Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Introducing the Learning Lab!

I want to introduce you to an idea that is still in its infancy and will likely shape into something entirely different than it is right now. Over the last few years, I've slowly worked at evolving the library space from a quiet and static warehouse of books to a space that better meets the needs of a dynamic community of learners.




Beginning in October, we'll be taking a bigger step in this direction as we officially launch the Learning Lab. My vision of the Learning Lab is to be partly a makerspace: the space and resources for hands-on tinkering and making, and partly a student-driven learning conference of sorts. Let me explain.

Shortly after I was hired 3 years ago, I attended my first EdCamp.  If you're unfamiliar with EdCamp, it is an informal un-conference where the participants create the agenda and facilitate the learning by grouping together based on a shared interest.  This model differs because the expertise is not coming from one pre-selected expert, instead the expertise of the group is capitalized upon and shared.  In a nutshell - this format blew my mind!  It was so empowering to pick a topic for the agenda and get answers, support and ideas in areas that really mattered to what I was doing - now.  I knew I had to figure out a way to bring this model of learning to the students. 

My hope is to provide a place (physical or virtual) where our community can engage in peer-to-peer learning on topics that matter to us, where each of us bring forth our expertise and knowledge to share.

Over the last few years, I let these ideas percolate as I tried to figure out how best to work around scheduling, budgets, and general interest. Rather than wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, I'm now handing it over to you and asking for your input to help me create a new model of learning that meets your needs.  I have a few things in mind to help us get started. For example:

MakerSpace Open Studio


Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3pm we'll provide an open studio makerspace.  Come and play with any of the following resources:


  • Green screens,
  • Adobe photoshop,
  • ipads,
  • Stop-motion animation,
  • Makey Makey kits,
  • Arduino boards,
  • Little Bits,
  • Robots,
  • Legos,
  • Wearable Technology,
  • Podcasting equipment,
  • Vinyl and paper cutters,
  • and a range of programming software for app and gaming development.

Teachers can schedule time during the school day to use the space or resources.

Brownbag Lunch Series sponsored by the TED-Ed Club  - Once a month, bring your own (BYO) lunch and watch/discuss recorded TED-talks in the library.

Student Driven Learning: meet-ups, lectures, workshops and instruction. Check out the calendar. In October, we have students leading workshops on video special effects, Adobe photoshop and NHS continues to offer homework help and tutoring in all subjects.

Ultimately, this is about building our learning community in a way that works best for us. You and your ideas are welcome.

Let's have fun with this!

If you go to the library's website (bit.ly/gdlibrary) you'll find a new Learning Lab page and that is where you can find the upcoming schedule and more information.  Please stop by the library to check it out, offer to lead a workshop, or make a suggestion.









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