Overview to High Tech Learning Spaces
Whether participating in an online book club or collaborating on the development of a state history wiki, learners need space to work. They also need a seamless transition from physical spaces where they can conduct experiments, manipulate objects and explore nature to virtual spaces where they can share information, discuss ideas, and create digital projects. The learner is communicating, collaborating, socializing, participating, and interacting.
As you explore library websites look at how they communicate with their patrons. What kinds of physical and virtual spaces do they provide for library users? Go to Auburn University Libraries, Denver Library, or Kalamazoo Public Library. How many different ways could you connect with this library? Look for live chat, email, phone, RSS feeds, email, tiwtter, flickr, facebook and more.
Buffy Hamilton is a high school librarian who uses many of the features of virtual spaces for learning. Check out her Library Guides, Blog, and Website. She also includes many options for contact such as chat, iphone, facebook, flickr, twitter, youtube, and others.
Watch video clips from around the country talking about How To Use New Media Tools in Your Classroom. Many people are producing videos focusing on how we can think differently when we have technology. Explore Your Top 10 Videos, 50 Amazing Videos, 20 Great Talks, and Open Thinking Wiki for many examples. Which video inspires you to rethink teaching and learning?
This section of the course materials will focus on the nine areas show in the left navigation bar. Many of these areas are divided into subsections, so be sure to check the sidebar for additional pages. After reading the rest of this page, you'll want to explore each of these areas:
- email and text messaging
- discussion forums
- blogging, podcasting, vlogging, and rss feeds
- virtual conferencing
- collaborative web and wikis
- social technology, social networks, and virtual worlds
- course management systems
- desktop learning spaces and electronic whiteboards
- interactives, widgets, apps and QR codes, augmented reality, and gaming
Facilitating High Tech Learning Spaces
Libraries, educational institutions, museums, and community organizations all play a role in facilitating high tech learning by providing access to virtual and place-based learning spaces. It's important that library users are aware of their rights and responsibilities when using these spaces. Libraries have traditionally had "open and "closed" stacks. In other words, some areas may not always be open to the public without permission or assistance from a librarian. The same may be true of virtual environments. "Managed" systems have fewer inaccessible sites than "locked" systems and so require pupils to take more responsibility for their own safety. "Locked" systems make many websites inaccessible and although this ensures pupils' safety in school it does not encourage the pupils to take responsibility for their actions or prepare them for dealing with systems that are not locked. To learn more about how to adopt safe and responsible practices, read The Safe Use of New Technologies (2010).
Read Way Beyond Fuddy-Duddy by Evantheia Schibsted in Edutopia. This newly designed library helps to bring physical and virtual learning spaces. Also, read Peekskill High School Library: Library Media Specialist Gets Technology Into the Classroom by Eric Skjei in Edutopia.
Explore the wiki Reading 2.0 - Using Technology to Promote Books – Not Replace Them!
Read Online Learning and Virtual Schools (PDF document) by Lamb and Callison in School Library Media Activities Monthly (2005).
Often, people end up using a combination of tools to meet their learning needs. Incorporating technologies such as blogs, photo sharing, and podcasting, this tool creates a virtual conference space that can be used to extend a face-to-face experience beyond the actual event.
To learn more about how virtual spaces are impacting individuals, explore the PBS Frontline program, Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier. Be sure to check out the Virtual Worlds and Learning sections of the website.
Virtual Spaces, Learning and Libraries
Libraries have always had close ties to learning. However with virtual connections between schools and libraries the ties have become even stronger. When you add the interest in adult and nontraditional types of learning, libraries have become centers for life long learning.
Read 2012 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries by the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee.
Increasingly, companies are developing these immersive learning environments for schools and libraries. For instance, Mango is an online language learning system that teaches through conversation. Go to Mango in Your Library to see their approach for libraries. In addition, many websites are incorporating virtual spaces as part of the experience of using the website. For instance, My Moon incorporates YouTube, Flickr, and online polls.
