banned Books Week, the AASL is asking school librarians and educators to share how overly restrictive filtering web sites negatively affects student learning.

TED-Ed, an online content library associated with TED conferences, went live in April with the goal of enhancing classroom lessons and inspiring lifelong learning. It is similar to Khan Academy, but the videos are made by teachers from around the world rather than just one expert. They have received much praise in their first few months.

“The beauty of TED-Ed and the Khan Academy is that they are online libraries available to anyone with an Internet connection anytime and anywhere,” says Logan Smalley, director of TED-Ed.

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