Archive for March, 2012
The library is an asset in the development of learning spaces. It is a place that can be transformed for different types of learning – individual, peer and collaborative learning. The learning commons is an example of a computer environment. However, the next generation of learning spaces is going to be designed for peer learning and individual computing space.
There are examples of how the learning environment is changing. The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical classroom (lecture and homework center) are reversed. The flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting.
The value of a flipped classroom is in the way a class space is transformed. It allows for a workshop setup where students can work collaboratively, inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities.
The flipped classroom is designed to support new types of functionality. It allows faculty and students to adjust their environment for peer and group learning. The model has the potential to shift learning styles from covering material to collaborating and mastering it. “Flip classroom” environments are in libraries too. We design spaces to support new learning styles. Furniture examples by Steelcase illustrate how a flip classroom can be implemented in an educational environment.
The way students are learning with technology and the availability of social media is a change from the traditional lecture style class. Many complain that the PowerPoint Lectures do not work and that faculty should expand their knowledge of instructional technology to make the classes more engaging. The faculty resources center concept, a part of our programming model for the academic library, is important innovation in library space planning.
In the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Lecture Fail? Students and Professors Sound Off on the State of the College Lecture,” students sound off about the way that some professors teach their course and the professors respond. They are having a conversation using social media. They point to a shared goal – develop a 3rd place for learning to occur – THE LIBRARY.
The Georgia Tech Library underwent a series of learning space renovations in the past six years ending in 2009. There are good photos of an academic library that can be used to explore innovative library spaces.
During planning at GT, library staff did a lot of work trying to understand the need for collaboration. They prototyped new 3rd spaces for students to work. However, the Educause article, “Creating Learning Spaces Through Collaboration” illustrated a lack of understanding before implementation. The article states, “while we were unsure if we had correctly guessed what students required in the space, we were lucky in that the end product was highly successful with students.”
We believe that a solid methodology that strives for innovation can eliminate the “luck” in the process. The analysis allows for faculty, students and library staff to explore options outside of their control.
Recommendations for Library Planners
During the transition from the old to new library space, the library planning committee should seek common ground. They should have conversations about the discovery process and explore the types of physical and virtual library services that will be in the building.
Without planning, “luck” is all we can expect from our work. It’s nice to have good intentions, but it is invaluable for stakeholders to have input. When the administration shares the need to explore a change in the library or learning space(s) start by determining the needs of the community, and look for ways to adapt technology. Outline the physical and virtual spaces required to enable your library community to succeed.
The community college library is a very important anchor for peer to peer learning activities. We are proud to be presenting at the Hunters and Gatherers: Reshaping the 21st Century Community College Library on March 6th and 7th 2012. Alex Cohen will be presenting – Library Space Assessment: Metrics and Measures