Thursday, January 15, 2009

Second Month's Assignments

Building Your Group's Learning Commons
This assignment due: April 1, 2009.

You will be put into groups of elementary, middle, and high school groups.

Step One: Each group is to build a sample virtual learning commons.

You only have 30 days to complete the construction.

Previous class virtual learning commons are at:

You may harvest the best you find from other sites and be creative on your own. Your site is judged, not on the quantity of information but on whether it achieves the idea of being a collaborative and a conversation. It is judged by the quality of the resources. It is judged as a place where you can harvest materials and ideas for your own real virtual learning commons at your school.

Some Suggested Guidelines

Create the main web page/title screen

Teacher Tools: What would teachers like to have as a place for tools, helps, resources, research, and teacher tips all as a part of a faculty conversation and help center? The section for teachers is an important part of your virtual learning commons. Here are a few suggestions:

  • READING - Include the very best ideas that your faculty could use to stimulate reading in their classrooms and with you in the LMC; include descriptions of programs or events you will be using in your school to stimulate reading; include ideas for SSR, reading aloud, building rotating classroom collections, sources of funding for books, great bibliographies of things to read aloud, suggestions to your students, read as a professional teacher about the topic of reading, etc. Be sure to organize the materials in such a way that a teacher would be attracted to use it. Just a bunch of stuff is not likely to be used. Be sure to use the resources on, contribute to those resources, and if at all possible, participate with your school or group in this initiative.

  • ENHANCEMENT OF LEARNING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY - This section should spotlight the very best ideas for the use of technology to enhance learning in basic tool skills/literacy/content areas. It should spotlight the best ideas from the professional literature; spotlight the best ideas from your own faculty; provide good sources for personal professional development in the use of technology; and any other source of help that a teacher might need. Think of this section as a professional development tool box. It might also contain announcements of opportunities in the district, state, or nation. Remember, less is often more.

Student Section: Try to think of all the wonderful tools, information, conversations, student projects and helps that students would not only use but contribute to as part of the virtual learning commons strategy of collaboration.

Ideas for the student part of the page:

  • Tools - Links to tools that help a student be successful in their classes and in school. For example, web 2.0 tools, word processors, graphics packages, tutorials on how to write a term paper, tips on using the digital camera to link pictures into a web page. In other words, link learners to the actual tools and/or helps for using them to succeed. Even information literacy tip sheets might be here.

  • Resources for personal space, collaborative space or outer space - This is the section linking learners to online databases and various search engines - the place where they will search for information they want. The section may link them to specific databases such as the Electric Library, InfoTrac or SIRS; links to encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. Hopefully meta-search engines to search multiple databases might be included. This section also contains the link to the school library catalog and other library catalogs. It also links to various search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Dogpile among others. There might also be links to a section listing the 15,000 best websites for middle schoolers. A good meta search engine to look at is This specialized Internet search tool is designed to help teachers and students efficiently locate Internet content that can be used for educational purposes.

  • Activities of the school such as virtual book clubs, school folksonomies being constructed, global projects, fundraisers, etc.

  • Push technology section - This is the area where administrators, teachers, library media teachers, and parents are trying to get to the learner with announcements, links to classroom web pages/assignments, advertisements (such as good books to read), etc. There might be a "web site or book of the day" or connections to the living yearbook of the school (the latest pictures of the football game or other school event) . This section would be a place each student could add resources for their personal space so they keep up to date on what they need to be doing.

    Another area of push technology is the listing of student assignments and collaborative units currently being done in the learning commons. These are the collaborative units you are doing with teachers including any of the following features: At least one button that links students in a particular class to useful resources for that class including carefully selected Internet sites and any clicks to electronic resources in the school library collection; A section of general helps for kids in school such as school term paper guides, helps in citing materials; links to online dictionaries and encyclopedias, useful tutorials, etc.; A section that leads kids to Internet sites or school databases that help them personally such as information about sexual harassment, where to go for various kinds of help, what to do in case of emergency, local organizations that can be helpful. The page might contain lists of good books to read (perhaps recommended by the students themselves) and certainly a few you recommend, movie reviews (done by the kids), links to sports, etc. This part of the website is required of every student in the class. You will receive a major grade reduction without this section.

    The objective here is not quantity, but quality.

Step Two: Create Your own or Improve Your School's Virtual Learning Commons

If you already have a school library web site, transform it into more of a virtual learning commons and refine it, add to it, develop it further - note for the instructor where you started and what developments and refinements you have made. (A very short essay/log will suffice.)

A good start is to look at web pages constructed by school librarians around the country. Try Peter Milbury's site for linking school library web pages at

If you don't have a school learning commons, you could assist someone else in the class building theirs, contribute extra time in contributing to the group learning commons, or something else you clear with the instructor to do.
Try this site:

Sample Digital Libraries:




