From Library to the Learning Commons

Today I had the pleasure, with Barbara St. Onge and Ian O’Byrne, to present at the American Association of School Librarians. We highlighted the development of the Online Research and Media Skills curriculum.

The ORMS curriculum is based on three cornerstones: online collaborative inquiry, online reading comprehension, and online content construction. It is rooted in the Common Core State Standards. Specifically the belief that:

To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems, and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum. In like fashion, research and media skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.

Slide1In the vision of the ORMS curriculum the librarian teacher shepherds this understanding and helps to ensure that digital texts and tools are infused throughout the curriculum. This belief drove much of our conversation.

We were discussing the development of the Online Research and Media Skills curriculum as a method to transform the library media center into a learning commons.

Moving Desks is Easier than Moving Minds

Many participants wanted to know more about our physical space rather than our teaching space. We argued that before we even considered reconfirming furniture we wanted to first focus on teaching. Moving desks is easy. Changing mindsets is the real work.

To this end most of the conversation fused on the co teaching model embedded in the ORMS curriculum. The ORMS curriculum views the learning commons as conduit of instruction in digital texts and tools. A bridge that connects librarian teachers with content area teachers.

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We ask in the first year librarians teachers work with content area teachers in oder to complete one assignment utilizing digital text and tools in each content area by the year’s end. This pace will increase until one project is completed in each content area every semester.

Scope and Sequence

We shared stories of our curriculum development and gave links to K-12 benchmarks and standards that we utilized. These standards have been an open resource that anyone can edit and change. Ian and I have been working on them since 2006 so they may need some updating.

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry is a teacher, researcher and scholar at Southern Connecticut State University.

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