Read Guided Homework Help Goes Online by Jennifer Hillner from Edutopia. Learn about connecting libraries with homework help. To learn more about similar programs, skim Library Homework-Help Resources Are Available Nationwide.
Explore 50 Social Sites for Science Students, Researchers, and Professionals to see the spectrum of online social spaces available in the area of science.
The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology (2009) found that the use of instant messaging is dropping while the use of texting and social networks has increased. According to the ACRL, this has implications for reference work with college students. The report also found that under half of college students contribute videos, blog content, or wiki information.
E-Learning, C-Learning, and Distance Education
For the past decade we've talked a lot about e-learning environments focusing on the many technology-rich tools available to learners. However increasingly librarians and educators are referring to c-learning environments that focus on facilitating learning spaces. The "C" can stand for connection, cooperation, collaboration, construction, creativity, curriculum, and community. Rather than being restricted by classroom space, c-learning spaces encompass the natural and virtual worlds by immersing learners in authentic, active learning environments where students create, change, and experience.
The word "distance education" is becoming obsolete. No longer do librarians, teachers, and students need to think about the issue of distance as something separate from the rest of the learning community. Blended courses, wireless facilities, and virtual libraries allow facilitators to think more in terms of designing learning spaces that use a range of technologies and facilities from textbooks to video conferencing.
Watch Anytime, Anywhere: Online Learning Shapes the Future from Edutopia.
An increasing number of schools are developing one-to-one laptop initiatives. From pathfinders to webquests, teachers and librarians are working together to build online resources that young people can use in these programs. Many of these programs are using collaborative tools such as Google Apps.
Explore The CyberCircus: One-to-One Classroom Computing designing for grades 3-5 and Classrooms in the Clouds: Netbooks, Google Apps, and Transmedia Learning designed for grades 6-8. Annette Lamb developed these projects to help kickstart projects at two schools in Louisiana.
Read Guidelines for Establishing Interactivity in Online Courses by Mark Mabrito and Escaping the Comparison Trap: Evaluating Online Learning on Its Own Terms by John Sener in Innovate (Vol 1, Issue 2, Dec/2004/Jan 2005). You will need to complete the free registration to access the article.
Explore 100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials by Jessica Merritt. This list has lots of ideas for how to use Web 2.0 as well as how to use webinars and tutorials in teaching and learning.
How is software used in learning spaces?
How are virtual activities created?
What makes high tech learning spaces successful?
Designing effective high tech learning spaces involves much more than simply choosing software and setting up virtual activities. The key to success is establishing and nurturing learning communities within these spaces.
Read Designing Virtual Communities for Creativity and Learning by Ted Kahn in Edutopia.
High tech learning spaces are emerging everywhere. Explore examples from young learners to adult learners.
- Visit the Digital Pencil. This is an environment that provides tools for young online learners.
- Visit WorldBridge. This global network is a great example of combining all the technologies together into a virtual space for sharing and online learning.
As you explore learning spaces, you'll begin to notice some Web 2.0 features including social technology, participatory technology, collaborative technology, interactive technology, and mashups.
Some social technologies contain elements of collaborative software. Moodle is an open source course management system that contains social aspects such as messaging and forums, but it also contains collaborative elements such as tools for creating wikis. These collaborative learning environments allow teachers and students to work in a virtual classroom atmosphere.
Connecting with someone else who likes cookbooks and science fiction
Video conferencing with a class in South Africa to discuss environmental issues
Exploring, re-enacting, and interacting with others in a virtual world set in ancient China
Social computing involves the application of technology to facilitate connections and collaborations. From the development of virtual communities to the creation of virtual "think tanks," social software helps match people with similar interests and provides a learning space with an atmosphere of sharing.
Social software is used to facilitate live, synchronous activities such as video conferences and also informal instant messaging activities such as hanging out with a circle of online friends or holding a virtual book club.
