Sunday, 21 August 2011

Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, (And Collection)

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills' four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation), ISTE’s NETS, and ALA’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner and Saskatchewan's Evergreen Curriculum were used as the guide for planning and facilitating three one-day summer workshops for teacher-librarians.

The first workshop was designed for beginning teacher-librarians. The focus was on the workings of a school library; from the basics of facilities management, organization, collaboration, collection development, to investigations on promoting information literacy, effective technology use, inquiry, reading and pedagogical strategies.

The second workshop focused on developing and maintaining a relevant collection using physical and virtual methods. Digital tools and contemporary media were explored as presentation and display tools and opportunities to market reading and maximize usage and loans. Book trailers, digital storytelling, ebooks, QR codes, collection mapping, social media, and procedures and guidelines for selection and de-selection were discussed.

The third workshop focuses on developing deep, rich understanding and fostering the exchange of information through communication, collaboration and conversation. The participants examined ways the school library can enhance learning and deliver state-of-the-art service using current freely available technologies. Social media, such as micro-blogging, collaboration tools, social annotation, video production and hosting, image hosting, and presentation sharing were explored.

During the planning and facilitation of the three days, I was fortunate to have a co-facilitator for each workshop in order to accommodate the exceeded allotted number of registrants. As a different friend enlisted to provide assistance, I had to rethink and retool due to each of their strengths. The 4Cs were put into practice as we communicated (virtually), collaborated, and critically revisited how we could present a creative session that engaged participants in developing an effective school library programme. The 4Cs advocates for 21st century readiness for every student, but the skills do, and should, align with teaching.

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