High Tech Learning: Facilitating Learning
Regardless of whether we're working directly or indirectly with learners, we're all involved with facilitating the learning process. We may be creating multimedia pathfinders, collaborating on the development of WebQuests, or supervising online discussion groups. All of these activities involve the design of environment conducive to learning.
Read Witness to History by Margaret Lincoln. The school library media specialist describes the many information sources, technology tools, and learning spaces used in facilitating learning in a project on Elie Wiesel's Night and the Holocaust. Then, browse her high school students' blog, Student Reflections on Night by Elie Wiesel. Finally, read The Great Blog: Sharing Elie Wiesel’s Memoir, Night (PDF) written by high school student JP Rourkis about his experience in this project that linked New York and Michigan students.
Learning can take place in many different environments.
Visit Amazon's Grownup School. Experts provide ideas for learning more about particular topics.
One particularly effective approach for both formal and informal "high tech" learning environments involves project-based learning.
Explore Project-Based Learning: At A Glance in Edutopia. This article contains links to a number of pages highlighting technology-rich, project-based learning activities. Read a few of these articles as you explore the possibilities of a project-based approach. To learn more, go to Teaching About Project-Based Learning.
Technology Brings Learning Alive
Rather than thinking about "using the computer" or "making a web page," effective technology facilitators focus on the learning experience. What do people want and need to learn? Why? How can technology help motivate learners? How can technology tools be used in planning, organizing, creating, or communicating?
Skim Drawing Art into the Equation by Jenn Shreve in Edutopia. According to the article, aesthetic computing is a curricula-blending approach that applies the theory and practice of art to computing and problem solving.
Fluid environments involve using multiple modes of communication to convey a complex, interactive message. Information flows smoothly from one media to the next. The strengths of each media create synergy. The result is something more dynamic than could be done in a single medium.
In transmedia storytelling, integral elements of the story are told through different media and each media type provides distinct contributions to the participant's understanding of the story. Participants may have many different entry points into the story and are able to extend the story through their contributions.
Read Fluid Environments for Life-Long Learning. Read the first section titled Fluid Environments. Then, skim the other sections including Diverge-Converge, Reading & Transmedia, Writing & Transmedia, Transmedia Time, and Transmedia Flood.
Collaboration for Learning
As you explore the tools of technology, keep in mind the importance of collaboration. Synergy occurs when people work together toward a joint goal. Technology can facilitate this collaboration. For example, consider ways that community agencies, public libraries, and educational institutions can work together to build meaningful, technology-rich learning experiences for people of all ages.
Choose one of the following projects to explore. Think about all the ways that technology has been integrated into this project. Consider ways you could redesign this plan to fit a different school or library situation. Brainstorm ideas for a project that could be done in your community.
- Geo-Literacy: Forging New Ground by Ashley Ball in Edutopia
- The Montana Heritage Project: What We Once Were, and What We Could Be by Ashley Ball in Edutopia.
- Six Feet Wonder by Linda Ferguson and Eva La Mar in Edutopia.
Learning environments of all kinds are changing rapidly with increasing access to technology anywhere, anytime.
Read The Future of Higher Education (2012) by Janna Anderson, Jan Lauren Boyles, and Lee Rainie.
Public Library Learning Environments
Whether working with children on science fair projects or adults on small business options, the public librarian must deal with diverse learning needs.
Multnomah County Library's website has organized resources to meet the virtual needs of patrons of different ages (birth to six, kids and teens sections) and interests ( topic guides, students, parents, business, and educators). Beyond pathfinders, the pages provide virtual reference services, live homework help through chat software, help with finding resources, and tips for learning. They also provide interactive services such as the Oregon Helps section that helps families local services.
Explore other libraries: Homer Township Public Library.
School Learning Environments
From personal inquiries to formal instruction, the instructional specialists must be ready for a wide variety of learning needs. For example, technology may be used in practice, class assignments, culminating projects, and electronic portfolios.
Librarians often develop subject guides and pathfinders to assist student users. Explore the Library Pathfinder from Ocean County College Library.
Buffy Hamilton is known for her great work in school libraries. Check out her blog at The Unquiet Library.
Joyce Valenza, a School Library Media Specialist at Springfield Township High School has createda Virtual Library filled with learning resources, tools, and spaces. Also check out her NeverEnding Search Blog and TL Guides.
How many different types of learning tools and spaces you can find at her website?
Tips for Facilitators (PDF) (2005). Corwin Press.
Links to the materials in this section can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of this page. Continue to the High Tech Learning: Evidence-based Approaches page.