The social environment is also used in asynchronous activities such as social networking and collaborative writing. These tools allow people to get together regardless of their location so social software can be used by people in the same department or from organizations around the world.
Read Teaching Social Software with Social Software (PDF) by Ulises Mejias in Innovate: Journal of Online Education, Volume 2, Issue 5, June/July 2006. (You'll need to create a free login to access this article).
Skim Social Media and Young Adults by Amanda Lenhart, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathryn Zickuhr (2010) for the latest information on how young people are using social media.
Create an avatar and join into a virtual reality Shakespearean play
Listen to the songs and vote on your favorite singer
Write an alternative ending to the video program
All three of these activities involve taking action. Participatory technology is a term associated with activities where people are encouraged to react, vote, or take action. For example, videoblog audiences might be asked to vote on their favorite video, rate a particular video, or comment on their favorite scene.
Classroom Response Systems (also known as clickers) are another way that learners participate through the use of technology.
Read A Clicker for Your Thoughts: Technology for Active Learning (PDF) by Christina Hoffman and Susan Goodwin. This article describes the use of clicker technology in library instruction at the university level.
Creating a virtual "day trip" guide to family activities within 100 miles of our city
Building a knowledge base for our new networking system
Creating an electronic databases of books reviewed by patrons
All three of these activities would be difficult for an individual to create on their own, however the power of collaboration makes these projects simple. Collaborative software allows multiple participants using tools such as blogs, wikis, and other creation tools to work together to build, expand, refine, edit, critique, and publish. Many people are able to work on a single project at the same time. This type of software can be used for collaborative writing, group decision-making, and other peer-based projects.
Learners can produce knowledge bases, electronic newsletters, book reviews, articles and other publications. These digital creations may include text, artwork, photographs, diagrams, charts, graphs, sounds, animation, and video. Users can also use collaborative environments for group problem solving, study groups, book clubs, and other shared activities.
Because collaborative software is available through networks, people from around the world can participate. Also known as groupware, collaborative tools can be used for focused projects such as editing a shared document or long-term projects like Wikipedia involving thousands of people around the world. Although some of the systems are too sophisticated for children, many of the tools allow even young children to collaborate with others in remote locations.
Wikis are popular collaborative applications allowing users to easily add, edit, and remove web content quickly and easily. They involve many people working on many pages at the same time. Users can even view the history of the edits that have been made. For example, children around the world may work together to create an insect wiki. Rather than working independently, they’re able to extend the work of others. For example, students in Japan, New Zealand and the United States may all contribute information to an ant page started by a Canadian student.
Lotus Notes is an example of collaborative software. The “Track Changes” option in Microsoft Word and Adobe’s Macromedia Contribute allow people to work collboratively, but they don’t encourage discussion or interaction so they aren’t considered social software.
Explore Google's Global Warming project. It's a collaborative project for teachers and students.
Creating a vaccine for a dreaded disease.
Designing a virtual city complete with people, vehicle, and pollution.
Building a sod house out on the prairie.
All three of these activity involve the use of participatory technology. No longer are games viewed as just for fun. Interactives often have specific learning goals with high quality content using effective instructional strategies.
Read Virtual Worlds, Simulations, and Games for Education: A Unifying View by Clark Aldrichin Innovate Online. This article describes a unifying view on three difference tools for learning.
Using GPS, digital cameras, social networking, and Google Earth to create an social, collaborative, and social virtual game
The synergy found when combining technologies is resulting in a new waves of web-based applications based on Web 2.0. Called Mashups, these hybrid services use content and ideas from many different services to create something new. Here are some examples: Buzztracker shows you the world news through maps, OpenWorldCat provides access to 18,000 libraries.
Multiple Intelligences and Learning
The intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences are often associated with learning space technologies. The intrapersonal intelligence, known as "self smart" are people who learn best through metacognitive practices such as getting in touch with their feelings and self motivation. They are able to concentrate and be mindful. Provide tools to help students "think about their thinking" through writing, diagraming, or recording ideas.