Greece Athena

Hunterdon Central


Northfield Mount Herman School

Redwood Bessie Chin


Great Neck South High School Library

Mankato East High School Library

National Cathedral

New Trier High School Library Home Page

Oregon School Library Information System

Scarsdale High School Library

Walter Johnson High School Media Center

Walter Reed Middle School

Albuquerque Academy

Arlington New York


Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities

BHS Media Center

Blue Valley North High School Library


Carmel High Library

Carmel Middle School Library

Carthage High School Media Center

Chiddix Junior High School IMC

Community High School District 94 -- LRC

DGN Library - Downers Grove, IL

Dr. Charles Best Secondary School Library

East Chapel Hill

East Woods

East Side Middle School Library

El Rancho Charter

Fort Worth Country Day School

Freemont Unified School District

Glennie IRC

Hamilton Union High School Library Home Page

Harry Ainlay High School Library

Lee’s Summit North

Lee’s Summit West

Limestone Community High School Media Center

Livingston High School

Manchester High School Library Media Center

Martin Felton Library - Colegio Bolivar, Cali, Colombia

Masterman School Library

Menomenie Middle School

Mission High School

Monte Vista High School Library

Newton North

NMH the Reading Room

P.L. Duffy Resource Centre, Trinity College, Western Australia

Paideia School Library

Peshtigo, Wisconsin School Web Site

St. Clair Michigan Middle School Media Center

St Pius X SRC main

San Benito High School

Scarsdale Middle School

Scotch College Library

Southport School


Thacher School

Thomas Dale

Walnut Hills High School

Wazeta East Middle School

Western Albemarle High School

Westminster School

Whippany Park High School

WHS Library Home

Winona Middle School

York Mills CI School Library

Hundreds more at:

Reading, Viewing and Listening for Month Two

Read articles, book chapters, websites, blogs, Teacher Tube, etc. and log this reading. This will help you prepare for month three's creation of your vision project. You should read a minimum of ten items of which you should:

Class Links:
libr233 pathfinder wiki
libr233 synthesis wiki


Matt Souza said...

This is a test post to see if the RSS feed functions.

Gillisbooks said...

Watch this 3 minute video of a high school student defining the difference between schools and libraries. How can we incorporate the positives and lessen the negatives that he lists?

I don't know how to make the web address a link, I thought I was copying it as a link but it doesn't seem end up as one, so you'll have to copy and paste it. (I found this on the Blue Skunk Blog that was linked from another blog...)

Lisa Katz said...

I am confused about what we are suppose to do with Knowville. Can someone explain that to me? Thanks.

Jung Ah Lee said...

If you make a change on one of the pages in Knowville, does it show up right away or does it need approval? I just added a few lines but am not seeing it on the page.

margaret martin said...

-Create a login for Knowville
-Put your edits in [brackets]
-save your changes

you should be able to see your edits immediately.

Michele Gilchrist said...

Hi, Dr, Loertscher,
Our middle school group had a question re: the group learning commons. Under student section is the following statement: "This part of the website is required of every student in the class. You will receive a major grade reduction without this section." We interpreted this as each learning commons must have a student section. Is that correct? Or does this mean that each individual within the group needs to work on the student section. Our group has divided up the tasks equitably, and two of us are working on student resources, while others work on different aspects of the commons. Can you please clarify this part of the instructions? Thank you.

Gillisbooks said...

The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation offers a grant for libraries for book purchases that serve economically or socially at-risk youth. If your library fits that description they are giving $500-$3000 awards.
Here's the link to their home page:

Tina Johnson said...

HI - I'm a little confused about the requirements of the individual learning commons. As a team, we are creating a sample virutal commons that may actually be used by one of our team members in her school library. Should we just describe our contributions to this project in order to receive credit for the second portion of this assignment?

B Ahrens said...

There was some discussion a few weeks ago about moving the "create learning commons at your own school" assignment to next month, instead of attempting to create both learning commons at the same time.

Can we get some clarity on that? Thanks! Brooke

Tiffany Mair said...

Tina & Brooke, I have forwarded your questions on to Dr. Loertscher.

He'll be getting back to you soon....


Jung Ah Lee said...

Two questions!

(1) I understand that our contribution to the class pathfinder and synthesis wikis are to be articles that are not already included on those wikis by fellow classmates. However, for our reading log, if we have read some of the articles that our fellow classmates also have read, should we include that in our reading log? I am getting quite a number of overlaps and would like to include all articles that I am reading in my reading log.

(2) I "attended" the webinar about grant writing and have taken notes. Should I turn the notes in to show that I have attedned a webinar on grant writing? This should be enough to satisfy this requirement, right? (I went from knowing nothing about grant writing and learned quite a bit from the webinar.)

Thank you!

Jung Ah Lee said...

For our individual learning commons, we are supposed to document how the school library website improved or how our virtual learning commons will benefit a certain school, right?

Are we supposed to document anything for our group virtual learning commons?

-Jung Ah

Michele Gilchrist said...

Hi, LIBR 233
Our Virtual LC is for Jamms Middle School (a fictional school). The site can be viewed at:

Middle School Group 2
Alegria Barclay
Shanin Fox
Michele Gilchrist
Susie Huber
Joanne Maher

Erica Dietz said...


Group H3's VLC can be viewed at:

Erica Dietz, Jessica Gillis, Kim Leng, Trina Schlee, Mark Schneider & Nancy Shomo

Tiffany Mair said...

Thank you for sharing links to your group work!

Ms.Jackson said...

Here is a cool article from The official blog of the Young Adult Library Services Association
The Other Digital Divide..Great info about Learning Commons..and the rarely talked about Digital Divide

Ms.Jackson said...

Here is a link to the M1 VLC :

Tiffany Mair said...

Please don't wait for your grades on the group virtual learning commons before submitting your individual learning commons.

Harvest useful information/strategies from the group virtual learning commons assignment and incorporate into your individual learning commons assignment.

Dr. Loertscher will grade the group virtual learning commons assignment after your individual project.


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