Advocating for Makerspaces in Libraries Since I first started my Makerspace at Stewart Middle Magnet School in January 2014, I have received a lot of positive feedback. I’ve given talks, presented at conferences, and shared about our experiences through my blog and through social media. Some of the questions I am most frequently asked are: Why should makerspaces be in the library? Why not just convert a classroom into a STEM lab? In a similar vein, I often hear from librarians who are struggling to get their administration/teachers/community to understand the rationale for having a Makerspace in their library. Let's Get Together Thursdays - Research Project Challenges, Pt. 1 How do librarians and teachers negotiate their expectations, roles, and desired outcomes during a collaborative research project? We’ll look at the process in the next two week’s Thursday posts, by Carter Cook, the Director of Library Media Services for Fort Worth Independent School District, in Fort Worth, Texas. One of the challenges of teacher/librarian collaboration is that the pair is working with the same student outcome in mind, but each one has his or her own idea of how it will be achieved. While the teacher may be focused on the student end product and how it addresses the learning objective for the course, the librarian usually focuses on the process – the prerequisite skill set and sequence of steps the students will need to complete to produce the end product. To further complicate the collaborative process, the timeline for completion is usually unrealistically short (in the librarian’s opinion) for students to successfully deliver the end product. Why?
LibGuides: Pedagogy to Oppress? You have to be a pretty tenacious researcher to find any criticism about LibGuides, the practical and convenient tool that librarians use to create online guides to research. My search for “LibGuides and critique or criticism” taught me a great deal about how to interpret literature, while keying in “LibGuides and problems” merely returned information about the occasional scheduled downtime. It was not until I limited my search to wordpress.com and then traced a bunch of links and pingbacks that I could even start to gather a sense of the conversation round the topic. Yet, ironically, it is exactly this twisting, infuriating and (occasionally) joyful process of research that is stifled by the way that most librarians structure and organize their LibGuides. Web-based research guides have helped to bridge the gap that the growth of online resources has put between the library and its patrons.
Designing a School Makerspace Makerspaces, STEAM labs and fab labs are popping up in schools across the country. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering. A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. Therefore, it must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. Diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the design, making and exploration process, and they are what set makerspaces and STEAM labs apart from single-use spaces.
Ending the Invisible Library To explain the utility of semantic search and linked data, Jeff Penka, director of channel and product development for information management solutions provider Zepheira, uses a simple exercise. Type “Chevy Chase” into Google’s search box, and in addition to a list of links, a panel appears on the right of the screen, displaying photos of the actor, a short bio, date of birth, height, full name, spouses and children, and a short list of movies and TV shows in which he has starred. Continue typing the letters “ma” into the search box, and the panel instantly changes, showing images, maps, current weather, and other basic information regarding the town of Chevy Chase, MD. The panels are powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph, a massive knowledgebase that launched in May 2012 with “more than 500 million [data] objects” drawn from sources including Freebase, Wikipedia, and the CIA World Factbook, “as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects.
Starting a School Makerspace from Scratch With the National Week of Making behind us, you might be ready to start a makerspace in your school -- but not know where to start. Will purchasing a costly 3D printer and the latest robotics kit ensure learning and maker success? What are some steps to starting a successful makerspace from scratch? Step 1: Immerse Yourself in Maker Education
Study Ties College Success to Students' Exposure to a High School Librarian moodboard/Thinkstock Attention, educators: training high school students early in digital research, partnering them with a school librarian, and providing time to practice skills can instill a high level of confidence during college. This triple play of digital literacy education was affirmed by preliminary observations of a study underway by EBSCO Information Services, an online database provider. “The seeds for researching and training for informational literacy are planted in grade nine,” says Kate Lawrence, EBSCO’s senior director of user research, who is running the study. “There appears to be a relationship between what students were calling research boot camp in grade nine and the confidence they feel in conducting research at a college level.” Being prepared as early as their high school freshman year had a positive impact on the higher education experience.When training happened in a partnership with a teacher and a school librarian, the impact was even greater.
ISTE 2015: Takeaway Tips for a Library Maker Space Maker station at the ISTE Librarians Digital Age Playground at the 2015 ISTE conference in Philadelphia. The maker movement was front and center at the 2015 ISTE conference—and that’s a good thing for me. After following maker initiatives with great interest for some time now, I have the opportunity to design a maker space this year for 6th–12th grade students at my school, Worcester (MA) Academy. A search of this year’s program at ISTE, held June 28 to July 1 in Philadelphia, using the term “constructivist learning/maker movement” resulted in 67 related sessions.
Study: Good School Libraries Affect Test Scores Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A study released Tuesday by the South Carolina Association of School Librarians shows that the more emphasis is put on school libraries--and the learning that takes place there--the better scores students receive on standardized tests. University of South Carolina Professor Dr. Karen Gavigan outlined the studies five areas of importance at a press conference Tuesday morning. "The presence of librarians and library support staff, instructional collaboration between librarians and teachers, traditional and digital collections, library expenditures, and access to computers," she explained. The study found that the schools which had these five components had better performance on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards.