By Jeanne Conte
Inquiry into Use of iPads in the Library Learning Commons: Peel Teacher Librarian iPad Exploration Project, Peel District School Board
This inquiry was initiated by a need to explore the potential of incorporating iPads as tools to support student learning within the context of the school library learning commons. The planning and facilitation team consisted of the library coordinator, an instructional technology resource teacher and a team of school library support/ library automation technicians. Selection criteria required that participating teacher librarians have a comfort level with technology and also that they were in school libraries with access to Wi-Fi. The team chose two teacher librarians from Peel secondary, middle and elementary (primary/junior) schools – six teacher- librarians in all. Each teacher-librarian was given 4 iPads on loan to use in their school libraries for the duration of the project. The project consisted of two rounds of learning. For the second round, a teacher-librarian from The Woodlands Secondary School participated as an extra. Her experience was different from the rest of the group as she had access to 10 iPads that the principal had just purchased for the school library.
For both rounds, participating teacher-librarians were released for two full days of facilitated professional learning. In both rounds, the morning of the first day was devoted to facilitated learning and the afternoon to planning, exploring iPad function, and time for teacher-librarians to familiarize themselves with Kidblog. The Kidblog site continued to be a forum for professional dialogue for the duration of the project. Round Two participants were added to the Kidblog so that both groups could benefit from each other‘s experiences. The blog was used to share ideas, troubleshoot problems and it is hoped that it will continue to serve as an ongoing platform for online dialogue to facilitate professional learning. The duration of the project was initially six weeks for each round, but due to work stoppage issues, the timeline was extended by approximately three weeks for Round One. For the second release day which came at the end of each exploration period, teacher-librarians shared their work in a carousel format and also had time to finalize their written reflections outlining their learning journeys. Finally, following each exploratory round, participants completed a survey based on how iPads were used in their library learning commons. The results are included in this project summary.
Facilitated learning for the second round of this project followed a similar format as the first round. However, based on our learning from Round One, facilitated learning for Round Two was geared more specifically to supporting specific areas of learning such as comprehensive literacy or the Inquiry Process as delineated in Together for Learning School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons: A Vision for the 21st Century. Within the context of this overarching goal, teacher-librarian participants created personal theories of action for their inquiries.
Instructional Coordinator/Educational Librarian
Curriculum and Instruction Support Services
Peel District School Board