I’m starting to revisit and reflect on the learning at this year’s AASL Fall Forum, now that a couple weeks have passed since we joined together in St. Louis and satellite sites around the country. I’m looking over my notes and tweets, and with a topic as timely as blended, digital, and online learning, I can’t help but feel motivated to share what I learned and observed!
A key component of “anytime, anywhere learning” (the event theme, described above) is access, which itself has numerous dimensions. Library hours and schedules determine access to the brick and mortar library space. Materials across a range of formats, topics, and reading levels allow access to information, and the professional librarian’s role in selecting these materials presents yet another angle on access. Virtual access at school is critical, both within the library (access to wifi, online catalog, databases, and Internet) and in classrooms (to extend and embed library resources into the content).
Who can access sites at school was another topic of discussion at Fall Forum, whether that access is at the level of teachers and librarians being able to unblock filtered sites, or reading and following Acceptable Use Policies to provide appropriate access to children, especially those under 13.
Home access is a most challenging and layered piece of the access topic, and presenters and participants alike offered suggestions for supporting student access to library resources outside of school. I’ve often thought of the public library as the main go-to for Internet when it’s not available at home, but the school district panel discussants offered other viable suggestions: Grandma’s house (or other neighbor or relative). Churches. Community centers, like Boys and Girls Clubs. These people, organizations, and spaces should be part of our access conversation.
Facilitating successful experiences in the virtual space is another task of anywhere, anytime learning. This video of the Athenian Middle School Library website, their Virtual Learning Commons, offers a look at how online resources blend with face-to-face experiences at school:
What are your questions and ideas relating to student access to library resources and information? What does your school do well, at this point in time? What are your goals for building better access for your students?