By Pippa Davies
Engaging Students in the Heritage Christian Schools Learning Commons
Ten years ago the author hesitantly responded to a calling for a position as a virtual teacher librarian for Heritage Christian Schools, based in Kelowna B.C. Heritage Christian Blended Commons serves a physical campus of 300 students, a distance learning school of 1682 Grade K-9 students and 438 Grade 10-12 students, and BC Online School, the cross-enrolled division of 2500 students. The book Building a Learning Commons, by Carol Koechlin and David Loertscher was a turning point for this library going from a separate online and physical library into one virtual blended hub. The author describes that the beauty of this theory was that they could envision a new world based on enhanced communication and information retrieval. They wanted a theory that would meet the needs of the whole school body, and provide a safe space for students to explore e-learning from a social perspective. They are now enjoying year three as a learning commons. The beauty of the learning commons vision is that libraries are not only the vibrant hub of the school, but are also the center for innovation, cutting edge technology, and inquiry based learning. The paper takes the reader through the process of transformation and ways of engaging with the challenges inherent in making the shift from a more traditional way of operating to innovative ideas that better meet the needs of both virtual students and those who are physically at the school site(s).
Pippa Davies has enjoyed working as a Teacher Librarian and Learning Commons Chair, at Heritage Christian Schools Learning Commons since 2004. Her experience has encompassed the role as a learning commons specialist, and teacher in many domains; including the public, medical, legal, reference and education fields. Her goal is to constantly challenge herself to learn new technology and educational innovations for her schools, students and for her own research purposes. Pippa was an active participant and presenter in the three, year Vancouver Symposium on Christian Education, with the culmination of a pedagogical manifesto, for Christian Education in the 21st Century. When not working Pippa enjoys hanging out with her husband, and three adult children. She loves hiking, reading, surfing the net, and cooking sumptuous meals!