These learners are good at setting and pursuing goals and assessing work. They are good at working independently toward a group goal. Learners with a strength in intrapersonal intelligence are drawn to journaling activities, so blogging and podcasting are logical choices.
The interpersonal intelligence, or "social smart" people learn best through interaction with other people through discussions, cooperative work, or social activities. They are able to create synergy in a room by being aware of the feelings and motives of others.
They are good at rallying the group together and getting discussions going. They are good at teaching other members of the group and coordinating activities. In a group project, they are good at peer editing.
Learners with a strength in intrapersonal intelligence enjoy the social and collaborative aspects of email, virtual conferencing, forums, social networking, and wikis.
As you think about library promotions and learning, consider the role of online learning spaces. For instance, imcooked, urbanspoon, iFoods.tv, Recipe Key, Food Network and AllRecipes are a few examples of places people go to learn about food preparation. YouTube has become a place where books and video converge. Explore Great Depression Cooking with Clara. Also check the blog, book, and other related resources. What features make them particularly effective for specific types of users? How might these be incorporated into an informal learning experience or as part of an ongoing library program?
Technology in Learning Spaces
Open the High Tech Learning Spaces (PDF) document to see an overview of the characteristics of these learning environments.
Some features of learning spaces are now available across all technologies such as the opportunity to share text, graphics, audio, animation, and video information. All of these technologies are stored digitally either locally or through network servers. The level of access to each learning space depends on the security needs of the user. Most can be set for private, restricted, or open access.
Increasingly, people of are ages are using mobile technology in learning.
Read Mobile Learning: Context and Prospects (PDF) (2010) from EDUCAUSE. Mobile technology has become part of the lives of young people. In particular, college students are accustomed to using this technology as a regular part of their day. This has implications for both high school and college settings.
As you explore the possibilities, keep in mind that many of the free services use advertising or product placement as a way of financing their content and services. Be sure that the service has a balance of quality content and interactive elements.
Think about how you might incorporate quality career websites into your library. Many of these resources contain quality instruction and guidelines for career preparation, exploration, and job hunting. They also provide employment search tools. Compare StandoutJobs, CareerBuilder, and Monster. Consider how these might be combined with LinkedIn and Biznik.
In this section, we'll highlight many of the high tech learning spaces that can be used in learning. Although each will be discussed separately, an increasing number of developers are bringing these services together into combined packages. As you explore each of the learning spaces in this section, use the High Tech Learning Spaces document to add your own thoughts.
Use the following links to learn more about learning spaces.
Are You Ready for Mobile Learning? EDUCAUSE
Downes, Stephen (October 2005). E-learning 2.0. eLearn Magazine.
Learning Space Design - an EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative
Learning Wiki by Elliott Masie - links to podcasts and articles
Online Learning from Edutopia
Scalability and Sociability in Online Learning Environments by David Wiley.
Bruff, Derek (2010). Classroom Response System (Clickers) Bibliography.
Bryant, Todd (2005). Social Software in Academia. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Volume 29, Number 2.
Kimball, Lisa & Rheingold, Howard (2000). How Online Social Networks Benefit Organizations.
Rainie, Lee (2006). Life Online: Teens and Technology and the World to Come. (PDF) Speech to Annual Conference of Public Library Association, Boston.
Rheingold, Howard (1998). The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online.
Smartmobs - blog focusing on the next social revolution: mobile communications, pervasive computing, wireless networks, collective action
Suter, Vicki, Alexander, Bryan, & Kaplan, Pascal (January/February 2005). Social Software and the Future of Conferences - Right Now. EDUCAUSE Review, Volume 40, Number 1, 46-59.
Links to the materials in this section can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of this page. Continue to the Learning Spaces: Email and Texting page.